Poll wrap: Labor maintains its lead in Newspoll, while One Nation drops; NSW upper house finalised



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With the election season now under way, Labor has retained its lead over the Coalition in the latest Newspoll, though Bill Shorten’s approval rating has not improved.
Lukas Coch/AAP

Adrian Beaumont, University of Melbourne

With five weeks until the May 18 election, this week’s Newspoll, conducted April 11-14 from a sample of 1,700 people, gave Labor a 52-48 lead, unchanged since last week. Primary votes were 39% Coalition (up one), 39% Labor (up two), 9% Greens (steady) and 4% One Nation (down two) – One Nation’s lowest primary vote since November 2016.

While the two-party figure was unchanged, this poll is better for Labor than last week’s Newspoll, with Labor gaining two points in primary votes from One Nation’s drop. If we assess this poll as total right-wing vs total left-wing vote, the left (Labor and Greens) gained two points to stand at 48%, while the right (Coalition and One Nation) lost one point to fall to 43%. Analyst Kevin Bonham said this Newspoll was probably rounded towards the Coalition.

One Nation’s drop is likely the result of increased polarisation between the major parties. If One Nation had been affected by the NRA donations scandal, it would have shown up in last week’s polls.

Nominations for the federal election will be declared on April 24. It is unlikely that One Nation will contest the vast majority of lower house seats. Polling conducted after April 24 is likely to greatly reduce One Nation’s vote as they will no longer be an option for most Australians in the lower house. This reduction of One Nation’s vote may assist the Coalition on primary votes.

In the Newspoll, 45% of respondents were satisfied with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s performance (steady), and 44% were dissatisfied (up one), for a net approval of +1. Labor leader Bill Shorten’s net approval was steady at -14. Morrison led Shorten by an unchanged 46-35 as better PM.

Since Malcolm Turnbull was ousted as prime minister in August 2018, the Coalition has recovered from a 56-44 deficit in Newspoll to 52-48 this week, due partly to the time that’s passed since the spill and partly to the relative popularity of Morrison.

Now that the election campaign is formally under way, some attention will shift to the opposition’s policies and proposals. The danger for Labor is the Coalition can scare voters about its economic policies, but the potential reward is that Labor can appeal to voters who are frustrated by the Coalition’s perceived inaction on climate change and low wage growth.




Read more:
Post-budget poll wrap: Coalition gets a bounce in Newspoll, but not in Ipsos or Essential


Large difference in voting intentions by age group

Every three months, Newspoll aggregates all the polls it conducted from that time period to get voting intention breakdowns by state, age, gender and region (the five capital cities vs the rest of Australia). For January to March, the overall result was 53-47 to Labor, a point better for Labor than the last two Newspolls.

This three-month Newspoll showed a large difference in voting intentions by age group. Among those aged 18-34, Labor had 46% of the primary vote, the Coalition 28%, the Greens 14% and One Nation 4%. Among those aged 35-49, it was Labor 39%, Coalition 35%, Greens 9% and One Nation 7%. And among those aged 50 or over, the Coalition had 44%, Labor 35%, One Nation 6% and Greens 5%.

It is still important to poll well with this oldest demographic. According to the 2016 census, those aged 18-34 represent 30.3% of the eligible voting age population and those aged 35-49 represent 26.0%. The share of the voting-age population aged 50 or over, however, is 43.7%.

Results by gender were similar. Men gave Labor 40% of the primary vote, the Coalition 37%, the Greens 7% and One Nation 6%. With women, Labor had 39%, the Coalition 37%, the Greens 10% and One Nation 6%. After preferences, Labor would be doing about one point better with women than men.

The best source for state voting intentions is The Poll Bludger’s BludgerTrack. Perhaps reflecting the Coalition’s victory in the recent NSW election, federal Labor’s lead over the Coalition in that state has been reduced to just 50.1-49.9 from about 54-46 in the last few weeks. This is about a 0.6% swing in Labor’s favour from 2016.

Labor has maintained a larger lead in most other states, however. In Victoria, Labor leads by 55.1-44.9, a 3.2% swing to Labor since 2016. In Queensland, Labor leads by 52.0-48.0, a 6.1% swing to Labor. In SA, Labor leads by 55.7-44.3, a 3.4% swing to Labor.

In WA, the Coalition still leads by 51.0-49.0, but this is a 3.6% swing in Labor’s favour from 2016.

Nationally, BludgerTrack gives Labor a 52.5-47.5 lead, a 2.8% swing to Labor.

One Nation wins two seats in the NSW upper house

In the March 23 NSW election, 21 members of the upper house were elected by statewide proportional representation, with a quota of 1/22 of the vote, or 4.55%.

The Coalition won 7.66 quotas, Labor 6.53, the Greens 2.14, One Nation 1.52, the Shooters, Fishers & Farmers 1.22, the Christian Democrats 0.50, the Liberal Democrats 0.48, Animal Justice 0.43 and Keep Sydney Open 0.40.

The Coalition was certain to win an eighth seat, and Labor and One Nation were best placed for two other seats. On preferences, Animal Justice overtook the Liberal Democrats, Christian Democrats and One Nation to win the second-to-last seat, with One Nation’s second candidate, Rod Roberts, defeating the Christian Democrats for the final seat.

It is the first time since 1981 that the Christian Democrats have failed to win a seat in the NSW upper house. David Leyonhjelm, who resigned from the Senate to run as the lead Liberal Democrat candidate in NSW, did not win.

The Coalition now holds 17 of the 42 total upper house seats (down three), Labor 14 (up two), the Greens four (down one), the Shooters two (steady), One Nation two (up two), Animal Justice two (up one) and the Christian Democrats one (down one). One Green member, Justin Field, resigned from the party, and is now an independent.

Overall, the right now holds 22 of the 42 seats. On legislation opposed by the left-wing parties, the Coalition will require support from One Nation, the Shooters and Christian Democrats.




Read more:
Coalition wins a third term in NSW with few seats changing hands


Brexit likely delayed until at least October 31

The European Union leaders have decided to delay Brexit until at least October 31. Without a majority for any plausible Brexit option, the House of Commons could only vote to delay Brexit to prevent a no-deal departure from the EU, but this delay will likely not appeal to the general public or “leave” voters.

Two new polls have the Conservatives slumping to just 28-29% of the UK vote, 4-7 points behind Labour.The Conversation

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Labor maintains 52-48% lead in Newspoll as vote polarises


Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

Labor has retained a two-party 52-48% lead in the latest Newspoll, taken after Scott Morrison called the election last Thursday.

Both Labor and the Coalition increased their primary votes and are now equal on 39%. Labor was up 2 points and the Coalition rose a point, compared with the previous poll published a week ago.

The Newspoll, in Monday’s Australian, shows signs of the vote polarising as the campaign formally starts for the May 18 election.

One Nation – which has had a spate of bad publicity since revelations about its canvassing of the US gun lobby – has fallen 2 points to 4%, and support for “others” was down a point to 9%. The Greens are stable on 9%.

Morrison has maintained an 11-point lead over Bill Shorten as better prime minister. There was virtually no change in the leaders’ approval ratings.

The results represent a 2.4% swing against the Coalition from the last election – which, if uniform, would elect a Shorten government.

The total vote for independents and minor parties including the Greens was 22%, compared with a peak of 29% in mid 2017. The April 11-14 poll surveyed 1697 voters.

join The Conversation in Melbourne

Speaking in Brisbane on Sunday, Morrison pushed the theme that Labor could not “manage money”, declaring that “if you can’t manage money, then you can’t run the country”.

“If you can’t manage money, you can’t run health system. If you can’t manage money, you can’t run an education system. If you can’t manage money, you can’t create jobs for young people.

“If you can’t manage money, you can’t combat youth suicide. You can’t go out there and change the lives for Australians living with disabilities. You can’t go out there and stand with parents while they are working to try and change the life of their kids who are struggling with eating disorder.

“You can’t go out there and actually make the environment the beautiful thing we want it to be for everybody in this country,” Morrison said.

Addressing a rally of volunteers in Sydney, Shorten said the election was “a choice between better hospitals and better schools – or bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town”.

Labor would make multinationals pay their fair share of tax, end the intergenerational bias in the tax system, and close the unfair, unsustainable loopholes the top end of town used, he said.

“And I have to say this: if you are getting a tax credit when you haven’t paid any income tax, this is a gift. […] It is a gift lifted from the taxes paid by working class and middle class people in Australia today.

“It is a gift that is eating our budget. It’s now costing our nation over $6 billion this year, and pretty soon will cost $8 billion.

“And if all of this talk of billions is too much, perhaps think of it in the following way:

“Two minutes’ worth of the gift, the money that flows out of this one loophole, two minutes out of 365 days, could pay for someone’s knee replacement surgery.

“Ten minutes worth of the gift is enough to employ a nurse, full-time, for a year.

“In one hour, this loophole alone could pay for a hospital bed, for a whole year.”The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Post-budget poll wrap: Coalition gets a bounce in Newspoll, but not in Ipsos or Essential


Adrian Beaumont, University of Melbourne

Six weeks before an expected May 18 election, this week’s Newspoll, conducted April 4-7 from a sample of 1,800, gave Labor a 52-48 lead. That’s a two-point gain for the Coalition since the last Newspoll, conducted four weeks ago, owing to the NSW election and the budget. This Newspoll has the narrowest Labor lead since Scott Morrison replaced Malcolm Turnbull.

An Ipsos poll for Nine newspapers, conducted April 3-6 from a sample of 1,200, gave Labor a 53-47 lead, a two-point gain for Labor since mid-February. While Ipsos was better for Labor, the February Ipsos was the infamous 51-49 after the Medevac bill passed.




Read more:
Poll wrap: Labor’s lead narrows to just 51-49 in Ipsos, but is it an outlier?


Primary votes in Newspoll were 38% Coalition (up two), 37% Labor (down two), 9% Greens (steady) and 6% One Nation (down one). In Ipsos, primary votes were 37% Coalition (down one), 34% Labor (up one), 13% Greens (steady) and 5% One Nation (steady). Rounding probably assisted the Coalition on two party in February, and assisted Labor this time. As usual, the Greens vote in Ipsos is too high, and Labor’s too low.

Respondent allocated preferences in Ipsos were also 53-47 to Labor, and there has been no difference between respondent and previous election methods in Ipsos since Morrison replaced Turnbull. Under Turnbull, respondent preferences were usually better for the Coalition.

In Newspoll, 45% were satisfied with Morrison’s performance (up two), and 43% were dissatisfied (down two), for a net approval of +2, Morrison’s best since October. Bill Shorten’s net approval rose one point to -14, his best since January. Morrison led Shorten by 46-35 as better PM (43-36 four weeks ago).

In Ipsos, Morrison’s approval and disapproval were both down a point, to 48% and 39% respectively. Shorten’s net approval fell three points to -15. Morrison led Shorten by 46-35 as better PM (48-38 in February).

There are three questions Newspoll has asked after every budget since 1988: whether the budget was good or bad for the economy, good or bad for you personally, and whether the opposition would have delivered a better budget.

44% thought the budget good for the economy and just 18% bad; the +26 net score is the best for a budget since 2008. 34% thought they would be better off, and 19% worse off; the net +15 score is the best since 2007. In better news for Labor, by 45-37 voters thought Labor would not have delivered a better budget; this -8 score is the third best for Labor under a Coalition government, just one point less than in 2014 and 2018.




Read more:
Infographic: Budget 2019 at a glance


In Ipsos, by 41-29 voters thought the budget was fair, the +12 net is the best since 2015. 38% thought they would be better off and 24% worse off, the +14 net is the same as in 2018. By 42-25, voters thought Labor had better policies on climate change than the Coalition.

The 2018 budget was also well received, and the Coalition had its best polling of the current term during the period surrounding that budget. Six of the eight Newspolls conducted from late April 2018 to August gave Labor just a 51-49 lead, before the Coalition crashed to a 56-44 deficit after Turnbull’s ousting.

While last week appealed to the Coalition’s perceived strength on overall economic management, wage growth and climate change, which are perceived as weaknesses for the Coalition, are likely to be important during the election campaign. Attacks on Labor’s economic policies, such as their plan to abolish franking credit cash refunds, give the Coalition its best chance to win.

After revelations that One Nation solicited donations from the US National Rifle Association, some would have expected their vote to crash, but it has held up well.

In economic news, on March 21 the ABS announced that 4,600 jobs were added in February, well down from the over 39,000 added in January. While the unemployment rate decreased 0.1% to 4.9%, this was a result of lower workforce participation.

The Westpac March consumer confidence index, taken in the week the weak GDP report was released, fell 4.8 points from February to 98.8. House prices have continued to fall.

Essential: 52-48 to Labor

This week’s Essential poll, conducted April 4-7 from a sample of 1,069, gave Labor a 52-48 lead, unchanged from last fortnight. Primary votes were 38% Coalition (down one), 35% Labor (down one), 11% Greens (up one) and 5% One Nation (down two). Essential has tended to be worse for Labor than Newspoll since Morrison became PM.

By 51-27, voters approved of the budget; the +24 net is higher than the +16 net in 2018 or +8 net in 2017. Over 75% agreed with the infrastructure spending program and tax rebates for workers earning up to $90,000. By 26-20, voters thought the budget was good for them personally, a reversal from last fortnight’s pre-budget poll, when voters thought the budget would be bad for them personally by 34-19.

The Coalition was trusted over Labor to manage the economy overall by 44-29, but Labor was ahead by 45-31 on managing the economy in the interests of working people.

I wrote on my personal website about last fortnight’s Essential poll that gave Labor a 52-48 lead. Questions about views of world leaders had Theresa May’s ratings tanking since these questions were last asked in July 2018.

In pre-budget polling, a YouGov Galaxy poll for the News Ltd tabloids gave Labor a 53-47 lead. State breakdowns of primary votes suggested that the NSW election defeat had an impact on federal Labor’s NSW vote.

NSW election upper house late counting

With 68% of enrolled voters in the NSW upper house check counted, the Coalition has 7.9 quotas, Labor 6.5, the Greens 2.1, One Nation 1.5, the Shooters 1.1, the Christian Democrats 0.5, the Liberal Democrats 0.5, Keep Sydney Open 0.4 and Animal Justice 0.4.

Out of the 21 seats up for election, eight Coalition, six Labor, two Greens, one One Nation and one Shooter are certain to win. By also using the now complete initial count, analyst Kevin Bonham currently thinks two seats will go to Labor and One Nation, and the final seat is in doubt between the Liberal Democrats, Christian Democrats, Keep Sydney Open and Animal Justice.




Read more:
Coalition wins a third term in NSW with few seats changing hands


European leaders’ summit on April 10 to decide on Brexit

On April 12, the UK is currently scheduled to leave the European Union, with or without a deal. With no deal likely by then, an April 10 European leaders’ summit will decide whether to grant the UK a long extension to Brexit.

I wrote about this summit for The Poll Bludger on April 6, and on March 30, I wrote about the 58-vote Commons defeat of Theresa May’s Brexit deal.The Conversation

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Coalition narrows gap to trail 48-52% in post-budget Newspoll


Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

The government has narrowed the gap in the post-budget Newspoll, now trailing 48-52% in two-party terms, compared with the 46-54% margin a month ago.

As Scott Morrison readies to call the election, with speculation he will announce next weekend for May 18, he has also increased his lead over Bill Shorten as better prime minister in Newspoll, published in Monday’s Australian. Morrison’s rating has risen by 3 points to 46% and Shorten’s has declined by a point to 35%, with the gap now 11 points.

The Coalition’s primary vote is up 2 points to 38% in the poll, while Labor is down 2 points to 37%.

Meanwhile in an Ipsos poll in Nine newspapers, Labor leads 53-47% in two-party terms, an improvement for the opposition from the last poll in February when the gap was 51-49% in the ALP’s favour.

Morrison leads Shorten 46-35% as preferred prime minister in the Ipsos poll, which was taken after the budget and largely after Shorten’s reply.

Both polls showed the budget, which contained tax cuts and forecast a surplus for next financial year, has been received favourably by voters.

Newspoll found people ranked it the best budget in a decade and the most likely to give cost of living relief and improve their personal circumstances since the Howard government’s last budget in 2007.

In the Ipsos poll, 38% thought they would be better off as a result of the budget compared with 24% who believed they would be worse off. The budget also scored positively on the measure of fairness, Ipsos found: 41% thought it fair, compared to 29% who believed it was unfair.

While the election is considered most likely to be on May 18, after the government let the option of May 11 pass, May 25 is still an option.

The government says May 11 would have maximised the complication of the public holidays (Easter, Anzac Day). But more importantly, delaying the start of the formal campaign gives the Coalition extra time to run its taxpayer-funded advertising, as well as to tie up loose ends before the caretaker period and bed down its arrangements.

Morrison could have called the election at the weekend for May 18 but that would have cut off the government’s access to publicly-funded advertising.

But the downside is that it has to endure the unpredictability of Senate estimates hearings this week.

The ALP will have its campaign headquarters at Parramatta up and running on Monday. Shorten will be in Brisbane on Monday and spend much of the week talking about health in the wake of his promise last week of $2.3 billion to slash out-of-pocket costs for cancer sufferers.

Shorten said the government was buying time “to pump up their own tyres” with advertising. “If they’ve got some spare money in Treasury, they should be spending on services for kids with cancer”.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said the only reason Morrison had not called the election already was so the government could continue its rollout of taxpayer-funded advertising.

“They are spending around about $680,000 a day on advertising,” he said on Sky.

He said Morrison should either immediately call the election or commit to stopping all taxpayer-funded advertising now “because this is an outrageous abuse during what we all know is the caretaker period in reality”.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg would not give a figure for the spending this week but told the ABC “money is being spent in accordance with approved processes and that’s all transparent […] all of that information will be available”.

Morrison said Shorten’s impatience about the election not being called was “born of arrogance”.

“The election will be called in April and the election will be held in May. We’re not doing this with any haste and we’re not doing it with any delay. There have always been three dates, the 11th, the 18th and 25th.”

The Ipsos poll showed Labor with a strong margin on climate change. Asked whether Labor or the Coalition had the best policy on climate change 42% said Labor, and 25% said the Coalition. But about a third did not know.

Labor released its climate policy early last week, including an ambitious target of electric cars forming 50% of all new car sales by 2030. The government has been raising scares and deriding the electric car policy. Morrison said on Sunday: “Bill Shorten wants to end the weekend, when it comes to his policy on electric vehicles, where you’ve got Australians who love being out there in their four wheel drives. He wants to say ‘see ya later’ to the SUV when it comes to the choices of Australians”.




Read more:
Shorten’s climate policy would hit more big polluters harder and set electric car target


Nine has reported Liberal sources saying internal Liberal Party polling is “diabolically bad” for Tony Abbott in Warringah, with Abbott facing a 12% swing. The challenge to Abbott is coming from independent Zali Steggall.The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Poll wrap: Labor gains in Newspoll after weak economic report; Labor barely ahead in NSW



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The Coalition government has had another rocky fortnight, and the polls show it is behind on a two-party preferred basis.
AAP/Dean Lewins

Adrian Beaumont, University of Melbourne

About two months from the expected May election date, this week’s Newspoll, conducted March 7-10 from a sample of 1,610, gave Labor a 54-46 lead, a one-point gain for Labor since last fortnight. Primary votes were 39% Labor (steady), 36% Coalition (down one), 9% Greens (steady) and 7% One Nation (up two).

This Newspoll is the Coalition’s 50th successive Newspoll loss. The closest they have come to breaking that losing streak was a run of four consecutive 51-49 results from July to early August 2018 before Malcolm Turnbull was dumped. This Newspoll reverses the gains the Coalition had made to close the gap to 53-47 from 55-45 in November and December.

Despite the Coalition’s woes on voting intentions, Scott Morrison remains relatively popular. 43% were satisfied with his performance (up one), and 45% were dissatisfied (down three), for a net approval of -2. Bill Shorten’s net approval was up three points to -15. Morrison led Shorten as better PM by 43-36 (44-35 last fortnight).

I believe Morrison’s relative popularity is because he has not yet proposed something that would make him unpopular, in the way Tony Abbott did with the May 2014 budget, and his January 2015 knighting of Prince Philip. Turnbull was very unpopular with the hard right, and their hatred of him damaged his overall ratings.

During the election campaign, Labor will attempt to tie Morrison to unpopular Coalition policies, and this could impact his ratings.

The last fortnight has not been good for the Coalition with the retirements of Christopher Pyne and Steve Ciobo, infighting within the Nationals, and Turnbull and Julie Bishop saying they could have beaten Shorten if they were the leader.

While these events may have had an impact, I believe the Coalition’s biggest problem is weak economic data. On March 6, the ABS reported that Australia’s GDP grew 0.2% in the December quarter after the September quarter GDP was up 0.3%. In per capita terms, GDP growth was negative in both the September and December quarters, meaning Australia has had its first per capita GDP recession since 2006.

In the December quarter, wages grew by 0.5%, matching the rate of inflation in that quarter. The Coalition already has a problem with well-educated voters owing to their perceived lack of climate change policies and the removal of Turnbull – see my personal website for where I thought Morrison could have problems. With good wages growth and a strong economy, the Coalition may have been able to compensate with less educated voters.




Read more:
Poll wrap: Newspoll steady at 53-47 despite boats, and Abbott and Dutton trailing in their seats


With neither a strong economy nor good wages growth, I believe the Coalition’s only realistic chance of re-election is a massive scare campaign against Labor’s economic policies, such as the proposal to abolish franking credit cash refunds.

Essential: 53-47 to Labor

This week’s Essential poll, conducted March 6-11 from a sample of 1,080, gave Labor a 53-47 lead, a one-point gain for Labor that validates Newspoll’s movement. Primary votes were 38% Labor (up one), 37% Coalition (down one), 8% Greens (down one) and 7% One Nation (up one). According to The Poll Bludger, this is the worst result for the Greens from any pollster since September 2016.

Morrison’s net approval was +2, down two points since January. Shorten’s net approval was -6, up six points. Morrison led Shorten by 44-31 as better PM (42-30 in January).

62% thought climate change is happening and is caused by human activity (down one since October). 51% thought Australia is not doing enough to address climate change (down two since December). By 52-48, voters thought the reopening of Christmas Island reflected genuine concern about boats arriving, rather than a political ploy; there was no undecided option in this question.

On issue questions, the Liberals led Labor by 19 points on border protection, 16 points on national security and 15 points on economic management. Labor was 18 points ahead on the important issue of safeguarding fair wages and conditions, and had 7-9 point leads on climate change, the environment, health, education and housing affordability.

NSW Newspoll: 50-50 tie, ReachTEL: 51-49 to Labor, plus seat polls

The New South Wales election will be held on March 23. A Newspoll, conducted March 8-11 from a sample of 1,003, had a 50-50 tie, unchanged since late January. A uComms/ReachTEL poll for The Sun-Herald, conducted March 7 from a sample of 1,019, gave Labor a 51-49 lead, unchanged since the last NSW ReachTEL poll in late November.

Primary votes in ReachTEL were 28.7% Liberals (down 3.4%), 7.0% Nationals (up 2.6%), 34.1% Labor (steady), 9.6% Greens (steady), 5.6% One Nation (down 1.9%), 4.6% Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (up 1.3%), 5.8% for all Others (steady) and 4.7% undecided (up 1.6%). After excluding undecided, The Poll Bludger has primary votes of 37.5% Coalition, 35.8% Labor, 10.1% Greens, 5.9% One Nation and 4.8% Shooters.

The drop for the Liberals but gain for the Nationals suggests that the Coalition could perform relatively badly in Sydney, but better in the country. According to the ABC’s Antony Green, the Shooters will be contesting 25 of the 93 lower house seats, and One Nation just 12, so both parties’ support will be overstated in this statewide poll.

In Newspoll, primary votes were 40% Coalition (up one), 36% Labor (steady) and 10% Greens (steady). In the January NSW Newspoll, One Nation had 6%, but they have been excluded from the current poll as they are not contesting many seats. The exclusion of One Nation probably assisted the Coalition.




Read more:
Poll wrap: Coalition gains in first Newspoll of 2019, but big swings to Labor in Victorian seats; NSW is tied


44% were satisfied with Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s performance in Newspoll (up three), and 38% were dissatisfied (down five), for a net approval of +6. Opposition Leader Michael Daley’s net approval improved seven points to -1. Berejiklian led Daley by 41-34 as better Premier (44-31 in January).

Daley led Berejiklian as better Premier in ReachTEL by 53.3-46.7 (54.2-45.8 in November). ReachTEL’s forced choice better PM/Premier questions are usually better for opposition leaders than other polls. Voters opposed the government’s plans for Sydney sports stadiums by 52-37. By 48-43, voters thought that Labor was not ready to govern.

There were two YouGov Galaxy seat polls for The Daily Telegraph conducted February 28. East Hills was tied at 50-50 (50.4-49.6 to Liberal in 2015). Ryde had a 53-47 Liberal lead (61.5-38.5 to Liberal in 2015). Last week, there was also a national Greenpeace ReachTEL poll that gave Labor a 53-47 lead by respondent preferences. You can read more about these polls on my personal website.

The Daily Telegraph has seat polls of Lismore and Barwon conducted last week from samples of 500-600 by YouGov Galaxy. In Barwon, the Nationals lead the Shooters by just 51-49; the Nationals won 62.9% vs Labor in 2015.

In Lismore, Labor leads the Nationals by 51-49 (50.2-49.8 to Nationals in 2015). Primary votes were 35% Nationals (42.5% in 2015), 28% Greens (26.4%) and 27% Labor (25.6%). Even though NSW uses optional preferential voting, primary votes changes suggest an easier win for one of the left parties than 51-49. Seat polls have been very unreliable at past elections.

Key Brexit Commons votes this week

From March 12-14, the UK House of Commons will vote on PM Theresa May’s Brexit deal, whether the UK should leave without a deal, on delaying Brexit beyond the scheduled March 29 exit date, and on an amendment that would lead to a second referednum. Votes will occur in the early morning March 13-15 Melbourne time.

You can read my preview of these votes on The Poll Bludger. On February 28, I had a more general article about Brexit published by The Poll Bludger, which explained Labour’s recent slump in the UK polls.The Conversation

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

ALP widens Newspoll lead to 54-46%, as Liberals choose conservative successor to Bishop



File 20190310 86703 1369l09.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
The latest Newspoll comes as the Liberals in Curtin on Sunday selected.
Celia Hammond as the candidate for Julie Bishop’s safe.
Western Australian seat.
University of Notre Dame

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

The ALP has increased its two-party lead to 54-46%, in the 50th consecutive Newspoll the Coalition had lost.

The worsening Coalition performance, from 47-53% in the last three Newspolls, comes after last week’s sluggish economic figures and amid more bickering on the conservative side of politics, including pot shots from former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and leadership instability in the Nationals.

The Coalition primary vote was one point down to 36%; the Labor vote was steady on 39%. One Nation was up 2 to 7% and the Greens remained on 9%. The poll was taken Thursday to Sunday.

The two-party swing is 4.4%; the government would be defeated with a loss of some 18 seats if the swing was on a uniform basis.

Scott Morrison continues to lead Bill Shorten as better prime minister in the poll, published in Monday’s Australian, but the gap has narrowed by 2 points to a margin of 43-36%.

In relative terms, there was little change in the leaders’ approval ratings.

Morrison had a 4 point boost in his net rating, with satisfaction in his performance rising a point to 43% and dissatisfaction falling 3 points to 45%.

Shorten had a one point increase in his satisfaction rating to 36%, and a 2 point fall in dissatisfaction to 51%.

The latest Newspoll comes as the Liberals in Curtin on Sunday selected Celia Hammond, 50, a conservative, as the candidate for the safe Western Australian seat, being vacated at the election by former foreign minister Julie Bishop.

The result is a rebuff to Bishop, who on Saturday had indicated she wanted a moderate to succeed her, saying “I find most electorates tend to elect someone who reflects their views, and so with Curtin it is
seen as a moderate electorate”.

Bishop had been known to favour foreign affairs expert Erin Watson-Lynn, although she had distanced herself from the contest. Bishop immediately tweeted her congratulations to Hammond.

The preselection of Hammond, former vice-chancellor of Notre Dame University, is a victory for Senate leader and WA Liberal power broker Mathias Cormann and other conservatives in the state party.

Hammond beat Anna Dartnell, a resources executive, 51-28 with the other three candidates receiving only one vote each.

A centre-right independent, Louise Stewart, described as a “multimillionaire businesswomen”, has announced she will run for Curtin. She said voters in the seat were unhappy at how the Liberals had treated Bishop.

A poll released on Sunday by The Australia Institute, a progressive think tank, which asked people which current and former ministers they had heard of, found Bishop the best known.

In the poll of more than 1500 people, 82% had heard of her, followed by 77% for Morrison, 73% for Barnaby Joyce, former Nationals leader, and 68% for Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.

Only 39% had heard of Treasurer Joish Frydenberg, while just 28% had heard of Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Michael McCormack.

McCormack’s leadership is currently under pressure, with Joyce attempting a comeback and some Nationals believing there should be a change even before the election.

One of the arguments being run against McCormack is that he is not cutting through to voters. Some Queensland Nationals are also agitated that the government has not announced financial support for a coal-fired power project.

McCormack stirred fresh controversy at the weekend when, attacking Labor’s 45% emissions reduction target, he said it would mean “forget night footy, forget night cricket, and you’ll have pensioners turning off their power because they won’t be able to afford it, and they will be shivering all winter, and they’ll be melting all summer”.

Linda Reynolds, recently promoted to cabinet, stumbled badly on Sunday in an interview on Sky when she rejected a quote about flexible wages, thinking it was from Shorten, only to embrace it when told it had been said by Cormann.

She was also confused on what the government’s policy was on underwriting coal-fired projects.

Meanwhile in the NSW election campaign, the state government is trying to minimise the degree to which the unpopularity of the federal government rubs off on it.

Morrison was present at the campaign launch of Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Sunday but was not a speaker. This contrasted with the launch of NSW Labor leader Michael Daley, also on Sunday, where Shorten gave an address.

Morrison said later: “It’s an all-state affair today, neither the former prime minister John Howard or I spoke”.The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Poll wrap: Newspoll steady at 53-47 despite boats, and Abbott and Dutton trailing in their seats



File 20190226 150712 e0grr4.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
A fierce battle over the medevac legislation has not affected the polls, which continue to show Labor with an election-winning lead.
AAP/Mick Tsikas

Adrian Beaumont, University of Melbourne

This week’s Newspoll, conducted February 21-24 from a sample of 1,590, gave Labor a 53-47 lead, unchanged on last fortnight. Primary votes were also unchanged, with Labor on 39%, the Coalition 37%, the Greens 9% and One Nation 5%.

This Newspoll contradicts last week’s Ipsos, which had the gap closing to just 51-49. The better news for the Coalition is that this is the third Newspoll in a row with Labor’s lead at 53-47; the last three Newspolls of 2018 all had a 55-45 Labor lead.

The Ipsos poll last week will be regarded as an outlier, but another explanation is that the Coalition undid its effective boats campaign with revelations of scandals regarding Helloworld.

I wrote last Friday that the September 11 terrorist attacks had far more impact on the 2001 election than the Tampa incident, implying that the new boats campaign is unlikely to damage Labor.




Read more:
2001 polls in review: September 11 influenced election outcome far more than Tampa incident


In the latest Newspoll, 42% were satisfied with Scott Morrison’s performance (down one), and 48% were dissatisfied (up three), for a net approval of -6. Bill Shorten’s net approval fell three points to -18, his worst since September. Morrison’s better PM lead was unchanged at 44-35.

The electorate was more polarised on best leader to handle issue questions, and this assisted Morrison. Morrison led Shorten by 52-34 on the economy (48-33 last fortnight). He led by 50-28 on national security (47-27 in October). He led by 51-31 on asylum seekers (47-29 in October).

Newspoll used to ask for party best able to handle issues, rather than leader, but have not done so for a long time. I believe Labor would be more competitive on these issues than Shorten, as Morrison’s incumbency advantage would have less impact on such a question. The issues asked about are also strong for the Coalition. Shorten would do better on the environment, health and education.

I wrote last fortnight that the Coalition’s better polling this year is probably due to a greater distance from the events of last August and the relative popularity of Morrison. While Morrison’s ratings slipped this week, his net approval is still in the negative single digits rather than double digits. The difficulty for Morrison is that his party’s policies are generally disliked.




Read more:
Poll wrap: Labor maintains Newspoll lead but Morrison’s ratings up, and Abbott behind in Warringah


In economic data news, the ABS reported on February 20 that wages grew 0.5% in the December quarter. Inflation in that quarter was also 0.5%, so there was no real wage growth. In the full year 2018, wages grew 2.3% and inflation 1.8%, so real wages improved 0.5%. I believe the continued slow wage growth will be of crucial importance at the election, and is likely to assist Labor.

In better economic news for the government, the ABS reported on February 21 that more than 39,000 jobs were added in January, with the unemployment rate steady at 5.0%. While other data has suggested a weakening economy, the jobs figures remain strong. Economists say the jobs figures are a lagging indicator of economic performance.

Essential: 52-48 to Labor

This week’s Essential poll, conducted February 20-25 from a sample of 1,085, gave Labor a 52-48 lead, a three-point gain for the Coalition since last fortnight. Primary votes were 38% Coalition (up four), 37% Labor (down one), 9% Greens (down one) and 6% One Nation (down one).

Labor’s two party vote in the four Essential polls this year has been 53-52-55-52, strongly implying that last fortnight’s 55-45 poll was an outlier. Since Morrison became PM, Essential has tended to be worse for Labor than Newspoll.

On the medevac bill, 38% thought it struck a balance between strong borders and humane treatment of asylum seekers, 30% thought it would weaken Australia’s borders, and 15% thought it did not go far enough towards humane treatment. 27% said this bill would have a strong influence on their vote, including 57% of those who said it would weaken our borders.

On tax policy, 53% supported closing tax concessions and loopholes, and inserting the money into schools, hospitals, etc, while 27% supported cutting corporate taxes and maintaining concessions for investors and retirees.

By double digit margins, Labor was regarded as having the better tax policy for first-time home buyers, pensioners and workers earning under $150,000 per year. By even wider margins, the Coalition was regarded as having better tax policies for those earning over $150,000 per year, self-funded retirees and property investors.

Seat polls of Dickson, Warringah and Flinders

The Guardian has reported GetUp ReachTEL seat polls of the NSW seat of Warringah and the Queensland seat of Dickson, both conducted February 21. In Warringah, Tony Abbott trailed independent Zali Steggall 57-43, a three-point gain for Steggall since last fortnight. In Dickson, incumbent Peter Dutton trailed Labor’s Ali France 52-48. After a redistribution, Dutton holds Dickson by a 52.0-48.0 margin.

In the Victorian seat of Flinders, a GetUp ReachTEL poll, conducted February 13 from a sample of 622, gave Labor a 52-48 lead over incumbent Liberal Greg Hunt, a one-point gain for Labor since a January ReachTEL. Primary votes were 40.7% Hunt, 31.1% Labor, 17.0% for independent Julia Banks and 5.8% Greens. A Banks vs Hunt two candidate result was also provided, with Banks leading 56-44, but on primary votes Labor is a clear second.

As analyst Kevin Bonham has written, seat polls are often reported without important details like primary votes, fieldwork dates or sample size. It would be good if the commissioning source released full details of all seat polls. Seat polls have been very unreliable at previous elections.The Conversation

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

ALP retains 53-47% lead in Newspoll despite government scare campaign on boats



File 20190224 195867 1l7c0op.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
The poll comes as preselectors in Higgins on Sunday chose a woman,
Katie Allen, to replace retiring cabinet minister Kelly O’Dwyer as.
Liberal candidate.
Supplied/Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

Labor has maintained its 53-47% two-party lead lead over the Coalition in a Newspoll that comes after the government campaigned ferociously against the opposition over its support for the medical transfer legislation.

A week ago, Ipsos recorded a tightening in its poll to reduce Labor’s lead to 51-49%, but MPs on both sides were hanging out for the Newspoll, which they regard as the more authoritative.




Read more:
Labor’s lead cut to 51-49% in latest Ipsos poll


Published in Monday’s Australian, the poll is status quo in virtually all the measures. The Coalition primary vote remains on 37%; Labor is static on 39%. The Greens are steady on 9%; One Nation remains on 5%.

Scott Morrison maintains a 44-35% lead over Bill Shorten as better prime minister.

Both leaders had parallel negative changes in their approval and
disapproval ratings. Morrison’s satisfaction level was down a point to 42%; Shorten’s rating fell a point also, to 35%.

Dissatisfaction with Morrison was up 3 points to 48%; dissatisfaction with Shorten rose 2 points to 53%.

The Newspoll result, which will calm some jangled nerves in the opposition, suggests the boats issue is not as potent as many – including some in Labor – had believed, at least in the absence of new boats arriving. Also, last week the government’s attacks on the opposition were undermined by own goals in the Helloworld affair.




Read more:
View from The Hill: Minister who watches the nation’s credit card overlooks his own


The poll comes as preselectors in Higgins on Sunday chose a woman, Katie Allen, to replace retiring cabinet minister Kelly O’Dwyer as Liberal candidate. She beat former state party vice-president Greg Hannan after other candidates were eliminated.

Allen, a paediatrician, ran unsuccessfully for the seat of Prahran at November’s Victorian election.

In Western Australia, former army officer Vince Connelly, who now works for Woodside, at the weekend defeated four women to win the Liberal preselection for Stirling, where minister Michael Keenan is leaving at the election.

The WA Liberal division has set the wheels in motion for the
preselection in the blue ribbon seat of Curtin. Preselectors will be under pressure to choose a female candidate to replace former foreign minister Julie Bishop, who last week announced she would not run for another parliamentary term.




Read more:
Julie Bishop to quit parliament at the election


Meanwhile controversy is surrounding Liberal candidate Georgina Downer in the seat of Mayo, which is held by the Centre Alliance’s Rebekha Sharkie.

Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus has written to the
Auditor-General asking for an investigation, following a photo showing Downer presenting a “cheque” to the Yankalilla Bowling Club for $127,373.

This was a government grant under the Community Sport Infrastructure Program.

“The cheque purports to be issued by Ms Downer and the Liberal Party and bears Ms Downer’s image and Liberal Party branding,” Dreyfus wrote.

“Further, I understand Ms Downer ‘announced’ the grant to the
Yankalilla Bowling Club before the elected local member of parliament, Ms Rebekha Sharkie, had even been advised that the grant application was successful.

“It is questionable whether this is compliant with Community Sport Infrastructure Program Guidelines, particularly given the Yankalilla Bowling Club’s successful application under the Program was sponsored by Ms Sharkie and relied on a letter of support from her.

“It is completely inappropriate and unacceptable for Ms Downer and the Liberal Party to treat taxpayers’ money as if it were their own, and to deceive Australians about the true source of this taxpayer-funded grant.

“I ask that you please investigate the conduct of the Liberal Party, Ms Downer, relevant government ministers including the Minister for Regional Services, Sport, Local Government and Decentralisation, Senator Bridget McKenzie, and relevant Departments,” Dreyfus wrote.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham defended Downer, telling Sky this was a “novelty cheque” and “that type of self-promotional activity is what members and candidates do right across the country all the time to help raise awareness of the fact that they’re working and fighting for their local communities”.

Downer is also under fire for having used former long-time Liberal apparatchik, Jim Bonner, in a campaign video against Labor’s franking credits policy without any mention of his Liberal connection. Bonner, 72, is identified only as a retiree.

On the policy front, Labor is seeking to keep attention on the banking issue. It will announce on Monday that it would devote $640 million to a “banking fairness fund” to give “bank victims a fairer chance to fight for their rights”.

“The fund will raise $160 million per year from Australia’s biggest banks to revolutionise the services available to Australians in financial difficulty – a key recommendation from the royal commission,” Labor says in a statement.

A Shorten government would double the number of financial counsellors to 1000 nationwide, with $320 million from the fund over the next four years.

“Financial counsellors provide invaluable assistance, free of charge, to Australians who find themselves in disputes with their banks and other financial service providers.”

The extra counsellors would help an additional 125,000 people
annually, including with the pursuit of fair compensation through the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

Last week the opposition unveiled a more generous compensation scheme than that of the government for victims of wrongdoing in the financial sector, with payouts up to $2 million.

With the election looming in May, Bill Shorten has written to the Prime Minister to say the opposition will now begin to exercise its right to seek access to bureaucrats for briefings under the official guidelines for pre-election consultation.

“Under the guidelines the Leader of the Opposition and shadow
ministers are entitled to seek briefings with the public service in the period beginning three months from the expiry of the parliament, or the announcement of the election, whichever is sooner,” Shorten says in his letter.

“We have now passed the three month deadline from the effective expiry of the Parliament”.The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Poll wrap: Labor maintains Newspoll lead but Morrison’s ratings up, and Abbott behind in Warringah


File 20190211 174890 j1yv7p.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
While Scott Morrison remains preferred PM, Labor maintains an election-winning two-party preferred lead in the latest Newspoll.
AAP/Ellen Smith

Adrian Beaumont, University of Melbourne

This week’s Newspoll, conducted February 7-10 from a sample of 1,570, gave Labor a 53-47 lead, unchanged from last fortnight. Primary votes were 39% Labor (up one), 37% Coalition (steady), 9% Greens (steady) and 5% One Nation (down one) – One Nation’s lowest Newspoll vote since February 2018.

43% were satisfied with Scott Morrison (up three), and 45% were dissatisfied (down two), for a net approval of -2, up five points. Bill Shorten’s net approval was down two points to -15. Morrison led Shorten by 44-35 as better PM (43-36 last fortnight).

There has been much debate in the last fortnight about Labor’s proposal to abolish franking credit cash refunds. Voters were opposed by 44-35, but this is down from 48-30 opposition in December. Opposition was strongest among those aged over 65 (59-28 opposed).




Read more:
Words that matter. What’s a franking credit? What’s dividend imputation? And what’s ‘retiree tax’?


Voters supported reducing investor tax breaks, such as negative gearing and capital gains tax deductions, by a 51-32 margin (47-33 in November).

It has been over five months since Morrison replaced Malcolm Turnbull as PM in late August 2018. In nine Newspolls, his net approval has been in the single digits, positive or negative.

The last three Newspolls of 2018 were all 55-45 to Labor, while the first two of 2019 have been 53-47. I believe the Coalition has been assisted by Morrison’s relative popularity and a greater distance from the events of last August.

In Turnbull’s last four Newspolls as PM, the Coalition trailed by just 51-49, but Turnbull’s ratings were weaker than Morrison’s, with a peak net approval of -6. However, Turnbull’s ratings would have been better if not for the hard right’s hatred of him; it is plausible that 10% of the electorate disliked him from the right. Morrison has no problem with his right flank.

The Coalition is perceived as too close to big business (see Essential below), and Greg Jericho wrote in The Guardian that the latest data are not good for the Australian economy. A key question is whether Morrison’s ratings eventually fall due to the unpopularity of most Coalition policies. Economic credibility is likely to be important if the economy slows.

Essential poll: 52-48 to Labor

Last week’s Essential poll, conducted January 23-31 from a sample of 1,650, gave Labor a 52-48 lead, a one-point gain for the Coalition since Essential’s mid-January poll. Primary votes were 38% Coalition (steady), 36% Labor (down two), 10% Greens (steady) and 7% One Nation (steady).

The fieldwork period and the sample size were both larger than usual for Essential – normally Essential is conducted over four days with a sample a bit over 1,000.

By 47-41, voters agreed that one of the reasons why there are relatively few female MPs is that women choose not to get involved with politics. By 46-39, they disagreed with the proposition that voters preferred to elect men, rather than women. By 72-20, they disagreed with women being less capable politicians. Gender quotas were supported 46-40, but Coalition voters were opposed 50-37.

37% supported a separate national day to recognise Indigenous Australians alongside Australia Day, 15% thought Australia Day should be replaced, and 40% did not support a separate day.

At least 50% thought that private health insurance companies, big banks, mining companies and big business wanted the Coalition to win the next election. Labor had a lead on this question with pensioners and people with a disability, and at least 50% with families with young children and the unemployed.

Seat polls of Warringah, Stirling and Pearce

A ReachTEL poll of the NSW seat of Warringah for GetUp, from a sample of 622, gave independent Zali Steggall a 54-46 lead over incumbent Tony Abbott. Primary votes and fieldwork dates were not included in the media report. In 2016, Abbott won Warringah by 61.6-38.4 against the Greens, and 61.1-38.9 against Labor.

60% thought Abbott’s performance as a local member poor, and 60% said they were more likely to vote for a candidate who would tackle climate change – 78% among those who had defected from Abbott.

A Labor internal poll of the WA seat of Stirling, conducted after Michael Keenan announced his retirement from a sample of 950, gave Labor a 1.5% lead after preferences. In 2016, Keenan won Stirling by a 6.1% margin. Labor and the Liberals were tied at 36% each on primary votes with 6.8% undecided.

A GetUp ReachTEL poll of the WA seat of Pearce, conducted January 16 from a sample of 674, gave the Liberals a 52-48 lead over Labor (53.6-46.4 at the 2016 election).

Seat polls are very unreliable, but Stirling and Warringah are inner metropolitan seats, while Pearce is outer metropolitan. I believe the Coalition will struggle most in better-educated inner metropolitan seats.

The three seat polls were commissioned by left-aligned groups. However, ReachTEL asks for voting intentions first. Media-commissioned polls are superior to polls from political interest groups, but seat polls are unreliable in any case.

SA byelections and NSW pill testing Newspoll

Byelections occurred on Saturday in the South Australian state seats of Cheltenham and Enfield, following the resignations of Labor’s Jay Weatherill and John Rau respectively. Labor retained both seats easily, with primary vote swings to Labor of 6.6% in both Cheltenham and Enfield since the March 2018 election. The Liberals did not contest either seat.

In an additional question conducted with last fortnight’s NSW Newspoll that had a 50-50 tie, voters were in favour of the NSW government providing a pill testing service at music festivals by a 56-35 margin. Over 70% of Labor and Greens voters supported pill testing, while Coalition voters were narrowly opposed 49-45.




Read more:
Poll wrap: Coalition gains in first Newspoll of 2019, but big swings to Labor in Victorian seats; NSW is tied


US government shutdown aftermath

On January 25, the US government shutdown ended when President Donald Trump accepted a bill that would reopen the government until February 15 without funding for the southern border wall he had demanded. The 35-day shutdown was the longest, beating the previous record of 21 days from 1995-96. Trump has suggested declaring a national emergency if Congress cannot agree to fund the wall by February 15.

In the FiveThirtyEight poll aggregate, Trump’s ratings fell to 39.3% approve, 56.0% disapprove on January 26. Since then, his ratings have recovered to 40.2% approve, 55.1% disapprove. However, Trump’s ratings among Republicans are well over 80% approve.




Read more:
Record US government shutdown harms Trump’s ratings, plus Brexit chaos and Australian Essential poll


A second shutdown could occur after talks between Democratic and Republican members of Congress broke down. To avert a shutdown, new funding must be passed by Friday (Saturday Melbourne time).

Given strong opposition to Trump in the polls, he needs the US economy to stay strong to have a reasonable chance of re-election in 2020. Despite the January shutdown, the economy added 304,000 jobs in that month.The Conversation

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Labor leads 53-47% in Newspoll as Shorten struggles with medical transfer bill


Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

The government goes into the resumption of parliament this week
trailing Labor 47-53% on the two-party vote in Newspoll, unchanged
from a fortnight ago.

The poll comes as Labor’s stand on the legislation to facilitate
medical evacuations hangs in the balance, with Bill Shorten having
indicated he would like to find a compromise and speculation about a Labor retreat from its earlier support.

Shorten receives a briefing on the implications of the bill from the secretary of the Home Affairs Department, Mike Pezzullo on Monday. Shadow cabinet and caucus will discuss Labor’s position.

The opposition has been under concerted attack from the government
over its backing for the legislation, which passed the Senate last
year with ALP support.

Shorten is worried about Labor being wedged, because border protection is always a politically vulnerable area for the ALP.

Scott Morrison says the government will not shift from outright
opposition to the bill, which is based on a proposal originally coming from independent Kerryn Phelps but subsequently refined.

Newspoll, published in The Australian, has Labor’s primary vote up a point to 39%; the Coalition’s vote remains on 37%. The Greens are on 9%; One Nation is polling 5%, down a point.

Morrison has increased his lead over Shorten as better prime minister by 2 points to 44-35%.

Morrison’s satisfaction rating is up 3 points to 43%; his
dissatisfaction rating has fallen 2 points to 45%. Shorten has a net approval rating of minus 15, a worsening by 2 points.

The tactical battle over the medical transfer amendments will dominate the run up to Tuesday’s first day of the sitting. On another front, the opposition is trying to muster the numbers for extra sitting days to consider measures from the banking royal commission.

In comments on the medical transfer bill Opposition spokesman Shayne Neumann said on Sunday: “Labor has always had two clear objectives – making sure sick people can get medical care, and making sure the minister has final discretion over medical transfers.”

The bill provides that where there a dispute between the two doctors recommending a transfer and the minister, the final say on medical grounds would be in the hands of a medical panel.

The minister could override medical decisions only on security grounds (“security” is as defined in the ASIO act).

Passage of the legislation, which would require support from Labor and all but one of the crossbench, would be a big rebuff for the
Coalition.

But the government has managed to turn the heat onto Labor, claiming the legislation would undermine Australia’s border protection.

The briefing Shorten will receive will put more pressure on the
opposition, because Home Affairs will presumably reinforce the
argument it advanced in advice to the government.

The government has now declassified this advice – which last week it provided more informally to The Australian.

The advice, which has some sections blacked out, says: “The
effect of the Bill will undermine the Australian Government’s regional processing arrangements.

“Conduct which would come within the security exception to transfer
based on the minister’s reasonable belief that the transfer would be prejudicial to security, does not include all criminal conduct”.

“Ultimately, the amendments provide that the approximate 1000
transferees currently located in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Nauru
could have access to a transfer to Australia within weeks of any Royal Assent,” the advice says.

“It is not expected that the Minister’s ability to refuse transfer on security grounds will significantly reduce the number of potential transfers”.

Neumann said on Sunday: “Labor has great respect for our national
security agencies and we’ve always worked cooperatively with them.”The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.