Idle speculation: Easter edition

The much-loved Idle Speculation series will henceforth double as a vehicle for updates on preselection and other election-related action. Developments of note from the past week:

Queensland Senate (Liberal): Next Saturday, about 250 Queensland Liberal preselectors will determine who will fill the vacancy created by Santo Santoro’s departure. The person chosen will serve out the remainder of Santoro’s term, which ends in July next year. What happens then is yet to be determined. Before Santoro’s departure, the party had decided upon a ticket with Ian Macdonald at number one, Santo Santoro at number two, Young Liberals president Mark Powell at number three, and businesswoman and disabled advocate Sue Boyce at number four. The party administration is yet to determine whether the second position will be filled by promoting Powell up the order, or by holding a new preselection. Many an eyebrow was raised last weekend when Powell withdrew from the race to fill the short-term vacancy, instead throwing his support behind former state party leader Bob Quinn (who reportedly has the support of the Prime Minister). This was despite Powell’s links to the Santoro faction and its traditionally strained relations with Quinn. The Gold Coast Bulletin reports speculation that "the Santoro mob have withdrawn their candidate and opposition to Mr Quinn so they can regroup before the federal election to push Mr Powell into the No. 2 spot, hoping Mr Quinn’s popularity, if he is a Senator then, would be enough to launch all three into the Senate from the third position". A further motivation might have been a desire to thwart Sue Boyce, the favoured candidate of state party leader Bruce Flegg. Flegg’s "western suburbs" grouping played a similar spoiling role against Powell last year when it blocked his preselection bid for Quinn’s old state seat of Robina, by shifting support from its own candidate to the unaligned Ray Stevens. Other candidates for the Senate vacancy include Ted O’Brien, chairman of the Australian Republican Movement; David Moore, staffer to Longman MP Mal Brough; and Doug Young, a lawyer "specialising in the resources sector".

Queensland Senate (Greens): Fairfax’s Brisbane Times website reports that environmental lawyer Larissa Waters is believed to have had a "landslide" win over Juanita Wheeler in last Thursday’s Greens preselection vote. Andrew Landeryou‘s sources have told him of a 300-100 margin in Waters’ favour, although Greens supporters might be inclined to take issue with aspects of Landeryou’s account. The party is "expected to make an announcement" of the result next week.

NSW Senate (Labor): The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Labor’s state general secretary Mark Arbib is contemplating a run for the Senate, contrary to earlier reports he hoped to unseat the notoriously unproductive Michael Hatton in the safe lower seat of Blaxland. It is reported that two of Labor’s winnable seats will go to incumbent Ursula Stephens of the Right and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union national secretary Doug Cameron, who has the numbers to unseat incumbent George Campbell for the position reserved for the Left. It is not clear which of the three hopefuls would take the safe first and second positions, and which would have to settle for the dubious third. Anne Davies of the Sydney Morning Herald reports speculation that Arbib’s jockeying for union support played a role in state Blacktown MP Paul Gibson’s ill-fated appointment to cabinet.

Page (NSW, Nationals 5.5%): Clarence Valley councillor Chris Gulaptis has won the Nationals preselection for this north coast seat, which has been left vacant by the retirement of sitting member Ian Causley. The Northern Star reports Gulaptis won "comfortably" with over half the first preference vote, from a field that included local doctor Sue Page, Kyogle mayor Ernie Bennett, Ballina councillor Sharon Cadwallader and radio presenter Neil Marks. The paper also reports that Labor is "at least two months" away from selecting its own candidate. Those said to be "considering" a run are Clarence mayor Ian Tiley and former state MP Janelle Saffin. Saffin was a Lismore-based upper house member from 1995 until 2003, when she withdrew from preselection after it became clear she would not retain a winnable position on the party ticket.

Dobell (NSW, Liberal 4.8%). Amid little fanfare, Health Services Union official Craig Thompson has been endorsed as Labor’s candidate to recover the central coast seat it lost to current Liberal member Ken Ticehurst in 2001.

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.

401 comments on “Idle speculation: Easter edition”

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  1. If there is a Quinn-Powell deal, that’s great news. At some point, the party has to settle down and remember that you can only have real power by winning the election. The only drawback, other than Flegg’s discomfort, would be that electing 3 Liberals would probably mean the end of Ron Boswell, and the Nats would carry a grievance that could poison the state Coalition.

  2. It might be good news for the Liberals if they can get their act together, but I’m not sure which would be worse; the elderly redneck (Boswell) or the deranged Young Liberal (Powell).

  3. Question for everyone, do you think there is an advantage in having lots of candidates (six) in a senate group so that you dominate the ballot paper by being taller than the other groups ? even if there is no realistic chance of anyone but the first candidate being elected ?

  4. Yes there is Speaker. I was 5th on a Vic 06 ticket. The reason was that even though I cant win, people who trust me know who I would like them to vote for. I had to withdraw for health reasons, but I was told they voted differently because of my replacement.

    But this probably only works if there are people who know you dont know who you support. For instance, I doubt people who know Adam dont know he supports the ALP.

  5. Has anyone in South Australia heard if the Dems or FF have elected their candidates for Wakefield Makin or Kingston?

  6. Dave C said

    But this probably only works if there are people who know you dont know who you support. For instance, I doubt people who know Adam dont know he supports the ALP.

    Does Adam support the ALP????? I thought he supported the CPA or at the very least the SA

  7. Call it a marriage of convenience then, Bill. The ALP will give you a little of what you want, without pandering to your excesses,and while it won’t be great sex, it will be tolerable. The Libs will abuse you , give you nothing, screw you senseless and eventually destroy your soul.

    Take your pick, there is no other suitor.

  8. Landeryou has no sources. He makes crap up and defames anyone he can. You might want to choose better sources, like anything else on the internet really.

  9. What a load of rot Daniel! Landeryou runs one of the best and most insightful political sites you will find. Landeryou over the years has proven himself to be streets ahead of every other gasbag on the net that think’s he/she has the inside word. His reports on the machinations of the Victorian ALP and Liberal Party for instance often lead to the mainstream media picking up the issues. Landeryou’s combative style might not suit everyone – just remember he is someone who is simply someone that gives no quarter but asks for none in return. Keep up the great work Andrew!

  10. I agree Daniel.
    Landeryou also says that the Greens will probably have the BoP after the election. Much as I wish this to be true, its impossible.
    The other thing I don’t understand is how a Victorian ALP muckraker could possibly know anything about QLD Greens internal matters when a lot of them dont yet know the result.
    As for his allegations about “supplementing” ballots, he is the expert there, having done it numourous times at Uni.

    Wouldn’t exactly call Wheeler a heaveyweight, although Drew Huttun is, yet isn’t mentioned. Anyone care to guess why the apparent go to guy in QLD has not even run?

  11. I dont know if William can or would even want to but maybe there could be a area for contributors pics so we know who we are all talking to. Just an idea.

  12. bill, one of the many reasons I left Wikipedia is that its policy of allowing anonymous editing makes it far too easy for people to be slandered by irresponsible anonymous editors. I am now involved with a new encyclopeadia project, Citizendium, which requires contributors to edit under their real names. This greatly reduces the level of anonymous abuse and slander. Given the behaviour of “Isabella” and one or two others, I think William should introduce a similar policy here. I take full responsibility for everything I say here, and so should everyone else.

  13. Adam, all it says is that Drew hid where funds where coming from. You seem to miss the point that this is more then a bit hypocritical since the ALP, Libs and Nats have been doing the very same thing nationwide for at least 20 years.

  14. Brandis alleges firstly that Hutton was willing to take money from property developers while pretending not to, and alleges secondly that he conspired to evade the disclosure requirements of the Electoral Act. It’s hard to construe the minutes he produced at the hearing any other way.

  15. He was the lead Green Senate candidate in Qld in 2004, and also ran in 1993 and 1998. In 1995 as leader of the Qld state Greens he did a preference deal with the Coalition that helped that well-known friend of the environment Rob Borbidge to win the state election. In exchange he got Liberal preferences in Mt Coot-tha but still couldn’t win it.

  16. Kalgoorlie’s Labor Party pre-selection is basically a two-horse race between Paul Robson (unaligned) and Sharon Thiel (Left). The Kalgoorlie branch is firmly behind Robson who has a high profile. A decision is expected by April 24.

    Robson would pose a bigger a threat to Liberal Barry Haase.

    The outcome will largely be decided on whether Labor can sell its alternative policy on IR. WA has the highest rate of AWAs in the country and many of these are in the Kalgoorlie electorate.

  17. Another interesting contest to watch in WA is the Senate. The Nationals have selected a high-profile candidate in Tony Crook, who used to be state chairman of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. He is well known in the Goldfields.

    He has been in close contact with Barnaby Joyce, who Kalgoorlie Liberal MP Barry Haase famously labelled “Barnaby Joke”.

  18. Like Adam, everyone I write is under my own name.

    Drew Hutton has been involved in Green politics for a long-time. I first became aware of him when he ran for the Lord Mayoralty of the Brisbane City Council in 1991 when Jim Soorley was unexpectedly elected. In that election Hutton received about 10% of the vote. Since then, he’s run in a number of elections and came closest to being elected to a position in the last Senate election.

    In the 1995 Qld state election, Hutton received about 25% of the vote in the seat of Mt Coot-tha, coming third behind the ALP and Liberal candidates – this is (to my knowledge) the best result for any Greens candidate in any seat in any Qld state election. (My impression is that Mt Coot-tha would be one of the few seats that the Greens would ever have a realistic chance of winning.)

    I know nothing about any deals Hutton did on behalf of the Greens with the Coalition before the 1995 election. I just want to mention that many Qld’s at that time were very unimpressed with the Goss govt and were hoping that the opposition would be reasonable – there was a big swing in Brisbane to the Coalition, delivering a few seats and bringing a few otherwise Labor seats to the edge of being won by the Liberals (eg Ferny Grove and Everton). Many Greens voters were mightily unimpressed with the Goss government and were wondering if the opposition could be worse.

    Of course, how the coalition performed in govt is another matter – but I thought I’d just describe the mood in Queensland before the 2005 election.

  19. A right-wing Green? Is there such a thing? I don’t know what his views are – I only know about his behaviour. If you read the committee Hansard I posted you will see what an embarrassment he was to Bob Brown. Brandis, who is a very smart lawyer, chopped Brown up.

    The last high-profile Senate candidate the Nats ran in WA was Hendy Cowan, a former Deputy Premier, who polled 2.3%. The Nats just don’t seem to have a base in WA any more.

  20. It’s make or break for the Nats in WA at state level with one-vote one value. Brendon Grylls has taken them down the independent path which was successful for Peter Ryan in Victoria.

    The demographics are different though and I think he has a tougher task.

    Crook’s performance in the Senate will be a good indicator. I think he’ll do better than 2.3%.

  21. Sasha, I don’t dispute that the Goss govt was on the nose and would probably have lost anyway, or that the southeastern freeway was a very bad idea politically. The fact is however that Hutton did do a preference deal, in the full knowledge that this would help the Qld Nats, with their well-known utter disinterest in environmental issues (not to mention all their other crimes), back into government.

  22. Has there been a WA state redistribution yet under the new Act? How many seats are the Nats (or the Libs for that matter) likely to lose?

  23. The state redistribution is yet to be announced. William would know more, but it will be a tough contest between the Nats and Libs in several areas, including Paul Omodei’s seat.

    In my area Nats leader Grylls (Merredin) will probably have to face up against popular Liberal MP Graeme Jacobs (Roe).

  24. Adam, I wasn’t wanting to discuss the preference deal (which wasn’t all one-way and helped Labor retain the extremely marginal seat of Whitsunday) – it is true that they did do some sort of preference deal. I wouldn’t be surprised if another such deal would be anaethema for at least 10 years unless the Qld Labor govt goes very bad indeed, due to people’s memories of the preference arrangement in the 1995 election.

    I think that Labor would have won the 1995 election if the koala tollroad hadn’t been proposed, as the tollroad acted, politically, as a symbol for what people thought was wrong with the govt. If the tollroad hadn’t been proposed, the swing against the govt would have been less, and it’s possible that not all of the four seats in the tollroad’s area (Springwood, Mansfield, Redlands and Albert) would have been lost. These seats had only been won by Labor in ’89 and were, to my memory, marginal (Mansfield and Albert certainly were) – but it’s quite possible that Springwood (held by then-Environment Minister Molly Robson) and/or Redlands would have been held by Labor if the tollroad hadn’t been proposed.

  25. Adam said

    A right-wing Green? Is there such a thing?

    The Greens would be the most multi dimensional of all the parties

  26. Re Anonymity:
    One of the many pleasures of this site is hearing the inside goss and an insistance on identification will cause the loss of this as people will be unwilling to identify themselves as a source.
    I do not think identification will prevent slander and slagging. We have the recent example in the NSW topics where a poster who identified himself was guilty of fairly gross examples of both.

  27. Andrew Landeryou’s blog is a fantastic read. I’d recommend it to anyone.

    Who can forget his excellent victorian election coverage ? Better by far than the media, and his count updates were spot-on and ahead of the VEC and MSM by hours.

    He actually wrote an article about me/my site once where he implied I have mental problems and am an idiot savant, however all the insults were backhanded compliments and it was good for my traffic.

  28. To clarify your comments on Dobell: Craig Thompson has announced he will be a candidate for ALP preselection at an odd little press conference. He has not been preselected.

    He moved from Melbourne to the Central Coast with the sole aim of becoming the Member for Dobell. He couldn’t stomach living with the plebs in Dobell, however, and moved to a more swanky area in nearby Robertson. He then set about creating a dodgy group “Coastal Voice” to supposedly represent the community and sent out glossy brochures and staged media events for some time to lift his local credentials. Many local preselectors aren’t so impressed with his style however, and he has upset a local branch by trying to join and heavy the executive despite being ineligible (ie not living in the electorate).

  29. Methinks Terrigal Lad is an embittered ALP branch member. Surely Craig Thompson couldn’t be worse than any of the other candidates Labor has been putting up Federally on the coast (Belinda Neal, Trish Moran, and whoever ran for Dobell last time). I mean who else are you going to nominate…. Daniel Cook?? Jamie Clements??
    LOL big time.

  30. Not embittered Jack! Just a parochial (like most Coasties) connected ALP supporter local reporting back the goss. I don’t know that he’d be better or worse than the people you’ve mentioned, but I don’t think locals would stomach another unionist, and a carbet-bagging unionist at that. It was David Mehan that ran last time in Dobell – a union official.

  31. Terrigal lad, I think you are mistaken. The NSW preselections are being done at head office this time, not by local preselectors. Nominations for Dobell closed on 4 April and it appears that Thompson was the only nominee and was thus duly selected.

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