Phoney war dispatches: last Question Time edition

It could well be the last Question Time edition …

Dennis Shanahan of The Australian reports that the Prime Minister is “considering calling the election within three weeks”. A return of parliament on October 15 is not ruled out, but is rated “unlikely”.

• The Australian has published Newspoll’s quarterly cumulative polling, broken down into state-by-state and marginal versus non-marginal seats.

• Antony Green’s federal election guide should be in business at the ABC Elections page from around 9am. A new feature will be the election calculator showcased by Antony on Tuesday’s edition of Lateline.

• The ALP hierarchy appears to have pulled the rug from under its candidate for Cowper, John Fitzroy, by reopening nominations for the seat. This decision reflects Labor’s increasing confidence it can overhaul Nationals MP Luke Hartsuyker’s 6.6 per cent margin. It is expected the nomination will now go to “local training consultant” Paul Sekfy, who ran in 1993, 1996 and 1998 without cutting the margin below 4.1 per cent. Fitzroy was preselected unopposed in June and, according to The Australian’s Imre Salusinszky, recently quit his job with the local area health service to conduct his campaign.

Eden-Monaro has been the focus of much attention this week. Both the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader campaigned in Queanbeyan on Wednesday, where Kevin Rudd proved unable to tell a reporter much about current income tax scales. On the same day, it emerged that Liberal member Gary Nairn’s chief-of-staff Dr Peter Phelps had told Mike Kelly, decorated Iraq war veteran and Labor candidate, that his attitude to his service was that of a Nazi concentration camp guard.

Andrew Fraser of The Australian reports that the parliament’s two non-retiring independents, Kennedy MP Bob Katter and New England MP Tony Windsor, “spelt out their terms in the event of a hung parliament”. Windsor says he will back whichever party wins the most seats or, in the event of a tie, the most votes. Katter will “support the party that promises to mandate 10 per cent ethanol in petrol”. One suspects there will be more than one such party, if that’s what it comes to.

• At the end of what has been a surprisingly good week for the government, the Daily Telegraph has gone in hard against Labor on successive days, running its politics coverage under the banners “Rudd’s bungle” and “Rudd’s meltdown”.

• I’m starting to get those pesky “bandwidth about to be exceeded” emails, so readers of a generous persuasion might like to make use of the the PayPal button on the sidebar. I conservatively estimate it will cost $200 to keep the site going until the end of the month, with further bills to follow towards the end of each month until the election is held. UPDATE: I’ve received more than enough donations to cover any bandwidth requirements for this month (many thanks to all). Anyone who still wants to donate is of course more than welcome to do so, but I should not deceive anyone into thinking that it won’t be going into my pocket.

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.

206 comments on “Phoney war dispatches: last Question Time edition”

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  1. Perhaps William should set up a future fund to cover contingent liabilities that are bound to come up during the coming election.

  2. What would Winsor if it was 74-74 and both parties got the same vote?

    If it was 74-74 then Bob Katter would decide the government or be Speaker.

  3. Tom for the result to be 74-74 Labor would have the majority of the TPP vote.

    So Winsor would side with Labor. Katter as speaker would be “interesting”.

  4. Ladies & Gentlemen…

    Here we go again…
    A dark cloud has reigned over democracy in Cowper.

    As we are all aware, the injustice that my father, John Fitzroy has faced over the decision to replace him as the Candidate for Cowper at such a late stage in the campaign… is a sad reflection on democracy as a whole.

    It stands against the ethos of the Australian Labor Party – the famous statement – A Fair Go For All.

    In my eyes, the act that has been committed against my father is a hypocritical act and a very silly one indeed.

    I believed that once a candidate had been pre-selected by the people in his/her electorate,the political party would honor their decision and support their effort.

    In the case with Cowper – this evidently, did not happen.

    John Fitzroy was voted in unopposed by his branch members, he was a fresh face with a sold determination to make changes for the members of Cowper and he became the victim of political backstabbing.

    I am amazed that the people we hold in such high respect, can stoop to the maturity of 12yr old school kids, fighting over self importance and greed.

    My father has an undying loyalty to the Australian Labor Party and thankfully, can’t keep track of everything I ‘blog’ about online… I am opinionated and I need to vent.

    It’s been a crazy few weeks and the media spotlight for our whole family has been burning brightly. I thank the media for the unbiased support they have shown my father and the members of his branch.

    I am dissapointed with the decision made today by the national exectuives. Once again – I reinterate my opening line stating the dark cloud over democracy is not about to move any time soon.

    The people are angry and the people do not support the ‘new’ candidate replacing my father – who, ironically has been a victim of this ‘swapping’ candidates ordeal before and has been unsuccessful 4 times in his attempt to win the seat for Cowper.

    I can’t understand the logic in it all.

    I can’t comment any further on the issue for now. I am a person who lives by the rule ‘no regrets’ but in this case… I need to make an exception…

    Roxane Fitzroy
    Daughter of ‘dumped’ ALP Candidate for Cowper

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