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. zoomster @ #137 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 7:35 am

    …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).

    Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!

    When travelling in the Middle East you really notice women’s eyes.

    Often it’s the only part you can see.

    It was quite stark the difference moving from Egypt and Jordan into Syria, suddenly you started seeing bright blues and greens instead of brown and black.

  2. Victoria

    Pill testing liability is solved. See EU.

    That is the people testing the pills are not manufacturing and do not guarantee no risk.
    What they are doing is pointing out when they find a dangerous substance. They do not pretend that taking the pill is safe.

    Bogus argument.

  3. The reason to look at the EU on liability issues is they have been doing it for years. So we would have heard about anyone suing over bad drug advice from pill testing

  4. The Australian newspaper, owned by American News Boss Rupert Murdoch, has outdone itself once again.
    From its “Today’s Headlines” email:

    Setka charged over home incident

    TOM CRYSTAL

    Union boss John Setka has asked for privacy as Victoria Police said a 54-year-old man had been arrested and charged.

    No, I refuse to provide any links to this excuse for a newspaper.

  5. Maude Lynne @ #154 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 11:57 am

    The Australian newspaper, owned by American News Boss Rupert Murdoch, has outdone itself once again.
    From its “Today’s Headlines” email:

    Setka charged over home incident

    TOM CRYSTAL

    Union boss John Setka has asked for privacy as Victoria Police said a 54-year-old man had been arrested and charged.

    No, I refuse to provide any links to this excuse for a newspaper.

    What is his alleged crime ?

  6. @SenateCloakroom tweets

    Confirmed by Voice Vote: Cal. #1223 – Arthur B. Culvahouse, Jr. to be Ambassador of the United States of America to the Commonwealth of Australia

  7. It was quite stark the difference moving from Egypt and Jordan into Syria, suddenly you started seeing bright blues and greens instead of brown and black.

    Green eyes in parts of Central Asia too. Even blond hair.

  8. Guytaur
    For eg. OxyContin and ketamine are controlled substances which are being sold on the black market.
    As they are manufactured and produced under regulation wont mean that a pill tester will give user go ahead

  9. As drugs are illegal their use automatically criminalises the user, there is no consumer guarantee of purity, and the markup is stratospheric.

    Most drug users are in control and not addicts.

    When people become addicted to drugs, if they can’t afford to pay, they are very quickly marginalised as they get thrown out of home for stealing everything that isn’t nailed down. If they become homeless they lose Newstart Allowance and have to commit petty thievery to exist.

    Are drug addicts worse than alcoholics?

    I have no first hand experience of addiction to either but have illegal drugs taken over from alcohol.

  10. Victoria

    The warnings are clear. Take party and recreational drugs at your own risk.

    All the arguments for pill testing stack up.

    We know Nixon’s Just say No to Drugs has failed just as predicted.
    Plan A has failed.

    Plan A has had criminals promoting and creating dangerous drugs like ICE.
    Time to follow countries like Portugal and take as much as possible out of the criminals hands.

  11. Victoria

    The warnings are clear. Take party and recreational drugs at your own risk.

    All the arguments for pill testing stack up.

    We know Nixon’s Just say No to Drugs has failed just as predicted.
    Plan A has failed.

    Plan A has had criminals promoting and creating dangerous drugs like ICE.
    Time to follow countries like Portugal and take as much as possible out of the criminals hands.

  12. Lizzie

    If i were you I would leave home tonight.

    If everyone wants to leave bushfire prone areas tomorrow morning the roads could be so congested that it’s really dangerous. The main road in eltham is a notorious bottleneck that could kill if the branches overhanging the road catch alight

  13. Old Spoke @ #97 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 7:17 am

    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.

    It’s easier to “tether” your phone to your PC via a USB port.

  14. billie

    I have a friend who lives in Eltham. Every time I visit, I look down at what seems to be a sea of treetops, and reflect that I’m looking at hundreds of homes.

    Place is a deathtrap. Only takes a couple of car crashes – common when people are panicking and can’t see because of smoke – to make escape impossible for hundreds of households.

    …I recently went to a policy forum where one of the speakers talked about bushfire escape plans. His went badly wrong because his planned escape routes were blocked by falling trees. He said he needed several escape plans, not just one – but of course, you may go a long way down one route before finding it impassable.

    …which reminds me of the family in the Black Saturday fires who planned to leave as soon as there was a threat of fire. The first they knew about it – due to the breakdown in communications and the multitude of fires – was when their front fence started burning. They immediately took to their car, to find the end of their road blocked.

    They were totally unprepared to fight a fire, having planned to leave. They went back home and basically resigned themselves to death. It was only one of their teenage girls saying that it she was going down, she was at least going to fight, which meant they made some attempt to fight the flames. Fortunately they survived.

  15. Victoria @ #100 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 7:19 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.

    No-one has ever claimed it was going to do that.

    Despite decades of publicity campaigns and increased fines and penalties, some people still get pissed and get behind the wheel of a car.

    It is about reducing the risk of people ingesting dangerous chemical cocktails, not completely eliminating the risk.

    You cannot do anything to help either the people who will insist on taking these pills or the dickheads who drive while drunk.

    Despite all that, no-one can deny that the campaigns against drunk driving have been as successful as they can be. The same thing will apply to pill testing. It will be as successful as it can be, but not foolproof.

  16. This probably isn’t relevant to lizzie because of her handicaps, and I might have noted it before, but fwiw, in the bush we have an underground fire-bunker which I had freighted up from Victoria. It’s the last resort in a series of protective measure – house design, materials, roof sprinklers from a dedicated water source, fire hoses – because the only exit road is one way and would be treacherous and most likely lethal if you left it too late or were caught off guard.

  17. Lizzie
    If i were you I would leave home tonight.

    An assessment of the conditions could suggest it safe to leave first thing in the morning rather than the night before – especially if you are well prepared and informed. Look at the fire danger rating for today and tomorrow. Check regularly for any fires in the area or on your escape routes. Know where the nearest Safer Place and refuges are…..

    Fire danger rating for Eltham is High today, Severe tomorrow and moderate for Saturday. Where the ratings scale is Low, High, Very High, Severe, Extreme and Code Red.

  18. Are the one’s against pill testing the same ones who lambast the Greens party for their ‘purity’ and lack of pragmatism….?

    __________________________________

    No. I, for one, am all for pill testing at festivals.

  19. ItzaDream @ #68 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 9:41 am

    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.

    Vic, BiGD , Itza et al.

    One of the fundamental things that is not often spelled out is the nature of the drugs being used and the consequences of “missuse”. Most commonly the drugs used are modified amphetamines, with cocaine, some dissociative agents (eg ketamine & PCP), psychotropics (eg LSD & GHB), cannabinoids and a few hypnotics (eg benzodiazepines), which have very different “toxicities” to opioids that used to dominate drug morbidity.

    Opioid (and benzo) overdoses cause (dose related) respiratory depression – ODs stop breathing and may die if not supported through this (brief) phase, but there are very few other short term toxicities. That is why injecting rooms were set up and why they are so effective in reducing the harm associated with (injecting) opioid use.

    Amphetamines (particularly the newer modifications), synthetic cannabinoids and some of the psychotropics (such as GHB) have different toxicity: they can overstimulate the body’s systems causing cardiac arrhythmia, psychosis, heat stroke, muscle breakdown and other organ failures – which is what most victims die of. Having looked after a few victims, it is very hard to effectively manage this sort of toxicity – I much preferred managing the good old acute opioid OD. The desired effects of energy and perceptual change occur at doses which can be quite close to those which cause the uncontrolled overdrive, particularly with the newer agents. Oral methamphetamine and MDMA have quite well established “therapeutic ratios” (the “sweet spot” between the desired effect and toxicity), the other congeners not so much. None of these substances are regulated as pharmaceuticals: all are Dodgy Bros knockoffs/caveat emptor agents, driven by rampant capitalism which ain’t going to go away. Hence the proposal to modulate risk via pill testing. Only arseholes like the alcohol industry and other GRASPers oppose it.

  20. Re Pill Testing

    Back in the day (late 90s / early 2000s) it was possible to buy pill testing kits from Central Station Records in Brisbane (I’m originally from Brisvegas but now live on the NSW Central Coast). We tested every pill to ensure we got what we purchased and had some idea about what we were taking. A good pill with MDMA came up purple or black, while a speedy pill was orange and anything green was unknown or dangerous. Any pills that tested green were thrown out and good pills were taken in moderation as we knew we didn’t need to take a lot to get the Ecstacy hit.

    At the time Brisbane was split into two main party areas, Fortitude Valley where most people were taking E and the CBD where most were drinking alcholol. The risks of taking E were far outweighed by the risk of getting into a fight with a drunken boozer in the CBD. In the Valley if you accidentally bumped a person on the street you made a friend for the evening, if not for life. In the CBD if you accidentally bumped into someone you were most likely to get punched in the face. The experiences were really that different.

    My group of friends were all Uni students studying law, business/economics and medicine, so we were very careful about what we took and how much. We did our research and understood what we were taking, the risks and the rewards. Pill testing undoubtedly saved lives and prevented much harm.

    Of course, those days are now far behind me but I look back on them with much fondness and no regret because we looked after ourselves and each other.

  21. Pill testing is inseparable from legalisation.

    To create the testing tent requires no policing of possession or supply so creating an enclave 0f lawfulness.

    Why should it be legal to supply or possess drugs in a setting which operates for profit (the festival) but not at home or on a beach etc?

  22. There is a good argument to have houses underground as well as vertical especially in cities.
    Less damage to buildings and better efficiency for heating and cooling.

    With TV technology coming to soon have screens big enough to take up a wall it really could be something that will happen. Cooper Pedy could become the norm not the exception. Those leafy outer suburbs of cities are a good candidate for first housing off the rank.

    Its the psychological need for views that has to be looked at but in cities what views is the question a lot of the time. So then it becomes political will.

    This is especially true for houses that are on the side of hills that don’t have that view problem. Just make them part of the hill and not protruding from the hill. For those houses then only a Steel door or shutter system to be used to turn it into a bunker. The only problem is being deep enough to escape the heat effects of the fire.

  23. rhwombat

    And the protocols make it clear the pill testing is going to tell the users just what you have written. It is hard to see a down side to giving the kids information. If they go into it with their eyes wide open it really is their problem ( and if they become addicted the problem of all loved ones).

    The war on drugs is a lost war.

  24. Shellbell @ #182 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 8:58 am

    Pill testing is inseparable from legalisation.

    To create the testing tent requires no policing of possession or supply so creating an enclave 0f lawfulness.

    Why should it be legal to supply or possess drugs in a setting which operates for profit (the festival) but not at home or on a beach etc?

    What legislation was required for the King’s Cross Injecting Rooms?

  25. @BarackObama tweets

    In 2018 people stepped up and showed up like never before. Keep it up in 2019. We’ve got a lot of work to do, and I’ll be right there with you. Happy New Year, everybody!

  26. The hidden price of the cost of housing ?
    .
    .
    Being homeless is not a crime, so why are so many jailed?

    rFom 2012 to 2017, the number of people imprisoned in Australia grew by a third. This wasn’t in response to any crime wave, or any increase in crime at all. Over that same period, the United States has seen their prison rates fall.

    What has been on the rise alongside this alarming trend is homelessness………………………………..The raw numbers tell the story – one in four people currently in prison were homeless in the month leading up to their incarceration.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/03/being-homeless-is-not-a-so-why-are-so-many-jailed

  27. The war on drugs is a lost war.
    ______________________________

    Like so many wars, the war on drugs is perpetuated by those with the most to gain through an unholy alliance – the manufacturers and drug distribution kingpins on the one side, and the civil security agencies and conservative politicians terrifying the public who fear losing control, on the other.

    And the victims are always those about whom both sides profess to care – the users.

  28. Re John Setka’s troubles, it appears to be a personal domestic violence incident, although on the information publically available I don’t know. It is now before the courts. Again on the information that is publically available, it has nothing to do with Labor, nothing to do with the merits of policies and positions being prosecuted by Labor, the CFMEU or any other union and nothing to do with Bill Shorten. Mr Setka will have his day in court and we’ll see what happens. If he has done something wrong he will be dealt with. Until and unless he is proven guilty of something (at this stage we don’t know what), he is innocent in the eyes of the law.

  29. Just catching up with Howard’s rationalisation of the release of his cabinet papers from yesterday. This statement floored me:

    “This was a group of people who were trying to maintain a monopoly on waterfront labour, the product of which was to be the rotting produce of Australian farmers on wharves, the fact that our hourly crane rates, container movement rates, were way below world standard….

    “It was a stunning turnaround, but it would never have happened without Patricks. They are owed, in my view, a debt of gratitude by the business community of Australia.”
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2019/01/01/john-howard-comments-after-cabinet-papers-released/

    Rubbish! Port productivity was low because of many reasons including lack of investment and the monopoly positions of Patricks! In fact, even then, port productivity was not low at Brisbane or Freemantle – really only Sydney and Melbourne were the problems, for the reasons listed. And what farm produce rotted on wharves? It was in air conditioned containers. Now 20 years later, Howard still can’t admit his prejudices.

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