Monthly archives: April 2019

New poll points to Labor rout

John Howard, Peter Costello and Malcolm Turnbull will lose their seats at this year's election, along with 11 other federal ministers, if state polling averages persist.

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An analysis of past ACNielsen polls has revealed as many as 46 of the 87 Liberal and National seats will be lost.

The analysis, published in today's Fairfax newspapers, is a projection of the federal election result based on state-by-state polling averages over the past six months relative to the 2004 election.

Overall, the analysis shows a two-party preferred vote of 57 percent for Labor and 43 percent for the coalition — a national swing of 9.8 per cent to Labor.

But the swing is not uniform, ACNielsen's research director, John Stirton, has stressed. It ranges from 13 percent in Queensland to 3.7 percent in Western Australia.

In NSW, the coalition will lose 12 of its 27 seats if a 9.6 percent swing to Labor is replicated at the election, the analysis shows.

Not only does Prime Minister Howard face the loss of his seat of Bennelong, but a uniform swing would knock out of parliament the possible leadership contender Malcolm Turnbull, who is the environment minister and member for Wentworth, and ministers Jim Lloyd, Gary Nairn and Kerry Bartlett.

In Victoria, a 10.1 percent swing to Labor suggests a wipe-out of 10 of the coalition's 18 seats. Half of them belong to ministers, namely Treasurer Peter Costello, Andrew Robb, Bruce Bilson, Peter McGauran and Fran Bailey.

In Queensland, the coalition will lose 16 of its 21 on a 13.2 percent swing to the ALP, including those of ministers Warren Truss, Peter Dutton and Mal Brough.

In South Australia and the Northern Territory, an 11.8 percent swing puts six seats at risk, including that of Christopher Pyne.

Even in Western Australia, the only state where the coalition is ahead of Labor, a 3.7 percent swing towards the ALP has put two Liberal seats in doubt.

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Rudd dispute 'may hurt ALP'

Federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd says Labor may take a hit in the polls over the controversy surrounding his wife's employment business.

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Mr Rudd's wife Therese Rein has said she will sell the Australian subsidiaries of her employment services company following allegations of underpayments to some staff.

"I expect as a result of the controversy that has occurred in the last several days that we'll take a whacking," he told reporters.

"I imagine when we get to parliament today, I'll take a whacking, a bit of a pasting. That is life. We accept that under these circumstances.

"Her concern at the end of the day was simply this, that it was going to be too hard if I am elected to become the prime minister of Australia for her to be running a company which would be tendering for any form of government contract," he said.

The latest poll published in Fairfax newspapers today says Prime Minister John Howard, Treasurer Peter Costello and Water Minister Malcolm Turnbull could all lose their seats at this year's election, along with 11 other federal ministers.

Spouses under microscope

Mr Rudd said his wife was a fine honest upstanding person.

"Mistakes have been committed. They have been committed honestly. She is pretty relaxed about all that," he said.

"She is embarrassed and I am embarrassed about the honest mistake she has made here. That is why she has commissioned her own review to make sure everything else is okay with the common law agreements in her company."

Mr Rudd said he hoped the spotlight would not now turn on the wives of other politicians.

"On the broader question of the role of women in the workforce, professional women, women at home, women at work … I sincerely hope that the debate concerning Therese doesn't result in some sort of broader witch hunt," he said.

"There is some discussion this morning about (Health Minister Tony) Abbott's wife. Each person's circumstances are different.

They are quite different."

Despite the poll showing the opposition could annihilate the coalition, Mr Rudd said history was against Labor.

"We have won twice from opposition since World War II. That was a long time ago," he said.

"There is a mood for change but history is against us. We are up against a very clever politician. With three or four months to go before an election, I say this will be a very tight race come election day."

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Hotel can ban heterosexuals

In a landmark ruling at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the management of Collingwood’s Peel Hotel in inner Melbourne has won the right to refuse entry to heterosexuals.

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Pub owner-manager Tom McFeely says the move was necessary to provide gay men a non-threatening atmosphere to freely express their sexuality.

“If I can limit the number of heterosexuals entering the Peel, then that helps me keep the safe balance effectively,” Mr McFeely told Southern Cross Broadcasting.

Mr McFeely said that while the pub welcomed everyone, its gay clientele had expressed discomfort over the number of heterosexuals and lesbians coming to the venue over the past year.

“We’ve had instances in the past where, for example, a buck’s night has come up to the Peel or a hen’s night – our whole atmosphere changes immensely,” he said.

Mr McFeely said that prior to the ruling it was illegal to refuse entry to a large group of people based on sexuality, making gay male clients uncomfortable and unable to freely express their sexuality.

He said there were more than 2,000 venues in Melbourne that catered to heterosexuals, but his pub was the only one marketing itself predominantly to gay men.

“We’re the only one out of 2,000 venues in Melbourne. Those heterosexuals have other places to go to, my homosexuals do not,” he said.

“The only place they can feel comfortable and safe is the Peel and that’s the reason.

“I want to protect that and recently (with) the amount of heterosexuals and lesbians, some guys are saying to me over the last year or so … we don’t feel comfortable anymore.”

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Pressure on at whaling forum

The annual forum of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Anchorage, Alaska will consider a fresh bid to resume commercial whaling and Japan's scientific program in the Southern Ocean.

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Japan last year won a non-binding resolution in favour of commercial whaling, but fell short of the numbers needed to overturn a two-decade-old moratorium on the practice.

"We cannot underestimate the challenge ahead of us," Mr Turnbull, who will represent Australia at the annual conference of more than 70 countries.

"Pro-whaling nations essentially warned the world last year that it wanted to turn back the clock on whale conservation."

The minister said Australia would support new anti-whaling IWC members, reinforce its arguments and promote initiatives about the benefits of conservation.

"In concert with other nations, I will be maximising the opportunities presented at the IWC forum to persuade countries to end all scientific and commercial whaling activities.

"The meeting will be tough – I don't deny that. The balance of votes between the pro-conservation and pro-whaling blocs will once again be knife-edged."

Greenpeace Australia says Australians should lead the push to better protect whales while attending this week's IWC meeting.

The pressure's on from environmental groups to close the loophole in the anti-whaling sanctions which will allow Japan to hunt 50 fin back and one-thousand minke whales later this year.

For the first time this year's scientific whaling program will include hunting 50 humpback whales in the Southern Ocean.

Greenpeace also wants Australia to incite other member nations against whaling to stop Japan's ongoing efforts to acquire the 75 percent majority that will overturn the 20-year ban on commercial whaling.

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PM warms to emissions trading

Mr Howard acknowledged in a speech to the Business Council of Australia in Canberra that he had not moved as quickly on climate change as some people wanted.

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The prime minister’s task group on trading in greenhouse gas emissions hands in its much-awaited report on Thursday.

Mr Howard said it was now clear a national emissions market would be formed before a global scheme emerged.

He also predicted a series of regional groupings would precede a global market.

“I know it’s appeared on occasions in the past six months that the government has been not responding as rapidly as some people would have liked,” Mr Howard told a council dinner at Parliament House.

“I acknowledge that.

“But our response when it comes and it will come to this report, it will be a very speedy government response.

“It will be a response which will be seen as a mature, balanced, long-term response.”

Mr Howard said the policy would be uniquely Australian in a way which preserved the economy.

Setting a carbon price was inevitable, he said.

“In an ideal world, Australia would not be implementing an emissions trading system without there being a global scheme being introduced at the same time.

“It’s fair to say that we’re not going to see a global scheme any time soon, although I think we will over time move to a series of regional groupings in relation to emissions trading.”

He said there were benefits in having a national scheme first, provided Australia’s trading position was protected.

Mr Howard said setting a long-term emissions reduction target for Australia was the most important economic decision to be taken in the next decade.

“I’ve never generically rejected a target or targets,” he said.

“I’ve certainly, emphatically rejected targets without knowing the full implications of what they mean.

“I want to ensure you we will not be setting targets which are set in a way that we are unaware of their consequences.”

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