Poll positioning

Federal preselection season is in full swing, at least in some parts of the country. Three big Victorian Liberal contests are coming to the boil following the departure of sitting members in safe seats, while one Labor-held seat has produced a substantial challenge against a sitting member. The action in New South Wales and Queensland is in stasis pending redistributions which will be finalised early next year, although some preliminary jockeying has been under way. Things seem fairly quiet in South Australia and Western Australia, the latter situation prompting a spray at the Liberals from Peter van Onselen in The Australian, who complains about the apparent security of tenure for the state party’s bloated retinue of ageing backbenchers (only the relatively youthful Dennis Jensen in Tangney faces a challenge). Beyond that, there’s one item of news to report from Tasmania.

The Age reports Victorian Liberal deputy director Daniel Tehan has resigned his position to contest preselection for Wannon, to be vacated at the next election by David Hawker. Tehan is the son of the late Marie Tehan, who was among other things Health Minister in the Kennett government. His confirmed opponents will include Louise Staley, former state party vice-president and Institute of Public Affairs agriculture policy expert; Rod Nockles, Howard government adviser and runner-up in the recent preselection for the less desirable prospect of Corangamite; Elizabeth Matuschka, a University of Ballarat administrator who ran unsuccessfully in Ballarat at the 2004 federal election and for Ballarat City Council last November; Matt Makin, a Corangamite councillor; Katrina Rainsford, a Southern Grampians councillor; and Hugh Koch, whom the Warrnambool Standard tells us is a Southern Grampians tourism manager. David McKenzie of the Weekly Times reports that former Victorian Farmers Federation president Simon Ramsay, recently unsuccessful in bids for Corangamite and a position on the board of the National Farmers Federation, has decided against nominating and will instead seek a state upper house berth in Western Victoria. Andrew Landeryou at VexNews has also named as possibilities “complicated Costello loyalist” Georgie Crozier and former police sergeant and anti-corruption crusader Simon Illingworth. UPDATE: The Age says the closure of nominations has produced 10 candidates, which includes “company director Stephen Mitchell”.

• Nicholas McGowan, former adviser to state Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu, has put his hand up to succeed the outgoing Chris Pearce as the Liberal candidate for Aston. Also in the field are two Knox City councillors, Sue McMillan and Darren Pearce (respectively representing Dobson and Taylor wards). McMillan earlier stood for preselection in both Ferntree Gully and Monbulk ahead of the 2006 state election. The Knox Leader reports that former mayor Emanuele Cicciello “has been tipped to run but is remaining tight-lipped”. On July 1, the Herald Sun reported that names “yet to be confirmed” included “former Howard government adviser Alan Tudge and lawyer John Pesutto, who performed well in the recent Kooyong preselection battle”, but VexNews reports the latter assertion is “not correct”.

Rick Wallace of The Australian reports that the preselection contest for Higgins is “being fought out between Kelly O’Dwyer, a former senior adviser to Mr Costello, and Institute of Public Affairs director Tim Wilson”, who respectively have the backing of the Kroger and Baillieu factions. Definitely out of the running are Institute of Public Affairs executive director John Roskam, Crosby Textor consultant Jason Aldworth and former state party director Julian Sheezel, which Andrew Landeryou at VexNews credits to gentle persuasion from Michael Kroger in support of O’Dwyer. No word lately on Tom Elliott, hedge fund manager and son of John.

• With Mal Brough frozen out of the running in Higgins and Aston, Andrew Landeryou at VexNews relates he is “apparently looking or waiting to be drafted”, which might yet occur when Fran Bailey vacates McEwen at the election after next (assuming she can hang on to her 27-vote margin).

• This weekend sees the local ALP preselection ballot take place for the safe Labor Melbourne seat of Calwell. Incumbent Maria Vamvakinou, a stalwart of Kim Carr’s sub-faction of the Left, faces a challenge from Andy Richards, Geelong councillor and official with the Left faction Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (metalworkers’ division). The ballot accounts for half the overall vote, the other half being determined by the party’s Public Office Selection Committee. According to Rick Wallace of The Australian, Richards could secure support from the Right faction National Union of Workers and Health Services Union – collectively known as the “Ambition Faction” – which forged alliances with the AMWU after being excluded from a “stability pact” between the Kim Carr Left and Bill Shorten and Stephen Conroy of the Right. Should this transpire, moves to heal the rift between the rival Right groupings could miscarry. Wallace reports that Richards also has support from “local Turks aligned with ALP identity and local councillor Burhan Yigit”. If support for Richards holds firm, Wallace says the decisive factors will be “local Kurds and a local Lebanese numbers man, Mohamad Abbouche”. As Andrew Landeryou of VexNews tells it, the former might be inclined to back Richards because they are angry that Kim Carr has failed to support Moreland councillor Enver Erdogan in the state preselection for Brunswick. Landeryou says the Ambition Faction is hopeful of securing as much as 60 per cent of the vote for Richards, but the Carr camp is “confident they’ll be able to snaffle at least 20 per cent of the vote back from pesky ethnic warlords who are pledged to support Richards”. UPDATE: See below.

• Nick Butterly of The West Australian says that while Dennis Jensen’s chances of surviving Saturday’s Liberal preselection ballot in Tangney have been boosted by the support of Malcolm Turnbull and “Perth business heavyweights”, Liberal insiders say he “still faces defeat in this Saturday’s ballot because of local concerns about his fundraising efforts and performance in Federal Parliament”. It is not stated which of his two opponents is considered the more formidable: Alcoa government relations manager Libby Lyons, or Toyota Finance executive Glenn Piggott. UPDATE: See below.

• The Launceston Examiner reports that the frontrunner for Liberal preselection in Bass, Brigadier Andrew Nikolic, has withdrawn citing family and work issues. The nomination is now likely to go to Steve Titmus, a former television newsreader.

• The Australian’s Strewth column is advised by a Liberal source that there is “absolutely no truth” to rumours Melanie Howard might contest preselection for Bennelong. Earlier reports suggested approaches to former state MPs Kerry Chikarovski and Andrew Tink had been rebuffed. Also mentioned a while back was former rugby union international Brett Papworth.

UPDATE (18/7/09): Via Frank Calabrese, we learn that ABC TV news in Perth reports that Glenn Piggott has defeated Dennis Jensen in the Tangney preselection vote. Remembering of course that Jensen also lost before the last election, only to have the result overturned on the intervention of John Howard. Meanwhile, Andrew Landeryou reports that Andy Richards has pulled out of the Calwell preselection, so there should be no problems now for Maria Vamvakinou – notwithstanding earlier reports that one Manfried Kriechbaum had also nominated as part of a campaign of mischief-making by state Keilor MP George Seitz.

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.

1,045 comments on “Poll positioning”

Comments Page 20 of 21
1 19 20 21
  1. Psephos

    You see a few patients who just love having operations and having illnesses but there are lots of different reasons underlying it.

    1. Munchausen’s syndrome (consciously of unconsciously simulating diseases)
    2. Abnormal body image (want their rhinoplasty redone for the seventh time to make it perfect as they can’t live with their nose)
    3. Seeking narcotics which they get post-operatively
    4. Not coping at home/lonely

  2. [It’s nearly impossible for moderate unions to mount an effective campaign against a state Labor government on their own, but the wider union movement usually gives full support to an identical campaign against a Coalition government.]

    If that’s true it’s the reversal of the situation in Victoria. The nurses and the tram drivers between them virtually destroyed the Cain-Kirner government, then when Kennett got in they rolled over and played dead for seven years.

  3. I should add that the e-records would obviate a problem my colleague had.

    He had a patient who wanted breast augmentation. After a few consultations, he went ahead and put the breast implants in. As they were transferring the patient from the operating table to their bed, something which had been taped into a hidden place came loose, making it apparent that the patient was in fact male.

    Oh how I laughed. 😀

  4. [ANNA Bligh’s fire sale of Queensland assets has had far-reaching ramifications, with Labor losing its grip on some of the party’s safest seats.

    Detailed polling has revealed the tidal wave of opposition to the asset sales has imperiled previously safe territory from Townsville in the north to Burleigh in the south.

    The polling, commissioned by the Electrical Trades Union, was conducted by one of Labor’s favoured polling companies, UMR research.]


  5. [The poll found a 9 per cent swing against the Government in the five seats surveyed, a result that would decimate Labor if repeated statewide.]

  6. Diogenes: Uh, what state are you in? I was under the impression every state had laws by now giving patients proper access to their records; evidently I’m wrong.

  7. jjulian

    Sadly that was quite similar to my experience as an engineer working as a State public servant under a Labor government years ago. The union concerned was utterly uninterested in our situation, and pay and conditions declined substantially in this period of (Labor) government. At one management meeting I attended an advisorfrom the Premiers department present actually said words to the effect of “who cares, all engineers are conservative and don’t vote Labor”. I found this tribal and narrow thinking quite hard to take given that I was a member of the Labor Party then. (Though I quit in frustration a few years later.)

    The point is I think that there has been a huge shift in the workforce in recent decades, with more education and a higher percentage of professionallly qualified people. But there has not beena parallel shft in the union movements thinking. The idea that professionals are wealthy conservatives and trades and workers the struggling poor who support Labor is absurd. Many tradesmen make more money than most “professionals”, some of whom earn less than the average wage. I think the failure to address these trends is why Labor’s social justice credentials are not what they once were. There was a great opportunity in the 80s and 90s for unions to expand membership into professions, but it was largely missed IMO.

  8. Rebecca

    I’m in SA. We can either send the patients a copy of their notes or send a summary with all relevant info which is what normally happens. No-one can read doctor’s handwriting anyway. We get trained in that.


    When I asked him about it, the surgeon said he felt “violated”, which didn’t stop me from finding it hilarious.

  9. Psephos

    I’d hardly regard the unions representing tram and train drivers as moderate. The average train driver makes more than an engineer or doctor in the public system. Why? Its a simple job that requires negligible formal education, and some on the job training which is paid. Professional liability is zero. The last time anyone threatened to prosecute a train driver for causing a serious accident (Qld after Bundaberg train derailment), the union threatened to go on strike. Some jobs have gotten harder over the years yet this one gets easier thanks to more automated trains and signalling, while the wages still go up. Their union protects them, unlike most other public sector unions.

    I don’t know enough to comment on nursing unions.

  10. bob

    Wasn’t there similar polling after the Qld plan to amalgamate Councils was announced? AFAIK it made no difference on election day.

  11. [I don’t know enough to comment on nursing unions.]

    It should be noted that the WA Branch of the ANF sided with the Liberals in the 2005 State Election and have since disaffiliated from the ALP. I’m pretty sure it’s Secretary Mark Olson has Liberal Party Aspirations.

  12. Psephos

    I agree with you that the failure of the Fiduciary Notes Bill was one of the biggest shames in Australian History. As well as the effects on the economy in the 1930s there has been a lasting effect on urban public transport in Australia. The Bradfield plan in Sydney was was halted. The extension of the Kew line to Doncaster was cancelled. The depression destroyed the SA ALP government of the time leading to the Playmander and 32 years of rule by the right during which time almost all the tram lines were closed and the railways were not electrified.

  13. According to the unerringly accurate Daily Telegraph, Poh won MasterChef last night. If you add that to the fake email and Pauline Hanson, Hartigan’s comments look pretty stupid.

    [The Daily Telegraph has egg, and perhaps a few other ingredients, on its face after naming the wrong winner of MasterChef Australia last night. In the process it has embarrassed its TV reporter, exposed the widespread newspaper habit of pre-writing the news and highlighted some of Ten’s dodgy publicity practices.]


  14. 960

    The rail drivers unions power comes from having one employer for all the people with the skills, training and qualifications for their particular job and next to no unemployment for people with those skills. New train drivers cannot just be brought in to brake a strike.

  15. Um, Socrates, I didn’t mention trains at all in my post. In Vic at that time the Trammies were a separate union, led by one Lou di Gregorio, who in 1990 crippled Melbourne for weeks with a strike over an attempt by the Labor government to shake up the notoriously sloppy, rude and inefficient tram conductors. The Labor govt was of course too squeamish to sack the lot or get volunteers to drive the trams, etc. This was one of the events that led Cain to resign. Then when Kennett got in, he abolished tram conductors outright and privatised the whole system, and the union did not issue so much as a peep. This was a lesson in dealing with union officials that some in the Vic ALP have not forgotten.

  16. Tom

    Exactly; a classic monopoly. But a common national system of working procedures and driver training would soon change it, if we had governments with the political will to do so. I observe we seem to lack the latter. Contrast this with Bob Hawke’s efforts to break the airline pilot’s strike with state resources. Hence my comment on social justice.

  17. I’m with BH and Possum: the greatest failure of the Beazley years was allowing Howard with support for the media, totally trash the positive aspects of the Hawke/Keating reforms. Its like after an election loss the losing party thinks they should run a mile from the previous government, without analysing which positive elements to preserve/ highlight.

  18. The Poor Tassies:

    [TurnbullMalcolmhttp://twitpic.com/ay9ci – in Tasmania with Julie Bishop, Eric Abetz and the Debt Truckabout 4 hours ago from TwitPic ]

  19. Since when Milne has become a FA expert? 2006 Walkley Awards?

    [Stern Hu forgotten in Kevin Rudd’s hopeless UN quest – Glenn Milne

    KEVIN Rudd’s failure to manage China will thwart his vain Security Council ambitions. KEVIN Rudd came to the prime ministership with one overarching foreign policy objective to, in his words, turn Australia into a creative middle power.

    It wasn’t a new idea. Paul Keating, who detested such anodyne bureaucratese, used to call it “punching above our weight”. In Rudd’s case this objective assumed two immediate guises: the management of the rise of China in the region and the pursuit of winning a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

    In the wake of the open contempt displayed last week towards Australia by China’s official spokesman Qin Gang regarding Rudd’s protests over the treatment of Stern Hu, both the Prime Minister’s initial stated foreign policy ambitions would now appear to be pretty much dead in the water. ]


  20. Finns
    Please don’t post the text of Murdoch press garbage here. Those of us who have decided not to read their lies don’t want to have it involuntarily foisted on us here.

  21. 969

    On some issues he used some socialist polices but his government had a lot of right wing policies. Executions, anti-Adelaide malaportionment, tram closure as well as many others.

  22. [On some issues he used some socialist polices but his government had a lot of right wing policies.]

    I said economic socialist 😉

  23. Ross Gittins homes in on one of the fundamental causes of the GFC: ratings agencies

    Both the specific and general point are true. There is no such thing as purchased “independant” financial advice. Its like getting building inspections paid for by the builder that are worth anything (they aren’t).

    While Labor has responded to the GFC well, I hope that doesn’t make us kid ourselves that there is no need for reform here. Multiple reforms are needed.

  24. Transport is an economic issue. The LCL did not electrofy the railways and closed all but one of the tram lines.

  25. [Transport is an economic issue. The LCL did not electrofy the railways and closed all but one of the tram lines.]

    In the main they were economic socialists 😛

  26. Not happy. India stood its ground.

    [NEW DELHI: Environment minister Jairam Ramesh asserted on Sunday in the presence of visiting US secretary of state Hillary Clinton that India would never take legally binding commitments to cut down on emissions.

    Ramesh drew the red lines clearly. “There is simply no case for the pressure that we, who have been among the lowest emitters per capita, face to actually reduce emissions. And as if this pressure was not enough, we also face the threat of carbon tariffs on our exports to countries such as yours.” ]


  27. [When I asked him about it, the surgeon said he felt “violated”, which didn’t stop me from finding it hilarious.]

    Oh to have been a fly on the wall 🙂

    [If I want to know Glen Milne’s views on anything I’ll check into rehab and get them firsthand.]

    You’re not wrong. Do you think News have decided to just go down the road of just writing controversial material in order to get readership? And I mean as a conscious effort rather than just an inherently biased one.

  28. [Do you think News have decided to just go down the road of just writing controversial material in order to get readership?]

    No, I think they are under orders from Rupert Murdoch to slander Rudd and the Labor government every chance they get.

  29. If this takes off it will have the potential to make the likes of Milne and other “political commentators” irrelevant!

    [MICROSOFT Australia has taken a leaf out of US President Barack Obama’s playbook, launching an interactive website to connect politicians with their constituents.

    During an eight-week trial, Ask A Pollie will help Microsoft determine if politicians can use online video to get their message out instead of text-based press releases.

    Content on the site (Askapollie.com.au) shows videos by Canberra heavy-hitters, including federal Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner and Family First senator Steve Fielding.

    The environment, education, ethics, health records, trade and the economy are among topics being included in the presentations.

    Visitors to the site will be able to comment on the two-minute videos. ]



  30. Poor Glen Milne. He is so confused. First he was writing that Rudd was acting the way he was acting in order to preserve the UN bid, now he has decided the UN bid is doomed. I dont know he is deliberately trying to be controversial, rather than just anti-Labor, but I wonder how smart it is to declare something like the UN bid “dead” on his own whim. Could be some more egg-on-face coming later, although he already has an severak omelettes on his face anyway

  31. One lone Democrat sitting on the wall . . .

    And then there were none. From:


    Democrats tell last sitting Democrat to resign

    THE Australian Democrats’ last serving politician has been accused of disloyalty and ordered to quit the party.

    David Winderlich, a member of South Australia’s legislative council, had threatened to run as an independent at the next state election if the Democrats could not recruit 1000 new members in the state by December.

    The SA branch currently has about 300 members and a state election will be held in March next year.

    “We are in danger of disappearing,” Mr Winderlich said.

    “We do not have the members, resources or the morale to run an effective campaign in 2010.”

    Democrats national president Julia Melland rejected the ultimatum as disloyalty and demanded Mr Winderlich resign from Parliament immediately.

  32. [Content on the site (Askapollie.com.au) shows videos by Canberra heavy-hitters, including federal Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner and Family First senator Steve Fielding.]

    Can anyone spot the error in this sentence?

  33. Finns

    Add India to the list of countries Pres Obama has to visit to clean up after Cyclone Hillary. 😉

    It’s hard not to sympathise with the Indian and Chinese view. They see the Western world having a better standard of living and emitting 6 times as much per person as they do, and still doing bugger all about reducing it’s emissions. And then the West says, you can’t have what we have and we will not tolerate you reaching our levels of emissions, which we won’t reduce substantially.

  34. [Could be some more egg-on-face coming later, although he already has an severak omelettes on his face anyway]

    Glenn is a deflated souffle expert

  35. Can anyone just imagine what would have happened if the Libs had got back in and brought in workchoices Mk2 and Mk3. The workers of Australia have dodged a bullet and should be reminded of this on a constant basis!

    [ALMOST a third of bosses were caught cheating some of Australia’s lowest paid workers during a national sting operation.

    A Fair Work Ombudsman investigation into the food industry found widespread underpaying by take-away shops, grocery stores and meat and produce markets.

    More than 700 workers will be back-paid nearly $500,000, but the rorting is likely to be the tip of the iceberg. Of 481 employers audited randomly, 29 per cent were caught underpaying 714 staff.

    The biggest recoveries were in Victoria ($140,975) and NSW ($203,919).

    The Fair Work Ombudsman conducted an initial six-month investigation that ended in May but has decided to continue the inquiry.]


  36. So whats the situation with the GFC at the moment? A while ago things looked really scary but has Keynes ‘fixed’ everything up again? That is, until peak oil, global warming, etc srew it up once more. Are conditions going to get to say 75% of the way towards the Great Depression siutation?

  37. More to the point, are we going to reach Peak Rudd before we reach Peak Oil? Or have we already reached Peak Rudd?

  38. [So whats the situation with the GFC at the moment? A while ago things looked really scary but has Keynes ‘fixed’ everything up again? That is, until peak oil, global warming, etc srew it up once more. ]

    That’s a market economy. It’s full of ups and downs, it’s part of how a market economy works.

  39. Tom

    I was not in Adelaide when the LCL entrenched stupidity as an economic decision making paradigm. Even so, I don’t think you can blame them only for the transport problems. Bannon selling off all the MATS plan freeway corridors’ land was a huge long-term disaster.

    Even if you don’t want to build freeways you can still build public transport in the corridors instead. The O Bahn is a good example. If you don’t have the land you have to tunnel, and that costs plenty whether for road or rail.

Comments are closed.

Comments Page 20 of 21
1 19 20 21