Bradfield by-election: December 5

Friday, December 4

Ben Raue of the Tally Room cases the joint, and reports the following intelligence concerning the Christian Democratic Party:

Apparently the party has divided the seat’s polling booths between the nine candidates. Each candidate has their own how-to-vote card which puts themselves first then goes to all the other CDP candidates through a donkey vote. Then the the vote goes to the DLP, Bill Koutalianos, One Nation, Simon Kelly, Philip Dowling, Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy, Brian Buckley, Liberal Democrats, Peter Hanrahan, CCC, the Liberals, the Greens and the Sex Party last.

Friday, November 20

A candidates forum will be held at 6pm tonight at the Killara High School, hosted by the school and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.

Friday, November 13

The ballot paper draw has been conducted, and the full list of 22 candidates can be viewed here. Expect a high informal vote thanks to the Christian Democratic Party, which has been unable to make quite as much of a joke of this very serious process as they had hoped to: only nine candidates are being fielded, rather than the promised 11. Were I a Bradfield voter, I’d send these idiots a signal by placing them from 14 to 22.

Monday, November 9

News Limited reports that Zoo Weekly has approached “chk chk boom girl” Clare Werbeloff to promote its wares by having her run as a candidate. A similar enterprise proposed for the March state election in Queensland, at which former AFL player Warwick Capper was to join Pauline Hanson in running for Beaudesert, was thwarted when the great man and his policy brains trust, Mark Jackson, neglected to submit the nomination in time.

Friday, November 6

LATE: Antony Green has updated his by-election with candidate details, which lists two who had escaped my attention: medical practitioner Simon McCaffrey of the Democratic Labor Party, and fitter and turner Victor Waterson of One Nation.

EARLY: Imre Salusinszky of The Australian reports the Christian Democratic Party’s 11 candidates will run “an emotive anti-Muslim, anti-carbon trading campaign”:

The party’s propaganda for the December 5 by-election, which has been provided in advance to The Australian, declares “Enough!” and urges Australians to “Stand your ground in defence of Christian values”. It uses a selection of alternating slogans, including, “Ten-year moratorium on Muslim immigration”, “No nukes for Iran – we must defend Israel” and “No carbon tax – stop the ETS”.

Tuesday, November 3

The North Shore Times relates the aforementioned Simon Kelly is an “anti-safe seat campaigner”, and that the Liberal Democratic Party will also field a candidate.

Monday, November 2

Seven candidates are listed on Wikipedia: the aforementioned Paul Fletcher, Susie Gemmell, Marianna Leishman and Brian Buckley; another independent, “local IT businessman” Simon Kelly; and two Christian Democratic Party candidates, Leighton Thew and Heath Wilson.

Thursday, October 29

The Australian Sex Party has announced its candidate will be one Zahra Stardust, who is apparently no relation to Ziggy – her birth certificate reportedly records her as Marianna Leishman. Stardust-Leishman is billed as “a feminist writer and law graduate who also works as a trapeze artist, burlesque performer, showgirl, fire twirler and pole dance instructor”. Nominations close November 12, with the ballot draw to follow the next day.

Tuesday, October 27

Enjoy Paul Fletcher’s by-election website.

UPDATE: And, in the interests of balance, Greens candidate Susie Gemmell’s. Thanks to Spanners and Marg for their awareness-raising efforts in comments.

Monday, October 26

Speaker Harry Jenkins has confirmed that the Higgins and Bradfield by-elections will be held on December 5.

Monday, October 19

Brendan Nelson formally tendered his resignation today to Speaker Harry Jenkins, who is expected to announce an election date of November 28 or December 5 in the coming days. Antony Green has weighed in on local reports that the Christian Democratic Party might field as many as 11 candidates: one for each disciple other than Judas, which is presumably how Fred Nile and campaign manager Michael Darby view estranged party MLC Gordon Moyes. Already pencilled in are Leighton Thew and Heath Wilson. Antony says the plan would amount to the CDP “abusing its privileges as a registered party”, which allow it to nominate candidates without obtaining the signatures of 50 voters as independent candidates are required to to. He suggests reforming the law to require nominating signatures if a party wishes to field multiple candidates.

Saturday, October 10

With the by-election process still not officially under way, Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald discusses the question of timing:

Governments set byelection dates and, on average, have opted in recent years for polls 52 days after resignations were tendered. That would push Bradfield and Higgins back to Saturday, December 5. They could be a week earlier on November 28. Either way, the polls would follow the final two-week parliamentary sitting in which the Coalition – if it doesn’t filibuster – will have to vote on Labor’s emissions trading scheme.

Saturday, October 3

The North Shore Times reports potential independent candidates include Ku-ring-gai mayor Elaine Malicki and “Australian nationalist” Brian Buckley (hat tip to Nick C in comments).

Tuesday, September 29

An exquisitely detailed report on the preselection by Imre Salusinszky of The Australian details the ballot thus:

Courtesy of the special rule, the first ballot took care of everyone apart from Fletcher (28 votes), Switzer (15), Coleman (14), Leeser (11) and, surprisingly, Burton (12) and Alexander (7). A second ballot redistributed the vote as follows: Fletcher (40), Switzer (23), Leeser (19), Coleman (14), Burton (11), Alexander (7). The tennis champ was retired, hurt. Burton and Coleman were eliminated in the third and fourth ballots. As Coleman fell, the Left moved strategically against Switzer. Leeser leapfrogged him, picking up 13 of Coleman’s 17 supporters. The fifth vote came out: Fletcher (47), Leeser (38), Switzer (26). Leeser’s supporters began to speculate on how soon Turnbull would be elevating their man to the shadow ministry: with Switzer eliminated, they assumed the Right would lock in behind Leeser. They were wrong. Switzer’s vote split straight down the middle. Neeham walked briskly down the stairs of the RSL, to a room next to a billiard parlour, where the candidates were holed up. He told them Fletcher had beaten Leeser by 60 votes to 51, and took them through the successive balloting.

Sunday, September 27

Paul Fletcher won last night’s Liberal preselection over Julian Leeser by a margin of 60 to 51 in the final round, according to VexNews. Tom Switzer and David Coleman reportedly made it through to the third round, the also-rans presumably having been knocked out in the first and second. Stephanie Peatling of the Sydney Morning Herald reports the preselection proceedings were delayed by a bomb scare. Fletcher holds dual British citizenship which he says he will relinquish on Monday, the High Court having established in 1999 that this constitutes “allegiance to a foreign power” when it overturned Queensland One Nation candidate Heather Hill’s election to the Senate.

Other candidate that I’m aware of: Susie Gemmell of the Greens.

Saturday, September 26

Today’s the big day for the Liberal preselection. Writing in The Australian, Peter van Onselen describes the procedure thus:

If you are reading this on Saturday, take a moment to feel for the 117Liberal Party members locked away from the outside world at the Hornsby RSL. There won’t even be a television in the background broadcasting the AFL grand final. If they’re lucky, theyll get a few newspapers to share around. The process will continue through the day as the 17 candidates formally work their way around small groups of preselectors in round table format to answer questions and make short pitches. By 7pm the voting process starts as each of the candidates gets eliminated. It is entirely possible we won’t know the result until the early hours of Sunday morning. If you are reading this article on Sunday, in all likelihood the result will be available on The Australian’s website, even if it wasn’t known in time to make it into the Sunday papers. The talk will quickly move from the process of the preselection to the choice of the candidate selected.

These are the 17 starters in vague order of likelihood of victory, as best as I can ascertain it.

Paul Fletcher. Former Optus executive, described by Imre Salusinszky as “a communications consultant and former staffer with former federal communications minister Richard Alston”. Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald reports “number crunchers” give Fletcher slight favouritism ahead of David Coleman. This is partly because he has strong support from the Left, which accounts for 35 votes, while Right (30 votes) support is scattered among Julian Leeser, Tom Switzer, Sophie York, Simon Berger and “dark horse” John Hart. Fletcher is also rated the favourite by Peter van Onselen, who nonetheless observes he “has the twin negatives of being close to the left-wing clique The Group and not living in the area”.

David Coleman. An executive with the Packer family’s Publishing and Broadcasting Limited who is associated with the Left faction and the other side of town, having run for the federal Cook preselection and been mentioned in connection with the state seat of Cronulla. Described as a “centrist” by Peter van Onselen, who rates him one of four front-runners but warns he “doesn’t live in the area and the risk for him is not having enough support early in the count to last long enough to pick up expected preferences”.

Simon Berger. Openly gay staffer for Nelson. Not Friends with Miranda Devine, who says he squibbed the emissions trading system issue while in Nelson’s employ. Andrew Landeryou at VexNews reports he “enjoys the doctor’s strong endorsement”, and is “loosely associated with the Alex Hawke part of the Liberal Right, but the associations with most of these candidates and the dominant factions are very loose”. Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald observes that Berger’s branch will be transferred to North Sydney under the current redistribution proposal. Peter van Onselen says both Berger and Leeser “should get strong local support but the difficulty for each of them is winning enough factional support to secure a majority if they make it to the final two”.

Julian Leeser. Menzies Research Centre executive director. According to Andrew Landeryou at VexNews, he would enjoy support from within the Alex Hawke sub-faction of the Right, but “also worked for factionally Left Phil Ruddock so he maintains good relations across the usually warring NSW Liberal tribes”. Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald says Leeser is a member of a Berowra branch that will be transferred into the electorate under the current redistribution proposal. Peter van Onselen reports both Leeser and Tom Switzer have been playing up the idea that a local resident is necessary to forestall a challenge by an independent running on development controversies, but says Leeser’s challenge is “winning enough factional support to secure a majority” if he makes the final two.

Tom Switzer. Former opinion page editor of The Australian, adviser to Brendan Nelson and waiter for Studs Afloat in a strictly “pants on” capacity. Said by Andrew Landeryou of VexNews to be backed by the David Clarke faction of the Right. Friends with Miranda Devine. Peter van Onselen reports Switzer has been playing up the idea that a local resident is necessary to forestall a challenge by an independent running on development controversies.

Sophie York. Like Tom Switzer, Friends with Miranda Devine, and evidently very good friends at that: she lists York’s qualifications as “barrister, author, lieutenant-commander in the navy reserves, mother of four sons”, being “part of a new breed of conservative feminists, generous and warm but with courage and a steely intellect”, and sharing Switzer’s qualities of being “successful, normal and fun, with a fine mind, good judgment, loving family and clear moral compass”.

Paul Blanch. Candidate for Calare at the 2004 federal election, at which time he was a spruiked as a sheep farmer who owned a property near Bathurst, he is now described by Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald as a “local lawyer and businessman”.

John Alexander. Former Davis Cup champion (loosely defined), “voice of tennis” and referee on Gladiators. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Alexander only recently joined the Liberal Party and attended his first branch meeting last week. A day before the preselection. Imre Salusinszky of The Australian reported Alexander had “unleashed a late offensive, telephoning about half of the 120 preselectors”.

John Hart. Chief executive of Restaurant and Catering Australia, rated a “dark horse” by Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald.

Paul Ritchie. Public affairs manager for the NSW Business Chamber.

Namoi Dougall. A solicitor who once sat with Malcolm Turnbull on the Republic Advisory Committee.

Greg Burton. Another solicitor, Burton contested preselection for the state seat of Davidson in 2002.

Maureen Shelley. Former Ku-ring-gai councillor who challenged Bronwyn Bishop for preselection in Mackellar ahead of the 2007 election, losing by 90 votes to 17.

Philip Senior. A late entrant described by Peter van Onselen as an “author and business analyst”.

Richard Bell. Another late entrant, described by Andrew Priestley of the North Shore Times as a “barrister and community radio presenter”.

Robin Fitzsimons. Still another late entrant, described by Andrew Priestley of the North Shore Times as a “Sydney University senate fellow and neurologist”.

Mark Majewski. One more late entrant, described by Andrew Priestley of the North Shore Times as a “small business owner”. Majewski was the Liberal candidate for Blaxland at the 2007 federal election.


Arthur Sinodinos. Considered the front-runner if he chose to run but has declined to do so, pleading the demands of politics on family life. Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald quotes a “senior source” saying that if Sinodinos had run, “there would have been potential to embarrass him over his relationship with the disgraced Treasury official Godwin Grech”. Peter van Onselen of The Australian has been promoting the idea that Sinodinos might want to enter state politics instead, perhaps replacing the outgoing Peter Debnam in Vaucluse.

Nick Campbell. State party president, said by Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald to have put his hand up on news of Arthur Sinodinos’s no-show, but ultimately didn’t follow through.

Adrienne Ryan. Former Ku-ring-gai mayor and ex-wife of former police commissioner Peter Ryan, mentioned in relation to every NSW Liberal preselection since time immemorial, but not ultimately a contestant in this one.

Nick Farr-Jones. Former Wallabies rugby union star mentioned early in the hunt, but evidently thought better of the idea.

Monday, September 14

Ben Raue at The Tally Room reports the Greens have preselected Susie Gemmell, their candidate from the 2007 election and for the corresponding state seat of Ku-ring-gai in 2003 and 2007. Gemmell works as an adviser to state upper house MP and Senate candidate Lee Rhiannon.

Friday, September 11

Imre Salusinszky of The Australian reports a “draft timetable” circulating the Liberal Party has the preselection scheduled for September 26. According to Salusinszky, Fletcher is “narrowly favoured … at this stage”.

Tuesday, September 1

Malcolm Mackerras in Crikey tips a Liberal-Greens two-party margin of 59-41. He also provides an interesting rebuttal of the conventional wisdom that by-elections are bad for governments: true of the days when most resulted from the deaths of sitting members, he says, but trumped by the desire of voters to react against a “greed-driven resignation of the sitting member” by voting against their party. Without question there’s a lot of meat on these bones, but it doesn’t explain last year’s solid swing to the Nationals in Gippsland.

There may be an interesting new addition to the Liberal preselection race if an item in yesterday’s Crikey Tips and Rumours section is to be believed:

The contest for preselection in Bradfield is about to get a little more interesting with international lawyer Jason Yat-sen Li to declare his candidacy. Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has been working very hard to convince Yat-sen Li to run. Turnbull and Yat-sen Li have been very close ever since they first met at the Constitutional Convention in 1998. Other front-runners for Bradfield, including Julian Leeser and Tom Switzer, fear that Yat-sen Li might just have what it takes to win the preselection, especially if he has Turnbull’s backing.

Li was the lead New South Wales Senate candidate in 1998 of the Unity Party, formed to send a multicultural message against Hansonism. He left the party shortly after, accusing it of negotiating preference deals with unsavoury right-wing micro-parties. I will hold off including him in my Liberal preselection form guide, which I will move up to the top of this post each time I add a new update:

Monday, August 31

It is expected that the by-election will be held in November: around the time, notes Dennis Shanahan of The Australian, that the Rudd government will reintroduce its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme legislation, daring the opposition to provide it with a double dissolution trigger. Helpful Liberal sources inform Glenn Milne that Malcolm Turnbull is “finished” if he can’t add 2 per cent to the Liberal primary vote. This is revealed in an interesting article for News Limited’s Sunday tabloids which doesn’t seem to be online:

The battle for Bradfield will be an internal Liberal party referendum on Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership. No more, no less. And for anyone who thinks that a cruel and unusual benchmark for a leader scraping the bottom of poll figures no politician would wish upon another, hark back a moment, if you will, to May, 2008. That was the time of the Gippsland by-election. A happier time for Brendan Nelson, whose decision to quit politics early has turned the contest for Bradfield into a make-or-break moment for Malcolm Turnbull.

Nelson was leader of the Liberal Party and Turnbull his putative challenger. Turnbull and his supporters told anyone who would listen that Gippsland was Nelson’s last stand. If Gippsland went, held by the Nationals for more than 20 years, so too would Nelson’s leadership. Gippsland happened in the full sunlamp glow of Kevin Rudd’s honeymoon. Back then, no one had heard of the global financial crisis. Nelson didn’t have an issue to fly with. But in tough-minded fashion, he grafted some. He opposed the Government’s alco-pops tax as an attack on the “ute-man” demographic in Gippsland, and he flayed Rudd over his broken election promises to bring down grocery and petrol prices. Critically, he used his Budget in Reply speech to propose a five-cents-a-litre-cut in fuel tax.

It flew. Behind the scenes, Turnbull described it as “populist crap”. But after Nelson announced – the first time around – he’d be retiring at the next election, Kevin Rudd had him around for a private cup of tea. Rudd declared Nelson’s speech on the Budget one of his finest moments as Liberal Leader. Unlike Turnbull, Rudd knew a good political manoeuvre when he saw one. The National Party went on to retain Gippsland with an 8.4 per cent swing against Labor.

Critically, the emphatic victory came off the preferences of the 20.4 per cent of the vote won by the Liberal candidate, Rohan Fitzgerald. And you know what that victory bought Brendan Nelson? Three weeks of clear air. That’s all. Three weeks before Turnbull and his supporters again began white-anting him before finally bringing him down five months later. So don’t let anyone tell you that posing the Bradfield by-election as a test for Malcolm Turnbull is a maliciously minded set-up. It is simply a matter of applying Malcolm’s own standards to himself.

The Liberal preselection will be decided at the end of September by 72 local branch delegates and 48 from the state council and state executive. There is talk of as many 20 candidates taking the field. Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald reports talk in Liberal circles that some might be running to serve notice to the members for neighbouring Berowra and Mackellar, Philip Ruddock and Bronwyn Bishop, that it won’t do for them to squeeze out another term while the surplus of Bradfield preselection talent goes begging.

Elsewhere, AAP reports the Greens will preselect a candidate on September 14. There’s a crazy large guide to the electorate on Ben Raue’s The Tally Room. The similarly thorough Antony Green offers some late news on the 1952 by-election for the seat.

Tuesday, August 25

Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald reports Brendan Nelson “will not stay until the next election” and will “make an announcement in the next 24 hours”, suggesting a by-election is imminent in his north Sydney seat of Bradfield. The electorate runs from Chatswood north through Killara, Turramurra and St Ives to Wahroonga and has been very safe for the Liberals since its creation in 1949, the inaugural member being a venerable Billy Hughes. Brendan Nelson came to the seat in 1996 after a preselection coup against David Connolly, member from 1974.

Nelson announced he would not contest the next election in February, leading to considerable jockeying ahead of a preselection that was delayed pending the announcement of new electoral boundaries. To head off branch stacking, the party’s state executive promptly ruled that any new members in the electorate would not be eligible to vote in the preselection ballot due nine months’ hence, whereas the rule normally requires only six months of membership. By all accounts the two front-runners will be Arthur Sinodinos, legendary former chief-of-staff to John Howard, and Tom Switzer, former opinion page editor for The Australian. However, other names were recently put forward by Phillip Coorey: Menzies Research Centre executive director Julian Leeser; Paul Fletcher, director of corporate and regulatory affairs at Optus; and David Coleman, an executive with the Packer family’s Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (last I heard) who is associated with the Left faction and the other side of the town, having run for the federal Cook preselection and been mentioned in connection with the state seat of Cronulla.

Antony Green has quickly whipped up a post on the matter, noting as a certain fact that Labor won’t run and that “the real contest in Bradfield is likely to be in Liberal pre-slection, not the subsequent by-election”.

UPDATE: According to Christian Kerr of The Australian, an “influential local Liberal” says: “If Arthur wants the seat, he’s got it. If he doesn’t run, then it’s an open race.”

UPDATE 2: The psephoblogosphere doesn’t stuff around: posts up already from Possum and Ben Raue.

UPDATE 3: Andrew Landeryou at VexNews says his sources believe Sinodinos is “not interested in running and has told people so as late as today”. He also names as another contender “master campaign tactician Simon Berger, an openly gay staffer for Nelson who enjoys the doctor’s strong endorsement”. Berger is “loosely associated with the Alex Hawke part of the Liberal Right, but the associations with most of these candidates and the dominant factions are very loose”. Leeser “would enjoy support from within the Hawke group. Interestingly, he once also worked for factionally Left Phil Ruddock so he maintains good relations across the usually warring NSW Liberal tribes”. Tom Switzer has support from the “Taliban Right” associated with local operative Noel McCoy and hard Right warlord David Clarke, “although they don’t really claim him as a member as such”. Apparently still in the mix is barrister Mark Speakman, recently discussed as a possible successor to Peter Debnam in Vaucluse and a challenger to federal incumbent Stephen Mutch in Cook way back in 1998, which led to the installation of Bruce Baird as a compromise candidate. Landeryou reckons David Coleman’s “decision to drag the party off to court over a previous preselection (for Cook before the last federal election) made him as popular as a bikini model in a Kabul coffee house”.

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.

385 comments on “Bradfield by-election: December 5”

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  1. From today’s daily crikey:

    Readers may be interested in my take on the forthcoming by-election for Bradfield. So I begin with a straight forecast. I predict that the two-party preferred vote will split 59 per cent for the candidate chosen by the Liberal Party and 41 per cent for whoever stands for the Greens.

    To explain such a prediction requires some contested psephology. Before I do that, however, I wish to dispose of a myth. It is that by-elections normally record good results for Opposition parties. In the good old days that used to be so. However, in those days by-elections were typically caused by the death of a member. These days, by contrast, they are almost always caused by the greed-driven resignation of the sitting member.

    Since our first federal general election in March 1901 there have been 144 federal by-elections, of which 108 occurred in the period from 1901 to 1981, inclusive. Only 37 of those 108 were caused by the resignation of the member. By contrast, in the period from 1982 to 2008, inclusive, there have been 36 by-elections, of which 33 were caused by resignation, one by a natural death, one by a suicide death and one by the court of disputed returns voiding the result in a seat at the previous general election.

    My assessment is that in modern circumstances voters have become sick and tired of greedy politicians resigning their seats. So they take it out on the party of the resigning member. For that reason it would be astonishing if there were not a swing against the Liberal Party in Bradfield.

    Three state by-elections have so far been held this year. All three were caused by greed-driven resignations. All were lost by the party holding the seat. In January the Liberal Party lost Frome (SA) to a pro-Labor Independent. In May Labor lost Fremantle (WA) to the Greens and in August Labor lost Pembroke (Tasmania) to the Liberal Party. Okay, they were state by-elections and Bradfield is a federal seat. So let me look at the three federal by-elections for this parliamentary term. All three were caused by greed-driven resignations as, of course, is Bradfield.

    As things turned out in 2008 the Nationals retained Gippsland and the Liberals Mayo. Mark Vaile, by contrast, threw away his safe seat of Lyne to a hostile Independent. As things turned out the Nationals performed well in Gippsland, as I predicted would occur. The reason is sometimes an over-riding national issue takes over. In the case of Gippsland that issue was climate change. For a seat like Gippsland the Nationals were very much on the right side of the dominating issue. It over-came what would otherwise have been the negative of the greed of the resigning member, Peter McGauran. It was a good result for Warren Truss. Both Gippsland and Mayo were bad results for the then Liberal leader, Brendan Nelson.

    The Mayo by-election in September 2008 constitutes a good piece of analysis for Bradfield. Both are blue-ribbon Liberal seats but the ribbon of Bradfield is bluer than that of Mayo. Since Mayo was a contest between Liberal and Greens I have no doubt Bradfield will also be that. In mayo the Liberal candidate was Jamie Briggs and the candidate for the Greens was Lynton Vonow. The two-party preferred vote was 39,381 for Briggs (53.03%) and 34,879 for Vonow (46.97%).

    I lack the space to demonstrate the correct statistical status of my next statement so I shall just assert it and wait for events to prove me right or wrong. I assert that a transposition of the Mayo votes to Bradfield yields the 59-41 prediction made above.

    In Bradfield the November 2007 two-party preferred votes were 53,512 for Brendan Nelson (63.45%) and 30,819 (36.55%) for the Labor candidate, Victoria Brookman.

    When the votes are cast and counted I shall make my assessment as to what it shows for the leadership of Malcolm Turnbull. So why should I not do it now? I say if the Liberal share exceeds 60% of the two-party preferred vote then that is a good result for Turnbull. If it falls short of 58% then it is a bad result for him.

  2. [Li was the lead New South Wales Senate candidate in 1998 of the Unity Party, formed to send a multicultural message against Hansonism. He left the party shortly after, accusing it of negotiating preference deals with unsavoury right-wing micro-parties.]

    So he joined the NSW Libs? He’ll learn a thing or two soon enough.

  3. Strange comparisons with Gippsland and Mayo from Mackeras there. In Mayo, the main issue was the Murray River, which brought the Greens and an independent who both did well, Family First had an ex-Lib MP, and the new Liberal had the Workchoices taint about him. And how was Gippsland a bad result for Brendan Nelson? They came third in a seat they don’t usually contest, and contributed to a decent sized swing against the govt – eh?

    Also, he seems to have pulled that 59-41 figure out of thin air. It isn’t actually discussed in the article… all there is is this:

    [ I lack the space to demonstrate the correct statistical status of my next statement so I shall just assert it and wait for events to prove me right or wrong. I assert that a transposition of the Mayo votes to Bradfield yields the 59-41 prediction made above. ]

    Mayo ain’t Bradfield.

  4. [In the case of Gippsland that issue was climate change. For a seat like Gippsland the Nationals were very much on the right side of the dominating issue.]
    Ugh. This is a lazy and unconvincing explanation.

    For mine the key difference between Gippsland and Lyne/Mayo was that the former had a govt candidate and the latter two did not.

  5. While every prediction Mackerras makes should be taken with a pinch of salt, I have to disagree with the statement by David Walsh that:

    [the key difference between Gippsland and Lyne/Mayo was that the former had a govt candidate and the latter two did not]

    If Labor had run a candidate in Lyne, Oakeshott would still have won handsomely. His primary vote would have been lower, but he would have easily sailed in on Labor preferences (if he didn’t win the seat on primaries). In Mayo, it may have been different, depending on:

    1. How the various independents/minor parties allocated their preferences between Labor, Greens and Liberals
    2. Whether the Greens would have polled higher than Labor when it came to the penultimate preference count (unlikely, but we’ll never know).

    If Labor had ended up coming second in Mayo, the Liberal margin would have been bigger, as a lot of the FF and independent vote would presumably have put the Libs ahead of Labor.

  6. This is how weak, pathetic, and lost for direction the federal Liberals are, not to mention how incredibly well Rudd Labor is doing.

    [ But he said yesterday that attempts by the federal Liberals to use the NSW Government as a campaign weapon would be an admission the Coalition has no agenda of its own.

    The Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, urged voters in the Bradfield byelection, as well as at the next federal election, to take out its frustrations with the Rees Government by punishing the Rudd Government.

    ”The same group that are responsible for the catastrophe that is Labor Government in NSW are the group that put Kevin Rudd into the leadership and that are his key support base,” Mr Turnbull told ABC radio. ”The only way to get a message to Labor that they have got to clean up their act in NSW is to vote against them.”

    Labor expects the Liberals to run campaigns in a handful of the most marginal federal seats with the generic theme of ”send Labor a message”.

    Mr Rudd said Mr Turnbull’s statement yesterday reflected a lack of policy given ”his greatest statement of confidence in the federal Liberal’s prospects at present is to say ‘register a protest vote against state Labor’.”]

    It’s obscene.

  7. Bob1234, your mistake was taking the headline of the North Shore “piece of crap” Times for granted.

    [“Mr Sowter said the Greens aimed to force the vote to preferences, with a Greens win in the seat being unlikely.

    “I don’t think we’re going to win it, but what we’re offering is an opportunity to protest about the unsatisfactory nature of the Opposition,” he said.

    “It would be lovely to see the Liberals forced to preferences, which happened in (Alexander) Downer’s seat (Mayo).”]

    No one is deluding themselves that they’ll win or come to preferences, but it’s a worth goal.

  8. Interesting to note that the Kuringai Residents Alliance (the anti-medium density lobby group) are making more noise than usual at the moment. They have a big event planned for 27 September.

    The cynic in me wonders whether one of their leaders is planning to stand for Bradfield as an Independent.

  9. William Bowe,

    Sorry, I’m fully off-thread here. But either my computer is rooted, or something is really stuffing with the two most recent threads. Keep getting useless blog header graphic files.

    Very annoying. This is as close to “Newspoll 55-45” [08-09-09] and “A sense of proportion” [09-09-09] as I can get- will try again later…

    If it’s just me, I apologise for this scandalous pollution of a special-purpose thread.

  10. [William Bowe,

    Sorry, I’m fully off-thread here. But either my computer is rooted, or something is really stuffing with the two most recent threads. Keep getting useless blog header graphic files.

    Very annoying. This is as close to “Newspoll 55-45? [08-09-09] and “A sense of proportion” [09-09-09] as I can get- will try again later…

    If it’s just me, I apologise for this scandalous pollution of a special-purpose thread.]

    It wasn’t just you, Crikey had some problems for the last few hours – it was discussed at length on the Newspoll thread.

  11. To confirm William’s Sep 11 update:

    Liberals fast-track Bradfield candidate

    [The Liberal Party says it will announce its candidate for Brendan Nelson’s seat of Bradfield, on Sydney’s north shore, before the end of the month.

    The Liberal Party yesterday made changes to its state constitution to speed up the process of pre-selections in some situations.]

  12. [A FIELD of nearly 20 candidates will fight out Liberal preselection for the blue-ribbon Sydney seat of Bradfield, vacated by former opposition leader Brendan Nelson.

    Nominations closed yesterday, the day Dr Nelson gave his valedictory speech in the House of Representatives.

    The preselection will be on September 26 and the byelection late this year. Labor will not stand a candidate.

    Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull is appealing to people to register a protest against the NSW Labor Government by voting Liberal.

    The candidates will be vetted by the party today before their names are announced.

    The field includes journalist Tom Switzer; Dr Nelson staffer Simon Berger; Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd executive David Coleman; lawyer Sophie York; former tennis star John Alexander; restaurant and catering lobbyist John Hart; and solicitor Namoi Dougall.]

  13. What’s the situation regarding the setting of the date? Does Parliament have to be in session for the Speaker to issue the writ? In other words, might the date not be set until Parliament resumes on October 19?

  14. Dyno

    Maybe a Ted Mack type could make Fletcher more nervous.

    Mistake for Turnbull to call on voters to lodge a protest vote against NSW govt and for Fletcher to turn up to the march, maybe voters could lodge a protest vote against all govts as march called for?

  15. My sources with connections to the people organising that protest tell me they’ve heard nothing about planned candidacies from anyone associated with that, though I’d be surprised if someone didn’t come forward, it may just be that my sources have heard nothing because plans are being kept under wraps at this time.

  16. That’s interesting, Nick. It could just be a case of me adding 2 and 2 and getting 5, but I did think it was striking that the Kuringai Residents Alliance had got themselves in the North Shore Times with a big splash within about a week of Nelson’s announcement.

  17. [Maybe a Ted Mack type could make Fletcher more nervous.]

    The thing is, Castle, that anyone on Kuringai Council will be seen as implicated in the development issue.

    So the candidate who can make Fletcher sweat has to be:

    – independent of the Council, as well as the major parties
    – not at all left (forget the Greens)
    – someone who has done something about the development problem
    – a local (insular area).

    As this seems to be a virtually impossible combination, by far the most likely is that Fletcher will win comfortably.

  18. William
    Re other candidates, the local paper reported Brian Buckley, a serial candidate, announcing his candidacy:

    Elaine Malicki, also mentioned in the story, who has since lost her position as Mayor of Ku-ring-gai when she didn’t renominate for the annual vote by councillors, is apparently still being reported as being a ‘potential candidate’. I also saw a more recent report, though I can’t remember where, which said that One Nation were fielding a candidate on a climate change skepticism platform, but there was no name given.

  19. When you are through with Paul’s website have a look at Susie’s.
    I love what they’ve done in thier backyard.

    Why hasen’t there been some some ‘Crypto-commie”, preselection outrage, free publicity, about this byelection?
    Get busy muckrakers, I suspect The Greens would love all the free publicity.

    What has Susie buried in her backyard??? (spoookie music)

  20. Yes as a fellow New South Welshperson (the Greens have to be all PC, don’t you know!) it’s not quite as thrilling not having as public a figure standing for the Greens.

    What the Australian public wants to know, Susie, is how you can let ferals roam around your home?!

    Seriously she seems really nice and I hope the people of Bradfield warm to her. There’s just something so horribly.. managed.. about Paul Fletcher.

  21. [There’s just something so horribly.. managed.. about Paul Fletcher.]

    He’s a former Optus CEO. They’re all like that.

    [it’s not quite as thrilling not having as public a figure standing for the Greens]

    If I were a member of the Greens i’d like to have a wanted high profile figure too… but don’t the Greens stand for grassroots democracy? No official leader but a convenor, that sort of thing? Shouldn’t the Greens be leaving parachuting high profilers to the major parties?

  22. bob

    I don’t know what actually happened with Hamilton in Higgins but the Vic Greens official line is that the local members asked Hamilton to stand for them. Hamilton’s been involved in recent climate activism events like Climate Action Centre so it’s likely the local Greens knew him well enough to feel they needed a reasonably high profile figure to stand for them.

    To get back on topic – Susie Gemmell is a great candidate and one doesn’t need to be high profile to win parliament. I think she’ll have a good go at it.

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