Polls Blog
Daylight saving feedback
Tuesday, 11 October 2005 01:53 | Written by Graham Young

We haven't made any allowance for qualitative responses on our most recent polls - that's because of time constraints - but that doesn't mean that we aren't receiving some. Philip Orr writes:

Dear Graham, I have responeded to your current questionaire regarding Daylight saving but was disappointed to find just a single question. While I wholeheartedly support Daylight Saving, I don't support split time zones but have had to answer in favour. [Note: We've only allowed for that option because that is the only active proposal at the moment. GY] Specifically:- That Queensland doesn't have DS is ridiculous. Even with daylight saving, the sun would set on Queensland's North-West earlier than it does in the South-West of NSW WITHOUT daylight saving. I hear people say it doesn't work in Queensland but they cannot provide a LOGICAL reason to explain why it works in other States but doesn't work here. That Qld is hot is not in question, but it is NO HOTTER than other parts of the country (eg inland western NSW) where daylight saving works very well and people have become adjusted to it. For a State that relies so heavily on tourism and in particular activities that make use of daylight hours, we should be doing everything we can to increase the amount of sunshine people can use each day. Currently the working day is biased too much to the end of daylight hours preventing people from making good use of after work time for leisure. Offsetting Qld's time by 1 hour actually reduces business contact time with southern states by 4 hours every day. Why? Because Southern states start an hour earlier (1 hour lost), they go to lunch an hour earlier (1 hour lost), return from lunch as Qld is going to lunch (1 hour lost) and finish work 1 hour earlier (1 hour lost) -total contact time lost is therefore 4 hours! The National Party claim Queenslanders have already had their say in a referendum and we don't need another one. Well, as a new Queenslander, I haven't had my say and if its good enough for Republicans to start talking about a new referendum just a few years after the previous one, its certainly good enough for the people of Queensland to be given another say DECADES after the previous one. I don't understand why the Liberal and Labor partied don't just do it and make it a fait accompli. They both have DS as a policy and as far as DS is concerned, the National Party could essentially be made irrelevant on the issue!
Queensland - The State of Denial
Monday, 10 October 2005 22:39 | Written by Graham Young

This is posted for Hugh Gillies. QUEENSLAND - THE STATE OF DENIAL One can only draw the conclusion that all levels of Queensland Government, the Opposition and the print and electronic media in Queensland are in a state of denial, a state of denial which could be put down to a combination of an adherence to the Cargo Cult faith and a mistaken belief in the ostrich principle. To paraphrase, in the Brisbane context, the 'Cargo Cult' is

A religious movement of the S.W. Pacific, characterized by the expectation of the return of spirits in clouds carrying water that will provide for the needs of the followers.

At all levels of Government in Queensland, together with Opposition Parties, there seems to be an air of unreality pervading the halls of power in the face of what may well be the upcoming decimation of a city and its people that, in turn, will have a deleterious effect on the Australian nation as a whole. As did those in American Government who watched the approaching hurricane, Katrina, our representatives in Government and Opposition are seemingly watching an approaching cataclysmic drought with the same academic interest shown by authorities in America to Katrina; forewarned, appalled at the thought of, un-aware of, or incapable of, envisaging the ultimate consequences, and frozen out of preventative action like a kangaroo caught in a spot-light. IN TIMES OF DIRE STRAITS. ACTUAL OR POTENTIAL most, if not all, levels of Government and Government bodies are never slow to trumpet how they, managers par excellence, have things under control, and what steps they are taking to alleviate the current dire straits, or are taking to circumvent the approaching dire straits. It is the nature of the beasts to wallow in the praise that will be heaped upon them. Don't you worry about this, or that. It's when they waffle, are strangely shy and un-communicative and reticent in their utterances that I begin to worry. TAKE WATER, FOR INSTANCE. More specifically Brisbane water, that stuff we drink and wash in and keeps us alive, and which seems to be disappearing at, at least to some, an alarming rate. No problems, we'll just build a few more roads and tunnels, not to mention copious quantities of housing, multi-story residential blocks, and the odd satellite community to keep those Mexicans coming in, and she'll be right you'll find, mate. On Monday, October 3, Brisbane water storage was at 34.7% compared to approximately 47% at the beginning of the year. Of the34.7% approximately 5% is considered 'dead water', so drinkable water is down to 29.7% Based on the period February - September, inclusive, water storage has reduced by 1.5% per month, a period including Brisbane's winter months. If this rate remains unchanged, and there is no further substantial rain in the catchment areas, the supply of potable water (assuming 'dead water' is non-drinkable) will run out in approximately 20 months, i.e. May, 2007. However, 6 months before the cut-out point, Brisbane will not be a pretty place in which to live. As of writing, Brisbane water consumption rates, as indicated by figures in the Courier-Mail, are mainly in excess of the required conservation targets. This has very serious implications as it indicates that neither a big percentage of the domestic and commercial population, nor the Brisbane City Council, view the impending drastic water shortage, nor the extreme possibility of no water, in a serious light. Premier Peter Beattie (C-M Aug 24), Lord Mayor Campbell Newman (S E Advertiser June 26) and Dr. Phillip Williams, senior lecturer, School of Environmental Engineering, Griffith U (C-M Aug 23), all acknowledged that, with insufficient rainfall, Brisbane and environs will be without sufficient water in 2 to 3 years. The preceding pronouncements further move Government action on the water crisis into the world of the bizarre when taken in conjunction with, as touched on before, the continued and un-restricted, rush into increasingly water-consuming projects, actual and projected, not all necessary, which do, and will increasingly, place an untenable strain on available water supplies and make a mockery of any conservation measures. WHY IS NOTHING BEING DONE ABOUT REPLENISHMENT? A Queensland Government Ministerial Statement dated 23 August, under the heading of "Queensland Government Takes Lead on Urban Drought" says, in part: "Modelling by the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries Senior Climatologist, Dr Roger Stone, and other reputable climate models show that over the next 10 months there is a probability of 'close to average to slightly below average' rainfall." " "While we hope Dr Stone and his colleague's predictions for reasonable rainfall are correct, we cannot afford to take chances." Hope and prayers and 'average to slightly below average rainfalls' are not enough so, despite the rhetoric, why is nothing being done to implement a replenishment strategy to bring about security to the Brisbane and environs water supply? Time is a luxury that is fast running out. IT IS AN UNDENIABLE FACT THAT, WITHOUT ABOVE AVERAGE RAINFALL OCCURRING IN OUR CATCHMENT AREAS, BRISBANE WILL, FOR ALL PRACTICAL PURPOSES, RUN OUT OF SUFFICIENT WATER NECESSARY TO SUSTAIN LIFE AS WE KNOW IT WITHIN TWO TO THREE YEARS. As the water supply, and thus availability, diminishes, so does food and commercial productivity, so do tourism and many service industries. Waste disposal, sewerage disposal, and health facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes will be adversely affected. Lawns, gardens, most outdoor sporting facilities will become distant memories. MANY JOBS WILL BE LOST, an added burden upon the Federal purse. In many cases this will mean an inability to service debts, real estate values will suffer significantly, perhaps disappear. And so it will go on. Society may well become diminished to the extent that any ability to recuperate may well have passed the point of no return. The following are the projected Level 6 water restrictions proposed by the Parkes shire in rural N S W: Garden watering – Re-used water only Swimming pools private – Filling and topping up of pools prohibited Wash paved areas and roof – Banned except as required by law Washing motor vehicles private – Banned except as required by law Public gardens – Re-used water only Market gardens and orchards – With Council License only Nurseries and commercial flower gardens – With Council license only Washing motor vehicles commercial – Banned except as required by law Public car wash – Banned Car dealers (display vehicles) Banned except as required by law Bowling greens, motels, nursing homes, schools - Re-used water only Fountains – Banned Automatic cycle flush toilets – Banned Soft drink manufacturer – Banned READY MIXED CONCRETE – Banned Abattoirs – With Council license only Others – With Council license only Parkes is presently on Level 3, with $220 on-the-spot fines or water service disconnection. One can see that job losses in the Parkes Shire have occurred, as they have started to in Brisbane and will continue to occur. 4 The N S W provincial city of Goulburn has been on Level 5 restrictions since October last year, with house-hold water consumption restricted to 150 litres per person per day. Unfortunately Brisbane and environs area has a very large albatross hanging around its neck when it comes to the water crisis. It has: A State Government whose record on power and health has shown that it is totally incapable of handling anything of the magnitude of the escalating water supply crisis; State Opposition Parties who have exhibited nothing other than a harping, carping policy of criticism, with no positive, far-thinking policies of their own, certainly not on water; A City Council whose members sole interest seems to be the prevention of the enactment of any policies put up by those of the opposition Party, regardless of merit and; A plethora of conflicting Local Government, state Government and Council political parties and departments who will jealously guard and promote their own fiefdoms of power and influence, without due consideration to who is ultimately at risk. I believe that an immediate start on the solving of the Brisbane and environs water crisis can be best, indeed only, be brought about by the bipartisan appointment of a suitable a-political, independent person who would be given over-riding authority to co-opt, co-ordinate and direct all resources and policies necessary to put our water supply on a sound and sustainable footing. I believe a precedent for this type of operation was enacted for the re-building of Darwin after Cyclone Tracy. I am sure there are a number of proven people available who have demonstrated their ability to successfully undertake such a task. THE BIG QUESTION IS; At what point in time will it become too late to put in place water replenishment programmes, such as desalination plants, both from the construction time point of view and the availability of water necessary to carry out any such programme? You can't carry out major construction work without water and,you can't re-use water if you have none. .

Latest Newspoll says budget most popular ever
Tuesday, 17 May 2005 20:39 | Written by Graham Young
Or that's what The Australian tells us. You can read the Newspoll summary here. We'll have some research out from our online surveys tomorrow on this issue, as well as the question of whether voters want Peter Costello or John Howard as Prime Minister.
What the people want feedback
Wednesday, 04 May 2005 09:03 | Written by Graham Young
I've summarised the email feedback that we've received from listeners. There is a wide range in interests, but we do consider what you say, and as you'll see, some of the ideas will be executed. C Gilbert suggests we discuss the "rash of high-rise developments that is increasingly blighting Brisbane" and hooning in suburban streets. Ross is concerned that the federal government will sign up to any free trade agreement going, and that it is deliberately creating an impression of a shortage of people in the trades to justify importation of foreign workers. Chris Cutler is interested in roads, and in particular a Western ring road. Darryl Campbell would probably share that interest as he expresses concern that infrastructure expenditure has decreased from 4.5% of GDP to 1.5%. Anne Edwards wants to discuss the failure of the SEQ Regional Strategy to discourage car use and encourage people to grow their own food. Doris has four issues. She wants to talk about Enterprise Bargainaing "Can the people of Australia, the people who pay taxes negotiate with the Politicians. I would love to see their wages and "lurks and perks" trimmed to the bone. I can not understand how they can just give themselves a pay rise and not a merger one like we achieve in EB of 3.5%, theirs is in double digits, what for ??" She also wants lower taxes and a less complicated national superannuation system. Finally she would like teachers to be at school longer so that they could supervise children doing their "homework" at school. On the tax issue she is in general agreement with an email from Richard Ward saying tax is important. He would like to raise the tax-free threshold to $20,000 to help the welfare to work transition. Rosina Gordon wanted abortion discussed as an issue, as well as the work/family balance. (We haven't obliged yet on either on the show, but On Line Opinion's current feature takes up her suggestion about work and family. Marylin is also interested in work/family balance and wonders whether parents "would rather work or not work provided they received a real value Family Allowance/Parenting Allowance?" Politicians should have more passion, according to Grant Carrey. Older listeners with children, or younger listeners with older parents, could be interested in an issue that Thomas Logan raises - the relationship between elderly parents and their offspring. "Why run large surpluses when services are running down?" is the proposition put by Michelle Piele. Sounds like a budget question, and On Line Opinion will be running a budget questionnaire with Springboard Australia immediately after the treasurer delivers his statement. Fred Scholten wants a concentration on health, and with this week's questionnaire, we agree with him. We received some really interesting proposals from Amanda Tyler who had a number of ideas for quantitative polling on education issues. Meanwhile Leiv Bornecrantz has major concerns with the whole WTPW process, and presumably the analysts. He writes: "Dear Graham Young, in my opinion, these type of surveys are meaningless unless performed by someone trained in the methodology and with some mathemathical education. Questions should have 1-10 responses and be analysed with reference to the standard deviation and a +- error rate. As the sample is not random, it is heavily skewed to start with. kind of regards." Ouch!
Latest Newspoll shows trend towards Labor
Tuesday, 05 April 2005 21:40 | Written by Graham Young
Newspoll's latest poll is of 1145 people and puts its accuracy at plus or minus 3%. So when it shows a swing towards Labor of 3.8% one should be cautious. However, there are grounds for thinking there might be something in this poll. The result is in line with the Morgan poll that I reported on a few days ago. It is more or less permissible to combine the two samples, which gives us 3,036 respondents (1891 from Morgan and 1145 from Newspoll). Except the sample isn't quite that large as Newspoll excluded 8% of their sample because they didn't answer this question with a preference. Adjusting for this (and assuming Morgan didn't do the same and didn't tell us) the total is 2,944. Still pretty large. The adjusted totals are 44% Coalition, 40% Labor, 7% Greens and 10% other with a sample error of plus or minus 1.8%. In other words this is a statistically meaningful move since the last election. Newspoll also tends to confirm the results in its own terms because of the trend. Unlike Morgan, where the results have bounced in both directions, Newspoll shows a clear trend since the election. This trend is important because just as I can combine results from different surveys that occur over more or less the same time period, you can do the same with different samples within the same survey over a time period. By producing a rolling average (which is all a trend actually is) you can get a more certain result. ABC news reports Opposition Treasury Spokesman Wayne Swan on the result:
"Labor treasury spokesman Wayne Swan says the result is welcome but it is a long time before the next election. He says the poll reflects the public's disappointment in the recent interest rates rise.
He's right to be cautious about the poll result, and politic on the reasons for the change. While we can measure movement on these figures we can't measure cause. That's why What the people want asks qualitative questions and combines them with regression analysis based on the ABS statistics, wherever possible.
Latest federal Morgan Poll and margin of error
Saturday, 02 April 2005 01:19 | Written by Graham Young
The latest Roy Morgan poll of federal voting intentions is out. You can read it at www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2005/3848/. It shows the Government on 44%, 2.4% below their result at the last election, and the ALP on 39%, 1.4% higher. Gary Morgan spends some lines analysing the movement and concludes: "This latest Morgan Poll shows the Primary vote has stabilised after the reaction against interest rates in early March. Primary support for the ALP has risen and an election at this time would be close." In fact it shows nothing of the sort. At the bottom of the page Morgan has a table showing the margin of error inherent in samples of 1,000. At 1,891 the sample on which this analysis is based is much larger than 1,000, so this table doesn't help. However, I've found a web page that not only explains the concept of margin of error, but has a calculator where you can work it out for yourself. In the case of Morgan's sample, his margin of error for the Liberal Party vote is 2.2% in 95% of cases. In other words, the Liberal Party vote could be anywhere between 41.8% and 46.2%, meaning that on the basis of this poll it could have either lost an election decisively to Labor, or won it with a similar margin to last year - take your pick. We pollsters spend a lot of time making up reasons for why things appear to be happening, when nothing is really happening at all. This appears to be yet another case of this phenomenon.
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