Dig the new breed

A review of the round of Labor preselections which followed the exodus of safe seat members after Julia Gillard was deposed.

The recruitment of Peter Beattie to run for Labor in the crucial marginal seat of Forde was without question yesterday’s play of the day. However, Beattie will be far from the only Labor newcomer should his bid succeed, the weeks before the election announcement having seen an avalanche of preselection action as Labor scrambled to cover an exodus of senior figures in safe seats. In turn:

Kingsford Smith: Peter Garrett will be succeeded as Labor’s candidate by Senator Matt Thistlethwaite, who had a 136-105 victory in a local ballot held last month over Tony Bowen, Randwick mayor and son of Hawke-era deputy prime minister Lionel Bowen. Thistlethwaite first aspired to the seat when previous member Laurie Brereton retired at the 2004 election, at which time he was vice-president of the state branch of the Australian Workers Union. However, he was frozen out by then leader Mark Latham’s insistence that the seat go to Garrett. Thistlethwaite went on to serve as the party’s state secretary and convenor of the Right faction from 2008 until he was eased out of both roles with the promise of a Senate berth in 2010, having ruffled feathers by backing then Premier Nathan Rees in his determination to choose his own cabinet (which Rees used to dump Right potentate Joe Tripodi, together with the now notorious Mineral and Forest Resources Minister Ian Macdonald) and throwing his support behind Environment Minister Frank Sartor to replace Rees as Premier rather than Kristina Keneally. His Senate seat was secured in relatively bloodless fashion when incumbent Michael Forshaw chose not to contest the 2010 election, although this resulted in Graeme Wedderburn, who has been Bob Carr’s chief-of-staff both as Premier and Foreign Minister, being denied the seat promised him when he was lured from the private sector to serve as chief-of-staff to Rees.

New South Wales Senate: Matt Thistlethwaite’s Senate vacancy will now go to his successor as state secretary, Sam Dastyari, who today hands over the reins in that position to the erstwhile assistant state secretary, Jamie Clements.

Charlton: Greg Combet’s successor in the Hunter region seat is his deputy chief of staff, former Australian Metal Workers Union official Pat Conroy, who easily won a local preselection ballot with 57 out of 90 votes. Conroy’s path was smoothed by the late withdrawal of Daniel Wallace, a Lake Macquarie councillor and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union organiser said to have had strong support locally. Wallace reportedly faced pressure from factional leaders concerned about his two convictions for assault. An earlier withdrawal had been Sonia Hornery, member for the corresponding state seat of Wallsend. The three unsuccessful candidates who saw out the process were Joshua Brown, a Muswellbrook Council policy officer and former staffer to Combet’s predecessor Kelly Hoare; Marcus Mariani, assistant director at the Department of Defence; and Chris Osborne, a local party activities. Mark Coultan of The Australian reported rumours that “key factional players• wanted the local preselection process to be overridden to impose the party’s assistant national secretary, Nick Martin, a Left faction member who unsuccessfully sought preselection for the ACT seat of Fraser before the 2010 election.

Rankin: In a rebuff to Kevin Rudd, the preselection to replace Craig Emerson was won by Jim Chalmers, former chief-of-staff to Wayne Swan, ahead of his favoured candidate Brett Raguse, who held Forde for Labor from 2007 to 2010. A ballot of local branch members reportedly ended in a 74-74 tie, which rendered decisive a 36-14 majority for Chalmers among the electoral college of union delegates which determined 50% of the final result. The preselection caused a split between the two main right unions, the Australian Workers Union having supported Chalmers and the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association backing Raguse, and also within the Left, with the Electrical Trades Union backing Raguse but the rest supporting Chalmers.

Hotham: Simon Crean will be succeeded as Labor candidate in Hotham by Geoff Lake, a Minter Ellison lawyer and former Municipal Association of Victoria president who shares Crean’s association with the National Union Workers. Lake won the preselection ahead of Rosemary Barker, a disability worker with the Office of the Public Advocate, winning firstly the local party ballot 252-117 and then the public office selection committee vote 41-22 (with each accounting for 50% of the final total). Lake’s win was partly down to a split between Right potentates Bill Shorten and Stephen Conroy, who had long been the pillars of a “stability pact” with the Socialist Left from which the NUW had been frozen out. Tensions between Shorten and Conroy emerged during the preselection to replace Nicola Roxon in Gellibrand, in which Conroy failed to support the Shorten-backed Kimberley Kitching, and inflamed considerably when Shorten decisively defected to the Kevin Rudd camp. The Left pleaded that the split made adherence to the stability pact a practical impossibility and abstained from the vote. John Ferguson of The Australian reports that a further layer of complexity was added by the fact that Lake and Barker had respectively had success in courting support from the local Cambodian and Vietnamese communities, in the former case with help from state Clayton MP Hong Lim.

Lalor: The candidate Julia Gillard backed to succeed her in her western Melbourne electorate, Moonee Ponds Primary School principal Joanne Ryan, emerged an easy winner after her stronger opponents fell by the wayside prior to the vote. The Australian reported that factional and gender balance considerations meant the seat was always likely to go to a woman from the Right, early contenders in that mould including Kimberley Kitching and Lisa Clutterham, who respectively had the support of erstwhile allies Bill Shorten and Stephen Conroy. Clutterham withdrew after a disastrous radio interview with the ABC’s Jon Faine, in which she appeared stumped as to how to finesse her obvious lack of connection to the electorate, while Kitching pulled out and threw her support behind Ryan. Kitching had reportedly won support to seek the number three position on the Senate ticket instead, but here too she ended up falling short (more on which below). Yet another withdrawal was Sandra Willis, the daughter of Keating government Treasurer Ralph Willis. Facing only low-key opposition from two local party members, Andrew Crook of Crikey reported that Ryan ended up securing 74 votes out of 88 in the local party ballot and all but one of the 100 votes from the public office seleection committee.

Victorian Senate: The number three candidate on Labor’s Victorian Senate ticket will be Mehmet Tillem, Turkish-born electorate officer to Senator Stephen Conroy, who won 37 votes from the public office selection committee to 25 for the aforementioned Kimberley Kitching, a former Melbourne City councillor, current Health Services Union No. 1 branch acting general manager, and the wife of controversial former VexNews blogger Andrew Landeryou. The result was another rebuff for Kitching and her backer Bill Shorten following unsuccessful tilts at the Gellibrand and Lalor preselections. As had been the case in Hotham, the Socialist Left abstained from the vote on the grounds that the Shorten-Conroy split meant the Right had failed to fill its end of the “stability pact” bargain. Tillem will at the very least serve out the remainder of Feeney’s Senate term, which expires in the middle of next year, although his prospects for extending his tenure beyond that by winning a third Senate seat for Labor at the election appear slim (hence Feeney’s determination to abandon the spot for a move to the lower 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.

936 comments on “Dig the new breed”

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  1. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    Looks like the new AS policy is beginning to bite.
    An interesting, though not surprising, allegagtion.
    The “Town Hall” debates Abbott wants are useless, shallow, tabloid affairs that dig no deeper that the stage managed surfaces of the candidates. The electorate deserves much better.
    I would like to see some decent statistical analysis on the current rate of AS arrivals.
    Andrew Dyson has a shot at the little blue pamphlet.
    MUST SEE! David Rowe with the new introduction into the Queensland campaign. I wonder why he has Abbott in a left hand drive vehicle. An allusion to his use of Republican tactics perhaps?
    David Pope introduces the Queensland super heroes.

  2. Morning all. BK thanks for the links, especially Stephanie Bannister. 🙂

    It seems the editing made her out to be an idiot! She gave the editor a lot of material to work with.

  3. Murdoch warrants something more than just two thirds of our nation staring at him with a dark look.
    This Tom Watson fellow’s appearance could be the neccessary catalyst to convert smoulderin’ opprobium to crimson outrage !

  4. The story from Lateline on the psychologist’s experience of the catholic church’s Towards Acquittal program is disturbing.
    [After becoming concerned that the church was pursuing a legalistic approach towards victims, Dr Robert Grant says he addressed the committee, arguing that the church would be better off in the long term if it was transparent and honest.

    Dr Grant says he was floored by the response.

    “A senior official at CCI stood up immediately after and said ‘I need to remind the members of the committee that I just destroyed 40 boxes of personnel records’, and I was shocked, I was dumbfounded,” he said.]
    Yet I have to ask, why didn’t Dr Grant come forward to the inquiry with this evidence? I note that no church official contacted denies Grant’s evidence, merely having no recollection of it.

    Blessed are the lawyers, for they shall tell us what to do in a crisis of conscience.

  5. ….. er…..
    would that be forty boxes of guilty personnel, or simply forty boxes of personnel who knew of all the other guilty personnel ….. ?

    forty ?

  6. Brent is rarely right. Offers some insight with apparent detail and references, but rarely right.

    He said Coalition win in 2010.

    He said Rudd would be reinstated, then changed his mind, then said he would be but Abbott would be immediately replaced before an election.

    It’s one man’s opinion.

    *Not saying Labor can’t win!!

  7. I think you’ll find that Brent’s prognostications are generally more accurate than other “experts”. Just one example, who else tipped Labor to lose the Victorian state election in 2010?

  8. There will be a ‘scandal’ soon against Labor or Rudd personally. I’m thinking something relating to pink batts or asylum seekers. Something really wicked and nasty that gives News Ltd three days of front pages.

    Weekend coming but no Newspoll… I’m going to predict it’ll pop up on Monday.

  9. gloryconsequene

    You misrepresent Brent. He did not say that Abbott would immediately be replaced as soon as Rudd came back. He said that would occur if there were a couple of polls with the Coalition behind. That didn’t happen.

    In 2010 when everyone was urging Gillard to rush to an early poll he was almost a lone voice in speaking against it by saying that she needed to spend time building up her authority. And how did the early poll work out?

  10. There is no point kidding people that Labor did not start behind in this campaign. Also even if Labor continues to do well in it, it may not be enough to turn around enough votes. Still, so far I think it has gone well. Better candidates, better policy and no major gaffs (Bradbury aside) have all helped, as has the strategy of calling Rupert Murdoch’s bias for what it is. Abbott has done virtually nothing so far, perhaps a sign of his planned level of activity if in the lodge?

    Meanwhile, Jayme Diaz and Ms Bannister prove we can match US politics idiot for idiot. In fact, we seem to be punching above our weight. Bannister is proof of the need for Better Schools.

  11. Just 5 minutes before 8.00am to say

    Good Morning, Dawn Patrol. Thanks for the great links! Am enjoying reading them.

  12. Haydn

    From what I recall, he said that were Rudd to return, Abbott wouldn’t be contesting the election.

    He also said that Abbott would win in 2010. Or, more to my point, they ‘would probably win’.

    Brent does that regularly. ‘Well, this will PROBABLY happen’. Anyone can do that.

    He’s more balanced than just about anyone else at The Oz, but I find his final predictions on events as fence-sitting.

  13. [MUST SEE! David Rowe with the new introduction into the Queensland campaign. I wonder why he has Abbott in a left hand drive vehicle. An allusion to his use of Republican tactics perhaps?]

    Indeed! “Tea Party Tactics” was my initial reaction.

  14. Turnbul would be a shot duck if labor brought this up

    Turnbull and the coalitions record of a broadband plan , it will never exist


    Communications minister, Helen Coonan, has lost no opportunity to spruik progress with Opel, the Optus-Elders joint venture which has received almost $1 billion of Government funding to rollout wired and wireless broadband in regional and rural Australia, but a senior Optus executive says the entity exists to date in name only and that funding is contingent on Optus proving that the technology can deliver.

    Peter Ferris, Optus’ general manager, technology and planning, told Terrapin’s WiMAX conference in Sydney that: “Opel does not exist as a technological entity at this point in time, it is only a trade mark so I cannot talk about Opel. I can only talk about Optus.”

    When asked by iTWire if he could give a timeframe for Opel coming into being, Ferris replied: “I cannot. There are a number of conditions [to be met]. It has no staff and I am not officially allowed to refer to it in any way shape for form. But Optus and Elders are searching for a CEO for this hypothetical organisation and we are doing testing in WA and NSW to provide certified results. Once the Government is satisfied with those and signs the require bond document to fund this organisation called Opel [it will be formed].”

    However, communications minister, Helen Coonan, announced on 9 September that “the funding agreement for a new national high speed broadband network has been signed with Opel Networks, a joint venture between rural group Elders and Optus.” She added: “Opel has already commenced work on establishing its new scalable, state-of-the-art WiMAX, ADSL2+ and fibre wholesale network that is targeted for completion by June 2009.”

    When she announced Opel as the winner of the Broadband Connect Funding in June, Coonan said she expected the first services to come online in September.

    In another announcement on 29 September, Coonan said she had “launched an OPEL ADSL2+ exchange that will deliver speeds of up to 20Mbps in Woy Woy on the New South Wales Central Coast.” She claimed that this was the result of the Opel funding agreement. “In June the Australian Government announced the Australia Connected programme and we are already switching on exchanges and delivering for consumers.”

    However from then on the minister’s release blurred the boundaries between Opel ADSL exchanges and Optus ADSL exchanges. She said: “Today I am also announcing that ADSL2+ has been enabled in Cardiff, Hamilton and Corrimal in New South Wales. We are getting on with the job of rolling out broadband around the country, this exchange today[in Woy Woy] has been enabled by Optus as part of its commercial contribution of 426 super fast ADSL2+ broadband exchanges and 1361 state-of-the-art WiMAX base stations.”


  15. Hi Mari!

    Thinking ofyou, as late OH & I were in England pre Election10, getting some news from Oz (on his, new & expensive laptop with the most hopeless EVAH microsoft-OS that reduced even Paddington Station’s geeks to anglo-saxonisms) but able to get home before Election Saturday.

    Am loving Liberals, ABC, NewsCorps reactions (inc outright lies) to The Return of the Dreaded Beattie; the Premier whose popularity, despite all the CM’s nastiest efforts, kept Nats-Libs out of power; thrashing Libs down to single-figure numbers in state parliament.

    Bet they’re regretting having lied about & insulted Julia Gillard, until her OpPoll figures forced her to step aside for Rudd. 😀

    Keep having a great time!

  16. [
    I think you’ll find that Brent’s prognostications are generally more accurate than other “experts”. Just one example, who else tipped Labor to lose the Victorian state election in 2010?]

    I picked it, everyone was in denial about the liberals chances but i thought it was the end a while out especially given the how thorough we were in dispose/lock down all the cabinet documents far more so than in 2006.

    the vic campaign was interesting and i knew they were gone for sure on the last when that poll came out and was iirc 53-47.

  17. For anyone interested you can now buy high quality version of the Thommo’s Heroes Daily Telegraph Front cover, prices are $55 for the A4 sized print or $70 for s nice big A3 Print.

    Bit more info here:

    I tried going to the website where you can order it, http://WWW.NEWSPHOTOS.COM.AU but it appears the website is being overloaded with people heading there to order and won’t load.

  18. If there is one heartening thought about this campaign, it is the knowledge that the Liberal Party is spenong a lot of money, plus free Murdoch media, and still may not win. My “dear friend” Brian Loughnane, has asked my to help:
    [back and allow Labor to run a dishonest campaign without a response. It’s time to clean up the mess created by Labor. Please contribute $100, $50, or $6 to help end the last 6 years of Labor deceit, chaos and dysfunction.

    These funds will help us launch an appropriate response and continue our campaign to win the election.

    Thank you,

    Brian Loughnane
    Federal Director
    Liberal Party of Australia]
    Sorry Brian, not today.

  19. Morning All

    Interesting move to go with Peter Beattie – I’m sure most Queenslanders would rather him than Campbell Newman – maybe that’s part of why. Rolling the dice, worth the risk imo

    Kevin is in Melbourne today but he’ll get no coverage if the Bombers punishment is dished out – i’d like to see them lose their points and draft picks for this season, massive fine, if any players have actually taken banned drugs they should cop 2 year bans and James Hird should cop a life ban

    Throw the book at the cheats imo this cab never be allowed to happen again

    Bring on Sunday and the first debate – head to head with the worm 🙂

  20. There is no ‘humour’ David, its just another one in a series of blatant propaganda pieces and you should be decrying it as having no place in an alleged democracy.

  21. Too right Ozpoll: we’ve seen some very very silly Tories here lately, crowing about having a nose in front at this late stage. A nose!

    On this side of politics, given the last year of polls, it’s an incredible comeback to be this close. There is no question the ALP can win.

    Have a look over here Tories —>

    Current projected sears for LNP: 77. projected majority: 1 seat. That’s right, 1.

    After 6 years of alleged chaos and the sure polling only 6 weeks ago, that’s actualy a pretty rubbish performance, wouldn’t you say? 🙂

  22. gloryconsequence
    [There will be a ‘scandal’ soon against Labor or Rudd personally. I’m thinking something relating to pink batts or asylum seekers. Something really wicked and nasty that gives News Ltd three days of front pages.]

    Not until the last week.

  23. OZPOL
    Thank you. you know what I meant then, from your experience and thank you for good wishes. Will be home in a couple of weeks, just in time to vote 😀

  24. I really hope the venue owners join the boycott of Newscorpse products. Less place for the headlines to show. No doubt a decision helped by noting customers lack of interest in reading them.

  25. [It’s working:]


    [Border Protection Command assists vessel – 8 August 2013

    HMAS Maryborough, operating in support of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre, has rendered assistance to a suspected irregular entry vessel north-north-west of Christmas Island yesterday.

    Initial reporting suggests there are 111 passengers and three crew on board. ]

    Labors boatpeople policies are failing.

    How many boats will we have today?

  26. @SamCD01: PM Rudd says he’s not surprised by Forde polling that shows Beattie well behind Liberal incumbent Bert Van Manen. #ausvotes

  27. http://news.customs.gov.au/

    8 August 2013
    Initial reporting suggests there are 111 passengers and three crew on board.

    7 August 2013
    Initial reporting suggests there are 65 passengers and two crew on board.

    How many illegals will Australia have today under Labor?

  28. More Barnett broken promises.

    [The Barnett Government was facing further accusations of broken promises last night after it emerged election commitments for the Swan River worth about $16 million were not in the Budget.

    Amid sweeping cuts to the funding of environmental agencies, the Budget did not include money for a range of measures spruiked by the Liberal Party in the lead-up to the March election.]


  29. [Tony Abbott’s campaign-of-cliche roadshow rolled into northern Tasmania yesterday, promising to take the Apple Isle out of the economic basket case.

    Fluoro colours may have fallen out of fashion about the same time the Berlin Wall came down but Mr Abbott is doing his best to bring them back into popularity, spending his fourth day running surrounding himself with the high-vis set.]

    The headline refers to Abbott as ‘fluro man’.

  30. womble, don’t run out the door yet.
    [i’d like to see them lose their points and draft picks for this season, massive fine, ]

    Hold that thought.

    [if any players have actually taken banned drugs they should cop 2 year bans and James Hird should cop a life ban]

    So, the second tranche of punishments is for the players being given banned drugs, and the first tranche is for – what exactly?

  31. davidwh
    Posted Friday, August 9, 2013 at 8:21 am | PERMALINK
    MB you have to be a QLD’er at Ekka time to appreciate the humour of the C-M headline.


    I will admitt that photo did make me smile

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