The Roy Morgan poll, taken over the past two weekends, headlines:
- L-NP support slumps amid Bronwyn Bishop travel expense ‘misconduct’ and as the ALP commits to renewable energy & ‘turn back the boats’ policy.
Support for the LNP is down 3 points to give Labor a lead TPP of 54-46. The Greens support is at 15% (up 1.5%) – the highest Greens vote since September 2010.
While the reasons are just a guess, the headline is probably right. Essential Report, which has Labor ahead 53-47 TPP also asked what people thought about Bronwyn Bishop.
- Only 19% think Bronwyn Bishop should remain in the position of Speaker.
25% think she should stand down while her expenses are being investigated, 19% think she should resign as Speaker and 24% think she should resign from Parliament.
Abbott of course can’t sack Bishop, but parliament can, so effectively Abbott can. I suspect he would need to blast her out, but I suspect he won’t – a situation that suits Labor politically.
Bernard Keane at Crikey thinks Abbott has run out of options politically. Normally the incumbent can set the political agenda. The economy is so stale that the LNP can’t play to it’s natural strength. It’s done tax reform, kind of, and has succeeded in scaring everyone about the GST. It’s remaining strength is security, and that one is overdone and wearing thin.
Climate change and energy
On party reform, the Kevin Rudd’s leadership changes were endorsed, and state branches will be required to directly elect delegates. However, critical issues like changing the trade union block vote were not even debated.
Unlike the LNP, Labor is committed to continued involvement in funding health and education, but finding the funds for universities, TAFE and Gonski-style support for schools in another question.
Paula Matthewson tells us that while the right in the party actually did not have majority numbers, the progressive left conceded ground on all major points in the interests of political pragmatism, except for gender balance.
- Following a push by the left-aligned Emily’s list, the conference agreed to a minimum requirement for 40 per cent of party positions to be held by women, matching the already existing requirement for women to be pre-selected for at least 40 per cent of winnable seats. This minimum will be raised to 45 per cent in 2022 and 50 per cent by 2025.
And most importantly, the party executive was given the power to step in when the quotas are not met, thereby meeting Plibersek’s requirement for Shorten’s 50 per cent aspiration to be enforceable.
The political reality, she says, is that Labor can’t win government by adopting policies that are disliked by swinging and undecided voters.
- as the Labor left may have learned over the weekend, being a progressive in a successful government is much easier than it is in a barely-trusted opposition.
Mungo MacCallum says Shorten’s real test lies ahead. The leader always gets his way at party conferences, but now Shorten has to craft concrete policies to take to an election, policies that will survive “the three-word slogans, the gotcha lines, the scare campaigns.”
What we are seeing in spades is that Winston Churchill was right, democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.
Elsewhere, in a Crikey piece apparently not paywalled, and well worth the read, Helen Razer reviews the Labor national conference – why Labor can’t manage itself.
Update: Many LNP members have been angry with Bishop, and some, including Cabinet ministers, want her to go. She has now apologised for the chopper ride and agreed to pay back her travel to weddings for Teresa Gambaro and Sophie Mirabella. Clive Palmer and Andrew Wilkie will move a no confidence motion. Tony Burke has said Labor will show their disrespect for her in some unspecified way.
It’s a fair bet she’ll stay.