By-elections, preselections and Section 44

A round-up of the latest news on by-election and related fronts.

A little extra polling:

• The Australian on Tuesday provided an extra finding from the weekend Newspoll: that opposition to reforming Section 44 has hardened since August, when Barnaby Joyce’s difficulty first emerged. Fifty-one per cent now believe dual citizens should be disqualified from parliament, up seven, with 38% opposed, down five. Forty-six per cent opposed a referendum being held on the matter, with 43% in support.

By-election latest:

• Western Australia’s Darling Range state by-election will be held on June 23. Nathan Hondros of Fairfax reports the Liberal preselection, which will be determined by the party’s state council on Saturday, will be contested by Alyssa Hayden, who unexpectedly lost her upper house seat for East Metropolitan region to One Nation in 2017, and Rob Coales, a police sergeant and Serpentine-Jarrahdale councillor. The early mail was that Coales was favourite, but according to Hondros, it is “understood party powerbrokers are supporting Ms Hayden”.

David Crowe of Fairfax reports the date for the Super Saturday by-elections could be pushed back to July 7, as the government looks at an Australian Electoral Commission recommendation to implement an online tool for candidates to lodge declarations and supporting documentation, so as to avoid further issues arising from Section 44. This had caused initial plans for a date of June 16 to be scotched, although concerns linger about the electoral impact of an eight-week campaign.

• Speaking of, Michael McKenna of The Australian reports the Liberal National Party preselection for Longman is being held off until next Tuesday to ensure frontrunner Trevor Ruthenberg was able to clear up his own Section 44 issue, arising from his being born in Papua New Guinea.

• Georgia Downer has emerged unopposed for Liberal preselection in Mayo. The Australian reports “ambitious conservative” Michael van Dissel was another potential nominee, but withdrew as it became clear the Right was solid behind Downer. In contrast to the Liberals in WA, Labor will be contested Mayo, despite never having held hte saet before. A Labor source quoted by Philip Coorey said the party believed its preferences could assist Rebekha Sharkie, and that failing to run would suppress the party’s Senate vote at the next election.

• Braddon will again be contested for the Liberals by Brett Whiteley, who held the seat from 2013 until his defeat by Labor’s Justine Keay in 2016, and served in the state seat of Braddon from 2002 until his defeat in 2010. The Burnie Advocate reports former McDonald’s licensee Craig Brakey and Wynyard RSL president Gavin Pearce also contested the state executive vote, but Whiteley was chosen unanimously.

• The Western Australian Liberals’ decision to forfeit the Perth by-election, said to have been instigated by Matthias Cormann, has been widely criticised in the party. Following Tim Hammond’s resignation announcement on May 1, Christian Porter told Sky News Australia the party would “undoubtedly” run, and state Opposition Leader Mike Nahan, who had mocked Labor’s unsurprising decision not to field a candidate in the recent by-election for Colin Barnett’s old seat of Cottesloe, said the by-election was “one we need to contest”.

• The Western Australian Greens have announced their by-elections candidates: Caroline Perks, senior sustainability officer at the City of Perth, in Perth; and Dorinda Cox, domestic violence campaigner and former police officer, in Fremantle.

Other preselection news:

• Jane Prentice’s preselection defeat in her Brisbane seat of Ryan has roused controversy over the lack of gender balance in the Coalition. The winner was Julian Simmonds, a Brisbane councillor who once worked on Prentice’s staff when she herself was on council. Simmons, who is identified with the Right, won a local party ballot by 256 votes to 103 over Prentice, a moderate and early backer of Malcolm Turnbull. Charlie Peel of The Australian reports the vote was “roughly split along traditional party lines, with Nationals backing Ms Prentice”. Critics of the decision include Campbell Newman, Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch and Capricornia MP Michelle Landry.

Jared Owens of The Australian reports Ian Macdonald and Barry O’Sullivan, who respectively hold Queensland Senate seats for the Liberals and the Nationals, face preselection challenges from Scott Emerson, the former state Shadow Treasurer who lost his seat of Maiwar to the Greens last November, and Susan McDonald, managing director of a chain of butcher’s shops and a member of “one of Queensland’s grazing families”.

• Michael Owen of The Australian reports on a “strong challenge” for Liberal Senate preselection in South Australia from Alex Antic, an Adelaide councillor. This apparently poses a threat to another female Liberal MP, Anne Ruston, who might otherwise be expected to lead the ticket, but not to the mooted number two candidate, David Fawcett. It might also endanger Lucy Gichuhi’s hold on number three, long shot proposition though that may be.

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.

1,071 comments on “By-elections, preselections and Section 44”

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  1. C@t:

    I’m torturing OH with Tori Amos and Tom Petty on the home surround while I make a roast chook while he hits PS for whatever it is men do with that.

    Are you really going to do PB commentary of the royal wedding nobody has the balls to admit to watching? 😀 😆

  2. Confessions @ #1002 Saturday, May 19th, 2018 – 9:29 pm


    I’m torturing OH with Tori Amos and Tom Petty on the home surround while I make a roast chook while he hits PS for whatever it is men do with that.

    Are you really going to do PB commentary of the royal wedding nobody has the balls to admit to watching? 😀 😆

    It’s hilarious! I didn’t think it would be, it’s the last thing I thought it would be, but there you go. 🙂

  3. Hey i’ll admit to watching and the preacher is great.

    And now a full on gospel style choir done like only the Yanks can do.

    Well donw th bride and groom.

  4. They’ve even got an African American church choir!

    The Blues Brothers doing cartwheels down the aisle have to be next!

  5. I thought if there was one place I would be completely safe from hearing anything about that bloody silly wedding it would be here. Apparently not.

  6. zoomster says:
    Saturday, May 19, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    …”When what happened, DaE? The invasion of Britain by the Dutch?”…

    So what?
    Do you believe a weak, newborn democracy is a lesser thing, than an utterly corrupted monarch?
    Is freedom not something you aspire to?
    Are you free in your own country?
    Did your mother’s generation not have more liberty than you?

    In certain ways, she absolutely did, my wife certainly has more, in some ways, than my mother.

    But not in others.

    We, and she have lost a lot of things in this country, and some of those things are what made it the place you are proud of.

  7. I have just spent the last couple of hours catching up on Bludger with that damn wedding on in the background.

    I overheard one commentator gush over Diana’s two boys as modernisers, just as the vison of John Major walking down to the chapel came up on the screen. Yeah. Right.

    The Royals are simply the richest housos in the world. On nights like these one can’t but help wondering whether The Bolsheviks had the right approach after all. I am filled with visions of bloodied corpses in the snow drifts above Balmoral. ..

  8. “I am pleased to report that I visited two domestic airports twice each over the past couple of days and that I was not compelled to produce an identity card.”

    Might be moderately surprising if you were, say, of Middle Eastern appearance.

  9. As I thought I made clear, DoE, I don’t understand what you’re getting at. As in, I have absolutely no idea what the point of those posts are.

    And there are certainly a lot more freedoms now than there were when I was growing up. We don’t ban books like ‘Catcher in the Rye’ any more, just for starters.

  10. Zoomster

    I think we are freer when it comes to all matters sexual, but i do not think we are as free in political speech as we were in 1965.

  11. Bemused. That’s an easy one. Just tie the list around the neck of those deserving before giving them the old heave ho into the Daintree. Works every time.

  12. Well, that’s something you don’t see every day. A live solo Cello performance. The 19yo performing is brilliant, btw.

  13. dtt

    I have a feeling that’s Golden Age talking. My memories of the sixties include expecting my grandfather to be arrested for exercising his freedom of speech in the Melbourne CBD. My mother was saying only the other day that the only reason he wasn’t was that he was a clergyman.

  14. The cellist is good. There! My first non homocidal thought about the wedding. That ole time gossip preacher must have rubbed off a bit. And I’m an atheist!

  15. Andrew_Earlwood says:
    Saturday, May 19, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    …”I am filled with visions of bloodied corpses in the snow drifts above Balmoral.”…

    Why did you watch this?

    A great trick of old age, is spending 6 hours staring off into the middle distance whilst drinking 4 pots of beer.
    If you wish to commit regicide against Little Lord Fauntleroy, I have access to assault weapons, and a little row boat to China.

  16. Even with more guns than before the post-Port Arthur buybacks, we still have 4 very important things from the buybacks and other restrictions.

    We have fewer guns than we would have without the buybacks.

    The guns are owned buy fewer, more tightly controlled, people (a person can only shoot one or (with reduced aiming capacity) two guns at once).

    The guns are more safely stored.

    Fewer of the guns are semi-automatic and/or have high capacity detachable magazines, restricting their massacre capacity.

  17. daretotread. @ #1024 Saturday, May 19th, 2018 – 7:50 pm

    Dan Gulberry @ #1021 Saturday, May 19th, 2018 – 9:47 pm

    How can people be watching the Royal Wedding knowing that one person a week is being torn to shreds by crocodiles in NE Queensland every day?


    Only one a month!

    I’ve just had a look at that Bob Katter presser after the SSM vote result was announced, and he said once every three months. So we’re both wrong. The joke remains the same though.

  18. I like crocodiles. No false promises, no dog whistling, just what you see is what you get.

    You know where you stand, with a crocodile.

  19. shellbell says:
    Saturday, May 19, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    …” luv a good fanfare”…

    Pomp, pageantry, and 450,000 homeless people in a country where the average summer daily minimum temperature is 11 degrees Celsius.

    What an age we live in.

  20. So, the cops clear the streets of Windsor of the homeless, to create space for a load of silly bastards with homes to sleep out on the streets. The TV companies could have done a record breaking episode of House Swap.

  21. Prince Charles has spoken about walking Meghan down the aisle at his sons wedding today

    “I don’t think of it as losing a son, ” he said, “I think of it as getting rid of a red haired bastard who isn’t mine to begin with. “

  22. Here’s an idea for a reality tv show:

    “Pious Left-wing Curmudgeon”.

    Various left-wing figures express their constant disbelief that not everyone thinks like them.

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