Friday free-for-all

As the wheels begin to turn ahead of a federal election that might be held later this year, a round-up of recent preselection news.

No BludgerTrack update this week as there were no new opinion polls, which might be an issue from time to time now that Essential Research has gone from weekly to fortnightly. Newspoll and Essential will presumably both report next week, followed by a week off for Easter. So in lieu of any polling to analyse, I offer one of my occasional updates on federal preselection action.

Most of this relates to Queensland, where a federal redistribution will formally take effect next week – not that you would notice, as my calculations at the time the draft was published last year found no seat’s margin had changed by more than 0.6%. Nonetheless, BludgerTrack will henceforth be using the post-redistribution margins for it seats result projections. Redistributions for Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, which will each gain a new seat, and South Australia, which will lose one, are presently in their early stages, and are likely to be finalised around September.

• Following his appointment as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, George Brandis’s Queensland Liberal Senate vacancy has been filled by Brisbane barrister Amanda Stoker. Stoker won a vote of the Liberal National Party state council from a field of 12, of whom the other reported frontrunners were Joanna Lindgren, who had a stint in the Senate after filling a casual vacancy in May 2015, but was unsuccessful as the sixth candidate on the LNP ticket in 2016; Amanda Camm, a Mackay regional councillor; Andrew Wines, a Brisbane City councillor; and Teresa Harding, director of the Queensland government’s open data policy and twice unsuccessful candidate for Blair. Stoker was a favourite candidate of religious conservatives, and emphasised the point by speaking at a pro-life rally on Sunday. In this she makes a contrast with Brandis, a noted moderate.

• Labor’s candidate to take on Peter Dutton in his Brisbane seat of Dickson is Ali France, a motivational speaker and former television producer who lost a leg in a car accident in 2011, whose father is former Bligh government minister Peter Lawlor. France is aligned with the Left, and won preselection ahead of the Right’s Linda Lavarch, former state Attorney-General and wife of Keating government Attorney-General Michael Lavarch, who cut Dutton’s margin from 6.7% to 1.6% when she ran in 2016. The redistribution has slightly improved Dutton’s position, increasing his margin to 2.0%. Since winning preselection, France has faced media scrutiny over her past pronouncements against offshore detention, which have since been removed from her social media accounts.

• The Cairns Post reports Elida Faith, of the Left faction Community and Public Sector Union, has won Labor preselection for the Cairns and Cape York Peninsula seat of Leichhardt. Faith first won endorsement to run as the Left’s candidate ahead of Tania Major, an indigenous youth advocate and former Young Australian of the Year, and Allan Templeton, an electrician. She then won the preselection vote over Richie Bates, a Cairns Regional Councillor and member of the Right. Leichhardt has been held for the Liberals and then the LNP since 1996 by Warren Entsch, except following his temporary retirement in 2007, after which the seat was held for a term by Jim Turnour of Labor.

• Jo Briskey, chief executive of parent advocacy organisation The Parenthood and a former organiser with the Left faction United Voice union, will be Labor’s candidate in the Brisbane seat of Bonner. Briskey won preselection ahead of Delena Amsters, a physiotherapist aligned with the Right. While Bonner is a naturally marginal seat, Labor’s only win since its creation in 2004 came in 2007, and it has at all other times been held by the present LNP incumbent, Ross Vasta.

• Anika Wells, a lawyer with Maurice Blackburn, appears set to succeed the retiring Wayne Swan in Lilley. Wells has Swan’s endorsement, and shares his alignment with the Australian Workers Union sub-faction of the Right.

• Zac Beers, former industrial painter and scaffolder and organiser for the Right faction Australian Workers Union, has been preselected for a second run at the central Queensland seat of Flynn, where he cut LNP member Ken O’Dowd’s margin from 6.5% to 1.0% in 2016. Beers won preselection ahead of Gordon Earnshaw, a worker for Bechtel Power Corporation.

• Andrew Bartlett, who filled the Greens’ Queensland Senate vacancy arising from Larissa Waters’ Section 44 disqualification last year, will seek and presumably win preselection in the lower house seat of Brisbane. This leaves the field clear for Waters to seek to recover her Senate seat. Brisbane has been in conservative hands since 2010, and has been held for the LNP since 2016 by Trevor Evans. Bartlett ran for the Greens in 2010, his first entry with the party after his former life as leader of the Australian Democrats.

Meanwhile in New South Wales, Labor has preselected its candidates for the Sydney seats of Banks and Reid, where it suffered historically unusual defeats in 2013 and 2016. In turn:

• The candidate in Banks will again be Chris Gambian, an official with the Left faction Community and Public Sector Union, who halved the 2.8% Liberal margin when he ran in 2016. The Australian reports Gambian won a preselection ballot ahead of Lucy Mannering, a lawyer and the ex-wife of former Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes, by 139 votes to 116, as adjusted by the affirmative action loading. The member for the seat is David Coleman, who became the first Liberal to win the seat since 1949 when he gained it in 2013.

• Labor’s candidate in Reid will be Sam Crosby, executive director of Labor think tank the McKell Institute. Crosby easily won preselection ahead of local branch member Frank Alafaci, by 120 votes to 19. Reid has been held by Craig Laundy since 2013, when he became the first Liberal ever to win the seat.

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.

1,530 comments on “Friday free-for-all”

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  1. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Dutton does it again as eBay has lashed a federal government proposal to hit shoppers with a $5 tax on overseas parcels, warning it will “hit consumers hard” and was a rejection of free trade principles.
    Morrison has suggested a proposal to exempt the big banks from any cut to the corporate tax rate is still part of negotiations aimed at securing the Senate’s support, despite the prime minister earlier appearing to rule out the idea.
    Michelle Grattan writes “New players in “Bradbury” Senate a gift to government’s company tax cut prospects.
    Ten of Australia’s biggest companies have failed to provide any detail on a vague pledge to “invest more in Australia” if the Senate passes legislation to cut the company tax rate. They are empty promises.
    A trade war between US and China appears imminent as Donald Trump slaps new tariffs on Beijing to make America richer. Google.
    Trump’s lead lawyer for the federal special counsel probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election resigned yesterday according to the New York Times reported.
    The AFR’s Aaron Patrick considers the most perplexing question in Australian politics: why has Malcolm Turnbull failed as Prime Minister? Google.
    Michael Pascoe has a good contribution for us in which he criticises Dutton, Labor’s clumsy launch of its dividend policy and the government’s response to it.
    Yesterday at the royal commission CBA’s consumer credit history came under the spotlight – and it wasn’t a good look.
    Economist Philip Soos writes that deregulation has helped parts of the financial industry to become captured by fraudsters. He says the banking inquiry has already exposed shocking corruption but it needs more time. This is quite an informative article.
    Greg Jericho explains how the housing boom is over – and the RBA isn’t busting to raise rates.
    In an article sent from Jakarta James Massola tells us that for millions of people across south-east Asia, their smart phone and Facebook are their only interaction with the people who govern them and shape their society.
    A director of NSW regional development writes that for those wanting to escape the crippling house prices and increasingly congested road and rail networks of our state capital, there is an answer – if only the commute were more tolerable.
    This article from Dave Donovan looks at the recent SA election and the relationship with the Liberals and Cambridge Analytica and the like.,11320
    Jenna Price explains casual racism in Australia.
    Bruce Haigh lines up Potatohead for venturing where fools fear to tread. He says Dutton has brought shame on Australia.
    Catharine McGregor examines Shorten’s strategy to win the next election. A good, well written contribution.
    Scientist Emma Johnston tells us that promoting STEM isn’t a fad – it’s a necessity.
    Some hire car outlets make more money from charging successive unwitting customers for the same ‘repairs’ than from hiring out vehicles, a whistleblower has told Fairfax Media. Yes, it really pays to closely examine a hire car and mark up the defects as soon as it is handed to you. But not everyone has that expertise.
    Michael Kirby says the constitution should be changed to allow dual citizens to run for federal parliament because “dis-entitling” them undermines Australia’s success as a multicultural nation.
    Our nation is in danger of becoming overpopulated in the not-too-distant future, but the solution should be resolved at a community level rather than solely by policy makers, writes Michael Bayliss.,11319

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe brings out Trump’s golden shower predilection. Oh dear!

    Mark David really goes after Potatohead.

    I don’t know who produced this gif but it’s a good one.
    Peter Broelman lines up Frydenberg.

    Zanetti works Pauline Hanson over.

    matt Golding has plenty for us again.

    Glen Le Lievre and the problem in getting full time employment.

    Mark Knight and Dan Andrews’ bad day yesterday.

    This looks like David Rowe’s work.

    David Pope on the banking royal commission.
    Jon Kudelka and Crossbench Christmas.
    And more in here.

  2. Top White House lawyer John Dowd quits after Trump repeatedly ignores his advice in Mueller probe: report

    Top White House lawyer John Dowd has quit his position after reportedly being frustrated that President Donald Trump keeps spurning his advice for how to handle the probe of special counsel Robert Mueller.

    The New York Times reports that Dowd tendered his resignation on Thursday, although one source tells the publication that he had considered resigning for months because he “ultimately concluded that Mr. Trump was increasingly ignoring his advice.”

  3. GOP strategist Rick Wilson warns that John Dowd’s ouster is ‘one step closer to Trump firing Mueller’

    Republican strategist Rick Wilson on Thursday had some ominous thoughts about what’s to come in the wake of the departure of top White House lawyer John Dowd.

    Wilson started out by sarcastically calling Dowd’s departure as a “perfectly normal” event “in the middle of a gigantic special counsel investigation.”

    He then said that the real implications of Dowd leaving the White House is the empowerment of conspiracy theorist Joseph E. diGenova, whom Trump brought on this week to his team of White House lawyers.

    “This is one step closer to Trump firing Mueller, the Congress shrugging it off, and constitutional crisis of the Trump Train plunging over the cliff,” he writes. “It isn’t that Dowd’s legal advice is bad. It’s that the client wants to act out like a petulant child and wants indulgence, no counsel.”

  4. Bannon, Mercer and Nix ‘were warned’ during campaign that Cambridge Analytica’s practices may violate US law: whistleblower

    Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie on Thursday alleged that during the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s former chief campaign strategist Steve Bannon, billionaire Republican donor Rebekah Mercer and Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix were warned that the company’s actions may violate American law.

    MSNBC host Ari Melber asked Wylie if he had knowledge of warnings sent to Cambridge Analytica or its officers during his time at the company.

    “Yep, absolutely,” Wylie told Melber. “Rudy Giuliani’s law firm actually sent us a memo to Steve Bannon, Rebekah Mercer and Alexander Nix that actually outlined the fact that, in the United States, you can’t run campaigns with foreign citizens who are not permanent residents.”

  5. Lawyer hints Stormy Daniels’ claims in ‘60 Minutes’ could provide fodder for Trump’s impeachment

    Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing adult film star Stormy Daniels, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Thursday that his client will expose the corrupt and sleazy behavior of President Donald Trump.

    When Cuomo pointed out that the Stormy Daniels scandal hasn’t had much of an impact so far because Trump’s history of marital infidelity was well known before he became president, Avenatti countered that this scandal is about much more than just having an affair.

    “I think this is about engaging in thuggish behavior, threats, intimidation, and hiding the money trail,” he said.

  6. Something that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg said years ago could haunt him amid the Cambridge Analytica scandal

    A 2010 New Yorker profile of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg could haunt him now amid Cambridge Analytica news. The profile, written by Jose Antonio Vargas, details a leaked exchange between the Facebook creator and a friend who wasn’t identified

    “Yeah, so if you ever need [information] about anyone at Harvard, just ask,” Zuckerberg said to the unidentified friend. He added, “I have 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, [and] SNS.” The friend sounds surprised in response and asks, “What!? How’d you manage that one?” Zuckerberg replied, “People just submitted it. I don’t know why. They ‘trust me.’” He then said, “Dumb f***s.”

  7. Sara‏ @_sara_jade_

    Lucy Turnbull is very protective of her Malcolm. She despises Shorten as this look she gave him when he got up to speak revealed because she sees him as a real threat. She is the stage mother needing her child to win at all costs. She wields much of the power behind Turnbull.

  8. dave says: Friday, March 23, 2018 at 7:19 am

    Nice – the Dow down 724 points – almost 3% on trump rattling the chain on tariffs –


    Brian Krassenstein ‏ @krassenstein

    The DOW has just closed, down 717 points. This is the 5th worst daily point decline in American history.

    Trump also owns the 1st, 2nd, and 9th largest DOW point drops in American History.


  9. The Macgregor article linked by BK
    Is excellent.

    Shorten picks his battles to win war
    An excerpt:
    It appears that Shorten, and his team, have decided that he needs to pick a substantial fight to define himself more vividly and shore up Labor’s base against the Greens. He has chosen his terrain for the fight shrewdly. The tendentious attempts of self-styled outsiders and other, assorted cloth-capped horny-handed sons of toil in neo-liberal think tanks to portray Shorten’s policy as plundering the poor are risible.

  10. Morning all. Shorten has picked his battles well over tax. But recent Senate antics reveal how the odds are loaded against him (and us). Mr X apprars to have delivered another rogue Senator to the Senate (Tim Storer). If Storer is as easily bought off as Hanson, then the biggest corporate tax scam since Costello’s efforts will roll through the Senate.

    Politically, Labor can use this to highlight that it really is the only party protecting workers interests. None of Hanson, Di Natale or Xenephon have shown interest in protecting them.

  11. Lizzie – remember the stuff about Malcolm complaining that the Rudds weren’t sufficiently nice to Lucy (or some such) if I recall. Puts that in a bit of perspective.

  12. •Surveys of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch conducted in 2015 and 2016 estimate 78,200 tonnes of plastic waste are packed into an area almost the size of Queensland
    •This figure is much greater than previous estimates and has increased exponentially since the 1970s
    •Scientists were surprised to find that most of the mass was made up of larger pieces, such as fishing debris

  13. Surely, if the tax cuts get up, labor will have no choice but to take a roll-back policy to the next election. Helping them is the fact that the cuts would not have been enacted. Otherwise, they will look unprincipled.

  14. Anton

    Yes exactly. On the plus side, a rollback of the corporate tax cut, plus ending the super tax refund scam, will give Labor a healthy warchest to pay for promises that could help a lot of people in health, education and urban congestion. It might even pay for a fully funded NDIS or Gonski II.

  15. Socrates – the biggest mistake labor made at the last election was not matching the libs for deficit reduction for every year going forward. Probably would have won the election without that. They’re not going to make that mistake this time around.

  16. Good Morning

    I am still hoping that the Senate will block the tax cuts. I agree that Labor will need to reverse the tax cuts.

    If it does get through expect big boosting for the LNP from the usual suspects. Its the payoff. So companies will do the smokescreen to fool the voters.

    This is the positive reset Turnbull has been looking for. He will see it as his fighting chance.

    Remember Kim Beazley and Rollback. The campaign from the LNP will look something like that.

  17. Some Greens believe JF that plans were never legislated.
    Libs lying again.

    Tony Burke‏Verified account @Tony_Burke · 17m17 minutes ago

    Mislead on @RadioNational by @JoshFrydenberg . He claimed Labor only introduced draft management plans. Wrong. The plans were legislated and he knows this as he voted to disallow them when he was in opposition. Here’s the voting record…

  18. I am complete stunned. Catherine McGregor of all people has written possibly the first truly sane piece on Shorten.

    Well yes. We’ve been shouting most of this at you dopes in the media for years now. Of course Trumble has never had Bill’s measure, that was always media delusion and is still struggling to die, but Shorten has been picking extremely well chosen fights with the Government for 4.5 years now (and winning them).

    Nice of someone to notice.

  19. That article in the AFR about Malcolm in the middle contains the following statement about big business tax cuts: “There is bipartisan agreement this is necessary”


  20. Whatever your political stripe, you’d have to admit that Zanetti’s cartoons always seem to contain a particularly sleazy level of sexual innuendo. Not that others don’t from time to time of course.

  21. simon holmes à court‏ @simonahac · 23h23 hours ago

    last june, australia’s @MineralsCouncil released a report saying it takes 3 _years_ to build a ‘megabattery’ project.

    before the end of the november, @tesla built the largest in the world. it took just 3 _months_.

  22. Shiftaling – Aaron Patrick in the AFR is just a right-wing lunatic who has gulped down all of the Stutchbury Koolaid. If he didn’t say that sort of rubbish, he wouldn’t have a job.

  23. The NT News ($) and Gladstone Observer ($) report that a severe cyclone is expected to form off the coast of the tropical Northern Territory town of Nhulunbuy. The Bureau of Meteorology predicts a tropical low will reach cyclone strength early today before turning into a category three over the weekend, heading towards Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was in Darwin yesterday to survey damage from last weekend’s cyclone ($).

    I am reading that Shorten is being criticised by Liberals for wasting money spent on this visit!

  24. Barry Cassidy, political genius, this morning said the company tax cuts passing would be a great boost to the Turnbull government.
    Despite that even among coalition voters they’d prefer more spending on health and education than the planned cuts.

  25. On Mueller and Trump’s immediate future:

    Because no matter what he does, the odds that Trump will be criminally indicted are very small. (There’s some dispute about whether a sitting president can even be charged with a crime.) So in the end, while Mueller will almost certainly be sending some people to jail, Trump himself won’t be among them. Trump’s personal culpability will be judged by the political system — in congressional hearings, in the 2020 election and possibly through impeachment.

    If that’s the case, the greatest protection Trump has is not smart lawyers who can keep him out of trouble but a Republican Party that sees its own self-interest in staying unified behind him. So far, the party has; you can see it in the House Intelligence Committee’s aggressive effort to plunge its head into the sand on Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Having Trump’s lawyers out in public condemning Mueller and crying that the whole thing is a witch hunt serves to reinforce those partisan bonds, which means that Trump won’t be impeached unless Democrats take the House (and perhaps not even then), and certainly couldn’t be convicted by the Senate.

  26. John Wren – @JohnWren1950: BY definition 50% of Australian voters are “lefties”. When Dutton says they are “dead to him” he is dehumanising 1/2 the population. He considers them Untermenschen. He is a fascist. #auspol

  27. Bannon denies knowledge of Cambridge Analytica data mining — and blames Facebook

    During an appearance at a conference hosted by the Financial Times, former White House adviser Steve Bannon denied that he had any knowledge of former employer Cambridge Analytica’s data mining — and shifted the blame onto Facebook for taking the data in the first place.

    CNBC reported that Bannon, who was an executive for Cambridge Analytica before leaving to work for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, blasted the social media giant after denying knowledge of the firm’s data scraping.

    “Facebook takes your data for free and creates huge margins,” Bannon said.

  28. I love it when the pundits predict a reset and a surge of Turnbull Love among the adoring populace. That’s when you know the government is on the verge of a monumental PR cockup

  29. Wendy Harmer – @wendy_harmer: Dear PM @TurnbullMalcolm
    A real life consequence of your Minister Peter Dutton, calling @ABCaustralia employees “crazy lefties” and “you are dead to me” is that I feel unsafe at my workplace.
    Please address this.
    It’s no small thing every time a security alarm rings at my work.

  30. shiftaling @ #38 Friday, March 23rd, 2018 – 8:58 am

    I love it when the pundits predict a reset and a surge of Turnbull Love among the adoring populace. That’s when you know the government is on the verge of a monumental PR cockup

    The government is always on the verge of a monumental PR cockup. Except for those times when it actually goes over the verge.

    But then I suppose the pundits are always predicting a reset and surge of Turnbull Love. Except when the government goes over the verge.

  31. PTA2.0 – @Shellshock2048: Hey @TurnbullMalcolm – why haven’t you been up to Darwin to yet? Are they not as important to you as pulling a stunt with rich people?

    Seriously – you are PM of this country – you are not PM of just a few rich people.

    Get your f**king act together and act like a PM.


  32. One amusing excerpt from the Patrick article on Turnbull and the company tax debate
    The state of public discourse isn’t much better. One recent case is the furore over proposed business tax cuts. There is bipartisan agreement this is necessary. But the debate didn’t really come alight until an ABC reporter published an article attacking the case for, which she was forced to rewrite by her editors because it breached the national broadcaster’s rules against comment.

    Lost in the warfare was a discussion about how an open, mid-sized economy can continue to attract investment when other countries have lower tax rates. This is an argument the government needed to have. Instead of a serious discussion based on economics, we got a fight over personalities.

    No one, absolutely no one, supporting the tax cuts attempted to address the issues raised in Alberici’s article.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @FinancialReview on Twitter | financialreview on Facebook

  33. BK,regarding the rental car repair scam. I was caught out once, even when I had someone attend the car when I had returned it. A short time later I recieved a text stating the ‘found’ some damage and would be deducting the repairs from my credit car. I went straight back to the rental company and they pointed out they could do this within 24 hours after a return as the damage was not always apparent on return. I asked to see the car and damage but couldn’t as it had already been rented out again (sure!).

    I now walk around a rental car filming the car on my phone both when I take it out and on return. I make sure they see me do it or know that I am doing it if they can’t see me.

    I also don’t hire car from Eurocar again.

  34. Off-topic: Has anyone else had problems with this site simply disappearing periodically over the last few days? I’ve had about 3 instances of a “web site unavailable” error when every other web site seems fine. Comes back after about half an hour or so.

    Am I the only one seeing this?

  35. Confessions says: Friday, March 23, 2018 at 9:02 am


    Did you catch Rick Wilson’s latest?


    Yes – Thank You Confessions – a very scary anti-Trump/GOP scenario about firing Robert Mueller

    Rick ALWAYS has a beautifully creative way of words in his columns !!!

    eg – ” Even the White House clown bus of mooks, slowcoaches, edge case cranks, and kissers of his double-wide backside seem to understand more than the GOP in Congress; he’s crazier than a rat in a septic tank, and only Congress has any power over his behavior.”

  36. The Lead CNNVerified account@TheLeadCNN
    1h1 hour ago
    “My client’s not going away. I’m not going away … the President may be able to fire Mueller. He can’t fire me. And he can’t fire my client,” says Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti

    All this hype leading up to Stormy Daniels’ 60 mins interview makes me think it’s just going to be a huge flop.

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