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. Boerwar @ #1314 Sunday, March 25th, 2018 – 3:55 pm


    What astonishes me is that you persist in ignoring all the real world evidence: low biodiv farming is more productive than high biodiv farming. You do not address this. What you do is instead to point to second and third order issues as if the existence of problems and challenges somehow means that the core reality is not true. I could spend some time pointing out the problems with high biodiv farming as well. But these are, IMO, essentially side issues.

    There is a big difference between “low biodiversity” and “zero biodiversity”. All intensive agriculture lowers biodiversity to some extent, but that does not mean “more is better”.

    At least you seem to have finally realized that there is no such thing as “zero biodiversity”. Nor is there any such thing as a “closed system”. Not even remotely. Even your precious hydro tomato farm is not, because they rely on nutrients and fertilizers trucked in from outside, and have undesirable consequence on the environment as well (salinity just being the most obvious).

    However, what you have still not realized is that very low biodiversity agriculture is neither desirable nor sustainable at scale. It is very profitable, sure – but it is not sustainable. It only looks sustainable because you are not taking into account the long-term environmental damage. Try looking up monocultures and their detrimental affects, such the US midwest and the disastrous corn leaf blights of the 1970s. If we wind up depending on very low diversity agriculture to feed the world, such an event would result in not just an economic loss, but widespread starvation.

    If you want the latter, as a policy concomitant, you are going to have to explain how you are going to delete most of the world’s population.

    We probably won’t need to do anything. In fact, we probably can’t actually do anything to prevent this happening.

    Personally, I would like to see the global population of humans to be around 20 million and for me and my family and friends to be part of the 20 million, naturally.

    Like me, you have the good fortune to be an Australian, so you might just get your wish. We will probably not be among the starving billions, although we may not survive the inevitable hostilities that will result.

    It is not the desirability of this state of affairs that is the issue, IMO.

    The issue is how we get there. In the interim, I do not support deliberately starving people to death because they rely on the higher productivity of low biodiv farming systems.

    By not choosing to make things sustainable while we still can, you are actually making this outcome more likely, not less.

    And here is the nub. The number of people who go hungry at any one time is directly related to price of globally traded food commodities. That is to say, if we stop low biodiv farming now, today, and replace it with the optimum outputs from organic farming, people will commence starving by the hundreds of millions.

    You can only delay it, not prevent it. The planet cannot sustainably support 12 billion humans (actually, it probably cannot even sustainably support our current population) except by having the majority of those billions at subsistence level or below. Why would you want that?

    Playing at backyard farming does not cut it. It is the big numbers that count here.

    Why do you grow organic tomatoes in your backyard?

  2. Is anyone going to seriously tell me that the other international cricket teams don’t do this sort of stuff? They are just more competent. This just hides the real problem with the sport: booze and gambling advertising and the absolutely s… music they force you to listen to when you go to watch a game.

  3. briefly @ #1332 Sunday, March 25th, 2018 – 4:37 pm

    We should see developments in agriculture as engineering by other names. We can increase the engineering intensity and make production more efficient, where to be efficient is “to do more with fewer inputs”. As well, the less land that is required for agriculture, the more land will be available for conservation. By specialising the use of land, it is obviously possible to have both more agricultural production as well as greater natural conservation. In fact, we should see gains in conservation as an external benefit arising from more highly engineered agriculture.

    Monsanto heartily agrees with you! 🙂

  4. Royal Commission declared into Cricket Australia with R Slaven QC presiding and HG Nelson QC counsel assisting. The commission is to investigate the ball tampering incident, identify any evidence it occurred, then report back to the minister for sport with a plausible excuse to ensure the summer cricket season will proceed without any commercial loss. Sport Minister Bridget McKenzie said
    “Our government is deeply concerned about any perception of cheating in Australian sport. We will work resolutely to eliminate that perception.”

  5. Dispute between AMA and pharmacy chains over when to get this year’s flu vaccination:

    The Australian Medical Association is urging people to hold off getting this year’s flu vaccine, saying some pharmacies are offering the vaccinations too early.

    Some well-known pharmacy chains are currently advertising vaccinations referencing last year’s deadly influenza outbreak in parts of the country.

    The AMA’s WA president Michael Gannon said the timing of the flu shot was important.

    “We are concerned when pharmacies are out there advertising early flu shots at a time that might not be clinically appropriate,” he said.

    “People who are vaccinated too early in autumn might have lost protection by late in the spring when the virus has mutated.

  6. Re Socrates @5:44PM. Terms of Reference include the extent of the involvement of Trade Unions, Industry Super Funds and Bill Shorten.

  7. Confessions says:
    Sunday, March 25, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    When was the last time you heard a politician give a speech like this one on the removal of confederate statues?

    Certainly hits all the right notes, very clear….puts everything beyond dispute…very talented speaker.

  8. ‘Steve777 says:
    Sunday, March 25, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    Re Socrates @5:44PM. Terms of Reference include the extent of the involvement of Trade Unions, Industry Super Funds and Bill Shorten.’

    Enumerating all contacts between Shorten and Plibersek with any members of the Australian Cricket Team their families.

  9. Turnbull’s bought into the cricket furore. He “has spoken with” Australian Cricket and expects heads to roll.

    What a cheap shot: buying into it only when the coast is clear. It’s none of Turnbull’s fucking business. It’s the Australian people’s business. His opinion is no more weighty or valid than anyone else’s.

    Typical bullying behaviour, kiss up, kick down, but only when there’s a bandwagon on the roll.

  10. DB Cooper says:
    Sunday, March 25, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    I don’t see how Cricket Australia can let Smith lead the team onto the field today.

    I don’t see how the players could follow him. He has disgraced them all.

  11. DB The contractual arrangements are such that anything like this is never dealt with until after a game. DuPlessis was in the same boat in Australia last year – also for ball tampering.

    If Smith didn’t take the field he’d be labeled a coward by the same people calling for his head right now.

    This will be far more humiliating than hiding in the hotel.

  12. ‘Player One says:
    Sunday, March 25, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Boerwar @ #1358 Sunday, March 25th, 2018 – 5:50 pm

    I agree to disagree.’

  13. C’mon people!

    All this ‘pronouncing’ what they should or shouldn’t do.

    All teams have likely have to have been inviolved in such things … just ask past players.

  14. Jen,

    It’s not a matter of being labelled a coward. He is a self-confessed cheat. He doesn’t deserve the honour of leading the Australian team onto the field.

    I’m sure contracts don’t specify that you have to wait until the end of a match to discipline a cheat.

  15. ‘jenauthor says:
    Sunday, March 25, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    C’mon people!

    All this ‘pronouncing’ what they should or shouldn’t do.

    All teams have likely have to have been inviolved in such things … just ask past players.’

    What do you propose?

  16. Boerwar @ #1480 Sunday, March 25th, 2018 – 5:16 pm

    ‘jenauthor says:
    Sunday, March 25, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    C’mon people!

    All this ‘pronouncing’ what they should or shouldn’t do.

    All teams have likely have to have been inviolved in such things … just ask past players.’

    What do you propose?

    In the interest of galactic peace
    Ban cricket

  17. The Aussie cricketers were just like the old world championship wrestlers that were on our screens way back.

    The baddies would have foriegn objects concealed in their trunks and everytime the unsuspecting ref was not looking or distracted they (the baddies) would produce the said same item and strike the goodguy over the head with it.

    This type of behaviour in professional sport has been around for decades.

  18. Hi everyone

    My power’s been off all day but luckily nothing happened on PB except ball-tampering.

    Big medicine announcement from Hunt via Gartrell in The Age.

    The cost of medicines to treat diabetes, cancer, arthritis, asthma and eye disease will be slashed next week under a massive new round of Turnbull government subsidies.
    The government will add 11 drugs to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme on April 1, saving Australian patients thousands of dollars, Health Minister Greg Hunt says.

    One of the drugs is methotrexate, which I have been taking for 3 years, cost $51.41; subsidised cost: $6.40. I don’t know about the rest.

    Could it be that the LNP (Hunt) are pretending they are providing new subsidies? Bit of pollie spin?

  19. Jen

    In all the years I have been following cricket I have seen many accusations levelled about ball tampering.

    Most have been denied, but some players have admitted it and accepted their punishment.

    What I have never seen is the captain of a national team face the media and reveal how the senior players drew up a plan to tamper with the ball and instructed a junior player to do it.

    If you can’t see the difference between what happened yesterday and what happened before you really do have blinkers on.

  20. Boerwar – I don’t know what can be proposed. Where there’s money or international prestige, you’ll find a degree of cheating. I know those involved in cycling – and without making a direct assertion, it is mighty hard to reach the top without bending rules.

    If cricketers around the world were honest, they’d admit what they do instead of pretending to be innocent.

    And that is the thing that irks me most – we pretend we’re above it in a lot of sports. But there are drug cheats, misuse of equipment cheats, sledging … you name it. Horse racing, cricket, football (all codes), cycling, athletics … the list goes on.


    I hate that they did this. I hate that they conspired to do it. But it is naive to think it isn’t rife in all sports and all this ‘outrage’ is misplaced.

  21. An hour to go to play. If CA was going to suspend Banger and the Leadership Team* and forfeit the test it would have been done by now.

    * not a band name

  22. I don’t think CA will forfeit the test, but it behoves them to do something before play starts today.

    I think they should announce Smith’s suspension from the captaincy, and probably the team, pending a full investigation.

  23. DB Cooper

    Given that the people being sent to deal with the matter probably won’t arrive until later today I would be surprised if anything is announced until after the match.

    Why forfeit or do anything like sack people ? Two days to play, chase 350 or so for a famous victory with Smith not out 150 at the end. All will be forgiven

  24. Puff

    Yesterday you were enquiring about the push against Potatohead in the seat of Dickson.
    Ali France is the Labor candidate.

    Ali France‏ @alifrance5 · Mar 23

    The campaign to win #Dickson and remove Peter Dutton has begun.

    Please get in touch, join our campaign. It is going to be a hard slog, we need u!

  25. Rossmcg,

    As I said, I don’t think they will forfeit the match. As to why do anything, well, a sense of right and wrong? I realise people from CA won’t have arrived in South Africa yet, but I’m sure James Sutherland can Skype with Smith.

    There won’t be any famous victory. People aren’t going to forgive Smith. Parents all over the country are explaining to their cricket-loving children today why the Australian captain is a cheat.

  26. Given how intermittently widespread ball tampering has been in international cricket over the years, and given how it would rarely be a case of a rogue player doing their own thing, I wonder whether the underlying story here is how Smith actually didn’t leave Bancroft hanging out to twist in the breeze alone like, no doubt, other captains have when the bunny got caught.

    That said, I am as appalled as anyone else that something as stupid as this could have been considered, let alone gone ahead with, in this day and age. And so poorly executed!

    However, for all the moralising in Australia, I wonder whether the dynamics within the team itself will be something different. If I’m right, there could well be a drawing of the wagons around the team by the team itself, regardless of what CA and the other commentators (least of which is that miserable bag of wind that masquerades as a Prime Minister) demand/decide.

  27. I struggle to give much of a shit about pretty much any form of sport, but the appeal of cricket has always mystified me – I’m always mildly astonished whenever I’m reminded that there are human beings who actually genuinely enjoy watching and playing it. With, say, footy or basketball or tennis or something, while they don’t interest me at all, I can at least understand why other people enjoy them, but cricket strikes me as being one of the most boring activities ever devised. (But, then, I am sort of lunatic who genuinely enjoys watching the call of the board at the end of an election night, so I’m probably not in any position to judge what others find entertaining.)

    That said, I can certainly understand why those who have fooled themselves into believing they like cricket would be outraged about this, and it seems bizarre to suggest it’s not a big deal and that heads shouldn’t roll as a result. By all accounts, they brazenly cheated, with what seems significant premeditation – how is this not a career-ender for those involved? That it may have been going on forever or that all the other teams may do the same thing seems irrelevant to me. They cheated and they were caught. Tough shit.

    Now, what does rankle me is the extent of fevered press coverage and front page headlines – complete with the comments by the bloody Prime Minister – that this has received, as this actually matters or effects anybody besides the players, their managers, and their sponsors. Members of a sports team were caught cheating. They did the wrong thing, and should pay the consequences. I certainly expect the media to cover this and for people to share their two cents on it all, but the way the way that some are carrying on, you’d think we’d just plunged into recession or declared war on North Korea. It’s just a game.

  28. The only thing about this that troubles me is the alacrity with which Smith confessed.

    Makes me wonder whether there isn’t some other kind of agenda, seriously bad, or perhaps honourable.

    Of course it could just be because they have cheated so much and so often that they’ve misplaced their moral compass and think they can bluff their way through it all (as they have bluffed many people into accepting sledging as just part of the game).

    Whatever the case, Turnbull’s buying into the scandal, calling for sackings, also leaves a bad taste in the mouth. I heard him on the news, in that braying, bullying voice he effects, demanding the heads of those involved, waffling on about “the Baggy Green”.

    One comment he made was that the Australian people hold their cricket team in high esteem, higher than that in which they hold “some politicians”.

    I got the feeling that he was enjoying joining in the public kicking because it took some of the heat off himself and his colleagues in government. It’s the classic wowser tactic: find someone of even lower moral prospect than yourself and then go in boots and all.

    This is not a matter of national affairs. We don’t need the PM weighing in, a la John Howard “Father Of The People” style. It’s more of a cultural crisis. The Australian team has let Australians down, not Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister. He had no business to be calling for heads in this particular matter, especially via personal phone calls to bigwigs at Cricket Australia. It was inappropriate and overdone; attention seeking and big noting.

    Is there anything that he doesn’t think is Malcolm Turnbull’s business, where his two bob is worth more than anyone else’s?

  29. D B Cooper

    the reference to the famous victory was tongue in cheek but has its foundation in fact where cricket is concerned. Mark Waugh and Shane Warne, Andrew Symonds and Warne again were forgiven for what could be seen as much more serious transgressions.

    And if anybody is wondering about when the CA heavies arrive there was a Qantas flight from Sydney this afternoon due in Johannesburg in the evening and they will then need another flight to Cape Town.

  30. Bushfire

    Is there anything that he doesn’t think is Malcolm Turnbull’s business, where his two bob is worth more than anyone else’s?

    Mal probably thought that this was one apolitical moment when he could gain some street cred.
    As usual with Mal’s bright ideas, he would be better to stay out of it, IMO.

  31. BB

    One thing I give them credit for is owning up. The evidence was pretty damning but that doesn’t always stop attempts to manage the crisis.

    We went through this with the Joyce affair. The more you duck and weave, deny and deflect the worse it gets when the truth comes out.

    And as for Turnbull, I daresay he commented because somebody asked him. Bit rich of him though to call for strong action, not being one for strong action on anything himself.

  32. BW,

    I agree to disagree.

    Oh no no no, you’re not going to get off that easy. You’re deep down p1’s warren and she’s going to hector you about it for weeks yet!


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