Highlights of days three and four

Pre-election High Court action, reports of a Labor surge in the Melbourne seat of Dunkley, Labor’s candidate crisis in Fremantle, and a closer look at Labor’s now-finalised Senate tickets.

Noteworthy developments since my last federal election post 24 hours ago:

• Ahead of the High Court’s ruling on Senator Bob Day’s challenge to the constitutionality of Senate electoral reform, to be delivered at 10am today, Jeremy Gans at the University of Melbourne portends its rejection. Gans notes the court has failed to issue orders in advance of written reasons, as it likely would have done if its ruling was anything the Australian Electoral Commission needed to know about.

• Another, less publicised election-related High Court challenge met an unsuccessful conclusion last night, with the rejection of a bid to keep the electoral roll open beyond its scheduled close of 8pm on Monday. The challenge sought to build on the High Court’s ruling during the 2010 campaign which invalidated Howard-era amendments that closed the roll to new enrolments on the evening the writs were issued, and to updating of addresses three days subsequently.

• A report by Rick Wallace of The Australian talks up Labor’s prospects in the Liberal-held outer Melbourne seat of Dunkley. The seat is being vacated with the retirement of Liberal member Bruce Billson, who narrowly retained it through the Rudd-Gillard years and bequeaths a 5.6% margin to the new Liberal candidate, Chris Crewther. According to Labor sources cited in the report, “one recent sample of a tracking poll in the southeast Melbourne seat had the ALP in front 52-48 per cent after preferences” – though based on what I know of tracking polling, the sample in question would have been about 200. Nonetheless, the Prime Minister is taking the seat seriously enough that he campaigned there yesterday. Notwithstanding Labor’s apparently strong show in this seat, the report also relates that concerns remain about the Melbourne seats of Chisholm and Bruce, where Labor is losing sitting members with the retirements of Anna Burke and Alan Griffin.

• The Australian’s report also says the Nationals are “increasingly optimistic” that their candidate for the seat of Murray, state upper house MP Damian Drum, will win the rural seat of Murray, which is being vacated with the retirement of Liberal member Sharman Stone. However, Labor is said to be dangling a carrot before the Liberals by offering to direct preferences to their candidate ahead of Drum, in exchange for the Liberals dropping their plans to preference the Greens ahead of Labor in the inner northern Melbourne seat of Wills.

• Labor has a new candidate for Fremantle following the disendorsement of Maritime Union of Australia organiser Chris Brown, who failed to disclose past convictions on his candidate nomination form. The national executive convened yesterday to replace him with Josh Wilson, deputy mayor of Fremantle and a staffer for the seat’s outgoing member, Melissa Parke. Brown won the initial preselection through the support of the Left unions on the party’s state executive, despite Wilson defeating him by a 155-110 margin in the ballot of the local membership. On Tuesday it emerged that Brown had spent convictions dating from his late teenage years for assaulting a police officer and driving under the influence. Brown claims to have raised the matter with party officials in April, only to be told spent convictions did not have to be disclosed (although the question on the nomination form is whether the prospective candidate has “ever been found guilty of any offence”). He also claimed his contact with the police officer arose accidentally while he was defending himself from an unprovoked attack by three assailants, and said the court had recognised mitigating circumstances when it gave him a good behaviour bond. I had a lot more to say about this in a paywalled article in Crikey today. One of the issues dealt with was the notion that Labor’s troubles might cause the seat to fall to the Greens, despite their modest 11.9% share of the vote in 2013. While the Greens were sufficiently strong in the immediate vicinity of Fremantle to win the state seat at a by-election in 2009, support for the party is a good deal lower on those parts of the federal electorate not covered by the state seat. This is indicated by the map below, which shows federal boundaries in red and state boundaries in blue, with numbers indicating polling booth locations and the Greens primary vote.


• Labor’s national executive has signed off on its Senate preselections today, capping a process that has produced two particularly contentious outcomes: the return of Don Farrell in second position in South Australia, and the sixth placing given to incumbent Lisa Singh in Tasmania. In turn:

New South Wales: 1. Sam Dastyari (Right), factional powerbroker and former general secretary of the state party branch, who filled the casual vacancy created when his predecessor as general secretary, Matt Thistlethwaite, moved to the lower house seat of Kingsford Smith at the 2013 election; 2. Jenny McAllister (Left), former party national president and technical director of a civil engineering firm, who came to the Senate in May last year in place of John Faulkner; 3. Deborah O’Neill (Right), member for the Central Coast seat of Robertson from 2010 until her defeat in 2013, who filled Bob Carr’s Senate vacancy in November 2013; 4. Doug Cameron (Left), former Australian Manufacturing Workers Union national secretary who was elected from number two in 2007 and 2013; 5. Tara Moriarty (Right), state secretary of United Voice.

Victoria: 1. Kim Carr (Left), leading figure in the Victorian Left, elected from number two in 1993 and 1998, and number one in 2004 and 2010; 2. Stephen Conroy (Right), an ally of Bill Shorten’s in the dominant sub-faction of the Victorian Right, who filled a casual vacancy in 1996, held top position in 1998, then second position in 2004 and 2010; 3. Jacinta Collins (Right), a former official with the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association who entered the Senate in 1995, lost her seat from the number three position at the 2004 election after the party’s preference deal with Family First backfired (ironically, given her renown as a social conservative), won it back from top position in 2007, and held second position in 2013; 4. Gavin Marshall (Left), former Electrical Trades Union official who entered the Senate in 2002, and had top position in 2013; 5. Jennifer Yang (unaligned), scientist and former mayor of Manningham who unsuccessfully sought preselection for the lower house seat of Chisholm, and ran for the state seat of Mount Waverley in 2014; 6. Louise Persse (Left, I assume), former national secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union.

Queensland: 1. Murray Watt (Left), Maurice Blackburn lawyer and state member for Everton from 2009 until his defeat in the cleanout of 2012, who last year defeated incumbent Jan McLucas to win the Left’s endorsement for top position on the half-Senate ticket; 2. Anthony Chisholm (Right), former party state secretary who last year won Right endorsement to succeed Joe Ludwig after he announced he would not seek another term; 3. Claire Moore (Left), who was first elected in 2001 and held second position on the ticket in 2001, 2007 and 2013; 4. Chris Ketter (Right), former state secretary of the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, who was first elected from top of the ticket in 2013; 5. Jane Casey, who I can’t tell you much about, except that she’s fron Mackay.

Western Australia: 1. Sue Lines (Left), former assistant national secretary of United Voice, who filled Chris Evans’ Senate vacancy in May 2013; 2. Glenn Sterle (Right), former Transport Workers Union organiser, elected from number two in 2004 and 2010; 3. Pat Dodson (unaligned), indigenous leader and former Roman Catholic priest, anointed by Bill Shorten to fill Joe Bullock’s Senate vacancy in March, which he eventually filled a fortnight ago; 4. Louise Pratt (Left), state upper house member from 2001 and 2007, elected to the Senate from top of the ticket in 2007, then relegated to what proved to be the losing proposition of number two in 2013; 5. Mark Reed (Left), director of campaigns and communications at United Voice.

South Australia: 1. Penny Wong (Left), the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, first elected from top of the ticket in 2001, relegated to number two in 2007, and promoted to number one only after a backlash against Don Farrell’s initial preselection win in 2013; 2. Don Farrell (Right), former state secretary and national president of the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Union, elected to the Senate from number one in 2007, then voluntarily bumped to number two in 2013 (see above), from which he was unexpectedly defeated; 3. Alex Gallacher (Right), former state secretary of the Transport Workers Union, elected from top of the ticket in 2010; 4. Anne McEwen (Left), former state secretary of the Australian Services Union, elected from number on 2004, re-elected from number two in 2010, and now shunted to number four to accommodate Farrell; 5. Michael Allison (not known), network controller for SA Power Networks and delegate for the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union.

Tasmania: 1. Anne Urquhart (Left), former state secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, first elected from number two in 2010; 2. Helen Polley (Right), former staffer to Premiers Jim Bacon and Paul Lennon, first elected from number two in 2004, re-elected from number two in 2010; 3. Carol Brown (Left), who filled a casual vacancy in August 2005, was elected from number two in 2007, and re-elected from number one in 2013; 4. Catryna Bilyk (Right), a former state political staffer, elected from number three in 2007 and number two in 2013; 5. John Short (Left), state secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union; 6. Lisa Singh (Left), elected to the state lower house in Denison at the 2006 election, defeated in 2010, and elected to the Senate from third position in 2013, then contentiously dumped to fourth position at the half-Senate preselection in June last year.

Australian Capital Territory: 1. Katy Gallagher (Left), the territory’s Chief Minister from 2011 until her resignation in 2014, when she resigned pending her transfer to Senate in March 2015 on the retirement of Kate Lundy.

Northern Territory: 1. Nova Peris, former Olympic hockey player and sprinter, who was installed as candidate at the 2013 on the insistence of then Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the expense of the incumbent, Trish Crossin.

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.

862 comments on “Highlights of days three and four”

Comments Page 2 of 18
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  1. Alan Davis,
    Wow! That would be a turn-up for the books! Gilmore AND Eden-Monaro going to the ALP. We can but hope. 🙂

  2. Be careful shiftaling, the DT did say they would have a full recap in tomorrow’s paper, with a verdict on the winner. I guess the journo will write that bit before knocking off for today.

  3. The comments re Darren article in the Hun are nasty and vindictive… to be expected from such a terrible newspaper. And the Hun purports to support Victoria. Rubbish.

  4. victoria @ #36 Friday, May 13, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Have to say Peta Credlin’s description of Turnbull as “Mr Harbourside mansion” is too funny


    Vic – as well as ‘class’ envy.

    Fancy a tory having too much money being a problem in the libs.


  5. The more the DT finds itself spinning its wheels with no political traction, the more over-the-top it gets. The Onion is more likely to change votes in this election.

  6. Jon Faine really sticking it up the editor of the Herald Sun for their “bullying ” front page tactics of the homeless and Duncan Storrar and trying to drive them into the dirt. He also is sounding off about their column that gives Faine some kicks for ‘sticking’ up for these unfortunate people …..

  7. DAVE – Credlin believes that Tory Toffs should pretend to align with the working class while they steal their votes and screw them big-time. In that sense, Malcolm is much more honest.

  8. Not surprised by the talk re: Gilmore – as my former electorate, everything I hear suggests Ann Sudmalis has been a total dud. That plus coming off a very effective MP in Joanna Gash means the sophomore surge might well be muted there. The Labor candidate Fiona Phillips had the poor judgement to run for the Shoalhaven Independents (generally closet, pro-development Liberals) at the 2012 council elections, but I’m assuming she’s seen the error of her ways there.

  9. K17

    Yep – no pretense from turnbull.

    Except when his lips are moving – as many here have said right from the start.

    Same as the beady eyed bambi baird in NSW.

    ….you can fool some of the people all of the time, etc

  10. Good Morning

    Good Morning
    swegen31: Bizarre situation unfolding on @936hobart. Liberal reps refusing to talk about their own announcement. #politas #ausvotes

  11. John Reidy

    Be careful shiftaling, the DT did say they would have a full recap in tomorrow’s paper, with a verdict on the winner. I guess the journo will write that bit before knocking off for today.

    I bet it’s already been sent to the printers.

  12. Now that the Mining Lobby is a series of dusty, debt-ridden holes in the ground (or, in the case of BHP Billiton, a scum of stinking mud in a Brazilian river system – and court), and those Damned-Union-Loving-Manufacturers have been Offshored and buried, it is interesting to see how the other two Owners of the LNP – the Property Spivs and the Banksters & Finance Spivs Old Boys Club – panic about their investment.

    At present, this seems to be entirely by forcing the Limited News Rags to run transparently pathetic photo-lynchings and increase the volume of screeching from the usual suspects (save for the Cycling Smeagol, who has, I suspect, been instructed by Peta to shut up until the effete fop is tumbrilled).

    It is interesting that Fairfax, who have the biggest share of the Property advertising lurk that finances most of the “Free” Print media, haven’t yet buckled so overtly to the Property Spivs, even if Little Mike Baird has.

    What the Spiv Party wants is the return of a hybrid of US Robber Baron Plutocracy and Thatcher’s Revenant City of London Letter of Marque Pirates. Turnbull is an Avatar for this. Stephen Gould said “I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half” – Rupert substitutes character assassination for killing.

  13. Have to say Peta Credlin’s description of Turnbull as “Mr Harbourside mansion” is too funny

    Combine that with Ray Hadley’s pet peeve – that Malcolm Turnbull turns up the collars of his polo shirts – and Western Sydney will be lighting torches, sharpening pitchforks and storming Rooty Hill tonight.

    But seriously folks… if Turnbull really believes that tonight’s Town Hall meeting will go well for him, he’s an even worse politician that I thought.

    It wouldn’t matter if he delivered an oration worthy of Cicero. Hadley and Bolt (and the like) will go after him with chain saws. The slightest slip-up will be amplified out of all proportion into “Harbourside silvertail snubs Western Sydney battlers” headlines.

    One smirk; one little instance of majestic insouciance; one display of panache, or elan; the mere hint of a Cartier watch or a Faberge egg, will see Turnbull despatched to the parking lot via an agricultural hoik over square leg into the car park by any shock-jock, nutjob or Abbott worthy of the name.

    By contrast, Bill is used to dealing with workers, tradies and battlers. They have been his stock in trade for decades. He could talk to these people for sixty seconds and have them eating out of his hand, as he has done many, many times in the past.

    Questions that will be out of order (if Turnbull has any sense) will include anything at all to do with the RGR imbroglio and his involvement in it. Turnbull has a few questions to answer on that score –vis a vis his own stiletto skills during in the Abbott Back-Stabbing incident – himself.

    As to Teh Unions… if Shorten can survive a Royal Commission designed to set him up to fail, he can survive a probing from the peanut gallery by a Western Sydney tradie, or a truckie from Mt Druitt (as long as his name isn’t Duncan Storrer!).

    Parenthetically… I wonder whether Sky would be so cheeky as to get Duncan up from Geelong to attend tonight’s festivities? The mind boggles at the prospect.

    Turnbull’s only there because Bill said he’d attend, Malcolm or no Malcolm. So Malcolm’s at a disadvantage, having already snubbed The Battlers once this week. He may well rue the day he accepted this invitation.

  14. David: Labor’s full ticket in each State does have more than 5 – presume it’s just what William could fit in. You can see Labor’s top six lists at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candidates_of_the_Australian_federal_election,_2016 . Full lists when we see them may have more than 6 even though no chance of winning more than that out of 12?
    NSW ticket has Viv Thomson at 6 so it would take an uncommonly good result to see her get in. Pity, a good value country Labor candidate (down to earth sheep farmer concerned about climate change, among other things). Lisa Singh at 6 in Tasmania a great pity. WA ticket looking good – Louise Pratt coming back at 4, understandably below Pat Dodson at 3 in the batting order over there.

  15. I would not be surprised for a question to be asked about Mr Duncan Storrer at the debate tonight.
    Of course it will be put in a way to make Shorten look like he is defending bludgers. However I think this could win it for Mr Shorten. Yes I think the Murdoch press is that stupid as I am going on their stories of the last two days.

    Great opportunity for inequality in the debate. I hope Labor party people will be giving out free Panama Hats to the audience. They just have to have Daily Telegraph printed on them to get past News vetting.

  16. X was interviewed on ABC RN Breakfast this morning:


    He was asked about preference deals.

    I don’t want to [do preference deals], I think the most likely scenario is there will be open tickets, we will let voters decide. I think voters are smart enough to decide for themselves … What I’ve heard is maybe Liberal and Labor are talking a preference deal swap to squeeze out anyone running from the Nick Xenophon Team.


  17. naomiwoodley: #BREAKING the high court has dismissed the challenge to Senate voting laws. @abcnews @amworldtodaypm

  18. Re: the lack of interest o Turnbull and Mossack etcetera …

    For the past 20 odd years, it is clear that journos have have sacrificed loyalty to their profession for loyalty to their employer

  19. Bushfire Bill

    As to Teh Unions… if Shorten can survive a Royal Commission designed to set him up to fail, he can survive a probing from the peanut gallery by a Western Sydney tradie, or a truckie from Mt Druitt (as long as his name isn’t Duncan Storrer!).

    I reckon the Libs should plant a rich young property developer from the Eastern Suburbs in the audience to ask Shorten the hard questions – like how Labor expects the rich to continue to bear the burden of inflating Australian property prices if they eliminate Negative Gearing? Why are they not imposing a similar burden on the homeless? – it’s so unfair!

  20. victoria @ #14 Friday, May 13, 2016 at 7:30 am

    Melinda from Seat of Dunkley had better watch out. News corpse will be after her, the same way they are going after Duncan.
    Actually it is making me sick in the gut. From what I have seen of Duncan, this sort of attention could push him over the edge. Seriously News Corpse are disgusting

    I agree victoria. I’ve been staging a boycott of Murdoch for decades. I won’t give him s much as a penny for any product, not so much as a click for a story. He is thoroughly detestable.

  21. Speaking of the DT…

    Casey, Greens candidate in Grayndler, thanks the DT:


    The Daily Telegraph published an old tweet of mine on Wednesday (as part of its front-page endorsement of my opponent, Labor’s Anthony Albanese, for the seat of Grayndler) that said: “Overthrow of capitalism – you don’t hear this often enough”

    Who knew an old tweet could spark such a necessary debate but as a Greens candidate taking on Labor member Anthony Albanese at this election, I guess I can expect greater scrutiny. I appreciate the reminder and welcome the debate. Frankly, we don’t have this discussion often enough and what better time to have it than when political parties are selling their stories in the marketplace of ideas?

    This is not about a gotcha moment for Rupert Murdoch, it’s about having a national conversation about the kind of economic system we think will work in the challenging times ahead.

    Economic policy is developed by communities and national conversations, not individuals or the most powerful elites.

  22. Steve

    I agree. Why I think its great that Labor is doing the strong stuff with issues like SSM and Climate Change.

    The latter of course feeds into the number one issue of the economy.
    Turnbull presser

  23. guytaur @ #71 Friday, May 13, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Wow NXT running an open ticket. They must have done a deal with the LNP.

    There’s a world of difference between choosing to run open tickets, and agreeing to run open tickets in return for preferences. But I guess such fine distinctions are a little too subtle for some people.

  24. Marrickville

    Unless WA does much, much better than last time in WA Lousie Pratt has very little chance. To win four seats ALP needs to get 30% of the primary, quite a hard ask with so many minor parties around. What is a much more likely outcome in WA is
    ALP 3, Greens 2, a soft progressive of some kind – HEMP or sex, 5 LNP and a shooter or fisher or Christian.

  25. P1

    😆 You have zero proof or evidence for this. Greens run open tickets at elections all the time.

    Oops you just fell flat on your face due to lack of facts

  26. sspencer_63: Turnbull doing another press conference without the candidate. After the Lindsay disaster, none of them can be trusted it seems.

  27. “Marrickville

    Unless WA does much, much better than last time in WA Lousie Pratt has very little chance. To win four seats ALP needs to get 30% of the primary, quite a hard ask with so many minor parties around. What is a much more likely outcome in WA is
    ALP 3, Greens 2, a soft progressive of some kind – HEMP or sex, 5 LNP and a shooter or fisher or Christian.”

    Daretoread you obviously have been living under a rock. Labor vote has picked up greatly in WA since the last 10 years of Liberals federal domination. I’m pretty sure Labor will be able to get four senate seats considering there primary vote has improved by six points since the 2013 federal election.

    “The most recent Newspoll had Labor’s two-party vote in WA up to 36 per cent and the Coalition’s down to 47.”

  28. dtt,

    I think WA Labor getting 4 seats is eminently possible – they’re on 50-50 according to Bludgertrack anyway, and that should come with a good PV swing – it can’t be all Greens 😛

  29. Memo to Greens Grayndler candidate:

    When you are in a hole, stop digging!

    He ‘welcomes’ the debate about the overthrow of capitalism.

    It’s just too funny. You couldn’t script a Greens’ campaign which plays so nicely into the opinion of the party that the majority of Australians hold.

  30. catmomma

    That debate is not funny to anyone who has seen the GFC unfold. To anyone that sees the hold the rich have on communication.

    Some use the word capitalism like some use the word socialism. They say capitalist when they mean neo liberals. Just like RW say Socialism when they mean communism

  31. Catmomma

    Thinks like this is what make the debate about the role of capitalism relevant
    KezzerOz: @TheMurdochTimes @damonheraldsun Typical @rupertmurdoch gutter press.They doing this to Storrer because his #qanda Q. hit the spot.Hurts LNP

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