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Thursday, 16 November

19:49

How Accurate Was The Same-Sex Marriage Polling? Dr Kevin Bonham

The abrogation of responsibility and waste of resources that was the Marriage Law Postal Survey has now concluded with a Yes vote of 61.6%, based on a very high turnout of 79.5%.  Every Australian poll on same-sex marriage in the last ten years has shown more voters supporting same-sex marriage than opposed, with the exception of a single fledgling ReachTEL in 2011, so this has been seen initially as another good result for Australian polls.  In contrast, non-polling "big-data" approaches based on social media analytics failed completely, with the EqualityPulse site mostly favouring the No vote until after the polls had closed and a Griffith University study bombing embarrassingly.  (Be wary of anyone who claims their methods predicted Trump would win - most who predicted him to win did so because they wrongly expected him to win the popular vote.)

This is being taken as another strong result for Australian polling, but the reality is not so snazzy, and more consistent with experience elsewhere.  Below are all the final poll results by each pollster that I could find.  (Some pollsters conducted several polls, typically finding little variation through the survey period.) The polls vary in methods - some asked about results based on those who had voted, some asked about the votes of those who intended to vote and some just asked a basic question about support or opposition to same-sex marriage.  One (Ipsos) appears to have asked about voting intention among those certain to vote only.  In many cases, inadequate public documentation means that it is not entirely clear what the pollster did.



The polls that allowed responses other than Yes and No allowed a range of non-responses.  Morgan seems to have included panelists who didn't respond to the survey invitation at all in this category.  Essential allowed respondents to say they preferred not to say how they had voted.

I've included two different ReachTELs that were reported at around the same time.  I've excluded Coalition for Marriage internal polling because no evidence has been provided concerning the pollster involved or the methods used (other than sample size) and hence I cannot even say for sure that their results were based on polls at all.

Here's the table:

Wednesday, 15 November

23:31

Poll Roundup: Citizenship Chaos Sends Government To New Term Low Dr Kevin Bonham

2PP Aggregate: 54.2 to Labor (+1 point in a week) - highest reading of term
Labor would win election "held now" with a large margin
Government has lost majority (for now) with two MPs recontesting their seats in by-elections

This week we've seen a highly unusual event in Australian political history: a federal government has lost its majority partway through a term.  This last happened in 1931.  The one-term Scullin government began its term with a robust 46 seats out of 75, but a by-election loss and defections to the opposition UAP and the Lang Labor split saw it whittled down to 35, following which it collapsed before the year was out.  What has happened to the Turnbull government, so far, is much less dramatic - two of its seats are vacant pending by-elections, and the government will recover majority status if Barnaby Joyce is returned, although it would then lose it again if John Alexander is defeated.

However, as the Section 44 eligibility issues continue to unfold (with the tabling of required evidence by December 1 expected to be the next step), we could well see more by-elections early next year in some much more difficult government seats.  The prospect of the government slipping into permanent minority, or perhaps even losing enough seats that it can no longer govern, is a real one.  There may also be by-elections in Labor and crossbench seats, but no incumbent government has gained a seat from an opposition in a federal by-election since 1920 so there would not be too much optimism regarding chances of gaining seats there.  My legally unqualified view, incidentally, is that the "hesitators" (those who filed to renounce UK citizenship too late for the process to complete by the close of nominations) are in trouble.  The references in previous cases to the taking of all reasonable steps as sufficient refer to a context in which a member cannot reasonably renounce an overseas citizenship, not one in which a candidate was needlessly slow about it.

For the time being, the government faces two very unpleasant sitting weeks in which, by vice of it holding the Speakership, it has a floor minority (73-74) compared to the combined forces of Labor and the crossbench.  That is, assuming Bob Katter shows up!  The non-Coalition forces won't be able to suspend standing orders, but they will have extensive control over other operations of the House and should be able to use that to inflict pain.  As noted in my New England preview, it's not likely Barnaby Joyce will spring back into parliament on the Monday after the by-election, and the 17-candidate circus announced for his seat won't help expedite matters there.

I may have a Bennelong preview later, but that seat is not f...

22:01

Living samples of planet's oldest life forms found in Australia "GroovUs Feed Anews"

Living specimens of stromatolites - the oldest evidence of life on Earth - have been found deep within a remote, protected World Heritage Area in Tasmania, Australia. Stromatolites date back some 3.7 billion years and are regarded as a crucial piece of the puzzle that make up Earth's geological history - thanks to their layers of cyanobacteria, which comprise biofilm. These trap sediment and minerals from the water and cement them in place. The stromatolite layers then painstakingly build up overtime to form rock structures.

20:54

Love Our Streets West Hobart "GroovUs Feed Anews"


Great news - from November 2017 to April 2018 the City of Hobart is working with the community in West Hobart, designing creative activities to enhance walkability and bring the streetscape to life with colour and fun.  All community members are invited to join in to design and implement this project.

The project is designed to show people driving through our suburb to realise that - hey!  there are people living here!

We can share our ideas online about what we and our friends could do to activate the street, or look for other people to join in a project, or suggest something that the Council could coordinate.  Just go to  the Council's Your Say Hobart webpage.   Log in (or register if you haven't been in there before) and then go to the LoveOurStreetsWestHobart page.


Community-based activity is important to increase walking in local areas. When residents feel socially connected to their neighbours and part of a strong community they are more likely to walk and spend time in their street.
With the community activating West Hobart, through events, activity and art, the traffic travelling along the streets should slow down.
Even the everyday way that front yards are used can contribute to street activation. Simple ideas could include planting a vegetable plot in your front yard, or having dinner on your front verandah (and perhaps inviting the neighbours!).

Rossmoyne Street in Thornbury (Victoria) is a great example. The community hosted a scarecrow competition in their street which helped to slow down traffic - and the residents got to know each better!

The first idea to hit the streets is a Sea of Sunflowers.  Packets of sunflower seeds are being distributed to residents - just sow them in your front yard!  Soon we will see splashes of colour all along our streets.

The first community gathering is a Fence Weaving party.  On 30 November, at West Hobart's Train Park between 3:30-5.30pm, be there and join in the fun!

06:15

The Quest for Security: Is it rational? has it actually made us safer? At what cost? "GroovUs Feed Anews"

Download address to the Royal Society of Tasmania, by Saul Eslake, Independent Economist, and Vice-Chancellors Fellow, University of Tasmania, Government House, Hobart, 14th November 2017  

06:07

Major Projects Legislation will fast-track the cable car, skyscrapers and resorts in reserves "GroovUs Feed Anews"

The Tasmanian Conservation Trust puts the Liberal and Labor parties on notice about the dangers of the State Governments Draft Land Use Planning and Approvals Amendment (Major Projects) Bill 2017(Major Projects Legislation), which will soon be tabled in the state parliament. The Major Projects Legislation is unacceptable and, if the state government insists on introducing it, the Legislative Council should refuse it, said TCT Director Peter McGlone

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