POLLWATCH 2013 – Issue #6

29 March, 2013

The trashing of the Labor brand is inexorable…South Australia is the latest State to turn on Labor. And in the first poll taken there by the Advertiser newspaper on 14 March after the Liberals in SA switched leaders so that a bright, mild-mannered but nonetheless hard-hitting Steven Marshall could succeed the very unlucky but hapless Isobel Redmond, this poll saw the Libs score an impressive 59%:41% 2PP result.


It seemed to take forever for the final results in Western Australia – in the Upper House there – to be posted.

NSW machinationist, Glenn Druery, got heavily involved on behalf of the Shooters and Fishers Party and amazed the locals with a winning electoral strategy that got 2 of that party’s candidates elected: Rick Mazza in the Agriculture Region and John Parkes in the Mining & Pastoral Region. Now there are 6 Regions returning 6 each MLCs to the WA Legislative Council and it was here that the Greens lost 2 of their MLCs – down from 4; and Labor lost 1 of their 2 MLCs in the Mining & Pastoral Region with a loss in its Primary vote of a staggering 35%!

In the biggest non-event in Australian political history, the PM called for a Leadership spill on 21 March that produced no contender/challenger and so much bloodletting as to weaken her already-shaky hold on the top job in Federal parliament. The Galaxy poll which was taken immediately afterwards and published on 24 March dealt with the collapse of the PMs authority in the body politic…87% of LNP registered voters, as expected, said “YES – the Office of PM has been damaged by Labor’s leadership instability” while 56%of registered Labor voters tellingly answered in the affirmative.

Former Labor powerbroker, Graham Richardson (‘Richo’ to most in the Commentariat), in The Australian of 28 March summed up Labor’s worst-ever week – in terms of instabilidy and dysfunction – as “the most spectacular self-immolation I have witnessed in 40 years of close study of the Federal Labor caucus”. Daily Telegraph columnist, Tim Blair, gave us that newly-coined word: ‘stabilidy’, by the way! Certainly, a few highly-placed ministerial Labor MHR careers were tarnished in the whole episode with Simon Crean not only being thoroughly humiliated but destroyed.

Another player in The Big Game whose trustworthiness will forever after be questioned is Anthony Albanese who got ‘loaded up’ for his treachery. One imagines he’ll be so busy until election day with the extra ministerial portfolio responsibilities the PM has ‘awarded’ him that he won’t have a sex life – except on those occasions late at night on the way home from wherever he’s been when he stops off at the downtown Marrickville brothel he’s been pinged for having a financial interest in.

Not surprisingly, Labor’s Primary vote is stuck solid on 32% in this 24 March Galaxy poll. This 32% can be counted on because approximately that percentage of voters, countrywide, vote Labor regardless. What’s astonishing is that the National General Secretary of the Federal Labor Party, George Wright, informed the National Executive at their monthly meeting during the week 18-23 March that he was planning its Federal election campaign on that premise: that the party will ONLY win 32% of the Primary vote at Federal election 2013 which means that winning is NOT Labor’s priority and, moreover, that he expects the party to lose the coming federal election – and lose badly – by historic proportions! Galaxy’s poll married exactly with the Nielsen poll of 18 March…a 56%:44% 2PP trade-off between the LNP Coalition and Labor. However, it got worse again with the 26 March Newspoll…a handy 58%:42% 2PP trade-off.

The PM would have got ‘cold comfort’ from the sidelines commentary that would be reported to her by one of the scores of spin doctors in her Press Office: a wag posting a comment on Michael Smith’s blog about her ‘consistent (bad) form’: 27 unfavourable opinion polls (‘wins’) in a row for her party – just slightly more consistent form than Black Caviar – the famous Australian racehorse who has had 24 consecutive wins!

Geoff Davies, in his 3-part essay on ‘The Rise of the Radical Right’ (published 28 February) made a most astute claim in the last section of a paper that otherwise was what could be expected of a left-wing academic writing about the ascendancy of Conservatives and Conservatism and how, boo-hoo, the Right now seemed to have ALL the policy sway. Davies, I think, was accurate though with this summary: “There [has been] a steady rise in cynicism about politics and disengagement from the political process. This shows up in a rise in votes for minor parties and independents and in people voting informally or not voting at ALL. In the 2010 [Federal] election, 12.4% of the enrolled electorate refused to give a [first] preference to the major parties. Instead, they voted informal (5.6%) or did not vote (6.8%). These are dramatic figures in a country where voting is compulsory and preferential. A further 11.8% gave their first preference to the Greens and 6.6% to independents and others”.

Multi-Party Democracy will be given a substantial fillip in the coming/next Federal election it may be predicted.

A doubling is ‘on the cards’ to 12% of the overall vote to be shared by Minor Parties in the State Senate contests.

In a previous PollWatch bulletin I alluded to the significance of the Bass by-election result of 1975 which heralded the end for the Gough Whitlam Labor govt of the day. But, with the approach of the nominal 14 September, 2013 Federal election, it would appear as though the Canberra by-election of 1995 – which put the skids under the Paul Keating Labor govt – is more of a true guide to the seemingly inevitable result later this year. However, on looking at the figures in the ‘Toy Town’ ACT general election of 20 October last (2012) there is, in public service-orientated Canberra, a more perfect guide: The Liberals there and then enjoyed a 7.3% overall swing in Primary votes terms plus a 2 Seat gain in the 17-Seat Assembly whereas the Greens lost 2 Seats and 4.9% of their Primary Vote since the 2008 Territory election. A 7.3% swing in Primary votes back then (just last October) – when Labor was a little less ‘on the nose’ – the Liberals will take ANY day of the Week.


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