Bolt from the blue

Conservative pundit Andrew Bolt has shut up shop on his prolific Herald Sun blogging activities with a cryptic “announcement from the seat of Higgins”:

Stephen Mayne has been onto this story for a while, and for once he’s close to the truth (from the linked article, written in 2006: “Maybe Bolt’s main chance will be in Higgins if Costello ultimately decided to spit the dummy and walk”). Given that I’m told he’s planning to write about this again, probably as soon as this morning, I want to say something here first before he does. This is it for the blog, at least for now. I can’t pre-empt the announcement that my local member and friend, Peter Costello, is about to make, but it would clearly be a conflict of interest for me to continue to write about politics here if I’ve privately agreed to become a player.

An April Fools’ Day joke would, of course, be highly out of character.

UPDATE: On the stroke of noon, Bolt reveals himself to be more fond of a jape than I had realised. He is however Still Not Sorry, at least with respect to me (see the third update on his post).

Other news: The chances of a rematch in McEwen have surely been greatly boosted by the disclosure that eight people in the electorate voted twice, although the case does not return to the Federal Court until May. And for those whose interest runs in that direction, Antony Green offers a post on contentious changes to electoral legislation in the ACT, which will make like difficult for independents wishing to run group tickets.

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.

360 comments on “Bolt from the blue”

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  1. Awesome! With their dreadful performances in parliament recently, he’ll be just the man the Libs need to help them give the place the proper respect.

  2. [Awesome! With their dreadful performances in parliament recently, he’ll be just the man the Libs need to help them give the place the proper respect.]

    And wait until Question Time when his columns will come back to haunt him 🙂

  3. I thought Bolt was one big April Fools Day joke that just went on for decades. Looks like he’s setting us up for more decades of his ludicrous nonsense.

    Our only hope is that the voters of Higgins might not be as dumb as the prospective candidate and might send him back to his poorly read conservative blog. Then April the first and fools would be in their rightful places.

  4. Has anyone had a look at the sycophantic morons posting their comments on his so called news, they are so pathetic. Must be the same people who call talk-back radio and vote in Sky polls 🙂

  5. Meanwhile the ‘Nelson listening tour’ has rolled into Brisbane just on the day when the next tear is due in the Queensland Liberal facade. Impressive timing indeed.

    “State Liberal MP Steve Dickson has, meanwhile, set a deadline of lunchtime today to quit the party unless a proposed merger with the Nationals is put to rank-and-file party members for a vote.

    Mr Dickson refused to say if quitting the party would mean signing up for the Nationals or becoming an Independent until Nationals leader Lawrence Springborg’s merged party was ready.”,23739,23463893-3102,00.html

  6. Nothing too awful about this for the Labor side.

    You could be tempted to say that Bolt is just doing what Maxine McKew and Mike Bailey from the ABC did. Except they weren’t overtly opinionated in their roles as ABC journalists, where Bolt is all opinion and opinionation. In fact wasn’t one of the complaints about their candidacies that McKew and Bailey were secret lovers of Labor all along, and my how they fooled us?

    At least the Bolta is up-front. It’s not like he fooled anyone into thinking he was balanced.

    Then, of course, there’s the good news that Costello might be moving on. That’s a bonus all to itself.

    Think about it: the Insiders late last year, just post-APEC. Andrew Bolt, journalist, claiming that – literally – by the end of the day Howard, Prime Minister, might be tipped out of his position by Costello, Treasurer.

    Now Howard and Costello are gone (or going) forever, there’s a new government, and all the Libs have left is a Bolt to screw into the empty void they left behind them. Rudd still won’t go on Insiders, and Pies still thinks he’s relevant.

    Can anyone see the amusing side to this?

    As in: Rats…sinking…ships?

  7. Bushfire,
    I don’t think anyone’s going to get too excited about Bolt as a candidate (and my betting is on it being an April Fool’s joke at this stage).
    However I think you hit the nail on the head with your point about McKew pretending to be unbiased, whereas Bolt has always been pretty up-front about where his political sympathies lie. (Still, it’s a free country, so I can’t get too worked up about McKew’s career path).
    As for the weather man, well I can’t remember too much political content in his previous media work!

  8. Generally on media bias though, I think many of the Rudd supporters on here are over-reacting a bit. The media want politics to be some kind of contest, otherwise their role becomes (more) irrelevant. Hence the desire to boost the losing side. And stories about Rudd being good/ok won’t sell papers, whereas stories about “government rip-offs” (real or imagined) might. That’s just life, and I can’t think of a government that didn’t have to deal with it.
    My advice to Labor supporters would be this: enjoy it while it lasts. These pin-pricks from the media are surely trivial. Politics can get no better than having your own party in power everywhere – and TPP polls in the 60s.

  9. As for the weather man, well I can’t remember too much political content in his previous media work!

    I think it was the way he emphasised how the highs rotate to the left (anticlockwise). 😉

    So far about the only criticism I have of the government is that they are too easily spooked by the media hunting in pacts as in the ‘carers’ beatup, and now increasingly over Japan. They need to toughen up, ignore it, and stick to their agenda, especially this early in the term and with 60+% approval ratings. No doubt they will as they gain more experience and the slings and arrows thicken collective hides.

  10. Dyno,

    I don’t think McKew was pretening to be unbiased. I think she was unbiased.

    There’s a difference between showing bias and holding an opinion. She may have had her own opinions on politics. In fact she clearly did. But as to showing bias, I think she didn’t.

    She was very professional and, as far as I can see, exhibited no political preference in her professional life.

  11. I worked at the ABC. Agree with Bushfire Bill – Maxine was unbiased – critique and independent thought are a different thing

    Its a true double standard of the media – often people who are left leaning are bending over backwards to be fair – when it comes to very right/far right the same respect is never shown – Unfortunately, alot of people do not get what is a very well know double standard – cause everyone in the media knows this double standard

  12. The real April Fools joke would be if anyone in the Liberal party thinks that someone as arrogant and single minded as Bolt could change their public image. It would only confirm that their chief’s still haven’t learnt anything since the election.

    As for Queensland, will they have a netball team or seven dwarfs after lunch?

  13. It is probably a joke, but the Libs could use some high profile candidates i mean it worked for the ALP why shouldnt it work for the Libs?

  14. Harold Holt
    John Gorton
    Roger Shipton
    Peter Costello

    Andrew Bolt – Ha ha ha 🙂

    Even it is not an April Fools joke he would never get preselected let alone win.

  15. A couple of Murdoch Meejah links worth checking. One says Cossie’s not leaving for a few months, the other has Nelson putting pressure on him to quit now.

    Cossie is due to address his local electorate on Thursday, maybe Bolt is just helping put pressure on him?

  16. I’m calling bullsh*t on this …

    1. Why would Costello, after a career in which he fell just short of the top job in Australian politics, allow his retirement announcement to be made on April Foolds day?

    2. Why would Andrew Bolt, on his own blog site, state that a competitor had got anything right? Wouldn’t Bolt be MORE likely to lampoon Mayne by making his story the subject of a gag?

    3. Also, why would Bolter, if he was serious about running as a candidate in Higgins, allow that announcement to be made on April Fools day.

    No. There are too many ways that this is weird. I predict a “Ha ha – Gotcha” post after midday.

  17. Well at least Mal Brough wants to get back into politics as Queensland Liberal President and maybe getting back into parliament.

  18. Bolt is a perpetual fool’s joke who needs the first of April to get some attention.

    Roll on the 2nd of April.

  19. 23 Glen,throw your name in the hatfor Queensland liberal president after all the Mayor of Cloncurry became the second Mayor in recent history to win the title in a chook raffle and we know the Libs here prefer to draw their leaders by lucky dip.

  20. If the Member for Kawana leaves the Libs today and becomes an independent does that mean Flegg has now got the numbers to make a four to three comeback?

  21. For Mal Brough to get back into politics he would need to get parachuted into a seat with at least a 10% margin. Then he may just scrape in.

    It shows what a sad state Qld conservative politics is in. Mal turned Longman from a safe Liberal to a safe Labor seat. Yet he is the messiah 😛

  22. ruawake, a chook raffle win looks Brough’s only hope. Don’t think he will ever out vote or be preselected over a Santo Santoro candidate any other way.

  23. Bolt would be good for the Libs given their present lack of credibility and he gives good presentation. However, he will find having the freedom to say what he likes the way he likes will only get him in to trouble. He also has the burden of so many ‘opinions’ expressed in no uncertain terms in his articles and blogs, they will be quoted back to him endlessly if he ever became a shadow minister.

    He is also No. 1 ticket holder for the global warming skeptics.

    Where would he sit on the Liberal party ‘right-o-meter’?

  24. I guess if it makes sense that John McCain can have a hope in hell of winning the White House, then Bolt could become an MP. These freaks still have a powerful global disinformation network operating, and Murdoch is right behind them.

  25. Have a look at the timestamp on Bolt’s blog entry:

    Tuesday, April 01, 08 (12:03 am)

    The one below it is:

    Tuesday, April 01, 08 (09:41 am)

    He has been adding new entries since he “resigned”.

  26. Shamahan is up to his usual tricks. “However, efforts to organise a special Tokyo visit have redoubled in the past fortnight, as Mr Rudd has come under political pressure at home and concern has grown in Tokyo that he was being seen to snub Australia’s most important Asian ally and trade partner in favour of China.”
    But whose fault is this? Further down his article he states “Despite the apparent eagerness on both sides to get a summit happening, officials in Tokyo pointed out yesterday that timing remained a serious difficulty on the Japanese side.”
    I don’t hear Robb and Co making this point.

  27. No one is suprised by what comes out of an orifice, especially the OO – Liberal Orifice. Shamaham is the paper they use to wipe up afterwards.

  28. it is an indictment of todays Liberal Party that many were prepared to believe one more qualified passenger was about to board the Ship of Fools.

  29. True, charles. Thank you. At 318 Morgan thread.

    A MOST informative session on Super, the Stock Market, the implications and options, this morning, Life Matters.

    (Off topic, please forgive).

  30. Do you really think Mal Brough would want to go back to Parliament? He’s going to have a massive pension and probably earn about $400K a year as a consultant or whatever. That, of course, is the problem for conservatives in Australia. The typical conservative can make a lot more money outside parliament than they can in it. So what you end up getting Liberal party rooms full of mega-rich ego-maniacs like Malcolm Turnbull, ideologues like Tony Abbott and hacks like [too many to mention].

    On the other hand, the typical ALP voter are schoolteachers, nurses, social workers, journalists, academics who cannot cut it in the real world, union hacks and parliamentary staffers, almost all of whom are earning under $80,000 (the first three are honourable and grossly underpaid jobs, by the way). The prospect of a parliamentary career with al the perks is obviously much more appealing to them than it is for the banker / corporate lawyer / medical practitioner / major league corporates who are throwing away thousands of $ a year taking the chance of politics. No wonder the conservative talent pool is dry and the opposition benches full of morons.

    What is always so amusing is that so many posters on here genuinely believe the dire state of the conservative parties is attributable to conservative idelogy being inferior. Think again

  31. Chris

    There are alot of people in the private sector who voted Labor – especially as AWA’s were doing over people in the private sector who were not part of the business and economic elites as its been found that AWA”s were really for the most part for them – not most others

    My father had a business all his life – and often votes Labor – so you need to be careful before making sweeping generalisations like that –

  32. Yes Bird, it is a generalisation, but with a pretty solid foundation. In any event, I am talking about people who aspire to enter parliament, which is a very different thing to the issue of voting

  33. And futhermore Chris,

    Union hacks – what is this derisory comment? I mean union members are part of the working majority like anybody else – the Australian Employers Federation is a union – but that’s different right? they just call themselves association or federations – like the AMA – the last closed shop there is –

    I bet your working conditions mate are the result of 100 years of union hacks agitating for decent conditions/wages

  34. The problems in the NSW liberals is purely ideologically based. Geee one branch rejected their local Federal MP because his maiden speach was not right-wing enough! WorkChoices is just an example of right-wing madness having victory over the responsibility of governing for the benefit of all Australians, not just one segment.

    The Federal party is ready to cut throats behind the scenes in keeping Turnbull out because he is not right-wing enough.

  35. If we did not have unions anybodys hard work would not guarantee them anything. People worked hard before unions and were treated like cattle. Workchoices had that situation as its foundation – business unions decide individual wages.

    It is like saying my daily safety is because of my own hard vigelence not because of having a police force and judicial system.

  36. #8 Dyno
    I agree with Bushfire that MM wasn’t “pretending” to be unbiased. Any person capable of asking intelligent questions on politics, which Maxine did, almost certainly has firm private political views. The fact that she revealed them later by becoming an ALP candidate doesn’t make her past work as a journalist any more suspect than the work of someone else who keeps their views under wraps. You know they all have them whether you find out what they are or not.

  37. You have accounted for the first …oh…. say 200,000 of the Labor voters at the last election Chris of Edgeciff, pity that your powers of perception can’t accomodate or explain away the other…oh… several millions who also voted Labor.

    And please. don’t mistake corporate payment for favours provided from the public purse as an indication of the personal competence of the recipient.

    And another point, for all the high flyers you describe, there are dozens more in each of those worthy professions and positions who don’t command or demand the obscene incomes you describe, yet contribute just as much, if not more, to the real needs of our society.

  38. CfE @44

    My society is the result of my individuality.

    Nice one Margaret!

    And, yes, I totally agree: the greed and self-interest of competent conservatives has left the LNP to account for itself by way of divinely inspired nutbags (Abbott), hectoring morons (Hockey) and soporific fools (Robb).

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