Higgins by-election: December 5

Friday, December 4

LATE: Michelle Grattan of The Age reports “Liberal sources” believe the situation in Higgins to be “lineball”.

EARLY: Apologies for lack of updates. Malcolm Mackerras is tipping a Greens boilover: he says the Liberal vote will sink to 44 per cent, and presumably expects something like 70 per cent of preferences to go to the Greens. That would entail a 10 per cent drop on the primary vote, which is not dissimilar to what happened in somewhat similar circumstances in Mayo last year. However, Higgins is notable for its lack of volatility, so Mackerras is taking a bold punt on the force of the Abbott/ETS backlash. I can’t help recalling Mackerras’s prediction of a John Kerry landslide in 2004, which appeared to be rooted in a conviction that voters would prove as angered by the Iraq war as he was – his talk of “resentment at climate change denialists” strikes me as being cut from the same cloth. I’m tipping an uncomfortable night for Kelly O’Dwyer, but expect she will get up. At this point, Greens supporters with long memories will be recalling I said much the same thing before the Fremantle by-election.

Word on the ground is that the Liberal campaign has focused on O’Dwyer’s positives, rather than attack Hamilton as an extremist as might have been expected if they were really worried. However, it seems the party has embarked on a significant change of tack in the past week, with O’Dwyer “issuing a last-minute mail-out to voters to assert her views on climate change”.

As always, tune in tomorrow night for live coverage.

Tuesday, November 17

Blogger and former Liberal Party activist Tim Andrews offers a colourful take on the Greens preselection process, alleging widespread discontent in local branches over the imposition of Clive Hamilton.

Friday, November 13

The ballot paper draw has been conducted, and the order of candidates can be viewed here. Candidates I hadn’t known about: independent Peter Brohier (“lawyer”), Isaac Roberts of the Liberal Democratic Party (“accountant”) and Democratic Labor Party regular John Mulholland (“psychologist”).

Friday, November 6

AAP reports Steve Raskovy, “a 72-year-old former Hungarian wrestler and refugee”, will run for One Nation. Antony Green has embellished his by-election page with candidate details.

Wednesday, November 4

From Friedrich in comments we learn that Joseph Toscano, Anarchist Media Institute director and prolific writer of letters to the editor, is seeking the local residents’ signatures required to lodge a nomination.

Tuesday, November 3

LATE: The Australian Democrats have announced their candidate will be David Collyer, who contributes regular posts to the blog of the party’s Victorian division.

EARLY: Climate Sceptics announces that Stephen Murphy, a Melbourne computer programmer who “speaks five languages”, will run as an “Independent Climate Sceptic”.

Thursday, October 29

Antony Green weighs in on the by-election, adding further voice to the consensus that the Greens’ nomination of Clive Hamilton is tactically unsound. Danielle Crowe of the Manningham Leader reports Crikey empire founder, Manningham councillor and perennial deposit non-recoverer Stephen Mayne has “not ruled out” running as an independent. Nominations close November 12, with the ballot draw to follow the next day.

Monday, October 26

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

Saturday, October 24

A wide-ranging chorus of critics has chimed in to argue Hamilton’s decidedly non-liberal political and economic philosophies are a poor fit for the electorate he has chosen to contest. As “Carlton’s lone classical liberal” Andrew Norton puts it: “It’s not often that Pollytics, Andrew Bolt and Catallaxy blogs all reach the same conclusion”. Christian Kerr of The Australian reports similar sentiments from RMIT University economist and Institute of Public Affairs senior fellow Sinclair Davidson, who argues voters in Higgins (which as Kerr notes includes “Chapel Street, Toorak Road and the High Street strip”) are unlikely to respond to the “ascetic” and “spartan” lifestyle Hamilton demands to ward off ecological apocalypse, to be achieved if need be by “the suspension of democratic processes”. On top of which, his views on internet filtering could potentially alienate parts of the Greens’ core constituency, particularly if they have an alternative candidate to turn to.

Friday, October 23

The Greens have unveiled a high-profile candidate in Clive Hamilton, founder and former executive director of left-wing think tank the Australia Institute and current professor of public ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics.

Thursday, October 22

Labor has slightly surprisingly decided it won’t be entering the fray. Andrew Landeryou at VexNews reports: “Labor insiders who spoke on condition of anonymity explained that the widespread presumption of demographic change in Higgins, and a big swing more generally, was not substantiated by the party’s secret polling, presented on Powerpoint to the Prime Minister recently, which showed a likely Liberal victory even in the tough circumstances in Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberals find themselves.”

Monday, October 19

Peter Costello 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.

Saturday, October 10

Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald reports Peter Costello will officially resign when parliament resumes on October 19. Given a campaign of average length, this will mean a polling date of November 28 or December 5: after “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”. Antony Green at the ABC and Ben Raue at The Tally Room have guides to the by-election posted.

Wednesday, October 7

Samantha Maiden of The Australian reports Peter Costello is “set to resign from Parliament today”, which will most likely result in a by-election for his seat of Higgins on the same yet-to-be-announced date as the one for Bradfield. Costello holds the eastern suburbs Melbourne seat with a margin of 7.0 per cent, having suffered a swing of 1.7 per cent at the 2007 election. The preselection to replace him at the next election was held a fortnight ago and won by his former staffer Kelly O’Dwyer.

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.

484 comments on “Higgins by-election: December 5”

Comments Page 9 of 10
1 8 9 10
  1. What sort of outcome is negative for the Liberals? And will this be able to be pinned on the Mad Monk or will Turnbull get the blame?

    Obviously if the Greens win, thats bad for the Libs. Even though the Liberals will win it straight back at the general election.

  2. On past results and with no Labor candidate, you’d think being forced to preferences would be a “negative” result for the Liberals. Maybe that’s a bit harsh, considering there’s ten candidates, but the Liberals at #3 will get the benefit of any donkey vote.

    Say 47.5% as the “okay/poor” benchmark. Something over 55% primaries would be a clearly “good” result.

  3. A good result for the Liberals is to score 55%+
    A good result for the Greens is to push it down below 55%
    A great result for the Greens is to win it.

  4. Barking at #394

    I have received a letter from Kelly O Dwyer (undated) saying the following on climate change:

    “Whatever the precise details, there is clear evidence of global environmental pollution. I believe humans are making a contribution to climate change.

    I believe in taking effective action to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emmissions…involving renewable energy and develop solar, wind, geothermal, clean coal and innovative water solutions

    We must remain economically competitive while dealing with these challenges…”

  5. Malcolm Mackerras predicts that the Greens will win Higgins:
    [“I think there will be a big swing against the Liberal party in both Bradfield and Higgins. The effect of that swing will be that the Greens will take Higgins from the Liberals,” Mr Mackerras told The Australian yesterday.

    Describing the elevation of Mr Abbott as “a complete disaster”, Mr Mackerras said Bradfield and Higgins in Melbourne were electorates where people wanted action on climate change.]

    He thinks Bradfield will go to preferences for the first time ever.

  6. Come tomorrow night, I’ll be using the following preference calculations until we start getting notional 2PP counts: Sex Party 60-40 in favour of Greens (docked from 80-20 due to the donkey vote); LDP 80-20 to Liberal; Democrats 70-30 to Greens; One Nation 80-20 to Liberal; DLP 80-20 to Liberal; all others combined 50-50. This is based on zero actual knowledge of HTV cards. Anyone think they know better?

  7. Wiliam,

    The climate change “skeptic” is first on the ballet paper.

    How many votes do you think he will get from the donkey vote?
    I’m sure many voters will be surprised tomorrow to find that Labor is not standing, so do you think that the donkey vote will be higher than usual?

  8. Donkey vote will be 3% i rekon which is 3% for the Lib.
    CCD= 3%
    Greens 32%
    AD= 3%
    Ind toscano= 2%
    One nation= 4%
    Ind broh= 2%
    DLP= 3%

    TPP 53/47

  9. My guess:
    Murphy 4%
    Sex Party 3%
    Liberal 48%
    Greens 42%
    Democrats 2%

    Two party preferred: Liberal 55% Greens 45%

    I would love to be wrong, and for Clive to win!

    What will cause me anguish is if the Greens only just loose. In that case I will feel that if the Greens had done a better campaign then they could have won.

  10. C’mon green eggs and ham. If you think the laborites will give the greens their 1st preference and the federal funding then you are mistaken. Some will but also many will go minor party and then green. So the ALP will be spread amongst AD, Ind Bro, Ind Tos, ASP, Green. The Lib protest vote will be spread around ON, DLP, LDP, Ind BRo, CCD and then return to the Lib

  11. Most people still don’t understand how preferencing works, and most probably don’t know that their 1 vote gives a party some money.

    So I don’t think their will be a big spread in the vote. I”m predicting less than 1% for the candidates I did not mention.

  12. I think it will be close but one thing going in Kelly’s favor and that is she has run a very strong campaign, and i think she will win by a small margin.

    I took a trip down Toorak Road and the only posters i saw were two small Green posters next to the South Yarra Train Station.

  13. Michael – how much money per vote does a primary vote win? Does it get paid each election, even if there is a byelection?

    I’ve jsut cleaned out my mailbox, which has a ‘no advertising material’ sticker on it, and have only received HTV material for, Australian Sex Party, Dem Labor Party and Kelly-O.

  14. The current rate is $2.25 per vote, which you get if you clear 4 per cent – including at by-election. I reckon you could count the number of people who let that influence their vote on both hands.

    Mr S, I would be very interested to know what the ASP and DLP HTVs say. I would also like to hear from any Higginsites regarding the presence of minor candidate HTV hander-outerers at polling booths tomorrow.

  15. I The interesting thing will be just how many ALP voters go to the Greens, the ALP usually poll high 20s in Higgins and the Greens normally poll in the teens therefore and i accept there are many more candidates than normal but the Greens should go close to 40%, now i am tipping they will finish up with around 33% for as we saw in the Albert Park by-election the Liberal voters did not flow as strongly as expected to the Greens.

  16. mexicanbeemer,

    Kelly has run a very clever campaign, which will be fairly effective. But her concentration on local issues which are really council and state government, and her avoiding any real federal policy issues, is not good.

    Mr Squiggle,

    It is around $2 per vote (someone else might know the current figure). It is paid for a by-election.

    “No Advertising Material” means that you should have got all the Greens letter-drops. Some places got a leaflet in the last few days, everyone should have got a letter in the last week, and there were two earlier pamphlets. For HTV you need to go to a polling booth or look at the website.

    I have not received any HTV from the Sex Party, nor Kelly. How do the Sex Party preference?

  17. They have put the Greens over the Liberals now that is a surpise considering Clive Hamilton’s position on the internet filter.

  18. Michael, that is soemthing i have noticed with O’Dwyer’s ads it is as though she is running for state parlianment and the Greens who tends to normally focus on what is state issues have actually focused on federal issues.

    I suspect it tells us a lot about the moral of the Liberal Party that they need to focus on state issues.

  19. My last questions were answered as I typed my last comments.

    Very sad to see the Sex Party preference the climate “skeptic” number 3.

    I wonder if that was a mistake (ie they did not intend to do this).

  20. YMichael are you saying Steven Murphy is a climate scketic for i just checked O’Dwyer’s website and she has a four next to his name ahead of the ASP.

  21. MWH – I have received nothing from the Greens, absolutely nothing, despite having had two residential address and one PO box within Higgins in the last four weeks (ie I just moved house).

    The closest I got to the Greens was shaking Clive’s hand last weekend at the Prahran market. I wished him good luck….

    Regarding the $’s for primary votes, what happens if you only stand in one election, can you keep the money to offset any expenses incurred in standing as an Independent? or put differently, if you receive $’s, are you compelled to spend it on electoral things?

  22. i have just realised i had underestrimated the ALP result at the last poll and had overrated the Liberal vote therefore i have slightly changed my prediction

    CCD= 3%
    Greens 37%
    AD= 2%
    Ind toscano= 1%
    One nation= 1%
    Ind broh= 2%
    DLP= 2%

    TTP Lib 52.5 Greens 47.5

  23. mexicanbeemer,

    Murphy’s ad in the Stonnington Leader is all about him being a skeptic.

    And check out Anthony Green’s Higgins overview for another summary.

    Mr Squiggle,

    Sorry you got no leaflets. The Greens are not rich enough to post leaflets, and volunteer letter boxers are not always 100% reliable.

    I don’t think there is any law that the funding must be spent on electoral things. Of course the Greens will, but an independent who spent little and got a large vote could do well out of this.

  24. MWH- No problems, I found the flyers on the green’s website.

    THey aren’t for me by the way, more for my dear old Dad, he stood for the greens at one election in the mid 90s in a south melbourne electorate.

  25. I was slow to look, but the Green’s preferences are:

    1 Green 🙂
    2 Democrats
    3 Sex Party

    7 Liberal
    9 Murphy (climate sceptic)
    10 One Nation

  26. MWH – Yes – A few more at Toorak Uniting church. THis is what I could pick up that hasn’t been covered before

    Dem Labor Party have

    1 DLP
    2 Stephen Murphy
    3 Libs
    8 Greens
    10 ASP.

    Stephen Murray’s material does not directing preferences

    Aust Dems:

    1 Dems
    2 ASP
    3 Greens
    4 Libs

  27. Oh, and also an unusual flyer from a community group that isn’t running anybody called the Climate Action Centre.

    It is a glossy DL flyer with a message from the Governor of Victoria Prof de Kretser saying climate change has ‘reached a state of emergency’. [Not exactly above politics is he?]

    On the back it rates candidtates on climate change credentials, implying Clive Hamilton should get your vote. Stars show positive for climate change, crosses for sceptics – the Libs get one cross.


  28. If you think the Australian coverage would be big if the Greens won, just imagine the world coverage if the Sex Party won!

    Interesting that “climate change believer” Kelly puts the climate skeptic at 4 (Sex Party at 5). She also puts the Democrats (8) BELOW the Greens (7)?

  29. Just heading down to vote at the RSL on High St, Prahran.

    We’ve received loads of propagandha from the Libs this week – they’re obviously spending a decent amount of cash. And their huge O’Dwyer poster on Malvern Rd, near Hawksburn shopping centre, has been torn apart 🙂


  30. [the Governor of Victoria Prof de Kretser saying climate change has ‘reached a state of emergency’. [Not exactly above politics is he?]

    I bet you that he said this before the Libs changed their mind and every party was talking about action (albeit exactly what action was a hot issue).

  31. I’ll go and check out some booths once I finish my morning coffee.

    I don’t get to vote for myself this time. Its just not the same 🙁

  32. I note that the Sex Party has placed the Greens pretty low in prefs, one ahead of Libs. Their leader was on this site saying they were very unimpressed with Hamilton’s wowser views on the internet. Looks like she made good on her comments.

  33. Dio – I also notice that silly affirmative action/quota for women has been dropped (or at least is no longer visible).

    I wonder whether our feedback via pollbludger actually changed a candidate’s stance on something

  34. I and my OH are looking forward to handing out htvs for Clive Hamilton in Ashburton 🙂

    Higgins is not our electorate but we feel so strongly about AGW that we will contribute to the Greens Party electoral campaigns when we can.

  35. Just back from voting – lots of Libs, Greens and Sex Party volunteers handing out HTV’s. Also a couple of independents and the DLP had one volunteer each. Line was just out the door of the building.

    Then went to check out the Prahran town hall – similar situation also. Also saw a billboard truck driving down Chapel St advertising the Libs.

    One thing I’ve noticed all campaign is that the O’Dwyer team has really focussed on having young volunteers – mostly female. I wonder if they’re getting paid or if they’re kids of the rusted-ons. If uni is anything to go by, there’s not many female members of the young libs.


  36. badseed,

    [I wonder if they’re getting paid or if they’re kids of the rusted-ons. ]

    You can bet your life they are being paid!

    My daughter is married to a son of the Local Fed Lib candidate and he paid all my kids and other campaign workers who helped out in his campaign even all the booth workers.

    Actual Liberal supporters willing to work on booths all day are pretty rare here and I would expect most everywhere else also! It’s a little bit below their station in life don’t you know! 😉

  37. What I think would be a classic sight is if the Greens candidate gets up and goes and votes with the Opposition when Rudd presents his ETS back in the HoR!

    Sort of shatters the illusion of Greens supporting action on climate change.

    More like “inaction”! lol 😉

Comments are closed.

Comments Page 9 of 10
1 8 9 10