The Week in Politics
This week was dominated by the polls. The Newspoll released on Monday had the government behind Labor 49% to 51% in the two party preferred, but Malcolm Turnbull ahead as preferred Prime Minister by 46% to 32%.
On the same day an Ipsos poll that showed Labor leading the government by 54% to 46%.
To some extent this could be explained by the fact that Newspoll’s survey was conducted on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday so that 25% of the people polled missed the Opposition Leader’s budget reply and the announcement of the larger personal income tax cuts.
As Grahame Richardson pointed out, the Coalition has now lost 32 Newspolls in a row.
On the other hand no party has won office with its leader as far behind their opponent as Bill Shorten currently is.
It may be that Mr Shorten was being punished for his dissembling in the dual citizenship debate and that this will be forgotten by the time the election rolls around but there’s no doubt that he took a substantial hit.
Mr Shorten may find it difficult to avoid accountability for his actions over dual citizenship in the upcoming by-elections but the chances of Labor losing one of their seats is slim.
The only time a government has taken a seat from an opposition is when the Fenian Labor rebel and journalist, Hugh Mahon, was expelled from Parliament in 1920 by Billy Hughes’ Nationalists for seditious libel following some rabble rousing speeches in support of Irish independence and Terence McSweeney, an Irish rebel who died following a hunger strike.
At the ensuing by-election Mahon lost to the government’s candidate George Foley.
The by-elections for Braddon in Tasmania and Longman in Queensland will be a real test for the Labor leader.
If he loses one of these seats then faith in him will be severely weakened and may even cost him his leadership.
He is already out in those electorates campaigning hard but the by-elections are some way off and there’s always a chance the wheels could fall off the campaign bus.
From the Gallery • Liberal frontbencher Jan Prentice was disendorsed in her preselection meaning she will not contest the next election for the Liberal Party
• Michael McCormack was the guest of honour at a keynote business lunch with the Australian Chamber on Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency in Sydney.
• New BAE Systems Australia CEO Gabby Costigan has outlined her vision for Australia’s shipbuilding in a social media address.
• Finance Minister and Leader of the Government in the Senate Mathias Cormann made an announcement with Independent Senator Steve Martin on Tuesday. It was quite a good tactical move from Senator Cormann to include the independent Senator as the government will be relying on his vote in the near future on many bills passing through the Senate.
• The Ambassador of Georgia H.E Mr. George Dolidze is hosting the “Saperavi World Prize” - International Wine Contest’s Award Ceremony and Georgian Wine Tasting this evening to showcase Georgian Wine in Australia.
• Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne hosted a Budget Breakfast with Finance Minister Senator Mathias Cormann at the Lakeside Restaurant in Western Sydney.
• The Coalition has marked one of it’s election milestones of one million jobs created under the Liberal National Government this week.
• Treasurer Scott Morrison held a press conference with Federal Member for Gilmore, Mrs Ann Sudmalis MP in Nowra to outline his support for the MP as she faces a preselection challenge in her electorate.
• On Thursday Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo announced In March this year he launched the Bid Fund, which has helped to secure the world’s largest public transport event, the Union International des Transports Publics Global Public Transport Summit 2021 for Australia this June in Melbourne.
• Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop delivered the keynote address at the Latin American Down Under Mining Conference in Perth on Wednesday at the Pan Pacific.