Double dissolution (maybe) minus 14 weeks

Senate preselection wreaks more discord among the NSW Liberals; Tim Wilson snatches victory in Goldstein; Stan Grant fields approaches from the Liberals; preselection challenges aplenty to sitting Liberals in WA; and Bronwyn Bishop reportedly in strife in Mackellar.

As the likelihood of a July 2 election firms, the preselection treadmill gathers pace. All the action this week is on the conservative side of the fence:

• New discord has emerged in the fractious New South Wales branch of the Liberal Party over its preselection for the Senate, after a party vote on Saturday delivered top position to Hollie Hughes, Moree-based autism support advocate and the state party’s country vice-president. This reduced the remaining incumbent, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, to number two, in defiance of the wishes of the Prime Minister, who had recently signalled his support by promoting her to the ministry. With number three reserved for Nationals Senator Fiona Nash, the result also meant neither of the Liberals’ winnable positions was available to Jim Molan, a former senior army officer who was heavily involved in the government’s efforts against unauthorised boat arrivals. Hughes has since forestalled a looming state executive intervention by agreeing to be relegated to number two. At issue was the presence on the preselection panel of two lobbyists and moderate factional operatives, Michael Photios and Nick Campbell, two years after Photios had been forced off the state executive by a Tony Abbott-sponsored rule forbidding the involvement of lobbyists. Opponents of the moderates cited in a report by David Crowe of The Australian claim that without the involvement of Photios and Campbell, Fierravanti-Wells and Molan might have taken the top two spots, with number three going to Andrew Bragg, policy director at the Financial Services Council. Tony Abbott described the outcome of the vote as “another exercise of stitching up”, which had been “tainted” by the involvement of Photios. If a double dissolution elections is called, the entire process will need to be revisited in a way that also accounts for Marise Payne, John Williams and Arthur Sinodinos, who were elected in 2013.

• Outgoing Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson has been preselected to succeed Andrew Robb as Liberal candidate for the Melbourne seat of Goldstein. The Australian reports Wilson prevailed in the local party ballot over Denis Dragovic, a “lecturer, former hostage negotiator and columnist”, by the paper-thin margin of 142 votes to 140. Eliminated in the first round were Georgina Downer, with 66 votes, and Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive John Osborn, on 18 votes. The vote came shortly after a pamphlet was distributed to preselectors describing Wilson as “a danger to our families, schools and the local community”, owing to his “unrelenting campaign for gay rights issues”.

• The Daily Telegraph reports Bronwyn Bishop faces defeat in the Mackellar preselection at the hands of Jason Falinski, owner of aged care business Carewell Health. Falinski was Malcolm Turnbull’s Wentworth campaign manager in 2004, and has worked for John Hewson and Barry O’Farrell. While Falinski is strongly associated with the moderates faction, the Telegraph reports he “will get the support of much of the Right because of an anyone-but-Bronwyn attitude caused by her switching sides on Tony Abbott”.

• A further three challenges have emerged against federal Liberals in Western Australia, in addition to the widely reported contest between Tangney MP Dennis Jensen and the state party’s former director, Ben Morton. Liberal sources invoked by Andrew Burrell of The Australian suggest Nola Marino is under pressure from Ben Small, although all I can discern of Small is that he lives in Bunbury. Elsewhere, Swan MP Steve Irons faces Carl Pallier, state manager of Suncorp Insurance, and Durack MP Melissa Price is opposed by David Archibald, a geologist.

• Seven Liberal Party members have nominated for preselection in the new southern Perth seat of Burt. Andrew Burrell of The Australian suggests the front-runner is Matthew O’Sullivan, “who runs Andrew Forrest’s GenerationOne philanthropic movement aimed at ending indigenous disparity”. However, Gosnells councillor Liz Storer is reported to be “backed by conservative forces”. Also in the field are Marisa Hislop, a small business owner; Daniel Nikolic, a company director; Lance Scott, the party’s divisional president; and a low-profile figure named Lesley Boyd.

Sarah Martin of The Australian reports the Liberal Party has approached indigenous journalist Stan Grant about running for preselection against Labor’s Julie Owens in her highly marginal seat of Parramatta. The Liberals will be choosing their candidate for the seat through a trial plebiscite of local party members of more than two years’ standing, amid an ongoing brawl within the party over the power of head office in the party’s preselections.

• Melissa Grant of AAP reports on a second contestant for the Liberal National Party preselection to succeed Ian MacFarlane in the Queensland seat of Groom, joining the widely touted state member for Toowoomba South, John McVeigh. The candidate is Toowoomba general practitioner David van Gend, who describes himself on his Twitter bio as a “combatant on matters of life and death: euthanasia, cloning, abortion, gay ‘marriage’, faith and freedom” – his perspective on such matters being conservative.

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.

1,390 comments on “Double dissolution (maybe) minus 14 weeks”

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  1. ….Senator Sinodinos chaired the NSW Liberal finance committee and was party treasurer at the time, but has insisted he had no knowledge of the FEF being used to channel illegal donations.

    Arthur Sinodinos is proving beyond reasonable doubt that he is not fit for the purpose of being an Australian government Senator.

  2. This is an interesting article.

    The groupthink is strong with the pundits. The electorate is seen by them as some kind of single entity that will change votes depending on its collective unhappiness with the government. A bit like those colour sensitive patches that go from green or blue to red when the temperature heats up.

    Other observations are that Rod Cameron does not seem to have said anything positive about Labor since he stopped being their pollster, the view of Race Matthews (which is based on personal observation, not groupthink) and this comment from Hugh Mackay:

    [“The mistake we must avoid is asking whether Labor can win,” he says. “It’s the old, old story: governments win or lose, and oppositions only have to look capable of taking over if a government’s position is terminal.]

    And then he does the groupthink – at least 3 months out from an election where campaigning has begun in earnest and says this:

    [“Will this government lose? Almost certainly not, in spite of Turnbull having already squandered a dangerous amount of his political capital and in spite of [Scott] Morrison looking less and less convincing as treasurer.

    “But the hope invested in Turnbull in the post-Abbott euphoria has not totally evaporated, and he will almost certainly be given one chance to lead in his own right, after winning his own election.”]

  3. C@tmomma

    [Arthur Sinodinos is proving beyond reasonable doubt that he is not fit for the purpose of being an Australian government Senator.]
    But perfect for the NSW Liberal Party .

  4. Goosh Goosh@1298

    ….I do think steely is fairly moderate by internet Liberal hack standards.

    Whenever he tries his tory slogans about tory good >>> Labor bad meme he gets challenged to substantiate the crap he has sprouted.

    Thats why he has ‘toned’ it down (no pun).

    He couldn’t argue his way out of a wet paper bag on the topics he has tried to date.

    FFS the tories want to gut Medicare any which way for example – but they will cut their own throats politically – so they try it slowly slowly – but people still know they are lying sods.

  5. PUFF – Yes,with Malcolm, it’s all about the quick return while others slave away. He’s your classic corporate raider. He’ll pick the eyes out of the liberal party and be on his way, thank you very much.

  6. Briefly @1281

    re RSPT

    Craig Emerson was closely involved in the development of the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (which has been a success), but for some reason despite being a senior minister in the government at the time was not significantly involved in the RSPT, or perhaps at all…

  7. Hugh, baby, a “political masterstroke” would be for Turnbull to actually come out with a few decent policies and then go to an election. But I guess that’s not trendy these days.

  8. pettyone @ 1258,

    Hmmmmm….just so much idiocy there.

    Short version. Keep chugging the Kool Aid but mind you dont choke.

  9. One day our children or grandchildren will talk about how their parents/grandparents owned their own house.

    It will have become a myth.

  10. [ Steelydan,
    What is it about you Uptighty Righties that you feel the need to constantly express barely-disguised contempt for social democrats? ]

    Well….they dont to do policy that can speaketh its name, and when the popularity card fails, and there is not enough of other peoples money to do “fist full of dollars” election bribes, and their donors are getting antsy…….

    All they have left is contempt for anyone outside their tribe grupenthunk. “Righties” aren’t always wrong, but this lot and their supporters have stopped trying to do or advocate anything other than hold on to power to protect their interests and fwark everyone else.

  11. I just read the letter from the SeeNoDonors solicitor and it has no real threats, it just tries to refute the claims of the AEC. Looks a little desperate.


  12. Come now Davo just because I have given you a few touch ups, don’t be a sore loser. I am sure everyone here is quite able to make up there own opinion of me (all ready received quit a few) without your help.

  13. Ok, so on the quiz Dan linked to:

    I got 93% Greens, 85% Labor, and 5% Liberals.

    This sounds about right to me, but of course the missing question was “Which party has the most chance of delivering the policies you want?”, as others have noted.

    Just to make it clear, next Federal election, in the seat of Sydney, I will be voting 1 Labor, 2 Greens. I will also be handing out for Labor, but asking nicely for Greens voters second preferences.

  14. [ I think that most of this is old news rehased, but it does have a few interesting links. ]

    Some oldies but goodies there. Mal is well known as “rainman” but most dont know the details.

    An investigation of certain bodies like Free Enterprise Foundation, Millennium Forum, and Wentworth Forum, with a view to proper rules and accountability being put in place for such may be an interesting thing for the Senate to debate?? 🙂

  15. Steelydan@1315

    Come now Davo just because I have given you a few touch ups, don’t be a sore loser.

    The only one you have touched up is yourself.

    Instead of running away and hiding – how about answering a few questions –

    [Mike Seccombe are you serious, don’t go there, how can you keep posting the work of left wing loons like Seccombe and keep calling it fact, its damn close to lying]

    Show where I called it fact. Its an opinion piece made public so that it can be aired, or show as correct or not.

    Lets see your facts. Lets see your rebuttal.

    [ Stick with the guy you called a “visionary” Stephen Koukoulas ]

    Show me *one* post of mine where I’ve called Kouk ‘visionary’.

    They are your words.

    Time to put up or shut up.

    Piss or get off the pot!

    Your track record here is of running away.

    PS – lots of other examples I can post as well


  16. SD – All slogans – all BS –

    [ Steelydan@2882

    Hide Howard are you serious.

    He is generally seen as the last good Prime Minister and a time of good governance.]

    He was certainly the last PM to have a once in a lifetime minerals boom.

    He also threw away the proceeds of that boom far worse then a drunken sailor.

    He invented the cash splash.

    He put in place the structural deficit.

    He was in his time the highest tax peacetime PM in the history of the Commonwealth.

    He ran the *Biggest Goverment* until abbott/ turnbull can along.

    This is on top of his ‘glorious’ history as Frasers Treasurer where he entered the history books with the the trifeca of misery, ie –

    – double digit inflation,

    – double digit unemployment,

    – double digit interest rates.

    All at the sametime.

    Thats…….All at the sametime.

    Australia’s worst recession since the Great Depression and

    Australia’s biggest dud Treasurer.

    Then his own electorate kicked him out on his arse.

    So do us all a favour >>> Bring him back so that it can be done all over again.

    Source –

  17. Catmomma you don’t have to bring my children into it but if and when they are down on there luck or in trouble they come to me, what ever has happened and it has and it will continue to do so, they are late teens early twenties its that time of life you make mistakes you fuck up. My children do get Government benefits they get concessions for being students for many things and they get Hecs and I am grateful.

  18. [ Steelydan@41

    The labor party are talking of Eight hundred thousand informal votes and that will cruel them. ]

    Provide a link/ substantiation that ‘The labor party are talking of Eight hundred thousand informal votes’.

    Show us where Labor said this.

    You were asked this a couple of weeks age – but ran away again.

  19. Steelydan@1324

    Still smarting I see Davo, I am not going to get into it again with you particularly when your on full loon mode.

    You are utterly gutless and run away continually.

    Getting a ‘touch up’ and not able to cope. 🙂

  20. Here it is “A Turnbull government plan to reform Senate voting would result in an extra 800,000 informal votes, a Labor analysis has warned”.

    Read more:

    However they have since brought in the savings provision so the informal votes will not be anywhere near as high as the labor party originally feared.

  21. [ Now now Dave. I know Burrough’s Favourite Dildo asks for it, ]

    I’d say it a buggered valve on the supply boiler. He’s been a remarkably poor performer of late. Cranky, but thats not unexpected with all the silly shite his operators have going on.

    and really…..insight and awareness from a dildo?? What were we thinking!! 🙂

  22. “A Turnbull government plan to reform Senate voting would result in an extra 800,000 informal votes, a Labor analysis has warned”

    I’d have thought that Turnbull’s biggest supporter group, the elderly, would be the most likely to be confused by voting changes, and, therefore, vote informally.

  23. My children do get Government benefits they get concessions for being students for many things and they get Hecs and I am grateful.

    I hate to break it to you, . If your kids rely on HECS, which Labor created, to get their education, then the Liberal Party thinks your children are bludgers. If the Liberals had their way then a) HECS wouldn’t exist and only wealthy children or children lucky enough to get a scholarship would go to university

  24. [ they have since brought in the savings provision so the informal votes will not be anywhere near as high ]

    Yep – you were wrong.

    You were talking crap – as usual.

  25. (bloody PB gremlins are at it again – continuing from my previous post)

    or b) HECS debts would be privatised at set at market rates, setting people straight out of university up crippling debts and the prospect of the debt collectors knocking on their door.

    People who aren’t wealthy and who care about their kids education should NOT vote Liberal. They despise those kinds of people.

  26. No Jimmy that is just not true, your comment the gross exaggeration type are the posts that make the name lefty loon name appropriate. It sounds like your talking about the 1930’s British Tory party just utter nonsense.

  27. Steelydan – you were just complaining the other night that WWP insulted you, and here you are throwing insults around!

    How do you explain Abbott’s attacks on higher education?

    Pyne tried to deregulate universities while cutting funding. This was designed to make university more expensive by letting the universities set their own tuition costs.

    Pyne also tried to peg HECS repayments at market rates (with the aim of privatising the debt).

    It is only because of the current Senate, that neither of these proposals got through.

  28. I believe the ALP said that *after* savings proposals were released (as they were in the original bill before amendments).

  29. You obviously did not listen to me other night I was not insulted by being called a name, shit I have been called every name under the sun on this site it was his reply to my comment about the Brussels bombings.

  30. Steelydan@1341

    You obviously did not listen to me other night I was not insulted by being called a name, shit I have been called every name under the sun

    You call others names and squeal when getting it back

  31. Steelydan – I’m not going to engage with you on this except to say that if you call people names, other people are going to respond in kind whether by name-calling or by other insults.

    You called me a lefty-loon, and that’s a label I’ll proudly wear when it implies that I actually care about universal healthcare and university education for anyone who wants one.

    The fact that you CANNOT join the dots between the ability of your children to get an education, and the social democratic reforms that made that possible, is mind-boggling.

    If you vote Liberal, you are voting against your childrens’ education. The Liberals DO NOT believe in programs that make education accessible. That’s why they attacked HECS in their 2014 budget.

  32. Steelydan – why is it nonsense? Why don’t you engage for once and actually provide an argument as to why I’m wrong, instead of throwing around insults and pretending you’re right and everyone else is wrong?

  33. [ his reply to my comment about the Brussels bombings. ]

    Hmmmmm, maybe because they were bullshit trying to defend Turnbulls bullshit? Or was this other bullshit? Comes so thick, fast, and smelly at times its difficult to keep track.

  34. TPOF
    [Other observations are that Rod Cameron does not seem to have said anything positive about Labor since he stopped being their pollster]

    On what basis does Cameron say that “mob has pretty well made up its mind” on Shorten?

    It was pretty clear that the electorate had made up its mind just six months ago – and they wanted Bill to get rid of Tony.

  35. I have been posting here for quite some time now and lefty loon is as harsh as I usually get it is about as insulting as RWNJ’s which is standard for around here.

  36. I refuse to engage with someone so out of touch that they think the current Liberal party is worse than a 1930’s Tory party, that’s just ridiculous.

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