Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Newspoll shows Tony Abbott rising as Labor, Coalition share spoils

TONY Abbott and the Coalition are clawing back support in South Australia, Western Australia and NSW but Bill Shorten and Labor are making strong gains in Queensland and dominate in Victoria.

Men and voters aged over 50 are clear backers of the Prime Minister, while the Opposition Leader’s strongest support comes from women and voters aged under 35, according to an analysis of Newspolls conducted in the September quarter exclusively for The Australian.

After being savagely marked down in the June quarter on the back of the poorly received budget, Mr Abbott’s personal standing has improved in the September quarter in every state except Queensland and across every age group, among men and women, as well as city and country voters.

Newspoll state by state

Mr Shorten’s biggest gains have been in Queensland where Labor is now in front in two-party- preferred terms for the first time since March 2010.

The quarterly demographic analysis of Newspoll, based on a sample of 6900 voters taken from July to September, shows the ­Coalition has a higher primary vote than the opposition in every state except Victoria, but preference flows based on the 2013 election give Labor a two-party-preferred lead in every state except Western Australia.

The biggest change in the quarter was in South Australia where support for Labor tumbled six percentage points to 33 per cent. Half those votes went to the Coalition, taking its primary vote to 38 per cent while the rest appear to be parked with independents and others, which now have a 20 per cent share of the vote — the highest for any state and ­almost double the election result.

The next biggest move in the quarter was Labor’s surge in Queensland, where it jumped four points to 35 per cent. While the Coalition, on 38 per cent still leads, the 16-point margin on primary vote it had at the election has withered to three points.

Western Australia is easily the Coalition’s strongest state with a primary vote of 43 per cent, up three points after a sharp fall in the June quarter. Labor’s primary vote is 27 per cent, down one point. Western Australia has also been cemented as the Greens’ best state with support of 16 per cent.

As Victoria heads for a state election next month, it is the ­Coalition’s worst state federally with a primary vote stuck at 35 per cent despite Mr Abbott’s claim last year that Melbourne was his “second home”.

Mr Shorten’s home state is the only state where Labor’s primary vote reaches 40 per cent. Only on one other occasion in the past four years has the ALP had a primary vote in any state of 40 per cent (Victoria, December 2012).

The Coalition is back in front in Mr Abbott’s home state of NSW with support up two points to 40 per cent as Labor lost three points to 35 per cent.

In two-party terms, Labor has lost ground in Western Australia where the Coalition now leads by 54 to 46 per cent but the opposition is ahead in every other state, including Queensland for the first time since March 2010 where it leads by 51 to 49 per cent.

In Victoria, Labor has a crushing margin of 58 to 42 per cent, virtually unchanged this year.

In other states, the Coalition is gaining ground. Labor’s big lead in South Australia of 55-45 per cent in the June quarter is now 51-49 and in NSW it has narrowed from 54-46 to 52-48. While the June quarter was dominated by a backlash against the budget, in the September quarter the focus shifted to Mr Abbott’s strong response to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, tougher terror laws and raids in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and military involvement in aid and weapons drops in Iraq.

NSW and South Australia are the states where Mr Abbott posted the biggest improvement in his satisfaction ratings (up five points in both) while NSW and Western Australia recorded the best overall ranking for the Prime Minister with a net satisfaction rating of minus 14 points and minus 15 points respectively.

Victoria is the worst state for Mr Abbott on this measure at minus 26 points, although it has improved by five points. Among women, Mr Abbott has a net satisfaction rating of minus 24 points and with men it is minus 15.

Mr Shorten generally has similar satisfaction levels as Mr Abbott but his dissatisfaction ratings are much lower which gives him a more favourable net satisfaction score. His worst state is NSW where his rating is minus seven points while in South Australia he has a balance of zero.

During the June quarter, Mr Shorten publicly identified himself as the senior Labor figure who had been the subject of a Victoria Police investigation into an ­alleged rape in 1986. Police said they would not be proceeding with criminal charges and there was no reasonable prospect of conviction.

The Opposition Leader said the allegations were “untrue and abhorrent” and there was no basis for the claim, which was deeply distressing for his family.

Mr Shorten’s net satisfaction rating among women improved in the quarter from minus four to minus two points; among men it changed from minus eight to minus 10. Men strongly back the Coalition, with support of 41 per cent to 34 per cent for Labor but the ALP is narrowly ahead among women by 37 to 36 per cent.

On the measure of better prime minister, women prefer Mr Shorten by 40 to 35 per cent while men favour Mr Abbott by 43 to 37 per cent. Mr Abbott has regained the mantle as better prime minister in NSW by two points after he was behind by four in the previous quarter. In Western Australia he leads Mr Shorten by nine points.

In South Australia, Mr Abbott has closed Mr Shorten’s previous eight-point lead to be tied and the two men are tied in Queensland, where Mr Abbott had a 21-point lead at the start of the year. Victoria continues to prefer Mr Shorten.


Reform’s a dirty word for today’s Labor Party

IN 1992 Robert Manne edited a book called Shutdown that floated the idea that the government should build a video recorder factory to compete with the Japanese.

Shutdown attacked the policies of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating, the “radical free-market economics” Manne believed was driving Australia to permanent recession.

Manne later admitted that he didn’t know what he was talking about, telling the ABC’s Terry Lane in 2005: “I have never studied economics formally and found pretty quickly when I began to argue about economic rationalism or neoliberalism, I found myself out of my depth.”

Socially aware public intellectuals have always been inclined to imagine the discipline of economics is beneath them. For great arch­itects of a just and fair society it’s the shape of the building that matters, not the efficiency of the plumbing. At best, they consider economic arguments a mere accoutrement to the public policy debate. At worst they think of economics as a pernicious ideology.

Disturbingly, a fresh outbreak of economic irrationalism is afflicting the upper echelons of Labor. The Hawke-Keating reforms are being treated with disdain. Today’s federal Labor leaders have nothing to learn, apparently, from the party’s longest and most successful spell in office.

“If we really believe we are just Bob and Paul’s dumb-arse step-kids, we should pack up and go home,” Michael Cooney told a gathering in London recently.

Cooney, a former speech writer who heads Labor’s Chifley Research Centre think tank, believes that Hawke and Keating’s work is done. Micro-economics is old hat, if indeed it were ever needed at all. “We have to reject any attempt to ‘do reform again’,” claimed Cooney, “and instead we must approach the conditions of our day as if they are new — because they are new. The politics of progressive change isn’t like using shampoo — you don’t close your eyes, rinse and repeat — no, you open your eyes and confront genuinely new ­challenges.”

Yet Cooney’s genuinely new challenges — “the clean energy revolution … an Asian century … two retired generations … an end to Australia’s mining boom” — hardly require novel solutions. The structural economic reforms that Cooney appears to despise, such as deregulation, labour market efficiency, competition policy and disciplined government spending, would be a good way to tackle all four of them.

Yet Labor’s conceit that it is the party of fairness means it has little patience for that kind of talk. The micro-economic reforms of the 1980s and 90s have lost their potency, former Rudd and Gillard adviser Tom Bentley says.

“The constant assumption of policy and media discussion is that, somehow, the next ‘wave of productivity’ will come from rehashing a mix of trade liberalisation, domestic competition, and cutting back regulation,” he wrote recently in The Guardian. “Lightning rarely strikes twice in the same place.”

The idea that structural reform has had its day is a point of view, but not one likely to be endorsed by the editorial writers of this newspaper. Call them old-fashioned if you like, but they remain stubbornly attached to the idea that a nation can redistribute the only wealth it earns.

Cooney urges Labor’s neo-Whitlamists to ignore The Australian’s advice. “First, we put that bloody newspaper down and think for ourselves,” he told the London audience.

“If that front page is screaming at us that we are saying the wrong thing — and even more so if that op-ed page is screaming at us — I genuinely believe we must conclude we are making progress, not making a mistake.”

Cooney’s point is that fiscal discipline and micro-economic reform are Liberal ideas that Labor should reject. As for that ideologue Paul Kelly, Cooney says in another article, “Paul Kelly is wrong. And that matters.”

The Kelly-bashing continues in the latest edition of The Monthly, where Manne takes umbrage at Kelly’s Triumph and Demise and its less-than-complimentary assess­ment of Labor’s two most recent prime ministers.

“In Kelly’s world,” writes Manne, “the very concept of reform has been so narrowed that it includes nothing other than measures to improve economic growth and productivity.”

Kelly, says Manne, “is blithely unconcerned about inequality” and, what’s more, is showing dangerous sceptical tendencies.

“On dozens of occasions Kelly spices his narrative with irrational pronouncements from the songbook of climate-change denialism. He thinks that the warnings of the scientists are ‘alarmist’; that the problem of climate change is self-evidently not ‘a moral issue’; that climate change has become a Labor ‘faith’; that imagined catastrophes in the future provide ‘a poor basis for policy action now’; that only a political ‘mug’ would call upon people to make a ‘sacrifice’ for future generations; and, flatly, that ‘climate change was the priority for neither Australia nor the world at this point’.”

Manne may not know much about economics, but he reckons he knows his climate science. Kelly’s analysis, he writes, is “arrogant and foolish” and reveals “a profound ignorance of the work of climate scientists and its implications”. Readers familiar with Manne’s voodoo logic will know by now where the professor is heading: to the grassy knoll and the book depository, where shadowy figures lurk with loaded guns.

“The most obvious flaw in Triumph and Demise,” says Manne, “is Kelly’s justification of News Corp’s war on both Rudd and Gillard, and his astonishingly dishonest pretence that it was not a principal cause of Labor’s prolonged crisis.” Scarily, we find ourselves back in 1975, with Labor’s true believers imagining that it was not administrative chaos and economic incompetence that brought down a government but a fiendish Murdoch plot.

This time, however, there is no Bill Hayden to pick up the pieces and pull Labor back from the brink. There is no former Queensland policeman to restore economic law and order and lay the ground for the election of a reforming, centrist government less than eight years later.

Instead there’s Bill Shorten and his Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen, who understand the structural challenges well enough. Whether they have the authority to prevail over the forces of irrationality is a different matter.


Jacqui Lambie’s calls for a burqa ban
Pauline Hanson

I’M offended by the burqa, and opposed to even the niqab.  People wearing full face coverings, including women, are known to have hidden bombs underneath them which they’ve detonated in acts of terror, in various places around the world such as Chechnya. It happens. And the fact is, Muslim garments create fear.

I know not every Muslim is a terrorist but, to the best of my knowledge; every terrorist attack has been by Muslims.

Jacqui Lambie has made some good points and I’m grateful to her for raising these issues because they’re on the minds of a lot of Australians.

We’ve got politicians who know this but who haven’t got the guts to speak out because they have Muslim constituents whose votes they fear losing.

I agree with Ms Lambie that no one should wear full face coverings in our parliament, banks or in any public place due for security reasons and that’s the general feeling among most Australians.

I can’t walk into a bank or government building with my helmet on without being stopped and told to show my face, which is fair enough. The same should apply to women wearing the burqa.

Sometimes I feel sorry for these women who have been forced to wear it. I reckon many Muslim women would love to break out of the burqa. But each to their own and if they want to wear it in their own home, that’s fine, but not in our shopping centres.

I like to see a person’s face and know who they are. How do I know it’s not a man under there?

Wearing such garments is not the Australian way of life. Those who chose to live here should accept our culture and not try to change it from the country I grew up in.

A lot of migrants come here to enjoy the Australian way of life and don’t want to see this country changed.

When I went to the Vatican City I had to abide by their religious customs and dress conservatively. I expect the same of those who come here.

I’m not having a go at their religion but everyone must be treated equally in this country.

If our law states you cannot have full face coverings, no one — including Muslim women — should be able to cover their face.

We’re asked to be tolerant so it makes me mad that these people are not tolerant of our beliefs and our culture.

I’ve always disagreed with multiculturalism and I was called racist because that was the only way to discredit me. But I stood by my beliefs and a lot of what I predicted has actually happened so I’ve been vindicated.

Muslims are not a race so I’m sick of hearing that it’s racist.

This is Australia. If Muslims aren’t happy with our customs, they should find an Islamic country that accommodates their lifestyle choices and move there.

We need a voice on the floor of parliament and Ms Lambie is raising the issue and creating the debate we need.

‘You have beautiful faces and it would be nice to be able to see them,’ Lambie told Musli
‘You have beautiful faces and it would be nice to be able to see them,’ Lambie told Muslim woman Maha Abdo on Sunrise this week.
If the Australian Government cares about this but isn’t willing to take a stand it should put the issue to a plebiscite because Australians should be given a say on the future of their country.

If the situation is so serious that we’re sending troops to Iraq, then it’s serious enough to take a strong stance on this issue.

I want to see Tony Abbott step up and let the majority choose what they want.


Kill Australia's Kyoto Liabilities

The Kyoto Protocol was dreamed up by the Climate Jet-set in Kyoto, Japan in 1997.

One of the first decisions of born-again-green PM, Kevin Rudd, was to commit Australia to Kyoto Phase 1 in 2007.  This treaty required signatories to reduce production of carbon dioxide to 5% below 1990 levels by 2012.

As a late joiner, Australia got a lower target, involving no actual cuts.  And they achieved that easy target by robbing Australian landowners - they stole carbon credits from landowners by imposing tree clearing bans. That larcenous trick can’t be pulled twice.

Ironically, the death notice for the Kyoto misadventure was posted by Japan, the birthplace of Kyoto, when they announced at Cancun in 2010 that Japan would not agree to any further targets. Japan was shocked at the billions in liabilities they had accumulated by not meeting Kyoto 1 target cuts.

Undeterred by this warning, another ALP/Green government agreed to Kyoto 2 in 2012 – 5% below 2000 levels by 2020.

This target, agreed to without due diligence, is dreamland stuff for Australia. Once the growing population is taken into account, this target would require Australians in 2020 to maintain industries and create new jobs using 30% less hydro-carbon energy per capita than was used in 2000.

Mining and mineral processing, agriculture, manufacturing, transport, tourism, electricity generation, cement, forestry and fishing are the backbone industries of Australia.
Not one of these industries could maintain production while also significantly reducing their production of carbon dioxide, unless Australia embarks on a crash program of building new hydro and/or nuclear power stations. The chance that green regulators or politicians will allow either of these options any time soon is zero.

The use of carbon fuels, more than any other indicator, measures the growth and health of modern economies. The only way to kill carbon is to kill the economy – close industries or send them overseas. The Global Financial Crisis probably did more to reduce the use of hydro-carbon fuels than Kyoto will ever do.

Japan’s exit from Kyoto obligations was soon followed by Canada and Russia. USA never signed, nor did China, India, South Africa or Brazil.

Thus the four biggest economies in our region (USA, China, Japan and India) are not burdened by Kyoto. Nor are our big competitors - Brazil (iron and beef), Indonesia (coal), Chile (copper) and Canada (wheat). We only have the Kiwis and the faraway Europeans sharing the sinking Kyoto ship.

The Kyoto Agreement is a failure. Australia repealed the costly carbon dioxide tax. Next we should get rid of Kyoto liabilities.


1 comment:

Paul said...

"to the best of my knowledge; every terrorist attack has been by Muslims."

Bader-Meinhof gang, Action directe, the King David Hotel, IRA, Symbionese Liberation Army, Japanese Red Army....

She ought to pick up a book once in a while.