Perfect the next

There’s so much going on in Queensland at the moment that a progressively updated post on developments seems in order, starting with the relevant entries from last night’s general post.

Monday, February 23

• Missed a spot from Steven Wardill’s Courier-Mail report on Chris Bombolas’s departure from Chatsworth: “Frontrunners to replace Mr Bombolas include his electorate officer Margaret Young and Police Minister Judy Spence’s policy adviser Simon Tutt.”

• Chris Pianta, who as of 2005 was Bundaberg secretary of the Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Employees, has been nominated as Labor’s candidate to run against Rob Messenger in Burnett.

• Déjà vu all over again: Pauline Hanson in shock comeback bid, and Greens threats to withhold preferences from Labor.

• Liberal National Party television ads viewable here.

Tony Raggatt of the Townsville Bulletin on Mandy Johnstone’s preselection win in Townsville:

Even in Labor circles, there are questions. Not the least of which is why Mike Reynolds suddenly changed his mind after only days before going to the expense of preparing his advertising material, including video shoots with the other Townsville Labor candidates. Mr Reynolds told the Townsville Bulletin he made the decision during the past week due to health problems and rejected any suggestion he had been pushed …

Another question surrounding the preselection is why Labor’s factional bosses in Brisbane preselected a Left candidate from the Nelson-Carr group which is so openly hostile with Reynolds’ own Left group … There is a split between the Socialist Left factions of Mike Reynolds and Lindy Nelson-Carr (there is also a separate Labor Left faction). The Nelson-Carr faction would appear to have won the day by gaining the Townsville seat with its candidate Mandy Johnstone, apparently a cousin of Ms Nelson-Carr, while the Reynolds’ hopeful, Cathy O’Toole, his sister-in-law, will have to wait her turn.

Sunday, February 22

• The latest from the Courier-Mail:

ON YOUR marks, get set . . . The 2009 election race is almost under way. All that’s required to start the contest proper is for Anna Bligh, above, to take a quick drive up Paddington’s Fernberg Rd to visit Government House. That road trip will almost certainly happen some time in the next 10 days, with some predicting she’ll visit the Governor on Monday for a March 21 poll. Or will she wait a week and pull the trigger on a March 28 election?

They’ll have to be right eventually.

• Madonna King in the Courier-Mail sees things from Anna Bligh’s perspective:

Of course we’re going to lose seats. We’ve been in power for 11 years for goodness sake. But the boys (advisers chief-of-staff Mike Kaiser, Treasurer Andrew Fraser and state secretary Anthony Chisholm) all reckon we can win Gladstone, Mirani and Burdekin … The redistribution should deliver Mirani and Burdekin, and Gladstone should never have gone to an Independent in the first place. And don’t forget Bundaberg. The LNP might have sneaked across the line there, but this was Labor’s heartland for a century … Chris Bombolas just handed Chatsworth to the LNP … And there are other seats looking bad, too. Hervey Bay, where that former mayor Ted Sorensen is in with a good chance; Pumicestone; Aspley; not to mention Indooroopilly … Cleveland, Mansfield, Redlands – they’ll all be hard to hold and that’s not even considering those Gold Coast seats.

• Queensland’s very own Pitt the Younger, Curtis Pitt, is inevitably having to field questions about nepotism after succeeding his father as Labor candidate for Mulgrave. Curtis’s story seems to be that he worked locally as a cinema manager before moving to Brisbane in 2003 to take up a public service position, where he still remains.

• Elsewhere: Larvatus Prodeo, Woolly Days and Leon Bertrand.

Thursday, February 19

Fairfax confirms that Mandy Johnstone and Cameron Dick have won Labor preselection for Townsville and Greenslopes. ABC Radio reports the Mulgrave preselection has gone to Curtis Pitt, the son of outgoing member Warren. What’s more, a new front has opened with the surprise retirement of Chris Bombolas in Chatsworth, saying doctors have advised him to reduce stress due to diabetes. The ABC reports a successor will be chosen on Monday. A former Channel Nine sports reader, Bombolas won the seat in 2006 from Liberal powerbroker Michael Caltabiano in 2006, who in turn won it from Labor at a by-election a year before. Caltabiano’s personal vote as state member and earlier as a Brisbane City councillor would have meant the 0.8 per cent margin (reduced to 0.1 per cent after the redistribution) exaggerated Labor’s vulnerability, so long as Bombolas remained candidate – and assuming Caltabiano’s personal vote doesn’t transfer to his wife Andrea, who is the new Liberal National Party candidate. Now he’s gone, the seat can be ranked among those that will fall to the LNP barring a total disaster. Anna Bligh has intimated there might be more departures to come. Elsewhere: Cate Molloy to run again as an independent in Noosa (UPDATE: Make that “likely to run”).

Wednesday, February 18

• Queensland election speculation has stepped up yet another notch in recent days with three Labor members announcing their retirements (see below). The most excitable stories had it that the election would be called two days ago for March 28. The minimum election period is 26 days, so I gather an election for that date could be called as late as March 2. Darryl Rosin lays out the obstacles for various election dates beyond that in comments at Larvatus Prodeo, which are considerable if the government is of a mind to get in before the budget. The Courier-Mail reports outgoing Labor MP Mike Reynolds has told a radio interviewer the election “could be in late March”, while Tourism Minister Desley Boyle says she “suspects the election is not far away”. While you wait, enjoy Antony Green’s guide to the election, which went live this evening. My own effort remains a work in progress.

• Labor’s retiring Queensland MPs have made three seats available for new passengers on the Anna Bligh express ride to death or glory. Open for preselection are Townsville, where Mike Reynolds is calling it a day after 11 years; the outer Cairns seat of Mulgrave, home to Warren Pitt on-and-off-and-on since 1989; and the inner southern Brisbane seat of Greenslopes, vacated by another class of 1989 graduate in Gary Fenlon. Acting with remarkable haste, Labor set up preselection processes to replace Reynolds and Fenlon within three days of their retirement announcement on Sunday, with Pitt’s successor to be chosen two days after his announcement on Tuesday. In each case the decision will be made by the party’s administrative committee. Yesterday’s Townsville Bulletin reported that “insiders are tipping failed Townsville City Council contender Mandy Johnstone will get the party nod ahead of former mayor Tony Mooney” (who was defeated at the 1996 Mundingburra by-election which spelled the end for the Goss government). The ABC reports that Cameron Dick, brother of Brisbane City councillor Milton Dick, is likely to get the nod in Greenslopes. I gather we will find out in each case very shortly. The Cairns Post rang around trying to find someone who would admit to being interested in the Mulgrave preselection, apparently without success.

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.

188 comments on “Perfect the next”

  1. I actually disagree with ruawake on Noosa, particularly now that Cate Molloy is running again, who has strong personal support in the area. I believe that she will poll anywhere between 5 and 10% and its likely she will direct preferences away from the ALP. making it very difficult for the ALP to make headway into the 7.4% margin. The composition of the electorate indicates it favours the LNP too. The victories by Molloy in 01 and 04 can largely put down to her personal appeal. If the ALP nab Noosa, the LNP are in real trouble.

  2. WTF??

    Senator Brown said the Greens would uphold a traditional, blanket preference deal with Labor, should Ms Bligh trash plans for Traveston Dam.

    So it’s of no prefrences politicking consequence the facts that (a) it’s the LNP with policy that’s committed to No-Damn-Dam, (that’s what Shadow environ/climate minister Gibson’s ticket in was,) and , more significantly vis a vis the big picture, (b) it’s the pineapples what has the ’44c/kwhr paid for all solar power generated’ policy, as proto-green a policy as ever was?
    It couldn’t be a desparate and futile attempt to curry favor with the ALP for preferences to shore up Ronan’s Indooripilly chances could it? Like putting Anne Warner’s daughter, as in she who bequethed Anna her South Brisbane seat, doesn’t reek of payback, in more ways than one? Like Labor won’t pour resources into getting that dynastic thing happening? Ronan would have to be thinking about that #1 Greens Senate card spot wouldn’t he?
    Spot the consistency, prizes given for miracles performed.

  3. sunnycoaster

    Cate Malloy has a very small personal following – so small she could not go close to winning a seat on the SCRC. Ms Malloy has lost a fair bit of credibility in the past few years. She will be lucky to outpoll FF.

    Glen Elmes will get a primary vote of about 36%, Brian Stockwell will get about 42%

  4. I doubt Ms Molloy will run – her public statement is:

    “Ms Molloy said would test the water for support by way of print newspaper ads, with plans to run if she could gather a strong team. “

  5. Looks like Pauline Hanson is planning on making a comeback in the Queensland election.

    I’d say she will only be the first in a long list of conservative independents ready to tackle the National Party at its weakest point.

    [According to sources, she said: “I’m not ready to announce yet. But, in a month, I’ll be ready . . . to shake things up in state politics. But keep it under your hat.”

    Sources said she had also hired a high-profile agent in preparation for the early election, widely tipped for March 28.

    Ms Hanson was keeping quiet on her rumoured return to the political arena. “I have got no comment to make about that at all,” she said yesterday.]

    http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,25090162-3102,00.html

  6. That was always the risk of the National takeover of the Liberal Party. They have created a vacuum on the right of Queensland politics which may well substitute conservative independents to replace the ill prepared, and lazy National Party. It should have policy coming out of its ears by now but has chosen to curl up in a small ball instead.

  7. [Looks like Pauline Hanson is planning on making a comeback in the Queensland election.]

    That will be interesting, what will the Nats do about preferences. Maybe she should slightly change her party name to One National Party to rub it in.

    Still well remember the Nats running that slogan a couple of elections ago. Vote One National Party.

  8. Castle if the Nationals Preference her, they get wiped out in Brisbane. She could easily win Glasshouse or Gympie. Somehow, I think Gympie would be more her style as it was previously held by One Nation.

  9. [if the Nationals Preference her, they get wiped out in Brisbane.]

    What if the local Nats candidate went rogue, against party wishes, and preferenced her, saying he didn’t want the commie labor reds (who are selling the state off to the chinese), to get in on his preferences.

    The Nats in Brissie could wring their hands and say he is going against party wishes.

  10. I had a silly thought there for about half a minute that Hanson could run in the upper house, like Nick Xenophon. If Queensland had one, she would’ve probably never gone away, and One Nation would’ve got balance of power in that house in 1998… imagine that, eh?

  11. Castle in that case the Nationals would get wiped out in Brisbane for the usual public displays of disunity during an election campaign. This is the very thing all their propaganda told us they would avoid through the Liberal takeover.

  12. [Nationals would get wiped out in Brisbane for the usual public displays of disunity]

    But Hanson was the original rogue lib candidate, who got elected.

    If she runs it will get very interesting, conservative media commentators and some coalition members regularly refer to Rudd as our Chinese speaking PM.

    Would expect Hanson to play this up with chinese companies making bids for mining cos in Qld.

  13. Castle, the problem is that Gympie has one of the worst employment opportunities in the state. The current member for Gympie physically ran out of parliament during question time last year according to Hansard.

    They were ribbing him about what he has done for helping employment prospects in his electorate at the time. Astounding stuff but it actually happened, I can dig around and find it in Hansard some time if you like. I can never remember a single step Hanson has ever taken to increase employment prospects anywhere really but maybe she will please explain all that to us in the campaign.

  14. Steve

    I don’t know if Hanson would get in, but her flag wrapping campaigns attract quite a few people.

    If she does run and starts to get backing it will leave the Nats in a quandry. If people only vote One, one nation or vote One, one liberal National Party, then votes may be exhausted and labor get in where not expected?

    I hope she runs, and look forward to the Nats tying themselves in knots on what to do.

  15. Castle, I do believe that the Labor candidate for Gympie is a character too. He’d serve it up to them if there was any inkling of division between the tories. He’s notorious for getting stuck into the tories by Letter to the Editor in the Gympie Times especially over the Traveston Crossing dam.

  16. Gympie has been represented by duds ever since Max Hodges got forced out as police Minister by Bjelke Petersen. It revolved around a ‘baton over the head’ incident in a student march from Qld Uni to the city with Commissioner Whitrod and Police Minister Hodges wanting an inquiry and Joh quashing it.

  17. Au contraire, steve. I would prefer fixed terms, and governments that go full term, rather than pull sneaky elections like this. In a perfect Queensland…

  18. To the banana-benders

    [put a lid on damaging electoral issues including furore over the new Queensland Children’s Hospital.]

    What’s this about? Is it a repeat of the WA hospital and SA hospital sagas, coz labor did very poorly out of both of them?

  19. my post from 29 Jan

    [BTW I’ve had to extend my prediction for a Qld election to March. Just thought you’d like to know.]

    Will cheerfully accept apologies from Steve & ruawake.

  20. The September election strategy would have been the smartest one for Bligh, she could have bled the tories dry and done it in her own time. This early election holds bad portents for Labor, they will not escape unbloodied.

    Points to steve and ruawake for trying though; now let’s see if their predictions about the LNP losing Noosa are just as vacuous…

  21. Just seen Ackerman on Skynews talking about “The Borg”. Was asked by interviewer if Borg will make a good premier. Ackers, sideswiped the question and said he has lots of experience. This will be the 3rd time Springborg will have run and is a thick as two planks. In this case “The Borg” acts exactly like he sounds.

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