Pulp mill wash-up

• The Liberal candidate for the central Tasmanian seat of Lyons, Ben Quin, has quit the party in protest over the government’s green light for the Tamar Valley pulp mill, and will run as an independent. Matthew Denholm of The Australian reports concurrence among the major parties that he will “attract only a handful of votes”. Quin was once a member of the Greens, which he later explained as a principled reaction to the joint Labor and Liberal effort in 1998 to shaft the party through changes to the state electoral system. The Liberal Party has acted quickly to install a new candidate, “transport company businessman” Geoff Page, whose father Graeme was a state MP of 20 years.

• Quin’s announcement comes off the back of Glenn Milne‘s assessment he had “badly misjudged the mood of Tasmanians” in opposing the mill. Milne quotes Liberal internal polling of 300 voters in Lyons, conducted on September 14 and 15, showing the Liberal primary vote slumping to 30 per cent from 42 per cent in 2004. By contrast, “the polling showed the vote of Liberal candidates in all other seats in Tasmania improving”. Milne observes that the August poll by EMRS also showed an improvement for the Coalition in all seats except Lyons (although this outfit’s 200-sample surveys need to be treated with caution).

• Sue Neales of The Mercury (article apparently unavailable online) sees things very differently, saying there is “little doubt” the announcement has cooked the goose of Michael Ferguson, Liberal member for Bass. This assessment is largely based on a poll conducted by Melbourne company MarketMetrics on behalf of the Wilderness Society, which showed 27 per cent of Bass voters would be more likely to vote Liberal if Malcolm Turnbull rejected the mill, while only 6 per cent said they would be more likely to do so if he approved it. Neales also quotes University of Tasmania academic Richard Herr suggesting the Greens might receive enough of a surge to deliver a seat to their second Senate candidate, Andrew Wilkie.

• Tamar Valley vigneron and anti-mill campaigner Peter Whish-Wilson is reportedly considering running as an independent in Bass, having been approached by mill opponents seeking a candidate who could garner protest votes from those unwilling to back the Greens. Whish-Wilson is described by Matthew Denholm of The Australian as “an economist, entrepreneur and Surfrider activist from a well-known family”.

• Despite its likely negligible impact, there was much reporting on the Tasmanian Greens’ announcement preferences would not be directed to Labor. What is not clear, at least to me, is whether they also plan to lodge two tickets for the Senate, so that above-the-line voters’ preferences divide evenly between Labor and Liberal.

• Former Sydney deputy lord mayor Dixie Coulton will run in Wentworth as the candidate of the Climate Change Coalition, which was founded by Patrice Newell, organic farmer and partner of Phillip Adams. Coulton was once a colleague of Lucy Turnbull, former lord mayor and wife of Malcolm, in the council’s Living Sydney party. She left the group in 2003, saying it had become “tainted” by association with Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Party, and announced she would run against Lucy Turnbull at the following year’s lord mayoral election. Turnbull ultimately declined to run and the election was won by Clover Moore, state independent member for Bligh (now Sydney).

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.

450 comments on “Pulp mill wash-up”

Comments Page 9 of 9
1 8 9
  1. Is it possible, if Howard refuses to budge, that the Leader of the Opposition can call on and approach the Governor-General to issue writs for an election? Pleading national interest? Any form on this?

  2. #183 CTEP

    “It makes absolutely no sense that all the polling shows Labor to pick up the two Tasmanian seats, but the Liberal Party’s own polling shows them holding them.”

    We mentioned this earlier in a thread where the Libs had got confident on Eden-Monaro. Our explanation then was that Steven Kaye was now working at Lib H/Q and was interpreting their internal polling with the usual adjustments he did when considering Morgan polling. It also explains his disappearance from these posts.

  3. Enjaybee… what would the reason of having a Foreign Affairs Minister be? What is the point of having embassies and diplomats?

    Derek. There would be no case for the Governor General to listen to the Leader of the Opposition before November 15 (or is it November 16?) when the 3 year term of the parliament is up. Until that time it is the right of the Prime Minister to call it at any time.

  4. I agree, Adam. I’ve yet to meet an opponent of the death penalty who believes that each country has a right to make up their own mind. If you oppose the death penalty, you oppose it because you think it is wrong.

    It’s a bit like the abortion debate. You are either for it or against it, and the circumstances don’t really matter (hence the people who don’t even believe women should be allow to abort in cases of incest, rape or an abnormally-forming foetus).

    I think it was okay for McClelland to put his own philosophical view on the table; he wasn’t stating ALP policy and healthy debate is always a good thing. His TIMING was crap, though, and I’m glad that Rudd slapped him down.

    Plenty of time for that discussion in Government. (Oops! There’s that hubris again :D)

  5. I have my own thoughts on Burma (probably agrees with yours) but protesting here in Australia will not change anything and in any case I am concerned about what happens here and in particular the hip pocket with the outcome of the election. I don’t think I am out of sync with most Australians on this. Having said that I find that in most things you say particularly re the right wing having control of the ALP I agree with.

  6. That’s right Adam you either oppose the death penalty or you support it. This it’s other countries business is rubbish. It is up to the entire world to reform these savage and barbaric acts. (Idoubt whether the savages in US can ever be reformed).
    Indonesia is an anagram for disneyland

  7. I’d also suggest that opposing the death penalty is actually quite popular in Australia. Otherwise wouldn’t it be allowed here?

  8. The trouble with that #394 Josh that you can’t be selective when it comes to the death penalty. This was always an issue in the Van Nguyen case in 2005, as his lawyers pointed out at the time. Howard was very strong in asking for Van not to be executed, but his argument was dreadfully weakened because of is support for the death penalty in the case of the Bali Bombers. Singapore argued, with some reason, that Australia had no case to criticise Singapore because of this inconsistency.

    Of course, you can argue that Van executed for drug smuggling not terrorism therefore there’s no comparison, but the point of principle still stands.

  9. [I’d also suggest that opposing the death penalty is actually quite popular in Australia. Otherwise wouldn’t it be allowed here?]

    Actually, some conservative commentators (eg, Miranda Devine, Janet Albrechtsen, etc) would love for the debate to be opened again. They believe that there is a ‘silent majority’ support for the death penalty in certain circumstances (not sure what though).

    It would certainly be an effective wedge for Labor, as their stated policy is opposition. However, it would also split the Liberals, as I’m sure the moderate wing would be quite vociferously opposed. Also, no one is really sure how the Australian electorate would react to the death penalty – it’s been gone so long, no one’s really thought about it seriously for a while.

  10. Derek, writs must be issued for an election within 10 days of the expiration of the Parliament. During this time I presume the Governor General would call on the Prime Minister for his advice, should it become apparent that the advice was not forthcoming I’d say he’d be within his powers to dismiss the Prime Minister (or caretaker PM) and appoint the Opposition Leader PM and act on his advice.

    This will not happen of course.

  11. Actually, #410 Yo Ho Ho, when surveyed a small majority of Australians favour the death penalty under some circumstances. Luckily, there’s always been bipartisan agreement not to bring it back.

  12. If Parliament expired and the PM was not forthcoming on setting out a date, the Governor General would be within his rights to issue a writ for the House of Reps for a day within the period set out under the law.

    Surely this is a good example of the reserve powers of the GG (the person not the paper).

  13. So governments should not impose trade sanctions on Burma? We should just let that all slide? I suppose apartheid was fine as well. Give me a freaking break…

  14. This is a case of the elite being right and the people being wrong. This has been the case in the UK for decades. Every poll shows a majority for the DP, yet every private members bill on it has been defeated. Even Thatcher couldn’t get her own Cabinet to support it. Generations of Tory MPs are elected supporting the DP, then are converted by the elite’s arguments against it. (This incidentally is why mediated democracy is better than direct democracy. If Athens had had an elected legislature and an independent judiciary, rather than trial by a mass jury chosen at random, Socrates would not have been judicially lynched the way he was.)

  15. Howard on Mclelland.


    [Mr Howard said the opposition leader should not blame Mr McClelland for the policy.

    “Mr Rudd’s policy is what Mr McClelland articulated last night, and I think it’s quite outrageous of Mr Rudd to try and blame Mr McClelland and also his staff, for a policy that he himself supports,” Mr Howard told reporters in Melbourne.

    The prime minister said Mr Rudd deserved to be criticised for playing the “blame game” and should accept responsibility for bad policy, as the government had on occasion.

    “The idea that we would plead for the deferral of executions of the people who murdered 88 Australians is distasteful to the entire community,” Mr Howard said.

    He said the Australian government had consistently argued against the death penalty in cases involving Australians overseas, but the issue was a matter for the countries involved.

    “Particularly when people are under sentence of death for murdering Australians, I find it impossible myself … to argue that those executions should not take place when they have murdered my fellow countrymen and women.”]

  16. You forgot to stress that this story is from West Australia’s only daily paper, which is about as objective as the Adelaide Advertiser 😉

  17. [You forgot to stress that this story is from West Australia’s only daily paper, which is about as objective as the Adelaide Advertiser ]

    I’m pretty sure that story was sourced from AAP 🙂

    But you are quite correct -pity they didn’t put Barnett’s dummyspit to Costello online.

  18. Number 420 – those quote just go to demonstrate why Howard will never count as one of “the elite”.

    A populist all the way.

  19. Frank 421

    It will probably get a run in all of Murdoch’s paper too. What McClelland has done IMO is give the Government an opportunity to portray the ALP as being soft on terrorists and we don’t want that right now. I fervently hope I am wrong.

  20. Adam at 400, I’m not confusing anything.

    The Burma point is a bit of a straw man, and I have never suggested we should not lobby other countries to reform their more barbaric policies or practices (frankly, it’s time for serious sanctions, not anodyne diplomatese). But shooting people in the street for peaceful protest is not comparable to executing convicted serious criminals following a trial. In my opinion.

    My point is not necessarily about whether or not we tell Indonesia what we think about capital punishment per se (as opposed to telling Indonesia and Vietnam what we think in particular cases – such as the Bali 9 and Van Nguyen cases).

    My point is that there are different perspectives on this matter, and I find it somewhat arrogant for people to go around saying “I oppose X on principle. If you oppose X, you must do it on principle. Failure to adhere to this is a form of hypocrisy.”

    The Chinster at 407 raised an interesting perspective. I agree, there are such issues, abortion being one, peaceful protesters being routinely shot in the street another. But it’s a question of degree and personal values. Or to put it another way, what rights are fundamental and worthy of defending in all cases, irrespective of the circumstances? It’s quite a personal question, and each person has to answer it for themselves.

    For that reason, I dislike being told (for example) that one who is truly in opposition to the death penalty has to oppose it in the appropriate manner. And anyone who opposes it in a different manner is not truly opposing it. In summary – I dislike the sanctimonious prescription of personal value judgments.

    Anyway, that’s what I think… It’s a bit off topic now so respond if you will, but I’ll restrain myself from further comment.

  21. [Frank 421

    It will probably get a run in all of Murdoch’s paper too. What McClelland has done IMO is give the Government an opportunity to portray the ALP as being soft on terrorists and we don’t want that right now. I fervently hope I am wrong.]

    It will probably backfire as the voters will say that Howard has actually encouraged the Terrorists due to Australia being involved in Iraq – so it’s a bit of a two edged sword.

  22. Adam – I’ve just read back and noticed your comment on apostrophes. I’m assuming you were beating yourself up about the week’s/weeks’ thing.

    Actually, in both cases you are right. I had an argument with someone a while ago about this – it is possessive, so the apostrophe applies.

    I recommend purchasing a copy of Eats, Shoots and Leaves, both for advice on spelling and grammar but also for sheer entertainment value 🙂

    Oh, and also for the apostrophe stickers 😀

  23. No, I wrote “Government’s urge each other to do things or not to do things all the time.” Unforgivable, considering the rude remarks I have written on so many essays and draft press releases over the years.

  24. And Howard should not recall parliament? Why? I think Rudd was close to cracking in that last week maybe one more heave is all that is required.

    If they cant get something like a position on this right are they ready for prime time (as the Americans say). Blaming the staff, puhlease!

    Compare real hunger for the top job:

    Bill Clinton famously flew back to Arkansas in the middle of the campaign season to preside over the execution of Ricky Ray Rector who when asked why he hadnt finished his final meal said “I left some for later”. It was suggested at the time that Ricky Ray had the mental age of 11.

  25. just got liberal leaflet

    Rudd,Swan L plate still learning
    Garrett extremist
    Gillard ex trade union lawyer
    plus 5 former actu leaders as ministers

    why didnt they just print


  26. Edward StJohn Says:
    October 9th, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    Blaming the staff, puhlease!

    Hmmm, yes Howard does it much better by just feigning ignorance LOL.

  27. Adam (317),

    I prefer to remember Diamond Valley as the seat I contested three times. I first met Neil Brown at an Aborigines Advancement League meeting in about 1970. He did not seem as extreme then as he is today, but that can be said of many Liberals. If they lose this year, particulalarly if the loss is of landslide proportions, they will be in great danger of consuming themselves in mutual blame. They will be facing the same sort of wilderness that Labor faced post-1955 if they do not show discipline and a willingness to ditch extremist policies like WorknotcalledChoicesanymore.

  28. Re Banks – the Libs must be trying to recruit a star.

    Let’s see, who lives in that part of town? The Waughs? Thought Stephen at least was closer to the ALP. Thorpey grew up there? Ummm, sundry other sports stars? Someone must know…

    Probably the wrong election for a star in that seat. The Libs aren’t going to win Banks any more than the ALP will win North Sydney. They’d be better off going with their usual approach for ALP safe seats – the flabby local real estate agent or Young Lib learning the ropes.

  29. I don’t think Labor will win North Sydney either, but they have a 100 times better chance than the Libs have of winning Banks, or any other Labor-held seat. If either of the Waughs is a Liberal (and one hears different stories about that), they will do better to wait until next time.

  30. “If Athens had had an elected legislature and an independent judiciary, rather than trial by a mass jury chosen at random, Socrates would not have been judicially lynched the way he was.”

    Yeah, ’cause Socrates *never* annoyed the elites.

    Really Adam, that’s one of the silliest things I’ve seen you write. :^)


  31. Stupid, stupid, stupid politics. Mr. McClelland should be beaten with one of those long Singaporean whipping canes… “dunno about capital punishment but I’ll certainly say yes to corporal punishment… Mr. McClelland… thwack… take that you fool.” As if this’ll be forgotten!

    And they wonder why Mr. Rudd is a control freak. This ill-begotten son of his ill-begotten father has given the Liberals their first home run of the year… on the eve of the election – to boot! London is too good for him! Hell! Pacific Islands is to good for him! Top of the list for replacement should the ALP win the election. By god, if there is something that annoys me about the ALP it’s this father/son – father/daughter thing that’s been going on for too long.

  32. Darryl, I have no idea what that remark is supposed to mean. The Athenian judicial system was based on cases being heard by 500-member juries chosen by lot. There was no judge, no lawyers and no appeals from its verdicts. Socrates was tried for sedition in the aftermath of a lost war and a dictatorship, when popular passions were running very high. His trial was a farce and the verdict amounted to a judicial lynching, whatever his guilt may have been, and however foolish his conduct at the trial. One of the roles of a judge is to protect unpopular defendants, including against their own foolishness. (The trial of Laval in Paris in 1945, which also involved a large lay jury, is a very good analogy. It is possible to say that someone is obviously guilty and yet insist that they get a fair trial.) My point was that “direct democracy” often produces worse outcomes than mediated democracy such the Westminister tradition gives us. The sorry history of legislation by popular inititaive and referendum in the US is another good example.

  33. Many tuts tutting St Johanned of God…..heavings and surgings for to be inclonsiness pryains telll how it in to be interests of alll votings peoples in lectern by jove

  34. Adam Says:
    October 9th, 2007 at 4:04 pm
    “If Athens had had an elected legislature and an independent judiciary, rather than trial by a mass jury chosen at random, Socrates would not have been judicially lynched the way he was.”

    I agree with Adam.

  35. Whats wrong with working for a union, ESJ, or anyone? Ive never heard a single coherent argument on the point.

    Is the scare campaign completely content-free? Im all ears.

  36. This incidentally is why mediated democracy is better than direct democracy.
    Adam 418

    Agree with that. Reflexive, passion-driven mob rule is something to be avoided.

  37. rodent sounded steve waugh out about running for politics some years ago, around the time he retired from cricket. Steve declined political option and said he would be batting for labor in any case.

    Mark Waugh is even less a political animal.

  38. Re:418 & 442

    Adam, I understand your point now but I cannot see the lesson you’re trying to draw from the trial of Socrates, the bow is just too long. You brought up the trial of Socrates in the context of elite v popular opinion, implying that elite opinion supported Socrates and had he been tried by elites (which is what an elected legislature and independant judiciary are) he would have avoided death. I think that’s badly wrong for a couple of different reasons. (I would also kvetch over some details, but that’s furthur off-topic for this thread than even I am prepared to go :^)

    You’ve expanded and modified your argument in your second comment and I don’t have much of a quarrel with what you wrote there, although I still think you’re conflating the legal/process question of ‘modern Anglo vs 400BCE Greece’ with the ‘elite vs popular’ opinion issue.

    I don’t think the trial of Socrates is a good argument for any of the points you are making. It’s a good example for unanimous vs majority jury verdicts (Socrates: 280:220 guilty of corrupting the minds of youth; 360:140 death – that must have been quite some sentencing speech he made!) but not so much for your points.

    Thanks for your considered reply,


  39. A bit late, but on the Forrest seat:

    “Mr Peart (Portlandbet general manager) said a little money had been coming in for Labor candidate Peter Macfarlane but “there’s not been one cent on the Liberal candidate, so that suggests something’s going on”.

Comments are closed.

Comments Page 9 of 9
1 8 9