Senate selections

Labor sorts out its Senate ticket for Queensland, while both parties in Tasmania appear loath to learn from the preselection lessons of 2016.

We seem to be going into an ill-timed poll drought, so to keep things ticking over, here’s a post focusing on Senate preselection news. Please note there’s a post below this one on this Saturday’s Wagga Wagga by-election, which is developing into a fairly interesting contest.

• Queensland Labor’s state conference determined its Senate preselection on the weekend, having been hurried along by a national executive concerned the Liberal leadership crisis might bring on an early election. In doing so it bypassed a vote that was granted to the party membership under rule changes in 2013. The top position has gone to Nita Green, a former staffer to Senator Murray Watt and the favoured candidate of the CFMMEU and United Voice. The position is reserved to the Left, and is being vacated with the retirement of Claire Moore.

Green’s ascendancy has been contentious because party rules reserve the position for a regional representative and she lives in Brisbane, though she says she will move if elected. Supporters of rival Left candidate Tania Major, a Cairns-based indigenous youth advocate and protege of Cape York leader Noel Pearson, have further complained of being ambushed by a process for the factional ballot in which a three-day nominations period was followed immediately by the start of voting.

The second place on the ticket, which is reserved to the dominant Labor Forum sub-faction of the Right, has been retained by incumbent Chris Ketter. The cancellation of the party membership vote saw off any threat from rival nominee Pat O’Neill, former army major and candidate for Brisbane in 2016, although he was reportedly unlikely to win in any case. Number three goes to Frank Gilbert, a former Mackay councillor and candidate for Dawson in 2016, and a member of the Old Guard sub-faction of the Right.

Matthew Denholm of The Australian reports Tasmanian Labor’s union establishment has again lined up against Lisa Singh for Senate preselection, undeterred by the success of a below-the-line voting campaign in overturning her demotion at the 2016 election. Singh will presumably dominate the party member component of the vote, but is reportedly unlikely to do any better than the loseable third position. This is because the dominant Left wants places for an incumbent, Carol Brown, and John Short, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union official for whom Singh was relegated in 2016, while the Right is defending incumbent Catryna Bilyk.

• Tasmania’s Liberals are also conducting their Senate preselection vote on Saturday, and there are suggestions they too may repeat unhappy history from 2016. Richard Colbeck is again under pressure from conservative forces associated with Senator Eric Abetz, despite having almost matched Lisa Singh’s feat after being dumped to number five in 2016. He found his way back in the recount that followed Stephen Parry’s disqualification in November, and was promoted last week to the outer ministry, making him the only Tasmanian at that level of seniority. Brett Worthington at the ABC reports conservatives want the top position to go to Brett Whiteley, veteran of three winning and three losing campaigns at both federal and state level in Braddon, or alternatively to a woman. Further demotion beyond that would be particularly remarkable for Colbeck, as he is the only one of the four Tasmanian Liberal Senators facing re-election, the others having scored six-year terms. The other nominees for the preselection were detailed in an earlier instalment.

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.

4,088 comments on “Senate selections”

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  1. [News that at least 20 children detained on Nauru are on “food and fluid refusal”, along with others suffering resignation syndrome is speculated to dominate discussion at today’s meeting with the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru.

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison will not attend the forum, instead sending new Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has expressed a desire to meet with detained families during the summit.]

    Our reputation as a generous nation is sinking fast.

  2. Lizzie, our reputation has gone some way past “sinking fast”. We still have some way to go to catch up with Trumpist USA for which we can still be slightly thankful, though until the collect of tools pretending to be a government is taken to the tip and Labor begins to regain some of the values it championed in the 70’s not much will change.

  3. pritu

    I was also looking at the contrast with NZ.
    Our PM doesn’t go (after all, he was the architect of the original cruelty).
    Perhaps he’s scared of being called to account by PM Ardern.

  4. The Australian reports that the Turnbull government’s controversial $444 million grant to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation was more than double the recommended amount and was delivered as a single payment, against official Finance Department advice.

    The Finance Department reportedly recommended that $200 million be allocated over six years to help protect the Great Barrier Reef. Senior government sources have also alleged that the decision to gift the money to a non-government organisation as a lump sum was taken to make the administration “look like heroes” without impacting a future projected surplus.

    I also heard on RN this morning that the Coal has hidden millions away in the Budget for use as sweeteners for the next election. No wonder Scummo has a smirk on his face.

  5. “Row erupts over ‘undermining’ of Murray-Darling plan”:

    “Nigel Farage fans heckled as ‘Nazi scum’ outside event in Perth”:

    “‘Winning the lottery’: Australian ministers waved through dozens of visitor visas “:

    “Police said HN was ‘good as gold’ to be in custody, three days later he was dead “:

    “The redress scheme for child sex abuse victims is unjust and damaging “:

    “Malcolm Turnbull’s money manager tips into Labor campaign”:

  6. It is the ‘Indefinite ‘ aspect of their detention which is so damaging. How many of us could cope with that ?
    The fact that the offer from NZ was refused and the dehumanising treatment highlighted by the Iranian journalist Behrouz Boohani who writes from Nauru for the Guardian is extremely distressing and chilling.

  7. Lizzie- surely then given the various policy announcements made by Labor over the last three plus years (negative gearing, CGT, etc) they would equally be able to allocate these squirreled millions in an election campaign.

  8. Afer reading William’s post above how can any of you claim that the Labor Party is a great gift to left ideas and that the Greens shpould go away.

    Qld keeps Ketter (SDA) who although he is a nice man is to the RIGHT of 45% of the Liberal party (Malcolm’s 40). He voted against SSM,would certainly oppose abortion and euthanasia. I am just not sure of his economic or social justice positions but I assume they would be pretty conservative.

    Claire Moore who was a brilliant Senator – intelligent, hard working and absolutely committed to social justice issues of every kind is replaced by a Union type person. I do not know her well so perhaps she is brilliant but it will be impossible to replicate Clare. (Now talk about a bit of bullying my birdies tell me that Clare’s resignation was “encouraged”)

    My point here is that the ALP may have chosen a particularly unattractive bunch of senators. So do not be surprised if the Greens vote goes UP in the Senate, nor when Nicholas and others cry Lib lab same. same.

  9. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Greg Jericho accuses this government is not even pretending to act on climate change any more.
    An explosive leak has revealed Malcolm Turnbull personally ticked off on a massive $7.6 billion roads and rail package aimed at saving marginal seats across the country as part of his re-election blueprint. The fresh leak threatens to inflame already bitter divisions within the government.
    Jackson Stiles writes that Malcolm Turnbull has left the country, leaving his successor Scott Morrison to fight the Wentworth by-election, face a perilous no-confidence motion and mop up Peter Dutton’s nanny scandal.
    Urban Wronski headlines this week with “Skip the flag pin, Morrison, we already know whose side you’re on.”
    Ross Gittins is mightily pissed off at the way the ABS had been slowly bled dry.
    This is an interesting development as industry fund supremo Garry Weaven has pledged to help businesses borrow more from the $2.7 trillion superannuation pile, amid fears that the Hayne royal commission will force banks to restrict lending to business.
    Fergus Hunter reports on Morrison’s denial that Dutton misled parliament over the au pairs.
    Meanwhile The Guardian reports that immigration ministers have intervened to grant more than 30 visitors visas to foreign tourists to Australia over the past six years.
    Tony Walker uses the Julia Banks issue to explain much of what is wrong with modern politics.
    FactCheck: have the Trump tax cuts led to lower unemployment and higher wages?
    The former head of the federal agency that holds the government’s water entitlements has accused New South Wales and Victoria of undermining the Murray-Darling Basin plan by failing to do their part on enforcement and being overly influenced by irrigators. This story just gest worse and worse!
    Richard Di Natale will promise to work with a new Labor government to get action on climate change back on track.
    John McDuling has a closer look at Afterpay.
    The peak body for the recruitment sector says there is a need for a new class of worker – a hybrid of a permanent and casual employee – in the wake of a landmark federal court case that found a casual truck driver was entitled to annual leave.
    More from Fergus Hunter as he tells us that highly-sensitive personal information used in the security vetting of top government officials is being transported by commercial couriers and held by private contractors with patchy cyber security, sparking concerns about the risks of large-scale outsourcing of a system intended to safeguard national secrets.
    Nauru is on the cusp of breakdown of the rule of law,
    It looks like I some instances honey ain’t honey!
    Anna Patty writes that economists have found that lack of competition among employers for workers has contributed to a reduction in bargaining power for higher wages.
    The processed food industry has infiltrated the Dietitians Association of Australia and the Dietitians Association – with its sugar and cereal lobby funding – has infiltrated public health policy, as documented on this website. Now, science journalist, Maryanne Demasi, reveals how the organisation targets its opponents. She also investigates claims the peak professional body for dietitians has been misleading its members over efforts to become an accredited profession.
    According to these two lawyers the national redress scheme in its current form is unjust and damaging. To once again favour the assets of wealthy institutions over and above the welfare of victims of child sex crimes, is regressive and profoundly troubling.
    Esther Han explains how ‘inappropriate’ surgeries are pushing up our health insurance premiums.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe does it again. And check out the rear view mirror.

    Sean Leahy and the Ipswich Council.

    And he has a poignant contribution as Queensland decides to debate voluntary euthanasia legislation,

    You must watch Huw Parkinson’s “Tory Story” video!
    Pat Campbell on drought relief priorities.$width_828/t_resize_width/t_sharpen%2Cq_auto%2Cf_auto/c9ebf4b069243735cdb6086f5068e2d0ca9d0ca2
    Jon Kudelka captures a decision-making moment by Trump.

  10. Samantha Maiden‏Verified account @samanthamaiden · 16m16 minutes ago

    Alan Jones has just told Scott Morrison to stop using the word “despatchable” power nobody knows what it means. (He’s right) Scott Morrison corrects himself. He’s for real power. FAIR DINKUM POWER

  11. Clearly ScoMoFo doesn’t understand what “despatchable” means either, given the context in which he’s used it.

  12. dtt

    ‘Afer reading William’s post above how can any of you claim that the Labor Party is a great gift to left ideas and that the Greens shpould go away.’

    No one does. Once again, you’ve misunderstood the argument.

  13. Thanks BK. On that story about Turnbull approving the road rail project, it sounds far more generous than it really is. In the budget many projects were promised funding but there was little cash actually allocated. SA got virtually none in the next four years. Now they are finally allocating the money they had previously promised as though it is “new”.

  14. Morning all. Thanks BK for today’s wrap.

    That article about Turnbull personally signing off on marginal seat infrastructure projects says that the projects were included in the budget. Which means it would’ve gone through Cabinet. Which means the Treasurer and other ministers would’ve known about them – in fact this is stated down the bottom of the article.

    News ltd just seems to be looking for something to sensationalise to attack Turnbull.

  15. Posted earlier by Lizzie, but worth a second ventilation as it is pointing to leaks against Josh Frytheplanet from within Cabinet, possibly as payback for the Dutton Dump. How long can ScuMo keep this ragtag together?

    “A grant of almost half a billion dollars to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation was more than double the recommended amount and handed over as a single payment against the advice of the Department of Finance.

    The Australian can reveal a cautious Finance Department recommended the budget allocation to help protect the Great Barrier Reef be set at $200m over six years, but the government’s expenditure review committee took another view. According to senior government sources, the decision to shovel $443.4m out the door immediately and give it to a non-government organisation as a tied grant was taken because it allowed the administration to “look like heroes” without making the budget look worse.

    Unlike the Finance Department option, this alternative would have the money off the government’s books and effectively gone in a year, making a previous deficit slightly bigger than it otherwise would have been but removing any impact from a future projected surplus.

    The Australian understands the decision to give the money to the foundation — which says it did not ask for it — was made within then environment minister Josh Frydenberg’s office.”

  16. Morning all

    Thanks BK and others for today’s reports.

    It was obvious to anyone looking, that Morrison had eyes on the prize for quite a while.
    The presser where he pledges and then hugs Turnbull stating that he was his PM, is gold for the opposition. Considering straight after he came down the middle and took the position.

    Meanwhile Cormann flanked on the other side also pledging his support to Turnbull which subsequently only lasted hours, is another gold mine for Labor.

    Meanwhile in Trump world he continues to wreck the joint.
    Labour Day tmrw in USA.
    Was hoping for more developments to get the orange crush and his cronies away from the seat of power.

    Oh well.
    October may yet see the stock market get the wobbles.

  17. During the leadership spill I was wondering where JFrydenberg would land considering his part in Reefgate.

    Imagine my surprise (not)
    That he was elected Deputy.
    The chutzpah of this mob has no limit.

  18. Good morning Bludgers 🙂
    I just heard ScumMo on the radio promising to Deregister the CFFMEU. For what I wonder? Protecting their members’ rights to a safe workplace? It seemed as though he thought if he said John Setka’s name that that was enough to prosecute his case.

    So expect the next election campaign to be ugly. Full tilt on attempting to demonise Bill Shorten’s links to the Union movement. Lots about Labor losing control of our borders. An overload of The Greens’ tail wagging the Labor dog.

    Don’t forget that we found out recently that it was ScumMo who advised Howard and Reith to say that asylum seekers had thrown their kids overboard.

    The scum has now risen to the top of the government.

  19. Sydney City Councillor Christine Forster has pulled out of the Liberal preselection race in Wentworth, after what she’s described a commentary that her candidacy would further fuel division in the Liberals @politicsabc #auspol

  20. C@t- hopefully things like the change the rules campaign and door knock can help to reduce the impact of that. But to be fair, it’s all the RWFW seem to manage these days- unions and power prices.

  21. I bet ScumMo doesn’t advocate taking away any banking licences after the Royal Commission though. Even though much worse behaviour has been uncovered there compared to the TURC.

  22. Diff Michael
    I went door-knocking for the Change the Rules campaign last weekend. The reception we got was positive except for one instance. I just explained what it would be like without the Unions. People got it.


    “”The CFMEU has behaved under John Setka like a bunch of thugs and to involve his children in that, I think, is one of the ugliest things I’ve seen,” Mr Morrison told 2GB radio on Monday.

    “When you see children being used in these sorts of protests … this stuff just makes your skin crawl.””

    Hello this happened in waterfront protests, it’s happening now with Nauru and Manus

  24. Zoidlord,
    The CFFMEU have won every court battle so far. This should be no different. Though I imagine the ScumMo plan is for the election mainly. He sure is voicing his Anti Worker, except if they are compliant, credentials early.

    He was also talking up Kelly O’Dwyer as his IR attack dog Minister. I’m not so sure that will work. 🙂

  25. A slightly light hearted look at recent ‘unfortunate events”

    One of the smaller bits of silver lining from the Lib-ocalypse is that Scott Morrison gets to sound all Lemony Snicket about it. Indeed, from the safe distance of Jakarta the other day the sudden-onset Prime Minister looked back on the whole sense-defying, multiple career-destroying and probable government-ending calamity and described it as: “The very unfortunate events of the other week.” Surely he deserves to be made a member of the Noble Order of Understatement.

    Whatever you want to call the leadership spill — the Grand Mal Seizure, the Duttonation, the ScoMomentum, the Bill Shorten Still Hasn’t Stopped Laughing — it’s safe to say the scattered detritus has stopped smouldering and is cool enough to examine more closely.

  26. Kristina Keneally
    Against advice from Dept of Finance, the now-treasurer ⁦
    ⁩ pulled an “accounting trick” to make the Coalition “look like heroes”

    Exclusive from ⁦

  27. dtt….once again….it’s a daily habit….trolling for the pseudo left on behalf of the reactionary, racist, militarist, demagogic, kleptocratic Trumpo-Putinist Right.

  28. zoomster @ #14 Monday, September 3rd, 2018 – 7:47 am


    ‘Afer reading William’s post above how can any of you claim that the Labor Party is a great gift to left ideas and that the Greens shpould go away.’

    No one does. Once again, you’ve misunderstood the argument.


    Snipe for no reason.

    You were not here last night so I guess not caught up with Roger and Ratsak and Mavis too.

    ASK THEM not me.

    Why do you assume that YOU talk for everyone on here. My comment was NOT directed at you – sorry to disillusion you about your ranking on this site-, but to the very, very, very, very anti green fraternity of whom you are not one – you reserve YOUR bitterness for Independents

  29. A look at the story of Father Rod Bower and his ‘signs’ and what was the genesis of the one that brought attention to them.

    On July 23, 2013, I got a phone call from a woman whose brother was dying. She asked if I would administer the last rites at his home. At the agreed time, I duly presented myself at the door in order to administer the sacrament……………………



    At that time, we had about 150 followers. Almost straight away, I noticed the message starting to attract some attention (likes and shares) so I went down to the roadside sign at the bottom of the church driveway and put it up there, too.

    Next, I rang Kerry to tell her I’d done something a little outrageous. As an “unchurched” person, she had always lived beyond the conservative confines of the church — actually, she was downright challenging of them — and while her views and experiences were often helpful in allowing me to see outside my “club” mentality, these differences every so often caused considerable friction in our marriage. Not this time. Kerry was over the moon.

  30. Has desperate Di Natale finally realised the Greens should’ve been working with Labor all along instead of playing footsie with the coalition? My guess is this is just more of their ‘do as I say not as I do’ stuff.

    The Greens leader Richard Di Natale will promise to work with a new Labor government to get action on climate change back on track.

    Di Natale makes the pledge in a landmark speech to be delivered on Monday in Melbourne, kicking off a national speaking tour that anticipates the major policy battles of the next federal election.

  31. imacca

    Scummo may also regret……..

    “Bill Shorten’s got his arms all around John Setka, and John Setka’s got his arms all around Bill Shorten.”

  32. dtt

    If your comment was not a general one about posters on this site – which thus includes me, by definition – then name the posters it was directed to. It really doesn’t take that long and avoids confusion.

  33. “I’m excited to go to Coles and get my next mini,” she said.

    “You don’t know what it’s going to be, you get your little packet and you can’t wait to open it.

    “It’s like it is addictive, you’re obsessed by it. I just love it.”

    What on earth do people do with these things? And in a few years time when the masses have moved onto the next craze, what’s to happen with all those little plastic items? Landfill and our oceans.

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