Après le déluge

Situations vacant for aspiring Liberals, first in Wentworth, now in Chisholm, and perhaps soon in Curtin. Also: polls for the ACT Senate and next weekend’s New South Wales state by-election in Wagga Wagga, neither good for the Libs.

Post-leadership change turbulence costs the Liberals a sitting MP in a crucial marginal seat, as preselection hopefuls jockey for safe seat vacancies:

• Liberal MP Julia Banks yesterday announced she will not recontest her Melbourne seat of Chisholm, citing bullying she was subjected to ahead of last week’s leadership vote by the anti-Malcolm Turnbull camp. Banks won the seat on the retirement of Labor member Anna Burke in 2016, making her the only Coalition member to gain a seat from Labor at the election. Rob Harris of the Herald Sun reports the Liberals will choose their new candidate in a community preselection, which presumably entails an open primary style arrangement in which anyone on the electoral roll can participate. Labor has endorsed Jennifer Yang, former adviser to Bill Shorten and mayor of Manningham who ran second as a candidate in the Melbourne lord mayoral election in May, finishing 3.0% behind winning candidate Sally Capp after preferences. The party initially preselected the unsuccessful candidate from 2016, former Monash mayor Stefanie Perri, but she announced her withdrawal in May, saying she had been deterred by the expreience of Tim Hammond.

Alexandra Smith of the Sydney Morning Herald cites “several senior Liberals” who say the “only real contenders” for the Wentworth preselection are Dave Sharma, former ambassador to Israel, and Andrew Bragg, a director at the Business Council of Australia and former leader of the Yes same-sex marriage survey campaign. The report says Sharma has moderate factional support, including from powerbroker Michael Photios, while Bragg is supported in local branches. It also says it is no foregone conclusion that Labor will contest the seat, despite having an election candidate in place in Tim Murray, managing partner of investment research firm J Capital. An earlier report by Alexandra Smith suggested Christine Forster’s bid for Liberal preselection appeared doomed in part because, as an unidentified Liberal source put it: “She is an Abbott and how does that play in a Wentworth byelection? Not well I would suggest.”

Primrose Riordan of The Australian identifies three potential candidates to succeed Julie Bishop in Curtin, assuming she retires. They are Emma Roberts, a BHP corporate lawyer who contested the preselection to succeed Colin Barnett in the state seat of Cottesloe, but was defeated by David Honey; Erin Watson-Lynn, director of Asialink Diplomacy at the University of Melbourne; and Rick Newnham, chief econmist at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Sally Whyte of the Canberra Times reports a Greens-commissioned ReachTEL poll of the Canberra electorate suggests ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja’s role in Malcolm Turnbull’s demise may have put his seat in danger. Elections for the ACT’s two Senate seats have always resulted in one seat each for Labor, but the Liberal seat could potentially fall to the Greens if its vote fell significantly below one third. After allocating results of a forced response question for the initially undecided, the results are Labor 39.6%, the Greens 24.2%, Liberal 23.7% and One Nation 2.8%. Even accounting for the fact that the Canberra electorate is particularly strong for the Greens, these numbers suggest there would be a strong possibility of Greens candidate Penny Kyburz overhauling Seselja on preferences. The poll also finds 64.6% of voters saying Seselja’s role in Turnbull’s downfall made them less likely to vote for him, with only 13.0% saying it made them more likely to, and 22.4% saying it made no difference. Among Liberal voters, the respective figures were 38.7%, 29.6% and 31.7%.

In other news, the Liberals in New South Wales are managing expectations ahead of a feared defeat in Saturday week’s Wagga Wagga state by-election, most likely at the hands of independent Joe McGirr. Andrew Clennell of The Australian reports a ReachTEL poll commissioned by Shooters Fishers and Farmers has the Liberals on 30.2%, Labor on 23.8%, McGirr on 18.4% and Shooters Fishers and Farmers on 10.9%, after exclusion of the 7.4% undecided. However, McGirr faces a complication in Shooters Fishers and Farmers’ unusual decision to direct preferences to Labor, which could potentially prevent him from overtaking them to make the final count. According to Clennell’s report, “any government loss post-mortem would be expected to focus on why the Liberals did not let the Nationals run for 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.

1,383 comments on “Après le déluge”

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  1. So much easier than actually debating the issues.

    Zoomster has been far more active on the issues than someone who merely runs a tourism lodge and pontificates on a message board. I don’t agree with all of Zoomster’s policy views but I give her a lot of credit for living her values and respecting the diversity of perspectives and experiences in the electorate.

  2. @Dio,

    I agree with this. I wish I knew what switched on in my son’s head to allow him to become functional enough to complete a diploma, and to also now work enough part-time to buy his own musical equipment. I think part of it was that he suddenly realised that regularly taking something called Avanza (I am too lazy to look up what is does, and it is not my area of expertise) did help him stabilise. One problem I had was that his father (my ex-husband) did not believe in medication, and convinced son for many years not to take it.

    However, the Avanza helped him to calm down enough think straight, but it has taken a lot more than that. We are lucky it happened, but if it could be explained, it would help so many other people.

    The one comment I would make is that psychologists are now actually able to use research-based techniques to help people, without medication. This was not the case 20 years ago.

    Hopefully someone is researching this!!

  3. The original Sulla epitaph is no longer extant. Plutarch wrote his life of Sulla in Greek and he was likely paraphrasing from Latin. Another variant I have come across is:

    “ none of his friends surpassed him in returning kindness, nor any of his enemies in returning evil.”

    But my personal favourite goes something like this:

    “No friend did Him a kindness, nor an enemy a wrong, that Sulla did not repay with interest.”

  4. Douglas and Milko (Block)
    Friday, August 31st, 2018 – 9:39 pm
    Comment #1330

    Finally have some time to comment on things:

    When my wife died a friend said “there are no words” which is more or less right.
    However the knowledge that others understand and wish to share our pain and grief is a comfort which supports us until time brings some sort of relief or simple acceptance.

    I have been supporting a part of my family for a couple of years. My sister-in-law died 3 weeks ago. She is survived by a deeply messed up son whose son is autistic. The support will continue. The benefit is a two way street.

    Enough said about that. There is not a competition. We do the best we can and long for and accept what help is available.

    I wish you and your family peace and love.

    May flights of angels …………………………….. ❤ ❤

  5. D & M
    It’s a tetracylic antidepressant. It affects lots different types of neuroreceptors. Medications are improving in terms of efficacy and less side effects. As are non-drug treatments. Psychiatric diseases are so common that a huge amount of resources go into them from drug companies and therapists. Outcomes are getting better.

  6. Thanks so much KayJay. As you say, knowing we are not alone actually helps a lot.

    My best wishes and total admiration for you support of the son. Autism is NOT a life choice, and I am so glad he has your support.

    Bon courage a la fin!

  7. Barney

    Just read that – don’t know whether to laugh or cry. There is a great trivia question – what was George Soros’ first language? Answer – Esperanto. I think his parents were very optimistic about an “international” language promoting world peace. Living in Hungary during the Nazi occupation may have dimmed their enthusiasm. Then again, a visit there now may have the same effect on adult George.

  8. Douglas and Milko:

    A measured respone to my somewhat provocative post, albeit some of my kin were killed therein.

    The French, though – generally – have lot to answer for, bearing in mind they collapsed, collaborated with the Huns. And so too did the Dutch.

  9. Dio

    Interestingly less research has gone into anorexia nervosa than other psychiatric illness. There are no real medications that help – this could be the cause (as in no pharma money for research) or the effect (of less research). I suppose it is relatively uncommon compared to other major psychiatric illnesses, which also doesn’t help. Maybe there is also a “Yentl Syndrome” at work, seeing as anorexia predominantly occurs in females.


  10. Mavis

    I always feel that after losing 1.9 million people in four years in the First World War (more than all the Americans killed in all their wars from the Revolution onwards in 250 years), maybe most of the public who were old enough to remember just didn’t want a repeat.

    Obviously the Vichy Government did terrible things, but I am reluctant to blame citizens who were not themselves responsible for the political maneuvrings in Europe that probably were at least partly responsible for the Second World War.

    The leaders on Britain’s Channel Islands co-operated with the occupying Nazis, but at end of the war the British DPP decided not to prosecute anyone, even though hundreds had been sent to German labor and prison camps, with dozens dying, and some of these after being ‘informed upon’ by British people in positions of power.

    I just thought – William inspired the ‘French” theme in this section with his title!

  11. “Je voudrais pissez pas le fin de mon zizzi.”
    This self invented expression, used to drive my French girlfriend nuts. Back in the seventies.

  12. @Dio

    The book Neurotribes by Silberman is the best I have read on autism. It talks about autism as neurodiversity.

    I will seek this out. The rest of my family, including me, is totally nuts all with autistic / bipolar traits to one degree or another.\. However, because we are high-functioning, they tolerate us.

  13. Thanks to you all for sharing your ASD stories and info.

    We started our own journey last year. At about 2.5yo, it was like a switch was thrown in my son’s mind. A sudden onset of stuttering, and downhill from there on all cognitive and behavioural measures for 6 months… it was terrifying.

    Since then, well, it has been tough at times, but we were very lucky to get a diagnosis at age 4. We are now having many successes with early intervention by intensive OT, psychology and physiotherapy. He’s attending and thriving at a mainstream school, with a brilliant kindy teacher, despite warnings from a shithouse preschool educator this was going to be near impossible.

    But like D&M, he (and I) are lucky to have support and expertise residing in the family and friends, including his mother, who is like a lioness for him. Don’t get between my wife and a therapy option.

    The other thing that brings me eternal hope is just how like me he is in personality, and I do alright 🙂

  14. Rocket Rocket, a ‘French Theme’ has been gripping Australia’s public conversation for this past week: that is, for as long as there has been a ramp-up in the exposure of Dutton’s strange and hypocritical sympathy for the plight of (Caucasian) au pairs. William has been getting with the Zeitgeist here, rather than inspiring it.

    But has nobody here yet commented on the clearly biblical nature of William’s invocation of ‘The Flood’ and what came after? I haven’t been able to read all the comments, so my apologies if anyone has. IIRC, ‘the Flood’ was God’s way of purging the Earth of those of his creatures in whom he had become disappointed, but for protection from which he selected an arbitrarily minute number, on the grounds they obeyed an order of his which he designed to appear insane to those multitudes he designated for drowning? Or some such event. I find it hard to keep track of all the moral twists and turns performed by the ‘God’ of the Old Testament.

  15. RR
    Agree about anorexia. I have just never thought about it much for some reason. I had a colleague at med school who developed it over the summer holiday after second year and she never finished. Up until then she was highly intelligent, interesting etc etc. Daniel Johns had it and one of Followills from the Kings of Leon so some men do get it but its only about 10%.

  16. LU, your experience is uncannily like our own. Our 7yo was diagnosed 3 years ago. We took him to a respected local paediatrician after we became concerned about his echolalia: we started to notice that his talking consisted almost 100% of lines he had heard either from TV shows or read to him from books. What made it hard for us to notice was that the lines he used were usually quite appropriate to the context! They just sounded stilted, quaint or awkward. He also seemed to stop developing with his reading, writing, counting and letter/shape/colour recognition, almost as if someone had slammed on the brakes.

    Anyway, thanks to money under first HCWA and now the NDIS, he gets regular ST & OT. It is making the world of difference. He started mainstream, but sadly he wasn’t learning in that setting. After two terms, we transferred him to a transitional support class, where he has been for a year and will be for another year or so. He had done much better there. Still, we have no way of visualising where he will be educationally after that time. We just take it a term at a time.

    Anyway, thanks to you and others for sharing your experiences. It helps just to know we have company.

  17. Good on you Michael. Best of luck with it.

    We still haven’t moved on to the NDIS yet, still burning HCWA funds, but our meeting is coming up soon. We’ll see what happens.

  18. Oakeshott Country not sure if you will read this but if you do read wondering if you might share the comment about the Australian accent from the Esperanto Museum?

  19. I was fortunate enough tonight to go to a live music performance by Grace Sanders, a young Perth artist. She is a very talented singer, guitarist, composer and actor. She launched her work tonight at The Rosemount Hotel. I’ve seen a lot of live music in Perth over the years but I’ve seldom seen anyone to rival Grace.


  20. Douglas and Milko says:
    Friday, August 31, 2018 at 11:38 pm
    The rest of my family, including me, is totally nuts all with autistic / bipolar traits to one degree or another.. However, because we are high-functioning, they tolerate us.

    It’s been my experiance; the smarter the family the crazier they are. I kept tellng my kids; enjoy the good bits; put up with the bad bits; but don’t use it as an excuse.

    I truly believe; we are all crazy; the only really insane are the ones that think their not. Fifty percent of the population vote liberal and 50% of the population are worse than the average at solving puzzles (IQ tests). I’m sick, I love IQ test, really enjoy the puzzles.

    As for bi-polar, it must be hard for people that have it bad; but for mild cases, boy it’s fun when you on a high.

  21. Diogenes @ #1369 Saturday, September 1st, 2018 – 12:06 am

    Agree about anorexia. I have just never thought about it much for some reason. I had a colleague at med school who developed it over the summer holiday after second year and she never finished. Up until then she was highly intelligent, interesting etc etc. Daniel Johns had it and one of Followills from the Kings of Leon so some men do get it but its only about 10%.


    My mother was one of the very first to be diagnosed with what was to be later called Anorexia. She was apparently written up in some medical paper. It was triggered by rapid dieting I think. She lost all her teeth.

    She was pretty nutty but not sure which came first. She did not have a recurrence but stayed very thin all her life.

  22. lizzie says:
    Sunday, September 2, 2018 at 3:19 pm
    Dr Siobhan O’Dwyer‏ @Siobhan_ODwyer · Aug 31

    Hey @Qantas, my name is Dr O’Dwyer. My ticket says Dr O’Dwyer. Do not look at my ticket, look at me, look back at my ticket, decide it’s a typo, and call me Miss O’Dwyer. I did not spend 8 years at university to be called Miss.

    I have only now got to the context of Kelly O’Dwyer’s spit about not being called Dr. As I have said before, when boarding a plane I am always called Ms, which does not bother me – like who cares unless you are going to get an upgrade?

    K O’D is a princess par excellence. Unlike me, she probably always travels business.In which case, who cares what you are called. She should try travelling steerage class (economy) for work like I always do, and then see how much she cares how she is addressed when entering the plane.

    My biggest concern is whether I look respectable to get a third glass of wine on. 24 hour flight!

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