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. I am unclear as to the full details, but another alleged bikie related shooting overnight here in Melbourne outside a night club.
    Security guard injured as well as four others, two seriously.
    Whilst nothing to do with fed politics, the recent influx of shootings in Melbourne over past few months can have some bearing on how the electorate see things. Just something to ponder

  2. Michael Koziol
    ‏Verified account @michaelkoziol

    Oops – Tony Abbott has sent out an email to supporters which calls Bill Shorten the Prime Minister #ausvotes

  3. What does the average voter understand by “strong economy”?

    It is too much of an abstraction.

    Labor is rightly concentrating on more concrete aspects of the economy like Health Services, Education, Jobs, Job Training etc.

    “Cost of Living” is another abstraction I think is best avoided. Talk about Electricity and Gas prices, Housing Costs etc.

  4. Boerwar says:
    Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 9:27 am

    Here is a suggestion for the Greens: that they start holding themselves to account for not holding the Liberals to account.

    Self reflection is not a strength.

    And if they tried to hold the Government to account they wouldn’t have any time to talk about Labor.

  5. Savva clutching at straws saying Michael Daley’s comments will save the seats in NsW – baseball bats have been put in mothballs waiting for Scotty, Dutton and Abbott to pop their heads over the parapet

  6. ‘sprocket_ says:
    Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 9:37 am

    Savva clutching at straws saying Michael Daley’s comments will save the seats in NsW – baseball bats have been put in mothballs waiting for Scotty, Dutton and Abbott to pop their heads over the parapet’

    There are concentrations of Chinese Australians in some electorates. There is an active and vibrant Chinese Australian press.
    I have no doubt at all that Daley’s comments will cost Labor some Chinese Australian votes. The question is whether that will be enough to make enough difference in some seats.
    I recall repeatedly warning Labor that it was taking the Indigenous vote for granted in the NT. The result was that the reactionaries took over the NT Government.
    The message at a visceral level is this: don’t touch other people without their consent; don’t kick disabled people; don’t make racist comments; don’t accept that Israeli officials forced a pregnant Palestinian woman to drink bleach.
    JUST.DON’T.DO.IT.

  7. Rex Douglas says:
    Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 9:39 am

    So, given a Labor win, what ministry should KK be awarded ?

    I’d just make her Manager of Government business in the Senate.

    It gives her authority without tying her to any portfolio.

  8. Geetroit says:
    Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 9:31 am
    When the Black Wiggle talks about a strong and positive program, let’s not forget that it was his party which voted with the Coalition in 2009 to destroy the first and best attempt at a carbon reduction program this country had. In the name of ideological purity they decided that it was better to ditch the imperfect but workable and hold their breath until the better came along. How did that work out for you Greens?

    The Gs voted against Labor’s CPRS for expedient reasons, not from purity. As soon as their primary campaign themes – refugees and climate change – are resolved, they will lose their mojo. It suits the Gs for these issues to never be satisfactorily dealt with. They will frustrate policy initiatives for as long as possible.

  9. The next Member for Chisholm.

    Candidate for Chisholm

    Jennifer Yang, Labor’s Candidate for Chisholm, is passionate about ensuring everyone gets a fair go.

    Jennifer believes our community and our country deserve better than what we are getting from the Morrison Liberal Government. That is why Jennifer will stand up for local families on issues that matter – better education, better health services, better wages, better NBN and better government.

    As a professional with a technology, science and business background, Jennifer advocates for a sustainable environment and for Australia to move towards an economy that encourages innovation and job creation.

    Her experience as a councillor and mayor has given Jennifer a deep understanding of working within the community to deliver meaningful outcomes.

    Jennifer lives in Blackburn South with her husband and their two children. She is active, approachable and local.

    Jennifer has the experience, dedication and energy to be a strong voice for the people of Chisholm.

  10. There is a pattern with Labor’s campaigning and it reflects Labor’s management of Opposition over the last 5 years.

    Labor is running its own race. It responds to Coalition attacks to the least extent possible, except when there is a gross overreach – like EVs and Dutton’s attack on Ali France. At the same time, it continues to make its announcements and put the case for a positive political approach to government. Notice how Labor absolutely does NOT talk about the Greens.

  11. Interesting that Bill spends his time surrounded by capable and popular women (Wong, Plibersek, KK) to make himself appear more emphatetic.

    Would be easier if ALP just elected better leaders.

  12. Insiders seeing the government being on the defensive. Savva characterizes Cash as a “knuckle dragger” on EVs.

    Ouch!

  13. Also note how many times Bill says ‘Scott Morrison’ or ‘the Prime Minister’. Zero. He uses other terms.

    Neville Wran went through a whole campaign back in the day, without mention the Liberal leader’s name once.

  14. Bob

    Would be easier if ALP just elected better leaders.
    __________________________________

    What does ‘leadership’ mean to you? So many people criticising Bill Shorten’s leadership seem to focus exclusively on his failure to capture the public’s heart by tripping over television cables in shopping centres.

  15. Rex Douglas says:
    Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 9:48 am
    Barney in Mui Ne @ #766 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 9:46 am

    Rex Douglas says:
    Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 9:39 am

    So, given a Labor win, what ministry should KK be awarded ?

    I’d just make her Manager of Government business in the Senate.

    It gives her authority without tying her to any portfolio.

    That makes sense. I agree.

    Oh shit!

    I need coffee!

    Can someone point out my error? 😆

  16. “Why is George Christiansen spending a lot of time in the Philippines?”

    Farmer wants a wife. Or somfink like that …

  17. Rex Douglas,
    Showing your spiteful side when given the opportunity to be collegial.

    Disappointing.

    Once bitten, twice shy trying to be realistic and sensible when corresponding with you.

    See you later. Much later.

  18. briefly @ #771 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 9:47 am

    Geetroit says:
    Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 9:31 am
    When the Black Wiggle talks about a strong and positive program, let’s not forget that it was his party which voted with the Coalition in 2009 to destroy the first and best attempt at a carbon reduction program this country had. In the name of ideological purity they decided that it was better to ditch the imperfect but workable and hold their breath until the better came along. How did that work out for you Greens?

    The Gs voted against Labor’s CPRS for expedient reasons, not from purity. As soon as their primary campaign themes – refugees and climate change – are resolved, they will lose their mojo. It suits the Gs for these issues to never be satisfactorily dealt with. They will frustrate policy initiatives for as long as possible.

    Negging Negging…

    You’d be much more comfortable with Labor dealing with the L/NP

  19. sprocket

    Also note how many times Bill says ‘Scott Morrison’ or ‘the Prime Minister’. Zero. He uses other terms.

    ________________________________________

    It reinforces the idea that the current leader of the Coalition is the guy who replaced Malcolm Turnbull (aka ‘the last bloke’) for no apparently rational reason.

  20. booleanbach @ 8:54 am

    “Ah, good old Rupert – he can’t let a muslim go by without some phobic comments.
    Now that he and the family are all here in Australia …”

    I would hope that if there’s an ALP government after the election, they will bite the bullet and refuse visas for any future trips to Australia by Mr Murdoch, on character grounds.

  21. If the federal govt played a role in the Daniel Andrews victory in November I wonder if the reverse will be true and the implications for the predicted labor rout in Victoria.

    Has been a rocky start to Labor’s 2nd term. We have had power blackouts, recycling into landfill, toxic chemical fires, Setka, problems with the injecting rooms, environmental destruction of the NE link, Police commissioner Ashton under the pump over Lawyer X, overpaid MP’s acting dishonestly, the list goes on…..
    On a local level, a great deal of buyers remorse in South Barwon (Fed seat of Corangamite) with a local joke going around based on the old Peter Russell Clarke line of “Where’s the Cheese”. Promised to contain Torquay’s boundary and halt the over-development of Spring Creek, but now crickets.

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