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. “Castor oil is herbal too!”

    Yup. Not to say “herbals” are not powerful drugs, and some are quite nasty human effect wise. Just in a recreational sense a lot safer than the more processed options.

  2. imacca

    brussel sprouts

    Small sprouts, cut into quarters and lightly boiled, then tossed in a pan with unsalted butter and soft brown sugar, are nice.

  3. Barney

    Thanks. Just a bad headache and dizziness, but it requires an alert mind and serious concentration early in the morning and I don’t think I’m going to get there. 🙂

  4. BK

    I was never much of a fan of Brussels sprouts until I moved to Adelaide.
    Best I ever ate grew in your neck of the woods.
    Helped that they were being cooked an eaten just a few km from where they had been grown and recently harvested.

  5. @BK

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

    I’ve discovered the perfect solution – I turn down the volume on the TV and watch Das Boot on my iPad. Out of the corner of my eye I can keep an eye on developments in the cricket – if there are any – and do an instant replay.

  6. imacca

    I suspect your a little older than me, LSD had fallen out of favor.
    The rest I agree 100% much better having people in circles singing kumbala than the shit that is going on now.

    I was lucky with my two, Darwin didn’t get them; but I was horrified when they told me the time it took to get from town to the farm to meet the curfew.

  7. kevjohnno
    There is the film “das boot” available on netflix and there is a 6 part series of the same name on SBS on Demand. Both the film and the series are very, very good.

  8. Hmmm.

    EVERALD COMPTON
    ‏@EVERALDATLARGE
    4h4 hours ago

    #Labor is not a genuine political party. It is a very effective lobby group for #TradeUnions and it has a quality team in #Parliament but it won’t be a Party with a broad membership base until it separates itself from Unions.

    and

    Am self funded retiree who has never joined any Party.. Father was life long member of #AWU but was swinging voter as only a couple of people in Union exercised all its political power. Now #Unions have 50% of voting power in #ALP with about a dozen people exercising that power.

  9. Harry “Snapper” Organs

    I have one of those pendants to call for help, thank you. I’ll wear it all night, and I know a friend is coming during the morning. 🙂

  10. “Both the film and the series are very, very good.”

    What i liked about the series was its focus on life in occupied France as well as the UBoat thing. Would have been horrid under the German occupation just trying to survive.

  11. a r says:
    Thursday, January 3, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    All the best music and movies happened when everyone was doing LSD.

    Watched a show on Davie Bowie last night, he was relieved when he discovered that was bull shit. But it’s hard to argue that the peak use and good music did not align.

  12. The National Party is effectively a lobby group for pastoral and mining interests. The Liberal Party is a lobby group for big corporations, with the miners also getting a lookin there as well.

  13. imacca @ #301 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 1:38 pm

    “brussel sprouts!”

    Which, along with eggplant should be expunged from the worlds biodiversity. 🙂

    Are there more pointless vegetables than iceberg lettuce and snow pea sprouts? Neither actually offer any flavour or taste, the former simply offering bulk and the latter offering garnish. Totally pointless.

  14. Heard on the cricket commentary, noting a threatening-looking sky. “Acouple of weeks ago Sydney had hail stones the size of small planets”.

    Maybe somwhat exaggerated.

  15. lizzie @ #316 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 4:56 pm

    Hmmm.

    EVERALD COMPTON
    ‏@EVERALDATLARGE
    4h4 hours ago

    #Labor is not a genuine political party. It is a very effective lobby group for #TradeUnions and it has a quality team in #Parliament but it won’t be a Party with a broad membership base until it separates itself from Unions.

    and

    Am self funded retiree who has never joined any Party.. Father was life long member of #AWU but was swinging voter as only a couple of people in Union exercised all its political power. Now #Unions have 50% of voting power in #ALP with about a dozen people exercising that power.

    The ALP is indeed what he describes.

    They can’t be trusted with a majority in both houses of parliament.

    A Greens/Storer balance of power is a safe result.

  16. lizzie
    Good to hear you’ve got one of those and someone is coming in the morning. I had to go to the other side of the city today and really would not fancy travelling tomorrow. Total fire ban days = I get quite anxious. Black Saturday memories.

  17. Rex Douglas @ #326 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 1:19 pm

    lizzie @ #316 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 4:56 pm

    Hmmm.

    EVERALD COMPTON
    ‏@EVERALDATLARGE
    4h4 hours ago

    #Labor is not a genuine political party. It is a very effective lobby group for #TradeUnions and it has a quality team in #Parliament but it won’t be a Party with a broad membership base until it separates itself from Unions.

    and

    Am self funded retiree who has never joined any Party.. Father was life long member of #AWU but was swinging voter as only a couple of people in Union exercised all its political power. Now #Unions have 50% of voting power in #ALP with about a dozen people exercising that power.

    The ALP is indeed what he describes.

    They can’t be trusted with a majority in both houses of parliament.

    A Greens/Storer balance of power is a safe result.

    That first part is pretty much straight from Barnaby’s piece in the Australian.

    That is not a problem for the far Left, which is running to the election and not having to fire a shot before they take you to the new world of the Teachers Federation and the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union.

    https://outline.com/3r99jm

  18. there is a 6 part series of the same name on SBS on Demand. Both the film and the series are very, very good.

    Thank you. I am giddy with excitement about this. I loved the book, really enjoyed the movie.

  19. It was mentioned earlier this week Circular Quay railway station in Sydney has the best view of any station in the world. Well number 2 has to be the station for Venice, the “Ferrovia”, the entrance opens out to the grand canal.
    So the eqivilant to Eddy Avenue at Central railway station is a body of water complete with Gondolas and ferry terminals.
    An excellent way to arrive at Venice. Especially if you have arrived by first class, high speed rail from Florence.

  20. Simon Katich
    I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy the series very much. Full of intrigue and interesting characters. Really good story lines.

  21. We watched both Das Boots in the last couple of weeks.

    I found the Director’s Cut “movie” the better of the two. Both had many equivalent scenes and parallel situations, but the movie had more verisimilitude than the more recent TV series, which ended up being quite far-fetched and frankly unbelievable by the time the lesbian affairs, double agents, smarmy Nazi Gestapo leer merchants, insane Communists, mutineering captains back from the dead, mid-Atlantic rendezvouses, mass executions, dud torpedos, and corrupt Vichy officials, all interspersed with lots and lots of shouting in waterlogged circumstances came to its ending-with-a-predictable-twist.

    The film version (which I am aware was also originally a TV series edited into cinema format) was less melodramatic and more convincing without the side stories.

    Far better than both (as consumer TV) was the complete series of Hornblower on YouTube (most of it in 1080p) which, while just as unbelievable as the Das Boot series, and shamelessly “Boys Own”, was at least more fun to watch.

  22. grimace @ #254 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 3:03 pm

    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.

    I did not think that my esteemed representative in Federal Government could get worse, but it has come to pass.

    Please, Labor, put up an electable candidate.

    Or the LNP even, put up someone nominally independent.

    #anyonebutbarnaby

  23. lizzie @ #291 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 4:26 pm

    I’m very sorry everyone, but I don’t think I can do the Dawn Patrol tomorrow. I’m not feeling well enough.

    Sorry.

    I could assemble some bits and pieces and I guess others will do the same.

    While I will most certainly miss the discernment of both BK and yourself (we) will try our uncertain best.

    I am not best pleased to hear of your unwellness.

    For tomorrow I intend to do a little item concerning the order of driving style and dress for the discerning yobo/bogan attending a funeral service.

    Be kind to yourself. 😇 (you)—😵 (me).

  24. Rex Douglas @ #269 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 3:13 pm

    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.

    Nope. Politics means nothing to the majority, so long as the Nationals are elected. Sheep go willingly to be shorn or to the abbatoir.

    Baaaaaaa!

  25. Confessions says:
    Thursday, January 3, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    If your iceberg lettuce has no flavour you need to change your greengrocer. Fresh ice berg has a subtle herby flavour and a lovely fresh crunch. Buy it at farmers markets and avoid any grown by aqua culture.

  26. In lieu of Lizzie May I suggest that using the format so ably employed by BK and Lizzie that bludgers just add articles as they find them with a short précis?

  27. Vogon Poet says:
    Thursday, January 3, 2019 at 4:35 pm
    beer and wine are the result of a fungal infection

    And meat is the result of murder. A lovely delicious result.

  28. zoomster @ #338 Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – 2:45 pm

    Indeed, union power has fallen since 2003 —

    ‘Affiliated unions also account for 50% of delegates at federal and state party conferences that determine policy. This was reduced from 60% in 2003…’

    https://theconversation.com/how-the-influence-of-trade-unions-on-the-labor-party-is-overestimated-57476

    So this ‘now’ business is just bullcrap.

    It’s not like Labor have ever made a secret of being the political arm of the trade unions.

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