Exit strategy

Owing to other distractions, I have yet to remark on the fact that February 3 has been set as the date for the by-election in Peel, the Western Australian state seat left vacant after the embarrassment surrounding Small Business Minister Norm Marlborough. It so happens that Peel is entirely located within the federal electorate of Brand, held for Labor by one Kim Beazley. If Beazley has his eye on a quick exit from the political stage – which few would begrudge him under the circumstances – the irritation of a by-election would be greatly reduced were it to coincide with the state poll. This would also offer dividends for a state Labor Party that would not be looking forward to the Peel by-election, given the difficulties that have recently bedevilled the Carpenter government. Simultaneous by-elections would muddy the state-federal waters and allow state Labor to benefit from the honeymoon period that awaits the new federal leadership team, potentially limiting the extent of the swing. There may be difficulties with this scenario that I am missing – for one thing, the timing of a by-election in Brand would be dictated by the Howard government rather than Labor (though a politically inspired decision to hold it on a separate date would not win them any friends). Nonetheless, the coincidence of the Peel by-election presumably shortens the odds on Beazley calling it a day sooner rather than later.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

59 comments on “Exit strategy”

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  1. Ah cool … yeah I think that was going into the pre-1984 period though when the borders were rather different to the present (i.e. included much of present day Moore and Cowan). The size of the swing that put (and kept) Cameron in is remarkable when you consider the 1990-1993 boundary change actually made Stirling more Labor and Cowan more Liberal… the change was basically reversed in 1996-1998 and, strangely enough, despite becoming a more Liberal seat again, it flipped to Labor in 1998. Odd seat…

    Basically the western half is upper middle class with isolated rich bits and the eastern is lower with isolated poor bits, and if you do a coloured map of the area over time you can actually see Wanneroo Road plain as day as a sort of dividing line, with the suburbs of Stirling, Osborne Park and Innaloo being the only truly marginal ones.

    Les D: it’s Mandurah that any aspiring Brand candidate needs to convince, not Rockingham. Rockingham is and probably always will be Labor heartland.

  2. Hi All

    New to this site. Here’s my two-cents. Ruddock will retire/leave/whatever in 2008, along with Howard.

    I don’t believe Ruddock has a great deal of loyalty to either Tony Chappell who comes across as genuinely as imitation processed cheese or Berman who would sell his own mother to gain a seat somewhere.

    The NSW Liberal party is being ruined by a group of individuals who are consumed by their own egos and have no interest in developing meaningful policy.

    Maverick MP for Hornsby, Judy Hopwood, is a dying species. A true Liberal who actually wants to help people by working hard and making decent policy. She was only saved by the general public from being rolled by a group of right-wing nasties who I believe have agendas involving subdivisions in Dural and other pecuniary interests. One individual who I will not name is heavily involved in rolling people left right and centre, including Steven Pringle in Hawkesbury. This man calls himself a lobbyist. He is quoted in the local papers as a high-ranking Liberal, but the truth is, he is just a big-noter who sets up meetings between his customers and MPs under the guise of fundraisers. In other words, lines his own pockets while supposedly helping pollies raise funds for their campaigns.

    Watch what happens to Hornsby after the next State election….I believe these people will try to roll Hopwood again. They are determined to get their man in so that they can subdivide!

  3. Re: Update on Peel By-election 2007

    Nominations closed on Thursday 4th January.

    Ballot positions have been drawn and are as follows:

    District of Peel
    Candidate Party
    WOODWARD, Robert Independent
    TREMAIN, Brent Christian Democratic Party WA
    KETTLE, Gerard Independent
    PAPALIA, Paul Australian Labor Party
    JECKS, Dawn Greens (WA)
    COLEMAN, Graeme Liberal

    Labor’s Paul Papalia at number 5 has the slight advantage of being higher on the ballot paper than the Liberal’s Graeme Coleman at number 8.

    I noticed that Gerard Kettle, the dummy liberal candidate running as an independent took out a full page add in the local newspaper last week.

    One of my friends who lives down that way also told me that they saw Papilia our door knocking during the week.

    The Green’s candidate Dawn Jecks is running weekly community forums at one of the local pub’s as a way of canvassing votes for the election. It will be interesting to see who the Greens preferences go to.

    The only information I can find on the liberals’ campaign was a small advert in a local paper advertising a community forum with Opposition leader Paul Omodei. Surprisingly, the advert did not mention the liberal candidate Graeme Coleman.

    It makes me wonder how seriously the Liberal Party is taking their campaign in the seat of Peel. I hope for the liberals’ sake it was just a post xmas/new year’s oversight.

    Does anyone else have any info on the campaigning each party has been doing?

    In response to les d early comments on the local federal liberal candidate for Brand Phil Edman, I think you have overrated Edman’s support.

    Yes the margin in the seat of brand was reduced in 2004 from 10.1% to 4.7%, but that was on the back of Howard’s interest rate scare campaign. The demographics of Brand are such that many voters would be very vulnerable to a spike in interest rates.

    There is no evidence to suggest that such a campaign strategy would work again at the next election.

    On top of that Edman has now clocked up to drink driving convictions, a permanent stain on any candidate’s character. I hear the first time he was booked, he tried to tell the judge he had overdosed on cough mixture, lol!

    I think at the next election a labor campaigners will have a field day with his record.

  4. In reply to the Peel Bi Election and the Brand seat. There has been a major shift in movement of new residents in the area of Baldivis. As Rockingham is one of the fastest growing Citys in Australia ,the shift is more than 8% on resent statisics.
    The 4.7% margin also has alot to do with Kim Beazley with his huge name ID and creditability.With Kimbo now retiring that margin will be be even smaller.
    Edman is in the local paper most weeks doing something tangable for the community . Being local I havent seen anything much negative in the local paper.
    I guess Edman should take a lesson from the Minister for Transport Alannah Mactiernan who has lost her license twice for drink driving but is still a minister for Transport.or now(DPI)..LOL.
    Edman wasnt a member of parliament,minister, councillor or a candidate but still a silly boy ,should of taken a taxi but under Alannah’s power i hear its hard to get a taxi.LOL.
    I think the seat of Brand could become a liberal seat but I think the libs have little chance of retaining Peel.

  5. I have been given the opportunity to represent the Christian Democratic Party at the Peel by-election. The main reason I am running for election is because I have a heart to serve the people. If I didn’t, I would not be running because the price and responsibility to be a politician is far too high. Unlike the two major parties, I believe that there is no such thing as a safe seat. When a politician is elected they are there to fight for the rights and issues of their electorate, not the agendas of their own party. A good example of what I am referring to is the way that little has been done in this district by the Labor Party for the past 20 years because it has always been considered a safe seat. Another example is the way the treasurer Eric Ripper wanted to run roughshod over the public’s wishes concerning the results of the referendum for extended trading hours. He has done another complete back flip however, but only because he realised that it could be detrimental to the Labor campaign at the upcoming election. Yet another double cross is the introduction of a trial on daylight saving when it has already been trialled in the past and rejected by several referendums. The Liberal Party’s track record is no better for other districts and when they have held balance of power at other times. When will both the Labor and Liberal parties realise that they need to respect the results of their own referendums and the public’s wishes. It is insulting and shows a complete lack of respect to the people of Australia to disregard the public’s opinion when it has been asked for.

    At the upcoming by-election for Peel, if I am elected, I pledge that I will make a difference in Peel. I will lobby for and introduce private members bills to:

    1. Consider all legislation in the light of the impact it will have on families.
    2. Abolish stamp duty (as the Labor Government promised with the introduction of the GST) on the purchase of owner occupied homes because with prices being so high now, it is nearly impossible for a young person to enter the market.
    3. To strengthen existing legislation so that those who destroy or deface property are subjected to community work and to the restoration of the damaged property. This would include graffiti offenders.
    4. For increased funding towards training allowances for small and medium sized businesses. As a small business owner, the major barrier of employing labourers and teaching young people skills is the cost of training. I have found particularly in the building trades area, that on every occasion the worker has left after being trained, because they can see the opportunities that exist if they go out on their own and they can earn far more money. This wouldn’t be such a problem if the cost of training was covered by the Government. To train just one person costs literally thousands of dollars because they are unproductive whilst they are being trained and furthermore, the person who is training them is considerably less productive. This is one of the main reasons we are suffering a skills shortage.

    If you are interested you can find out a lot more about me and what I stand for on my web site. A link has been posted by Poll Bludger next to my name in the list of candidates for this Peel by-election.

  6. I note that Phil Edmunds (who has been pre selected for Brand Fed. elections) or Smiley Phil, as the Libs call him, does not have the full support of his party.

    I cannot understand that a political party puts somebody up to represent them in the Fed. Parliament (if he manages to get in). The party seems to be divided and losing good members. Surely you must have all the confidence in the world, have respect and would walk on hot coals for your pre-selected candidate. Not so for Smiley Phil. Maybe his behaviour with the drink drive charge last year, his unsureness or is it financial – perhaps other candidates could not afford the costs of campaigning. Its getting like America, that the person who can afford to cough up for the campaign costs gets pre-selected. Sad indeed. There could have been somebody of better character and personality.


    It is ironic that in a long-held Labor seat such as Peel, no attempt appears to be made by the ALP candidate to convince Eric Ripper to abolish the stamp duty on real estate transactions that was promised when the GST was introduced.

    Peel is a typical mortgage-belt area; the population has increased significantly in the district in the last few years and the number of new dwellings is quite impressive.

    Housing loan repayments are now crippling young couples. In business circles, rumors are rife about a further 0.25% interest rate increase and this could be the “straw that breaks the camel’s back” in many cases.

    What is this Labor government doing about it?

    The other issue is that the ALP government in this state has done nothing to accelerate the release of residential land and fast track rezoning with the WA Planning Commission. This has created a scarcity of land supply which is good for the major developers but bad for the average family in Peel, it forces up the price of land by artificially inflating demand.

    I would have also thought that the Liberal party could have placed more pressure on this State Government to fix the problem.

    My policy and that of the Christian Democratic Party is that the following measures should be taken as a matter of high priority:

    – stamp duty on residential owner occupied real estate purchase should be abolished as the State Government’s growing surplus makes this affordable.

    – new procedures should be put in place with councils/shires and the WAPC to fast track rezoning and developers’ applications.

    – the State Government should put pressure on the Howard Government to allow the tax deductibility of home owners’ loan repayments up to a reasonable capped amount where it is a private residence not an investment property.

    – the family home should continue to be exempt from capital gains tax.

    A mortgage of $350,000 over 30 years already requires total outlays of approximately $887,000. In pre tax figures, for most people this is over $1.2M. As no tax concessions apply to housing loan repayments, the house is effectively paid nearly four times over the term of the loan.

    Owning a home is a most important goal as it provides security of tenure and offsets some of the insecurity people are experiencing with the increasing casualisation of the workforce. Tax deductions that apply to investment properties should now be extended to owner occupiers as well.

  8. Liquor trading on Sundays
    Last month, Parliament passed the Liquor and Gaming Legislation Amendment Bill 2006 which allows metropolitan liquor stores to trade now from 10 am to 10 pm on Sundays. As a result of this legislation, it also possible now to consume liquor without a meal at a restaurant.
    On the surface this seems like a harmless enough proposal however on closer examination this legislation contravenes the will of the people of Western Australia expressed at the 2005 referendum on trading hours.
    This is sufficient reason, on its own to fight for its repeal. However, my major concern is the fact that drunkeness is on the increase in our society, particularly among our younger people.
    This law sends out the wrong message to our youth by further promoting the consumption of alcohol and making it even more readily available. This consequently would not pass the test of a family impact statement to which I subscribe. Please do not misunderstand me, I am not against alcohol, but I am against the abuse of alcohol and any legislation that would make access any easier than it allready is.
    Alcoholism is a serious disease with serious consequences. According to the Health Department, in 2002 already, 88% of WA school children aged 12 to 17 years had consumed alcohol in the last year. Only one third of students felt that getting very drunk once or twice was “very dangerous” and only half associated getting drunk very regularly with high levels of danger. The average number of alcohol drinks consumed by drinkers in the week prior to the survey was 7 for males and 5 for females. Among females, the largest increase in both consumption and experimentation occurred between the age of 12 and 15 .
    I realise that these statistics are a bit old now but this worries all the more. As alcohol consumption continues to rise steadily each year, the current situation would obviously be much worse in reality.
    Naturally, the primary responsibility is with parents. If parents allow under age children to drink at home, there is nothing much we can do about it. But at least, let us not encourage it by making liquor more easily accessible and allowing liquor stores to operate for 12 hours on Sundays.
    And in view of all this, an increase in the legal drinking age may not be a bad idea at all.

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