Departure lounge

The retirement of another senior Liberal in a loseable seat, and a poll suggesting Labor could pull off a boilover in Higgins.

The West Australian today reports that Human Services Minister Michael Keenan will be joining the exodus at the election, creating a vacancy in his northern suburbs Perth seat of Stirling. The seat was long highly marginal, but Keenan has held it on mostly comfortable margins since he gained the seat from Labor in 2004.

There is also a uComms/ReachTEL poll in The Australian from the scene of the week’s other big retirement announcements, the Melbourne seat of Higgins. Conducted on Thursday from a sample of 860 for interests who wish to bring about the return of Peter Costello, the poll finds Labor with a two-party lead of 52-48. This compares with a 10.7% margin for retiring Liberal member Kelly O’Dwyer in Liberals-versus-Labor terms, although it’s perfectly in line with how the electorate voted at the election. It was in fact the Greens who finished second in 2016, but the poll suggests that is unlikely to be repeated this time: after exclusion of the 8.4% undecided, the primary votes are Liberal 40.3%, Labor 27.1% and Greens 19.3%.

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.

1,544 comments on “Departure lounge”

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  1. So the Greens are outpolled by 3 wackos, Hanson, Palmer & Katter. No wonder they are upset tonight.

    Townsville always did have the rep as redneck central.

  2. kevjohnno

    Who’s upset? Certainly not me.

    You really must stop projecting your emotions onto me, but then you’re not alone in persisting in doing this.

  3. Sad to see Sam booted from celebrity. Couldn’t stand him as a politician but warmed to him in the jungle. His attempt at skinny dipping hilarious.
    Seems to have paid a heavy price, hope he gets back on his feet.

  4. Geez Pegasus has been drinking at the fountain of bitterness tonight.

    Try to point out some on the ground insights in Herbert and how the cookie may crumble Election Day and I become Public Enemy number one.

    Anyway. Having a dig at me will save some other poor bludger from the bitterness.

  5. Goll,

    You wound me to the core.

    May you have sweet dreams of a Greens annihilation.

    I will have sweet dreams of a kinder, gentler, more humane and compassionate society and world.

  6. Hunt is now in all sorts in Flinders with a new poll at 51-49 Labor. Hunt’s primary has collapsed from 51.6 at the 2016 election to 36.8. Julia Banks may run in Flinders. Hunt has a real problem with female voters, 32.7 % of women said they would vote for the Liberal Party compared with 41.2% of men. Hunt’s role in the August leadership challenge caused 47.8% of those polled said they were less likely to vote for the sitting member. Hunt you are a total imbecile because you created this whole mess.

  7. Latest sweep update on the question”Who will be the next Coalition MP to quit?”

    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

    Briefly—–Steve Irons(poss)

    Iom——-Craig Laundy

    Player One -Scott Morrison(not his own choice)

    Sgh1969—Christopher Pyne

    Rex Douglas–Kevin Andrews

    DTT——Ken Wyatt

    Bilko—–Stuart Robert

    Vote1Julia–Craig Laundy

    Sprocket–Angus Taylor

    PuffyTMD-Scott Morrison(knifed)

    Steve777–Julie Bishop

    HaveAchat–Michael McCormack

    Confessions- Craig Laundy

    Goll—— Stuart Robert ?

    Bennelong Lurker–Craig Laundy

    Kambah Mick–Angus Taylor

    Booleanbach–Andrew Hastie

    JenAuthor—Craig Laundy

    Henry——Craig Laundy

    Dave from Wagga–Michael McCormack

    Upnorth—John Alexander.

  8. Peg
    Our dreams transcend I believe.
    Your problem is you’re travelling in a P76 and will need to find a different path to achieve your dreams.
    Typical Green claiming ownership of “a kinder,gentler, more humane and compassionate society and world”
    Peg, all a little too rose coloured glasses to be taken seriously, and typically snipey.
    Most people realised the fate of the P76 dream some time ago.
    No not Peg, just get back on the keyboard and bash the duopoly. Which is kind of sad for the Greens as it’s all they have.

  9. k

    It’s passion and the desire for a better society and world.

    It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees.

    Never give up!

    Live in hope.

    Vaclav Havel:

    “Even a purely moral act that has no hope of any immediate and visible political effect can gradually and indirectly, over time, gain in political significance.”


    “Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good.

  10. Tony Abbott will use his “megaphone” as a former prime minister and stoke fears of another carbon tax when he writes to voters and asks them to back him in what is shaping as the toughest challenge to his seat in the 25 years he has held it.

    Former Olympic skier and barrister Zali Steggall yesterday ­announced she would challenge Mr Abbott in the seat of Warringah in the upcoming federal election, launching her campaign with a team of co-ordinated volunteers in aqua shirts and putting climate change squarely at the centre of her pitch.

    Election analyst Antony Green told The Australian Ms Steggall was a “formidable candidate” and “the type of independent who can win”. “She has a high profile and a substantial track record of achievements in life,” he said

    “I think of her as a Cathy McGowan type, really. Warringah never goes to preferences so whoever stands has got to eat into the Liberal Party primary vote and get Abbott below 50 per cent if they want to win.”

    Former independent candidate and one-time host of Australian Idol James Mathison stood against Mr Abbott in the 2016 election and received swings to him of up to 19 per cent in addition to then Nick Xenophon Team candidate Marie Rowland, whose own vote was more than 6 per cent across the seat.
    James Mathison, who stood as an independent against Tony Abbott in the 2016 election, received swings to him of up to 19 per cent. He has thrown his support behind Ms Steggall.

    Mr Mathison has thrown his support behind Ms Steggall, calling her “the real deal”, and urged everyone to “corral around the best independent candidate”.

    “The electorate has two very different sides and it is hard to have a foot in both camps, but she definitely does,” he said. “She is strong, female and highly educated. I am pragmatic, I think I am probably too far-left to win.”

    Public education advocate and feminist writer Jane Caro has confirmed she will not be running, but says she will support any independent who is prepared to prioritise climate change.

    “I am not running and I am supportive of any independent who is prepared to prioritise climate change,” she said.

    Ms Steggall will oppose changes to negative gearing and place emphasis on climate change in her campaign, naming environmentalist Tim Flannery as a key supporter.

    Anthony Reid, who worked on Kerryn Phelps’s successful Wentworth by-election campaign, will run Ms Steggall’s campaign, and Louise Hislop — the former president of grassroots anti-Abbott group Voices for Warringah — has been installed as operations manager and co-campaign manager.

    The lawyer and former slalom world champion said she would fight the hard-right incumbent Tony Abbott from the “sensible centre” of politics.

    “It’s time for real action on ­climate change,” Ms Steggall said.

    “We want to make sure we lead the economic boom with new technology, renewable energy, and (that) we bring jobs to Warringah.”

    She said she would release a ­climate change policy during the campaign, and was also “determined to bring down the price of power” through greater use of renewable energy and hydro storage.

    “I want to beat Tony Abbott, who has been a handbrake on Australian progress on many fronts but, particularly, effective action on climate change,” Ms Steggall said. “I support sensible centre economic policies for a strong, ­stable economy and will resist proposed changes to negative gearing, franking credits and capital gains tax.

    “People are also worried about the state of politics in this country, the lack of compassion on human rights, how rising congestion is disrupting our commutes, mental health and domestic violence.”

    Mr Abbott will write to voters in the electorate in the coming week, telling them he is “proud of everything” achieved in the seat.

    “But there’s much more to do; and no one can fight harder for you and for our area than someone with the big megaphone that only a former PM has,” he says in an electorate mailout.

    He also revives the effective carbon tax campaign that swept him from opposition leader to power in 2013 as prime minister.

    “My other pledge is to do everything I humanly can to protect you from Labor’s tax attack that will unfairly target people in Warringah with above-average incomes and assets,” he says.

  11. Am I being too cynical in thinking this announcement is carefully timed by Gladys?

    Sydney’s desalination plant has officially been switched on, returning it to operation for the first time in seven years.”

    “Sydney’s dam storage dropped below 60% on Sunday, triggering the long-awaited restart procedures and putting the plant back in operation for the first time since 2012.”

    “Under its contract, the desalination plant must operate for a minimum of 14 months under the metropolitan water plan and potentially until dam levels return to 70%.

    Sydneysiders can expect their annual water bills to increase by about $30 as a result.

    The plant was privatised by the LNP Gov’t (just why was never explained) but we will now pay a $30 pa flat levy to the new owners.

    So even if you are socially conscious, or just trying to save money, done all the water saving measures, and are positively frugal with your water, you will pay the same levy as the family with the swimming pool who all take 20 minute showers.

    But wait…… there’s more
    Three weeks ago Gladys approved mining under the catchment, which results in water loss of 3.5 million litres a day.

    Two coal mines in Greater Sydney’s catchment area are likely to be diverting millions of litres of water daily from reservoirs, an independent panel has found, prompting calls for a halt to further mining.

    So we are indirectly paying the coal miner’s water bills.

    Pity our water bills won’t arrive before the election to remind us all that we are paying AGAIN for the desal plant and for miners to take our precious water.
    The NSW state election can’t come too soon.
    (Apologies for the rant. I’ll now go back to listening to the gentle sound of rainwater filling my tanks)


    Ms Steggall told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age she would welcome preferences from the large field of candidates expected to challenge Mr Abbott but would not tell her supporters how to vote.
    A local Greens source said it was likely a coalition of parties and candidates would unite around the goal of unseating Mr Abbott and preference Ms Steggall accordingly on how-to-vote cards.

    A Labor source said the party’s strategy would recognise that a centrist independent had more chance of winning the seat, which has been in the Liberals’ hands for decades and held by Mr Abbott for 25 years. Labor ran dead in the Wentworth byelection to help Dr Phelps win.

  13. There has been speculation over the future of a raft of high-profile Coalition MPs. Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt, who colleagues speculated might be preparing to exit parliament, told The Australian through a spokesman yesterday that he was “dedicated to holding his seat of Hasluck and continuing to serve”.

    Immigration Minister David Coleman also sought to cool speculation that he might pull the pin, saying he was preselected for his Sydney seat of Banks and “will run in the 2019 election”.

    Mr Laundy, a close confidant of Mr Turnbull, is widely ­expected to announce his resignation soon, despite pleas from Mr Morrison for him to remain.

    Colleagues believe Ms Bishop, the former foreign minister, will also retire but think she is delaying her announcement to ­ensure the best chance for her preferred replacement, AsiaLink ­director Erin Watson-Lynn, in the pre­selection battle that would follow.

  14. I’m calling it a night. I’ll harvest any new Newspoll guesses in the morning and post updates later in the day. Thank you all for today’s entertainment, and good night. 🙂

  15. “Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them.” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

    i dont agree with your ‘pox on both houses’ analysis. But you have every right to post that opinion. People will disagree, sometimes fervently. That is ok too.

    It all makes up the PB salad.

  17. Seat polls. Bah!

    Correct weight.

    I suspect Herbert might be on the lower end of swings to Labor, but a positive swing nonetheless. Other than that,

    Seat polls. Bah!

  18. On the PVs, the LNP cannot win Herbert. The pref allocations will be arbitrary…the high minor party vote is an anti-Lib expression. Labor would very easily win on these numbers.

  19. Upnorth @ #1483 Sunday, January 27th, 2019 – 10:01 pm

    Lots of pain in Townsville (Herbert). Unemployment stuck at historically high levels. Youth crime and a severe drought. Labor kept its three Townsville seats at the last state election. Only just.

    Campbell Newman combined with the first Mayor of the newly Amalgamated City (Les Tyrell a Tory) to effectively close the City down. The Public Service was devastated and when Palmer closed the Nickel Refinery housing values collapsed.

    So it’s a Pox on both houses. This is not a bad result for Labor. Increased Primary. But bad for the LNP given what has happened in the City.

    Herbert is a totally unpredictable seat, and could well go against trend.

    Not sure that Palmer WILL be blamed for the refinery shut down, given that he was NOT in charge at the time, but his business was in the hands of an administrator. Given he is in the money again he is keen to re-open it. I have a niggling feeling that Labor will be blamed for the refinery along with Newman. I may be wrong on this since i am far away and perhaps Upnorth might comment.

    Katter’s popularity is also NOT a surprise. What was a surprise was his losing votes to PHON. His son Robbie K is a sort of centrist in the Qld Parliament, and they did unload Anning. Katter snr clearly had no idea about Anning when he took him on. This is about Katter Snr, he has many, many oddities but racism is not one of them. Indeed his father took a strong stand AGAINST USA segregation in WWII (the US army wanted to segregate black and white soldiers), and refused to allow it in his businesses.

  20. NEW POLL Liberal turncoat Julia Banks could run against prominent minister Greg Hunt in the Peninsula seat of Flinders, as a new poll shows the party’s vote in the electorate has crashed.

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