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John Lord’s Election Diary No. 12: “Is there any more?” Cassidy asked

Wednesday 8 May 2019

1 With 10 days to go and the latest polls suggesting a tightening of the vote, I am still thinking they are well off the mark as they were in Victoria and the by-election in Wentworth.

Both wins came on the back of a universal swing against a very unpopular government. Even though Victoria was a state election it still carries the residue of the people’s distrust of a party so willing to change its leader on the slightest whim.

Placing my emotion at the rear of my logic I conclude that all those voters who protested at the abysmal performance of the Coalition are now, if the polls are correct, suffering from some sort of collective self-indulgence wherein they have decided to take the money.

On Insiders yesterday Josh Frydenberg (he seems to be the only one allowed to appear on the program) was asked, after answering a series of questions pertaining to the future of the Nation, if there was there any more.

He had couched all of his answers during the interview in economic gobbledygook and failed to recognize Cassidy’s reason for putting the question to him. “Was there any more?” Cassidy asked again.

The sad thing was that Frydenberg in his ignorance as to the why of the question couldn’t find a sentence that married the two words economy and society together.

And it is there that my memory goes to the lady with the bad hairdo who once said …

“There is no such thing as society, there are only individuals making their way.
And the poor shall be looked after by the drip down effect from the rich.” (paraphrased)

I sat there looking at Frydenberg who was completely oblivious to the whole thing. How sad it must be when you can only see the world you inhabit through the window of a dollar note. And sadder still is that it might as well have been our Prime Minister occupying the same seat.

“The right of politics govern for those who have and the left for those who have not.” JL

To believe the polls is to believe that the entire nation has been in some form of long term hibernation and have just woken completely unaware of how chaotic their government has been or conversely they have been awake all the time and have just decided to forgive them all the damage they have caused our body politic.

Another scenario might be that this monumental effort by conservatives to push our politics far out to the right, might have escaped them. That, however, that scenario I am inclined to dismiss due to what has obviously been protest votes.

2 Anyway for what it’s worth

Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor; Ipsos: 52-48 to Labor

Two polls show Labor maintaining its modest lead, although they have different stories to tell on primary votes and leaders’ ratings.

Two national polls this evening, one being a second Newspoll result in successive weeks, showing Labor’s two-party lead unchanged on last week at 51-49. There is also next to no movement on the primary votes, with the Coalition at 38% (steady), Labor at 36% (down one), the Greens at 9% (unchanged), One Nation at 5% (up one) and United Australia Party at 4% (down one). As was the case last week, this might well have come out at 52-48 before Newspoll adopted its United Australia Party preference split of 60-40 in favour of the Coalition.

There is, however, a significant negative movement for Bill Shorten’s approval rating, which at 35% is down four points on last week’s result (which itself was a two point improvement on a fortnight before). His disapproval rating is at 53%, up two. Scott Morrison was down a point on both approval and disapproval, to 44% and 45% respectively. His lead as preferred prime minister is 46-35, out from 45-37 last time. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 2003.

Read William Bowe’s full summary at The Bludger Track.

Ladbrokes betting odds

Coalition $4.30
Labor $1.22
Australian Conservatives $301
One Nation $301
Greens $301

3 Labor’s official launch

4 On Friday 6 May 2016, I wrote the following:

You would think that a Prime Minister and his Treasurer who are proposing to cut company tax to 25% over the next ten years would have some idea of what the cost to the taxpayer might be. But no. When the PM was asked in an interview with David Speers on Sky News he didn’t have the faintest idea. When Speers asked if it might be $55 billion he said it may or may not be correct.

Surely a Government expecting to go to an election with economic management and trust at the forefront of its campaign wouldn’t be stupid enough not to have costed the centrepiece of its budget?

When 3AW Melbourne commentator Neil Mitchell asked Scott Morrison the same question on Thursday he also couldn’t answer.

“It’s in the budget, look it up” he robustly told Mitchell.

“I haven’t got in front of me. Couldn’t you just tell me”, replied Mitchell.

He didn’t get an answer.

Speers pressed Turnbull a number of times but he continued to be evasive simply saying that Treasury projected the budget to be back in the black by 2020/21 and stay there.

This, of course, didn’t answer the question. Speers asked again. “I don’t understand what the cost is – what’s it going to cost taxpayers to cut the company tax rate to 25 per cent?” he asked. Later he confirmed that Treasury had costed the company tax cuts.

Labor bared their teeth against the government in Parliament.

“The centrepiece of the budget and they forgot to cost it. Even Joe Hockey was more competent than that,” said frontbencher Tony Burke.

Then he was gagged by the government.

Labor released costing’s by the Parliamentary Budget Office showing that a cut to 25% would cost the budget $16.45 billion a year by 2026/27.

When told that Deloitte Access Economics director Chris Richardson estimated the tax cut would hit revenue by $55 billion over the next 10 years, Mr Turnbull could only say that Mr Richardson “may well be right”, but warned that “the further out you forecast, there is more uncertainty.”

The fact of the matter is that they had not done the costing and were just plain lying. And they put up trust as an issue in the forthcoming election. Just who are they kidding?

Chris Bowen at the end of Question Time gave a very spirited account of the Budget omission leaving the Government somewhat embarrassed. And so they should be.

Does it all sound familiar? Nothing has changed.

“Telling the truth should not be delayed simply because we are not sure how people might react to it. ” JL

Tuesday 7 May 2019

5 The Essential Poll comes in at 52/48 to Labor.

6 At this point, my diary entries terminate just as I have much to say. Unfortunately, I have come down with some sort of wog and I have also run out of my arthritic pain tablets.

But there is still fight in the old dog yet so I will front up hopefully on Saturday as usual.

I finish by saying that I thought Labor’s campaign was sensationally well put together. On top of that, he was in his element on Q&A and performed with sincerity compassion and forthrightness.

My thought for the day

“I think the PM last night set a world record for words per minute in his interview with Leigh Sales.”

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  1. whatever

    Pauline Hanson on Radio National yesterday questioned about AntiVaxx sentiments held by a number of OneNation candidates.
    She tells Karvelas,the interviewer, to mind her own business.

  2. New England Cocky

    It’s time … again!!

    Nice to see a pic of our next Prime Minister rather than that other “person”.

    Take care JL and get well soon.

  3. Alcibiades

    Good health, take care.

    Why I am troubled by the polls – Mark the Ballot, Psephology by the numbers

    A couple of days ago I made the following statement:

    I must admit that the under-dispersion of the recent polls troubles me a little. If the polls were normally distributed, I would expect to see poll results outside of this one-point spread for each side. Because there is under-dispersion, I have wondered about the likelihood of a polling failure (in either direction). Has the under-dispersion come about randomly (unlikely but not impossible). Or is it an artefact of some process, such as online polling? Herding? Pollster self-censorship? Or some other process I have not identified?

    Since then, we have had two more polls in the same one point range: 51/52 to 49/48 in Labor’s favour. As I count it on the Wikipedia polling site, with a little bit of licence for the 6-7 April poll from Roy Morgan, there are thirteen polls in a row in the same range.

    One of the probability exercises you encounter when learning statistics is the question: How likely is one to flip a coin thirteen times and throw thirteen heads in a row. The maths is not too hard…

    So the probability of me throwing 13 heads in a row is a little higher than a one in ten thousand chance. Let’s call that an improbable, but not an impossible event.

    We can do something similar to see how likely it is for us to have 13 opinion polls in a row within a one-percentage-point range…

    The probability of 13 polls in a row at 48 or 49 per cent is 0.000059. This is actually slightly less likely than throwing 14 heads in a row.

    As I see it, the latest set of opinion polls are fairly improbable. They look under-dispersed compared with what I would expect from the central limit theorem. My grandmother would have bought a lottery ticket if she encountered something this unlikely.

    In my mind, this under-dispersion raises a question around the reliability of the current set of opinion polls. I think it increases the possibility of a polling failure when we come to the election (in either direction).

    I am not sure what is behind the narrow similarity of the most recent polls. I have wondered whether it is an artefact of online polling. Whether it reflects herding or pollster self-censorship. Or whether there is some other factor at work. I just don’t know. But I remain troubled.

    The March Newspoll was clearly an outlier. The second last Newspoll introduced a new aberrant methodology & obvious ’rounding down’, followed again by the latest Newspoll. The second last Essential also clearly suffered from ’rounding down’. The latest Essential & Newspolls in comparison had significant apposite shifts re primary votes for major & minor parties, yet the 2PP end result was … essentially the same.

    Analysing the polls & trends thereof is but one indicator. Accepting their validity does entail an amount of faith & trust under such circumstances re probability, in isolation. As an analyst, as many factors as possible, based on a grading of accuracy & reliability of available data, one forms an aggregate assessment with caveats. Where the polls are but one factor.

    Considering the above, in conjunction with all available non poll indicators of likely voter intentions, especially given Coalition seats on 4.6%, 6.4%, 11.1% & 20% being at such ‘risk’, the incumbents are unable to even consider fulfilling duties beyond saving their own electorate, the ‘polls’ themselves, though individually internally ‘accurate’ given the proffered captured data, have objectively become, ‘unreliable’.

    The ‘narrative’ of a tightening, even a ‘tight’ race, is clearly the collective intent of both the Coalition & the majority of the corporate MSM. There is little to sustain it, IMV.

    The Coalition publicly aligning via preferences with One Notion & Clive Palmer is clearly an act of desperation, contrary to the polls, their internal polling must be abysmal. When Warren Entsch (Leichhardt(QLD)) has to give his preferences to the Greens(Extremists(?)) first, the internal polling must be abysmal. The entirety of the Coalition campaign is based on the singular, unsupported, efforts of the latest PM doing ‘stunts’ and all responses amount to ‘the budget’, and there is no overarching ‘vision’ or ‘plan’ other than ‘the economy’, along with numbers & percentages & GDP figures ‘Joe & Betty Bloggs’ find mind-numbingly irrelevant & an instant turnoff. Unity, history, past performance/governance, even legislative record unable to be championed. Coalition incumbents are clearly campaigning for themselves, not for the greater good of their party or the Coalition. they have chosen to hang separately, rather than hang together.

    After two terms, the last in minority status, under similar circumstances overall, the former Labor government upon attempting a third term Federally, was left with 55 seats, the Coalition attained 90. One anticipates the same overall result on this occasion, with the approximate numbers reversed.

  4. Kronomex

    We can, and I have no idea why I’m having a “p” morning, prognosticate, pontificate, and protest polls and debates until we’re puce in the face but it all means nothing when the polls open on 18 May. That is when the decision, for better or horrifying, is made.

  5. whatever

    Apparently MSM “journalism” these days consists of spruiking Conservitard memes and running an obligatory “human interest” story on “Are you getting enough sleep?”.
    Thats all they do. Have a look at the frontpage of the SMH, right now or tomorrow or whenever, it never changes.
    And they whinge that Google has an unfair advantage in the News ecosystem. Well, stop publishing bullshit and you will have customers again.

  6. Kaye Lee


    One of Julia Gillard’s best lines regarding MSM journalism…

    ‘Don’t write crap. Can’t be that hard’,

  7. Terence Mills

    If the coalition do get back into office they will owe an enormous debt to Newscorp and SKY to whom they have sold their soul.

    The Daily Telegraph on its front page is testing new depths to attack Shorten and his deceased mum by breathlessly revealing that she did finally achieve her lifelong ambition of studying and practicing law in her fifties – something that Shorten didn’t mention : this was not the point that Shorten was making !!

    Murdoch will be there to collect his pound of flesh which will be more concessions to his publications and pay TV outlets (remember how Foxtel got $30 million to promote women’s and other minority sports – the logic of giving handouts to a pay TV station for this purpose rather than to the national broadcaster has never been explained).

    The real prize and Murdoch’s lifelong quest has been to degrade and ultimately destroy public broadcasting in this country and he is sensing victory, he just needs to get this coalition of miscreants over the line.

    It’s only a year ago that the Liberal part unanimously passed this resolution at its annual conference :

    “That federal council calls for the full privatisation of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, except for services into regional areas that are not commercially viable.”

    Note the key words except for services into regional areas that are not commercially viable” This was inserted to specifically recognise that Murdoch would not guarantee to assume the role of national broadcaster they would leave those services that are not commercially viable to some remnant of the ABC once they had cannibalised the commercially viable areas.

    There is a lot more to this election than just a change of government.

  8. wam

    Except for the ‘wog’, what a lovely start to the day, lord.

    Your thought contrasted with the delicious memory of the rabbott and mark riley???

    Great to see the odds showing the loonies in the right spot with the other extremists the conservatives and phon

    Poles are lovely people and polls are on cattle or not on cattle? Wonder how Gladys went in relation to polls?

    My mainstream press repeat for is pretty viscious today with a disgusting splash on bill’s mum and putting an antivaxxer at 4 and ahead of the nationals.
    The day just soured a bit with the ABC positive smiling positive spin on scummo and sky news logo.
    take care and go to the hospital if the fever gets to 40 or the heart races.

  9. Keith

    When I was much younger The Truth was a paper that was published from a sewer pit, the Daily Telegraph is now following the same tradition. The Daily Telegraph consistently is shown up by Media Watch as being offensive.

  10. Alcibiades

    The Murdoch & corporate MSM billionaire monopolies must be broken up by anti-trust laws in conjunction with a lawfully enforcable MSM fairness doctrine or the future is bleak indeed. Same for the absolute necessity of a Federal ICAC with standing Royal Commission & retrospective powers, not least razor sharp teeth.

    Re the record enrollments … Coalition primary vote has collapsed ~4-9% sustained since at least 2016 election (minimum ~5.1% in QLD State). This clearly indicates Coalition ‘base’ voters are disenchanted & unmotivated/uncommitted re what is on offer. Yet, record enrollments re the Marriage Equality ‘Survey’ & again for this election, especially re the youth vote, yet overall too as the highest enrollment rate in Federation history. These enrollments, by clearly ‘motivated‘ voters, are unlikely to be disenchanted, demotivated/uncommitted typical Coalition voters, ie the ‘lost’ ~4-9% 2PP Coalition ‘base’.

    Even accepting the polling numbers, the Coalition requires a minimum primary vote of at least 42% to trip over the line. What indicators are there that they will do so, recover a primary 2PP of 4%+ in the remaining week plus ?

    Pre-polling in record numbers, ultimately almost double the 2016 election ? The actions of the disenchanted/disinterested, or the actions of voters who long ago made their mind up ? Regardless, does not bode well for the Coalition, when such votes are pre-cast even at the current 2PP, before any supposed Coalition late stage rally.

    If their is no fundamental mood for change of government, then why are senior/long term Coalition members that were almost indifferent in comparison in the 2016 election in their then ‘safe’ & ‘very safe’ seats margins, now ‘at risk/in play’ or even in dire straights, when the polls are supposedly only 51/49 ?

    Abbott, Hunt, Ley, Frydenberg, Porter, Sukkar, Andrews, , etc ?

    Is it because they have ‘name recognition’, bear responsibility & are to be held to account in the voters mind, for the turmoil & conduct of the last six years ? Hm …

  11. Kronomex

    This is one angry frog –

  12. RomeoCharlie29

    “Speers pressed Turnbull a number of times?” Freudian slip, nah, probably the wog, Re the polls, I think some of those polled might be pullng a few legs. In discussion among a group of engaged people at lunch, some of whom had been polled several times, a couple admitted to giving bullshit answers. This is not something I condone, but it does encourage me to think that’s one possible reason why polls which should put Labor much further ahead, and show Morrison far less popular, are where they are.

  13. Harry

    But once again I must point out : do not accept the notion of government as similar to a household (households have to fund their spending from income etc) but a national government that creates money does not need our taxes for spending.

    Its not just an academic point: the false narrative inevitably lead to questions about “how are you going to pay for your proposed spending”?

    National governments which have their own currency, ie Oz, the US, Japan, the UK but not countries which have foolishly adopted the Euro, are not fiscally limited in any way (other than in self imposed arbitrary rules more relevant ot long gone Gold Standard days) but they ARE limited by ecological limits, the availability of labour and other resources the government can buy. Plenty of unused resources at present, given we still have about 13% labour under-utilisation!

    Taxes such as income tax or CGT function to limit demand so that the national government has the “space” to spend on tis programs without stoking inflation.

    BTW, taxes should be low especially on those whose incomes are low but should be much higher for the very wealthy. Not for funding but to destroy some of their ability to spend and to promote greater wealth and income equality.

  14. Kaye Lee

    I get polled continually. It’s the same people answering the questions all the time. They ask to speak to the youngest voter in the house and I keep telling them I am the youngest person willing to take the time to answer their questions. Because we live in a moblie black spot (which Lucy Wicks has promised to fix for three elections now) I am one of the few people who still has a landline. As I mainly work from home, I am here to answer the phone most of the time. Had to laugh yesterday when Ryan rang me yet again and I asked have you got me on speed dial – we spoke last week. I’m the person who says the Greens are most likely to keep our borders safe. He laughed and said oh yes I remember you.

    Most people don’t feel like answering a survey when they are in the middle of cooking dinner after a hard day’s work so it’s just the same few of us who live in marginal seats with landlines and strong opinions that are being reported all the time. No wonder nothing much changes.

  15. David1

    I didn’t believe the dirt rag Murdoch’s Daily Telegraph, could slither much further down into the slime pit, wrong. That article on Bill Shorten and his mum provd it is a bottomless pit and the slime reporting gets dirtier. What a revolting attack.

    Trust you recover soon John, I have about started hopefully on the road to recovery after a nasty virus, tis the season..

  16. Alcibiades

    Hence, how truly representative is the polling sample, regardless the polled numbers re MOE ?
    How many 18-24 year olds have landlines ?
    How many with an NBN connection retained a landline, especially FttP ?
    I’m no spring chicken, yet all I have is a mobile on a ‘long life’ plan … retaining a landline was more expensive, less convenient, endless telemarketers & a waste of money I don’t have to spare.
    How many formerly rusted on Coalition voters are prepared to tell a complete stranger in an unsolicited call, that for the first time they will be changing their vote ? Coloured by a sense of even partial shame, guilt, betrayal, self-doubt …

  17. Kaye Lee

    The robopolls are also very devious. They get you used to press 1 for Liberal, 2 for Labour etc etc and then, after lots of questions, they ask something like who is most likely to cause a recession press 1 for Labor, 2 for…. It’s like hang on, why did you change order all of a sudden.

  18. Alcibiades

    Your described robopoll is indeed a devious, by design, pushpoll. Entirely unintentional, no doubt. 🙁

  19. Aortic

    Best regards John. I am utterly sick and tired of Morrison’s present mantra of the election being all about who do you want to be Prime Minister me or Bill Shorten. Presumably this is two fold, one being his supposed lead as preferred PM and the almost complete absence of any of his front bench as support for his campaign. This is said to be because of the need to be in their electorates to fight for reelection but the more likely reason is that they reek of sheer incompetence and would be detrimental to the cause rather than beneficial. I will adhere to the bookies odds and watch with utter delight the demise of this rabble who are responsible for some of the most ineffectual policies I have seen in my seventy odd years.

  20. whatever

    How much more of this arseholery can the Nation endure? The Death Agony of both the LNP and the MSM is creating a vortex whereby the whole dismal atrocity never seems to end.

  21. Terence Mills

    Morrison’s lead as preferred PM in the polls is a psychological thing : if you ask somebody who makes the better PM the current PM or the man who is not PM it is statistically probable that you will choose the person who is PM as you don’t know how the other bloke will perform.

    Also, let’s not forget that Morrison was the accidental PM, it was meant to be the challenger, Dutton and Morrison did a Stephen Bradbury skating past those who had fallen.

    Morrison has been minding the shop until there was an election and whilst we vote for a party or a local identity, in fact we are voting for a leader and we did not vote for Morrison !!!!!

  22. Kronomex


    Scummo was anything but “accidental” he’s been after the leadership and PM’s position since the first round of backstabbing and continued backstabbing his way to the top of the LNP giant economy sized shitpile. I hope enjoys being the opposition leader after 18 May until they get rid of him as well..

  23. New England Cocky

    @Alcibiades 1: The alleged “tightening” in the polls is in fact merely the margin of error and so likely to be anything including bias of the collecting agency.

    @Alcobiades 2: Fiji solved the News Ltd problem by demanding and getting the removal of News Ltd management from the local masthead through a forced sale without government compensation. It is time for similar action here in Australia.

  24. Alcibiades

    Terence Mills,
    Preferred Prime Minister(PPM) is irrelevant BS. Even so, the incumbent PM is statistically gifted 16 points for simply having a pulse. Less the 16 point bonus gift, the latest PPM is Shorten 37 v Morrison 29 ?! ~40% of people cannot identify Morrisons mugshot in focus groups …

    Morrison supported Abbott, but had his faction vote Turnbull, in the 15Sep15 knifing. Morrison was scheming behind the scenes the moment Dutton moved on Turnbull by having his faction falsely inflate Duttons numbers … Machiavellian two-faced schemer through & through.

    Bookies favourite for next Leader of the Opposition, post 18May19 : Scott Morrison 1.70

  25. pierre wilkinson

    Absolutely Kronomex,
    ProMo always had the desire to topple those above him and managed to do so with minimum blame accruing to himself,
    but such is his hubris, he genuinely believes he can lie his way into being an elected Prime Minister
    may all the gods prevent
    look forward to the next episode JL, take care and get some well deserved rest, ready for the final week of chaos
    – hopefully for a long time

  26. John Lord

    Kaye I remember when she said that “don’t write crap’ line. She was prepared to stay until they ran out of questions and that is what happened. She was a strong lady and those who belittled her have much to answer for. At least Shorten knows the worth of a woman and it shows by the volume of intelligence of those who surround him.

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