Bartlett's Blog

Andrew Bartlett has been active in politics for over 20 years, including as a Queensland Senator from 1997-2008. This blog started in 2004 and reflects his own views, independent of any political party or organisation.

Ashgrove – The Narrowing!

As is usual with elections, there has been a lot of coverage on the personalities and the contest and not so much on the policies and issues.  Still, the unusual strategy the Liberal-Nationals have adopted of having their leader and proposed Premier campaigning from outside of Parliament has invited an even greater focus on Campbell Newman himself and also on the seat of Ashgrove which he is contesting.

Regardless of the unpopularity of the Labor government or the policy options put forward by Labor or the LNP, if it appears plausible that Campbell Newman might not win Ashgrove then the whole LNP campaign could very quickly unravel.  (Although even mentioning policy options assumes the Liberals do actually start putting forward some sort of firm policy platform, which there hasn’t been much sign of to date – they seem to be very focussed on the small-target strategy which is common practice these days amongst oppositions aiming to surf into power on the unpopularity of the current government.)

A poll released today has been reported as showing that Campbell Newman’s lead in Ashgrove is narrowing and that it may now be a close contest for the seat.  It’s true that the poll shows the contest is becoming closer, but as Antony Green explains, given Queensland’s optional preferential voting system, if Campbell Newman’s primary vote is actually at 49 per cent, he is a long way from being in a position where he might lose the seat.

Still, the trend shows a narrowing and there are still six weeks to go – technically the election hasn’t even been called yet.  Nominations for the seat will not close for a couple of weeks and it is likely there will be a sizeable field of candidates, even though only four people have declared they are running to date – the ALP, LNP, Greens and a Katter Party candidate.  But despite the prospect of a large field of candidates, the ferocious focus on the Kate versus Campbell contest is likely to suppress the vote that would normally be expected to go to the Greens and others.

From the Greens perspective, it’s an example of the frustrations of being a third party. The Greens candidate for Ashgrove, Sandra Bayley, is a high quality candidate – long-term resident, active and well-respected in the area, presentable and articulate – and there is an active branch behind her. But despite a much stronger campaign compared to three years ago, the chances of the Greens even maintaining their primary vote from 2009 is fairly slim – unless there is a sudden increase in voters’ understanding of and willingness to use the benefits of the preferential voting system to send a message to both the larger parties by voting 1 for the Greens and then using their number 2 vote to indicate who they prefer out of Kate or Campbell.

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34 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Chris Grealy

    You are right to point out that the LNP have released bugger-all policy. Oh, they say different, but all they have so far is motherhood statements and what Abbott would call aspirations. In this age where information is so easily available to voters, it is amazing that people swallow their lies.

  2. The standard of ‘news’ and ‘views’ journalism is woeful, but thanks to technology I’ve posted a question that ought to be asked on the oursay.org website regarding the LNP sneaky agenda of putting ‘creationism’ along with science and chaplains.
    I am relieved that Anna Bligh has been quick in pursuing the National Curriculum (I have a few words about it on my blog), and I am not praying that Tim Mander CEO of Scripture Union is elected and made Minister of Education. Why hasn’t anybody asked?

  3. Lorikeet

    My local councillor is an Independent who supports the worker. He wants Campbell Newman to win the seat of Ashgrove because he understands how councils are run and the negative impacts of amalgamations which are currently threatening to split the community in my area.

    At the same time, the state Labor MP thinks it is suitable to ask for a referendum in support of ratepayers who are angry about the colossal assault on their wallets caused by forced amalgamations. Go figure …. His government creates the problem, gives water/sewage revenue to Unitywater, and then he pretends to be our saviour!

    I think if the LNP wants creationism taught in our schools, it’s a move in the right direction. It certainly beats the High Court Challenge to remove chaplains from our schools.

    Clive Palmer, mining magnate and chief financier of the LNP at the 2009 state election, says he thinks the ALP will not win a single seat in the parliament.

    No matter which party we support, I’m sure most people would agree that it would be a move in the right direction. I think we are all tired of hearing lies at both the state and federal level before a financially detrimental bombshell is dropped.

  4. Steve

    I read the Antony Green blog you linked, Andrew, and I don’t think it is as clear as it seems at first. For starters, the narrowing has only been 1% in the last three months. There was some movement earlier on, the the recent changes are within statistical errors, and so aren’t significant. One of their polls also gave CN a higher primary vote than the 2PP vote, so you might say there are flaws in their calculations!

    Julie, you got any references showing that the LNP is going to include creationism? Seems like misinformation to me – it’s not listed in the policies on their website. Dr Bruce Flegg is currently Education Spokesman.

    And Julie I suggest you talk to a teacher about the state’s implementation of the National Curriculum – its horrendous. I can see a lot of teachers voting LNP because of it.

  5. togret

    Lorikeet – how will it help our children to take part in the 20th century if they are taught pseudo-science (creationism) that flies in the face of what every other civilised nation teaches its kids (science and the methods used by them e.g. use of evidence-based research to work with theories: the scientific method) ? Why handicap our kids even further in an era of low resource levels for education when only a very small proportion of the population belives in the literalism of creatinism? And why do you say that chaplains are to be removed from schools? What is being challenged is the use of hte title “Chaplain” for paid positions held largely by untrained people who ought instead to be trained counsellors, and without an ideological bent for evangelism and proselytisng? Schools can still have scripture lessons — although I’d prefer them to be held OUT of school hours — but I object to my money being used to pay for something we shuld not have in State Schools: religious personnel indoctrinating kids.

  6. Lorikeet

    Togret:

    If teachers can indoctrinate our kids with the Climate Change faith in science, agricultural science and geography classes, there is certainly still a place for Christian teachings in schools.

    If you want to relegate one religion to Sunday School, you have to do it with all of the other faiths too.

    Poor educational standards in our schools are caused by low levels of discipline and substandard curricula, and the concomitant alienation of good teachers from the system.

    Teaching Christianity in schools certainly doesn’t handicap our kids in any way. It teaches them to care about one another and have respect for their elders. Both of these teachings mitigate towards excellent learning outcomes.

  7. redcrab

    here is a thought lets ban ALL religions from all schools in australia .
    then have religious study s only for those students who wish to study it

    i wonder which religion would complain the loudest .

    good to see you back andrew.

  8. togret

    Lorikeet: “If you want to relegate one religion to Sunday School, you have to do it with all of the other faiths too.” Good, we agree. Let’s not have religions TAUGHT in state schools, and let’s not have government money given to religious schools. Comparative religious studies should be essential in every state school, but not evangelising for one brand over another. Philosophy (critical thinking, ethics, analysis of arguments etc) wuld be a much better use of the time than teaching kids the unverifable beliefs of some church or other as if they were endorsed by the government, i.e. the entire nation.

    If you disagree with the curriculum in state schools (i.e. geography, where they teach about weather and soil science, which of course overlaps with agriculture and general science) what do you want kids taught? If evidence is presented that shows that e.g. as far as we can tell human activity has caused pollution and change to the processes that govern the weather and the climate, why would you not want that taught?

  9. Lorikeet

    Freedom of Religion is one of the cornerstones of democracy. I think children should have access to religious teachings at school, since not everyone sends their kids to Sunday School.

    When I was a child, around 50% of kids went to Sunday School and they were a helluva lot nicer to one another than the greedy, abusive, disrespectful children of today.

    Since all children’s parents are taxpayers, and we want all children treated equally within our communities, all schools should receive government funding, as long as other recurrent funding is taken into account.

    I didn’t object to children being taught various science subjects at school. I said I didn’t want them to come with Climate Change Religion and the fear and guilt that goes with it.

    No human being can fully understand or control weather patterns. I believe in a moderate environmental policy, but not a Tax on Air, which has been rejected outright by 70% of Australians.

  10. togret

    Freedon of religion – yes. Not the business of government funded schools, which is why I oppose any government payment to any schools. If people want their kids taught religion they can do it themselves or have them go to Friday / Saturday / Sunday school.

    As for the manners of the children of religious folk of yesteryear Vs the manners you observe today, I leave it to others to dispute about that. I see mostly lovely polite and reasonably respectful children – but those are the circles I move in. I see from a distance some children whose upbringing has left them sadly lackin in manners – but I am afraid some of those are dragged reluctantly to church/temple .. and it seems not to have helped them.

  11. red crab

    if religion is to be studied in govt schools it should be first stated that ALL religion is about power and control. its been that way from the beginning.
    then if a student wants to study a religion then they should be directed to the religion they want to study .away from the school and at there own cost.

    if the study of religion was taught as a historical subject in a general sense then i would see it as a good thing for all.

  12. ken

    Good to see our old protagonists back at it agein.

  13. togret

    Andrew – What do you think Newman’s chances really are? It’s hard to tell from outside Qld what the popular perception of Ms Bligh is – hard to believe she’d have as much antpathy directed at her as is being said by the commentariat. In the rest of Oz she has a lot of goodwill – what have they done to deserve this antipathy if it exists?

    Also hard to understand how Newman will fare if he is defeated – .. or, even funnier, if he is defeated and the Libs actually win.

  14. I’m not sure if “good” is quite the word I’d use Ken, but anyway.

    Togret, I think Campbell Newman’s chances are very strong. I can understand why the Labor government (and Anna Bligh herself to a lesser extent) are on the nose, although I am a bit surprised that their unpopularity seems to be almost as deep as that towards the former ALP Govt in NSW before they were tossed out. Having said that, there has been a lot of adminstrative bungling and incompetence, a former Minister sent to jail for taking bribes, and a loss of trust stemming back to the decision to announce privatisations almost immediately after the previous election. Not to mention a general perception of a lot of cronyism which is not entirely misplaced.

    But I still don’t think Campbell Newman’s victory in Ashgrove can be assured, and if it seems to be moderately in doubt a week before polling day, it could seriously unhinge the entire LNP campaign. Despite the repeated LNP denials, it is quite plausible that the LNP might lose Ashgrove but win the election, which would be particularly bizarre (though my guess would be Tim Nicholls would get the party leadership in such a scenario).

  15. red crab

    if you are talking about me ken thanks
    and i look forward to your informative comments.
    there is one interesting thing to take note of.
    that is
    the Queensland elections usually are a very good indication of what will happen in the fed election.

  16. Lorikeet

    I tend to agree with Andrew, except that I think Anna Bligh is significantly more unpopular than Kristina Keneally was in NSW before the people ejected her.

    The parallel between Julia Gillard lying about the Carbon Tax and Anna Bligh lying about Asset Sales is certainly working against both of them at federal and state levels.

    My advice is that Julia Gillard has been banned by the Qld Branch of the ALP from coming to Queensland, since they don’t want her reducing their chances any further. That’s also probably why we have seen Kevin-O-Lemon up here campaigning instead, and also stirring up a leadership challenge to deflect our attention from State politics.

    I think Campbell Newman will have no trouble winning the seat of Ashgrove, especially with minor party candidates passing preferences in his direction.

    I also find it interesting that the Gonski Report into Education has been given a lot of air time as soon as the election has been officially called. This should certainly appeal to a lot of Labor voters, but probably not enough to change the election outcome.

    The word on the ground is that an incredible bombshell may soon be dropped in the federal parliament, of proportions that may bring down the government.

    Bring it on!

  17. red crab

    so why do i get the overwhelming feeling that Australia and in particular Queensland is and has been conned by a couple of clowns from the fed Labor party that is intent on destroying there party and change the political landscape as we know it .

  18. ken

    Well Lorikeet assuming your pre tipped bombshell is the one that happened last night then I think you should morph from Coral to Lorrikeet to Mailman.

  19. Lorikeet

    Ken:

    Sorry, Ken, that wasn’t the bombshell I was expecting. I think we all knew that something was brewing in the PM department. Stay tuned for another possible holocaust before the Queensland state election.

    Now Julia Gillard has called for a ballot at 10.00 a.m. on Monday which I don’t think Kevin Rudd can win, but who knows? Perhaps he will play the trump card of threatening to leave the parliament. Maybe it will come down to a choice between the return of Kevin-O-Lemon to the seat of power, or a federal election which will easily be won by the Coalition.

    I have also found it interesting that Graham Perrett, who previously said he would leave the parliament if there was another change of leader, back pedalled from this stance only a few days ago. This tells me he will support the return of Kevin Rudd to the PM’s job.

    My general feeling is that Bill Shorten will be leading the federal ALP within a short space of time.

  20. Steve

    Hi Togret, another big problem caused by Bligh’s government here in Qld is the Health payroll issue. A massive, new payroll system that was not systematically trialled or rolled out incrementally, affecting thousands of our service workers (Nurses, cleaners doctors, administrative people you name it). To cause more heartache, the people in charge held a big rooftop party just before the first pay cycle to celebrate their success. The resulting pain for people who have been paid incorrectly for months, if not years, has been horrendous. Education Queensland is now going through its own little meltdown with the introduction of their version of the Australian Curriculum, which has resulted in some of the worst curriculum materials I have ever seen rushed out late and with little preparation, causing massive stress to teachers across the state.
    Both of these are symptomatic of politicians wanting quick solutions out and running before being properly tested, and cuasing grief and stress othe frontline people who are meant to be delivering services.

    I always remember the Challenger Space Shuttle review being summed up as managers changing tack, from asking Engineers to convince them that it was safe before approving a launch, to requiring Engineers to convince them it wasn’t safe before aborting launches.

  21. togret

    Holocaust:

    1. Destruction or slaughter on a mass scale, esp. caused by fire or nuclear war: “a nuclear holocaust”.
    2. The mass murder of Jews under the German Nazi regime during the period 1941–45.

    Which is it to be, Lorikeet, or do you want to use another word?

    Yes, I’m touchy on this word – too many of my relatives died in the 1930s.

  22. Lorikeet

    The words I use will not be dictated by those who want to negatively interpret them.

  23. togret

    Ok, I ought to resist but I can’t – please give your positive interpretation of *Holocaust* and then follow that by explaining how many deaths will occur in Qld.

  24. The Feral Abacus

    Lorikeet, of all the commenters on this blog you are notable for the frequency with which you accuse others of being ‘rude’. And yet you bristle at someone calling you out for your quite inappropriate language.

    Worse, your response to Togret’s comment of Feb 23 is genuinely offensive.

    Try acting your age.

  25. Lorikeet

    It’s a shame that some people want to attack others for using metaphorical language that is not directed at them or their relatives in any way.

    Please take responsibility for your own negative reactions and, if necesssary, seek counselling to resolve personal issues.

    That includes you, Feral. I’m not feeling even a little bit bristly. But maybe your attitude could use a bit of a shave.

    I will leave it to Andrew to decide whether or not to divulge the next bombshell likely to hit the federal parliament.

  26. The Feral Abacus

    “Please take responsibility for your own negative reactions”

    Well how about taking responsibility for your own offensive behaviour, Lorikeet? Coming from someone who is forever banging on about people’s unwillingness to take responsibility for their own actions, your response is more than a tad hypocritical.

    Likewise, your suggestion that anyone taking issue with your behaviour needs counselling is way out of line. And your attempt to hide behind the skirts of metaphor is just pathetic.

    Where is your moral courage?

  27. Lorikeet

    Feral:

    If you have no useful input to bring to the blog topic, why are you here?

    Most people would quite rightly think your only agenda is nitpicking.

  28. NannaK

    I was enjoying the discussion of teaching religion in schools.

    I think all religious teaching should be banned in State schools. It is an affront to the tax payers. By all means, teach the history of religions – all religions – as part of the history curriculum. After all, religions have had a huge impact on history – albeit mainly a negative one.

    In fact, if that were taught we would have far fewer religious fanatics around. A true, factual history of religion would reveal that religion has caused more death and suffering than any other causes combined. And that definitely includes Christianity!

    As for Lorikeet’s comments – Lorikeet is generally the most offensive and rude blogger on this site. So much for a Christian background! The Feral Abacus – I am fully in support of your comments!

  29. red crab

    well at least one person agrees with me

    if the study of religion was taught as a historical subject in a general sense then i would see it as a good thing for all.

    FEB 20TH, 2012

    thanks nannak :-)

    just a point id like to make if i may or better yet a question why is the word Holocaust used only for one tragic event in human history
    when there has been as bad and much worse things happened with much more lose of life that are not perceived in the same way.

  30. Steve

    Religion is taught as a compulsory part of the social sciences in all schools in England, along with History and Geography. It’s purpose is to inform all children about the history and beliefs of what is a much more multi-cultural society than ours. It plays a very important role in English society. By comparison, many Australians seem to feel almost an overwhelming right or duty to publicly ridicule people who claim to have any faith. This does not make for a very tolerant society. Perhaps what we need here is a different model of Religious Education to what hwe have at the moment.

    Science doesn’t answer all the issues in life (and I say this as a science teacher), and spirituality, in many of its guises, can help people tackle the big questions in life. People uninformed as far as religion and spirituality are concerned can end up as rich pickings for quacks, cults and so on.

  31. NannaK

    Steve

    I definitely disagree with your final sentence above.

    I think those who are prepared to believe in religious teachings without any recourse to using their logic and intelligence are far more likely to “end up as rich pickings for quacks, cults and so on”. Religion is about faith, not logic. And getting sucked in by “quacks, cults ….” is also about faith, not logic. Same mind set required.

  32. togret

    Well thanks Red Crab – I agreed with you on Feb 18th … :-o and agreed again afterwards. Hmm, maybe you are looking in the wrong direction for your friends :-)

    “Holocaust” isn’t confined in the definistion I quoted to the discussion of the Nazi treatment of various peoples, notable the Jews, but many others in the 1920s and 1930s. I agree that others have caused such catclysmic events (The Turks against the Armenians, Stalin against a lot of people, Mao in his own country also, etc etc.). What I wanted to highlight was that it puts all Lorikeet’s usual misuse of language in the shade … becuase she was using the word to signify some upheaval or other in Qld that she claims to have foreknowledge of – but since she doesn’t say what it is, we are left with the inveitable comparison to Nostradamus and Cassandra. Nostradamus because his predictions were so vague that they can cover any convenient event if necessary, and Cassandra because she was cursed to be disbelieved by all who heard her… though *her* detailed prophesies did usually prove to be true. You have t say what you are foretelling before it can be judged true though… gas chambers in Brisbane?

  33. The Feral Abacus

    Lorikeet said “If you have no useful input to bring to the blog topic, why are you here? ”

    You are concerned about me being off-topic!?

  34. togret

    Well, now we have seen the election results, what next for you, Andrew? Whatever it is, you are wished well.

Reply to “Ashgrove – The Narrowing!”

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