Federal preselection round-up

A round-up of recent federal preselection news, as the Prime Minister asks his party’s state branches to get a move on.

With the fortnightly cycles of Newspoll and Essential Research in sync for the time being, we would appear to be in another off week for federal polling (although ReachTEL are about due to come through, perhaps at the end of the week). However, there is a fair bit of preselection news to report, with Malcolm Turnbull having told the state party branches to get candidates in place sooner rather than later. That might appear to suggest he at least wishes to keep his options open for an early election, although betting markets rate that a long shot, with Ladbrokes offering $1.14 on an election next year and only $5 for this year.

• With the creation of a third seat in the Australian Capital Territory, the Canberra Times reports the member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann, will contest the seat of Bean – new in theory, but in reality the seat that corresponds most closely with her existing seat – while Andrew Leigh will remain in Fenner. The ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, said he contemplated running in the Canberra electorate “maybe for a moment”. The other name mentioned is Kel Watt, “a member of ACT Labor’s right faction and lobbyist for the Canberra Greyhound Racing”.

• The Courier-Mail reported a fortnight ago that Jane Prentice, Liberal National Party member for the Brisbane seat of Ryan, is likely to lose preselection to Julian Simmonds, a Brisbane councillor and former staffer to both Prentice and her predecessor, Michael Johnson. Despite Prentice being a moderate and a Turnbull supporter, the move against her has reportedly “outraged” Campbell Newman.

• Elections for administrative positions in the Victorian Liberal Party have seen Michael Kroger easily face down a challenge to his position as president, and conservative young turk Marcus Bastiaan much strengthened, including through his own election to a vice-president position. The Australian reports Bastiaan is “largely regarded as Mr Kroger’s numbers man”, but his use of his new influence to cancel an early Senate preselection process suggests the situation may be more complex than that. According to James Campbell of the Herald Sun, the preselections had been initiated at the behest of Kroger, consistent with Malcolm Turnbull’s aforementioned call for them to be handled expeditiously. The report further says Bastiaan’s determination to delay proceedings suggests a threat to James Patterson or Jane Hume, the two Senators who will face re-election at the next election. However, a report by Aaron Patrick of the Financial Review suggest the bigger threat from the conservative ascendancy is likely to be faced by factional moderates in the state parliament.

• The Toowoomba Chronicle reports John McVeigh, the Liberal National Party member for Groom, has easily seen off a preselection challenge by Isaac Moody, business manager of Gabbinbar Homestead. Moody accused McVeigh of having “betrayed” his constituents by voting yes in the same-sex marriage plebiscite (49.2% of those constituents did the same).

• The Clarence Valley Daily Examiner reports Labor’s preselection for the north coast New South Wales seat of Page will be contested by Isaac Smith, the mayor of Lismore, and Patrick Deegan, who works for a domestic violence support service. Page has been held for the Nationals since 2013 by Kevin Hogan, whose margin after the 2016 election was 2.3%. Smith is backed by Janelle Saffin, who held the seat for Labor from 2007 to 2013 and is now the preselected candidate for the state seat of Lismore.

• The Townsville Bulletin reports that Ewen Jones, who lost the seat of Herbert to Labor’s Cathy O’Toole in 2016 by 37 votes, has again nominated for Liberal National Party preselection in the Townsville-based seat of Herbert.

• The Courier-Mail reported a fortnight ago that George Christensen might face a preselection challenge for his north Queensland seat of Dawson from Jason Costigan, member for the state seat of Whitsunday, but Costigan announced a few days later that he had chosen not to proceed.

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.

907 comments on “Federal preselection round-up”

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  1. C@

    I wasn’t referring to your son at all.

    Talking of misleading, why did you leave the Cert 1/no further education numbers off? There is a huge difference between 3% and 8%; and a bigger one between 3% and 12.

  2. Libertarian Unionist @ #846 Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018 – 4:02 pm

    Not as great a difference in the numbers compared with those who just leave school and go nowhere or only have a Cert 1 or 2. Plus, no Student Debt! Or only a puny one in comparison, and they are out into the workforce sooner.

    Never underestimate the drawing power of a lottery. Some of these kids land awesomely high-paying jobs, often by chance or fortuitous circumstance. Yes, the small chance of entering the leisure class washes out in the averages, but you’ve got to be in it to win it.

    And what are the odds of winning the lottery, LU? And what happens to those who never do?

    Plus, ‘winning the lottery’ in the job market equates to knowing what numbers are going to win Lotto this week because it’s being rigged in your favour by your dad’s mate who owns the machine that drops the numbers down!

    Not always but a lot of the time these days.

  3. Simon Katich would have been doing 9 – 5, Monday to Friday.

    You have an orifice where that statement, given a little shove, will just fit.
    The comparison was hourly rates. It was the QLD boom. I was on Sydney rates (although with some generous LAFHA), making my way up a ladder, with a long overdue payrise round the corner.

  4. The employment rate varies between different courses at universities. Courses providing the pathway into high employer demand careers have a greater tendency to work out well than those leading to lower employer demand careers.

  5. Talking of misleading, why did you leave the Cert 1/no further education numbers off?

    I left it off because it was irrelevant to my point, that is, discussing my son who has a Cert 3 and 4, but I did refer to them in my comments after:

    Not as great a difference in the numbers compared with those who just leave school and go nowhere or only have a Cert 1 or 2.

    I hardly support kids leaving school and gaining no further education and qualifications or only a mickey mouse Cert 1 or 2!

  6. Numbers, C@t? Pfft!!

    Next you’ll asking something about expected values or Monte Carlo analysis. Or rationality.

    My point is – forget the numbers, minimise the spreadsheet, don’t show me the stats – never underestimate the drawing power of a lottery.

  7. “The polling keeps confirming neo liberalism is dead”
    Neo-liberalism ain’t going nowhere – Libs, Labor and the Greens support it because that’s how they get their donations.

  8. The trashing of inner Sydney’s buildings & culture continues unabated.

    The Powerhouse Museum is not redundant or surplus to the cultural needs of NSW. It is Australia’s only museum of applied arts and sciences, based in Ultimo since 1893. The museum was 10 years in planning, design and construction, opening in 1988 as the cultural centrepiece of the bicentenary of European settlement. The Sulman award-winning museum was built with the highest quality materials, technology and engineering, designed for a working life of at least 100 years. The majestic volumes of the turbine and boiler halls are uniquely appropriate for the museum’s nationally significant power, transport and engineering collections.


  9. Parliaments were designed as places where the people could send representatives to debate important issues and arrive at decisions based on the merits of the arguments.

    Then someone realised they could game the system by banding together in “parties”. If enough representatives could be elected from a single party, the parliament could become a rubber stamp for whatever the party hierarchy desires. An institution with the intended purpose of broad-based decision making could be used to concentrate power in the hands of a few.

    And now we are so used to this state of affairs we take it for granted. Hung parliaments behave much more like the original intention, with genuine debates leading to compromise and concessions, yet we see them as ‘chaotic’ and ‘inefficient’.

    I sometimes wonder why we have democracy at all, if smooth-running efficiency is so overwhelmingly important.

  10. Venezuelans are getting for free what their government can pay for: nothing much.

    The Greens reckon that that is a fantastic model for Australia.

  11. I finished the james Comey audiobook.

    I am completely appalled by the way Trump operates. In the book Comey keeps comparing it to the Mafia dons he prosecuted before he joined the FBI. The ‘made man’, the loyalty to the Boss, the attempts at eliciting loyalty to the man instead of the institution. Trump kept trying to get Comey to agree to be personally loyal to him, even after Comey explained to Trump he was better served by an FBI that was separate from him, that could not be called out as influenced by The President.

    Trump has no way of understanding the concept.

    He is petty and mean. When he fired Comey, Comey was 2,700 miles from Washington visiting the FBI office in another city. The Acting Director of the FBI authorised the FBI plane and security detail to being Comey back to Washington, as they had to return anyway, and he judged that Comey should still have a protective detail until he was home.

    Trump called the Acting Director and wanted an inquiry into why Comey got a ride home on the plane. He was told that there was no need for an inquiry as the AD authorised it.

    It seems Trump wanted to strand James Comey 2,700 miles from home (even though the President’s letter dismissing him was still in Washington and not handed to him, though I have no idea how that works). Comey saw it on the TV news channel on the back wall of the room where he was mid way through addressing the FBI agents about the mission of the organisation.

    Comey does not mention that he was fired sixteen hours before he qualified for his pension.

    To hear Comey (he narrated his own audiobook) lay out clearly his meetings with Trump, I can understand why he kept notes on these meetings.

    Comey finishes his book on a hopeful note. I am not so sure.

    It is just surreal.

  12. C@

    You said -repeatedly – that you weren’t discussing your son. I took you on your word, so I haven’t been discussing your son either, so the figures I quoted had nothing to do with your son. They were simply there to illustrate the differences in employment rates for different types of school leavers.

  13. As the only member of this esteemed community that actually resides in the electorate of Perth, I wish Mr Hammond the best of luck in his future endeavours and thank him for his service to the electorate. I hope that whomsoever replaces him will be of a similar calibre.

  14. Puffytmd says: Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at 4:41 pm


    Puffytmd – Thanks for your excellent review of James Comey’s book – it paints a picture of a horrible excuse for a human being

    > Comey does not mention that he was fired sixteen hours before he qualified for his pension.

    and another victim was FBI’s Andrew McCabe fired just 26 hours before retirement

    ……. just despicable treatment of lifetime public servants who no doubt gave their all to protect fellow Americans

    Hopefully karma will inflict the same public humiliation on Trump

  15. ‘JOURNALIST: Is the current Dole cruel and could you live off $40 a day?

    SHORTEN: No, I couldn’t and I do think that there’s a real problem for the government payments to the people at the very bottom of our society. That is why Labor has proposed having a root and branch review of our government’s payment system on Newstart and like-minded allowances and payments. There’s no doubt that there is a problem with the payment level, and what we need to do is we need to do is review it to see what is appropriate.

    JOURNALIST: Should we prioritise that over paying down debt?

    SHORTEN: I think that we should prioritise looking after the less well off in our society over giving corporate Australia a giant tax windfall funded by taxpayers.

    JOURNALIST: So just to drill down, Labor would contemplate an increase to the dole?

    SHORTEN: I would contemplate reviewing it because we’ve got to be honest, don’t we. Who on earth amongst the government or anyone in Parliament could live on the Newstart allowance? So that’s why we said we want to review it and we think the government would be very sensible to join us in this approach.’

  16. Knowing nothing about Hammond’s circumstances or the specific reasons for pulling the pin – one would have to guess at some specific crisis, but who knows – it does strike me as a bit strange that he couldn’t even just phone it in for another 12 months at most. If you want to do very little as a Federal MP it is entirely possible – parliament doesn’t sit that much and if you’re not actively engaged in policy development or campaigning for re-election you should be able to spend a lot of time with your family at home.

    Inflicting a by-election on the people of Perth and on the ALP seems … unfortunate, poorly planned and I would think unnecessary, but it’s his call.

  17. What happens if Newspoll recovers to 50/50 at best over the winter months and parliamentary recess?
    Will there be continued speculation about Turnbull’s leadership? Perhaps but with the big problem – no alternative.
    Will Shorten be the target of the Gallery? Unlikely but possible. Why – Albo is a genuine alternative.
    Leadership issues never ever go away.

  18. Jackol – I’d say he is missing his family a lot. They are away at least 20 weeks a year (not counting all the ancillary travel/dinners/functions they must attend. He has 3 children, 6, 2 & 6 months. He is missing out on the first year of his youngest’s life and has missed much of the 2yo’s.

    That is a really big ask of anyone and I doubt many of us can empathise unless we went through the same. He probably thought it wouldn’t be so hard but reality is another thing entirely.

  19. Al Pal, I’m sorry, but Albo is not a genuine alternative. Rex has rocks in his head.

    Albo is a doer. A warrior. Not a delegator/organiser.

    He might appeal highly to some rank and file but Shorten is very good persuader/organiser/negotiator.

    Those last three attributes are most important. It is why Turnbull is such a dismal disappointment … he can do none of those things adequately

  20. Having said that on Hammond, tinfoil hat time – maybe when he was talking with the ALP brains trust about the fact he wanted to get out the ALP may have decided strategically a by-election was an excellent opportunity rather than getting Hammond to hold on until the next general election. It’s one of a small number of opportunities that an opposition has to set the political agenda … fighting a campaign, even a by-election for a single seat, can focus media attention where you want it and if you can set the timing to disrupt the government with an outcome you think will be in your favour … seems like it’s at least a possibility.

  21. Puffytmd says: Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Maybe i got that wrong about Comeys firing before his pension date, I will do some digging.


    > He is petty and mean. When he fired Comey, Comey was 2,700 miles from Washington visiting the FBI office in another city.

    That’s bad enough – I think Comey found out about his firing from a TV news bulletin :

    Comey learned he was fired from TV, thought it was prank: reports


  22. If Emmanuel Macron thinks Lucy Turnbull is delicious wait until he sees Chloe Shorten.

    Remember that he does prefer older women!

  23. Fairfax says Patrick Gorman, ALP WA state secretary and member of the left is likely to be a candidate for preselection in Perth

  24. zoomster @ #874 Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018 – 5:03 pm


    You said -repeatedly – that you weren’t discussing your son. I took you on your word, so I haven’t been discussing your son either, so the figures I quoted had nothing to do with your son. They were simply there to illustrate the differences in employment rates for different types of school leavers.

    Bollocks! I was discussing him, when appropriate, and friends of his for whom I had first hand anecdotal evidence, when appropriate! I did not, at any stage, state that the entire discussion pertained to him or them. Jeez! Anyone would think I was making it up. Let me assure you, I am not.

  25. Dan G @ 5.13 pm…………..sorry to disappoint you but you are not the only one in the seat of Perth here.

    While I understand the “more time with the kids” stuff with Hammond, why did he not think of this before he put his hand up for candidate? It is not as if he were some political greenhorn.

    I wish him well, of course, but I wonder if some other candidate, willing to stick it out, might have been the better choice? A. McT certainly managed it and is still at it………………………………..

  26. I’m a bit confused. Is the story about 10,000 scholarships for students from African countries ‘fake news’?

    Shock jock Smith and Poorleen were frantic about it today.

  27. The Right and the Left both excoriated Macron with venom – the usual Greens/Reds-reactionary extremes pairing against the middle. For some reason they avoided talking about Macron’s policies when he was running for POTF.

    Along with Merkel, Macron is the key player in the future of Europe, the Brits having dealt themselves out to peripheral issues like the Northern Ireland border.

    This makes Macron probably the fifth or sixth most powerful person in the world.

    So now they are talking about Macron’s taste in women. Deep stuff and quite indicative, IMO.

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