Sturtin’ over

As Liberal MPs stampede for the exit, some detail on a number of looming preselections.

We may not get a new federal poll this week, with the fortnightly Newspoll and Essential Research having reported last week, and the monthly Ipsos doing so the week before. However, two further Liberal resignations (with widespread suggestions Craig Laundy will shortly follow in Reid) are keeping the preselection news treadmill rolling:

• Christopher Pyne’s departure announcements opens a vacancy in the eastern Adelaide seat of Sturt, which he has held since 1993, when he was 25. However, the loss of his personal vote may damage the Liberals’ chances of defending the seat’s 5.4% post-redistribution margin, with Phillip Coorey of the Financial Review reporting a “senior South Australian Liberal” saying the party was in “big trouble” in the seat. Luke Griffiths of The Australian cites “multiple Liberal sources” as saying the preselection is “almost certain” to go to James Stevens, the chief-of-staff to Premier Steven Marshall, who is aligned with Pyne’s moderate faction and has his personal support. However, Pyne’s own former chief-of-staff, Adam Howard, is “considered an outside chance”, and there “might be a push by branch members to preselect a female candidate”.

• The Gold Coast seat of Moncrieff will be vacated by the retirement of Steve Ciobo, who came to the seat in 2001 at the age of 27. The aforesaid report in The Australian identifies four potential nominees: Karly Abbott, a staffer to Ciobo and the reputed front-runner; John-Paul Langbroek, who holds the state seat of Surfers Paradise and served as Opposition Leader from 2009 to 2011; Tim Rawlings, former chief-of-staff to Tracy Davis, then a minister in Campbell Newman’s government; and Bibe Roadley, managing director of a training company.


The West Australian reports five nominees for preselection in Curtin: Celia Hammond, until recently the vice-chancellor of Notre Dame University, whom media reports suggest is the front-runner; Erin Watson-Lynn, director of Asialink Diplomacy at the University of Melbourne, who is said to have backing from Julie Bishop; Anna Dartnell, an executive for resources company Aurizon; Karen Caddy, Stirling councillor and management consultant for BusinX Consulting; and the sole male candidate, Andres Timmermanis, Cambridge councillor and manager for IT firm Scantek Solutions, who has been mentioned in relation to a number of western suburbs preselections over the years.

• The Saturday Paper reports a uComms poll conducted for UnionsACT on January 23 suggested ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja was in danger of losing his seat to an independent or the Greens. The polling is said to show Liberal support at 22.4%, down from 33.2% at the 2016 election and 24.2% in a poll conducted in October; Labor on 33.1%, down from 37.9% in 2016 and 39.3% in the October; the Greens on 19.9%, up from 16.1% in 2016 and 17.0% in October; and independent/other on 17.7%, up from 12.7% in 2016 and 13.9% in October. This leaves 6.9% undecided in the January poll, and 5.6% in the October poll. Seselja is also credited with an approval rating of just 29%, compared with 59% disapproval. Anthony Pesec, “local businessman, former investment banker and renewable energy developer”, announced last week he would run as an independent. Were Seselja to lose, it would be the first time in either of the two territories that the two Senate seats did not split between the two major parties.

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.

2,872 comments on “Sturtin’ over”

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  1. EB says:
    Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 11:40 pm

    I am curious about three seats like that – Why would Dutton stay with Dickson, why would some WA male Lib at risk not shift to Curtain and why wouldn’t the Downer dynasty not move their offspring from Mayo to Sturt ? Each would have a much better chance of survival/winning if they did. Curious.

    Why no ‘captains pick’ ?; scomo did it with Mundine in Cowper.


    The Potato – ego.

    Porter – Bishop probably outplayed him by delaying her announcement.

    Downer – She’s a dud and they know it, plus they’re saving a shitload of money by reusing all the stuff from the by-election.

  2. Rossmcg says:
    Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 11:45 pm

    Jumping ship this late in the electoral cycle would certainly hand Dickson and Pearce to Labor.

    Dutton and Porter have a fight on their hands but it is a fight and who knows? stranger things have happened.

    Did I see dirt on the Cormann crew pick for Curtain in the WA paper today or was it more on the locally backed woman The Australian went after yesterday ? Whoever wins that gig will have a cruisy ride for as long as they want it I suspect.

  3. Had a chat today with some staff from Notre Dame Uni in Fremantle. Got the impression from them what while she is not actively despised they wont be sorry to see the back of their current VC as she wafts off to for Bishops seat of Curtin. Previous she had emphasized that she would be hanging in til December as the transition to a new VC was important, but all that dumped at short notice if there is a chance at a safe Liberal seat and they are miffed at that.

    They reckon she will be a good fit for the Liberals which i reckon doesn’t actually say much good about her.

  4. Does she have a hyphenated name ms dorothy Dutton-Dicks for example ?

    I reckon the toffs have a special store they go to for posh sounding names when they become adults to sound more born to rule.

  5. Did I see dirt on the Cormann crew pick for Curtain in the WA paper today or was it more on the locally backed woman The Australian went after yesterday ? Whoever wins that gig will have a cruisy ride for as long as they want it I suspect.

    Cormann’s mob have been leaking against the supposed JBishop backed candidate.

  6. Thank you. Fess and Ross.

    I am starting to believe WA will deliver more seats for Labor this time. Surely the people of WA have had enough of false promises from Canberra and ‘economic fundamentals’ rhetoric from Morrison and Freydenberg. Have a good evening, bed time here in Tassie.

  7. Nationals rebelling against Morrison.

    Six Queensland Nationals MPs have reignited the Coalition’s civil war on energy policy, demanding that Scott Morrison put his shelved “big stick” laws to a vote in budget week and fast-track a decis­ion on the underwriting of a new cleaner coal plant.

    The energy rebels have signed a letter to Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, challenging his authority with written demands calling for “immediate” ­action to address “unsustainable Queensland electricity costs”, after he failed to avert the deferral of the legislation to bring energy companies to heel.

    In the letter, obtained by The Australian, the MPs called on the “Coalition executive” to revive the legislation that would allow the government to seek orders divesting an energy company of its power generation assets.
    The MPs have also called on the government to underwrite a new power generation project in regional Queensland before the May election is called, raising the stakes in the push by conser­vatives for contracts to be signed backing a new cleaner coal plant.

  8. citizen @ #3181 Wednesday, March 6th, 2019 – 9:40 pm

    “bug1 says:
    Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 8:20 pm
    Not sure how to post pictures properly, but a sign Dutton is in trouble;
    Looks like he is building barricades outside his office to keep the voters away.”

    ” rel=”nofollow”>

    This photo makes it obvious that the temporary fencing is surrounding a work site for installing serious security barriers outside Dutton’s electorate office. The website of the company (Ezi Security Systems) has some fearsome looking barriers for sale. The big questions are:

    Has a fair dinkum security assessment been done which would require this installation?

    How much are taxpayers being stung?

    Most importantly, why does Dutton suddenly need this sort of protection weeks out from an election?

    Most most importantly, does taking a boring old normal fence and sticking an “Anti terrorist perimeter protection” banner on it increase its effectiveness against terrorists? And if it does, how much extra do you get to charge for your shiny new entirely legitimate terrorist-proof fence?

  9. Nikki Savva (The Oz)

    MPs out in the field have so far picked up little to encourage them to believe the scare on borders is working. Without a vote or a boat, it all sounds like so much huffing and puffing. His tokenistic visit to Christmas Island yesterday is unlikely to help. Shorten said it was a frolic. It smells more like panic.

    The other scare was complicated by the release of the national accounts showing sluggish economic growth. That didn’t stop Frydenberg’s valiant repetition that the fundamentals ­remain strong, and even if they aren’t, it would be much worse under Labor. It also didn’t stop Labor claiming Morrison and Frydenberg had delivered a per capita recession.

    Even though he was too squeamish to use it himself, Morrison was desperate to get the R-word out there. He got what he wished for.

  10. I cannot recall such a bad government as this one. They are just rubbish. From September ‘13 til the present, they have been a non-stop shambles.

    It is just inconceivable that voters will re-elect these idiots.

  11. Not many people here know that I am a pastor of an Evangelical church, which I founded several decades ago, and that my teachings are centred these days on the evils of the demon drink.

    My means of most effectively delivering my message is to travel around country Australia holding revival meetings in country town halls.

    I have included in my entourage an acquaintance of mine, David.

    David is a hopeless alcoholic, and I include him in my services by having him sit on a stool before the congregation in all his sorry glory.

    David sits there, drooling and dribbling, leering at the ladies in a most lecherous manner, inappropriately touching and propositioning any of them unfortunate enough to come near enough to him, making obscene gestures, swearing and blaspheming, and occasionally falling off the stool in a drunken heap.

    All the while I preach the benefits of abstinence, and hold poor David up as an example of the consequences of intemperance and of the use and abuse of alcohol in all its forms.

    Sadly, last month David passed away.

    Does anyone have Barnaby Joyce’s phone number?

  12. Dutton…. he’s the self-wedging spud….politicians are usually trying to attract their constituents, not lock them out. He’s a political demolition site…

  13. FS….I think temperance is over-rated. Have you ever thought about starting a new sect? How about The Jubilation Congress – Apostles of Constant Temptation & Daily Gratification. I think you’d get a following. Think of the doctrinal simplicity. There’d be no need to make undeliverable promises about The Everlasting Light. I think you’d take market share from the Eternity brands, who are selling an intangible benefit that won’t be available until the Judgment Day Sales. That particular Bargain Season has been a long time coming; and even if a date is set it will remain subject to change without notice. It’s like Y2K. It’s another beat-up. There’s a lot to be said for Temptation. Instead of selling sin, quote pleasure. Instead of preaching shame, give sermons on happiness. Initiates would be called Hedonists. It would be on for young and old.

  14. Almost two-thirds of Americans believe Donald Trump committed crimes before he was elected, a poll has found.

    Forty-five per cent of US voters think the president has even broken the law since entering the White House, compared to 43 per cent who do not, according to Quinnipiac University’s survey.

    Tim Malloy, assistant director of the poll, said the results “deliver a double-barrelled gut punch” to Mr Trump’s integrity.

  15. The media had to pay for their trips to Christmas Island with ScoMo and learnt nothing.

    Morrison and the Immigration Minister, David Coleman, used the press conference to make several points. There are no children left in detention on Nauru and Manus Island. The government has closed 19 detention centres over five years. Boat arrivals have stopped.

    Australians have heard each of these arguments before, usually at no extra charge in a press conference from Parliament House.

    Morrison did not need the tropical backdrop of Christmas Island to make his case. There are perfectly good palm trees in Sydney.

  16. Fun night yesterday at the home of the ALP, the Unity Hall Hotel, with Ali France, Albo and Stephen Jones for a Dump Dutton find raider. Had 150-200 odd people there.

    Ali really is a great candidate. What an inspiration she is.

  17. “Briefly my guess is the LNP will lose 3 or 4 seats in QLD.”

    Nope. On Sportsbet the LNP are well behind in Dickson, Forde, Capricornia, and Flynn. There also behind in Petrie, Bonner, and Brisbane and a fraction behind in Dawson and Leichhardt. I just think the pendulum swing is too great for Labor to only win back 3 or 4 seats in QLD.

    Also some have been asleep at the wheel wondering why Peter Dutton is so far behind in the odds in Dickson. Paul Williams political expert already has tipped Dutton to lose Dickson.

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