Showing posts with label poll. Show all posts
Showing posts with label poll. Show all posts

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

If an Australian federal election was held today......

The sixteenth consecutive Newspoll shows the Labor Party leading the Liberal-Nationals Coalition.

This time by 53 to 47 per cent on a two-party preferred basis calculated on the preference flow at the July 2016 federal election.

The primary vote in this latest poll was: Coalition 36​ (​+1) Labor 37 (+1) Greens 9 (-1) One Nation 9​ (-2) Others 9 (+1)

The survey of 1,677 voters, taken between Thursday 20 July and Sunday 23 July 2017, has a margin of error of 2.4 per cent.

As the two party preferred percentages for Labor and the Coalition have remained unchanged for the last five Newspolls this is what the Australian Parliament might look like:

Swing percentage is based on most recent data from Newspoll on a two party preferred basis
and represents changes in seats for the Coalition and Labor Party only. Data source: Newspoll
The Australian, online, 23 July 2017

Friday, 30 June 2017

June 2017 and another disappointing Newspoll for Turnbull & Co

Political strategists in both the Liberal and National parties must be wondering what else they can possibly do to swing opinion polls in the Coalition's favour.

Terrafret isn’t working its magic as strongly as before, welfare bashing no longer draws the big crowds and, budget measures can’t disguise the general lack of policy direction.

The Australian, 26 June 2017:

The survey of 6843 voters from April to June shows Labor has a commanding lead over the ­Coalition of 53 per cent to 47 per cent in two-party terms at a ­national level and in every state except South Australia, where it has an even bigger advantage……

Support for Labor has increased from 39 to 42 per cent in Western Australia on first preferences in the past quarter, adding to a trend over the past year to make this one of Labor’s strongest states, compared to being one of the weakest at the last election.

While Labor’s primary-vote support in WA has surged almost 10 percentage points since the July election, the Coalition’s support has fallen by nine percentage points to 40 per cent……

The Coalition’s primary vote in Queensland has fallen from 43.2 per cent at the last election to 33 per cent in the quarterly Newspoll survey, the biggest slump in any state for the government.

While Queensland voters shifted against the government in the six months after the election, the Coalition’s support in South Australia remained steady until ­December and then fell from 35 to 29 per cent in primary terms……

The rise of One Nation has eroded the Coalition’s support in most states while Labor has tended to hold ground or slightly increase its appeal in each battleground, with its primary vote rising from 34.7 per cent at the election to 36 per cent in this quarterly Newspoll, unchanged from the previous three months…..

Friday, 28 April 2017

SENSIS: small business support for Federal Government lowest under Turnbull at -2 points

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 Medianet Release

28 Apr 2017 5:00 AM AEST - Business support for Federal Government now negative; lowest under Turnbull

Business support for Federal Government now negative; lowest under Turnbull

28 April 2017: Support for the Federal Government among small and medium businesses (SMBs) has fallen into negative territory and to the lowest level since Malcolm Turnbull took over as Prime Minister, according to the latest Sensis Business Index (SBI) survey.

The net balance fell four points this quarter (+2 to -2). This score is calculated by comparing the number of SMBs that feel supported by the Federal Government's policies (14%) to the number that do not feel supported (16%).

Sensis Chief Executive Officer, John Allan said: "After Malcolm Turnbull took over as Prime Minister in 2015 we saw confidence in the Government rise, with businesses telling us they were optimistic about the change."

"Since then the Government's approval rating has fallen nine points and is 20 points lower than the highest score we saw under Tony Abbott, following the pro-business Federal budget of 2015. To find a lower score we need to go back to the March 2015 survey, which was taken after Tony Abbott had survived a leadership spill.

"While perceptions of the economy remain strong, less than one in seven businesses have faith in the Government's policies, with the biggest concerns being excessive bureaucracy and red tape, as well as there being too much of a focus on the interests of big business," he said.

The Index, which reflects the views of 1,000 small and medium businesses from across Australia, also revealed that despite a tough quarter for the Government the long term projections for the economy have improved to their best level in 2 ½ years.

"Perceptions of the current state of the economy fell slightly, but when we look further ahead businesses are feeling the most optimistic they have been since the carbon tax was repealed in 2014," said Mr Allan.

The net balance score for current perceptions of the economy now sits at +2, while the expectation for the economy in a year's time have risen to +10.

"When we look at the key indicators, sales, employment, wages and prices are all positive, while profitability has also improved, despite still recording a negative score. When you mix these results with the fact that business confidence remains at one of the best levels we've seen in the past seven years, it's not surprising to see the long term economic sentiment improve," said Mr Allan.

"Businesses are expecting a solid increase in prices this quarter, which may give inflation a push, helping the Reserve Bank to justify a rate hike at a time when everyone is keenly watching their every move."

In terms of business confidence there was a two point fall nationally, with the score now sitting on +44, which is the second best result since March 2010.

Across the states and territories only ACT, Tasmanian, Queensland and NT businesses became more confident, while WA businesses maintained their score, and the other state and territories went backwards.

"The results were fairly flat this quarter, although the ACT saw an 18 point spike and now sits in top spot – driven by strong sales results – in the first full survey taken since the ACT election," said Mr Allan.

"In a sign of what was to come, the WA Government's score fell as it headed towards the election loss, with SMBs reporting concerns the Government was too focussed on the interests of big business."

At an industry level there were mixed results in terms of business confidence, with seven out of 10 industries going backwards this quarter. The three sectors that improved were Health and Community Services; Building and Construction; and Retail Trade.

"We saw big declines in confidence in the manufacturing and hospitality sectors this quarter driven by poor sales results, with manufacturing really struggling compared to the other industries. Fortunately, expectations are for an improvement in sales this quarter," said Mr Allan.

Comparing metro and regional results, there was little change this quarter, with metropolitan businesses again more confident, now by a slightly reduced margin of seven points (+47 vs +40).

"Overall more businesses in the capital cities are feeling confident and it comes down to their perceptions of the economy. They believe the economy is travelling well, whereas more regional business owners feel pessimistic," said Mr Allan.

The full report and video summarising the report are available at

Video grabs featuring Sensis CEO John Allan analysing the ACT results available for download here:

Images and infographics available for download here:

Distributed by AAP Medianet


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© Australian Associated Press, 2017  

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Turnbull Government not exactly charging ahead in latest Newspoll - which is unlikely to foster calm and considered decision making on the part of the prime minister

These polling numbers represent a dangerous period for the people of Australia.

We already have Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull quickly popping over to a war zone this month for a photo opportunity in a flak jacket (left) and he is scheduled to meet with President Trump on 4 May 2017 to talk about the Korean situation, China and whatever thought bubble is exercising the U.S. president's mind at the time.

No prizes for suspecting Turnbull will offer more support for Trump's attempt to force a breakdown of the almost 64 year-old military armistice agreement between the United Nations and Korean People's Army & Chinese People's Volunteers and, a recommencement of the hostilities with North Korea.

After all, becoming a war leader is almost always good for polling numbers - at least in the first heady rush into combat - and both Turnbull and Trump have persistently low voter satisfaction levels which neither can currently shake off as well as unhealthy budget deficits and/or public debt levels*.

Both the U.S. governing Republican Party and the Australian governing Liberal-Nationals Coalition go the ballot box again in 2018, with mid-term elections for the U.S on 6 November and a general election in Australia anytime from 4 August 2018 through to 18 May 2019.

* In January 2017 the US Government budget deficit was an est. US$559 billion and public debt stood at est.US$14.8 trillion. While the Australian Government budget deficit stood at est. AUD$42.5 billion and public debt at AUD$323.8 billion net

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Turnbull Government's $75 & $125 bribes appear to have earned it nothing but falling poll numbers

The announcement of a one-off payment of $75 to singles and $125 to couples who receive the aged, disabled and carers pensions to cope with a predicted rise of $78 in the average household electricity bill from June this year, along with a promised loan to the SA Government for construction of a solar thermal power plant and a feasibility study for a north-south gas pipeline, in exchange for company tax cuts for businesses with up to $50 million annual turnovers – has not produced a happy bounce in the polls for the Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government led by Malcolm Turnbull and Barnaby Joyce.

This Newspoll was conducted between Thursday 30 March and Sunday 2 April 2017.

The Australian, 3 April 2017:

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The Turnbull Government may strike a pose each and every day - that won't change the mood in the electorate

Right now the political colour of Australian government is Liberal-Nationals 3 (Federal, NSW, Tas) to Labor 6 (ACT, NT, Qld, SA, Vic, WA).

The Turnbull Government next goes to the polls at a federal general election sometime between 4 August 2018 and 18 May 2019.

Before then Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania face the voters again at state elections.

Between August 2018 and May 2019 News South Wales and Victoria also have elections.

While the Northern Territory doesn’t have to think about a state election again until 2020. [Australian Parliament website, States and territories: next election dates]

The Liberal and Nationals political fight for voters hearts and minds is going to be fierce and is likely to be nasty given they have so few allies at state government level.

This is what they have to overcome to regain the electorates confidence in both tiers of government - their own entitlement culture, a predilection for budgetary cost cutting at the expense of the poor and vulnerable which smacks of class warfare, an ideological straightjacket hampering vital national policies and open hostility to ordinary wage earners.

Social media is beginning to draw all these strands together………….

The AIM Network, 18 March 2017:

Sally McManus is the hero of workers. Turnbull is welcome to try to villainise her, but in doing so, he’s only making himself the enemy.

In her first television interview as head representative of people who work, McManus was involved in what media-insiders call a ‘gotcha moment’. Courtesy of the get-me-a-gotcha-moment-in-place-of-any-useful-political-analysis-queen, Leigh Sales. In their version of events, McManus was in hot water for backing the safety of workers at any cost, even if that cost is breaking laws designed to help employers shirk any responsibility for protecting people who work for them.

Right wingers squealed in delight when Sales drew supposably controversial comments out of McManus so early in the piece. The attacks came thick and fast from all the obvious places, including many journalists, who tut-tutted about law-breaking as if the law-breaking in question was home invasion or carjacking. Even those from Fairfax, who were more than happy to illegally strike in protest at their own colleagues being sacked, apparently can’t see the irony of criticising workers who do the same thing when a colleague is killed. Christopher Pyne, jumping on McManus like a seagull on a chip, called on her to resign. Turnbull, grasping for something to divert from his own failures, said he couldn’t work with her.

A year ago, this whole episode would have been yet another predictable, not worth mentioning, union bashing media-beat-up. But things have changed in the past few months. People have woken up to wealth inequality. Australia saw this wake up contribute to Brexit and the election of Trump. Closer to home, we’ve had One Nation pop up in Turnbull’s double dissolution, only to be over-egged and come crashing back down in the WA election, where, lo and behold, Labor achieved an 8% swing in their primary vote without any help from minors.

Throughout this time, Turnbull’s government continues to be a mixture of insipid do-nothing indecision, scandal and destruction, infighting and chaos, ideological bastardy and economic incompetence while they sidestep from one policy disaster to the next. Amongst the attacks to Medicare, the undermining of welfare through the Centrelink debacle, the failure on energy policy, the distractions from fringe fundamentalists such as anti-marriage-equality and repealing hate-speech laws, there is one policy which stands shiny and red as the most detestable, a pimple on a bum of failure: an attack to wages through a cut to penalty rates. This decision was the nail in Turnbull’s coffin. Commentators and Federal Liberals can claim all they like that the electoral result in WA was a result of local issues. But there is absolutely no doubting that a cut to wages saw voters melting off Liberals like sweat from Turnbull’s, and Hanson’s brow.

Let’s get something clear. Wages are the central concern of the electorate. Yes, most of us have other concerns, including climate change, education, healthcare, infrastructure, housing affordability, energy policy, immigration, just to name a few. But first on Maslow’s Hierarchy of political needs for left-wing and right-wing voters alike is an economic indicator which is being felt personally in homes from Broome to Launceston, from Townsville to Bankstown: record low wage growth. To put it bluntly, workers aren’t paid enough for the productive labour they contribute to the economy. There is plenty of money being made. It’s just not reaching those who create it….

Read the full article here.

And polls are showing a level of unhappiness that is hard to miss........

Essential Report, 21 March 2017:

The Liberal Party’s main attributes were – too close to the big corporate and financial interest (71%), will promise anything to win votes (71%), out of touch with ordinary people (68%) and divided (68%).
 Main changes since June last year were – divided (up 16%) and has a good team of leaders (down 9%).

The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 March 2017:

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Australians do not trust banks with their super, 7 out of 10 want a not-for-profit system, Essential Research polling reveals

AAP MediaNet, media release, 3 March 2017:

Australians do not trust banks with their super, 7 out of 10 want not-for-profit system, new polling reveals

Explosive new polling shows that when it comes to superannuation, most Australians don’t trust the big banks and over two-thirds want the system to run on a not-for-profit basis with all returns to members.
The Essential poll of 1000 people, commissioned by Industry Super Australia, has found that only 31% trust that the banks will ensure the superannuation system works in their best interest. This compares to 38% for the Federal Government; 61% for the Fair Work Commission; and 69% for Industry Super Funds.  
Consumers feel strongly that their interests should be the sole focus - 70% believe all super funds should be not-for-profit with all returns to members rather than split with shareholders; just 6% disagree.
Industry Super Australia chief executive, David Whiteley, says the results send a clear message the public want superannuation to work solely in their interests and not as a profit-making opportunity for the banks’ wealth management machines.
“When it comes to super, the banks are legally required to act in the best interest of their customers; most Australians don't believe they do," said Whiteley.
“Consumers know aggressive cross-selling of advice, insurance and super is designed to boost shareholder profits rather than leave them better off.” 
“The banks’ relentless lobbying to remove consumer default protections could result in people ending up in under-performing funds and a nest egg that’s tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars short”.
“Australians have told us what they think – they don’t trust the banks and believe their culture and profit motive are at odds with the purpose of super,” said Whiteley.
It is a sentiment shared by 58% of respondents who believe the banks would use the compulsory nature of super to exploit fund members.
Two thirds of Australians agree that the banks are already too powerful and giving them more of the superannuation market would make the situation worse.
Instead 57% want a small number of high quality super funds run by trusted providers rather than a large menu of bank offerings. 
“Public opinion clearly runs counter to the banks’ efforts to change the super system to suit their vertically integrated business models. Astute policymakers will be listening,” said Whiteley.
The big bank CEOs will appear before a parliamentary inquiry this Friday and early next week. The Standing Committee on Economics’ Review of the Four Major Banks hearings are set for 3, 7, 8 March.
ASIC has recently launched court proceedings against Westpac for a 3-year sales campaign that alleges staff were rewarded bonuses for shifting customers from external super funds into a bank fund. ASIC alleges that Westpac failed its best interests duty to consumers; breached financial licence conditions and Corporations Law and failed to ensure related financial services entities provided services honestly and fairly.
Industry Super Australia provides policy, research and advocacy on behalf of 15 not-for-profit Industry SuperFunds who are the custodians of the retirement savings of five million Australians.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Narrabri Shire Council caught red handed

Clarence Valley readers might remember Narrabri Shire Council as one of those NSW local governments pushing to dam and divert the Clarence River and interested in creating a Yamba mega port.

Now they have apparently been caught red handed attempting to stack an online survey in favour of coal seam gas mining in the Pilliga area:

via @PilligaPush


Narrabri Shire Council will be forced to hire an independent reviewer, after both its general manager and mayor received code of conduct complaints for the same incident.
The complaints arose following an email sent out to all council staff, asking them to vote in a poll about coal seam gas in Narrabri.
Questions have been raised about who directed the email to be sent to staff, which council has so far ignored.
The Leader understands two councillors made a complaint against general manager Stewart Todd, after seeking advice from the NSW Office of Local Government, who informed them they were obligated to make a complaint if they believed the code of conduct had been breached.
Narrabri Ratepayers Association also made a code of conduct complaint against mayor Catherine Redding.
Normally when a code of conduct complaint is made against the general manager, the mayor would handle the complaint, and vice versa.
However, given both complaints relate to the same issue, the matter will be referred to an external independent conduct reviewer. 
Narrabri Shire Council refused to answer The Leader’s questions because of the confidential nature of the matter.
Office of Local Government documents indicate information that identifies the complainants is not to be disclosed, however, that “does not apply to code of conduct complaints made by councillors about other councillors or the general manager”.
The email in question was sent out to all council staff on February 9, implying employees should stack an online survey which asked “Do you want CSG in Narrabri?”

Thursday, 19 January 2017

How Malcolm Turnbull's approval rating compares with seven other national leaders


The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer finds that two-thirds of the countries we survey are now "distrusters" (under 50 percent trust in the mainstream institutions of business, government, media and NGOs to do what is right), up from just over half in2016. This is a profound crisis in trust that has its origins in the Great Recession of2008. The aftershocks from the stunning meltdown of the global economy are still being felt today, with consequences yet unknown.

Like the second and third waves of a tsunami, ongoing globalization and technological change are now further weakening people's trust in global institutions, which they believe have failed to protect them from the negative eects of these forces. The celebrated benefits of free trade—affordable products for mass consumption and the raising of a billion people out of poverty—have suddenly been supplanted by concerns about the outsourcing of jobs to lower-cost markets. The impact of automation is being felt, especially in lower-skilled jobs, as driverless trucks and retail stores without cashiers become reality.

We have moved beyond the point of trust being simply a key factor in product purchase or selection of employment opportunity; it is now the deciding factor in whether a society can function. As trust in institutions erodes, the basic assumptions of fairness, shared values and equal opportunity traditionally upheld by "the system" are no longer taken for granted. We observe deep disillusion on both the left and the right, who share opposition to globalization, innovation, deregulation, and multinational institutions. There is growing despair about the future, a lack of confidence in the possibility of a better life for one's family. The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer finds that only 15 percent of the general population believe the present system is working, while 53 percent do not and 32 percent are uncertain.


Essential Report
, 17 January 2017:


9 News, 18 January 2017:

President-elect Donald Trump takes office this week with dismal approval and popularity numbers, according to polls out Tuesday, underscoring the deep divisions among Americans as the New York businessman prepares for his inauguration.
A CNN/ORC poll showed 40 percent of respondents approved of the way Trump has been handling the transition period heading into Friday's inauguration, a figure that's sharply lower than any incoming US president in recent history.
Trump will enter the Oval Office as the least popular incoming president in at least four decades, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll…….
The CNN poll showed Trump lagging more than 20 points behind the approval ratings of his three most recent predecessors and 44 points below that of President Barack Obama as he prepared to enter the Oval Office in 2009.
Obama had an 84 percent approval rating ahead of his inauguration, Bill Clinton scored 67 percent approval in late December 1992 and 61 percent approved of George W. Bush's transition in poll figures from January 2001, CNN said.
Forty percent of respondents told the Washington Post-ABC survey they have a favorable impression of the incoming president, compared with 54 percent who said they have an unfavorable impression.
That makes Trump the most unpopular incoming president since at least Jimmy Carter in 1977, the Washington Post said.
Forty-four percent said Trump is qualified to serve as president, as opposed to 52 percent who said he's not qualified, the Washington Post-ABC poll said.
When asked how much confidence they have that Trump will make the right decisions for the country's future, 38 percent said they had a great deal or a good amount of confidence. Sixty-one percent said they had just some or no confidence.
The CNN/ORC poll has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points. The Washington Post-ABC poll has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.


CBC News, 16 January 2017:

Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government continue to enjoy strong support as the prime minister makes stops in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick on his cross-country tour Monday and Tuesday.
A poll released Monday by Corporate Research Associates of Halifax suggests 73 per cent of residents in Atlantic Canada are satisfied with the performance of the federal government, which is one percentage point lower than in August 2016.
The proportion of those polled who were dissatisfied with the performance of Trudeau's government was unchanged at 20 per cent. Six per cent of those questioned did not offer an opinion and one per cent said it is too soon to decide how the government is performing.
Trudeau's personal popularity stood at 62 per cent, which is down three percentage points from August.


Sky News, 13 January 2017:

Theresa May has enjoyed the longest opinion poll 'honeymoon' of any Conservative prime minister since the 1950s.
May's premiership reaches the six-month mark on Friday, during which time her party has opened up an average poll lead over Labour of 14 points.
No Tory government in modern times has been in such a commanding position at this stage of a prime minister's time in office.
But pollsters have warned that the party's performance is more a reflection of Labour weakness than Tory strength, and could crumble if Brexit negotiations run into difficulty.
The Press Association has analysed the poll ratings for every government of the past 60 years precisely six months into the term of a new prime minister.
Only one government of any political colour has beaten May's current rating: the Labour administration led by Tony Blair, which had a colossal 29-point lead in the polls six months after Mr Blair took office in 1997.
By contrast, Margaret Thatcher's government was an average of five points behind in the polls, while John Major was six points down.
The Tories were one point ahead of Labour when David Cameron reached the six- month mark.


Sputnik News, 22 December 2016:

More than 60 percent of Russians trust President Putin, with the level of confidence in the president increasing over the last months, a trust rating published by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) showed on Thursday.
According to the poll, Putin's actions as the Russian president are supported by 85.8 percent of Russians…
The all-Russian opinion poll was conducted by VCIOM on December 17-18, 2016, in 130 cities around the country among 1600 people. The maximum margin of error is no higher than 3.5 percent.


TVNZ News Now, 21 December 2016:

Support for National fell to 45 per cent at the start of December, but it's not clear if the party's leadership change had anything to do with the latest poll.
The Roy Morgan poll shows support for a Labour/Green alliance is up to 43 per cent and an election held now would have a close result, as a result of National's 4.5 per cent fall.
The poll was carried out between November 28 and December 11, covering the week before former Prime Minister John Key's shock resignation and the following week which saw Jonathan Coleman and Judith Collins contest Mr Key's eventual successor Bill English for the leadership.


The Japan Times, 18 December 2016:

The support rate for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet has tumbled to 54.8 percent from the previous month, according to a two-day nationwide poll, with over half of the respondents viewing the outcome of last week's Japan-Russia summit negatively, along with the unpopular legalization of casinos.
The Cabinet's approval rating compared with 60.7 percent in November, while its disapproval rating rose to 34.1 percent, up 3.7 points.
In the survey, conducted through Sunday by Kyodo News, 54.3 percent had a negative view of the summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin held Thursday and Friday in Japan.
Questioned about the Diet's legalization of casinos the same week, 69.6 percent opposed the law and 24.6 percent supported it.
The same survey, meanwhile, showed 75.3 percent said they would not want a so-called integrated casino resort to be built in their neighborhood and 21.9 percent said they would support one.
Kyodo conducted the poll on 1,456 randomly selected households and received 1,018 valid responses.


The Sydney Morning Herald
, 5 November 2016:

In contrast, Jokowi engineered a comeback. His approval rating stands at between 60 and 70 per cent in the various polls, close to his honeymoon highs.
And he has transformed a feeble grip on the parliament into a dominant one. His ruling coalition now enjoys 70 per cent of the seats in parliament.

Monday, 2 January 2017

While we were away.....

Some of the issues and comment which caught my attention while the blog was on annual holiday.

THE NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is investigating several trucks that were not sealed correctly before transporting waste that potentially contained asbestos.
The EPA has been closely monitoring the remediation of the former South Grafton Sewage Treatment Plant by Clarence Valley Council, in response to a number of concerns raised by the community.
Adam Gilligan, Regional Director North, said a recent inspection observed trucks leaving the site with incorrectly sealed loads. The same contractors currently under investigation are also under investigation for similar issues in the Tweed area.
"I want to make it clear that, to date, Clarence Valley Council have taken appropriate steps in managing the environmental aspects of the remediation project.”
"However, the improper transport of waste potentially containing asbestos is a serious issue that warranted swift action to prevent a recurrence.”

* Scientists in the U.S., aided by colleagues in Canada and elsewhere, are moving quickly to preserve climate data stored on government computer servers out of concern that the Trump administration might remove or dismantle the records. A “guerrilla archiving” event will be held at the University of Toronto this weekend to catalog U.S. government climate and environmental data. Other researchers from the University of California to the University of Pennsylvania are responding to calls on Twitter and the Internet to preserve data on everything from rising seas to wildfires. The actions come as President-elect Donald Trump has appointed climate change skeptics to all his top environment and energy posts. Though there has been no mention yet of removing publicly available data, “it’s not unreasonable to think that they would want to take down the very data that they dispute,” said Michael Halpern of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

* In a report sent to Planning Minister Rob Stokes, just before the latest approval, the NSW National Parks Association (NPA) estimated 29-40 million litres a day of water were entering the coal mines in and around the Illawarra Special Areas, including Dendrobium. (See map below of the Wongawilli (lower mines) and Dendrobium coal mines (upper set) sprawling between the Avon and Cordeaux Reservoirs.)

According to the NPA, the mid-range estimate is equivalent to about 10 per cent of the total daily supply taken from the Avon, Cataract, Cordeaux, and Woronora reservoirs.
"It's important to note that there is currently no reliable means of knowing how much of this water would have otherwise gone into the storage reservoirs", Peter Turner, NPA mining projects officer, said.
Those estimates, though, may be conservative because they don't include inflows that are adding to water bodies accumulating within the mines, Dr Turner said. 
"There doesn't appear to be any reporting or auditing of  water pooling in either the current or the old mines within and around the Illawarra Special Areas," he said. "It's not clear whether the Dendrobium and adjacent Wongawilli mines are staying within their water licence limits." 

@LennaLeprena @Loud_Lass @NannanBay @deniseshrivell @MGliksmanMDPhD @leftocentre Merry Xmas Boys & Girls.
* If there is one unforeseen advantage of Donald Trump's election to the seat of the US presidency, it is the fevered goodwill that has flowed into the coffers of progressive, anti-Trump, causes since.
Since the Republican nominee's election win on November 8, nonprofit organisations in the US - such as pro-choice charity Planned Parenthood - have seen a massive upsurge in donations. In the build-up to Christmas, the wave of generosity only strengthened as disappointed voters did their best to counter the President elect's dismaying policies around civil rights, including immigration and women's reproductive rights.

* The Turnbull government insists most pensioners will be better off under changes in the New Year, as Newspoll analysis shows older voters are turning against the Coalition.
The analysis of 8508 voters in surveys taken for The Australian from October to December reveals a seven-percentage-point plunge in the primary vote for the Coalition among voters over 50 since the July 2 election.
Support for the government in the largest voting demographic has fallen from 49.9 per cent to 43 per cent.
Two-thirds of the lost vote has shifted to Labor and one-third to independents and minor parties.
The dip has come as the government faces criticism over an overhaul of superannuation taxes, changes to the pension assets test and aged care reforms.

* Bill McLennan, the Australian statistician from 1995 to 2000, argues that this census is “the most significant invasion of privacy ever perpetrated” by the ABS. But it is far more than that. It is an unparalleled resource — crying out to be stolen — for our adversaries to use against us in cyber and other conflicts.
Imagine if China or Russia had a copy of this information. They would know, or easily could deduce, the names, ranks and military base of every member of our armed forces, from a general to a Digger. Indeed this would be a trivial piece of big data analytics.
Similarly, they could deduce the details of every intelligence officer, every public servant, every politician, every chief executive, every union official, every doctor, nurse and teacher, and on and on.
But it would be worse than just that because this personal data provides a highly reliable framework on which to hang other data — information that is stolen from credit card companies, telcos, retailers and so forth — to build comprehensive pictures of every individual’s strengths and weaknesses.
Such knowledge gives a strategic edge to an adversary in any conflict where information warfare plays a significant role.
It turbocharges an adversary’s information warfare capacity, particularly in the not-war-not-peace cyber conflicts that are the 21st century’s version of the Cold War.
Two obvious questions arise.
Could our adversaries steal the census? The answer to this must be yes. We know it is possible for cyber intelligence agencies to infiltrate highly protected computer systems unobserved, then locate, copy and export data, again unobserved, and then leave the system, covering their tracks as they go.
We know from US congressional public hearings that Russia and China have these capabilities.
Essentially we know that no computer system is invulnerable to determined and sophisticated attackers, despite what their owners may say. And remember that we are talking about the ABS here, with its ageing computer system, demonstrably poor cybersecurity and a clearly slack, lazy, cosy relationship with its IT vendors.
The second question is this: are our adversaries stealing the census? We have to assume that they have at least considered it.
When the idea of electronically linking names and addresses to census data was first announced a few years ago, it is easy to imagine that both Russia and China would have counted their blessings — no one else does this, only us mugs in Australia.
They immediately could have begun to reconnoitre the ABS’s computer systems while preparing to inject useful pieces of sleeper software to assist in later operations.
Beijing, as it has done in many cases in other countries, also may have considered trying to suborn or persuade ethnic Chinese employees or contractors to assist in this process.
In the cat-and-mouse game of cyber espionage and counterespionage, we have to assume that our adversaries could do these things undetected.
So it’s highly plausible that Russia and China, or both, are stealthily stealing your census — and getting away with it. I’d give it better than even money because each of these powers has the motivation, capability, opportunity and, most important, intent.

* Donald Trump's assault on trade is escalating. First the foes were China and Mexico. Now it is the world.
The Trump transition team has mooted an import tariff of 10 per cent across the board, doubling down on earlier talk of a 5 per cent tax. Such thinking is of a different character to Mr Trump's campaign rhetoric, which mostly hinted at trade sanctions to force concessions.
A catch-all tariff is a change of belief systems. It overthrows the free trade order that has been upheld and policed by Washington since the 1940s.
Congress cannot stop Mr Trump imposing his will by "executive action" under existing US law. The president may impose tariffs of up to 15 per cent for 150 days without having to demonstrate any damage. All he has to do is utter the words "macroeconomic imbalances", or invoke "national security", and he can do what he wants.
The thrust is becoming all too clear. Mr Trump's choice of leader of the White House National Trade Council is a virulent Sinophobe. Without wishing to caricature Peter Navarro, there is a relentless consistency to his work: The Coming China Wars, Death by China: Confronting the Dragon, and Crouching Tiger: What China's Militarism Means for the World.

23 December 2016

* A 27-year-old Sudanese refugee held on Manus Island has died following “a fall and seizure” inside the Australian-run detention centre.
It is understood the man, who had reportedly been unwell for several months, collapsed and suffered head injuries inside the detention centre on Friday. He was then evacuated to Royal Brisbane and Women’s hospital, where he died on Saturday.
The Guardian understands the man’s name was Faysal Ishak Ahmed. He was born in Khartoum in June 1989 and had been held on Manus since October 2013.
A source on Manus told Guardian Australia that Ahmed had been sick for more than six months and other detainees had alerted the organisation responsible for care on the island, International Health and Medical Services (IHMS), to his sitaution.
“Last night he collapsed in Oscar prison and injured his head seriously,” the source said. “It was not the first time that he had fainted. A few days ago the refugees wrote a complaint against IHMS about his situation.”
According to the Refugee Action Coalition, the letter was signed by more than 60 refugees on Manus last week.
They said he had suffered numerous blackouts and collapses over the past several months.
“Faysal is yet another casualty of the systematic neglect that characterises Manus Island and offshore detention,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesman for the Refugee Action Coalition.
A media statement from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection confirmed the death of the 27-year-old man from “a fall and seizure” at the detention centre.
“The department is not aware of any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and expresses its sympathies to his family and friends,” it said. “The death will be reported to the Queensland coroner. No further comment will be made at this time.”

DECEMBER 10-11: NSW Government planning minister Paul Toole knocks back a request from the Clarence Valley Council to fund work on its $13.5 million super depot in South Grafton with an internal loan. The council planned to use money from its water fund to cover a cash flow shortfall while the council sold off assets to raise money for the depot work.

DECEMBER 12: Brooms Head Caravan Park long-time visitors and residents are up in arms over proposed changes to the park. Clarence Valley Council has released a concept design report for the caravan park with an estimated $7.91m worth of changes, including improved amenities, a revised road layout, more cabins and a phasing out of traditional user camping sites.

DECEMBER 13: With the finishing line in sight for the re-vamped Harwood Slipway, owners Harwood Marine announce they have 18 jobs worth around $10 million on the books waiting to get started. Company managing director Ross Roberts says the slipway should re-open some time in January.

DECEMBER 14: A private motocross track on a property has created division among property owners and neighbours on Tallawudjah Creek Rd, near Glenreagh. It also split opinion on Clarence Valley Council, with Mayor Jim Simmons' casting vote needed to give the clearance for the track to go ahead.

DECEMBER 15: Some Ulmarra residents fear a Clarence Valley Council resolution which will almost certainly mean the village's community pool will close at the end of the swimming season, will mean children will swim in the Clarence River, where bull sharks have been caught.

DECEMBER 16: There is fury among South Grafton residents near the Grafton District Golf Club at a council decision which could allow the sub-division of two former holes on the course into 16 building lots. The residents had agreed to a development of nine one-acre lots and were angry the golf club changed this to 16. The council voted to accept 16 lots, but wants layout changes to alleviate residents' concerns.

DECEMBER 17-18: Chaos around the Clarence Valley as a car crashes into the Joy Noodle store in South Grafton, a man is arrested after allegedly threatening a family with a gun near Buccarumbi and a man is allegedly stabbed in the knee with scissors during the theft of his vehicle in Yamba.

DECEMBER 19: The Daily Examiner launches its Give Don't Grieve campaign urging people to take road safety seriously in response to the rising road toll in the State.

DECEMBER 20: Seventy-two tabs of what is believed to be LSD were seized during a weekend drug dog operation on the Lower River. It was one of three significant busts made by police, as they took the animals through a number of licensed premises, parks and public places around Yamba and Maclean.

DECEMBER 21: A single mother of three, Stevie Martin, thanks lady luck after a single pine tree in the front yard of her house in Ellandgrove between South Grafton and Coutts Crossing, saves her house from major damage.

A savage storm that ripped through the area ripped the roof off a neighbour's house and sent it hurtling toward her house until the tree blocked it.

DECEMBER 22: The international media comments on the seeming reluctance of the Australian judicial system to bring the men charged over the death of Maclean woman Lynette Daley to court.
A report in the New York Post, picked up by media across the USA, says racism in Australian society is behind it.

DECEMBER 23: Police say the body of a teenager girl discovered near Yamba is believed to be missing Grafton girl Emma Powell.
The body of the 16-year-old was found in a reserve with the family car and dog which went missing with her.
The dog, Indie, was taken into safety by rangers.

DECEMBER 24: The Mororo Rd turn off from the Pacific Highway has been turned into a death trap by the works to upgrade the highway say residents. The RMS is about to release the results of a safety audit of the contentious area.

DECEMBER 26: The NSW Environment Protection Authority is investigating several trucks that were not sealed correctly before transporting waste that potentially contained asbestos.
The authority has been closely monitoring the remediation of the former South Grafton sewage Treatment Plant by Clarence Valley Council.

DECEMBER 27: A Grafton man is pulled from the surf on Wooli Beach, but dies of cardiac arrest after trying to rescue to young family members.

DECEMBER 28: Details emerge of the death of 60-year-old Grafton man Geoffrey Blackadder, who died while trying to save two young family members on Wooli Beach on Boxing Day.

DECEMBER 29: Clarence Valley beaches are packed as holiday makers enjoy hot weather. But lifeguards warn there can be challenging conditions which swimmers need to be wary of.

DECEMBER 30: The death of a 12-year-old boy in a car crash on the Pacific Highway at Tyndale prompts a warning that more deaths will happen on the notorious blackspot before the highway upgrade is complete.

DECEMBER 31: News emerges the boy who died in the crash at Tyndale is a relation of Australian media icon Ita Buttrose.
See: The Daily Examiner, 31 December 2016, p.6

* In 2016, Bob Brown and Jessica Hoyt were arrested for peacefully protesting against logging at Lapoinya in NW Tasmania.
They were charged under Tasmania’s harsh new ‘anti-protest’ laws. With huge fines and prison sentences, these laws attack the right to peaceful protest, a cornerstone of our democracy. 
Governments across Australia are now copying these laws, to crush dissent on environmental, social, cultural and Indigenous issues.  
These laws must be stopped now to protect everyone's right to peaceful protest. 
Bob Brown has launched action in the High Court of Australia to overturn these draconian laws, so that Australians remain free to take a stand on important issues we all care about. 
Jessica Hoyt, who grew up in Lapoinya, now a neurosurgery nurse in Hobart, has joined Bob in the High Court action. 
This case is a huge undertaking, with an enormous financial cost. 
But we cannot allow these laws to take hold, strangling our democratic rights.  
Stand with Bob and Jessica, and make a pledge today to strike down these undemocratic laws, once and for all.  
With potential legal costs of $250,000 or more, we are aiming to crowd fund at least $100,000 towards the legal costs that Bob Brown and Jessica Hoyt could face.

A north coast environment group has lashed the Environment Protection Authority, which has issued NSW Forestry Corporation with not one cent in fines despite proof the corporation flouted its compliance obligations while felling trees at Cherry Tree State Forest, near Casino.
North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) co-ordinator and audit-author Dailan Pugh said that the EPA have identified 66 instances of non-compliance with logging laws, ‘though this belies the fact that a single ‘non-compliance’ can represent hundreds of actual breaches.’
‘From the EPA’s figures, some 325 ancient hollow-bearing trees were illegally logged, though the EPA only count this as one act of non-compliance,’ Mr Pugh said.
‘While this is the most comprehensive investigation of our complaints that the EPA have yet undertaken, they still failed to investigate numerous complaints, For example we identified that 26 vulnerable Onion Cedars had an illegal road constructed within their buffers, but the EPA only checked eight of them. Similarly of the 11 poorly drained and eroding tracks we reported the EPA only checked nine.
‘There were also numerous offences relating to koalas, yellow-bellied gliders and black-striped wallabies that the EPA confirmed but claim they couldn’t legally prove.
‘We have been finding similar breaches in all the audits we have been undertaking, year after year after year.
‘Yet the EPA’s only response is to issue 47 more “official cautions” and require yet more ‘action plans’. These pathetic responses have been proven to be useless. The Forestry Corporation continue to deny they do anything wrong and continue to go on illegally logging.
‘The EPA are still yet to complete their investigations into eight cases of illegal roading and logging of the Endangered Ecological Community Lowland Rainforest, and hundreds of cases of the Forestry Corporation recklessly damaging retained hollow-bearing trees.
‘They say that these serious offences are subject to an ongoing investigation. We can only hope that next time the punishment will match the crime’ Mr Pugh said.

* Debit cards have been returned to dozens of Aboriginal people in outback South Australia, after a local store owner drained almost $1 million from their bank accounts.
It follows a landmark Federal Court ruling last month, which found the trader guilty of unconscionable conduct.
Community groups hope it sends a message to others taking advantage of customers in remote areas.