Houses in disorder

No Morgan poll this week, but the past week’s tide of political shenanigans and skulduggery can be held back no longer:

• The by-election for the Tasmanian upper house district for Pembroke will
be held tomorrow, which in partisan terms is the most interesting such contest for many a long year. Labor will not attempt to retain the seat being vacated by outgoing member Allison Ritchie – possibly a first in Australian electoral history – but two independents, James Crotty (who was expected to win the aborted Labor preselection) and Honey Bacon (the widow of former Premier Jim Bacon), are identifiable with the Labor cause in one way or another. Most interestingly, the field also includes a high-profile Liberal in Vanessa Goodwin, who performed impressively in both the state seat and federal seat of Franklin in 2006 and 2007 without quite bringing home the prize. This is the first time the Liberals have fielded an upper house candidate since 2000, when their poor performance reminded them why they are better off leaving the chamber to independents in most circumstances. This site will provide live coverage of the results tomorrow evening. Anybody wishing to discuss the election is invited to do so on the dedicated thread.

• The Northern Territory government is in turmoil, with Macdonnell MP and Indigenous Affairs Minister Alison Anderson threatening to quit the ALP and reports Chief Minister Paul Henderson faces a challenge from Karama MP Delia Lawrie. The government has been in a minority position since Arafura MP Marion Scrymgour quit the party early last month. Nick Calacouras of the Northern Territory News says Lawrie “avoided the media after Tuesday’s caucus meeting and snuck out the back with Transport Minister Gerry McCarthy (Barkly) and the three indigenous Labor ministers – Karl Hampton (Stuart), Malarndirri McCarthy (Arnhem) and Alison Anderson”. Darwin academic, former Labor MP and Club Troppo blogger Ken Parish is quoted saying Henderson “would be replaced by Christmas”. Anderson has been threatening to walk out over the government’s alleged failure to deliver on indigenous housing promised in a federal-territory program announced early last year. She is not ruling out joining the CLP, which would leave the fate of the government in the hands of independent Nelson MP Gerry Wood. Wood has generally been presumed to be of conservative sympathies, but he has expressed doubt as to whether “some of these new (CLP) members are ready to govern”. In any case, there seems reason to suspect Anderson’s defection threats are born of a desire to strengthen her hand as she seeks a better deal on indigenous housing (UPDATE 1/8/09): Paul Toohey of The Australian doesn’t quite see it that way, saying Anderson was in discussions late last year with the CLP about crossing the floor, and that she “will, sooner rather than later, destroy (Henderson’s) government. She has also raised the prospect of an quitting from politics altogether, which she says she will do in any case at the next election. However, Labor would probably be favoured to win an ensuing by-election, with Anderson’s electorate officer John Rawnsley having won her backing to succeed her for preselection.

• The Right faction of the New South Wales Liberal Party is being rent by a split between forces associated with state upper house MP David Clarke and his former protégé, youthful federal Mitchell MP Alex Hawke. The philosophical basis of the friction involves the Christian social conservatism of the former sub-faction (the “hard Right”) and the laissez-faire economic orientation of the latter (the “soft Right”), although there has also been talk of hard Right elements seeking a purge of Jesuit-educated Catholics. Principals of the Clarke group include state upper house MP Marie Ficarra and Epping MP Greg Smith, while the Hawke camp can claim state party president Nick Campbell. The dispute boiled over on Monday at the AGM of the Sydney University Liberal Club, which Clarke and Ficarra reportedly attempted without success to take control of (subject of a vibrant discussion at VexNews), and again at a Lane Cove Young Liberals meeting the following night. Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald reports the split could deliver soft Right support to factional moderate Philip Ruddock in Berowra, who faces a challenge from Noel McCoy of the hard Right, and Scott Morrison in Cook. Coorey relates that Greg Smith is believed to be carrying the flag for the hard Right’s campaign against Ruddock, which most recently manifested itself in a confrontation during a branch meeting in Cheltenham:

On Sunday night in Berowra, Mr Ruddock and Mr Smith attended a meeting of the Cheltenham Branch in Mr Ruddock’s electorate. By six votes to one, the moderates blocked a bid by Mr Smith to admit three new members. The same majority admitted seven new members sympathetic to Mr Ruddock.

The dissension could result in the state party initiating its federal preselection process as soon as the draft boundaries are announced next Friday, rather than waiting as currently planned until they are finalised early next year. UPDATE (1/8/09): Imre Salusinszky of The Australian reports Noel McCoy saying: “Now that I have clearance from the state director to speak to the media, I can tell you that I am not contesting the seat of Berowra.” Meaning either that there was a lot of smoke without fire, or that recent events have caused him to revise his estimate of his chances.

Michelle Grattan of The Age reports that “wealthy Toorak businessman” Andrew Abercrombie has emerged as a contender for the Liberal Higgins preselection, in challenge to heir presumptive Kelly O’Dwyer. Nominations for both Higgins and Aston closed yesterday.

James Massola of The Canberra Times reports on movement at the station in Canberra ALP branches, with Bob McMullan having announced the next election will be his last and expectations Annette Ellis might follow. This would make available both Fraser and Canberra to those aspiring for a safe seat. Massola says that “depending on who you talk to, constitutional scholar George Williams, former Julia Gillard adviser Jamie Snashall, former Mark Latham adviser Michael Cooney and Rudd’s masterful chief of staff Alister Jordan are all in the box seat for one or other of these prize seats”.

Moonee Valley Community News reports Moonee Valley councillor Rose Iser has confirmed she will run for Greens preselection in the state seat of Melbourne, which the party narrowly failed to win in 2002 and 2006. Also in the field are “former Liberty Victoria president Brian Walters SC, former candidate Jen Alden, and first-timer Bruce Poon”.

• Les Twentyman, youth worker and independent candidate at last year’s Kororoit by-election, has announced he has decided against taking the field at next year’s state election.

• On behalf of The Poll Bludger and all who sail in her, heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of valued comments contributor Judy Barnes, who has died at the age of 71.

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.

531 comments on “Houses in disorder”

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  1. [Well, I’m not going to pre-empt the report and I’m not going to comment too much on all the issues surrounding that report, but what is very clear is there has been a deep involvement in this fake email by the Liberal Party and it’s for them to answer the questions as to how and why they did what they did. But I certainly can say that I did everything in this matter, absolutely appropriately, but we’ll wait for the Auditor-General’s report.]

    Swannie on Laurie Oakes this morning.

    […what is very clear is there has been a deep involvement in this fake email by the Liberal Party]

    Is the punch line. 😉

  2. [Well, I’m not going to pre-empt the report and I’m not going to comment too much on all the issues surrounding that report, but what is very clear is there has been a deep involvement in this fake email by the Liberal Party]

    Hah. I’m not going to pre-empt it but I am going to pre-empt. Except he’s probably read it and knows that the Libs are about to get hammered.

  3. [Once we begin a nuclear power/weapons industry we can never turn back.]
    We are already part of the nuclear power industry, we are the world’s biggest supplier of Uranium, and have the world’s biggest reserves of Uranium.

  4. [We are already part of the nuclear power industry, we are the world’s biggest supplier of Uranium, and have the world’s biggest reserves of Uranium.]


    Try again, we do NO PROCESSING, we simply ship the shite to whtaever junkie state has promised not to abuse it.

  5. [we simply ship the shite to whtaever junkie state has promised not to abuse it.]
    And so that means we aren’t part of the industry!? What absolute childish nonsense.

    During the 1980s the anti-Uranium forces in the ALP said we shouldn’t export Uranium because it would make us part of the “nuclear industry” and now you are saying we export the stuff but aren’t part of the nuclear industry. What a hopeless joke.

  6. [And so that means we aren’t part of the industry!? What absolute childish nonsense]

    back to your abusive best.

    have a biscuit

  7. That $2b per Mega-watt cost seems a but light on according to this.

    [The reported prices at six new pressurized water reactors are indicative of costs for that type of plant:[14]

    * February 2008 — For two new AP1000 reactors at its Turkey Point site Florida Power & Light calculated overnight capital cost from $2444 to $3582 per kW, which were grossed up to include cooling towers, site works, land costs, transmission costs and risk management for total costs of $3108 to $4540 per kilowatt. Adding in finance charges increased the overall figures to $5780 to $8071 per kW.

    * March 2008 — For two new AP1000 reactors in Florida Progress Energy announced that if built within 18 months of each other, the cost for the first would be $5144 per kilowatt and the second $3376/kW – total $9.4 billion. Including land, plant components, cooling towers, financing costs, license application, regulatory fees, initial fuel for two units, owner’s costs, insurance and taxes, escalation and contingencies the total would be about $14 billion.

    * May 2008 — For two new AP1000 reactors at the Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station in South Carolina South Carolina Electric and Gas Co. and Santee Cooper expected to pay $9.8 billion (which includes forecast inflation and owners’ costs for site preparation, contingencies and project financing).

    * November 2008 — For two new AP1000 reactors at its Lee site Duke Energy Carolinas raised the cost estimate to $11 billion, excluding finance and inflation, but apparently including other owners costs.

    * November 2008 — For two new AP1000 reactors at its Bellefonte site TVA updated its estimates for overnight capital cost estimates ranged to $2516 to $4649/kW for a combined construction cost of $5.6 to 10.4 billion (total costs of $9.9 to $17.5 billion).

    * On April 9, 2008, Georgia Power Company reached a contract agreement for two AP1000 reactors to be built at Vogtle,[15] at an estimated final cost of $14 billion plus $3 billion for necessary transmission upgrades.]

  8. [Gusface

    What the hell’s going on here? Are you bored2tears of Washington at the HuffPo???]

    just another turtle.
    tho the resemblance is uncanny.

  9. The Political Sword used to be a good read but these days Ad Astra seems to have taken it upon themselves to defend/worship Rudd at every opportunity.

    I get that from PB!

  10. Pegasus, Rudd is:
    all spin,
    all boring analysis,
    a philosopher king,
    an Orwellian liar,
    a workaholic,
    a man with too much time on his hands,
    a bully,
    a wimp,
    too close China,
    too mean to China,
    too many friends,
    too much of micromanager,
    too foccussed on the big picture,
    all spin,
    all details,
    wanting to become UN Sec Gen,
    wanting to be PM forever,
    too political,
    too bureaucratic.

    Take your pick – the Libs do (rinse cycle repeat – always repeat)

  11. Going by what has come out today and more to come tomorrow, Turnbull is in deep do-do.

    [FEDERAL Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull says he hasn’t had any contact with the public servant at the centre of the OzCar affair since an email central to the saga was revealed as a fake in June. ]

    [Mr Turnbull has acknowledged previous contact with Mr Grech, who has been accused of being a long-time Liberal Party leak.

    But when asked on ABC Radio today if he had spoken to him since the scandal was exposed, Mr Turnbull said “No”. ],,25807380-29277,00.html

    And contrary to some media reports, it is apparent that the AG “did” use all the powers available to it in the investigation. I can hardly wait for all to be revealed!

    [THE office of the commonwealth Auditor-General has taken the highly unusual step of using the “full breadth” of its coercive powers in its investigation of the OzCar scandal.

    The Australian understands the Australian National Audit Office has completed its “substantive” investigation of the OzCar affair and is now seeking responses from parties named in the report.

    But in a measure of the high degree of sensitivity surrounding the matter, The Australian has been told the Auditor-General’s office has invoked its draconian, but rarely used, coercive powers.

    Under the legislation, investigators may invoke coercive powers, similar to a royal commission or the Australian Crime Commission, allowing them to compel witness testimony or the production of documents.

    However, the powers are rarely used and the OzCar inquiry represents only the fifth occasion the Auditor-General’s coercive functions have been invoked since the Audit Act came into force in 1998. ]

    [The Australian understands all witnesses interviewed as part of the Auditor-General’s investigation were subject to the coercive powers. The use of the powers was not due to the reluctance of witnesses to provide evidence.

    Rather, it was in order to acquire evidence of the highest quality and accuracy in what is sure to be an ongoing political scandal. ],,25826872-2702,00.html

  12. Doesn’t this fit Turnbull to a “T” in regard to his responses after the e-mail was declared a fake. Nelson must be dining out on Malcolm’s discomfort on a daily basis now.

    [The techniques of spin include:
    Selectively presenting facts and quotes that support one’s position (cherry picking)
    Non-denial denial – a statement that seems direct, clear cut and unambiguous at first hearing, but when carefully parsed is revealed not to be a denial at all
    Phrasing in a way that assumes unproven truths]

  13. There is a new children’s book just released by Scholastic called ‘the wheels on the ute go round and round” i have had an interest in this masterpiece being created last year as my daughter was invited to illustrate the book. It’s timing is a bit of a laugh to our family as we think of Kev and his ute. The driver of the ute looks surprisingly like Kev. Perhaps it will become a classic like Humpty Dumpty.

  14. [ShowsOn
    Posted Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    The Liberals support nuclear power, so if the government changed their mind it would get through the senate easily. The Government would just face dissent in its own ranks, but it would still pass.]

    The Liberals support privatizing government assets but it didn’t help labor get the last chance sale of NSW coal fired power stations off the ground.

    As an aside, you can buy a hell of a lot of solar cells for 26 billion dollars.

  15. [Nuclear Power is not a religious issue]

    On the eighth day, gods made nuclear waste and nuclear weapons…and Jesus wept.

  16. [The Liberals support privatizing government assets but it didn’t help labor get the last chance sale of NSW coal fired power stations off the ground.]
    That was just because O’Farrell wanted to end Iemma’s premiership.

    During this term of federal parliament many Liberals have mentioned support for nuclear power during the CPRS debate, and during debate on a bill for the federal government to collect mining royalties in N.T. Also, the Liberals went to the last election with legalisation of nuclear power as one of their policies.

    If Turnbull told Liberals they couldn’t vote to legalise nuclear power, then they would revolt and cross the floor anyway.

  17. Scorpio


    I don’t know the Barnes family address, so cannot help there until the paper tomorrow, maybe. Will post or email once more is known, if necessary.

    I emailed William with another email address you could contact me on.

    Seems like Diogenes knows the Barnes family, but I don’t know who he is.



  18. Just popped in before bed and saw your post Crikey, I have Judith’s address as she sent me a tape of the ACA show she and her kids were on.
    I could email it to William maybe to pass on to you or Scorpio?

  19. Vera m deara

    Appreciate your thought. But.

    Is there a point in sending to Judy’s email address?

    Although, one never knows.

    I have a habit of saying, that emails exist to occupy our time to in Heaven, ‘cos no one reads them here.


  20. Jeez Crikey, that sounded a bit patronising.
    I think Vera meant that there was a return address on the parcel she received from Judith.
    [I have a habit of saying, that emails exist to occupy our time to in Heaven, ‘cos no one reads them here.]
    How many other silly habits do you have?

  21. Milne throws in the towel. It’s all Rudd Hating, all the time.

    Glen finds:

    [… the first sign of Rudd’s potential to overreach]

    at the ALP Conference. Glen loves first, tenuous, glimmerings. They bring out the Inner Woodstein in him.

    Continuing the (what Glen would call “paradigm”… what we would call “a theme”) he reveals that Ipswich Inc has reared its ugly head again. This would be as distinguished from China Inc and even W.A. Inc, which Glen is also a self-professed expert on.

    More like a waste of Inc, to me.

    There are donations that do not have “a good look” (despite Glen agreeing they have the full sanction of the law and are completely registered in the appropriate place). We have the Milne Doctrine up in lights:

    [… so long as a system is allowed to persist and prosper – in Queensland and in Canberra – where lobbyists with political connections open doors for rich clients while at the same time donating to the same parties from which they came, these questions will continue to be asked. Because in politics perception is reality.]

    Let that sink in: “Perception Is Reality”. There’s the Gossiper’s Manifesto for you. If it can be perceived, then reality doesn’t matter, because perception is reality.

    And who is the judge of all this?

    Little Glen, of course.

    The man’s let it all go to his head. Poor fella.

  22. BB @ 487

    Quite so BB, and I was stunned to hear the head of the CMC here in Qld say something on the tele the other day along the lines of “if the perception of corruption is there, then action must be taken …””

    So, the Courier Mail / ABC ant-Labor editorial policies have seen everything positive labor does in Qld twisted, mis-represented and deliberately lied about. Every day, relentlessly, these organisations attack Labor – there is no ‘journalism’ involved, it’s all just editorialising personal bile. there are no major alternative news sources for Qlders.

    Fitzgerald (who has been out of Qld for so long he can really have no idea what’s going on here) hops on his soapbox and unloads years of frustration and pique at not being chosen by Labor as the Chief Justice (anyone will tell you that De Jersey was the far superior, and correct, choice). Peter Beattie defends himself and the pompoues Fitzgerald has another go, a la David Flint.

    The reality is that there is simply not any corruption in Qld at anywhere remotely near the level of the previous Nationakl party regime. Period.

  23. Grog @ 472. Spot-on post!

    BB @ 487 Good post

    “… the first sign of Rudd’s potential to overreach” I’m sure other NewsLtd hacks have been on about this before – part of their antiRudd meme – but poor Glen might have been too tired & emo to notice.

    As for “…so long as ….. in politics perception is reality”, surely he can’t possibly think this applies only to the Qld ALP. Has he forgotten (among others) Malcolm’s “Rainmaker” effort just before Election07? Or Howard’s brother’s business? Or Wooldridge’s MRI machines (still inconveniencing the public)?

    “Perception is reality”, is it? And his is so distorted that he thinks we’ve forgotten about Howard Government scandals? Or his reality so blurrred he believes that if he doesn’t mention them, they never happened?

    I must admit to being fascinated by NewsLtd’s “old guard” of bitter & twisted Howard Huggers who have taken his defeat so very badly – as if it’s a personal affront by Rudd to them personally. As an original Oz reader, I’ve followed reporting of Fed Elections that changed governments; McMahon/Whitlam, Whitlam/Fraser, Fraser/Hawke, Keating/Howard (when Oz reporters, having been wrong over Election 93, were still half expecting Keating to win again) & Howard/Rudd; but recall nothing to compare with the way Milne & Co are carrying on over Rudd’s victory.

    What about Howard Hugging caused so many journalists & Opinionistas to fawn like madly-excited teen fans over a pop star? Are they a sadly humorous lesson in what happens to those who lose sight of the political reality that governments change and descend to irrational approbation of their heroes, whilst treating their heroes’ victors with opprobrium?

  24. Perhaps Milne should rephrase and point out that “his perception is his reality”. Because Rudd with 66% popularity rating leading a Labor Government with 57% TPP support is the reality that the electorate are perceiving.

  25. BB and Tragic, youre spot on as usual. The hatred is palpable and appears to be getting worse not better. Journalists like Milne are behaving exactly like the opposition: they hate Rudd and expect that the public does too and hasnt realised, or will turn at any second. I wonder whay poll numbers would make them reconsider?? 70/30 2PP??

    And their hypocrisy over issues like donations and lobbyists is breathtaking.

  26. Trubbell at Mill @ 488 The MSM, esp. Courier Mail and Channel 10’s Cathy Border, both of whom have had spectacular cases of sour grapes since Q Election09 (Border’s reporting on the following day’s “Meet the Press” was hilariously spiteful) will never forgive Anna for winning – and that was before the CM Ed’s wife was stupid enough to harrass Rudd into an on-air reprimand!

    How many years now since Flegg’s election seemed to bring with it a series of medical leaks & campaigns, and the CM dedicated itself to the sort of screamer headlines about state government real & beat-up scandals aimed at getting the Libs & Nats back into power? And failed to prevail at not one but two elections?

    Not that the national ALP conference would have anything to do with the timing of the Fitzgerald v Beattie stouch, or Tanya Major’s Q&A spray, or David Marriner’s ranting (Laguna keys), or the Galaxy poll (and I note the MSM forgot how badly out it was just before Bligh called the election), eh?

    Not that trashing Bligh & Rudd by NewsLtd hacks would have anything to do with the Auditor general’s report either, eh?

  27. For those who asked the question it is very possible for an Indigenous Party to thrive in the NT. With good candidates, organisation and funding (remote polling is concurrent) – an Indigenous Party could hold the balance of power. This would be a good thing, particularly in the current climate where a large number of people do not like the policies of either party.

  28. What should an Opposition party do when it discovers that the only demographic in which it still retains an albeit slim Majority (take a bow here Poss!)? How does Turnbull try to build winning margins in Boomers, Gens X & Y? Why, he taps into seniors’ wisdom, of course, because:

    Mr Turnbull said Engaging With Senior Australians would give the coalition invaluable feedback from a critical part of the population.

    “We want to hear about your concerns, your ideas and your priorities,” he told an audience of around 500.

    “We want to tap in to your wisdom.

    “This initiative is designed to ensure senior Australians are given the opportunity to participate in the political process directly.”

    As if, as local, state & federal voters, we haven’t been part of the “political process “for decades! What a load of, er, Turnbull****

    Anyone who wants to be part of the political process (whatever that cliche’s supposed to mean) is ever so welcome at party branch meetings, fund-raisers & HTV card handing out time, and it’s not as if Oz doesn’t have a swathe of political parties – how many of them were on the last Senate voting papers, FGS? If people feel alienated, it’s because they choose to be! Let’s face it:

    The coalition on Monday launched a new website to take feedback on everything

    so, presumably, they can comment & blog!

    But, with Boomers storming into that demographic, to give MalT what due he deserves, he does have to do what Liberals have failed to do for years (mainly because people like Premier “Run the bastards down” Bolte set out deliberately to alienate them), chip off rusted-on non-Opposition voters. Myself, I thought the Libs & their huggers like Sheridan etc had spent time portraying Boomers as entirely self-absorbed, so why would they be interested in whatever “political process” Mal has to offer!

    (For the deniers, the Bolte remark is one of many listed on the only page Wiki offer my search: )

    So how is wooing GenBlue (a C21 variant of “Blue rinse”) with a web site going to change the way Boomers, or Gen X or Gen Y vote?

    Ya gotta wonder!

  29. [an Indigenous Party could hold the balance of power]
    An Indigenous Party would only split the ALP vote. It is unlikely to take votes from the CLP. So more likely it could form a coalition with what is left of the ALP, or sit on the opposition benches and let the CLP govern (probably the more likely outcome). It would be better if Indigenous members leveraged for more control of the NT branches of the ALP.

  30. Christopher Pyne jumps the shark. He said on ABC Adelaide this morning that the ALP “is trying to turn Australia into a one party state”.

  31. Today’s letters to the SMH are good reading under the heading
    [You are the master of misinformation, Malcolm]
    There are 7 of them all having a go at Malcolm or praising Rudd. If the 17 who wrote this one is any indication I bet the Libs wont be agreeing to lower the voting age any time soon 🙂
    As OZpol said. they’d rather go after the blue rinse set.
    [Malcolm, at 17 years of age, I am part of Australia’s “future generations”. But I am sorry to tell you that to me, your message has about as much depth as the Murray-Darling river system.]

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