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Jul 22, 2014

Essential: MH17 diplomacy sparks turnaround for the Coalition

Latest Essential poll shows first substantial Coalition gain since the politically disastrous budget, while women remain disengaged with super.


Tony Abbott’s forceful handling of the MH17 tragedy has sparked the first substantial recovery in the government’s polling for months, according to today’s Essential poll.

While Essential’s rolling two-week voting intention average has Labor still leading 52-48 (Coalition up one point to 39, Labor down a point to 39, others level), its numbers from last week, from responses mostly in the aftermath of the shooting down of MH17, show the government moving to trail Labor by just two points, 51-49 (with the Coalition on 40% and Labor on 36%). The results reflect the media consensus that Abbott has handled the tragedy, which claimed the lives of 37 Australians and Australian residents, well. The government has struggled for months to recover its standing with voters, after a politically disastrous budget that left both the Prime Minister and Treasurer Joe Hockey damaged.

After the first parliamentary sitting of the Senate elected in the last election, voters are ambivalent about the role played by the Palmer United Party. Twenty seven per cent of voters say they have more confidence in Parliament with the Greens holding the balance of power, compared to 22% who have more confidence with PUP holding the balance of power. However, 36% say the election of micro-parties to the Senate is good for democracy, the same figure as October 2013, with 28% saying it’s bad for democracy. Unsurprisingly, Coalition voters are more inclined to view it negatively, while Greens and Labor voters see it as a positive.

And despite the recent focus on financial planning scandals and the government’s repeal of consumer financial advice protections, Australians are still disengaged on their retirement incomes: 45% say they pay “not much” or no attention at all to their retirement income (compared to 42% in March). Women are particularly disengaged, with 48% saying they pay little or no attention, compared to 43% of men. Under 35s are also, predictably, uninterested (59%) but even 43% of 35-54s profess little or no interest.

Industry funds are the most common form of superannuation fund, with 39% of voters saying they were in an industry fund, compared to 19% who were in a retail fund and 9% who were in a self-managed fund (15% said they didn’t know). Men are slightly more likely to be in retail or self-managed funds. Self-managed fund holders professed the highest satisfaction with their fund performance: 92% of SMSF holders said they were satisfied with the performance of their fund, compared to 80% of industry fund clients and 77% of retail fund clients. Twenty eight per cent of retail fund clients said they had no idea how much they were paying in fees to their funds, compared to 41% of industry super clients; women were more likely than men to not know, 44% to 36%, and over half of under 35s said they didn’t know.


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26 thoughts on “Essential: MH17 diplomacy sparks turnaround for the Coalition

  1. paddy

    I somehow doubt it’s more than a brief spit into the wind for Abbott. The grovelling and carry on in the Murdoch press appears to think he’s finally turned the corner and we’re now witnessing the second coming.
    Dogs bollocks.
    He’s still the same clueless fool he always was.
    Plus the coalition are no closer to getting traction with their budget and the punters still loathe it.

  2. Peter Watson

    The tragedy has been an absolute windfall for Abbott and he has milked it for all its worth.
    The Dutch and Malaysian delegations have been and gone. The Malaysian delegation have the black box flight recorders.
    The Dutch have the train load of deceased, although encountered problems because Ukraine forces were shelling the train station.

    And Tony Abbott is still blowing wind with his supository.

  3. Ron Edgar

    Whilst Abbott has been, rightfully, dogged in pursuit of answers for the MH17 atrocity and his accusations of criminality and denial of dignity to the victims of Russia and their cohort of thugs how will he rationalise the hypocrisy of his denial of dignity to refugees arriving by boat and, in particular, the 157 Sri Lankans held captive after being ‘arrested’ on the high seas of the Indian Ocean?

  4. Brendan King

    amazing how actually stupid australians are though, after everything that’s happened since the election, all the lies and deceit, not two weeks ago the coalition were one of the most reviled governments in history, now everything is forgiven because tony abbott “looks good on tv”,

    w82go straya!

  5. John Attwood

    But Abbot still makes the sort of bellicose statements that are de rigeur for him.
    To wit … “We want an independent, impartial investigation, but Russia is guilty of supplying these weapons” or words to that effect. Does he not see the fundamental flaw in the logic there?

  6. The Pav

    Amazing… A basicaly competent handling of a tradgedy results in an improvement.

    What Abbott has done is no more or no less than required and deserves no merit. It is just that his performance has been so bad that any time he achieves a base competency he looks good.


  7. The Pav

    I note Abbott intends to hold Putin to his word……Pity he doesn’t apply the same standard to himself

  8. Chris Hartwell

    Bali was just the warm-up it seems.

    Abbott VS Putin, ROUND TWO!

  9. Flickknifetipsy

    It’s easy to play the role when the script and the format has been around for Prime Ministers to use ever since the first Prime Minister appointed! Abbott is very like Putin so a lot of what he says is just the pot calling the kettle black.

  10. Yclept

    The sheeple certainly can’t be fooled! Can they?

  11. klewso

    Is Brisbane big enough for Putin’s, Abbott’s and Newman’s egos?

  12. klewso

    And to think what Scrott Morriscum made of the cost of those refugees attending those funerals a couple of years ago?

  13. CML

    If Essential’s poll is showing an improvement for Abbott/LNP, then they would be the only one!
    The Nielsen poll, published in the Fairfax press yesterday showed the exact opposite. And judging by the comments here in Crikey, there is NO support for the Essential findings.
    Back to the drawing board, Crikey!!!

  14. Nomad

    Well done PM and Julie. A pity that you direct the same aggression at the taxpayers.

  15. Trog Sorensen

    And now we have, courtesy of the Abbott spin team, Operation Bring Them Home.


  16. fractious

    I await Tony Abbott’s “diplomacy” in resolving the Ukraine/ Russia conflict that led to the loss of MH17. Moreover, the continuation of his great and glorious leadership of our land following his equally “forceful handling” of the Palestine/ Israel conflict (all the while brushing aside the blandishments of A-G Brandis and his footling concerns with freighted, pejorative terminology) is inevitable, Shirley.

  17. Bobalot

    This article is ridiculous.

    How is a one point increase in the primary vote (which is within the margin of error)demonstrative of anything?

  18. Andrea

    I’m always fascinated by these persons polled whose opinions are apparently so fragile they can be moved by one event. It’s still the same rotten Tony Abbott, people!

    In this case Abbott reminds me of George W. Bush after 9/11. Up till then he had been doing badly in the polls, but then his approval rating rocketed, which unfortunately bolstered him into declaring war on Iraq.

  19. pinkocommierat

    Because only hypocrites play politics with the lives of innocents.

  20. JMNO

    I am not as anti Abbott’s performance on this one as others are. The Europeans often shillyshally around and end up doing something too soft too late. Abbott with his love of male sports in close-fitting or minimal clothing has a bit in common with Putin (but even I wouldn’t say that he is as awful as Putin) and one political bully standing up to another will probably be quite effective.

    Julie Bishop, though, seems to be doing a good job. She is hardworking and conscientious.

    Perhaps Abbott is hoping that this will be his Falklands moment. Maggie Thatcher’s abysmal poll ratings turned around after she declared war on Argentina over the Falklands and she went on to stay in power for several years.

  21. Graeski

    Isn’t it wonderful to see our Prime Minister standing tall on the bodies of the victims of MH17?

  22. klewso

    It’s working better than his MH370 did.

  23. tonyfunnywalker

    A crime and now the coverup == he was referring to the Manus Island riots in February of ccurse — no Julie Bishop rush to PNG then- or UN resolutions — just another example of Abbott’s hypocracy and use of divesationary tactics. He used it with MA 370 disappearacne — We found it — and again – “its was Russia coupled with the usual Abbott beligerence. It is sad that in time of a crisis and tragedy is the key and where muted prudence is the better part of valor. Leadership — no opportunistic grandstanding by a beleagured PM clutching at straws.

  24. The Pav

    DEar JMNO @ 20

    Glad to read that Julie Bishop is hard working and conscientious ( although that seems a bit of the same thing) but I think you are seting the bar a little low. I would hope any senior minister would be that.

    I would like to be able to add capable, astute, adept clever etc etc but apparently you don’t see these attributes.

    Be a pity if Abbott did benefit a la Thatcher. Reelected on the bodies of dead australians seems somewhat distateful

  25. klewso

    It’s straight out of “The Political Jungle Book” isn’t it? Ch 12 “How to Ride and Elephant – so people can see how good you are ….. Step 1 : Find your elephant?”
    There was Toady in “The Morass of Poll Ordure” up to his arm pits in opprobrium and unpopularity – after being chased in there by some pups, trampling some refugees, superannuants, and other “less well connected” on the way. On the way he’d slipped in some broken promises, fumbled a MH370, stepped in a “Sloppy budget” – he didn’t even Sinodinos coming?
    Then along comes “Jumbo” ……….?
    [What’s Bishop and this government going to use their seat on the “UN Board” for, next? Go after Sri Lanka for their human rights abuses?]

  26. The Pav


    Abbott & Bishop mocked and jeered the ALP govt getting a seat on the security council. This seat is now giving them the status to grandstand


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