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. WTF!?! Everyone’s sons and daughters are going to be neutered if Labor wins the federal election!?!

    When too much anger is barely enough…. the nutters have to make stuff up in their search for things to wave their fists at.

  2. poroti @ #229 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 11:28 am

    Rupert has sent Barnyard a crate of fine reds and asked him to write an article. The prospect of a Labor gov. seems to have unsettled him 😆 . A sampler…………………

    Chaos is just a vote away
    JANUARY 02, 2019
    By Barnaby Joyce

    It (Labor) is too cunning to be led to a hostile battlefield when it can shoot us in a clear field from its own forest.
    .
    .
    If you believe Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are congested — well, suck it up, because more people from God knows what country are on their way. They will come because they want to and under the circumstances they choose.
    .
    .
    Don’t dare say the words “son” or “daughter” — they are now to be neuter people.
    .
    .
    The Greens want to jail people who export thermal coal.

    https://outline.com/3r99jm

    After having read Mr Joyce’s musings I’m going to put partisan politics aside and be concerned as a human about Mr Joyce’s state of mind.

    It dissapoints me that The Oz saw fit to publish the article written by Mr Joyce, it is clearly unhinged. I can only hope that one of his colleagues can persuade him to seek appropriate help for the problems he has in his life.

  3. I don’t give a damn about Neil Prakash. What really gets to me about this decision is the contempt it shows to a Pacific neighbour – and from the guy who made jokes about Pacific nations being devastated by climate change.

    It it was the USA or even NZ, we would not be shoving this problem onto the other nation where the citizenship link is utterly tenuous. Prakash was born here and never made any attempt to get Fijian citizenship, let alone be acknowledged by Fiji as a citizen. Dutton is just giving the Fijians a big FU because he thinks he can.

    This is exactly right. It’s some A-grade beggar-thy-neighbour bullshit.

    Whatever went wrong with Prakash, it happened here, on our watch.

  4. grimace @ #249 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 11:03 am


    After having read Mr Joyce’s musings I’m going to put partisan politics aside and be concerned as a human about Mr Joyce’s state of mind.

    It dissapoints me that The Oz saw fit to publish the article written by Mr Joyce, they are unhinged. I can only hope that one of his colleagues can persuade him to seek appropriate help for the problems he has in his life.

    No concern there.

    It’s just as coherent as his usual musings, in fact it reads like dictation. 🙂

  5. “Everyone’s sons and daughters are going to be neutered if Labor wins the federal election!?! ”

    Of course, only sons will be neutered. Daughters will be spayed.

  6. C@tmomma @ #238 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 10:45 am

    Just an obvious point, well it seems obvious to me anyway, but say Neil Prakash comes back to Australia, won’t he be arrested at the airport and immediately charged with terrorism offences under Australian law and be just as quickly placed in custody in the Super Max prison in solitary confinement with no likelihood of bail being granted, thus be absolutely no threat to anyone at all in Australia?

    To which I will add as a tangential observation, that all those supposedly dangerous criminals who have been deported by this government to other countries, that those countries don’t seem to have had any disastrous consequences in the countries they have been deported back to.

    Maybe, but will any Turkish conviction hinder that?

  7. It dissapoints me that The Oz saw fit to publish

    This is the Australian, you are talking about, part of Murdoch’s Fox / Sky / News stable of propaganda. Enemies of truth, enemies of democracy, haters of the planet. It is kinda exactly what the Oz is for. Surprises me anyone reads it, or is prepared to put content into it. Obviously not the beetrooter, he is right at home in that kind of filth.

  8. It just blows my mind how and why the people of New England allow someone as disrespectful and vacuous as Barnaby Joyce be their rep. Must be such a toxic vibe going on in that community.

  9. This better get smacked down ASAP.
    .
    .
    Queensland tribunal calls into question ban on firearm silencers
    Police appeal Queensland civil and administrative tribunal ruling that they reconsider refusal for farmer ‘at extreme risk’ of hearing loss

    The farmer told the tribunal he was “at extreme risk” of hearing loss and presented supporting evidence including a position paper published by Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a US-based offshoot of the Second Amendment Foundation.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jan/03/queensland-tribunal-calls-into-question-ban-on-firearm-silencers

  10. William,

    In your lead to this thread, you state that Joanna Gash is the current mayor of Shoalhaven City Council. It is actually Amanda Findley, a Greens councillor of 8 years standing. With a lot of progressive refugees fleeing Sydney for the Shoalhaven, we rather have it known that a Green not a Liberal is the mayor. 🙂

  11. poroti @ #271 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 11:22 am

    This better get smacked down ASAP.
    .
    .
    Queensland tribunal calls into question ban on firearm silencers
    Police appeal Queensland civil and administrative tribunal ruling that they reconsider refusal for farmer ‘at extreme risk’ of hearing loss

    The farmer told the tribunal he was “at extreme risk” of hearing loss and presented supporting evidence including a position paper published by Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a US-based offshoot of the Second Amendment Foundation.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jan/03/queensland-tribunal-calls-into-question-ban-on-firearm-silencers

    Earplugs or ear mufflers, anyone.

  12. poroti @ #271 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 3:22 pm

    This better get smacked down ASAP.
    .
    .
    Queensland tribunal calls into question ban on firearm silencers
    Police appeal Queensland civil and administrative tribunal ruling that they reconsider refusal for farmer ‘at extreme risk’ of hearing loss

    The farmer told the tribunal he was “at extreme risk” of hearing loss and presented supporting evidence including a position paper published by Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a US-based offshoot of the Second Amendment Foundation.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jan/03/queensland-tribunal-calls-into-question-ban-on-firearm-silencers

    The tribunal have been got at …?

  13. Joyce is using neuter to describe the use of common pronouns, adjectives and behavioural standards. This is inaccurate as neuter adjectives, pronouns and behavioural standards are for the genderless (mainly objects, with it being a neuter pronoun), while common pronouns (such as the singular they), adjectives and behavioural standards apply regardless of gender.

  14. I’ve given up on the cricket and am now watching Das Boot.

    I’m listening to rational security / lawfare pod, apparently ‘New Year New You’ is the go.

  15. BK

    I’ve given up on the cricket and am now watching Das Boot.

    Isn’t that about a captain and his men who are losing a war, and are trapped with no power or weapons to take on the enemy?

    Sounds pretty much like events at the SCG.

  16. From Fairfax cricket blog:

    [‘This column does not usually have to verify too many statements by political leaders but there has been conjecture raised over a claim made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a reception he hosted at Kirribilli House for the Australian and Indian teams on New Year’s Day.

    Mr Morrison stated that the function was an initiative of former Liberal PM John Howard though The Tonk can debunk this as myth.

    Incorrect: Scott Morrison’s claim an annual pre-Test function at Kirribilli House was a Howard Government initiative has been shown to be false.

    Incorrect: Scott Morrison’s claim an annual pre-Test function at Kirribilli House was a Howard Government initiative has been shown to be false.CREDIT:BROOK MITCHELL
    The now traditional reception at the PM’s Sydney residence was instituted when Kevin Rudd was in the top job for the 2010 Test against Pakistan. This has been confirmed by a CA staffer at the time.

    It was the brainchild of one of Mr Rudd’s former advisors, Adam Collins, whose role included liaising with Cricket Australia regarding government-related issues.’]

    FauxMo can’t even get a simple fact right.

  17. poroti says:
    Thursday, January 3, 2019 at 3:22 pm
    This better get smacked down ASAP.
    .
    .
    Queensland tribunal calls into question ban on firearm silencers
    Police appeal Queensland civil and administrative tribunal ruling that they reconsider refusal for farmer ‘at extreme risk’ of hearing loss

    The farmer told the tribunal he was “at extreme risk” of hearing loss and presented supporting evidence including a position paper published by Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a US-based offshoot of the Second Amendment Foundation.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jan/03/queensland-tribunal-calls-into-question-ban-on-firearm-silencers

    At first I thought that noise reducing ear muffs would be the answer. Then I realised that you would never find a pair small enough to fit their narrow minds.

  18. “I am older, the illegal drug of choice was marijuana; ”

    Back in the day when i was at school the drugs were alcohol, cannabis, LSD and the occasional heroin.

    Alcohol was the biggest prob. Party where everyone gets pissed and the bogan boys from the orchards (who had cars and so the girls) get aggressive and stroppy.

    If cannabis was the focus though, could all be pretty mellow. 🙂

    The few who got into acid. There were some incidents i remember from people on LSD, and there are a couple of people from back then i have encountered who still haven’t recovered i think . Led me to really NOT trust anything that is reliant on someones backyard chemistry lab.

    Sniffing was just coming up as a thing. One guy i knew couldn’t score acid on night and stuck his nose into a jar of that blue PVC glue. High for a couple of minutes and then sick for 3 days. Not sure he ever recovered from it actually.

    The one or two into smack as it was known then were definitely on the outer. They had connections to medical personnel and got it through them. Even way back there were doctors and nurses in ER rooms doing opiates or whatever to cope with the stress.

    World has moved on. There is some really bad stuff out there now. Meth 🙁 Artificial cannabis substitutes are a worry and have been following some of the Nz stuff.

    Luckily my offspring has a pretty good attitude. Wont touch cannabis as she reckons it will hurt brain plasticity until she is 21 and is well indoctrinated with the “don’t rely on someone else’s lab skills” thing. Doesn’t even do fizzy drinks and never has so her teeth are in very good nick. 🙂

    Pill testing? I’m all for it from a harm minimization perspective. Its no silver bullet, but if it saves a few lives its worth doing. Legalization of cannabis i’m for since its herbal. 🙂 And, take it out of the mix as far as financing OTHER drug production is a worthwhile objective. Also, it reduces the extent to which younger less experienced people using cannabis by choice get exposed to pushers wanting to sell meth.

    Legalize cannabis for personal use and most people will just buy what they want through legal, taxable channels. If people can grow 4-6 plants themselves then it will only be the “hobbyists” who like to try different varieties who will bother with the effort of growing their own and sourcing seed that has legit made it through quarantine.

    Much rational that can be with drug policy in Australia but i think it has to be all done from a harm minimization perspective, t some bullshit, pure politics, “war on drugs” angle.

  19. It is very unfair of Fairfax to pedantically point out Scomo’s claim as error.

    Everyone knows Howard was a great cricket fan and, if he didn’t initiate the reception it was only because he was so busy saving the nation from Costello. OTOH everyone knows Rudd is completely uninterested in cricket and would only have arranged the reception as a Sunrise style publicity stunt.

    Scomo was therefore right to make the claim and bugger the facts. You know it makes sense. When the world doesn’t suit your perspective, tilt the world. Could I have another lump of coal please Scomo?

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