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. Oh, Frank, William.

    Had been diverted by work, gasp, so apologies if my info is a little ancient.

    Just listened to Tomorrow’s News, with a special ear to WA.

    Nothing whatsoever about the topic in question.

    Assume you would not be surprised.

  2. [Just listened to Tomorrow’s News, with a special ear to WA.

    Nothing whatsoever about the topic in question.

    Assume you would not be surprised]

    Since it’s The West we’re talking about – no. Most likely they’ll hide it in the Business Section and will give Page one some sort of Laura Norder item, or the latest gossip involving Brian Burke – who ironically is in Paul Armstrong’s pockets so to speak.

  3. WAN

    “The ASA has recommended shareholders vote against the election of Mr Stokes and Seven director Peter Gammell, adding that undirected proxies would be voted against all resolutions at the meeting.

    It’s believed institutional corporate governance and proxy adviser CGI Glass Lewis has recommended to its clients to do the same.

    Mr Stokes requested an extraordinary meeting to have WAN’s four non-executive directors removed and himself and Mr Gammell elected.

    The four directors have vowed to resign if the pair are elected, saying Mr Stokes is trying to take control of the company without paying a takeover premium and citing conflict of interest concerns.”

    http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,23475236-3122,00.html

  4. Now another Howard Government identity who lost his seat at the last Federal election wants to be President of the Queensland liberals. He currently is the Liberal policy advisor to National Opposition Leader Springborg and both want to see the Pineapple Party created.

    “FORMER federal MP Cameron Thompson will confront the Liberal Party factions by standing for the party’s Queensland presidency on a promise to arrange a merger with the Nationals.

    Mr Thompson told The Australian yesterday that conservative politics in Queensland was doomed without a merger but Liberal factions were united in opposing the merger plan because they were more interested in maintaining control of “an ever-decreasing dunghill” than in winning government.

    His comments came as another former Howard government MP, Warren Entsch, said Queensland’s conservative political scene was “cancerous”.

    Queensland Nationals leader Lawrence Springborg has been campaigning for a merger as the only way for the Liberals and Nationals to be competitive in Queensland, following a string of state election defeats marked by disunity and policy differences. ”

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23475206-5006786,00.html

  5. I think the ABC news just said that Thompson has resigned from his job with Sringborg to try to win the Liberal Presidency.

  6. I am surprised that posters continue to express suprise at the OO and Shameaham in particular spinning things the conservatives way. The supposed Japan rift followed by Rudd healing it (front page yesterday) were an absolute beat up and laughable

    Cant we just ignore the OO??

  7. 309
    Andrew

    I’m with you Andrew. We can ignore and I do. I’m feeling so much better since I stopped reading the opinion pieces at the OO. I still read the latest news items as they are often quicker off the mark than the ABC site.

  8. The Opposition Liberal Orifice taking on the role of shadow Liberal party has been noticed elsewhere.

    As per my earlier post Mark Bahnisch summarises it well:

    “it says something important about Brendan Nelson that his themes are confected for him by The Australian’s columnists. It also says something important about him that he’s apparently blind to the toxicity of the Howard legacy on industrial relations, believing that a bit of pr can magic it into a pleasing package (again, those who don’t understand history are doomed to repeat it). Has he noticed that the mob he’s apparently outsourced political messaging and strategy to are the same crew who spent most of last year expecting a resounding victory for Howard?”
    http://www.newmatilda.com/polliegraph/?p=266#more-266

    I don’t bother with the OO and won’t click on the links people post here unless they actually give a clue to what it is about.

  9. Nightwatchman give the grog and the tour away immediately, it’s driving you mad. People this young aren’t allowed to drive around in Queensland. I think two days of the Listening Tour is more than enough!

    ” but you’ve just got to spend a bit of time at the Lowood service station to see Australians coming in with their cars – 10, 12, 15 years old – putting $5, $7 or $30 worth of petrol in the tank. ”

    http://www.liberal.org.au/Shadow%20Ministry/Brendan%20Nelson/index.php%20#3

  10. steve

    plus the

    “I’ve had a number of people, not only in aged care facilities but also the facilities themselves and the operators who are very concerned about what the Government’s going to do with aged care funding in the Budget.

    And again, like the carers and disabilities issue for which I was thanked by people who are desperately in need on that lump sum carers payment, the providers are very concerned about what the Government’s going to do in the Budget for the funding of the care of our nursing home residents.

    Brendan Nelson ”

    Will this beatup grow legs?

  11. [“I’ve had a number of people, not only in aged care facilities but also the facilities themselves and the operators who are very concerned about what the Government’s going to do with aged care funding in the Budget. ]

    [Will this beatup grow legs?]

    Perth Now and it’s parent publication The Sunday Times have already started the ball rolling last Sunday, as mentioned in an earlier thread.

  12. Steve

    I had a look at your link in 312 to Nelson’s speaking tour.

    First off, I thought Speers did not go easy on him, contrary to other posts that paint Speers as a lib man.

    Second, after reading through the interviews on the site I was struck by how very much like Max Gilles he is, has someone hacked the site?

  13. Rudd should ignore this stuff and simply debunk it and come over the top of it at budget time. To engage in debate is to give it legs.

  14. On what grounds is Howard Australia’s best PM? You cannot use economic because that has already been debunked and in fact he would come out a large negative on that [ask Costello]. You couldn’t use human rights or freedom of speech or transparency of government.

    The only think could be longevity of tenure and willinginess to be threatening to dissenters.

    The arguments for Howard being our worst PM are probably much stronger given the changing world and challenges we are to face but previously ignored.

  15. Oh Dear, Malcolm Turnbull thinks that the Springborg Pineapple Party will have less electoral prospects than a coalition.

    “Federal Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull says he is worried a new Queensland conservative party would end up receiving less votes than the current Coalition.

    The National Party is expected to put a plebiscite to its members on a merge with the Liberals after this weekend’s state council meeting.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/04/03/2206970.htm

  16. So Nelson kind of puts his leadership on the line as a pro-amalgamation type, now Turnbull thinks its a bad idea. Nelson thinks it should be handled at a Federal level – Turnbull thinks it is a matter for the states.

    This is so much fun. 😛

  17. Todays Akerman blog re “Fraser has blood on his hands” over Zimbabwe was pretty disgusting–I ain’t going there no more!

    Got a form email replaying to my email to Insiders re Akerman, replied to that with reference to todays disgusting blog, and added that PM Rudd will not appear on Insiders while Akerman appears there.

    It is pretty bad!

  18. Went for a flight the other day on Jetstar and noted you now get a free copy of the Australian. I wonder what percentage of their circulation that is. Things must be getting pretty bad.

  19. “A Federal Labor backbencher, Jodie Campbell, has been fined for two driving offences.

    The member for Bass in northern Tasmania has admitted one count of driving when she was not the holder of a driver’s licence, and one count of contravening vehicle standards.

    Ms Campbell says her licence had expired and she had forgotten to renew it and she had a faulty brake light.

    Last year, Ms Campbell was convicted of drink-driving and using an unregistered vehicle.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/04/03/2207450.htm?section=justin

    Er oops ABC not true:

    “Also last year Ms Campbell was charged with driving an unregistered Volkswagon Hatch vehicle in February 2007 but pleaded not guilty.

    The charge was adjourned sine die and reissued in the name of her former husband Jason John Campbell.

    Police offered no evidence when the count came before the court in January, 2008 and the charge was dismissed.”

    http://www.news.com.au/mercury/story/0,22884,23478145-3462,00.html

  20. I have worked out the Oppositions new tactic. Find out what Rudd is doing then say that Rudd should do that and hoping that someone might think Rudd is following their ideas. Nelson wants Rudd to be leader of the opposition as well as government. No wonder they have subcontracted the Opposition role to the OO.

  21. About now is the time that a current account deficit will come into play. Whatever came of the debt truck? Did it happen to do anything to get the Current Account Deficit down over the past twelve years?

    “The chief currency strategist at Westpac, Robert Rennie, said currency markets were increasingly wary of economies with current account deficits.”

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/news/business/aussie-banks-find-it-harder-to-borrow/2008/04/03/1206851050615.html

  22. Kina

    I think Dr. B has been given Hawker-Britten’s strategy for the last election, all he seems to talk about is petrol and grocery prices.

    Has anyone heard Nightwatchman comment on the ACCC enquiry into grocery prices?

  23. Now that Labor is back in power , the conservative finance writers will recommence the current account deficit problem articles. Strange how it disappeared from comment during Howard years even though its gone up by about 360 billion since 1996.

  24. steve

    It did turn up this gem from 2002.

    “The Labor Party’s priority is dentists, lawyers, doctors and people leaving university with $30,000 worth of debt”.

    The Nighwatchman admits that even in 2002 Labor were worried about the numbers of Doctors and Dentists 🙂

    $30,000 debt try $150,000

  25. I did find the reason why there has been no comment from Nelson. Poison Dwarf has been skiting that Nelson is banking on the grocery Price Inquiry being unable to come up with anything that will have an influence on grocery prices and send them cheaper. Milne’s advice to Nelson was just hang around and when there is no decrease in grocery prices then leap on Rudd and attack him. Nelson should know better than to trust the advice of the OO, look how much damage it did them last year.

  26. ruawake,
    Without commenting on whether it’s worth a newspaper column at this stage (?), I do seem to recall that Fraser was a pretty big booster of Mugabe in the early 80s.
    More than just being photographed together at CHOGM…

  27. ruawake, the Dwarf even went so far as logging the petrol price, interest rates and grocery prices the day after the election just so he can say, I told you so.

    So obviously it is the OO who really thinks it is the Opposition and that could be part of the reason why Nelsons PPM figures have been so woeful. People can’t see if Nelson is doing anything because the OO has usurped his role in the political process.

  28. OO hacks strategising for the Liberal Party….bwahahahaha

    I mean these guys are not even smart. Their great achievements last year were Burkegate and Scoresgate. This year they have excelled themselves with plastic-bag-gate and fake-Carer-gate.

    They will never win government on the back of dissing Rudd and Labor. But I suspect this is all a strategy to boost Nelson’s personal popularity so as to save the right-wing of the party and, keep those nasty moderates out of the picture.

    I have an idea…why don’t they develop some credible policy platforms instead?

  29. Kina

    “I have an idea…why don’t they develop some credible policy platforms instead?”

    Because half will agree, the other half will disagree. They will say that this is an organisational issue and refer it to the party conference.

    Then someone like Steve Dickson will say ‘I think there are many members of the Liberal Party who believe individual members should have that right, regardless of what the party’s constitution says.”

    They are split right down the middle and its about time they stopped playing silly buggers – split or amalgamate I don’t care – just do something. 🙁

  30. The Oz has pretty low circulation, not that many people read it.
    Pollbludgers of a Labor persuasion are really getting upset about nothing much if they are going to let the Oz spoil their fun at the moment.

  31. tom @342
    re this part of that article
    “Amnesty secretary-general Irene Khan said the fear generated by leaders such as Mr Howard “thrives on myopic and cowardly leadership”.

    she sure got Ratty down to a T didn’t she.

  32. Heat and pressure building in WAN story.

    [While producing a newspaper that readers wanted to buy and read was essential to lift sales, Mr Stokes said the WAN board also needed to address the failure to deliver the newspaper on time and to readers outside Perth.

    “When you can’t deliver it on time, when you can’t deliver it through the state and when people stop buying it, it’s time to sit down and say what are we doing wrong,” he said.

    “Ten years ago in Broome they sold 600 newspapers a day. This year in Broome they sell 300 newspapers a day. Why is that? The paper goes up on the afternoon flight and arrives at 3pm in the afternoon … it is not relevant if it doesn’t arrive in time for people to read it.”]

    During his half-hour speech, Mr Stokes also attacked The West’s $210 million printing press upgrade.

    “It is probably seriously the worst planned and laid out press hall I have seen in all the press halls I have been to,” he said.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23474288-5006789,00.html

  33. Oh Dear, The Listening Tour is turning into a PR nightmare for the Nightwatchman. He has lost the plot totally.

    BRENDAN Nelson has a message for families being evicted from their houses and having their homes repossessed: Spare a thought for the people who are evicting you.

    While many Australians are in shock about the prospect of rising interest rates costing them their home, the Liberal leader said it was just as tough for the banks.

    Addressing a corporate luncheon of bankers in Sydney yesterday, Dr Nelson said people should stop criticising banks and they should be encouraged to make profits.

    He said that while it was tough for families to lose their homes, it was also hard on the people evicting them.

    http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,23475450-5001021,00.html

  34. Loved this description of Nelson on Blogocracy.

    {It already seems that he is only listening with one ear – connected directly to his mouth and routed via the 1300-1400 grams of brylcreamed cat food he calls a brain. [

    I hope he/she has taken out copywrite on that.

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