More Monday miscellany

A summary of federal preselection developments, much of it relating to Tasmanian Senate tickets.

We’re in an off-week for federal opinion polling, although we may get geographic and demographic breakdowns from Newspoll – the leadership change had broken up their usual schedule of quarterly publication, and they have already published the results from the end of the Turnbull epoch. So here’s a summary of preselection news. Note the post below on the Wentworth by-election, and the one below that on the US mid-terms, courtesy of Adrian Beaumont.

• After successful lobbying from Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton and Mathias Cormann, Richard Colbeck will head the Tasmanian Liberal Senate ticket. Earlier reports indicated he would again be dumped, as he was in 2016 – initially costing him his seat, before he won it back on the countback that resulted from Stephen Parry’s Section 44-related disqualification. Claire Chandler, a conservative backed by Eric Abetz, is number two, with Hobart councillor Tanya Denison number three. The presence of two women on the ticket makes a change from the usual form of the state party, which last had a woman in federal parliament in 2002. Those who missed out included Brett Whiteley, who held Braddon from 2013 to 2016 and failed to win it back in the Super Saturday by-election, and Wendy Summers, political staffer and the sister of David Bushby.

• Tasmanian Labor, on the other hand, has persisted in dumping Senator Lisa Singh to number four, despite her historic success in having below-the-line voters overturn her demotion in 2016. This reflects the party’s persistence in favouring the claim of John Short, state secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, who will be number three. The top two positions go to incumbents of the Left and Right, Carol Brown and Catryna Bilyk.

• Ann Sudmalis’s retirement in the dicey New South Wales seat of Gilmore leaves in the field her prospective preselection challenger, Grant Schultz, a real estate agent and the son of former Hume MP Alby Schultz. However, Mark Kenny of Fairfax reports “the moderate faction of the Liberal Party believes it can retain its hold on the seat and find a replacement for Ms Sudmalis”.

Chris O’Keefe of Nine News reports Hughes MP Craig Kelly has been approached to run in the marginal state seat of East Hills, to smooth over his likely preselection defeat in his existing seat at the hands of Kent Johns. Kelly appeared to scupper his chances when he suggested forgiving Russia for the MH17 disaster was “the price we have to pay” for “good relations going forward”.

• Perin Davey, a Riverina water policy specialist, has won preselection to succeed the retiring John “Wacka” Williams as the Nationals’ New South Wales Senate candidate. The existing coalition agreement gives the Nationals the difficult third position on the ticket, but Joe Kelly of The Australian reports the party is considering breaking away to run its own ticket. To this end it has chosen a full slate of four candidates, rounded out by “small business owner Sam Farraway, Gunnedah Mayor Jamie Chaffey and Wagga-based farmer Paul Cocking”.

• Skye Kakoschke-Moore has been confirmed as the lead South Australian Senate candidate for the Centre Alliance, confirming that Nick Xenophon will stand by the pledge he made at the time of his failed run for state parliament that he would not run at the federal election.

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.

2,067 comments on “More Monday miscellany”

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  1. Zoomster let me break this down step by step.

    First of all you say that the best outcome is for all refugees to remain in Indonesia. What then is your policy?

    If you choose to do precisely as the current government is doing then you’ve succeeded. No one would get on a boat only to be indefinitely detained and seriously harmed. I’m sure that’s not an outcome you feel comfortable with.

    Ok, what about we don’t change the “no permanent settlement in Australia” policy but we negotiate with Malaysia, Philippines or whoever to resettle our present detainees. This probably involves a deal where these refugees are granted some kind of legal status and some help in establishing a life.

    This is a better outcome for them than those that remain in Indonesia.

    What happens next? Well some of those living in limbo in Indonesia with no legal status and a shit life will attempt to come by boat to Australia, so that they will then be resettled into a better situation. This is very predictable, rational behaviour.

    Then we have the choice. Permanently detain and harm those who come. That will certainly stop the flow. Or we continue to use 3rd party resettlement. Either we run out of 3rd party resettlement places and engage in indefinite detention by default, or the 3rd party country or countries provide as many places are there are those willing to leave on a boat. And that might amount to tens of thousands.

    Is that the policy you choose? Because now some (not many really) but some will drown in the process.

    What are you going to do Zoomster? There is no sane policy that doesn’t either end up punishing and harming people or doesn’t end up with some people taking some risk and some dying in the process.

    Of course there are in theory alternatives. One is to negotiate with Indonesia etc such that these people get legal status and some basic social security, but at the very least this will take a long time and cost a lot of money. How politically popular will that be? And how stable will it be. If Indonesia grants these people a better life, regardless of the actual facts, local Indonesian politics will make true the idea that this will encourage a flood of refugees. In other words, its not necessarily going to happen even if Australia would pay (dearly) for it.

    Now if you accept indefinite detention, which includes being cruel, this will certainly bring about the outcome you desire (they stay in Indonesia). But of course what does your moral compass say about the fact that you accept an underclass of essentially stateless people living precarious and often exploited lives?

    Of course the alternative to all these hobson’s choices is, of course an actual open border policy, almost. which involves a hybrid of some money being spent bettering the lives of refugees in Indonesia, together with indonesia based processing facilities and a policy that we do actually accept these refugees at a level that we can actually accommodate – even if this amounts to hundreds of thousands of people over time. At least then these people would travel by plane, not boat.

    Of course the best answer to refugees is to have a sane, just, propserous world where we share intellectual property, where we don’t force trickle down on poorer nations etc etc. But even then it would take a long time to happen and in the mean time the most sane solution does actually involve having a lot more people settle in Australia. Now you can tell me that’s politically impossible. But I’m saying that to the extent we can’t have a mature discussion about this we are a nation of bastards who really are prepared to indefinitely torture people. If only we were honest enough to admit this.

  2. Cud Chewer

    Why the obsession with refugees who end up in Indonesia? I am far more concerned with the fate of those in UNHCR camps, who have fled countries such as Sudan and Somalia, and (in some cases) have been there for decades. They don’t even have the money to get on a boat.

    At present a lot of those who would have come to Australia by boat are now in Greece, trying to get to Germany.

  3. Oh, and I’m all for taking more refugees. But I’d be guided in who to take by the experts – the UNHCR – and Indonesia is very very low on their list. After all, millions of people live in Indonesia quite happily without showing the slightest desire to put a toe in the water.

  4. Zoomster I’m well aware of people in even worse situations. But my purpose is to examine what your policy response will be.

    Are you going to have indefinite detention without any possibility of a real life? If so you accept the premise that badly harming a few people is better than letting others drown.

    Are you going to have 3rd party resettlement? If so you run straight into the outcomes I describe. Either more people come and are resettled into 3rd countries or at some point you turn the tap off and you end up with a different group being tortured in detention.

    I can’t make it clearer than that. What’s your choice? Because you seem to have rejected the others I put forward.

  5. As I said, even if you accept that a lot of refugees living poor lives in Indonesia is an acceptable outcome (because other people are worse off – yes this fails you logic 101), how do you bring about that outcome without doing something morally dubious?

  6. Good night all. I will pick it up again in the morning and check for any guesses from now till then.

    PB Newspoll-Poll 2018-10-07

    PB mean: ALP 55.3 to 44.7 LNP
    PB median: ALP 53.0 to 47.0 LNP
    No. Of PB Respondents: 44

    ALP / LNP
    54 / 46 A different Michael
    60 / 40 adrian
    53 / 47 a r
    53 / 47 Andrew_Earlwood
    53 / 47 Asha Leu
    52 / 48 ausdavo
    54 / 46 autocrat
    53.5 / 46.5 bilko
    53 / 47 BK
    53 / 47 Boerwar
    53 / 47 Confessions
    53 / 47 Cud Chewer
    95 / 5 Dan Gulberry
    99.99999 / 1.E-05 Darc
    54 / 46 Don
    52 / 48 Douglas and Milko
    54 / 46 Fulvio Sammut
    53 / 47 Gareth
    55 / 45 Gecko
    54 / 46 Golly
    53 / 47 Gorks
    53 / 47 guytaur
    53 / 47 Harry “Snapper” Organs
    53 / 47 imacca
    54 / 46 jeffemu
    53 / 47 jenauthor
    53 / 47 Late Riser
    54 / 46 Lynchpin
    52 / 48 meher baba
    55 / 45 Michael
    53 / 47 Mr Ed
    55 / 45 pica
    52 / 48 Player One
    53.25 / 46.75 poroti
    54 / 46 Puffytmd
    53 / 47 Quasar
    “none this week” ratsak
    53 / 47 rhwombat
    50 / 50 Sprocket_
    54 / 46 Sohar
    53 / 47 steve davis
    52 / 48 Steve777
    52.5 / 47.5 The Silver Bodgie
    53 / 47 Upnorth
    53 / 47 Whisper

  7. Zoomster

    Many of those “ more deserving” displaced people in Africa are not regarded by the UNHCR as candidates for third country resettlement, it is not seen as a durable solution. They mostly wish to go back if/when possible. They have not necessarily fled persecution. Mostly they are certainly not in any global “queue”.

    My original point on numerical limits was responding to the hoary question of how many would the Greens let in. Relative numbers between air and sea arrivals is irrelevant. Anyway, your policy is to allow some of the former but nil of the latter.

    Labor is fudging on this. You are now singing totally from the old Coaltion songbook.

  8. The “Malaysia Solution” was a policy Eldorado that was supposedly going to stop boat journeys and not involve Australia needing to resettle many people. The thing would never have lived up to the claims of the fabulists who pushed it. These days the Malaysia Solution is cited only by small minds who don’t handle complexity all that well.

    Even in a big year for boat arrivals, Australia has never had to cope with an unmanageable number. We are insulated by geography and that gives us the luxury of processing arrivals on the mainland and deciding which people we will accept and which people we will deport. We don’t need applicants to be detained during the application process. They can live in the community and be provided with access to services, income support, and job opportunities.

    Australia need not have panicked in 2012. Australia’s attitude to boat arrivals in 2012-2013 was a hysterical over-reaction to a modest number of arrivals. Political leaders have a responsibility to reassure and inform the public – an obligation that they refused to meet in 2012-2013.

  9. Arrr the high moral argument for creating a living hell.
    “Fishing bodies out of the Indian Ocean off of Christmas Island demanded that control be established”
    “For the life of me, I cannot see how not wanting people to die is racist, but there we go.’

    And for balanced from the greens
    “Self proclaimed Labor die hards today have rolled out the “swamping” and “criminals’ , if only they had of mentioned ‘disease carrying’, they would have had the 2GB trifecta.”

    There is no solution until the Liberals and the Greens stop seeing this as an issue to bash labor with,.Labor’s best policy is to ignore it, can’t do anything about it, and any solution proposed ( in opposition and in government) is a waste of time until it has multi party support.

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