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”

  1. C@tmomma @ #35 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 8:36 am

    Sorry I can’t do the cartoons tomorrow morning because I am still on my phone.

    C@t
    are you aware that you can continue to use your computer by using its wifi to piggyback off your phone’s internet connection?

    On your phone, go to Settings, find Mobile or Personal Hotspot, activate it, set a password then got to wifi settings on your computer and you should see your phone listed as an available network. Connect and away you go.

  2. Victoria

    Good then you can accept pill testing as a harm reduction measure. No one is claiming its going to stop people taking drugs Not even the most ardent advocate argues all drug takers are going to get their pills tested

  3. Barney idg

    As I said before. I was all for pill testing. It is a no brainer. But on reflection, it won’t stop those wanting to take it no matter how frickin dangerous.

  4. Guytaur

    Yeah harm reduction at a festival. But it will happen elsewhere at another time and place.

    As I said, watching those around me with all the help and support in the world, falling back into dangerous behaviours etc.
    In one current case, the whole family are now being monitored by law enforcement cos the king pin has ordered retaliation against user who has been dealing and owes a shit load of cash.
    We are not talking about ferals here. But a very loving nd supportive family where the damaged individual has had every opportunity afforded to them

  5. Victoria

    Exactly the argument of why we need pill testing and why it works.

    It has more evidence to back it up than the just say no to drugs which we know does no harm reduction at all. In fact creating criminal records makes some users more likely to get involved in the criminal cycle that promotes the drug taking in the first place that leads to addiction.

  6. Re Guytaur @9:54. Barnaby is race-baiting, pure and simple. Shades of that idiot candidate for Lindsay (the one Abbott said had ‘sex appeal’) talking about asylum seekers clogging the freeways.

  7. We have a whole system at our borders that we are told is about stopping people from dying at sea, how is that so different to pill testing to stop people from dying? Too simple an interpretation for the conservatives?

  8. Trump Steaks? Trump Vodka?

    The record-breaking turnover of the Trump administration, with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly the latest senior officials to leave, has vindicated Romney’s warning about Trump’s managerial ineptitude: “Whatever happened to Trump Airlines? How about Trump University? And then there’s Trump Magazine and Trump Vodka and Trump Steaks and Trump Mortgage. A business genius he is not.”

  9. …Husar is now suing Buzzfeed over its reporting of the allegations, and is reportedly considering running as an independent…

    Emma should definitely run as an Independent and I for one would be cheering her on to win !

    I think she’d be much better prepared for the next term of parliament. We can’t have enough Independent progressives in the next parliament.

  10. Confessions says: Thursday, January 3, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Trump Steaks? Trump Vodka?

    The record-breaking turnover of the Trump administration, with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly the latest senior officials to leave, has vindicated Romney’s warning about Trump’s managerial ineptitude: “Whatever happened to Trump Airlines? How about Trump University? And then there’s Trump Magazine and Trump Vodka and Trump Steaks and Trump Mortgage. A business genius he is not.”

  11. One thing that pill testing does ie reframe recreational drugs from something that is ‘edgy’ that the cool kids do into a medical thing, like taking an extra string pain killer that the chemist tells you do stop taking and see a GP if ‘pain persists ‘.

    It won’t stop people who want to, from taking drugs, or save people from dying if they take pills that haven’t been tested that are fatal, but they will help.

  12. guytaur @ #104 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 10:27 am

    Victoria

    Exactly the argument of why we need pill testing and why it works.

    It has more evidence to back it up than the just say no to drugs which we know does no harm reduction at all. In fact creating criminal records makes some users more likely to get involved in the criminal cycle that promotes the drug taking in the first place that leads to addiction.

    We can’t have enough proven methods of minimising potential death from recreational drug use.

    Pill testing is a no brainer and I can’t understand why social conservative politicians are procrastinating about it.

  13. guytaur @ #107 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 9:35 am

    Not all alcohol drinkers are addicts called alcoholics.

    Not all drug takers are addicts either.

    Yes, but also kind of beside the point.

    Unless you advocate banning alcohol and tobacco, there’s an implicit agreement with the idea that people have a right to choose what things they put into their bodies, even when those things are known to be harmful and/or addictive.

    And if you agree on some level that people have a right to choose what things they put into their bodies, it only makes sense to support initiatives like pill testing that help them make informed choices and avoid ingesting unwanted things.

    The goal isn’t to stop people from doing drugs. You can’t do that any more than you can stop people from smoking or drinking (or eating junk food). But you can help ensure that the people intent on doing drugs only take the drugs they want/intend to take and that they’re not unknowingly taking an impure or outright toxic substance. Which is safer and better for everyone involved.

    ‘Informed consent’ is always a good standard. Pill testing helps with the ‘informed’ part. Consent is up to the person holding the pill(s).

  14. Victoria @ #100 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 10:19 am

    Barney idg

    As I said before. I was all for pill testing. It is a no brainer. But on reflection, it won’t stop those wanting to take it no matter how frickin dangerous.

    Victoria, at the risk of being pedantic, can I clarify that?

    I was all for pill testing
    You were (past tense) for pill testing implies you no longer are.

    It is a no brainer
    Do you mean that in the present tense, or rather you thought it was a no brainer?

    it won’t stop those wanting to take it no matter how frickin dangerous
    That’s correct. But it will stop those who don’t want to take something that’s frickin dangerous.

    I think you misconstrue its aims. It is to inform the prospective pill taker of what the pill contains. The decision to take or not take remains with them, though now better informed as to what it is they are taking, and after counselling.

    Alcohol is labelled, content and potency. Would you think it a good idea if alcohol were made illegal, and then sold blind on a black market, for there to be a service to provide alcohol buyers with advice on the content of their bottle, including toxic additives, as well as counselling on the dangers of alcohol consumption, short and long term?

    If you didn’t watch the Drum yesterday, I recommend it to hear Alex Wodak speak on the subject. I know Alex Wodak, a man of enormous integrity and experience in harm reduction and drug reform. He comes on at 07:00

    https://iview.abc.net.au/show/summer-drum

  15. Victoria

    Wow

    You have had close contacts with drug users, even family members. Wow again!

    Perhaps you should make yourself available to ANACAD and the like.

  16. The VicPol chief commissioner is on record as firmly against pill testing.

    Sadly, Daniel Andrews has fallen in line behind that stance, which is very out of character given the progressive record of legislation passed in the previous term of Govt.

  17. This is an interesting article from the New Yorker
    https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/a-survey-finds-that-all-americans-favor-democratic-norms-over-politicsexcept-in-the-case-of-voting?

    Using qualitative surveys it tries to find out how partisan US voters are and how much they will vote for a party even though they don’t agree with the policies, this is important there as members of Congress do or did, cross the floor more than here. Members also regularly originate bills.

    In the survey
    the team contrived for each surveyed voter a sequence of ten hypothetical races between various fictional candidates; each candidate was identified by party and given a name that often suggested both gender and ethnicity. One might, for example, be asked to vote for “Hannah Phillips,” a Democrat, or for “Luis Velasquez,” a Republican. Each candidate was also assigned at random a range of hypothetical policy positions, some of which suggested party ideology and others democratic norms, though none was identified as such. But the candidates’ views, like their manifest “demographic,” could also, at times, be unconventional. Indeed, the experiment could only work if they were.

    They wanted to see if voters would punish a candidate for going against 4 democratic norms, namely:
    respect for universal access to voting; willingness to compromise in order to preserve the integrity of institutions; respect for the judicial-criminal processes free of partisan influence; and deference to court decisions, even when these seem wrong. The latter two suggest respect for the rule of law.
    On most issues for example tax cuts, voters voted on partisan lines, but in the 4 democratic ‘norms’ both democratic and republican voters are less likely to support candidates that go against these, with the strong exception of the first norm, access to polls, Republican voters tend to assume this is optional and can be discarded.

    I interpret this as they don’t necessarily see a partisan advantage in voter suppression but thing of voting as a privilege that must be earned.

  18. Peter Brent thinks Howard had only a minor role in the Iraq war, but…

    Phillip Adams
    @PhillipAdams_1
    18h18 hours ago

    As I’ve said before Howard was NOT a bit player in the Iraq war. Bob Woodward told me in one of our LNL chats JWH played a major role in encouraging GWB to invade

  19. GG

    Thanks for you kind words

    Happy New Year PB Bully No 2.

    Haven’t changed your nasty demeanour over your holy period of Christmas. Still miserable hey? Still can’t keep your nose out of reasonable discussions and inject a good old bit of hate …. Jesus would be proud.

    Now GFY.

  20. Barney idg

    I meant to say it ‘was’ a no brainer.

    Pill testing will basically confirm that the pill is a risk not worth taking.
    I can’t see any pill tester that is sanctioned by govt giving any prospective user the go ahead.

  21. Pill testing is to reduce risk from risky behaviour. Seat belts, which don’t stop people speeding, or driving while under the influence of alcohol, are harm minimisation devices. It is illegal to not use the harm minimisation use of seat belts. It should be illegal to NOT get your pills tested. Try that on for size.

  22. John Reidy @ #124 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 10:14 am

    I interpret this as they don’t necessarily see a partisan advantage in voter suppression but thing of voting as a privilege that must be earned.

    An alternative interpretation is that the Republican voters know exactly what they’re doing and it has everything to do with the fact that they know they’ll lose if they don’t suppress the minority vote as much as possible.

  23. ‘Harm Minimisation” seems to be the catch phrase of the Pill Testing proponents.

    But what does it actually mean?

    It appears that as long as the pill user doesn’t die or have a serious medical emergency at the venue then all is OK.

    But, as Vic has pointed out, the scourge of pill and drug taking extends further than the perimeter of the venue.

    So, simplistic slogans and the arrogant disregard of those who eventually pick up the tab isn’t necessarily the solution either.

  24. “We have a whole system at our borders that we are told is about stopping people from dying at sea, how is that so different to pill testing to stop people from dying? Too simple an interpretation for the conservatives?”

    Well, for a start, I believe that the whole thing about stopping people from dying at sea is a crock. It’s really about stopping brown people. If they were White Rhodesian and South African farmers there probably wouldn’t be a problem.

    But let’s take them at their word. Right wingers by and large have an authoritarian world view. They want to punish people who do things they don’t like. So punish boat people through indefinite detention without trial, while seeking jail time for users of drugs which aren’t tobacco or alcohol.

  25. Victoria @ #124 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 7:17 am

    Barney idg

    I meant to say it ‘was’ a no brainer.

    Pill testing will basically confirm that the pill is a risk not worth taking.
    I can’t see any pill tester that is sanctioned by govt giving any prospective user the go ahead.

    How is that?

    If it does contain what you thought it contained then you’re going to use it.

    If it contains something different and or dangerous then you have the chance to reassess.

    Once again the language you use suggests that you don’t understand what the testing is and how they propose to do it.

  26. Steve

    I once tried to get a white Rhodesian millionaire into the country. Immigration weren’t that interested in helping him, even though he would have not only bought his money and expertise but would have taken over the care of his elderly blind father.

    I’m not sure Immigration is racist. They don’t seem to want to let anyone in.

  27. GG

    No one is arguing what you are arguing.

    So thats just a red herring like saying safe injecting rooms is a green light for taking drugs.

    Evidence proves otherwise. Its precisely because no one is arguing pill testing solves everything its good policy.

    Eliminating negative gearing is not going to solve the whole problem of bringing down house prices but it helps

  28. GG

    So, simplistic slogans and the arrogant disregard of those who eventually pick up the tab isn’t necessarily the solution either.

    Quite right. Oh hang on , you are not talking about ‘Just say No” are you .

  29. …I will add that the people who come by sea are ‘more white’ than the ones we take more of when people don’t come by sea (example: if Aust’s intake of refugees is 30,000 and 10, 000 come by sea, ,mainly from countries such as Iran and Syria, we only take 20,000 from elsewhere. Usually those 20,000 would be sourced from places such as the Sudan. So if 0 come by sea, we take 30,000 ‘blacker’ people).

  30. Itza, you’re right. We should proceed on the assumption that people are imperfect, vulnerable, have poor judgment at times, are impulsive, susceptible to pressures and are sometimes self-destructive. If we can help people through high-risk moments, we should. We should do that for their sakes and for the sakes of their families and others who are affected by the misfortunes of their loved ones.

    There’s no single answer to substance abuse/misuse. Pill-testing is a part of the solution.

  31. Greensborough Growler @ #130 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 11:28 am

    ‘Harm Minimisation” seems to be the catch phrase of the Pill Testing proponents.

    But what does it actually mean?

    It appears that as long as the pill user doesn’t die or have a serious medical emergency at the venue then all is OK.

    But, as Vic has pointed out, the scourge of pill and drug taking extends further than the perimeter of the venue.

    So, simplistic slogans and the arrogant disregard of those who eventually pick up the tab isn’t necessarily the solution either.

    No one’s denying the problem extends further than the perimeter of the venue.

    But pill testing is just one of many practical and pragmatic ways to minimize the chance of death via a deadly pill.

  32. poroti @ #136 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 11:35 am

    GG

    So, simplistic slogans and the arrogant disregard of those who eventually pick up the tab isn’t necessarily the solution either.

    Quite right. Oh hang on , you are not talking about ‘Just say No” are you .

    Not at all.

    I reckon Daley’s announcement about a summit that looks at all aspects of the problem is a winner. It’s just plenty here this morning seem fixated with a remedy that seems ideologically sound rather than designed to deal with the problem.

  33. briefly @ #140 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 11:40 am

    Itza, you’re right. We should proceed on the assumption that people are imperfect, vulnerable, have poor judgment at times, are impulsive, susceptible to pressures and are sometimes self-destructive. If we can help people through high-risk moments, we should. We should do that for their sakes and for the sakes of their families and others who are affected by the misfortunes of their loved ones.

    There’s no single answer to substance abuse/misuse. Pill-testing is a part of the solution.

    The mother of the boy who died is testimony to that. She’s on that Drum episode.

    Speaking of mothers, how is she? The ‘shin’ is poorly perfused, so healing is fraught and the risk of infection significant. I hope things are on the mend. Remember ‘kiss it and make it better?’ Love heals.

  34. Barney IDG

    As I said if it is going to be govt sanctioned pill testing, they will not give any pills go ahead for use.
    Legal liability is a minefield. Hence why state Vic govt are not fans

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