Morrison slipping further away

scott morrison

The latest Newspoll from 5–7 March 2019 shows a drop in support for the Liberal–National Party to 46 per cent on a two-party preferred basis, which means an increase for the Labor Party up to 54 per cent.

The past fortnight has seen a number of revelations and allegations of corruption, most notably, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann receiving free air travel from Helloworld; unanswered questions about a $423 million contract with Paladin for the provision of security services on Manus Island and Nauru; and the inappropriate politicisation of the House of Representatives franking credits inquiry.

We also had Senator Michaelia Cash and Minister for Human Services Michael Keenan refusing to provide statements to the Australian Federal Police about their involvement in the media tip-offs during the AFP raids of the Australian Workers Union offices in Melbourne.

On top of this, more retirements were announced by key members of the Government: former Deputy Liberal Party Leader and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop; Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne, and Minister for Defence Industry, Steve Ciobo. While they all denied they were leaving because of the LNP’s poor electoral prospects, and they still are publically saying the Coalition will win the next election, it’s hard not to think they’re deserting a rapidly sinking ship.

The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, visited Christmas Island to inspect the facilities which will be required to attend to the medical needs of refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru, but it was difficult to understand why he visited, aside from the obvious media opportunities. The LNP still believes border security and asylum seekers issues are the electoral talisman for them but, so far, after weeks of megaphone announcements about “spivs, and rapists and murderers” coming to Australia because of the Medevac Bill and asylum seekers “stealing hospital beds from Australians”, it seems this no longer has the electoral pull that it might have had in 2001, or in 2013.

Based on the numbers across all polls, it appears the electorate is no longer listening to key messages pushed out by the Government, and the verdict on its performance has been already determined.

If the recent Newpoll figures were maintained at the next election, which is due on 18 May 2019, Labor would pick up 18 seats and hold 90 seats, while the LNP would hold 53 seats. This is based on a uniform swing, but in any given election, there are always seats a losing government unexpectedly picks up from its opponent or, conversely, an incoming government winning in a landslide, loses a seat, or fails to win a seat it was expected to. That’s the nature of elections. But, either way, an unexpected loss here or there is not going to make much difference.

For those that are interested, the preferred Prime Minister rating shows Scott Morrison is preferred over Labor leader Bill Shorten by 43 per cent to 36 per cent but with such a wide gap in the two-party preferred vote, this figure is meaningless.

Bill Shorten
Bill Shorten at the launch of the 2019 NSW Labor Election Campaign.

Shorten does have a large dissatisfaction rating, as does Morrison, but it appears the electorate will repeat the result at the 2013 election – ignore the relative popularity of the two leaders, and take into account the poor performance of this Government since 2013, and whether it has the ability to perform well into the future. Based on the 164 consecutive losing polls for the LNP since August 2016, the electorate seems highly unconvinced.

It’s hard to see any political event that will be able to turn these numbers around for the LNP before election day.

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