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. In principle our PM is elected by the House of Representatives. The majority party or coalition decides upon their leader. The GG will Commission that leader without the need for an actual ballot, which would be just a formality and could delay the commissioning of a Government by months. If there is a hung Parliament, the GG will need to be satisfied that the leader of the party or coalition seeking Government has sufficient support and may require a confidence bpvite. A No Confidence motion can be called and if passed would result in the Prime Minister having to resign.

    Julia Gillard was as legitimate as Menzies, Hawke and Howard. So is Morrison, for now.

  2. “Computers could soon run cold, no heat generated”

    Could actually be VERY important development in terms of how cryptocurrencies develop. the whole bitcoin / blockchain thing apparently uses VAST amounts of electricity to run the computers needed to keep track of it.

    And on the Gillard legitimacy? I think history will put her down as one of the best PM’s. She had a minority in both houses and STILL managed to get legislation through in timely and reasonable fashion. I would argue that in her term the parliament was actually operating as it should, where rather than one party ruling the agenda there was room for influence and other agendas to get negotiated.

    The problem was the toxic politics from the RW wreckers in the Libs who had and continue to have no interest in policy and governance, just holding power, and the media free pass they got as they were providing easy column inches and “excitement” to make the CPG’s life easier. And…the press NEVER forgave Gillard or the ALP for blindsiding them on the removal of Rudd and making them look out of touch.

    Now, well the ALP seem to have learned the lessons of the RGR wars. The Libs dont even see that there are lessons to be learned.

  3. Tristo

    In late February I am moving to the heart of Barnaby Joyce’s electorate of New England in the town of Armidale to do postgraduate study at UNE. Hopefully I get a chance to help defeating him in New England.

    The best of luck with your post-grad there. UNE is a lovely University, and Armidale is a lovely town.

    My father was the second ever graduate from UNE (he had the choice of taking his degree from UNE or U Syd), because BAs graduated first, and there was some guy called Aardvark(?) who was the first graduate. When I was there they were very proud of having Zelman Cowan as VC in 1966. He became GG after Kerr, and was a regular visitor.

    It was the first, but not the last, university I attended. Went to do biology but really just could not stand the labs. And in second year apparently you had to cut the throats of sheep and count how long it took them to bleed a certain amount.

    But Austin College was amazing, and I worked as a DJ at the UNE radio station – not a very good one I hasten to add.

  4. Poor little Earlwood doesn’t like being called a Grouper, precious little thing, well if it walks like a duck… Abuse is all anybody gets for not following the right wing line that you so slavishly follow.Like s0 many extreme right wing types, you dish it out okay, but do not take it so well. If you don’t want to be referred to as a Grouper, stop using 50’s anti socialist rhetoric.

  5. DaretoTread:

    [‘So it is not just scuttlebutt, but at the same time it is probably simply his personality/charm offensive which takes the form of being touchy feely without any improper connotations at all.’]

    Some are tactile, some aren’t. Uncle Joe’s just being Uncle Joe. Accusations that go beyond that, based on the evidence, are over the top, a slur.

    Simon² Katich®:

    [‘I blame Mavis.’]

    So do I.

  6. “I would argue that in her [Julia Gillard’s] term the parliament was actually operating as it should, where rather than one party ruling the agenda there was room for influence and other agendas to get negotiated.”

    Yes!!!!

    Although in 2019 I want to see the Coalition obliterated. At this time they have nothing useful to contribute.

  7. “Although in 2019 I want to see the Coalition obliterated. At this time they have nothing useful to contribute.”

    Yup, want to hear them squeal like pigs. 🙂

  8. In this instance, I hope the screen door does whack him on the arse on the way out..

    7 January 2019 — 7:18pm

    Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm will quit federal politics next month to contest the NSW state election.

    The move, first reported in The Sydney Morning Herald in October, pits Senator Leyonhjelm against one-time Liberal Democrats member and former Labor leader Mark Latham, who is running for One Nation in the state’s upper house at the March 23 election.

    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/politics/federal/david-leyonhjelm-to-quit-federal-politics-run-in-nsw-election-20190107-p50q2m.html

  9. Malcolm Farr
    ‏Verified account @farrm51
    14m14 minutes ago

    The NSW Legislative Council is in danger of becoming the rubbish bin of Federal Parliament.

  10. Ben Cubby
    ‏Verified account @bencubby
    9h9 hours ago

    Ben Cubby Retweeted Natasha Robinson

    Flying business class to a neo-Nazi rally tells you quite a bit about our political landscape.

  11. The move, first reported in The Sydney Morning Herald in October, pits Senator Leyonhjelm against one-time Liberal Democrats member and former Labor leader Mark Latham, who is running for One Nation in the state’s upper house at the March 23 election.

    The battle of the Sky After Dark Old White Males!

  12. I might also call you out because lawyer you may be but you will note that i never, never never used the p word and would never, ever, ever have done so. You should bloody well apologise for even suggesting it and indeed I think YOU have breached William’s guidelines.

    Oh my happy aunt.

  13. “Poor little Earlwood doesn’t like being called a Grouper, precious little thing, well if it walks like a duck… Abuse is all anybody gets for not following the right wing line that you so slavishly follow.Like s0 many extreme right wing types, you dish it out okay, but do not take it so well. If you don’t want to be referred to as a Grouper, stop using 50’s anti socialist rhetoric.”

    Geez, three hours and a flagon of tawny Port with the ghost of Joe Chamberlain and that’s the best you can do comrade? Sad.

    Like your avatar, you’re the one stuck in the 1950s.

  14. Although belatedly, Morrison’s right about Anning being a repeat offender. First he uses the phrase “the final solution” in his maiden speech; then, second, he’s found attending, on the public purse, a neo-Nazi rally in St Kilda. Anning’s a dick of the first order, and the sooner he’s chucked out of parliament, the better, May 18 not being soon enough.

  15. Barney in Go Dau @ #2548 Monday, January 7th, 2019 – 5:14 pm

    Dan Gulberry @ #2544 Monday, January 7th, 2019 – 4:03 pm

    Confessions @ #2535 Monday, January 7th, 2019 – 4:44 pm

    Dan G:

    The Gillard Labor govt was a legitimately elected govt, and Gillard was a legitimately elected PM.

    Not by the people.

    It could quite easily be argued that the constituents of Bandt and Wilkie’s seats were happy with them giving confidence to the ALP, the same can’t be said of the constituents in Windsor or Oakeshott’s electorates.

    If they’d given confidence to the other side instead of the ALP, the same thing would’ve applied.

    There is no such measure!

    Having the confidence of the majority on the floor of the House makes you PM and the right to form the Government.

    Nothing about the people, we did our bit when we voted for our local Member. 🙂

    You’re missing the point. I was originally replying to Confession’s post about voters not caring about pollies marital status. She implied that voters elected Julia Gillard as PM despite the fact that she was unmarried. My point was that voters didn’t elect either her or Abbott. Both of them were reliant on other elected members to be able to form a government.

    The question of whether people care about pollies marital status is guesswork at best. In some, maybe even most, electorates it won’t matter. In some it will. The same situation if a candidate is openly gay or not. In most electorates it won’t matter. In some it will.

  16. Sprocket
    I was just about to post about Leyonhjelm jumping ship from Federal parliament before the voters push him.

    And now NSW politics – haven’t the voters suffered enough? Why doesn’t he pursue one of the tremendous opportunities in the private sector his undoubted skills in economic management would bring?

    Funny how often these opponents of public spending are happy to spend as long a proportion of their own working lives as possible being paid by taxpayers.

  17. Confessions @ #2386 Monday, January 7th, 2019 – 1:04 pm

    Julia Gillard was unmarried, and she was elected PM.

    And here is Confession’s post to which I was replying. In most people’s eyes the word “elected” means being chosen by the voters. My point was that neither she nor Abbott, nor the parties they led were
    chosen by the voters. Neither side got a majority of seats and were reliant on other MPs for a confidence vote.

    And yes, I am fully aware that that is how the system works.

  18. Dan Gulberry @ #2566 Monday, January 7th, 2019 – 5:16 pm


    You’re missing the point. I was originally replying to Confession’s post about voters not caring about pollies marital status. She implied that voters elected Julia Gillard as PM despite the fact that she was unmarried. My point was that voters didn’t elect either her or Abbott. Both of them were reliant on other elected members to be able to form a government.

    The question of whether people care about pollies marital status is guesswork at best. In some, maybe even most, electorates it won’t matter. In some it will. The same situation if a candidate is openly gay or not. In most electorates it won’t matter. In some it will.

    On that point I would agree, in Australia, I think it is largely irrelevant.

    We certainly don’t seem to be fixated about it like in the US.

  19. I think you’re the drunk. Earlwood. Drunk on right wing ideology….you have taken one almighty swig of the right wing Kool Aid. There is no Light on the Hill for you, is there?

  20. poroti @ #2507 Monday, January 7th, 2019 – 6:53 pm

    C @t
    I posted a copy of the pledge for you. As you would have noticed it is in plain English that taking money from them is a no no. Someone needs a new job if they ‘misunderstood’ it.

    Okay, I wasn’t going to reply to this piss poor attempt at a red herring from you but as you insist.

    It’s not the nature of the amount, it’s the origin of the donation.

    Anything above $200 cannot have come from a fossil fuel, and this is where you are totally missing the point, entity. This is what the campaign thought. Wrongly, as it turned out.

    Now, the campaign took donations from individuals above $200, who were found out to have been employees in the fossil fuel industry, just as they took donations above $200 from other individuals who didn’t work for companies in the fossil fuel industry. The campaign didn’t know that these particular individuals worked in the fossil fuel industry, as they were only keeping an eye out for donations from companies in the fossil fuel industry.

    The campaign was questioned by the guy who instituted the Pledge and he was satisfied that the oversight was inadvertent. A Left Wing environment group examined the issue closely as well, and they were satisfied that there was no intent to deceive and break the Pledge.

    Now do you get it!?!

    Because this is the last time I’m going to explain it to anyone! It should be obvious, unless you wish to keep swigging from the same bottle of stupid dtt and clem attlee have been passing around!

  21. Barney
    “Australia urged to help Saudi teenager barricaded inside Thai hotel room”

    Our government of cowardly bullies hasn’t done much to help a refugee soccer player in the same predicament who even has an Australian residency visa. What chance this girl, unless she is rich?

  22. C@tmomma

    Sorry , that still scores a fail on their part . It plainly said oil company executives. They never bothered to ask ?
    .
    “there was no intent to deceive and break the Pledge.” , don’t ask don’t tell ?

  23. Dan G:

    If marital status mattered in Aus politics no way in hell would Gillard have ever been in a position where she was able to be elected PM. Ditto her atheism (thanks to whomever pointed that out). And I’d add being female. She was able to be all these things and still be elected leader of a major political party of government in this country.

    We aren’t like the US where these things seem to be important.

  24. “I think you’re the drunk. Earlwood. Drunk on right wing ideology….you have taken one almighty swig of the right wing Kool Aid. There is no Light on the Hill for you, is there?”

    Down Rohan. Down.

    Good doggie. Good doggie.

  25. poroti @ #2576 Monday, January 7th, 2019 – 9:39 pm

    C@tmomma

    Sorry , that still scores a fail on their part . It plainly said oil company executives. They never bothered to ask ?
    .
    “there was no intent to deceive and break the Pledge.” , don’t ask don’t tell ?

    Go home, poroti, you’re drunk on that flagon of stupid that’s been passed around!

    You’re just looking for any reason you can grasp onto to diss the guy.

    Sad and pathetic.

  26. Socrates @ #2575 Monday, January 7th, 2019 – 5:35 pm

    Barney
    “Australia urged to help Saudi teenager barricaded inside Thai hotel room”

    Our government of cowardly bullies hasn’t done much to help a refugee soccer player in the same predicament who even has an Australian residency visa. What chance this girl, unless she is rich?

    This is sounding more promising.

    It almost sounds like Germany is playing a greater role than Australia.

    Saudi woman fleeing family won’t be deported, say Thai officials

    Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun denied entry to Thailand by immigration officials en route to Australia

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/07/saudi-woman-fleeing-family-wont-be-deported-say-thai-officials

  27. “So is Morrison, for now.”

    Only if you are happy for the Govt to apply the Constitution selectively and on a partisan basis. You know like in tin pot corrupt non-democracies.

    If you think the majority of the HoR should consist of people clearly entitled to hold the office and vote, the Govt hasn’t had such a majority for quite some time. But you know having the constitution apply in a way consistent with the rule of law and in a non-partisan way isn’t all that important, so long you like living in a joke non-democracy.

  28. Barney in Go Dau:

    [This is not a pleasant situation!

    I wonder what can we do?]

    Do as Alex Turnbull suggests. This young man’s quite impressive. I just hope her relatives in Saudi aren’t victimised, and no harm comes to her; for we know what they’re capable of.

  29. Mavis Smith @ #2582 Monday, January 7th, 2019 – 5:45 pm

    Barney in Go Dau:

    [This is not a pleasant situation!

    I wonder what can we do?]

    Do as Alex Turnbull suggests. This young man’s quite impressive. I just hope her relatives in Saudi aren’t victimised, and no harm comes to her; for we know what they’re capable of.

    I think you’ll find that the family in Saudi Arabia are the problem, so there’s no danger of that.

  30. “I think you’ll find that the family in Saudi Arabia are the problem, so there’s no danger of that.”

    I didn’t verify but there was at least one claim her father was some kind of regional official / governor.

  31. Alex Turnbull is far too much like his father, but not as bright, like that fraud Roman Q, don’t be fooled by wolves in sheeps clothing.

  32. WeWantPaul @ #2584 Monday, January 7th, 2019 – 6:53 pm

    Alex Turnbull is far too much like his father, but not as bright, like that fraud Roman Q, don’t be fooled by wolves in sheeps clothing.

    Why do you think of Roman Q as wolf in sheep clothing rather than a spurned former govt official treated badly and now speaking out? They might be one and the same, but until such confirmation he is exposing some of the poor governance this mob have perpetuated.

  33. I think you’re a bit hard on Alex, Paul. I’d like to have a son like him, despite him being a wet Tory. He may not be, as you say, as smart as his old man, but he’s quite ballsy.

  34. Confessions @ #2588 Monday, January 7th, 2019 – 9:57 pm

    WeWantPaul @ #2584 Monday, January 7th, 2019 – 6:53 pm

    Alex Turnbull is far too much like his father, but not as bright, like that fraud Roman Q, don’t be fooled by wolves in sheeps clothing.

    Why do you think of Roman Q as wolf in sheep clothing rather than a spurned former govt official treated badly and now speaking out? They might be one and the same, but until such confirmation he is exposing some of the poor governance this mob have perpetuated.

    Some people never want to give a sucker an even break if they have ever had anything to do with the Hatfields, if they are a McCoy. 🙂

  35. Peter Stanton

    Guilt may be the wrong word but playing semantics with issues as serious as these just perpetuates the crime.

    If you’re about. I find myself 2 glasses past where I trust myself to reply to your comment with proper consideration. However, my thinking is that “guilt” is a strong word. It is an absolute. It implies intent and thereby responsibility. For an individual it cannot apply to events or actions before they were born. Although there is of course a deeper level, where belonging to a group might attract guilt to the group and thereby to you as an individual in the group, the simple instinctive rejection of responsibility for the “distant” past is hard to deny.

    Shame, I think, works better. If you admire a group and identify with that group in some way, then you may wish to acknowledge some of the group’s past acts with pride but others with shame. Shame can motivate healing. I wasn’t living in Australia for the Apology to Australia’s Indigenous peoples. But I wonder where the shame went. I don’t feel it today. Has it been forgotten? Did it ever truly exist?

  36. Dan G @9:16
    “The same situation if a candidate is openly gay or not. In most electorates it won’t matter. In some it will.”
    In the Prahran it seems to be obligatory!

  37. Just watched a bloody Clive Palmer political ad, only mentioned one party “If you want all Australians to receive the dole and freely available marijuana , vote for the Greens”. All the rest of the ad was Antipodean Trump ,”make Australia great” etc etc.

  38. Socrates @ #2575 Monday, January 7th, 2019 – 9:35 pm

    Barney
    “Australia urged to help Saudi teenager barricaded inside Thai hotel room”

    Our government of cowardly bullies hasn’t done much to help a refugee soccer player in the same predicament who even has an Australian residency visa. What chance this girl, unless she is rich?

    If she was an au pair though…

  39. Dtt is a grub.

    On another note

    C@tmomma says:
    Monday, January 7, 2019 at 5:55 pm
    Rex Douglas @ #2458 Monday, January 7th, 2019 – 5:45 pm

    Watch them come for Emma now…
    Well, you set the gold standard.

    Labor will maintain radio silence in relation to Husar. There are very good reasons for this forebearance that go to privacy – Husar’s privacy and that of others.

    Grubs like RD will impute the worst. That is their staple gig. Can’t be helped. Grubs are grubs.

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