Action-packed mid-week stop-gap thread

So much going on at the moment that it can’t wait for the next opinion poll post:

• Brendan Nelson’s announcement he will vacate his blue-ribbon northern Sydney seat of Bradfield at the next election could initiate another of the classic preselection clashes for the NSW branch of the Liberal Party has become justly famous in recent years. Party sources quoted by Imre Salusinszky of The Australian say the preselection will be “the most open and hotly contested since Bronwyn Bishop succeeded Jim Carlton in the neighbouring seat of Mackellar in 1994”, with no clear front-runner and neither Right or Left controlling the seat. However, it is also “understood party bigwigs are intent on avoiding a repeat of the preselection debacle in 2007 in the southern Sydney seat of Cook”. Salusinszky’s report floated the possibility of his paper’s conservative pundit Janet Albrechtsen taking the field, but she promptly ruled herself out. Live possibilities apparently include another connection with The Australian in Tom Switzer, former opinion page editor and staffer to Nelson; Arthur Sinodinos, John Howard’s legendary chief-of-staff; Nick Farr-Jones, former rugby union international; Julian Leeser, executive director of the Menzies Research Centre; Geoff Selig, former state party president; Alister Henskens, barrister and local party office-holder; David Elliott, former Australian Hotels Association deputy chief executive; Paul Blanch, a sheep farmer who ran in Calare in 2004; and, as always, Adrienne Ryan, former Ku-ring-gail mayor and ex-wife of former police commissioner Peter Ryan. The Sydney Morning Herald reports we shouldn’t hold our breath waiting for a result:

A state executive meeting tomorrow is likely to discuss the timetable for the preselection race but because of a redistribution of seats in NSW, the final ballot will not be held until the end of the year. Because of that, most Liberal insiders believe the final candidate has yet to emerge.

• The Electoral Commissioner’s federal electoral determination has been published, confirming redistributions will need to occur to remove a seat from New South Wales and add one to Queensland. There seems to be some confusion abroard as to whether this scotches any chance of an election this year. As Antony Green explains, it is indeed the case that Queensland cannot be deprived of the seat which it is constitutionally entitled to at the next election now that the determination has been made, and it is indeed true that a redistribution process takes the better part of a year. However, the Electoral Act lays out a set of procedures for “mini-redistributions” in these circumstances, in which the two most or least heavily enrolled adjoining electorates in the state are either divided into three or merged into two. This has never happened before, and there would be obvious political difficulties in justifying an election held under such slapdash arrangements if it could possibly be avoided.

• Could Western Australia’s May 16 daylight saving referendum be the catalyst for a super Saturday of state by-elections? It certainly seems war clouds are gathering over the electorates of the two most powerful figures in the defeated Carpenter government: Jim McGinty, the member for Fremantle, and Alan Carpenter himself, who holds the neighbouring seat of Willagee (surely I have not so pleased the Lord that He would grant me neighbouring same-day by-elections in my own backyard?). According to Jenny D’Anger of the Fremantle Herald:

In the face of persistent rumours that veteran state Labor MP Jim McGinty is about to trigger a by-election for Fremantle by announcing his retirement, the Greens have called a war cabinet to talk tactics and anoint a candidate. It is all but certain they will choose South Fremantle’s Adele Carles, who came within a whisker of taking the seat at last year’s state election … Ms Carles says if the powerbroker is considering calling it quits he should do it so the by-election can coincide with the daylight saving referendum in May, saving thousands of dollars … The tom-toms have been beating for weeks that Fremantle mayor Peter Tagliaferri was the shoe-in as Labor’s choice to replace Mr McGinty. But more recently a senior union figure has emerged as a front-runner, which a Labor insider says had Mr Tagliaferri threatening to run as an independent (Word around the campfire is that this refers to Dave Kelly, one of McGinty’s successors at the LHMWU – PB). The Herald’s Labor source said Alan Carpenter also had to be taken into account: If the former premier decides to quit politics the union figure may prefer Mr Carpenter’s safe Willagee seat, which is not threatened by the Greens. This would leave Fremantle open for Mr Tagliaferri. But both Mr McGinty and Mr Tagliaferri are denying a by-election is imminent. “It’s no more than rumour-mongering,” Mr McGinty barked down the phone, adding he stood by the Herald’s report last November that he had no plans to go early but was unlikely to run again in 2013.

• Killjoy Harry Quick has gone back on his threat to run against Treasurer Michael Aird as Greens candidate in the looming upper house election for Derwent. According to the ABC, Quick says “his family has played second fiddle to his political aspirations for too long”. An earlier report said he was “understood to be ready withdraw his nomination due to family pressure to stay true to the Labor Party”.

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.

1,270 comments on “Action-packed mid-week stop-gap thread”

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  1. Hewson has just attacked Costello and Howard’s strong economic management in one article for the sake of Turnbull’s failing leadership. He is still bitter over the Liberal leadership transitions of 1994/1995. Just ignore him folks.

  2. Fulvio Sammut’

    Yeah, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Kerry-Anne Walsh has never rated very highly in my estimation as a “journalist”, but with this she has hit rock bottom.

  3. My response to Kerry-Ann is simple if its a female thing then how come the Governments best performer is a Women or would that weaken the argument

  4. I think William should rename this thread.

    Action-packed-midweek-through-to-weekend-stop-gap thread.

    With action packed underlined.

  5. [This has buckleys change of improving Hewsons standing with anyone]

    but allows someone with a rhyming surname to come out a little stronger and less “fatter”

    I’ll leave others to connect the dots

  6. Gusface 1248, I think that’s a pretty fair assessment of Hewson, and this article may just rinse out in the wash like the dirty stain it is, but we are also close to a tipping point in terms of LIB instability, and I wonder if a smattering more of these destabilising knife job statements from losers like Hewson won’t mean that this thing hasn’t irretrievably got away from Malcolm…

    Any hoo, enjoyed the chat, night all

  7. John Hewson should start his own comedy show and the back drop to the stage is a birthday cake and a big poster which says *GST ON MY BIRTHDAY CAKE*

  8. “Ron… there’s no need for a Kremlinologist to decipher this (Hewson article) , ”

    oh yes there is , line by line…for days…as bloggers keep quoting from it as they ‘deciper’

    This is Hewson ‘payback’ for ‘fightback’ that flopped due to Hewson’ politcal incompetense losing th unlosables…and taking revenge out on Cistello who helped roll Costello in 94

    So deciphering is reely needed to re read Costelo’s reference

    Posted Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 1:45 am | Permalink

    “Just ignore him folks…”
    fat chanse , when so many pro Costello lines ar in article

  9. [Ron… there’s no need for a Kremlinologist to decipher this (Hewson article) , ”

    oh yes there is , line by line…for days…as bloggers keep quoting from it as they ‘deciper’ ]
    Although we have not seen eye to eye on some issue and have had our spats,and worn our hearts on our sleeves, I feel that if more pollies could adopt the espirit de corps shown on PB, we would be a better country.

    BTW hewson is definitely out to rewrite his place in history-he is just a decade or so too late

  10. [This is the most incredible implosion of a political party I have ever heard of or seen.

    The Federal Liberal Party is no more, there remains just the dismembered limbs of what was once an intact but rotting carcass.

    It’s over.

    Plant the Cross.]

    This is a repeat of the Liberal Party between 1983 to 1996 🙂

  11. [Hewson has just damaged Turnbull even more ]

    The intent is not toward turnbull .
    The intent is to exaggerate hewson and his importance.

    The more oxygen he gains the bigger the balloon
    until one prick bursts his bubble

    unfortunately he is using costello as that prick.


  12. [What are you suggesting Frank, a third coming? Even Christ was only resurrected once!]

    Nah, all the infighting and revolving door of opposition leaders 🙂

  13. Frank
    I hope everything is a bit better now

    Ps did you see my comment re this sites ‘heroes’
    you da man for your music links
    nite all , gorn for a week or two ( or maybe longer ???), but will keep a weather eye on PB

    be good to each other

  14. [Frank
    I hope everything is a bit better now

    Ps did you see my comment re this sites ‘heroes’
    you da man for your music links]

    Yep, things are slowly getting back to normal and thanks to everyone for their kind thoughts, it’s been a tough 3 days.

    And yes, my musical links are legendary – it does help to have a good music knowledge and a memory like an elephant – oh and a good Vinyl/CD Collection as well.

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