Just like a roach, IR plan hard to kill

Jul 22, 2010

Article by James Chessell published in the Australian  July 21st 2010

IT seems Work Choices is the political equivalent of a cockroach.

When all other issues lie dead under a pile of post-apocalyptic rubble, Work Choices will still be scurrying around, nibbling on the corpses of conservative politicians. It is impossible to kill.

Tony Abbott’s failure to make industrial relations a non-issue has a broader context. Like the cockroach, Work Choices is the result of years of evolution. The policy finished off John Howard but its ancestors have been damaging Coalition campaigns for the best part of 20 years.

Its antecedents can be traced back to Jeff Kennett’s decision to abolish penalty rates and leave loadings for Victorian public servants after his 1992 victory. Kennett promised to keep these conditions during the campaign and reneged a week after the opposition leader John Hewson and then industrial relations spokesman Howard launched Jobsback during the federal campaign.

Hewson’s failure to sell the GST is widely credited for his drop in popularity in November 1992. But he argues it was industrial relations panic that brought him undone. “Kennett’s unilateral decision immediately called into question the credibility of our commitment of ‘what you’ve got you’ll keep’,” he wrote in 1998.

The former Victorian Liberal premier’s influence goes further. During his final term, consultancy Essential Media Communications came up with a campaign for the Australian Education Union to combat his plans to close schools. The campaign was a success and in 2005 EMC crafted Your Rights at Work.

The only other Coalition leader to genuinely embrace industrial relations reform during the 1990s was West Australian premier Richard Court, who lost the 2001 election after reinvigorating the WA union movement. Comments »

The Revolution will be Socialised

Jul 22, 2010

The election media landscape has changed forever, the revolution will not be televised.

Gone are the days of one-way election communications, the traditional print and television campaigns of the major parties may have become larger, slicker and more targeted, but they are still functions of the throw it at the wall and see what sticks mentality.

Survivor, Masterchef, Australian Idol started the participation craving, the web and social media gave it a voice. We all want to be heard, to judge and to vote someone off this island. We want to sit on our couches watching news channels or political commentary shows, not talking to our (un)loved ones, but tweeting out live commentary to our new family, the masses. #justsayin

The next day watercooler conversation is dead, colleagues, friends and networks have already torn every issue apart, judge, jury and executioner. And shouldn’t it have always been this way? Comments »

The Punch: Even with a strong economy, jobs are a top concern

Jul 20, 2010

First published on The Punch 20/7/2010

With the major parties flexing their muscles on border protection, the Australian public has sent Canberra a message that it is the protection of Australian jobs that is the real security issue for them.

In what looms as the sleeper issue for the 2010 election campaign, a quarter of all voters placed “Australian jobs and the protection of local industries” as key election issue, behind only economic management and health.

As the latest Essential Report shows that economic protectionism towers over headline-grabbing issues like climate change, asylum seekers, housing affordability, industrial laws and population growth as a priority election issue.

Q. Which are the three most important issues in deciding how you would vote at a Federal election?

Essential Report

Essential Report

What is striking about the high rating for protecting Australian industries is that it comes at a time of relatively low unemployment and a period where there has been little or no media attention on Australian jobs being sent offshore.

Instead the issue is emerging from the grass roots, the thousands of Australians in manufacturing industries – and a growing number of workers in white-collar industries like the banking sector – who see their jobs under threat from lower wage economies.

And while our leaders can crow about “turning back the boats”, 25 years of economic deregulation makes it very hard to turn back the corporate people smugglers.

It is an issue where the Liberal Party, with its knee jerk support for big business, pledges to cut government spending and reductions to the size of the public sector is struggling to gain any traction.  While it leads on issues like managing the economy and asylum seekers, when it comes to Australian jobs, people trust the ALP to the tune of 42 per cent to 28 per cent. Comments »

Federal politics – voting intention

Jul 19, 2010

Q. If there was a Federal election held today, to which party would you probably give your first preference?  

Q. If you ‘don’t know’ on the above question, which party are you currently leaning to?  

1,875 sample size

First preference/leaning to 6 months ago 4 weeks ago 2 weeks ago Last week This week

 

Liberal 35% 37% 36% 36% 37%
National 3% 3% 3% 3% 2%
Total Lib/Nat 38% 40% 39% 38% 39%
Labor 45% 38% 42% 41% 41%
Greens 8% 11% 11% 13% 13%
Family First 2% 3% 2% 2% 2%
Other/Independent 7% 8% 6% 6% 5%

 

2PP 6 months ago 4 weeks ago 2 weeks ago Last week This week

 

Total Lib/Nat 44% 48% 46% 45% 45%
Labor 56% 52% 54% 55% 55%

NB.  The data in the above tables comprise 2-week averages derived the first preference/leaning to voting questions.  Respondents who select ‘don’t know’ are not included in the results.  The two-party preferred estimate is calculated by distributing the votes of the other parties according to their preferences at the 2007 election.

* Sample is the aggregation of two weeks’ polling data.  

Comments »

Approval of Julia Gillard

Jul 19, 2010

Q. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Julia Gillard is doing as Prime Minister?

Kevin Rudd Julia Gillard
30 Mar 09 29 Jun 09 28 Sept 09 14 Dec 09 29 Mar 10 31 May 10 5 Jul 10 19 Jul 10
Total approve 71% 62% 66% 57% 53% 41% 48% 52%
Total disapprove 21% 29% 23% 32% 36% 47% 27% 30%
Strongly approve 21% 14% 15% 10% 12% 7% 14% 11%
Approve 50% 48% 51% 47% 41% 34% 34% 41%
Disapprove 14% 18% 17% 20% 22% 25% 13% 17%
Strongly disapprove 7% 9% 6% 12% 14% 22% 14% 13%
Don’t know 9% 11% 11% 10% 12% 12% 26% 18%

52% approve Julia Gillard’s performance as Prime Minister and 30% disapprove. Since this question was asked 2 weeks ago, approval has increased by 4% and disapproval by 3% – “don’t know” has dropped from 26% to 18%. 89% of Labor voters approve and only 2% disapprove. Among Liberal/National voters, 25% approve and 64% disapprove.

There were substantial differences by gender – men 50% approve/36% disapprove and women  54% approve/25% disapprove.

Comments »

Approval of Tony Abbott

Jul 19, 2010

Q. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Tony Abbott is doing as Opposition Leader?

Malcolm Turnbull Tony Abbott
30 Nov 09 14 Dec 09 18 Jan 10 22 Feb 10 29 Mar 10 3 May 10 31 May 10 28 Jun 10 5 Jul 10 19 Jul 10
Total approve 25% 34% 37% 45% 33% 39% 35% 40% 37% 40%
Total disapprove 55% 36% 37% 36% 50% 43% 50% 39% 47% 44%
Strongly approve 2% 7% 5% 12% 8% 5% 5% 9% 8% 6%
Approve 23% 27% 32% 33% 25% 34% 30% 31% 29% 34%
Disapprove 33% 18% 20% 20% 28% 24% 28% 20% 23% 22%
Strongly disapprove 22% 18% 17% 16% 22% 19% 22% 19% 24% 22%
Don’t know 19% 31% 26% 18% 16% 18% 16% 20% 16% 16%

40% approve Tony Abbott’s performance as Opposition Leader and 44% disapprove. Since this question was asked 2 weeks ago, approval has increased by 3% and disapproval decreased by 3%. 82% of Liberal/National voters approve and 10% disapprove. Among Labor voters, 19% approve and 69% disapprove.

There were some differences by gender – men 45% approve/43% disapprove and women 35% approve/46% disapprove. Comments »

Better Prime Minister

Jul 19, 2010

 Q. Who do you think would make the better Prime Minister out of Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott?

  Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens   Kevin Rudd v Tony Abbott

21 Jun 10

Julia Gillard v Tony Abbott

28 Jun 10

Julia Gillard v Tony Abbott

5 Jul 10

Julia Gillard 50% 91% 8% 71%   47% 49% 53%
Tony Abbott 27% 2% 70% 4%   30% 29% 26%
Don’t know 23% 7% 21% 25%   23% 22% 21%

 50% think Julia Gillard would make the better Prime Minister and 27% prefer Tony Abbott – a slight closing of the gap between the two (from 27% to 23%) since last polled 2 weeks ago.

 Julia Gillard is preferred 91% to 2% by Labor voters – and Tony Abbott is preferred 70% to 8% by Liberal/National voters. Greens voters prefer Julia Gillard 71% to 4%.

 Men prefer Julia Gillard 47%/32% and women 53%/23%. Comments »

Important Issues

Jul 19, 2010

Q. Which are the three most important issues in deciding how you would vote at a Federal election?

  First Second Third Total Total

10 May 10

Difference
Management of the economy 38% 18% 7% 63% 62% +1%
Ensuring the quality of Australia’s health system  16% 20% 19% 55% 50% +5%
Australian jobs and protection of local industries 7% 8% 9% 24% 29% -5%
Ensuring a quality education for all children 4% 11% 9% 24% 19% +5%
Ensuring a fair taxation system 4% 6% 8% 18% 22% -4%
Protecting the environment 5% 5% 5% 15% 13% +2%
Political leadership 6% 3% 4% 13% 12% +1%
Housing affordability 4% 4% 5% 13% 17% -4%
Addressing climate change 4% 4% 4% 12% 12%
Controlling interest rates 3% 5% 4% 12% 16% -4%
Managing population growth 1% 4% 7% 12% 14% -2%
Treatment of asylum seekers 4% 3% 4% 11% *  
A fair industrial relations system 2% 4% 5% 11% 9% +2%
Security and the war on terrorism 1% 2% 5% 8% 7% +1%
Ensuring a quality water supply 1% 1% 4% 6% 7% -1%

*Not asked in May 2010 poll

The most important election issues were management of the economy, the quality of the health system, jobs and local industry and a quality education for all children.

Since this issue was last polled in May, health and education have increased in importance (both +5%) and Australian jobs and protection of local industry declined 5%. Comments »

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