Poll positioning

Fraught preselections aplenty as the major parties get their houses in order ahead of a looming federal election.

Kicking off a federal election year with an overdue accumulation of preselection news, going back to late November:

• Liberal Party conservative Craig Kelly was last month saved from factional moderate Kent Johns’ preselection challenge in his southern Sydney seat of Hughes, which was widely reported as having decisive support in local party branches. This followed the state executive’s acquiescence to Scott Morrison’s demand that it rubber-stamp preselections for all sitting members of the House of Representatives, also confirming the positions of Jason Falinski in Mackellar, John Alexander in Bennelong and Lucy Wicks in Robertson. Kelly had threatened a week earlier to move to the cross bench if dumped, presumably with a view to contesting the seat as an independent. Malcolm Turnbull stirred the pot by calling on the executive to defy Morrison, noting there had been “such a long debate in the New South Wales Liberal Party about the importance of grass roots membership involvement”. This referred to preselection reforms that had given Johns the edge over Kelly, which had been championed by conservatives and resisted by moderates. Turnbull’s critics noted he raised no concerns when the executive of the Victorian branch guaranteed sitting members’ preselections shortly before he was dumped as Prime Minister.

• The intervention that saved Craig Kelly applied only to lower house members, and was thus of no use to another beleaguered conservative, Senator Jim Molan, who had been relegated a week earlier to the unwinnable fourth position on the Coalition’s ticket. Hollie Hughes and Andrew Bragg were chosen for the top two positions, with the third reserved to the Nationals (who have chosen Perin Davey, owner of a communications consultancy, to succeed retiring incumbent John “Wacka” Williams). Despite anger at the outcome from conservatives in the party and the media, Scott Morrison declined to intervene. Morrison told 2GB that conservatives themselves were to blame for Molan’s defeat in the preselection ballot, as there was “a whole bunch of people in the very conservative part of our party who didn’t show up”.

• Labor’s national executive has chosen Diane Beamer, a former state government minister who held the seats of Badgerys Creek and Mulgoa from 1995 to 2011, to replace Emma Husar in Lindsay. The move scotched Husar’s effort to recant her earlier decision to vacate the seat, after she became embroiled in accusations of bullying and sexual harassment in August. Husar is now suing Buzzfeed over its reporting of the allegations, and is reportedly considering running as an independent. The Liberals have preselected Melissa McIntosh, communications manager for the not-for-profit Wentworth Community Housing.

• The misadventures of Nationals MP Andrew Broad have created an opening in his seat of Mallee, which has been in National/Country Party hands since its creation in 1949, although the Liberals have been competitive when past vacancies have given them the opportunity to contest it. The present status on suggestions the seat will be contested for the Liberals by Peta Credlin, who was raised locally in Wycheproof, is that she is “being encouraged”. There appears to be a view in the Nationals that the position should go to a woman, with Rachel Baxendale of The Australian identifying three potential nominees – Anne Mansell, chief executive of Dried Fruits Australia; Caroline Welsh, chair of the Birchip Cropping Group; and Tanya Chapman, former chair of Citrus Australia – in addition to confirmed starter Anne Warner, a social worker.

• Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie yesterday scotched suggestions that she might run in Mallee. The view is that she is positioning herself to succeeding Cathy McGowan in Indi if she decides not to recontest, having recently relocated her electorate office from Bendigo to one of Indi’s main population centres, Wodonga. The Liberals last month preselected Steven Martin, a Wodonga-based engineer.

• Grant Schultz, Milton real estate agent and son of former Hume MP Alby Schultz, has been preselected as Liberal candidate for Gilmore on New South Wales’ south coast, which the party holds on a delicate margin of 0.7%. The seat is to be vacated by Ann Sudmalis, whose preselection Schultz was preparing to challenge when she announced her retirement in September. It was reported in the South Coast Register that Joanna Gash, who held the seat from 1996 to 2013 and is now the mayor of Shoalhaven (UPDATE: Turns out Gash ceased to be so as of the 2016 election, and is now merely a councillor), declared herself “pissed off” at the local party’s endorsement of Schultz, which passed by forty votes to nine.

• Hawkesbury councillor Sarah Richards has been preselected as the Liberal candidate in Macquarie, where Labor’s Susan Templeman unseated Liberal member Louise Markus in 2016.

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.

3,175 comments on “Poll positioning”

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  1. lizzie:

    Yep, it’s entirely the responsibility of landowners (absentee or otherwise) to maintain their property’s firebreaks and keeping fire hazards to a minimum. The problem is you can’t slash a paddock on total fire ban days. But I’d still complain to the shire about your neighbour as they might keep a better eye on him.

  2. Re the long grass fire hazard that the owner won’t clear.
    Get in touch with council officers
    We have had notices re a distant property saying if the you don’t organise the slashing of long grass on the property it will be done ,via the council and the bill forward to us.

  3. Good Morning

    It is the third of January. In the US when they catch up that means the heat is on for Donald Trump as the Democrats take control of the House and change the political narrative.

    Already the Democrats seem to be achieving much by the volume of ranting over the “wall”.

    Its obvious Mr Trump is at fault for the government shutdown and the Democrats are playing him like a fiddle. 🙂

  4. I’m no good at distances – possibly 40 m. It’s about 4 ha of dried grass.

    In that case go hard and take zoomsters advice.

  5. Apologies to all else – Victoria/Confessions – did you see the skit the Philadelphia New Years Day parade did on Trump ????

  6. Lizzie

    The only thing I will add to Zoomster’s advice is try and get other neighbours to complain too. It might mean the council takes up regular inspections in the future.

  7. Fess

    Romney was ringing bell on Putin years ago.

    He knows more than most, what is happening.

    Now he I senator, he is positioning himself

  8. Victoria @ #18 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 4:10 am

    I am now in two minds re pill testing. I was all for it.
    I have since discussed this matter with young people who attend these types of events.
    Was very surprised to hear their views. They are more switched on about these things than I could ever be.

    Essentially they say that the onus on the tester to tell a person whether a pill is deemed safe, is too much of a risk in terms of legal liability. It won’t work.
    No one can determine how the user will react to any pill that even if deemed safe, can cause a nasty reaction.

    The bottom line is that the message ought to be that pills created by cartels usually mix in poisonous substances and rubbish fillers and they ought to be deemed as a risk no matter what.

    I suggest both you and they read this.

    Your perceptions don’t seem to match how it would work.


  9. lizzie @ #45 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 8:54 am


    I’m going to ring this morning.


    Maybe ask who you are talking to, and keep a record of what was discussed, and what the officer of council said was going to happen.

    If it were me I’d also send an email and/or a registered letter and keep a copy. I don’t trust local councils.

    I have also had to use this method when phoning the %^^&(& people at essential energy and origin energy about wrong invoices.

  10. AGAIN – apologies for duplicating yesterdays post :

    Confessions says:

    Thursday, January 3, 2019 at 9:30 am


    No I didn’t see that. Do you have a link?


    Now THIS is funny :

    Philadelphia New Years Day parade ridicules ‘pee tape’-clutching Donald Trump in hilarious dance routine

    Philadelphia has traditionally celebrated New Year’s Day with the Mummers Parade, involving organized clubs that dress up in feathers and clown make-up, tote accordions and banjos, and perform bizarre and often outrageous sketches that frequently touch on current events. This year was no different as the Lobster Club parodied the presidency of Donald Trump.

    Suddenly, a shirtless Vladimir Putin appears, and dances the tango with Trump, as another dancer brandishes an enormous VHS tape with a golden letter “P” emblazoned on it. Trump takes Uncle Sam hostage and hands him over to Putin and the Russians.

    All seems lost, until Philadelphia Flyers mascot and Antifa icon Gritty appears, frees Uncle Sam, and hands Trump over to the FBI.

    WATCH the video at the end of the article ……. Victoria will love the FBI bit at the end


  11. Better late than never.

    Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    I will not be in a position to pull the patrol together tomorrow morning as Ms BK and I will have to depart at 0630 for her to present herself to hospital for a day surgery procedure.

    In this challenging essay John Hewson posits that reform of our Federation, its structure, funding and operation, is now both a necessary and sufficient requirement for our nation to define itself and its future.
    Shane Wright says that the Australian property market is facing the moment of truth. He asks how much further can house prices fall and what the economic fallout from the wealth destruction that comes with a house price correction will be.
    David Wroe tells us that Dutton insists the revocation of terrorist Neil Prakash’s Australian citizenship is legally sound because he is also a Fijian national but has refused to detail the supporting advice from the government’s lawyers.
    The Opal Tower issue is coming to a boil as the extent of the problems becomes known.
    Kim Carr has accused the NSW government of being indolent over Opal Tower/
    Gladys seems to be getting boxed in over pill testing.
    Former AFP commissioner Mick Palmer gets his head around the pill testing conundrum and concludes that the NSW government should have the courage to run a trial and go from there. He uses the experience of safe injecting rooms to support his argument.
    Bridget McKenzie has chickened out of Mallee.
    Travellers who booked flights through Australian budget airfare company Bestjet have been left thousands of dollars out of pocket after the business collapsed just days before Christmas. Nice.
    Stephen Bartholomeusz explains how Labor and Telstra’s NBN ambitions might merge.
    ASIC’s new leadership team is vowing to be much tougher and take greater risks in court as part of an overhauled, litigate first strategy, newly appointed regulator Sean Hughes warns.
    And ASIC has managed to convince the country’s leading credit card issuers to implement changes that should help consumers with credit card debt.
    Anna Patty reports that workplace experts say Labor party proposals to criminalise wage theft in Victoria and NSW may be unconstitutional.
    The Australian Bureau of Statistics has ruled out privatising or outsourcing the next national census as the agency faces real funding cuts and a 16 per cent cut in ongoing staff numbers over the past two years.
    Adam Creighton says that the government is probably secretly delighted that house prices are falling.
    I’ve never been a fan of Mitt Romney but he’s certainly got this right.
    This neurological surgeon says that If you feel like you’re constantly playing catch-up with no time to achieve personal or professional fulfillment, it’s possible to turn it all around by changing one thing about your day: your morning routine.
    The Australian reports that Barnaby Joyce and Vikki Campion charged taxpayers more than $6000 to travel to a pro-live sheep export forum in Western Australia, where organisers were split over whether the former deputy prime minister should attend.
    Georgie Wolf explains a consent roadmap for sexual encounters. Makes sense.
    The CFMEU’s John Setka has been charged after a Boxing Day argument at his home. The government will make hay over this. Shorten needs to get in quickly.
    Now Clive Palmer has run into copyright law.
    Jess Irvine extols the benefits of the Great Aussie Road Trip. A nice contribution.
    Gideon Haigh examines test cricket’s selection policy.
    Today’s nomination for “Arseholes of the Week” goes to the airheaded parents who will not vaccinate their children.
    Although this guy stakes a claim . . .

    Cartoon Corner

    Mark David’s back with a little beauty.

    Cathy Wilcox and Twitter.

    Matt Golding has three for us today.

    Zanetti picks another shock jock issue.

    Glen Le Lievre with a new pill testing booth.

    And he drains the swamp.

    Alan Moir rolls out Old Father Time.

    From the US.

    Jon Kudelka on parliamentary representation by women.

  12. Barney idg

    I know what it entails.

    It won’t work in terms of stopping those who wish to take it.

    As based on the premise that all pills tested will be deemed unsafe and therefore what will happen is it will be dismissed as merely the place where you go to get told no.

  13. There seems to be an emerging pants wetting theme regarding falling housing prices, led by Josh FrytheEconomy and his Murdoch running dogs.

    In short, despite being in power for almost 6 years, it is all Labor’s fault. Negative gearing changes and capital gains wind back are the sole cause of falling house prices. So cheer, cheer any and all evidence of the froth coming off an overheated housing market.

  14. Sprocket

    Yep. And they are going to run with it.

    And as i said yesterday, it will work on some of the populace.

    Will likely be difference between a good win for Labor at next election and just getting over line.

  15. Victoria @ #63 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 9:36 am

    Barney idg

    I know what it entails.

    It won’t work in terms of stopping those who wish to take it.

    As based on the premise that all pills tested will be deemed unsafe and therefore what will happen is it will be dismissed as merely the place where you go to get told no.

    Victoria, with respect, your conclusions suggest you don’t know what it entails.

  16. Victoria @ #18 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 7:10 am

    Essentially they say that the onus on the tester to tell a person whether a pill is deemed safe, is too much of a risk in terms of legal liability. It won’t work.
    No one can determine how the user will react to any pill that even if deemed safe, can cause a nasty reaction.

    Then they’re less turned on than you’re giving them credit for. Pill testing doesn’t deem any pill “safe”, it just says “yes, this pill is what you think it is”, “no, it’s not”, or “no, it’s not and what it’s actually made of is quite dangerous”. And it comes with a heaping dose of propaganda about how any recreational drug use is always illegal and unsafe and “wouldn’t you feel better if you just threw all your pills in the amnesty bin?”. All served up while you wait for your test results.

  17. Mattis’ replacement gets an utterly brutal reception on social media: ‘Exactly the face our enemy hoped for’

    Other users pointed out that a lot of his experience was in the private sector. “If I hear him say, “Well at Boeing, we do it this way.”, I am going to go to his house and crush all his model airplanes,” said Michael Alger.

    “He’s an MIT graduate who was a mechanical engineer for Boeing, has 0 military experience. Might as well have Wolowitz from big bang theory…” said James Brown.

    “Exactly the face our enemy hoped for,” another user added.


  18. zoomster

    That was interesting. I rang the Shire and they said they only send out notices if there is a complaint. That’s a bit different from a few years ago when they inspected the whole Shire. Lack of staff, I suppose.

  19. Victoria

    Like it or not we have had 40 years of “just say no to drugs”

    We know that does not work. We know from EU experience pill testing works. Remember the criminals take an economic hit when all the warnings go out about how dangerous their pills are.

    40 years of evidence that “just say no to drugs” is a failure.

  20. Former FBI official explains why Trump’s hush money payments could be impeachable offenses in new Congress

    The former Assistant Director for Counterintelligence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation explained on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House” how Donald Trump’s hush money payments could constitute impeachable offenses.

    Trump’s longtime attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, has implicated the president as being part of the conspiracy for the hush money payments.

    “This is a done thing. Cohen has pled guilty. He’s been sentenced,” Figliuzzi reminded. “This is something that’s fair game.”

    “If they tease that out, we could see impeachment offenses simply coming out of the money laundering and structuring and wire fraud and bank fraud regarding those payments,” he explained.


  21. Victoria

    I also should add that no one is saying that pill testing is going to solve the drug problem. Any more than injecting rooms do.

  22. As I said, I spoke to young people and got their feedback. They dont believe testing will work to stop those taking risks and still ending up dead.

  23. ‘This is about a narcissistic man having a fit’: NYT columnist slams Trump’s ‘racism’ and ‘tantrum’

    President Donald Trump’s “ego and racism” are driving his decisions to continue the government shutdown unless American taxpayers pay for the wall — that he had promised Mexico would fund.

    “They have a president throwing a tantrum because he wants the approval of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter and other pundits on the far-right and doesn’t really feel any urgency about getting the government working,

    “I think what he cares about this wall — not metaphorically and not really, I think, even about border security — but he’s desperate for this for his own ego and his own racism,” she continued.

    “That makes it really difficult because it’s not really policy issues, this is just about a narcissistic man having a fit,” she added.


  24. Victoria @ #63 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 5:36 am

    Barney idg

    I know what it entails.

    It won’t work in terms of stopping those who wish to take it.

    No one is saying it will.

    It’s in the name “harm minimisation”!

    As based on the premise that all pills tested will be deemed unsafe and therefore what will happen is it will be dismissed as merely the place where you go to get told no.

    No, they start with the logical premise that any pill taking contains risk.

    Here’s what they did at the Canberra trial.

    “To understand how it might work in an Australian setting, let’s focus on Australia’s first and only trial of pilling testing, which happened at the Canberra Groovin’ The Moo festival in April.

    1. When a person first enters the pill testing area (set up in the festival’s health tent), they are met by a “harm reduction worker”. This person explains the pill testing process and advises the patron that there is no safe level of drug consumption, said David Caldicott, an emergency doctor and senior lecturer at the Australian National University.

    “You are advised even before anything starts that if you want to be 100 per cent certain about not being hurt by drugs, you should not use any drugs,” said Dr Caldicott, who led the trial.

    2. Next, the patron hands over a pill (or capsule or powder) to a chemist who photographs and weighs the substance, and explains that the test results apply only to the test sample (which will be destroyed in the testing process).

    3. The sample — which may range from a thin scraping to an entire pill — is analysed using an FTIR spectrophotometer. This detects substances by passing an infrared beam through the sample and checking the result against a library of 30,000 substances.

    4. The chemist labels the sample with one of three classifications: white — the substance is what the person anticipated; yellow — the substance is different to what the person anticipated; or red — the substance is known to be associated with increased harm / multiple overdoses / death (or the machine is unable to identify it, suggesting the drug is new).

    5. This information is relayed to the person by a medical practitioner who outlines the potential dangers of each substance (that includes those identified a ‘white’ result).

    6. The person is directed to a drug and alcohol counsellor who provides information about the risks of consuming the substance identified, and ways they can reduce their risk (e.g. not taking the substance, or taking a smaller dose).

    7. Before leaving the tent, the person is advised of an “amnesty bin” in which they are able dispose of any drugs they have on them.”


  25. Victoria

    Thats harm elimination not harm reduction.

    Injecting rooms reduce the spread of HIV Hep C and overdoses. Thats how you think of pill testing.
    If you are asking questions about eliminating harm the kids are telling you the tea as they would put it

  26. phoenixRED

    Re the guy moaning about “0 military experience. “. He needs to tell us how he thinks things have gone with the uber experienced military people. Good riddance to Mattis, he should go live in Fallujah. I’m sure he will get an appropriate welcome.

  27. @MichaelWestBiz tweets

    Illegal drugs account for 50pc more deaths than road accidents, 30pc of all crime. Time to rethink. Case for decriminalisation (as per Portugal) is strong, writes Dr James Freeman https://bit.ly/2CMPzuln

    Edit sorry link not working give me second.

  28. Joyce bobs up in the Oz? Do Nats voters read that?

    I would think that if Morrison waits until May to hold the election there is a good chance Joyce will be back as deputy PM by then.

  29. Victoria

    Sorry to say but your view and the views of your young consultative group about “pill testing” are totally ill informed. The process is far wider than mere chemical analysis.

    Barney, Itza, A-R and Guytaur have said it all.

  30. Roman Quaedvlieg
    11h11 hours ago

    For anyone interested in factual reporting:

    Yes, the reduction in boat arrivals after Operation Sovereign Borders led to the closure of many detention centres no longer needed. ✅

    No, Maribyrnong was not closed because of the above – it’s an old facility overdue for closure ❎

  31. Psyclaw

    Yeah I only have at least five close family and friend situations where I have seen years of the drug rehab etc merrygoround.

  32. The article I tried to link to.

    Australia’s first pill testing trial took place earlier this year in Canberra at a music festival. 128 people attending the festival provided pills for testing and two of these pills were found to contain potentially deadly substances. These pills were then disposed of and the event was fatality-free.

    Despite this positive outcome, the National Capital Authority (NCA) has said it will not allow pill testing at the next big music festival in Canberra which is held on land controlled by the Commonwealth Government rather than the ACT.


  33. Not surprising at all

    David Frum
    David Frum
    It seems impossible, but it’s true: President Trump just endorsed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Who’s he working for?
    Quote Tweet
    Kyle Griffin
    Trump: “Russia used to be the Soviet Union. Afghanistan made it Russia because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan. Russia.”

    Trump then goes on to endorse the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Via Fox.

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