Federal election minus six months (probably)

Tales of preselection action from Hughes, Indi, Cowper, Bennelong, Chisholm, Longman and New England.

Roughly six months out from a likely federal election, a gathering storm of preselection action. (Note also the thread below this one on the Victorian election campaign).

Phillip Coorey of the Australian Financial Review reports Scott Morrison has sought to save Craig Kelly from a preselection defeat in Hughes, but that moderate backers of challenger Kent Johns are not to be deterred. According to a source identified as one of his conservative allies, Kelly “has been remiss in looking after his branches and would be lucky to have 25 per cent of the vote”. Quoth a moderate: “As far as the moderates are concerned, Malcolm Turnbull saved Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and Angus Taylor and Kelly last time, and look what they did to him.” Among the quandaries this raises are that Kelly may react to his defeat by moving to the cross-benches, further weakening the already shaky position of the government.

• There have been a few suggestions that Barnaby Joyce may fall foul of a new candidate-vetting process the Nationals have introduced, ostensibly to prevent further Section 44 mishaps. Figures in the party appear to have been putting it about that Joyce might face trouble due to the fear that even after the events of the past year, there remain “skeletons in the closet”. However, inquiries by Richard Ferguson of The Australian suggest that “a few members on the NSW Nationals’ 84-people-strong central council do plan to refuse to endorse Mr Joyce but they are in the minority”.

David Johnston of the Border Mail reports nominees for a Liberal preselection vote for Indi, to be held on December 8, include Steve Martin, project manager for the Mars Petcare Wodonga plant expansion and Seeley International’s relocation from Albury to Wodonga, and Stephen Brooks, a local businessman. Another potential nominee is Greg Mirabella, husband of former member Sophie Mirabella. The seat’s independent member, Cathy McGowan, has not yet committed to seeking another term. The report also raises the possibility that Senator Bridget McKenzie, who is preparing to move her electorate office to Wodonga, might run for the Nationals.

Christian Knight of the Nambucca Guardian reports the Nationals have preselected Patrick Conaghan, a local solicitor who was formerly a police officer and North Sydney councillor, to succeed the retiring Luke Hartsuyker in Cowper. The other candidates were Chris Genders, a newsagent; Jamie Harrison, former Port Macquarie-Hastings councillor and owner of an electrical business; and Judy Plunkett, a Port Macquarie pharmacist. Conaghan appears to have won over half the vote in the first round.

• Labor has recruited Brian Owler, neurosurgeon and former Australian Medical Association president, as its candidate for Bennelong. The party had initially preselected Lyndal Howison, communications manager at the Whitlam Institute and the party’s candidate in 2016, but she agreed to step aside for Owler.

• Gladys Liu, director of Blue Ribbon Consultancy, has been preselected as the Liberal candidate to succeed Julia Banks in Chisholm, having emerged “the clear winner in the field of eight candidates”, according to Liberal sources cited by Benjamin Preiss of The Age. Other candidates included Theo Zographos, a Monash councillor, and Litsa Pillios, an accountant. James Campbell of the Herald Sun reports Liu had backing from party president Michael Kroger and conservative powerbroker Michael Sukkar.

David Alexander of the Pine Rivers Press reports the Liberal National Party has preselected local small businessman Terry Young as its candidate for Longman. The party recorded a portentously weak showing in the seat at the Super Saturday by-election on July 28, for which Young was an unsuccessful preselection candidate.

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.

1,349 comments on “Federal election minus six months (probably)”

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  1. Indi is usually a Nationals seat, Mirabella was very cheeky when she stood as a Liberal and universally hated in wodonga ovens and high country, so her hubby comes with baggage.

    The Mars candidate promises to be a very conservative G*d botherer as that’s the Mars management demographic.

    I can see Bridget McKenzie winning Indi

    In the last election a crucial box of ballots was misplaced between election night and recount for about a week

  2. Mueller Team Has ‘Gone Absolutely Nuts,’ Trump Says, Resuming Attacks on Russia Inquiry

    Fresh off three days of private meetings with his personal lawyers, President Trump renewed his attacks on Thursday on the special counsel investigation, calling it “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY!

    The barrage, launched on Twitter, ended a period of relative quiet by the president about the investigation, which has ensnared some of his former aides.


  3. Josh should stick to managing Australia’s ballooning debt, wage stagnation and darkening consumer confidence after his stint jacking up energy prices and frying the planet – not giving succour to Scotty’s stupidity…

    “In response to the inter­national and domestic criticism, Mr Frydenberg — a Jewish MP — told Sky News that Canberra already accepted Israel’s sovereignty over West Jerusalem.

    “There will be people who say to you that Australia shouldn’t move its embassy to Jerusalem but let me tell you why I believe Scott Morrison’s absolutely right to make a principled statement that we now are beginning a proces­s to consider,” he said.

    “There is a fundamental point here, that the government is not backing off: Australia determines its own foreign policy ­decisions around the locations of its embassies.”

    Mr Frydenberg said that under a two-state solution it was accepted that Jerusalem would be the capital of Israel, and that it was flawed thinking to believe the international strategy to hold out from moving embassies would encourage the peace process.

    “I can tell you right now that the peace process is frozen and as long as Hamas are in control of Gaza — Hamas is a listed terrorist organisation — then you’re not going to get a deal between the parties.”

    Mr Frydenberg said Indonesia would always have a different view on Israel from Australia, and Canberra shared “values and histor­y” with Israel.


  4. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Big banker boy behaving badly?
    A tip for bankers ahead of the royal commission: be more like doctors!
    Four resigned UK ministers and still counting! (I have just noted on UK Sky News that it’s now up to seven! And also on ABC24 they are reporting that a letter of no confidence in May is close to getting the required 48 signatures).
    The SMH editorial makes its points on where Brexit is going and the hysteria surrounding the process.
    Nick Miller says that the current Brexit is the ‘worst deal in history’ and the one with the best chance because the alternative, at this late stage, is mayhem.
    Has it moved into Brexshit territory?
    Greg Jericho says that Morrison will feel relief at this overdue wages growth, but it is still pathetic. As is usual, he regales us with well-presented supportive data.
    Katharine Murphy reports that Albo has made a speech.
    Oliver Yates explains how the Liberals need to pay attention to protest votes – they are proving costly.
    Phil Coorey tells us that soon after Scott Morrison became Prime Minister, he was presented with a policy wish list by Liberal senator Eric Abetz and other conservatives who had helped dynamite Malcolm Turnbull. It included abandoning the Paris climate change commitments and moving Australia’s Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. With friends like that who needs enemies?
    And Michelle Grattan reckons the Morrison government brings back memories of McMahon days. Ouch!
    Richo says that the dismal state of mind of Australians of all income levels and backgrounds makes it extremely difficult for the Prime Minister to make a comeback in the polls and be competitive in an election ­almost certain to be held in May. He reckons Shorten is a “shoo-in”.
    Stephen Bartholomeusz explains the volatility of oil prices and looks ahead at next year in general.
    Demographer Kim Johnstone writes that there’s some breaking news for Baby Boomers. You’ve had a very good run and you’re just about done.
    David Crowe reports that Morrison is being urged to rethink his policy shift on Israel in an extraordinary warning from Indonesia that “radicals” could target Australians in terror attacks in response to his new stance.
    But Josh Frydenberg has launched a forceful pitch for the government to follow through with moving its Israeli embassy to ­Jerusalem.
    More from Crowe as he tells us the federal government will fund new criminal court action against banking executives in a $51.5 million move that prepares for a new wave of prosecutions from the royal commission into financial services.
    Private hospital coverage has fallen to its lowest level since 2009, a shift expected to add pressure on public hospitals.
    Jenna Price examines the terrible legacy of Milne and Guthrie.
    A flailing Trump has unleashed another Twitter barrage after spending the last three days meeting with his personal legal team, crafting answers to written questions from the special counsel, Robert Mueller.
    Macron has delivered a nice sideswipe on Trump.
    America cannot afford “a truculent child president” if it is to fulfil its global leadership role, the former US secretary of state John Kerry said on Thursday as he lambasted Donald Trump for failing to attend a key Armistice Day commemoration ceremony in Paris at the weekend.
    The powerful lobby group representing Australia’s resources giants has backed the Morrison government’s controversial plan to underwrite new power generation, and says the replacement of the Liddell coal-fired power station must be the focus. Of course it does!
    Dave Donovan writes that this Government is intent on undermining our public institutions. And nowhere is this more evident than with the ABC and NBN.
    Doug Dingwall explains how the Auditor-General has revealed which agencies want to gag him next.
    Oh oh! We have some trouble within the security service ranks. The Uber Tuber has been forced into action.
    Post-doctoral research fellow Randa Abdel-Fattah writes about her time as a Muslim in Australia from the time of the World Trade Centre attack.
    Politics professor George Rennie explains how Australia’s NRA-inspired gun lobby is trying to chip away at gun control laws, state by state.
    According to The Australian, forty of the 300 refugees who left Nauru to resettle in the US have contacted the island nation asking to come back.
    Sex workers have been struggling to obtain fair rights, with laws and social stigma making it difficult to earn a living, writes Estelle Lucas.
    Timna Jacks writes that, courtesy of the preference whisperer, an arch-conservative group that looks set to win a seat in the Victorian Parliament is calling for a “10-year good behaviour bond” on new migrants and a ban on what they call “paedophile grooming content” in the anti-bullying Safe Schools program.
    Peta Credlin gives he Victorian Liberal party a pep talk.
    The nation’s top financial watchdogs have warned of a “protracted” downturn in parts of the housing market and are closely watching moves by major banks to pull back from lending to residential property developers.
    Anna Patty outlines the story of how the Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker came to the job she currently holds.
    “Your foetus is precious but not a person, no matter what Fred Nile says”, writes New Yorker Lou Dargan.
    In the wake of the banking royal commission more than $5 billion flowed out of superannuation funds owned by AMP and the Big Four banks into AustralianSuper, Hostplus and Cbus in the six months to September.
    Labor has blasted the Morrison government for delaying the next rounds of Australian Research Council grants, a move that will see the new “national interest” test for public funding applied to them.
    The tragic death of Sisto Malaspina was seized as a publicity opportunity by Scott Morrison, writes Dr Binoy Kampmark.
    The ABC’s recent management implosion has sparked debate over the future of the embattled public broadcaster, and now existing staff are once again warning the corporation’s budget is “unsustainable” and needs “remedial action”.
    Matthew Knott reports that Ireland is trying to muscle in on a special United States visa class that only Australians currently enjoy and which has limited numbers. The visa was negotiated as part of our 2005 FTA with America.
    The error-prone Indigenous affairs minister, Nigel Scullion, signed off on grants of almost $460,000 to fishing and cattle grazier groups in the NT, using funds earmarked for addressing Indigenous disadvantage, even though the groups had not applied for them.
    More than 2000 small-to-medium companies will be excused from lodging annual financial reports to the corporate regulator, under a red-tape-cutting exercise announced by Frydenberg.
    The Australian oil and gas lobby is pushing to limit public information about greenhouse gas emissions from liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, a move that contradicts the global industry’s pledge to increase transparency about their impact on the climate.
    ABC journalists have backed the union movement’s push for radical changes to Australia’s industrial relations system, dividing the broadcaster’s reporters and prompting outrage from ABC critics.
    The AFR reports that big investors have slammed the Morrison government’s “big stick” approach to the electricity sector, saying any move to force companies to cut prices will have a major impact on profits, future investment and result in less competition in the long term.
    Make no mistake – sinking department store Myer is at death’s door, according to the latest, undisclosed sales figures.
    David Crowe bemoans the snail-like pace of the Senate.
    In another indication of the march of climate change longer bushfire seasons in Australia and the US threaten to disrupt the sharing of vital personnel and equipment between the two countries, fire experts and coordinators have revealed.
    I can’t believe the pathetic tabloid-style reaction to the perfectly reasonable request from Bunnings regarding the serving of snags and onion on bread.
    James Willoughby tells us that Australia’s cricket fans have had enough and they’re voting with their feet.
    And for “Arsehole of the Week” we have this guy . . .

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe and the denizens of the Brexit swamp.

    Mark David delivers Malcolm’s NBN.
    Zanetti goes for the CFMEU yet again.

    From the US.

    Cathy Wilcox and ABC interference.

    A gif from Glen Le Lievre on Turnbull’s spin.
    Nice work from David Pope.
    Jon Kudelka and Morrison’s embassy problem.
    More good ones in here.

  5. Refugees pick Nauru over US

    Forty of the 300 refugees who left Nauru to resettle in the US have contacted the island nation asking to come back because life in America was harder than ­expected, the Nauruan President has revealed.

    Refugee life on Nauru can include holidays in Fiji, business ownership, free housing and healthcare and jobs in government departments and at the local hospital, The Australian was told during a four-day visit to the ­Pacific island nation to interview refugees and government officials.

    Nauru’s President Baron Waqa said refugees who resettled in the US had contacted his nation’s Departmen­t of Justice and Border Protection and asked to come back. He said that did not surprise him because Nauru was a cheap place to live, warm with a relaxed lifestyle. “The US — it’s a difficult place to live, a lot of competition for work and jobs,” he said.

    “They call America the land of the free and all that but (there are) a lot of catches and they soon find out that it’s not that easy.”


  6. There was an old story in banking

    If you could not eat it or drink it do not touch it

    That apart the commentary on banking is as misplaced as the commentary on house prices

  7. billie

    ‘Indi is usually a Nationals seat, Mirabella was very cheeky when she stood as a Liberal…’

    No, Indi had been a Liberal seat since 1993. It was Farrer which had been held by the Nationals until Sussan Ley ran.

  8. Take 2.

    This has to be the headline of the day, and one which the cricket tragics will love:

    May-the Geoffrey Boycott of UK politics-still at the crease after extraordinary day


  9. Re BREXIT
    May is still PM because no one else wants it
    The BREXITEERs lied during their campaign in 2016, resigned when they won and took out dual citizenship
    Boris has US passport
    Farage has German passport

    Says that BREXIT will hurt 99% of Britons

  10. The great strength of Australia compulsory voting is not that it keeps political parties appealing to the centre but that the Electoral Commission has to give everyone the opportunity to vote and demonstrate that the ballots have been counted properly

    Hence Early Voting and on Election Day the AEC monitors queues at polling booths telling voters that the queues are shorter at nearby booths where relevant
    Hence casting paper ballots with pencils, to aid recounts and enable voters to mark ballots in tropics, in the snow in all climate conditions

  11. Billie

    Exactly. If there was a real Brexit deal that would not hurt britain we would have heard it by now. The Brexiteers were liars. Those who voted for them were fools.

    I think a face saving stand Labor should take would be to say that this was not the Brexit people were promised, and if it is all that can be achieved there should be a second vote to see if people still want it.

  12. Socrates @ #17 Friday, November 16th, 2018 – 8:10 am


    Exactly. If there was a real Brexit deal that would not hurt britain we would have heard it by now. The Brexiteers were liars. Those who voted for them were fools.

    I think a face saving stand Labor should take would be to say that this was not the Brexit people were promised, and if it is all that can be achieved there should be a second vote to see if people still want it.

    And they are still at it, creating a narrative outside of reality, for their own political benefit.

  13. One gets the feeling a Federal election is imminent and the reality somewhat different. The up-coming Vic.Election may be a contest of State and Melbourne issues but the result is sure to have National implications and be interpreted as a proxy poll for a Federal election. I believe we will have a NSW State election before the next Federal election which again will add some implications for the current federal LNP government and its seemingly gaff prone PM.
    The public are done with thd shenanigans of politicians, none more exemplified than the appointment of Abbott and Joyce as envoys or Costello as chairman for life of the Future Fund.
    The next 6-8 months will surely test the apathetic nonchalance of a nation co fronted by personal debt, housing unaffordability and division of wealth so wide the Red Sea wouldn’t be large enough to divide.

  14. Cat

    Yes at this stage it is pretty obvious who still wants Brexit – wealthy tax dodgers who long to be free of Brussels’ financial accountability rules.

    One final point – now that we have Indonesian MPs warning the Australian embassy shift to Jerusalem could provoke terrorist attacks, will ScumMo accep responsibility for them when they occur? No, just kidding.

    Have a good day all.

  15. Barry Cassidy on ABC this morning:
    Scott made the embassy move to Jerusalem because that was the price for Eric Abetz’ support during the very recent spill.

  16. ‘Indi is usually a Nationals seat, Mirabella was very cheeky when she stood as a Liberal…’

    No, Indi had been a Liberal seat since 1993. It was Farrer which had been held by the Nationals until Sussan Ley ran.’

    Exactly. Mirabella doesn’t deserve credit from winning it from the Nationals because she didnt. She was a carpetbagger a blow in when she won it and she was handed a safe Liberal seat.

    She was the wrong MP for this seat turned out to be very polavisng and unpopular and harped on a messege of neoliberaism when it’s a electorate that is more concerned about regional and rural services and Mirabella did the unthinkable lossed a safe Liberal seat in a Liberal landslide election.

  17. The EU’s arbitrary and unnecessary deficit to GDP and public debt to GDP ratios have circumscribed the UK’s political debate with harmful consequences. The EU’s empirically unsound faith in the private sector to deliver public goods more equitably and more efficiently than the public sector has terminally undermined the EU’s credibility in the UK.

    These are the critical failures that led to the Leave vote outweighing the Remain vote in 2016.

    I understand very well that not everything about the EU is bad. But when people’s livelihoods are damaged by an austerity mindset that is actively promoted by the EU, it is understandable that people chose to reject that.

    The UK Government did not need to promote austerity.

    But the EU provided the UK Government with political cover to do so.

    This needs to be taken into account when weighing up the pros and cons of EU membership.

    If the EU were primarily about facilitating the coordination of mutually beneficial environmental and consumer protection and labour rights policies, that would be one thing.

    But the people of the UK see their politicians using the EU as an excuse to abandon full employment and first rate public services and infrastructure as a policy goals.

    Under those circumstances can you really blame them for voting to leave the EU?

    The Brexit referendum was one of the few opportunities that UK voters had to express their views about the decisions of their political class as a whole.

    I don’t blame them for expressing dissatisfaction with policies of disregard for full employment and neglect of public services and infrastructure.

    Instead of demonizing the majority who voted to leave the EU, it is important to understand why they acted as they did and to acknowledge the legitimate problems that animated their choice.

    All is not lost. The UK continues to be an advanced society with a high level of productivity and political order.

  18. It is right and important that we don’t allow other countries to determine our foreign policy, decisions should be made in our national interest.
    So why is the proposal to move the meeting Israeli embassy even been considered? Surely it isn’t at the behest of Israel or the USA?

    Actually it may well be Abetz named it as a condition of support and with the Wentworth byelection, Morrison thought ‘what could possibly go wrong’?

    It behooves the government to drop this but they cannot.

  19. Meanwhile my dad is back home after 2 months at hospital and rehab. It has been hectic!
    Still going to be busy with physio appointments etc. But hopefully things will settle.

  20. Good Morning

    News Breakfast is demolishing Morrison and Dutton’s call for Muslims to do more about terror due to the Melbourne Incident. 🙂

    The way they presented it sounded like that of a lot of posters here on the issue.

  21. Victoria

    You can’t choose your family. So its very gratifying when they rally around and don’t leave you doing all the work.

    I know. When I came out my family was great and have also done the rally around thing when illness has struck. I have friends who have not been so lucky.

  22. Here in Melbourne, we had two big court cases in past fortnight.
    The terror plot of Federation square. Three young men found guilty.
    The case of rampage in city by drug addled idiot who was found guilty.
    And of course, the incident last week where the offender was shot dead. So at least the court system will be spared a trial.
    Will any of this have any bearing on the state election next week?

  23. Fun and games and dirty tricks in Utah where the Republican candidate for Senate is having a dummy spit over the count. Florida isn’t much better either.

    Absent concrete proof, Love’s attempt to block the counting of valid votes (as opposed to investigating which if any ballots may not be valid) is the definition of voter disenfranchisement; it’s precisely what the 15th Amendment was designed to prevent. It’s a frightful comment on the GOP that a supposedly moderate Republican now resorts to the tactics of Florida Gov. Rick Scott, President Trump and others who refuse to accept results that don’t go their way. (“Nothing in their petition shows any violation of election law in Salt Lake County, the county said in a motion asking a judge to dismiss the lawsuit.”) There is simply no reason to stop counting votes when state law provides a remedy for precisely the sort of problem Love alleges. (“When tabulating mail-in ballots, county elections workers compare signatures to verify a voter’s identity. If a worker decides a voter signature doesn’t match the one on file, the person gets a letter informing them and asks them to sign and return an affidavit confirming their identity.”)


  24. One of the comments David Marr made yesterday in the discussion at TwitterAU Beyond YES talk was that the religions are changing their opposition to a charter of rights. George Pell used to argue well against such a thing. Now with the religious freedom debate religions are starting to see how a Charter of Human Rights helps them too. Something to keep in mind for the Republic when Labor seeks to create it.


    Meanwhile Labor in states has been pursuing such charters and its great that we are making this progress. The Marriage Survey showed Australians are for human rights not against them.

  25. Guytaur

    My whole family have rallied around. It has been so good.
    The men of the family including grandsons over past month have demolished brick path and paving and relaid new surface which included a ramp etc. To enable my dad to navigate the space outside.
    It was a huge project but they got it done. All that is left is to lay new turf in garden bed.

  26. Victoria

    It will help Labor.

    People know that the “war on drugs” has failed and that Labor is open to looking at other ways of addressing these vexed issues like injecting rooms. Hopefully pill testing. Medical marijuana being a good example.

    Canada has legalised even recreational marijuana and there is no chaos and certainly no increase in addicts. Just less money being made by criminals.

    Voters see these things and while the Law and Order fear campaign has worked for the LNP it is working less and less. Of course the lobster image reminding Victorian voters is not helping the LNP. Along with candidates being disendorsed for racist rants against muslims.

  27. The wannabe mango Mussolini must be rueing the day he decided to run for President.
    He was able to get away with his criminal conduct throughout his life. Now the reality that he and his crime family aren’t going to get away from this shit show is making him absolutely nutso.

  28. Eric Abetz is a Happy Clapper Pentecostalist too, I think. Hence the deal. Isn’t his brother, Peter, a Pastor in the church?

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