Election minus five weeks

Candidates on both sides of the aisle drop out of contention, Peter Dutton suffers a self-inflicted wound in Dickson, and Shooters Fishers and Farmers rein in their expectations.

Two days in the campaign, and already much to relate:

• Labor’s audacious gambit of running former Fremantle MP Melissa Parke in Curtin has proved short-lived, after a controversy brewed over comments she had made critical of Israel. Parke announced her withdrawal after the Herald Sun presented the Labor campaign with claims she had told a meeting of WA Labor for Palestine that she could “remember vividly” – presumably not from first-hand experience – a pregnant refugee being ordered to drink bleach at a Gaza checkpoint. Parke is also said to have spoken of Israel’s “influence in our political system and foreign policy”, no doubt bringing to the party hierarchy’s mind the turmoil that has lately engulfed the British Labour Party in relation to such matters. In her statement last night, Parke said her views were “well known, but I don’t want them to be a running distraction from electing a Labor government”. James Campbell of the Herald Sun notes the forum was also attended by Parkes’ successor in Fremantle, Josh Wilson.

• Meanwhile, Liberal Party vetting processes have caused the withdrawal on Section 44 grounds of three candidates in who-cares seats in Melbourne. They are Cooper candidate Helen Jackson, who dug her heels in when told her no-chance candidacy required her to abandon her job at Australia Post, so that the integrity of executive-legislative relations might be preserved; Lalor candidate Kate Oski, who is in danger of being Polish; and Wills candidate Vaishali Ghosh, who was, as The Age put it in a report I hope no one from overseas reads, “forced to step aside over her Indian heritage”.

• Peter Dutton has been under fire for his rhetorical overreach against Ali France, the Labor candidate in his marginal seat of Dickson. Dutton accused France, who had her leg amputated after being hit by a car in 2011, of “using her disability as an excuse” for not moving into the electorate. France lives a short distance outside it, and points to the $100,000 of her compensation money she has spent making her existing home fully wheelchair accessible. Labor has taken the opportunity to point to Dutton’s failed attempt from 2009 to move to the safer seat of McPherson on the Gold Coast, where he owns a $2.3 million beachside holiday home, and by all accounts spends a great deal of his time. Dutton refused to apologise for the comments yesterday, while Scott Morrison baselessly asserted that they were taken out of context.

Greg Brown of The Australian reports Robert Borsak, leader of Shooters Fishers and Farmers and one of the party’s state upper house MPs, concedes the party is struggling to recruit candidates, and will not repeat its state election feat of winning seats in the lower house. Nonetheless, it has Orange deputy mayor Sam Romano lined up as its candidate for Calare and plans to run in Eden-Monaro, Parkes and possibly New England. This follows suggestions the party might pose a threat to the Nationals in Parkes and Farrer, which largely correspond with the state seats of Barwon and Murray, which the party won at last month’s state election. Calare encompasses Orange, which Shooters have held since a November 2016 by-election.

• “I don’t trust our polling at all”, says “a senior federal Liberal MP” cited by John Ferguson in The Australian, apropos the party’s prospects in Victoria. It is not clear if the source was being optimistic or pessimistic, but the report identifies a range of opinion within the Liberal camp extending from only two or three losses in Victoria – likewise identified as a “worst case scenario” by Labor sources – to as many as seven.

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.

1,433 comments on “Election minus five weeks”

  1. “Dutton refused to apologise for the comments yesterday, while Scott Morrison baselessly asserted that they were taken out of context.”

    If politics is a contest to determine who can tell the biggest lies to win office, Labor should not underestimate ScumMo. He will lie as much as he needs to win. If only we had some sort of “journalist” profession to challenge him when he does so.

  2. Good morning Socrates.
    I seem to remember a time, possibly before the turn of the century, when the ABC was always a little slower than the commercials in revealing new stories/news. Their reasoning was that, like “real” journalists, they only reported “facts” that had two genuine, checkable sources. I recall Jon Faine explaining that this was especially important in times of emergency (such as fires).

    In their rush to be up to date with the latest news/rumour, seeing themselves in competition with the commercials now and mostly employing younger, less experienced, reporters, the ABC is doing no service to the nation and could do a great deal of harm in the current election, which could reasonably be described as an emergency.

  3. Lizzie

    Hello and yes it is a problem. The endless news cycle has reduced journalism to the lowest common denominator. ScumMo and Josh have told enough lies already to fill a Cabinet meeting.

    Regardless of arithmetic, referring to Labor’s tax reforms as taxes or tax increases is a plain fib too. How is stopping a rort the same as imposing a new tax? Shorten and Bowen must call this out. Have a good day all.

  4. …This places Mr Morrison in the diabolical situation where there are millions of voters with school-aged children who won’t be paying attention to the election for the first three weeks of the five-week campaign, and millions of other voters who will have switched off in the final two weeks because they’ve already voted.

    If the Coalition is planning on landing any killer blows on Labor or Mr Shorten during the campaign, such as releasing a damaging video or explosive revelation, its chosen election timing has robbed the government of options for doing so when the bulk of Australian voters are paying attention.

    Perhaps this is all part of the Coalition’s grand plan – to use the school holidays as a diversion, exploit voters’ limited attention spans and avoid any genuine attempts to engage with the citizenry, in the hope the vast majority of politically disengaged people will vote on instinct rather than logic. In the past such tactics have tended to favour the incumbent government, which is seen as ‘the devil we know’.

    We’ll know in about five weeks’ time whether that plan was a sound strategy or just a deluded pipedream.

    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/election-2019/2019/04/12/election-2019-early-voting/

  5. Eddy Jokovich @EddyJokovich
    9h9 hours ago

    The @Abcnews coverage of Bill Shorten is so banal and facile. That footage of him eating that sausage sandwich sideways, Bill bus with flat tire, Bill bus running into a parking sign. Then telling us all he’s so unpopular. The Young Liberals are in change. #abcnews #auspol

  6. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Peter Hartcher contrasts the essential messages of the two major election combatants.
    https://www.smh.com.au/federal-election-2019/morrison-s-hammer-v-shorten-s-allen-key-20190412-p51dos.html
    David Crowe reports that Labor has escalated a political fight over claims of a $387 billion tax burden under its election policies, prompting Treasury secretary Phil Gaetjens to say the government’s economic officials did not cost Labor policies.
    https://www.smh.com.au/federal-election-2019/morrison-caught-lying-bowen-demands-answers-from-treasury-over-387-billion-tax-costing-20190412-p51dl7.html
    Paul Bongiorno writes that the tone of this election has been set by the prime minister, who admits he is the underdog and seems to have decided the best way to win over voters is to treat them like mugs, launching an absurd attack on electric vehicles and Labor’s 50 per cent EV sales target by 2030.
    https://www.outline.com/wmDHXj
    Michelle Grattan says Frydenberg was up to Bowen’s old tricks.
    https://theconversation.com/view-from-the-hill-frydenberg-up-to-bowens-old-tricks-115382
    Yesterday, Scott Morrison said on announcing the election: “Labor cannot manage money”. John Menadue who served as head of Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet under both Whitlam and Fraser governments disagrees. It’s the Coalition, hidebound by an out-dated ideology about markets and private enterprise, who cannot manage the economy.
    https://www.michaelwest.com.au/australias-growing-debt-explodes-the-myth-that-libs-are-better-economic-managers/
    Katharine Murphy says that Scott Morrison’s ambition to make day two of the election campaign all about a $387bn Labor tax slug has been disrupted by Treasury disavowing the number and Peter Dutton accusing his Labor opponent in Dickson of using her disability “as an excuse’’ for not moving into the electorate.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/apr/12/australian-election-2019-coalitions-tax-attack-on-labor-blunted-as-dutton-makes-gaffe-on-disability
    Lisa Martin writes that Reporters on Scott Morrison’s campaign bus were miffed the prime minister’s staffers gave them a night off on Thursday evening and then sent them pictures and videos of his night at Windsor RSL in the electorate of Macquarie. The bingo pictures are plastered over Morrison’s social media accounts.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/apr/12/bingo-snub-leaves-morrisons-election-media-pack-feeling-unlucky
    Paul Kelly writes that Campaign 2019 has begun with a bid by Scott Morrison to smash Bill Shorten’s polling ascendancy, his credibility and his policy strategy — while Shorten’s immediate response is to stay cool, keep his nerve and refuse to be intimidated.
    https://www.outline.com/7nmkyL
    While older Australians reap the benefits of the government’s fiscal policies, it is millennials who are fast becoming the nation’s largest voting bloc, but they are not becoming more conservative as they age, writes Mike Seccombe who says the government has lost younger voters.
    https://www.outline.com/DkcycN
    A cornered Peter Dutton is doubling down on being nasty. Shane Wright reports.
    https://www.smh.com.au/federal-election-2019/peter-dutton-doubles-down-on-attack-on-rival-as-campaign-gets-nasty-20190412-p51dmz.html
    And Bevan Shields gives Dutton a good serve.
    https://www.smh.com.au/federal-election-2019/both-sides-expect-the-election-to-be-dirty-but-few-thought-peter-dutton-could-go-so-low-so-quickly-20190412-p51dgb.html
    Chris O’Keefe tells us how Julia Banks is among key independents benefitting from an “unusual” funding structure that has prompted the Liberal Party to call for an investigation. Alex Turnbull is involved.
    https://www.smh.com.au/federal-election-2019/independents-inc-structures-behind-steggall-phelps-banks-and-yates-spark-aec-complaint-20190412-p51dnj.html
    The AFR says that The RBA is pinning its hopes on low unemployment and low interest rates as home owners’ equity goes backwards.
    https://www.outline.com/9bURLA
    David Ross writes that as house prices fall around Australia, opinions are divided about the impact of the Labor Party’s proposed reforms to negative gearing.
    https://www.outline.com/AXcZHE
    Peter Hannam, an EV owner himself, looks at what’s ahead for that type of vehicle.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/instant-power-just-one-of-the-lure-for-buyers-eyeing-electric-cars-20190412-p51djk.html
    One in two Australians would support shifting all sales of new cars to electric vehicles by 2025, according to polling by the Australia Institute.
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/12/poll-shows-50-per-cent-of-australians-support-shifting-all-sales-of-new-cars-to-electric-vehicles-by-2025
    Katharine Murphy asks, “With the Adani cola mine can Labor get away with choosing ambiguity over integrity?”
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/apr/12/adani-coalmine-can-labor-get-away-with-choosing-ambiguity-over-integrity
    Karen Middleton explains how Australia’s premier scientific research agency, the CSIRO, is distancing itself from the federal government’s decision to give final federal environmental approval for the Adani Group’s Carmichael coalmine in central Queensland.
    https://www.outline.com/Jp37jB
    Tony Wright has had enough of the limp scare campaigns already.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/they-re-coming-for-your-utes-oh-please-enough-with-the-limp-scares-20190411-p51d9j.html
    And Phil Coorey reckons this might be the meanest campaign yet.
    https://www.outline.com/3V7huL
    Laura Tingle is quite unhappy with current political standards.
    https://www.outline.com/MXpFC9
    Ross Gittins goes into some detail to explain why Morrison’s seven-year plan shows who it thinks more deserves a tax cut.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/morrison-s-seven-year-plan-shows-who-it-thinks-more-deserves-a-tax-cut-20190412-p51djj.html
    Peter FitzSimons with a sensible effort on the sacking of Israel Falau.
    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/folau-and-mundine-show-words-can-have-consequences-20190412-p51dr3.html
    Nicole Hasham advises us that environment officials say a Labor government could disrupt the proposed Adani coal mine by applying tough new scrutiny to the company’s plan to pump billions of litres of water from a river in drought-stricken Queensland.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/labor-has-a-way-to-disrupt-adani-but-has-to-keep-queenslanders-happy-20190411-p51d8e.html
    According to the AMEO the national grid has more immediate challenges than electric cars.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/national-grid-has-more-immediate-challenges-than-electric-cars-20190411-p51d5b.html
    The SMH editorial posits the judgment in the defamation case brought by Geoffrey Rush will cost the newspaper a lot but asks what signal it sends about sexual harassment at work.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/judgment-on-rush-reveals-gulf-in-attitudes-to-metoo-20190412-p51djw.html
    The Australian reports that Donald Trump and first lady ­Melania have been angered by comments made by Julie Bishop about Mrs Trump wrongly identifying her as a spouse rather than as Australia’s foreign minister in 2017.
    https://www.outline.com/mXcha2
    Adele Ferguson reports that a senate committee is considering calling a parliamentary inquiry into the taxation watchdog after questions were raised about its investigation into garnishees. She says the Inspector-General of Taxation should stop making excuses for the ATO.
    https://www.smh.com.au/money/tax/tax-watchdog-should-stop-making-excuses-for-the-ato-20190412-p51do5.html
    Jennifer Duke writes that with News Corporation directors in Australia this week, all eyes are on the Murdoch family’s next move.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/all-eyes-on-the-murdoch-family-s-next-move-20190411-p51d2m.html
    Supreme Court documents released yesterday reveal the danger to Nicola Gobbo and her two children, with police warning before her identity was revealed that if criminal figures became aware of her role as an informer, the prospect of death would increase from ‘likely’ to ‘almost certain’.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/victoria/a-bullet-in-my-head-gobbo-s-child-mother-threatened-by-dangerous-criminals-20190412-p51dol.html
    The Coalition is set to make changes to the contentious ParentsNext welfare program after a scathing Senate inquiry report found it was causing “anxiety, stress and harm” for parents across the country.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/apr/12/parentsnext-coalition-makes-minor-changes-to-welfare-program-after-scathing-report
    After the Christchurch massacre, the Coalition and Labor passed a bill prohibiting the sharing of abhorrent material on social media, but experts argue the new law will achieve little.
    https://www.outline.com/WfpwWX
    WorkSafe has seized control of a series of warehouses illegally stockpiled with up to 11 million litres of highly-flammable toxic chemicals that are linked to the same operator of the Campbellfield factory that erupted into a massive industrial blaze last week.
    https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/up-to-11-million-litres-of-toxic-chemicals-in-four-warehouses-linked-to-massive-fire-20190412-p51dmr.html
    Nick Miller outlines Assange’s epic journey.
    https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/from-hacker-to-fugitive-julian-assange-s-long-epic-journey-20180728-p4zu5p.html
    Peter Greste says Julian Assange is no journalist so don’t confuse his arrest with press freedom.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/assange-is-no-journalist-don-t-confuse-his-arrest-with-press-freedom-20190412-p51di1.html
    The Saturday Paper reports that Under the Coalition government, the processing of citizenship paperwork has increased to often upwards of 300 days, causing a huge backlog of applications and infuriating refugee groups.
    https://www.outline.com/Bbm9pT
    The European Union Heads of Government this week have good reason to throw the British out so they can get on with important business concerning their joint future.
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/fresh-efforts-in-brussels-to-help-the-british-get-out-of-europe-,12570
    Associated Press tells us how Trump considered sending migrants to Democratic strongholds.
    https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/trump-considered-sending-migrants-to-democratic-strongholds-20190413-p51ds5.html
    And the Washington Post says Trump considered nominating his eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, to be president of the World Bank in part because “she’s very good with numbers”.
    https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/trump-considered-daughter-ivanka-to-lead-world-bank-because-she-s-good-with-numbers-20190413-p51ds4.html
    iSelect earns today’s nomination for “Arseholes of the Week”.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/iselect-accused-by-accc-of-misleading-public-on-power-bill-discounts-20190412-p51dgp.html

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe ventures into Trump’s bedroom.

    Alan Moir with EV problems.

    From matt Golding.




    Jim Pavlidis contrasts the majors’ policies.

    Simon Letch and Folau’s inferno.

    Jon Kudelka introduces the Tony Cycle.

    Mark David goes to Dickson.

    As does Jon Kudelka.
    https://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/739980f93fb72294ace4cb7a9c0f53e8?width=1024
    Alan Moir and Turnbull’s intervention.

    A couple from Peter Broelman.


    Sean Leahy and the Luddites.

    Glen Le Lievre heralds the election campaign

    You have to love this one from Matt Davison.

    Some astrophysics from Andrew Dyson.

    Michael Leunig with some unusual election posters.

    From the US






  7. Thanks BK. I agree with Bongiorno. What on earth were Liberals thinking with that hysteria over EVs? All they’ve done is reinforce the public perception that they’re luddites.

    This is the dead end the government has created for itself. Instead of setting out to claim the future and to embark on visionary policies to shape it and avoid the catastrophic climate change warned of by scientists, it has resorted to shrill, unbelievable scare campaigns – campaigns that presume the populace is backwards looking, afraid of innovation and unconcerned by a summer of extreme weather events.

  8. Murdoch organs not letting the EV scare campaign go, in a Come in Spinner moment… with mister Cayman Islands water rorter actively participating…

    “Energy Minister Angus Taylor said if Labor was elected, Queenslanders would be hit hard by Mr Shorten’s plan “to force the most popular vehicles off the road to meet Labor’s damaging 50 per cent electric vehicle target and 105g CO2/km vehicle emissions standard”.

    “Our favourite vehicles are on Bill’s hit list. Seventeen of the top 20 most popular models in Australia don’t meet Labor’s vehicle emissions standard.

    “As usual, Bill Shorten has not done his homework. If you don’t understand Labor’s new car tax, don’t vote for it.”

    Motorists could be banned from charging their cars when the grid is under stress.
    On hot days, during natural disasters and when there is a generator failure, the Australian Energy Market Operator manages the situation for the Government to ensure the electricity grid is stable and key facilities, such as hospitals, can maintain power supply.

    To do this, it asks households to lower their energy consumption, such as turn down or off air conditioners.

    This year in Victoria, AEMO shut down suburbs and businesses by instructing energy companies not to supply power.

    Charging electric vehicles was not a core function and would be among the first things people would be asked to shut off, sources told The Courier-Mail.

    Also, with the extra energy needed to charge electric vehicles, there would be an increased need for AEMO to shut down suburbs when there was a lack of reserve.

    “Power systems around the world are built and operated with a certain level of reserve, a ‘buffer’ to assist with maintaining power system reliability for energy consumers,’’ AEMO said on its website.

    “AEMO will often inform the market of lack of reserve conditions to encourage a response from market participants to provide more capacity into the market: generators may offer in more supply, or consumers (generally large industrial or commercial consumers) can reduce their demand.”

  9. PvO on how the Liberals might snatch a victory. I don’t know where he gets the idea that Morrison is likeable here, because nobody, even Liberals I’ve encountered approves of him.

    If the Coalition can overcome perceptions of disunity, divisions with and within the Nationals, not to mention the lack of women in government ranks, there is a narrow pathway for the Prime Minister to retain power. Doing so would require the biggest political comeback in our modern history.

    Here is how that might look: Liberals are targeting the crossbench seats of Wentworth in NSW and Indi in regional Victoria, where the sitting MP, Cathy McGowan, is retiring. Winning both would return the Coalition to 76 seats. Added to those two is the western Sydney electorate of Lindsay, where Labor’s sitting MP, Emma Husar, has been immersed in controversy and isn’t recontesting. The Queensland seat of Herbert was only narrowly lost by the Liberals at the 2016 election, and Team Morrison has high hopes of reclaiming it this time.

    Other electorates on the radar of Liberal strategists include the Tasmanian seats of Bass and Braddon, alongside the Brisbane seat of Longman. Braddon and Longman were retained by Labor in last year’s Super Saturday by-elections caused by citizenship dramas. Even Cowan in WA is seen as win­nable now that Morrison is leader.

    https://outline.com/4KVnrZ

  10. Black ops?

    Prof Kerryn Phelps AM MP.@drkerrynphelps
    54m54 minutes ago

    Up to their dirty tricks again. Hundreds of our posters were stolen withinin a week of them being put up around the electorate. @LiberalAus posters strangely remain in place. Desperate tactics.
    Here we go again.
    #WentworthVotes

  11. No room in the ALP for anyone who is sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians (who are about to have the West Bank stolen from them completely – against all international laws).
    Not as broad a church as the LNP then.
    Pathetic

  12. Mitch McConnell plans a re-election strategy based on the socialism bogeyman. This columnist reckons it could well fail. It certainly didn’t work for Republicans in 2018.

    Nevertheless, Republicans may encounter some problems if “No socialism!” is the essence of their case to the public in 2020. The first is that Americans don’t generally think in ideological terms. Those of us who are immersed in politics have a clear understanding of what is meant by ideas like liberalism, conservatism and socialism, but for most Americans, it’s all kind of a vague jumble of ideas.

    And because the Cold War ended 20 years ago, there isn’t the same kind of instinctive reaction when people throw the s-word around, particularly among young people. Saying “This policy is socialism” won’t be enough to turn a significant portion of the electorate against it if they weren’t already.

    That’s in part because Republicans have spent decades calling everything Democrats want to do “socialism,” no matter how modest it was. That has convinced many voters that “socialism” just means “mainstream ideas that are more liberal than Republicans would prefer.” So the word doesn’t do the work they want it to.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/04/12/mitch-mcconnells-strategy-is-run-against-socialism-it-wont-be-enough/?utm_term=.f01c520b9213

  13. Fess

    Trump has been a disaster from the get go, but this week they crossed the rubicon.
    Yet the GOP are continuing to support dear leader and their grip on power. It is nauseating.
    You can see why our fiberals with the support of their cheer squad are okay with the shameless lying this week re EVs and the supposed treasury costings. We are going down the rabbit hole

  14. Thanks BK. Your first article is by far the most worrying.
    Peter Hartcher points to Morrison’s simple “strong economy” message which he keeps hammering home, and quotes Bruce Hawker who says Labor should “deliver some simple messages back”.

    Specifically, “Labor has to really go hard on what an ideologically riven bunch they are. They should focus on the divided mess that the Liberals are – this is a party split asunder. They will have to go into that space.

    “Otherwise they will find themselves defending two of their money measures, and defending money measures from opposition is hard.”

    It’s (the Liberals) been using the tax changes as effective attack points for many months now, and Labor has failed to counter the momentum against them.
    Unlikely though it may seem, Labor can still lose this election. If it wants to win, it needs a compelling, central message. And it needs it now.

    If Labor doesn’t change tactics and start hammering home some simple messages then it will lose the unloseable election, and the country will sink into recession as its people sink into depression.

    https://www.smh.com.au/federal-election-2019/morrison-s-hammer-v-shorten-s-allen-key-20190412-p51dos.html

  15. Apologies but this long thread is worth it

    David Rothkopf
    @djrothkopf
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    It is not a time for equivocation. It is not a time for patience. It is time for those who seek to protect the rule of law to step up to protect it or the chance may not soon again return.
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    David Rothkopf
    @djrothkopf
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    Our only hope is recognizing the seriousness of our situation. This is not politics as usual. This is not an erosion of what was. This is a full blown crisis, the greatest American politics has faced in half a century…perhaps much longer.
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    Rick Wilson Retweeted

    David Rothkopf
    @djrothkopf
    ·
    1h
    Their crimes will only grow more egregious and their ways will only grow more ingrained in our system. Their violations will in fact become the system itself. Corruption will be the norm-greater corruption,to be sure,since it it was corruption that got us here in the first place.
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    David Rothkopf
    @djrothkopf
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    They are daring someone to enforce it. But what if…what if the courts rule against them but they ignore it? What if the Treasury Secretary has violated a law and no one arrests him. What if the president steals and canoodles with enemies and he goes unpunished?
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    David Rothkopf
    @djrothkopf
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    Why? Because we allowed ourselves to become inured to the unthinkable. We are dying the death of a thousand cuts. Right now, this week, the president and his band of thugs are winning. They have become unabashed in their attacks on the law.
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    Rick Wilson Retweeted

    David Rothkopf
    @djrothkopf
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    What once was black and white blurs into grey. Right and wrong, old principles, enduring values, fade from memory. Authoritarians arrive in our midst not in tanks but in bad suits and worse haircuts.
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    Rick Wilson Retweeted

    David Rothkopf
    @djrothkopf
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    1h
    This is how democracies die. The rule of law is slowly strangled. The unthinkable becomes commonplace. The illegal becomes accepted–from violations of the emoluments clause to self-dealing to Federal election law crimes to serial sexual abuse.
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    Rick Wilson Retweeted

    David Rothkopf
    @djrothkopf
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    Agencies are being left to appointed caretakers some outside the normal chain of succession, many unconfirmed for their current posts by the Senate. Political opponents tip-toed around these crimes daring not to appear “too extreme.”
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    Rick Wilson Retweeted

    David Rothkopf
    @djrothkopf
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    In so doing, they sent a message that they would never challenge him much less convict him of the myriad crimes he has committed. The checks and balances our system was built upon are gone. Worse, the courts are being packed with Trump cronies–often unqualified.
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  16. Comment on the Folau issue from previous thread.

    Not having a go at anyone in particular, but why don’t you folks abandon all the speculation and have a read of the anti-discrimination legislation in your state and Federally? Or at least the explanations on Human Rights and Equal Opportunity websites?

    There are a number of protected attributes including:
    *. Religious beliefs
    *. Gender
    *. Parental status
    *. Disability
    *. Sexuality
    *. Political beliefs
    *. Trade Union activities
    *. etc.

    Discrimination in recruitment and employment and a range of other activities on the basis of any of these is unlawful.

    There are also some exemptions granted for organisations of a religious or political nature that may require employees to share their beliefs.

    All very reasonable stuff.

    Where the difficulty lies is in the enforcement.

  17. Confessions: “PvO on how the Liberals might snatch a victory. I don’t know where he gets the idea that Morrison is likeable here, because nobody, even Liberals I’ve encountered approves of him.”

    I agree that I haven’t met anyone much who likes ScoMo, but not many who profoundly dislike him either: the prevailing attitude appears to be one of “meh”. On the other hand, I meet plenty of Labor and Greens voters who seem to rather dislike Shorten, Liberals who absolutely hate him (it’s normal for Liberals to take a particular dislike to Labor leaders who are ex-unionists), and swinging voters whose attitude towards him is “meh”.

    I think that means that, in the battleground seats, we will be looking at leadership battle of “meh” vs “meh”.

    This might tend to focus the campaign a bit more onto policy differences than is usually the case. And, as PVO has pointed out, the policy differences on this occasion are much greater than is usual in elections in which a change of government is likely to occur.

    Hawke in 1983 ran on his own personality plus vague promises of bringing the country together (and then proceeded to unleash the most dramatic suite of lasting policy reforms in Australian history). Howard ran with virtually no policies in 1996. Likewise Rudd in 2007, who ran mainly on his personality plus a promise to take a more humane and proactive stance on Aboriginal reconciliation and climate change, and Abbott in 2013 who ran pretty much a purely negative campaign. You have to go back to Whitlam to find a policy-laden opposition campaign that led to victory.

    If the discussion in the media on Victorian seats over the past 24 hours is to be believed, then the Libs seriously have no hope: IMO unless the Libs can somehow hold on to seats like Dunkley and Corangamite, then PVO’s “narrow path to victory” is a nonsense. But, as we saw in 1993, if there’s a late swing back to the government, seats that looked impossible to defend suddenly become salvageable. So the slight chance the Libs have of holding on depends on a swing back to them.

    As the Government can’t really offer anything to make people positively want to vote for them, this swing would have to be entirely driven by a growing mistrust among swinging voters for Shorten and his policies. IMO, the key is Labor’s negative gearing policy and its potential to drive house prices in Sydney and Melbourne down even further than they are already going. I reckon it’s going to be increasingly the main thing the Opposition will target over the next 5 weeks. Get ready for lots of scary ads featuring images of family homes while a voice tells you that they are under threat. It worked really well for the Libs in 1980 and might work again.

    Which makes you wonder why on earth Labor would ever have wanted to present the Libs with this opportunity. But I’ve had my say about that and won’t bang on about it any further.

  18. Victoria:

    I keep hoping that Republicans will come to their senses and realise Trump is a drain on the party and on their re-election hopes. But that day never comes.

  19. Socrates @ #3 Saturday, April 13th, 2019 – 6:09 am

    “Dutton refused to apologise for the comments yesterday, while Scott Morrison baselessly asserted that they were taken out of context.”

    If politics is a contest to determine who can tell the biggest lies to win office, Labor should not underestimate ScumMo. He will lie as much as he needs to win. If only we had some sort of “journalist” profession to challenge him when he does so.

    But…but…but he is supposed to be a Christian and lying is against the eighth commandment: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”

    So he is a hypocrite?

  20. Katharine Murphy asks, “With the Adani cola mine can Labor get away with choosing ambiguity over integrity?”

    Would a lemonade mine be more acceptable?

  21. meher:

    PvO’s comment is that Cowan is now winnable for the Libs with Scott Morrison as leader. I’d argue that they would’ve had a better chance of regaining Cowan with Turnbull as leader, and therefore not having gone through the churn of another leadership change.

    Based on my own interactions with Lib voters, I reckon you are underestimating the degree of hostility here towards Morrison for knifing Turnbull and resulting in JBishop going to the backbench and now retiring.

  22. Strange that BK’s excellent summary was unable to include anything about the withdrawal of the highest profile celebrity candidate in WA because of her antisemitic views.

  23. I keep hoping that Republicans will come to their senses and realise Trump is a drain on the party and on their re-election hopes. But that day never comes.

    I look at it from a different perspective – many Republican voters dont vote for Republicans, they vote against Democrats. The anti-vote comes from a cultural belonging to the group loosely tied to vague republican values but strongly bound by the dislike of the other.

    Quite similar here. I know many blue ribbon Libs who have disdain for the policies, trashing of institutions and cosy relationships with donors of the Liberals but, heck!, vote for the ALP? Hell no.

    It explains the ease of which Sharkie has previously won Mayo.

  24. Strange that BK’s excellent summary was unable to include anything about the withdrawal of the highest profile celebrity candidate in WA because of her antisemitic views.

    Scroll up. It headlines the thread.

  25. For God’s sake Bucephalus, they are not anti semitic; but they are certainly anti Israel.
    What Israel is doing to the Palestinians violates numerous US declarations and is a crime against humanity.

  26. Victoria @ #31 Saturday, April 13th, 2019 – 6:56 am

    What I posted above is not the whole thread and out of sequence. But it illustrates very clearly what is going on in the USA, and is infecting our politics.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/djrothkopf/status/1116811681462616065

    Yep this is what happens when you stack govt agencies and institutions with stooges. The coalition did the same thing here on their way out the door. Labor should review all their appointments.

  27. EGW

    I wasn’t suggesting that it had an impact. I was simply not taking credit for the idea, which I think is probably good advice.

    A couple of decades ago, I used to show classes ‘Behind the News’. It’s the kind of model Gillard was suggesting – every news story was given an in depth background, because it couldn’t be assumed that otherwise the average school student could grasp its ramifications. I learnt heaps from it!

    ‘Old media’ can’t compete with social media when it comes to reporting events as they are happening. They do have, however, the advantage of vast repositories of knowledge. So they have a niche that new media doesn’t have – the ability to explain, in depth, the background to events and to analyse their likely impacts.

  28. Day three of the federal election campaign. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is heading to the NSW central coast and the marginal seat of Robertson, held by Liberal Lucy Wicks with a 1.14 per cent margin #AusVotes19

  29. SK:

    That is true re voters. But I’m talking about sitting Republicans in Congress who are trashing everything they’ve previously stood for to prop up the con man in the WH.

  30. Confessions: “PvO’s comment is that Cowan is now winnable for the Libs with Scott Morrison as leader. I’d argue that they would’ve had a better chance of regaining Cowan with Turnbull as leader, and therefore not having gone through the churn of another leadership change. Based on my own interactions with Lib voters, I reckon you are underestimating the degree of hostility here towards Morrison for knifing Turnbull and resulting in JBishop going to the backbench and now retiring.”

    I find it difficult to believe that Cowan could be winnable for the Liberals under any leader. The WA economy is still weak and the swing towards Labor over there still seems to be on: the only question being how many seats it delivers to the (IMO, best case three, worst case none).

    I agree that there are many Liberals who are angry about the dumping of Turnbull: even some of the more right wing ones I know are angry because they believe Turnbull would certainly have won the 2019 election and that this would still be better than Labor and its tax policies. They seem to be more inclined to blame Dutton, Abbott and, to some extent Cormann more than they blame ScoMo.

    But rusted-on Liberals always tend to rally round come election day, as do rusted-on Laborites. I think that, if Dutton had become leader, swinging voters would be more angry about the removal of Turnbull than they currently seem to be. ScoMo has done a really good job at making himself appear to be the reluctant leader.

    And it seems to me that Labor has let him get away with it to a certain extent. I’d like to see Labor focus harder on attacking the Liberals for their disunity. It’s all very well to get excited about raising the level of Newstart, but there are few if any votes to win with such policies: my experience of swinging voters is that they are (or consider themselves to be) hard-working and ambitious, and their attitude towards the unemployed is more one of contempt than compassion.

    Labor should be doing everything it can to remind voters of the events in the Liberal party room last year. In the first two days of the campaign, Labor does seem to be giving a bit of the impression that it is running the victory lap ahead of the actual contest. Perhaps internal polling justifies such an attitude, but I still think it isn’t the right way to go. Get stuck in with a lot more of the good old “so how come you’re the PM anyway ScoMo?” I can’t see how you can go wrong with that.

  31. I don’t want to hurt Paula Matthewson’s feelings, but I don’t think the school holidays are going to affect voter’s general lack of interest in the campaign, especially given the trend towards vapid photo-ops. She’s making the classic mistake of thinking everybody is as interested in political news as she is.

    As an aside, this general lack of engagement is the only explanation I can think of to explain why Morrison isn’t hopelessly unpopular, with his marketing over substance antics, and his propensity to lie at the slightest convenience. I thought Australian’s bullshit detectors were better than that.

  32. “Laura Tingle is quite unhappy with current political standards.” Yet her article is factually wrong in saying a Liberal Party Minister attended. Andrew Robb was retired when he attended the wedding. Another example of Fake News from the Left.

  33. [“In the absence of compelling mitigating factors, it is our intention to terminate his contract.”]

    Apart from the free speech argument, the only other mitigating factor I can think of in regard to Folau lays at the feet of those proselytizing Methodists who converted Chief George in the 19th century:

    ‘In 1845, the ambitious young warrior, strategist, and orator Tāufaʻāhau united Tonga into a kingdom. He held the chiefly title of Tuʻi Kanokupolu, but had been baptised by Methodist missionaries with the name Siaosi (“George”) in 1831.’

  34. No room in the ALP for anyone who is sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians (who are about to have the West Bank stolen from them completely – against all international laws).
    Not as broad a church as the LNP then.

    It is disgraceful of the ALP to exclude Melissa Parke because of her accurate observations about the Israeli Government abusing its power.

    It indicates a party that doesn’t stand for much and isn’t willing to talk about complex, nuanced issues.

  35. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-13/slightly-better-than-average-political-party/10996680

    The Together Party may have its tongue firmly planted in its cheek, but founder Mark Swivel is serious about a tilt at the Senate.

    The party is one of many that have sprung up as a reaction to the rise of far-right politics in Australia.
    :::
    Could 2019 be the year that the political middle ground also sprouted a swag of players?
    :::
    On Monday, 11 years after their last Doc Marten-wearing MP farewelled the house, the Democrats re-registered as a party.
    :::
    In the recent past, Australian elections have been characterised by a rise in single-issue and micro parties and there will be plenty of single-issue parties adding columns to the already voluminous Senate ballot paper.
    :::
    And there are plenty of other small parties staging a contest for the protest votes of middle ground.

  36. I can tell you now that our great LNP will win the May election by a landslide and Morrison will be the best PM this country will ever have

  37. Laura Tingle:

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-13/politicians-bad-habits-come-out-at-election-time/10998218

    One of the great challenges facing the Coalition and Labor this election will be trying to win back, or even just cut through to, the voters who have deserted them for minor parties and independents.

    In the 2016 election, the major parties — the Coalition, in all its manifestations, and Labor — managed to win just 73 per cent of the total vote. And the informal vote — the ultimate “up yours” to all politicians — was 720,915, or just more than 5 per cent of the total vote.
    :::
    But the major parties know that it is just as likely that the splintering of the vote is a classic case of “pox on both your houses” for the way politicians are perceived to behave.
    :::
    Former Liberal leader John Hewson wrote this week: “Not only is it detrimental to good government and the national interest that politics has become an opportunistic, short-term game of point scoring and blame shifting, indulgent, and mostly negative, but our political masters now seem to have lost their moral compass.”

    “Their endgame is simply winning at all costs, even at the expense of decency, compassion and principle.”

    Unfortunately, this is the way too many voters see our politicians. And as we launch into the election campaign proper, they will have no-one but themselves to blame if disillusioned voters look to vote for anyone but the parties who they believe have put their own interests first.

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