Midweek mélange

New fronts open in the Liberal Party’s internal warfare as it scrambles to prepare for an election looking increasingly to be in May.

As we wait for the 2019 polling machine to get cranking, a review of recent happenings:

• Indigenous leader Warren Mundine is to be installed as the new Liberal candidate for the marginal seat of Gilmore in southern New South Wales, supplanting the existing candidate, Grant Schultz, by decree of the party’s state executive acting at the behest of the Prime Minister. Schultz promptly quit the Liberal Party when the news broke yesterday and announced he would run as an independent. Schultz’s dumping was also blasted by Shelley Hancock, member for the corresponding state seat of South Coast, who spoke of “one of the darkest days of the Liberal Party”. A local real estate agent and son of the late Alby Schultz, former member for Hume, Schultz was preparing a challenge to the preselection of incumbent Ann Sudmalis last year, and was the only remaining nominee after she announced her retirement in September. Mundine was national president of the ALP in 2006 and 2007, but quit the party in 2012 and moved ever further into the conservative orbit thereafter. It is expected the seat will be contested for the Nationals by Katrina Hodgkinson, former state member for Burrinjuck and Cootamundra.

• Following Kelly O’Dwyer’s retirement announcement on the weekend, it appears accepted within the Liberal Party that it needs to pick a woman to succeed her. Katie Allen, a paediatrician and medical researcher who ran unsuccessfully in Prahran at the November state election, has confirmed she will nominate. Michael Koziol of The Age reports other names being discussed include Caroline Elliott, state party vice-president and daughter of businessman John Elliott, and Margaret Fitzherbert, who lost her upper house seat for Southern Metropolitan region at the state election. Senator Jane Hume has reportedly encouraged to put her name forward, but announced yesterday she would not do so.

• Anne Webster, founder of young mother support organisation Zoe Support, was chosen as the Nationals candidate for Mallee at a local preselection vote on Saturday. Webster will succeed one-term member Andrew Broad, who announced his impending retirement last month after he became embroiled in the “sugar baby” affair. Rachel Baxendale of The Australian reports Webster won in the second round of voting over Birchip accountant and farmer Bernadette Hogan and Mildura police domestic violence taskforce head Paul Matheson, with three other candidates excluded in the first round.

• Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie has announced she will not contest the lower house seat of Indi, contrary to expectations she would do so if independent incumbent Cathy McGowan announced her retirement, which she did last weekend.

• Two notable independents have emerged to challenge Tony Abbott in Warringah: Alice Thompson, a KPMG manager who worked in the Prime Minister’s Office under Malcolm Turnbull, and Susan Moylan-Coombs, founder and director of indigenous advocacy organisation the Gaimaragal Group.

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.

1,977 comments on “Midweek mélange”

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  1. Confessions @ #1948 Friday, January 25th, 2019 – 7:51 pm

    Barney in Go Dau @ #1936 Friday, January 25th, 2019 – 8:23 pm

    William Bowe @ #1914 Friday, January 25th, 2019 – 6:50 pm

    This could refer to anything, really.

    By in or around June and July 2016, STONE informed senior Trump Campaign officials that he had information indicating Organization 1 had documents whose release would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign. The head of Organization 1 was located at all relevant times at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, United Kingdom.

    😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆

    I’m sure it will be the source of much conjecture and debate.

    What do you mean by this?

    People will consider the paragraph for about a nanosecond before they realise what Organization 1 is.

  2. What are the chances of a Reshuffle given two Ministers are going at the poll. Morrison May see it as a circuit breaker. Injection of new blood. Won’t work but hey gotta give it a go.

  3. Dipping into Brexit again tonight I read a piece by Timothy Garton Ash in The Guardian.

    One of Britain’s chronic problems in Europe is that while there have been many pro-European British politicians, there have been far fewer who actually speak European, in the way that French and Germans, Poles, Spaniards and Italians instinctively do. For they start with both head and heart from the premise of a shared future.

    There’s an old joke about a chicken and a pig opening a breakfast diner , which they plan to call “Ham and Eggs”. The problem is the pig is very hard to please as to the location and other matters besides. So time and again, no diner. Eventually the chicken asks the pig “How come you get to decide everything?”. The pig replies, “Well there is a difference between us. While you are certainly involved in our enterprise, I am fully committed.”

    An old joke. But reminiscent of Britain and the other countries of the European enterprise. Britain isn’t committed to Europe, merely involved. Just a thought.

  4. William Bowe says:
    Friday, January 25, 2019 at 9:52 pm
    Michael Keenan to quit politics. A shame, as I was hoping to see him lose.

    Delicately put, William 🙂

  5. zoomster says:
    Friday, January 25, 2019 at 10:29 pm

    1h1 hour ago
    #ReachTEL Poll Seat of Higgins Primary Votes: LIB 36.9 ALP 24.8 GRN 17.7 Minor party 7.1 IND 5.1 Undecided 8.4 #auspol

    Beautiful set of numbers…the Liberal cohorts are marching away. They face a reprise of the Victorian election in their heartland seats. So richly deserved.

  6. Being (just) a tad biased it’s difficult to reliably recall if the RGR ALP were perceived by the punters as being anywhere near as bad as this mob in 2013. I at least had a snifter of hope, but it’s hard to imagine anyone from the dark side entertaining anything but oblivion this time round.

  7. @ steve davis

    Put me down for Ken Wyatt to depart.

    I did hear that he was talked out of resigning in the leadup to the 2016 election by Turnbull. He’s currently 66, is staring down the barrel of copping the blame for the nuclear fallout from the Aged Care RC between now and the next election and he’s facing years in opposition making the heroic assumption that he holds off Labor’s James Martin in Hasluck.

  8. From the Australian, the next to jump ship is likely to be Craig Landry:

    Scott Morrison spent two hours meeting former minister and Malcolm Turnbull supporter Craig Laundy in his office in Sydney in a bid to convince him to recontest his marginal inner-Sydney seat of Reid at the election this year.

    Mr Laundy is understood to be using his leave ahead of the resumption of federal parliament next month to make a decision on whether to run again, amid widespread speculation that, after Mr Turnbull was rolled last year, the former workplace relations minister would call it quits.


  9. First update on “Who will be the next Coalition MP to resign?”

    Steve Davis– Julie Bishop

    Quasar——Craig Laundy

    Agoo44——Peter Dutton(unsure)

    Tom———Tony Abbott

    Gareth——-Warren Entsch

    Zoidlord——NT or QLD MP

    3z———–Sussan Ley

    Late Riser—–Michelle Landry

    Grimace——Ken Wyatt

    Any more suggested names are welcome.Will update at least once a day.

  10. I’m predicting Julie Bishop to stay.
    Curtin is the ‘Texas Oil Barons’ seat of Australia.
    She represesents them and they will have a seat at the table even if they are only eating rump.

  11. SM
    I think you are right. JB spent a decade as deputy, I think she will happily sit at the back of the buss for few more years. Its better than working and has much better percs.

  12. In WA, Steve Irons (Swan) could be a drop-out. He faces a formidable Labor opponent, Hannah Beazley, who should be odds-on to win. Irons has achieved exactly nothing in his time in Parliament, even from government. He would have no reason at all to want to sit in Opposition.

    Maybe Nola Marino (Forrest) is a prospect too….tho I hasten to add I have no knowledge of the contest.

  13. Bishop has been doing media and trying to stay visible. She’s very unlikely to quit, if only to defy her colleagues who are hoping she will.

    Perhaps she aspires to lead a reformed Liberal Party. She has no chance of success in the reactionary cesspit that currently dominate the federal Libs.

  14. GhostWhoVotes
    1h1 hour ago
    #ReachTEL Poll Seat of Higgins Primary Votes: LIB 36.9

    On such a low PV in a safe seat, the Liberals will struggle to get to 2 Senate quotas.

  15. Canning…Hastie should lose. The Labor candidate is very competitive, the campaign has been going a while and is well-organised. Hastie is pre-historic. He should lose on the results of the State election. The feds cannot expect to do better than their State counterparts. As bad as Barnett was, he was miles better than Morrison…

    Of course, Hastie fancies himself. He will fight rather than quit.

  16. fwiw, I think the Liberals have just 2 unloseable seats here – Curtin and O’Connor. Tangney, Moore, Durack and Forrest should be defensible, but they are vulnerable. Everything else is likely to fall to Labor.

    I think the Liberals will fail to get 25% of the PV in the Senate.

  17. briefly says Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 1:51 am

    In WA, Steve Irons (Swan) could be a drop-out. He faces a formidable Labor opponent, Hannah Beazley, who should be odds-on to win. Irons has achieved exactly nothing in his time in Parliament, even from government. He would have no reason at all to want to sit in Opposition.

    What, that means I’ll miss out on a local pool. It seems to have been the only thing he’s tried to do, and he hasn’t achieved it (unfortunately).

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