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. This is being picked up on SM, but MSM not so much.

    Dee Madigan @deemadigan
    1h1 hour ago

    Unlike @alifrance5 , @PeterDutton_MP has lots of houses he can live in.

  2. taylormade @ #796 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 10:14 am

    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.

    FWIW… https://twitter.com/DanielAndrewsMP/status/1117212167361548288

  3. sprocket_ @ 9:52 am

    “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.”

    And much more recently, in 1999, Bob Carr did the same to Kerry Chikarovski.

  4. A small note on leadership.

    Bill steps right out of frame when handing over to a colleague. Morrison stays in frame, often standing too close, smirking in the background.
    Bill Shorten is a true leader, proud of his team.

  5. Rex – she has obviously said some stuff that has offended you; please provide some examples before making broad generalisations.

    I’ll provide a broad generalisation for you; Tanya Pliberskek is a strong social justice leader whois articulate, intelligent and takes down tories and other weak arguments easily.

    What is it that she has said that has offended you…..reckon i can guess

  6. SCOUT @ #809 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 10:26 am

    Rex – she has obviously said some stuff that has offended you; please provide some examples before making broad generalisations.

    I’ll provide a broad generalisation for you; Tanya Pliberskek is a strong social justice leader whois articulate, intelligent and takes down tories and other weak arguments easily.

    What is it that she has said that has offended you…..reckon i can guess

    go on.. ?

  7. taylormade

    I am not totally conversant with problems to the west of Geelong, but the latest publication of the environmental assessment of the new road through Bundoora and the east is a killer (as many conservationists have forecast). The Greens have an opportunity to attack the Andrews government on the destruction of green spaces, although I’m not sure what the ideal solution is. I’ll be very interested in the outcome.

  8. I like the argument put forward on insiders that focus groups don’t know Morrison … and Shorten is choosing not to name him so people continue not to know him.

    While all Morrison says is “Shorten, shorten, Shorten”

    Brand recognition is a good thing in politics

  9. What? Labor needs a better “leader”?
    This is a man who has kept Labor together for the last 5 years plus, near as dammit won the last election, and is offering a credible alternative right now to the maggot-ridden government led by Morrison.
    Give me a break……….So he isn’t the prettiest. He sure as hell is no Messiah. He does not rant and rave. He does not try come across presidential or worse, sound like a car salesman, as his opponent does. He does try to put his other team members into the lime light if they have something to offer. Most of all, he has called a lie to the saw that an Opposition Leader elected after a defeat in an election, does not last long enough to lead said party at the next election.
    What I do find most satisfying is the total shambles the LNP has been in for the last three years. They really do believe the born-to-rule rubbish and we have been through a dogmatic right wing religious in Abbott, a clever but total inept politician in Turnbull and we are now stuck with a preacher man from the fundamentalist Protestant right.
    If Shorten is not the answer this time around, goodness only knows what the question is.
    However, there are 30% plus of the voting population who would vote LNP (especially the N part) if the Old Nick himself was at the helm.
    When Troy Buswell was shown to be an absolutely disgraced politician, the vote for him in his electorate actually went up…………………….He was just seen as “a bit of a lad”, bit of a “naughty boy, doncha know” by his fans. I am quite sure the hayseeds who voted for Barnaby would be more than happy to have him back if the LNP get back into power………………………..

  10. taylormade @ #797 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 10:14 am

    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.

    Hahahaha… how predictable is taylormade!
    Presents a list of issues the State Govt has to deal with as if the Govt caused them.

    Power blackouts -> Who privatised the power industry and took it out of govt hands?
    Recycling into landfill -> Decisions made overseas to stop taking recyclables from Australia
    Toxic chemical fires -> Crooks and inadequate regulation – remind me who the deregulation enthusiasts are again?
    Setka -> And the connection with the govt is?
    Environmental destruction of NE Link -> ??? construction work without any impact? You’re dreaming.
    Police Commissioner Ashton under pump etc… -> Leaping to judgement there sunshine
    Overpaid MP acting dishonestly -> Oh yes, presumably by acting to correct an error made in his favour.

    Pathetic effort.

  11. That clip of Cash on the “Insiders” this morning caused me to reach for an antiemetic. Where do the Tories find their candidates(?). My nausea was relieved not by taking a med but by watching KK put the boot into Peter Dutton, who within twenty minutes of her (KK’s) original remarks apologised to Ms. France. Having Tanya, Kristine, and Penny heavily involved in the campaign is a strategic masterstroke.

  12. Confessions says:
    Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 10:01 am

    Andrew_Earlwood @ #787 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 7:52 am

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

    Farmer wants a wife. Or somfink like that …

    I just hope we aren’t paying for his travel expenses.

    Nah, just his salary!

  13. Rex Douglas
    says:
    Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 10:41 am
    First major party that announces country wide new large scale recycling waste disposal centres gets a prize.
    ______________________________
    All we have to do is look to where it’s working:

    When it comes to recycling plastic waste, Norway is ahead the pack. In fact, the Scandinavian nation has virtually lapped the rest of the world.
    https://www.sciencealert.com/norway-s-recycling-scheme-is-so-effective-92-percent-of-plastic-bottles-can-be-reused

  14. DiNatale’s promotion of hydrogen on Insiders was interesting. There would not seem to be anything to prevent any Government initiating a period of phased-out coal & phased-in hydrogen. That way avoiding job losses in the coal industry by re-skilling and in fact creating more jobs in the long term.
    Is the ALP at all favourable towards hydrogen; anybody know?

  15. Actually Rex, Labor did announce something like that – but of course, it wasn’t sexy enough for it to get on the channel9 news – so likely you didn’t hear about it.

  16. Actually Rex, Labor did announce something like that – but of course

    At the WA state level, I’m not 100% sure it has got into the minds in cabinet (it is an incredibly ordinary cabinet) but my local Labor member has been talking about hydrogen for a couple of years.

  17. Regarding the Melbourne NE link, I do not blame Andrews for this but there is an organizational and technical problem in many state road authorities at present. Their internal engineering and demand modeling capability has declined, and they have not updated models adequately to allow for changes in commuting behaviour. As a result, they are producing vastly over scoped road projects, leading to cost overruns. The NE link is needed. But I would say a four lane road (2 each way) with ramp metering and ITS would be sufficient. This proposal is over the top. Roe 8 in Perth, Sydney West Connex and even Adelaide South road are all similar stories.
    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/extent-of-north-east-link-environmental-impact-revealed-for-first-time-20190412-p51dp8.html

    I would warn any State premiers to be skeptical of such projects. There are a lot of jobs within departments riding on them, and a reluctance to question whether they make sense.

    In this case it is not a road vs PT thing. This area is too far out, and too spread out, for PT to solve the problem. But it shows the mess our road planning system is in.

  18. Rex – Similar to what a lot of people say about Richard Di Natale…….very easy to go the man / woman without saying anything of substance.

  19. Morrison can run around cheering on Winx as much as he wants.

    Today labor will commit to a 50-50 public health split with the states and territories which will pump just over $2 billion dollars into state coffers.

    Just the next instalment in how labor intends to spend the lolly from its “ tax increases”.

  20. Rex – it was a presser the week when Labor was announcing the Climate Change policies in segments.

    The gist was: get rid of single use plastics, repurpose certain ‘abandoned’ manufacturing plants for genuine recycling. The announcement was made at a recycling company that was looking to expand (not sure where). Spoke about a suite of related measures.

    Not sure it is on the Labor website – might be on Shortens FB page under ‘videos’

  21. WeWantPaul says:
    Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 10:50 am

    Actually Rex, Labor did announce something like that – but of course

    At the WA state level, I’m not 100% sure it has got into the minds in cabinet (it is an incredibly ordinary cabinet) but my local Labor member has been talking about hydrogen for a couple of years.

    Pay attention people, Shorten announced Labor’s thinking on hydrogen months ago during the Qld Bill bus, IIRC.

    See jenauthor’s comment above.

  22. @DrCraigEmerson
    8m8 minutes ago

    Wow! Dutton backers are now questioning whether @alifrance5 having her leg amputated constitutes a disability.

  23. Socrates @ #834 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 10:51 am

    Regarding the Melbourne NE link, I do not blame Andrews for this but there is an organizational and technical problem in many state road authorities at present. Their internal engineering and demand modeling capability has declined, and they have not updated models adequately to allow for changes in commuting behaviour. As a result, they are producing vastly over scoped road projects, leading to cost overruns. The NE link is needed. But I would say a four lane road (2 each way) with ramp metering and ITS would be sufficient. This proposal is over the top. Roe 8 in Perth, Sydney West Connex and even Adelaide South road are all similar stories.
    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/extent-of-north-east-link-environmental-impact-revealed-for-first-time-20190412-p51dp8.html

    I would warn any State premiers to be skeptical of such projects. There are a lot of jobs within departments riding on them, and a reluctance to question whether they make sense.

    In this case it is not a road vs PT thing. This area is too far out, and too spread out, for PT to solve the problem. But it shows the mess our road planning system is in.

    The link is definitely needed.

    Just hope the Greens and other progressives extract as much environmental protection as possible in upper house negotiations.

  24. 😆

    @jonkudelka

    I get that we need to hear from a wide range of voices but I would contend that the barking mad/wilfully ignorant/village idiot sector is in fact pretty well catered for already and a little bit of discernment is not too much to ask.

  25. booleanbach @ #822 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 10:44 am

    There would not seem to be anything to prevent any Government initiating a period of phased-out coal & phased-in hydrogen.

    Well, except that to get the hydrogen in the first place you have to input large amounts of energy. That energy still has to come from somewhere (solar/renewables, hopefully). Hydrogen is more of an alternative to the lithium used in EV (and other) batteries; it stores energy, it doesn’t provide energy.

    You could replace Snowy 2.0 with a plant that uses surplus solar energy to produce hydrogen, and then maybe you could replace a coal plant with one that burns the hydrogen at night to keep the lights on.
    But you can’t really phase in hydrogen as a direct replacement for coal without also phasing in a bunch of other stuff off to the side to actually produce the hydrogen in the first place.

  26. jenauthor @ #838 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 10:56 am

    Rex – it was a presser the week when Labor was announcing the Climate Change policies in segments.

    The gist was: get rid of single use plastics, repurpose certain ‘abandoned’ manufacturing plants for genuine recycling. The announcement was made at a recycling company that was looking to expand (not sure where). Spoke about a suite of related measures.

    Not sure it is on the Labor website – might be on Shortens FB page under ‘videos’

    It should be on Labors website. It’s a major issue of concern with voters.

  27. Unfortunately with NE Link, they picked the alignment to increase toll returns, not the best alignment for the project. This alignment was always trickier and closer to urban properties, flood land and urban open space.

    My preferred option was Ringwood to Greensborough using the existing freeway preserved corridor between Greensborough and Diamond Creek and tunneled to Ringwood where an at grade or elevated project wasn’t suitable. Whilst it’s a 15km tunnel, there is no need to much around with the Eastern Freeway and it actually doesn’t encourage CBD car trips.

    Anyway, the Labor performance in Victoria won’t negatively affect Labor this election. Daley’s comments on the Chinese also won’t negatively affect Labor this election.

  28. lizzie says:
    Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 11:00 am
    @DrCraigEmerson
    8m8 minutes ago

    Wow! Dutton backers are now questioning whether @alifrance5 having her leg amputated constitutes a disability.

    _______________________________________

    Perhaps they could suggest that she went to the same studio where they shot the moon landings to fake the amputation.

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