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Federal Politics 2013-

Feb 18, 2016

The BludgerTrack poll aggregate this week mostly splits the difference between a strong result for the government from ReachTEL and a weak one from Ipsos, translating into a 0.3% shift to Labor on two-party preferred and a two-point change on the seat projection, with Labor picking up one each in New South Wales and Victoria. The Ipsos poll also furnished one set of leadership ratings for the week, the impact of which on the trend measures is fairly minor.

On top of that, I’ve got an avalanche of new material to treat you with this week, most of which has been hived off to a separate post dealing with preselection news. There are two further poll results I’ve so far neglected to cover:

• This week’s Essential Research moves a point in favour of the Coalition on two-party preferred, who now lead 52-48. The primary votes are Coalition 43% (steady), Labor 33% (down two) and Greens 11% (steady). Further questions find 28% reporting the Malcolm Turnbull prime ministership has been better than expected, 22% worse than expected, and 41% as expected; a very even divide on the issue of babies born to asylum seekers in Australia, with 39% wanting them sent to Nauru and 40% believing they should remain in Australia; 34% believing conditions for asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island are good, versus 40% for poor; and 64% disapproving of suggestions the administration and payment of Medicare, pharmaceutical and aged care benefits should be outsourced, with only 17% approving.

• The Galaxy Queensland poll that provided state results for the Courier-Mail on the weekend also had a federal voting intention component, which had the Coalition’s lead in Queensland at 57-43 (unchanged from the 2013 election), from primary votes of Coalition 49% (up 3.3% since the election), Labor 30% (up 0.2%), Greens 10% (up 3.8%) and Palmer United 1% (down 10.0%). The poll was conducted last Wednesday and Thursday from a sample of 869.

Other notable news:

• The federal redistribution process for the Australian Capital Territory was finalised last month, leaving undisturbed the draft proposal from September. The Fraser electorate, which covers the northern part of Canberra, is to be renamed Fenner, with the Canberra electorate continuing to account for the capital’s centre and south, along with the unpopulated areas of the territory’s south. The two seats are respectively held for Labor by Gai Brodtmann and Andrew Leigh. Around 10,000 voters are to be transferred from Fraser to Canberra, leaving Labor’s two-party margin in Fraser unchanged at 12.6%, while increasing the Canberra margin from 7.0% to 7.4%.

• The process for a redistribution of the Northern Territory and its two federal electorates has commenced, but with a final resolution for the process being scheduled for early next year, the new boundaries will not take effect at the next election.

• The Northern Territory parliament has voted to change the electoral system from compulsory to optional preferential voting, so that voters will be required to do no more than number a single box, as is the case at state elections in New South Wales and Queensland. The bill was passed with the support of cross-bench independents in the face of opposition from Labor.

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shea mcduff

Peter Martin explains why so-called bracket creep is not a problem.


On forgetting the lessons of WW2, this is a comment by Baron Carrington:

However, as the young Peter Carington was beginning his life in politics, it was uncertain whether Churchill’s political career was already over. “He must have been very wounded when he was voted out in the landslide election in 1945. But I certainly understood why Labour was voted in. The public simply didn’t believe that the Conservatives could be trusted. Anyone who lived through the 1930s, who witnessed the Jarrow marches, understood that. There had been such terrible poverty.

“I remember serving alongside men in my tank during the war, and hearing their thoughts. These were young men who had joined up in the hope of getting a square meal. Most had been unemployed before the war. In my squadron, not one single man voted Conservative in 1945.”


I was at the Perth Writers Festival again today and in the audience for the panel featuring Clare O’Neil, Richard Denniss and Laura Tingle. Denniss mentioned how Morrisson likes to mention our average income of $80,000 when discussing bracket creep. However, Denniss said the median household (not individual but household) income was around $70,000 (IIRC). So despite the talk of average Australians most Australians don’t have to worry about bracket creep.

For reference, according to the average Australian household’s income in 2014 was $145,000.


Posted Sunday, February 21, 2016 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

frednk @ 1998,

‘ I only found out today that Baby Asha is in hospital with burns suffered as a result of a cooking accident on Nauru. So of course it would be wrong to send a one year old burns victim back to an atoll in the middle of nowhere and without a proper Burns Unit.

I am sure you can harden your heart a little more and declare it acceptable.’

That’s really nasty.
I am glad you think so. And I appoligise. There are comments on the Age site along the line “The mother thru the water on the kid deliberately”. Children overboard!

I am no green supporter “they develop policy in secret” and are well aware there is a range of views in the Labor party with branch resolutions supporting the refugees.

It is the labor parties ovenness in developng policy that I find attractive.


Further to my comment at 2099: I should have made it clearer that in relation to s.92 of the Electoral Act, it’s the process of habitation reviews that has long gone: the standing appropriation is still there, but it’s no longer supporting major one-off updates of the roll involving expensive field work. Instead, the AEC moved to what it called continuous roll update, and then to direct update of the rolls based on data received from other trusted agencies.



What don said.


Sorry JaR, what did I miss?….”I’d be absolutely for the death penalty…………….etc”.

Your seeming iron-clad condition of absolute guilt does not cut it with me.

I actually take the view that sending one innocent person to the gallows is a greater evil than taking the chance of getting say, 6 out of 7, to punish the 6.

I bet Lindy Chamberlain would be with you one this one…not.


[Given quite a few PBers have argued for fixing bracket creep, I’d be interested to see what people think of this:
afford”. Photo: Jonathan Barrett

A proposal to lift the $80,001 marginal tax bracket to fix the problem of bracket creep would help the wealthy up to 10 times more than average wage earners, according to an analysis of Treasury data.]

just lifting the 37c threshold to 100k would be one of the most hopeless things they could possibly think of. Of course the rich would love it to bits as they get a nice little tax cut, but the vast majority of workers (median wage is much lower than the average of $78k) would get zip.

[We need bracket creep to claw back structurally the overly generous tax cuts based on the mining boom receipts that never eventuated. At best, there should be an adjustment at the bottom end, so that any cut back disproportionately benefits those who most need it – the lowest income earners.]

We have been for 7 years. It is getting to about time to put a stop to it. If you only give tax cuts to the lower end you end up with the problem we used to have of the rates cutting in much earlier along the income distribution. What we have now is reasonably fair. Average income at around the 2nd top rate means much more than half workers are on the 3rd highest as their marginal rate.

If the move to change the 37c threshold to 100k only costs $1.7bil then I’d love to see what moving all the thresholds up 2.5% to account for inflation each year. It would probably be a fair bit more, but probably still affordable. If the Libs come out with something as poorly targeted and inequitable as this proposal Labor would smash them with simple rate indexation.



Re the Thomas Piketty oped on the rise of Bernie Sanders, I have a theory that from the early eighties the rich in the US (and the UK) forgot the lessons of WW2 and started getting greedy again.

Actually they never ceased being greedy and never will.

The problem was that the restraints were loosened too much.


C@tmomma@2096I’m sorry but I really am heartbroken that frednk could say something as nasty as that about me. ]

I try hard to ignore the bad opinions about me from those whom I do not respect.

Fsssshhh! Straight over the top of my head.

If I am walking down the road and some hoons lean out of a car and say things about me, do I care? No, I smile, because I do not know them nor respect them, and they do not know me. How could they be capable of reasoned thought about me?

I think we should only care about the opinions of those whose opinions we value. All others can just bugger off.


Jack A Randa @ 2094: Thanks for your views on that. As it happens I worked at the AEC for a long time, and was involved with the big legislative amendments in 1983. At that time there was a standing appropriation inserted in s.92 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act to cover the cost of “habitation reviews” – door to door updates of the roll. But that’s no longer there, and my memory was that that Department of Finance, a good while ago now, more or less declared war on standing appropriations, and tried to pare them back as much as possible. There certainly isn’t one for election costs.

There is such an appropriation, however, in the Tasmanian Electoral Act 2004 ( The whole issue of control of finances is an important one when it comes to the independence of a body like the AEC. In many countries, it’s deemed unthinkable that the election management body could be truly independent while the executive government retained control over its finances.



Brilliant. Thanks for sharing.


Apologies if someone has already linked:


I’m sorry but I really am heartbroken that frednk could say something as nasty as that about me.

Frankly it’s The Greens that have hardened their hearts in recent years such that they can now justify getting down in the gutter and spitting acid at people who don’t agree with their world view because they are purer of heart than anyone else. Or so their deluded world view makes them think.

Anyway, over and above the fact that it distresses me to see such full frontal nastiness from supporters of the party that styles themselves as the good guys compared with any other political party, I just know that at least my stance as far as the asylum seeker issue goes has been constant from the get go and unaffected by any political consideration other than wanting to achieve an outcome in this policy area similar to that espoused by imacca earlier today but basically, at it’s heart, to see the tragic loss of life at sea diminished to as close to zero as possible, to increase our refugee intake via collecting together a varied cross-section of refugees from strife-torn areas around the globe and to excise the People Traffickers from the equation.

If that makes me hard of heart, so be it, I guess.

I would have thought crocodile tears over deaths of asylum seekers at sea plus no real solution about what to do about it was worse. Apparently not.

Oh, and as a mother of course I am concerned about Baby Asha, though I had refrained up until today from saying anything about the situation because I fully expected to be called a hypocrite because some are not able to understand a nuanced position. I just didn’t expect them to be so nasty with it.

I’m off to watch The X Files with my children who love me and I them and to get away from such pathetic smallness of vision and understanding.

Jack A Randa

Tricot, I don’t think you read my view carefully enough – a common problem on this blog.

Jack A Randa

Michael at 2072 – I was away but now I’m back, maybe briefly. Yes I think you’ve discovered another reason why Trunchbull may need the budget or at least a “supply” act passed before he can pull off a DD. Looking at the appropriations for the Finance portfolio there is a separate line of two for the AEC and even if Outcome 2 for the Department itself (“Support an efficient and high-performing public sector through providing leadership to Commonwealth entities in ongoing improvements to public sector governance, including through systems, frameworks, policy, advice and service delivery”) could be stretched to apply to an independent statutory authority (dubious) there may not be enough money spilling over into the next FY to pay for a complex DD election.

Incidentally there is one permanent appropriation lurking in the C’th Electoral Act, s 302. But it’s only for the election funding provisions for candidates and parties. They should really have one for the AEC’s own expenses incurred in the conduct of elections – but they don’t unless it’s buried somewhere that I can’t find.



Of couse, I respect your right to express your views in relation to CP but I am totally oppose your stance.

Nothing more than judicial murder in my view.

I suspect if a referendum were held a majority would probably go for a reintroduction of this barbaric form of revenge, however the arguments today for its abolition in Oz are as good as they were 20-30 years ago when this primitive form of punishment was finally done away with.

Quite happy to accept I hold a minority view.


JD @ 2090

[Given quite a few PBers have argued for fixing bracket creep]

We need bracket creep to claw back structurally the overly generous tax cuts based on the mining boom receipts that never eventuated. At best, there should be an adjustment at the bottom end, so that any cut back disproportionately benefits those who most need it – the lowest income earners.


Nauru should never, ever have been reopened. The Immigration Department advised strongly in 2011 that it would not be effective again. Then Secretary, Andrew Metcalfe, who had been closely involved in the first Pacific Solution explicitly advised Abbott and Morrison of this. And so he was sacked from his subsequent job as Secretary of the Department of Agriculture when Abbott and Credlin came to power.

Nauru was only reopened because Abbott and Morrison blocked Labor from implementing any other solution – specifically the Malaysian people swap. Abbott and Morrison wanted Nauru reopened to make the political point that it was all Labor’s fault for closing it. Morrison went there and could see that it was not ready but came back and announced to the nation that it was ready to take asylum seekers straight away. And all of our press corps just took his word for it. Now they are whinging that they can’t get visas to go there, but at the time they couldn’t even be bothered to fact check his outrageous lie.

So the baby Asha case and the repeated allegations of other gross human rights violations are directly the fault of Abbott, Morrison, Dutton and Turnbull, all of whom were happy to go along with insistence on a brutal regime of inhumanity in order to get electoral power.


Given quite a few PBers have argued for fixing bracket creep, I’d be interested to see what people think of this:
afford”. Photo: Jonathan Barrett

[A proposal to lift the $80,001 marginal tax bracket to fix the problem of bracket creep would help the wealthy up to 10 times more than average wage earners, according to an analysis of Treasury data.]