ETU, ratepayers group rule out funding leaked poll

NOT US: The ETU's Stuart Traill, front, says the union did not fund the leaked ReachTEL poll.
NOT US: The ETU's Stuart Traill, front, says the union did not fund the leaked ReachTEL poll. Kate Czerny

IT is likely a cashed up individual, union or group commissioned the leaked ReachTEL poll on the Ipswich mayoral by-election, but the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and Ipswich Ratepayers and Residents Association have declared they had nothing to do with it.

The poll, leaked to the QT earlier this week, asked 647 residents in the Ipswich City Council area a series of questions about the upcoming August 19 election.

Speculation has naturally been rife about who may have commissioned the poll with sources the QT has spoken with suggesting either the ETU or the Ipswich Ratepayers and Residents Association.

But both parties have scuppered the speculation.

Leading ETU organiser Stuart Traill, a member of the Bundamba branch of the ALP, said the union did not fund the poll but he welcomed some of its findings which revealed 41% of those surveyed would be voting for someone new and not a current councillor.

"The polling wasn't done or paid for by the ETU but it does give a strong indication that the people of Ipswich want some new blood in local government instead of the old crew that seem to be spending more time looking after their own interests," Mr Traill said.

"The time is right for somebody fresh and keen to represent the working class interests of Ipswich to put their hands up."

Ipswich Ratepayers and Residents Association vice-president Peter Robinson, an accountant who is considering running in the mayoral race, said the organisation did not fund the poll.

"It is definitely not the ratepayers group," he said.

"It would have cost thousands of dollars to do a poll like that and we wouldn't have been spending that sort of money on something like that.

"The association is apolitical. It was formed by a group of residents and ratepayers to maybe influence the direction of the city but not to support anything political like that."

Political analyst Dr Paul Williams told the QT polling organisations such as ReachTEL and Newspoll are commissioned to do political, private and union elections, and market research, for a living.

But he said was was unlikely that a political party commissioned the leaked poll.

"My understanding is that because the standard Newspolls are so accurate and regular they would rather spend the money on focus groups which are much more valuable to them," he said.

"The union movement will do more polling than the Labor Party itself and they did that in the (Campbell) Newman years to show how unpopular privatisation was.

"That is when they start strategically leaking to wedge, to embarrass and to (influence) the media with policy agendas.

"It is just part and parcel of politics. You often find third party groups will use polls the most that are like (the Ipswich poll) because the major parties, governments and opposition have enough levers of power."

The QT asked Dr Williams about what the questions in the poll, particularly the one on the response to a candidate running on a campaign platform of a rate cut of 7.5%, suggested about who may have commissioned the poll.

"It could be a third party or a cashed up independent who is going to run on that very issue and is testing the waters and running up a flag and seeing who salutes it so to speak...and knowing the QT would run a story on it and giving it pre (election) momentum," he said.

"Then they could come in at the last minute and say 'yes, we are offering 7.5 %."

Topics:  electrical trades union ipswich election 2017 ipswich ratepayers and residents association reachtel poll

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