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. ,blockquote>As social networking giant Facebook and “big data” firm Cambridge Analytica find themselves at the centre of a privacy scandal involving the election of US President Donald Trump, the question must be asked: is time up for companies that bury important privacy info in long and baffling terms of service, and then claim that users are agreeing to give their lives away by clicking yes

    Anna Johnston, director of privacy consultancy Salinger Privacy and a former NSW deputy privacy commissioner, told me she hoped and believed that the Facebook scandal would force technology companies to start putting their users, rather than advertisers and marketers, first.
    “I actually think”, Johnston said, “that we are about to enter a new age in which consumers, regulators and legislators will start to call out the practices of companies like Facebook which claim to rely on ‘consent’ … as based on an absurd legal fiction which can no longer stand.
    “It is not only utterly ridiculous to suggest that the [Cambridge Analytica] app users’ millions of friends consented to any of this; I doubt many of the 270,000 gave a valid consent in the legal sense of it being voluntary, informed, and specific,” Ms Johnston continued.
    “Having one line in the standard Facebook T&Cs which says that by signing up to Facebook users are ‘consenting’ to the use and disclosure of their data ‘for research’ makes a mockery of the law of consent, as well as established ethical rules regarding research activities.”

  2. Thanks BK for the news roundup this morning, in particular the fiction book section.

    The AFR’s Aaron Patrick considers the most perplexing question in Australian politics: why has Malcolm Turnbull failed as Prime Minister? Google.

    The Turnbull Paradox

    New on the NY Times best seller fiction list this, the latest in a series of knock em down, stomp em and pick their pockets thrillers, will be a big winner with the “can’t sleep at night, guilty conscience set”.

    Some might say it is too early to declare him a failure. He remains our national leader and can credibly claim several substantial policy achievements, or at least changes, including gay marriage, a deal to clear Manus Island and Nauru of refugees, a new Senate voting system, closing off superannuation tax concessions and a military-construction build up.
    He presides over solid economic growth, low unemployment, low interest rates, and high property and share prices. In difficult negotiations with US President Donald Trump he has demonstrated that he can perform on the international stage. He won an election.


    I’m not convinced Turnbull is a failed Prime Minister, nor do I detect the resentment towards him that existed towards John Howard in 2007.
    Yet it looks like voters have already given up on the government. This is the Turnbull paradox.

    His governing style is gradualist. The government compromises when it believes it has no choice – witness the banking royal commission – but mostly tries to methodically develop good policy that will improve society over time. This is not a government by press release.

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

    I am thinking of putting the entire article through one of those programs that sort jumbled letters and miraculously produces words. The possible result may be

    Bullshit bullshit bullshit……………….. and so on.

    I note that there have been several posts concerning this item by Aaron Patrick .

    Good morning to all.


  3. Confessions @ #50 Friday, March 23rd, 2018 – 8:10 am

    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.

    Storm in a bra cup

  4. The beauty of Shorten’s policy announements such as the franked dividends refunds and property negative gearing and capital gains tax reform is that they are economically sensible and ScoMo has to so manically attack them than he can’t subsequently steal the ideas to use for his own budget repair. The fiscal noose slowly tightens.

  5. Note: The concepts of “right” and “left” are meaningless and highly misleading, when they are used within a party. The so-called “Labor right” is far to the left of any Liberal faction. Wayne Swan is supposed to be a member of the “right” faction and he is at the forefront of the push to deepen the Social Democratisation of the ALP…. That’s not what a “right-winger” would do!

  6. Player One @ #47 Friday, March 23rd, 2018 – 9:06 am

    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?

    While I do not monitor the site constantly I have not noticed any problems such as you describe.

    Good luck sorting it out. 😍

  7. Donald J. Trump – @realDonaldTrump: I am pleased to announce that, effective 4/9/18, @AmbJohnBolton will be my new National Security Advisor. I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job & will always remain my friend. There will be an official contact handover on 4/9.

  8. Ken Klippenstein – @kenklippenstein: Bush’s own chief WH ethics lawyer says appointing John Bolton as nat’l security advisor “is an invitation to war, perhaps nuclear war”

  9. Rick Wilson writing style is very entertaining.
    So far he has been correct about the GOP doing nothing to stop Trump.

  10. @guytar – all the sensible money is betting on ‘no nuclear war’.

    Not because it’s the more likely outcome, but because the chances of you, the person you bet against and money all continuing to exist are slim if there is a nuclear war 😉

  11. Victoria

    FMD is right. By your comment I can see you were clutching any straw available that common sense might prevail.

  12. Meanwhile, along the NSW Mid North Coast, the ducks have gone home. There’s only us idiots left now.

    75mm of rain in the past 90 minutes.

  13. Cambridge Analytica owned by this mob. Check ’em out

    Liam O Hare on the deep connections between Cambridge Analytica’s parent company Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL Group) and the Conservative Party and military establishment, ‘Board members include an array of Lords, Tory donors, ex-British army officers and defense contractors. This is scandal that cuts to the heart of the British establishment.’

    …………………..n 2005, SCL went public with a glitzy exhibit at the DSEI conference, the UK’s largest showcase for military technology.

    It’s ‘hard sell’ was a demonstration of how the UK government could use a sophisticated media campaign of mass deception to fool the British people into the thinking an accident at a chemical plant had occurred and threatened central London. Genuinely.

    SCL Group says on its website that it provides “data, analytics and strategy to governments and military organizations worldwide.”

  14. One week ago:

    Sarah SandersVerified account@PressSec
    Just spoke to @POTUS and Gen. H.R. McMaster – contrary to reports they have a good working relationship and there are no changes at the NSC.

    7:12 PM – 15 Mar 2018

  15. BK:

    I read an article the other day that said he really does get his advisor ideas from commentators he sees on cable news and Fox News. There’s quite a few of them in the WH at the moment.

  16. Friends of the Earth has welcomed New South Wales Labor’s announcement that they will not sign off on Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) unless a full assessment of the science underpinning the decades-old Agreements is completed.

    NSW Labor has demanded that climate change be considered as part of a full scientific and environmental impact assessment of the RFAs[1].

    Friends of the Earth is calling on the Victorian Labor government to assess impacts on biodiversity and climate change of logging under the existing RFAs.

    In Victoria the East Gippsland and Central Highland RFAs expire Tuesday next week. It is unclear what will happen with these RFAs

    Currently in Victoria a legal cloud hangs over the Central Highlands RFA as a recent Federal Court decision ruled that breaches to state based logging rules may also represent breaches of the RFAs and precipitate legal challenges. The Ministerial briefings create further legal uncertainty and could open the door to additional legal challenges.

  17. With President Obama in Sydney today will he be asked about Bolton’s appointment?

    I think his comments if so will be interesting

  18. PeeBee says:
    Friday, March 23, 2018 at 9:03 am

    I also don’t hire car from Eurocar again.

    I will never hire from Europcar again either. I’ve hired cars twice in France, first time was fine, second time they got me big time on repairs (very small scratch) that I am convinced were never carried out, billing me months afterwards.

  19. We may not contribute a high proportion of emissions to climate change (see LNP rationale against action) but we are at high risk from the outcomes.

    Australia was ranked as highly sensitive to the physical risks of climate change, with predictions of more storms, floods, rain and bushfires. New Zealand ranked as one the nations least exposed to those risks.

    Late last year, Deutsche Bank also developed a tool to forecast where its investments across the globe may be impacted by natural disasters brought on by climate change.

    The German bank’s economic modelling estimated that if carbon emissions aren’t reduced throughout this century, per capita GDP will be 23 per cent lower than it otherwise would be.

    Principal Advisor at The Australia Institute, Mark Ogge, said Australia’s industries and infrastructure, such as coastal based business, roads and rail, and both commercial residential assets, are at significant risk from climate change-related events.

  20. Ed Krassenstein – @EdKrassen: The firing of HR McMaster and hiring of John Bolton as Trump’s new National Security Adviser pretty much confirms that FoxNews is running America. So sad!

  21. antonbruckner11 @ #19 Friday, March 23rd, 2018 – 4:10 am

    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.

    The strange thing about it is that the projection is such a rubbery figure a small adjustment wouldn’t have been questioned.

  22. Yep!

    The single biggest mistake tRUmp ever made was acceptIng the GOP nomination. The worst thing that ever happened to him was winning the election. Donnie has lived a consequence free life for decades. But like all habitual line-crossers; eventually he crossed the wrong line…

  23. Victoria

    Yes of course. However that does not make all his points irrelevant.

    I actually agree with him about the article.

    It shows why a democracy is better than Putin’s Russia. Thats the irony.

  24. Tea Pain‏ @TeaPainUSA

    We need to refer to the remainin’ White House staff by their appropriate designation: “Future Criminal Defendants.”

    John Bolton’s Cambridge Analytica Connection

    John Bolton, the former U.N. ambassador will be forced to reckon with the fate of his political empire, which includes a super PAC that has spent heavily on the services of embattled voter profiling company Cambridge Analytica.

    Bolton’s super PAC has paid Cambridge Analytica more than $1.1 million since 2014 for “research” and “survey research,” a Center for Public Integrity analysis of campaign finance filings shows.

  25. Pascoe is pretty good on the economics. (although still a member of GST cult)

    Labor will continue to ignore him on the politics.

    I’ll forgive him a bit as he seems to be overseas and has been for some time.

    But this utopian – Whaddawewant? Large Scale Broad Tax Reform, Whendawewantit? Now! bullshit is seriously deluded.

    As is the idea that these ‘piecemeal’ changes aren’t part of a larger reform package.

    Wake the fuck up. You firstly don’t dump an enormous complex and easily misrepresented comprehensive tax plan, even if you’ve spent years engaging the public, unless you are keen on another term of opposition. Labor, thanks to not having virtually the entire media as boosters, have even less chance than the Coalition to pull that one off.

    If you’re not a dope, or not sitting comfortably in a nice high paying media job and therefore never have to bother yourself with stuff like actually succeeding in politics rather than lazily pontificating how the politicians should do it (which often amounts to the same thing), you eat the elephant one bite at a time.

    Anyone with a brain can see that Shorten, Bowen and Labor have a very broad reform agenda. But they’re almost infinitely smarter than their critics. So they fight and win small battles. They pick a fight, at a time of their choosing, and on a battlefield of their choosing. And then win it. Each battle draws out the scare campaign and every galah in the pet shop. But it dies in the arse because as Labor has chosen the battle well and owns the high ground they can focus on each individual skirmish and overwhelm the opposition.

    They aren’t stupid enough to try and go for the ‘win the war by Christmas’ play that the armchair generals in the media want to see. And they aren’t stupid enough to fight simultaneously on multiple fronts. Ask the Germans how well that works. Under Shorten Labor seeks a weak spot, exploits it, secures the position and then has the patience to wait until they have another soft target before going on the offensive again. But they are on the offensive. They aren’t sandbagging or digging into defensive positions. They are mobile and ready to strike when the opportunity presents itself.

    Each win strengthens the ALP’s position (no Pyrrhic victories here – Business Tax Cuts if they ever get up though?), and pushes Trumble further into the badlands. Each victory brings Labor more resources (like nice fat revenue gains), and denies them to Trumble. Each win forces Trumble to retreat and immobilises him to an ever narrowing range of movement. For instance he might still send a few desultory mortar shells at the hill named Negative Gearing every now and again, but that battle is long over. Trumble can’t mount a counter attack, he can only retreat under fire.

    So Mike, no the Credits Cashback announcement wasn’t poorly handled. Labor knew exactly what was coming, and I strongly suspect they welcomed it. By parading their conga line of millionaires not paying tax the Libs have marched straight into their own minefield. If they had been smart they would have made a tactical retreat and taken the revenue on offer to use on a counter offensive. But Trumble’s an idiot. So he’s blocked off his escape route and is blowing himself up. You’ll notice Labor aren’t out campaigning hard on this. They know Trumble is handing them the battle. No need for Labor to do much more than sit back and watch the dopes blow their own legs off.

    And yes Mike, Batman does demonstrate the battle is won. It’s as over as the Negative Gearing battle is. The longer the Coalition takes to work that out the greater their loses. There is no hope of shifting Bill off that hill. The only question is where will Shorten strike next. You’re a fool if you don’t think he already has a large number of targets picked out and will launch a surprise attack when and where he sees another simple victory.

    So yes, comprehensive reform is coming, not necessarily all of it will be done next term (no reason not to leave yourself things to do in terms 2 and 3 and …). Each element that they do go ahead with for next term though will be announced from opposition, and the battle for it won so that it’s implementation in government is uncontroversial. But no Pascoe, the GST won’t be a part of it apart from maybe excluding women’s sanitary products. And that is a good thing.

  26. Pete EVANS
    Pete EVANS
    Times up Peeps. Total open warfare against the Patriots. John Bolton is like Himmler being appointed to the role of National Security Advisor. Russia has nearly completed its takeover of the White House

  27. Another interesting titbit

    Pete EVANS
    Pete EVANS
    Mar 22
    As I was told a year ago by sources here in Australia, China partnered with the Russian Federation in attacking the US Election. CITIC, China’s biggest state owned company, is a major shareholder in Prince’s Hong Kong based FSG

    Frank Sowa
    BREAKING: Cambridge Analytica has a link to a Chinese security and logistics company run by Erik Prince, the former mercenary who founded private military company Blackwater. (link:…

  28. The Koch brothers are an insidious force in US politics, fuelling climate denial and pushing their kleptocratic tax agendas. They own the Republican party.
    If SA Liberals are using the Koch’s i360 data to manipulate the election, then this needs to be brought into the light.
    Marshall has questions to answer, as does Pyne.

  29. Kyle Griffin – @kylegriffin1: “The Daily Beast has learned that the special counsel in that investigation, Robert Mueller, has taken over the probe into Guccifer and brought the FBI agents who worked to track the persona onto his team.”

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