February 2006
Who's to blame on health, and what does it mean?
Thursday, 16 February 2006 02:25 | Written by Graham Young

Queenslanders are not happy with their public hospital system, and they're not happy with Premier Peter Beattie, but that doesn't mean they are satisfied with the Opposition either. While our research suggests that Beattie would lose an election held next weekend, he is improving his position and no-one should assume that he will lose an election held in a year's time. 62% think the hospital system is heading in the wrong direction. This makes 57% of voters less likely to vote for Peter Beattie. But at the same time 42% of them are less likely to vote Liberal and 36% less likely to vote National. The reason for this reaction against all three parties, but particularly Labor and Liberal, appears to be that voters blame the state and federal governments more or less equally for the mess. The National Party attract less criticism. Perhaps Barnaby Joyce has helped them distance themselves from the Liberals. The main points that we made in our on-air analysis are:

  • Peter Beattie is in trouble in this area, but it is not necessarily terminal because of weaknesses on the issue from the Federal Liberal Party.
  • If an election were to be held next weekend Beattie would be cactus with a first preference vote of 29% versus a combined Coalition vote of 39%.
  • Beattie has lost one-third of those who voted for him last time, although the Labor vote has not slumped that much because other voters have come to him, particularly from the Greens and Liberals.
  • The National Party is picking up votes from the Liberals. This is probably part of the Queensland effect, where the National Party always does better at state elections than most polls suggest. The other thing that is happening - see later - is that much of the blame for the health problem is being given to the Liberals, courtesy of John Howard. There is possibly a Barnaby Joyce effect here as well, allowing the Nats to distance themselves from the Libs.
  • An overwhelming percentage of voters think that health is heading in the wrong direction. 62% agree with the proposition, and only 26% disagree, a net -37%. Only group that thinks that things are OK on balance are Labor voters, but even then the result is a net 4%.
  • The issue is damaging Beattie. 57% of voters are less likely to vote for him as a result of this.
  • But, it isn't necessarily positive for the other parties. 36% are less likely to vote National, and 42% less likely to vote Liberal.
  • Beattie's ten-point plan is a small positive. 24% think it will help while 49% disagree, but this is better than the position on health where 26% think health is heading in the right direction, but 62% disagree. He'll need a lot more to fix the issue.
  • Voters who have changed from Labor to Coalition cite the lack of funding, mismanagement, lack of planning and too much bureaucratic control as the reasons the system is in trouble.
  • Quotes on why the system is in trouble are:
    "The problem is not being addressed - simply creating distractions from the main game and not having the gumption to roll some heads in the department." "The hospitals in Qld are getting worse, not better. Beattie obviously hasn't got the money to fix it, and doesn't trust his Minister either, who looks a bit of a buffoon. And Beattie and co are insulting us with that awful faux pas of yellow ribbon-wearing." "It used to provide a response to people in need .. now it is run to suit politicians (ie reducing costs and public relations when suddenly there is a need created to spend more). Doctors have almost no say and patients and the public no say at all. Bring in/back the local health committee (and similar in schools and road safety) so that the politicians and bureaucrats actions can be discovered and critiqued in the public realm.N/A"
  • When it comes to who is to blame, Peter Beattie gets the personal blame, but the Federal Government probably gets more of the blame than the State Government, explaining why the Liberals aren't doing better out of this issue.
Latest Morgan Poll shows statistically significant shift
Friday, 10 February 2006 23:16 | Written by Graham Young

Generally the month to month fluctuations in political polls are meaningless because they are within the margins of sampling error. Yesterday's release of the latest Morgan polling shows a 4% increase in the ALP's vote. This was on a sample of 1,033 and was greater than the potential margin of error. After distribution of preferences this would have given an election held on Saturday 4th February to the ALP 52.5% to 47.5%. Morgan credited the Australian Wheat Board scandal with the shift. He can't be sure of this as the questions don't mention the Wheat Board, although a poll to be published tomorrow by Morgan shows that most Australians don't think the federal government has acted ethically over the matter.

Public Health Survey - 467 and climbing
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 07:56 | Written by Graham Young

Our health survey is soaring away - 467 responses so far and climbing. The more responses we get, the more attention decision makers will pay. Can't tell you any of the results - it might skew the responses you give us - but there are some great insights there. Thanks to those who've responded so far, and if you know any Queenslanders with an opinion, tell them to go to http://whatthepeoplewant.net/questionnaire-012-public-hospitals.asp and complete the questionnaire. We've also had to reschedule our session until next week. That means that we've extended our deadline until this Friday.

Some New Year suggestions from Stanley Corbett
Thursday, 02 February 2006 21:58 | Written by Graham Young

Lots happening at the moment in state and local politics. The stellar rise of Anna Bligh to the position of Treasurer in additional to her Deputy premier and Ministerial positions has come a surprise and possibly 12 months earlier than most people thought.. The sudden and unexpected resignation of the Logan City Council Mayor, John Freeman, came as a shock this week. John was busy with Australia Day activities last week and there was no hint of his stepping down. The reasons for his decision could be interesting. Our local battle, Forestdale versus the Queensland Rail over the destruction of local bushland for creation of a rail terminal continues. There have been some strange internal battles between QR and the EPA since 2000 over this land. My favourite subject, misplaced water restrictions continues to grow. The governments plans to place weirs and dams on rivers is doomed to failure if farmers are allowed to pump the water out before it flows to the wall. All the best for WhatthePeopleWant over the next 12 months.