Saturday, May 25, 2013

Brenton Best Crosses the Floor!

I was going to write a pretty standard number-crunchy thing about prospects for the Tasmanian Senate, given that the Greens have just polled below a Senate quota in state-level polling on the EMRS headline rate for the first time in a very long time.  (In short, this is some cause for concern, but probably not a major one at present).
However that can wait a bit because on Thursday we saw something very unusual in Tasmanian politics, when Labor backbench lifer Brenton Best crossed the floor to vote with a Liberal motion of no-confidence in Corrections Minister (and Greens Leader) Nick McKim.  It was not just a once-off, with an unrepentant Best on Friday repeating his critique of Nick McKim and extending it to the whole Labor-Green coalition. 

While I wasn't watching live at the time, it's quite clear from the footage and also even from the bare bones Votes and Proceedings that there was a party keen for Mr Best to have his say, and it wasn't his own:

Monday, May 20, 2013

EMRS - Greens hit new low

EMRS: Lib 54 (-1) Labor 28 (+5) Green 14 (-4) Ind 4 (+1)
Interpretation: Lib 53 Labor 33 Green 11 Ind 3
Outcome: Comfortable Liberal Majority Win (Approx 14 seats)

The May 2013 EMRS poll has been released and the trend graph for the headline figures is here.  The headline figures have a history of overestimating Green support so there is a possibility that this poll is pointing to an even worse result for the party than indicated.

During the last polling period the Tasmanian forestry peace deal passed parliament and the party split on this major legislation on the floor of the House of Assembly, with four members voting in favour of the version returned by the Legislative Council and Bass Green MHA Kim Booth, long the least Labor-friendly and forestry-friendly of the five, voting against.

The poll shows the Liberal vote largely unaltered from the soaring levels of the last two polls, but what is interesting here is that the Labor vote is up to its highest headline level since November 2010 (not that 28% is any great triumph) while the Green headline rate is the lowest of this term in office, at 14%.  The core Green vote, counting only firmly supportive voters, is shown at a ridiculously low 9%.  I cannot remember it being this low for a very long time and suspect it would be necessary to go back to the earliest EMRS readings from the late 1990s to find a similar figure. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Julia Gillard: Same-Sex Marriage Enemy #1

Advance Summary

1. This article addresses comments recently made by Prime Minister Julia Gillard concerning the Coalition's unclear statements on whether it will allow a conscience vote on same-sex marriage.

2. Gillard's comments are misleading in that she takes credit for ensuring a conscience vote on the issue, when in fact she did so in order to avoid all Labor MPs being required to vote for same-sex marriage legislation.

3. For this reason, Gillard's actions removed any chance of same-sex marriage passing last year.

4. Claims that a conscience vote for both sides is the determining factor in a successful push for same-sex marriage are misleading.  Comparisons with New Zealand and the UK show that in those cases, the personal support of leaders on both sides, and the overwhelming support of the main centre-left party, were essential.

5. Gillard's own statements on her reasons for opposing same-sex marriage do not stand up to scrutiny.

6. As I find both Gillard's claimed reasons and several other proposed explanations unconvincing, I suspect her motive is connected to internal ALP power plays.

7. Gillard's criticism of the Coalition on this issue, while warranted in isolation, is hypocritical.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Abbott Factor Revisited: Abbott's Ratings and Labor's Decline

 Advance summary:

1. This article covers changes in the relationship between Tony Abbott's net satisfaction rating and Labor's two-party preferred status.

2. Until September 2012 both Abbott's standing and Labor's tended to decline at the same time, although this did not always happen.

3. In late 2012 there was a period in which Abbott's standing declined while Labor's improved, which has now reversed.

4. There is currently very little evidence that Tony Abbott's unpopularity is a significant barrier to the Coalition winning the next federal election.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

LegCo Live Comments And Post-Poll Discussion

Pembroke: CALLED: Vanessa Goodwin (Lib) re-elected on first preferences
Nelson: CALLED: Jim Wilkinson re-elected
Montgomery: CALLED: Leonie Hiscutt (Lib) elected

The live comments appear below and updates are being added from the top.  To see TEC results pages go here Thanks to all for the interest on Saturday night; at one stage had nearly 2000 hits including close to 1000 link clicks-in (so not just the same five people obsessively hitting refresh) in three hours.   This is what the hit spike (figures are hits per hour) looked like:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

LegCo: The stage is set!

This site will have live election-night comments on the count on all three electorates, from 6 pm 4 May.

(For election night, comments will still be subject to clearance but registration will not be required to post comments. If the site crashes for any reason comments will instead be posted on Twitter at with the hashtag #LegCo.  If the site is running fine I may not have time to tweet anything so please feel encouraged to relay!)


Finally after so many articles covering the upcoming Legislative Council elections, the stage is set for the voters to decide.  (The main previous article has been my Legislative Council candidate preview and at the top you'll find an index of the others.)  Here are my views on what might occur, noting that LegCo crystal-ball-gazing is an extremely vague exercise in the absence of polling.  In summary of my views, Vanessa Goodwin will retain Pembroke, Jim Wilkinson will probably hold Nelson (perhaps comfortably) and I think Montgomery will be close between Hiscutt and either Fuller or Vincent.