One of many days in September

Wherein the Poll Bludger celebrates the grand final weekend by doing what it always does. No Morgan poll this week, but they do inform us that St Kilda supporters are slightly less likely to practise yoga than normal people. Not only but also:

• Today’s the big day for the Liberal Party’s preselection in Bradfield. Read and comment all about it at the dedicated post, where you will find a complete and updated form guide to all 17 candidates.

• More by-election action thanks to former WA Premier Alan Carpenter’s retirement announcement, which will shortly produce a vacancy in his safe Labor seat of Willagee. Dedicated post immediately below.

Imre Salusinszky of The Australian reports that Liberal MP Louise Markus, whose seat of Greenway has been made all but unwinnable by the redistribution, has nominated for preselection in the neighbouring seat of Macquarie, where Labor’s margin has been cut from 7.0 per cent to 0.1 per cent and sitting member Bob Debus is planning to retire. Kerry Bartlett, whom Debus defeated at the 2007 election, has not nominated.

• Imre Salusinszky also reports that an obstacle to Dickson MP Peter Dutton’s transfer to the safe Liberal Gold Coast seat of McPherson has been removed with the announcement by Richard Stuckey, local doctor and husband of state Currumbin MP Jann Stuckey, that he has withdrawn from the preselection race. Presumably still in the field are Karen Andrews, chair of the party’s federal divisional council and an ally of outgoing member Margaret May, and Michael Hart, who unsuccessfully contested the state seat of Burleigh at the last two state elections.

Jeff Whalley of The Geelong Advertiser reports that the Liberal preselection for the state seat of South Barwon will be a contest between Andrew Katos, who represents Deakin ward on Greater Geelong City Council, and Tony Le Deux, who “has his own catering firm and in the past managed the legendary Melbourne food shop The Essential Ingredient”. Despite earlier reports, former Surf Coast Shire Council councillor Ron Humphrey has emerged as a non-starter. Whalley reports the candidates are respectively backed by factions associated with Stewart McArthur, former federal member for Corangamite, and the seat’s preselected candidate for the next election, Sarah Henderson. The seat is held for Labor by former Geelong mayor Michael Crutchfield on a margin of 2.3 per cent.

Andrew Landeryou of VexNews reports Jeff Kennett has provided former Hawthorn AFL player Stephen Lawrence with a reference in support of his apparent bid for Kennett’s old seat of Burwood, currently held by Labor’s Bob Stensholt on a margin of 3.7 per cent. Also identified as candidates are David Solly, IT manager and one-time Nationals member, and Graham Watt, “owner of a thriving carpet cleaning business”. Landeryou notes that demographics and a large Chinese community are producing a long-term shift to Labor in the seat.

• The Camden Advertiser reports Camden mayor Chris Patterson rejects rumours he will run against federal MP Pat Farmer for Liberal preselection in Macarthur. It is expected that Patterson will run for the state seat of Camden, held by Labor’s Geoff Corrigan on a margin of 3.9 per cent.

• The Australian Women’s Weekly’s Belinda Neal glamour photo shoot hits the news stands Monday.

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.

816 comments on “One of many days in September”

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  1. [Today’s the big day for the Liberal Party’s preselection in Bradfield.]

    Is this the sign of the hard times for the Liberals? The pre-selection is to be held and done at the down market Hornsby RSL. Now, for the up market North Shore folks (especially the doktor wives type and Liberals), Hornsby is not North Shore, although it likes to be.

    I also heard that it will just $25 per heard a very modest amount charged by the good folks of the RSL club. You would have thought for this stellar field of star candidates, where their combined worth would in hundred of millions, the exclusive Killara Inns would be more appropriate. I would also question whether Hornsby RSL has the right chimney for the sending of the white smoke.

  2. Excellent article by Peter Hartcher this morning:
    [Australia is one of the world’s most globally interconnected nations. It ranks eighth on the AT Kearney globalisation index published by Foreign Policy magazine in the US. Given the country’s geography, this is quite amazing. One in five Australian jobs depends on international trade, according to Austrade’s chief economist, Tim Harcourt.

    Yet the moment the country’s leader steps on to a plane to deal with any of these vital national interests, he is derided as an irresponsible hedonist, deaf to the cries of his needy people as he seeks exotic pleasures on the taxpayer tab.

    The head of the Lowy Institute for International Policy, Michael Wesley, remarks: “Rudd put a lot of ideas out there, they raised a lot of eyebrows, and nobody really expected them to go anywhere. But they stirred people up, almost as if they were stirring people out of their complacency.

    “They are starting to look a lot more credible. Rudd is starting to look like a bit like a visionary. He has taken foreign policy activism to a supercharged level. He’s prepared to be bold and take a risk where others might be inclined not to.]

  3. Interesting article by George M, don’t agree with a lot of it though. Not sure how he arrives at this conclusion:
    [Rudd can boast the higher approval rating now, but Obama had the better numbers on arrival and may eventually leave office with the US restored as the driver of world economic growth.

    Obama has made clear his willingness to spend his political capital. He is more Howard than Rudd in this respect.

    Rudd remains a work in progress. His second anniversary as Prime Minister is a couple of months away.

    But recent private polling suggests that voters still don’t really know him.],25197,26125970-5013592,00.html

    Don’t know him??? Would like to know what is his meaning of that phrase.

  4. Kevin Rudd floated three big ideas very early in his PMship. He was universally scorned, derided and laughed at. These were:

    1. G20 to replace G8 – now is done. Remember Dubya immortal line: “What is G20?”.

    2. Ban on nuke weapons – this week “the U.N. Security Council on Thursday unanimously endorsed a sweeping strategy aimed at halting the spread of nuclear weapons and ultimately eliminating them, to usher in a world with “undiminished security for all.”

    [Australia can help ban nukes: Evans – June 10, 2008 – Kevin Rudd yesterday announced Australia would kick-start the anti-nuclear weapons push by establishing a new commission on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Critics have queried why Australia was taking on such an ambitious role. ],,23840074-2702,00.html

    3. The new Asia Community – this was the one that he was universally laughed at. But many countries have now warmed to this new community. It’s a working progress.

    Internationally he is without peer. Domestically, as long as, he got good support from Gillard, Swan and Tanner, the Gang of Four will rule.

    Who is the pretty boy now?

  5. [Who is the pretty boy now?]

    Gotta say he’s done good.

    The G20 decision is a massive shift. I had forgot about the nukes bit; and if his Asians idea gets some legs there will be very large servings of humble pie for a lot of commentators (not that any of them will acknowledge they were wrong)

  6. Morning Bludgers. As I trudged up to the Beecroft Franklins at 8am to stock up on Coffee Mate (a vulgar, but satisfying indulgence I offer myself… HI calls it “Schmilk”) a pig flew by me, flapping happily through the strangely reddish air, with an orange sun silhouetting its porcine form.

    In a front yard further up the street I spied a two-headed calf, grazing contentedly.

    Just outside the shops I witnessed a female Beecroft-ite park her car on the first try.

    Inside the supermarket they were selling Sydney Morning Heralds for 1c.

    And inside The Australian there was an actual news article… written by Dennis Shanahan. OK, so he wrote a straight column to avoid having to admit that the Ruddster had triumphed on the international stage and (as Finns above records) had got up a personal diplomatic trifecta of staggering proportions, but to see a Shanahan story, any shanahan story, citing facts, was indeed the most impressive of all the wonderful sights I saw on my journey to the village Franklins this morning.,25197,26126927-601,00.html

    These are indeed strange times.

  7. [Obama has made clear his willingness to spend his political capital. He is more Howard than Rudd in this respect.]

    Oh, for flying the Ruddster word’s sake, George M – go and sit in the corridor and write out one hundred times: “John Howard was not a conviction politician.’

    JWH built that myth entirely on the GST, which was a desperate gamble to divert attention from his many failures in his first term of office.

    He was brilliant at diversionary tactics — “PM, one of your Ministers has been caught out, what do you have to say?” “I think it’s time we seriously looked at the plight of the Murray Darling…”

    He was also good (until the very last minute) of reading the writing on the wall and throwing money in the direction of erasing it – hence, after losing the Ryan by election, he indulged in an orgy of spending to shore up his popularity again.

    Towards the end, yes, he did take some decisions on conviction rather than populism, of which WorkChoices is the most obvious – but only because he had become overwhelmed by hubris and having a Senate majority went to his tiny head.

    If he had really been a conviction politician, WorkChoices would not only have gone to the 2004 election but to every one prior to that.

  8. bob @ 4
    “Belinda Neal glamour photo shoot? Please.”

    Belinda’s glamour shoot won’t save her. Sharks patrol her waters.

    But the WW spread (gives a whole new meaning to “glamour”) complicates my theory on her husaband’s starategies. My theory on Della’s cunning plan has been up to now as follows:
    Della has a long term strategy the is far less stupid than it looks. He constructs an affair he knows will become public, which he was happy to have anyway given the home scenario, to give him a way to escape the stain of being a losing minister in the impending loss next NSW election. That’s why he resigned immediately on what was not a career-ending misdemenaour. He could easily have stuck it out – he was born to do so in fact, it being on the ALP right, but chose not to.

    He can then return to the leadership after the election, with some Bob Hawke-ish dash and humanity about him as a result of the affair, which he completely lacked prior. Possibly even might look at going Federal instead, seeing he’s stuck in the upper house in NSW.

    As part of this scenario I thought separation from Belinda would be a key element to rid himself of a political old stove tied to his ankle – another benefit of the affair strategy.

    However, the Belinda WW rehabilitation shoot and the ‘We’ll stick together” violin line must mean that he thinks there is more voter kudos in staying in the marriage, but trying to smarten up Belinda’s image to help both of them. Good luck on that effort!

    William – You need to remove one chair from the Jann Stuckey setting:
    “Karen Andrews, chair of the party’s federal divisional council chair” Thanks, done – WB.

  9. [Oh, for flying the Ruddster word’s sake, George M – go and sit in the corridor and write out one hundred times: “John Howard was not a conviction politician.’]

    Agreed – his conviction was to keep getting re-elected.

  10. [Inside the supermarket they were selling Sydney Morning Heralds for 1c.]

    BB, to paraphrase that immortal line from the Australian Ad, being flogged mercilessly as now:

    “When was the last time you bought the Australian?”

  11. Grog @ 8: Given that it appeared in the Australian, it probably means that they don’t yet know that Rudd is secretly an Australia-hating, latte-sipping socialist hellbent on having as many asylum seekers as possible landing on our shores, and making Mandarin the country’s official language.

  12. [But recent private polling suggests that voters still don’t really know him.]

    And obviously people did not get to know Howard until his final two years when it began to dawn on them the creature he really was.

    This myth of Howard the conviction politician was created by the Murdoch media and Howard’s own corruption of language, it was a myth they created then believed in.

    Howard only won one election, against Latham whom the people were a bit scared of. The other elections were given to him by external circumstance. When there were no distractions around and people had to actually focus on the two people Rudd and Howard, it was Howard they threw away.

    Howard’s own people said that everything that he did had its fist cause in its likely electoral effect. Howard never spent political capital.

    Howard’s only skill was understanding and knowing how to use dog whistle issues. And this describes the type of character he was/is.

  13. bob1234 @4

    “even I can tell she’s not attractive.”

    It’s amazing what a bit of airbrushing and photoshop can do. Sadly it only works for photographs. Maybe she has an inner quality which is attractive, but I can’t for the life of me think what it could be!

  14. [It’s amazing what a bit of airbrushing and photoshop can do. Sadly it only works for photographs. Maybe she has an inner quality which is attractive, but I can’t for the life of me think what it could be!]

    Della Bosca isn’t exactly a catch himself…

  15. Can we stop this sexist drivel about Ms Neal? I don’t like her either, but I’m not going to judge her on her looks. In fact, can we stop with the continual obsession with the appearance of women pollies and journos? It seems that half the men commenting on PB think they are Adonis and thus have the right to judge all women by the way they look.

  16. poly –

    I agree with you in general, but I think that Ms Neal has, in this case, invited some of the lewd remarks by indulging a breathless gossip magazine with this “glamour photo shoot”.

  17. [but I think that Ms Neal has, in this case, invited some of the lewd remarks by indulging a breathless gossip magazine with this “glamour photo shoot”.]
    Why? I don’t like the genre myself, but women’s magazines and make-overs are a part of the media landscape. Belinda is not the first politician to ‘indulge’ this ‘breathless gossip magazine’. I don’t see how it is so significantly different to Kev’s appearances on Rove to invite ‘lewd’ remarks.

  18. poly, thanks for that – I was biting my tongue but wanted to say much the same thing.

    I find all this “well of course he played around, look at the missus’ commentary quite offensive.

    In the end, Della stuck by his missus and that’s what ended the affair.

    And, BTW, I once saw a photo of them together, with her laughing, and she looked just as human as anyone else.

    Always remember with public figures, we see what the media wants us to see. If they don’t want us to like someone, they show us the most unattractive photos they can. They know – even if you guys won’t admit it – that you’re swayed by appearance far more than you should be.

  19. Grog @ 8, whenever you read “private internal polling”, stop reading.

    If it’s not from an independent research agency publishing polling data for all to see, then ignore it. Better still, print it out, and line the bottom of your budgie’s cage with it.

    Rudd’s satisfaction ratings have been 62%, on average, for going on three years, that’s all you need to know. Don’t know him? My posterior.

  20. If you haven’t seen this, read this gem from “The Australian’s” editorial today.

    They really must have had every tonuge in the office planted firmly in their collective cheeks when they wrote that.

    Criticising Rudd, for NOT, repeat NOT, appearing on a popular TV talk show! It dosen’t get any nuttier than that!

    “KEVIN RUDD had a great time in New York, but not as good as New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. Certainly Mr Rudd addressed the UN and explained the importance of the G20, and he was praised as a smart statesman by Bill Clinton.

    But he did not appear on David Letterman’s TV talkshow. Mr Key did, presenting 10 reasons why people from the US should holiday in New Zealand, exponentially increasing American awareness of his country.

    We hope Mr Rudd’s staff took notice of how the list was compiled because now they will be writing one for their boss – the 10 reasons why they did not think to explain to Mr Letterman’s producers why our PM is the Pacific statesman who matters.”

  21. Let’s see if I know Rudd.
    He works hard and expects other to as well. He has a temper. He swears a lot. He’s getting results in certain areas. He is a self confessed nerd. He can be long winded and boring. He tries to stand by his promises. He has the capacity to laugh at himself. He enjoys a joke. He is a very clever political tactician.
    Just what else do I need to know George? Underwear size? Drinking habits? Favourite foods? Favourite movies? Err, pass on these for me George.

  22. One thing you have to admit,our politicians are positively boring compared to many other countries.

    [A US mayor has become embroiled in a cross-dressing storm after racy photographs purporting to show him dressed in women’s lingerie and wigs were leaked to a television station.

    PHOTOS: The scandalous cross-dressing images

    Incumbent East Cleveland mayor Eric Brewer has accused police officers and his rival Gary Norton of distributing the photos in the lead up to the city’s mayoral election next week.

    The photos show a man in a variety of seductive poses, wearing a bra, lace underwear, lipstick and a brunette-coloured wig. ]

  23. zoomster
    “And, BTW, I once saw a photo of them together, with her laughing, and she looked just as human as anyone else.”

    Lucky shot, that one. 🙂

    What you say about the media ‘creating’ images of people far from the reality is often true, but in BN’s case it is the WW makeover that is misleading. Ask anyone in the party in her electorate – in private, with BN out of earhot. Or any politically aware voters in Robertson. The true character has been on disply too often.
    Anyway, too little too late, the glossy ‘stand by her man’ makever, and so obviously a desperate, shallow strategy. From what I hear Rudd made up his mind about her ages ago. It would be a shame from his point of view to sacrifice a seat unnecessarily next election.

  24. It is staggering, they seem to be so caught up giving land to developer mates regardless of how it looks you. Have to wonder if they are just in a rush to hand as much as they can over before the next election. You would think the NSW govt itself are simply operatives of some organised crime gang?

    Though I’m wondering if it would be any different under a Liberal Govt – perhaps the Libs are more subtle in doing it.

    “Frank Calabrise” posted this, the last sentence is his take possible perceptions of questionable if not corrupt dealings between developers and the two old stagnant parties.
    Frank , thanks for the line,.

  25. Gary Bruce @ # 29

    Your list of Rudd’s traits ring true however there are two traits that are particularly attractive:
    1) Works hard
    2) Tries to keep his promises

    That is pretty heady stuff in the political environment.

  26. Having had to spend the night in Broken Hill because of the dust storms, I was interested to see this. Lots of the dust that landed on Sydney (and Finn’s home especially) came from around SA’s Olympic Dam. And that pesky dolphin won’t even be able to hide in the GBR.

    Watch for another wave of anti-nuclear hysteria wit no scientific basis.

    [A team of Australian scientists are analysing the dust that has engulfed eastern Australia this week to see whether it is dangerous.

    The dust storm is believed to have originated around Woomera in outback South Australia near the massive Olympic Dam uranium mine, prompting fears it was radioactive and dangerous.

    Climatologist Professor Nigel Tapper, from Melbourne’s Monash University, played down the risks to humans but said the dust might threaten important eco-systems such as the Great Barrier Reef.]

  27. Re: Neal. Agreed that woman in politics are objectified to some extent. But doing glamour shoots? All that does is reinforce the perception that looks matter.

    And Megalogenis’s “private polling” “voters dont know him” swipe is worthy of a Milne piece. Shameful. Off to respond if he’s allowing comments

  28. Some of the Rudd hagiographers on this blog would give the Howard hagriographers a run for their money…

    The reality is that Rudd is a curate’s egg. He is a mixed bag. For some important issues, it is too early to tell whether he has done good.

    He has won some very strong, major, national achievements. Of these, the chief points would be getting rid of WorkChoices and the response to the GFC – both very, very large pluses. However, the real test for the GFC will not be whether the stimulus package works, but how we move from that to whatever comes next. It will be tricky stuff. It is not, as many posters here state, all over Red Rover. Time will tell.

    He has done much to put humanity back into issues such as refugee management.

    Whether the nuclear thing, the G20, the Asian community notion are worth anything more than symbolic value, time will tell. They are good symbolic value. They look good but will they deliver anything substantial? It is too early to crow about them.

    On Indigenous issues, the material differences to date are small. Certainly, the challenges are very difficult. Housing construction has been pathetically slow. Women and children in some Northern Territory communities are significantly better protected now than they were. They like that. The sybolic value of the apology was excellent. The closing down of debate on the compensation issue by Rudd was pathetic.

    On the CC front, the jury is out. In terms of anything that is making a material difference, things are pretty well the same now as when Rudd became PM.

    On the Afghanistan war front, Rudd is a war-time Prime Minister but he does not act like it. If the war is really important, why are we only allocating a paltry thousand or so troops? In the first and second world wars we sent over many, many tens of thousands of troops. Are we in it to win it, or are we in it to maintain a sort of perpetual motion machine for death, corruption and displacement of civilians? In terms of domestic politics, the war is on the back-burner. It is ‘how embarrassment’ for the conservatives, so there is little noise from them. Rudd, as a war-time Prime Minister needs to put an exit strategy in place to get us out of there.

  29. jaundiced @ 31: I would have thought that Labor had more or less written Robertson off, even before the Iguana’s affair. I think it was just an unexpected bonus that they expected to pick it up, but not one that was worth defending.

    If I were Labor, even if I wanted to get rid of Neal, I wouldn’t bother wasting any talented potential ALP candidates on Robertson. Plenty of other more winnable seats in Liberal hands still out there, really.

  30. There’s quite a lot of what George Megalogenis has to say in his piece today, but I think he is way off the money with these statements.

    [Yet Obama has what Labor insiders know Rudd doesn’t: the patience to stay on the same topic. Obama accepts that tumbling polls come with the territory when pushing reform of the US health system. He has already bet his legacy on this issue.

    Rudd can boast the higher approval rating now, but Obama had the better numbers on arrival and may eventually leave office with the US restored as the driver of world economic growth.

    Obama has made clear his willingness to spend his political capital. He is more Howard than Rudd in this respect.

    Rudd remains a work in progress. His second anniversary as Prime Minister is a couple of months away.

    But recent private polling suggests that voters still don’t really know him.],25197,26125970-5013592,00.html

    For a start, Obama has only been in power for just over 6 months, Rudd now 17months.

    Their positions are different, Obama is Head of State with wide ranging powers, as well as being the Head of the Executive, his Party has control of both the Legislature and the Senate although there is not the same degree of party solidarity as there is with Labor, here in Australia.

    Rudd is only Head of the Executive and any Legislation he wants to introduce has to be firstly agreed to by his Cabinet and after passage through the Reps, has to navigate a Senate, the composition of which makes the passage of Legislation extremely difficult.

    Labor is outnumbered by the Opposition and as well having the Greens and two Independents with differing philosophies to contend with and with all opposing entities having their own political philosophies and agendas.

    Obama just has to contend with avoiding any divisions which may arise within the Democrat Members within the Senate.

  31. I think George says people don’t really know Rudd for a different reason than has been suggested. We don’t get to see much “human” or “real” information about most politicians, in fact that’s probably true for most people in the public eye. We take little snippets about them and extrapolate them into building up a picture or “bildungsroman” of the person in question.

    Some people falls into a pretty common pigeon hole (let’s face it, we’ve all met people like John Howard, Turnbull and Hawke). But Rudd has a much rarer personality type. There are very few introverted, intelligent, nerdy, bureaucratic types who want to be PM, let alone succeed in becoming so. That makes it hard to get a handle on him because we haven’t come across many people like him, either in real life, history or in fiction.

  32. [Belinda Neal glamour photo shoot? Please. I’m gay and even I can tell she’s not attractive.]

    Dear me, bob and I have something in common after all. But my thoughts turn to this well-known piece of profundity:

    Behold the hippopotamus!
    We laugh at how he looks to us,
    And yet in moments dank and grim,
    I wonder how we look to him.

    Peace, peace, thou hippopotamus!
    We really look all right to us,
    As you no doubt delight the eye
    Of other hippopotami.

    The point being, bob, that neither of us is really in a position to judge.

  33. Bad news on the CC front with a very negative release about the prospects for Copenhagen. Presumably in a bid to protect the Greens votes in the Australian Senate, the head of the IPCC has said;

    [“The world’s leading economic powers remain inactive in preventing an increase in the serious impacts of climate change.”

    … the commitment reached last July by G-8 countries—including the United States—to reduce global greenhouse emissions by 50 percent by 2050 is not sufficient and that the ongoing negotiations in advance of the Copenhagen conference do not “reflect this imperative.”]

  34. Diogenes,
    [But Rudd has a much rarer personality type. There are very few introverted, intelligent, nerdy, bureaucratic types who want to be PM, let alone succeed in becoming so.]

    I have to disagree with you in this instance, Dio. I think that definition better fits Swan than Kevin Rudd.

    Rudd to me more fits the majority of Australian personalities, ie an “extrovert/introvert” with a slight leaning towards the extrovert. I do not think he could possibly have advanced as far as he has by being predominately introverted.

    By the same token, most politicians would better fit a dominate “extrovert” personality type ie Turnbull, Abbott, Gillard, Albanese etc. The majority of Federal politicians fit here. Others such as Hockey are much closer to Rudd’s personality type but don’t possess the intellectual firepower to take as full advantage of it as does Rudd!

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