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. Perhaps he wants to publish a book or something.

    There is no discernible mass groundswell for an Eric Swalwell presidential campaign.

    The case against: He is a 38-year-old California congressman of little legislative distinction. He would appear to have minimal running room in a deep and accomplished Democratic field expected to grow to 20 or so — large enough to fill two baseball starting lineups, with another contender or two left to heckle from the dugout.

    The case for: Why not?

    “We don’t have time for vanity things,” Mr. Swalwell insisted in an interview this past week, the morning after he announced his candidacy on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” pledging to anchor his bid in a call for greater gun control. “We’re doing big things.”

    That remains to be seen. But at the very least, if recent history is a guide, a run is likely to yield better things, perpetuating the victory-in-defeat incentive structure endemic to modern presidential politics.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/13/us/politics/presidential-candidates-2020.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

  2. jenauthor @ #828 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 10:47 am

    Labor has announce a Hydrogen Hub in Gladstone (I believe) and money towards hydrogen fuel research/businesses.

    I’d forgotten that. Quick search found some info.
    https://outline.com/j55qFH
    https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/politics/queensland/labor-s-1-billion-hydrogen-plan-zeroes-in-on-queensland-20190122-p50sv1.html
    https://alp.org.au/media/1520/190121-factsheet-hydrogen-plan.pdf
    ~12 weeks ago.

  3. KJ

    I’d agree that a Ringwood start to link would pick up the heavy vehicles from Gippsland and the Peninsula, needing no deviation through inner suburbs.

  4. EGW @ #788 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 9:55 am

    C@tmomma @ #787 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 9:54 am

    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.

    Oh the irony….

    And an entirely predictable response from you, johnny-come-lately.

    Do you honestly believe, EGW, that you hold a candle to the great man that you have nicked your PB name from? You certainly think so. Supporters of that proposition would fit with you inside the telephone box.

  5. Socrates

    The NE Link does seem over-engineered (20 lanes near the Bulleen interchange with the Eastern Freeway?). I feel some of the problem comes from this choice – because you are essentially ‘doubling up’ all the traffic between the tunnels at Ringwood and that interchange. Had they chosen to use the corridor from just east of the tunnels to the end of the current ring road in Greensborough (most of which is a government land corridor of powerlines) this problem would have been avoided, and any traffic wanting to travel between the Ring Road and Eastlink would not overburden that section of the Eastern Freeway between the tunnels and Bulleen.

  6. KJ and Rex

    My point was not that a link was needed, and I note KJs point that the alignment getting the most toll revenue was chosen (maximising vehicle kilometres travelled so a poor economic and environmental outcome). The point is they are building way too big a road. Demand management is not even on their radar screen. We are blowing billions this way. Never mind the toll revenue – what if the correctly scoped project would have only cost half the $15 billion? Most of these large projects are run by managerial construction types with no professional experience in road planning.

  7. 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.

    Soooooo Mr B.Knight esq. is a Dutton backer
    ?w=600

  8. C@tmomma @ #854 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 11:11 am

    EGW @ #788 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 9:55 am

    C@tmomma @ #787 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 9:54 am

    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.

    Oh the irony….

    And an entirely predictable response from you, johnny-come-lately.

    Do you honestly believe, EGW, that you hold a candle to the great man that you have nicked your PB name from? You certainly think so. Supporters of that proposition would fit with you inside the telephone box.

    Q.E.D.

  9. Confessions @ #794 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 8:01 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.

    There is a bit more to it than that.

    Mr Christensen, who has denied any wrongdoing, has been spending his time in a part of the Philippines where it is alleged that widespread criminal behavour occurs, specifically related to illicit drugs and prostitution.

    AUSTRAC detected some payments that Mr Christensen made to the area and he was subsequently interviewed by the AFP. Mr Christensen claimed that the payments were charitable donations yet refused to allow the AFP to view his WhatsApp messages which may have been relevant to the matter. Mr Christensen claims that his reasons for visiting the area are to visit family and do charity work.

    Mr Christensen claimed that the AFP has cleared him. The AFP said they did not have any evidence of wrongdoing by Mr Christenson.

    Again, Mr Christensen denies any wrongdoing.

  10. Just thought that Insiders missed a golden opportunity (maybe purposely?) to follow up Cash’s spray over EVs and the ‘they’re coming for your utes’ spray with the perfect rebuttal from KK showing all the pics of Libs promoting/driving EVs.

  11. grimace:

    Well whatever is going on his constituents are entitled to ask why he is spending so much time there rather than in his electorate.

  12. Again, Mr Christensen denies any wrongdoing.

    The accused usually does.

    The convicted usually does, too, for that matter.

    Surely it’s not common practice for legitimate charities to communicate via WhatsApp? Though also, I shudder at the thought of what might be in Christensen’s WhatsApp messages. Can’t blame the AFP for not pressing the matter.

  13. Lizzie
    “These large public-private road developments make me feel so helpless as profit is the motive.“

    I think there are a few different motives that cause this outcome:
    PS managers – career advancement
    PS workers – job security
    Road Industry – another juicy construction contract to bid for
    Car industry – more people driving = more cars being bought
    Treasury – short term activity = low unemployment, toll pays for it
    Politicians – lots of people with money lobbying for it to happen

    Read the book “Megaprojects and Risk” by Bent Flyvbjerg for a good discuion of how these big projects get out of control. Rule number one – never establish a separate authority to deliver them. It guarantees normal checks are sidestepped.

  14. @Socrates. 6- lanes is fine, if it was the best alignment. The problem is the alignment, in my opinion is wrong as it induces traffic that has other options.
    The better alignment would induce traffic from local roads. This is actually a good outcome.

    NELink at 6 lanes in the right corridor also marries up well with the suburban rail loop.

  15. I just saw one of the Bill Shorten ads…. he tries to list too much….it was almost Clive Palmer-ish. I do hope other ads the ALP are better.

  16. I have no time for Mr Christensen, but I’m also more than a little uneasy about the role of the AFP in this. A bit too J Edgar Hoover-ish for my liking.

  17. TPOF @ #849 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 11:02 am

    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.

    What the … That is so messed up …the awful slights and insults intended to unhinge and disrupt a genuine candidate. How sicko is that. Sorry to say I am not surprised this would come from a Dutton supporter if it proven to be so. Come on Dutton, even you can do better than that.
    _______________________________________

  18. Bill kicks off his volunteer rally with respect to the “owners of the land on which we meet “. Class BILL, class. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it Nath- I am yet to hear Scomo say that.

  19. One line from Bill “you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to know better hospitals improve patient care….
    However it does happen that our candidate for Bennelong is a brain surgeon.”

  20. Fess

    Yes I did catch up with Real Time. Thanks.
    Seth Abramson has been following and investigating the Trump saga to an inch within its life. If anyone will know every twist and turn, it will be him.

    Also re Eric Swalwell, I really like him. But I believe selling gun control despite everything, is still a big ask in the US. Not confident as to how it will play out.

  21. Shorten was big on indigenous affairs, then health, and now tax

    The franking credit refund is a ‘gift’. How many minutes of the money spent on it would pay for a health treatment.

  22. Rex. The problem with just banning coal is that Australian coal is higher quality than Indian coal and coal for many other countries.
    Also, there is no current replacement in Australia except for gas. Renewables are not up to the task.

    If you actually want to benefit the environment, the Greens would get behind science and support nuclear. Unfortunately, the greens, just like the LNP and Labor, don’t care for science if it doesn’t suit them.

  23. “Perhaps he wants to publish a book or something.”

    At this stage in the primary it’s about raising profiles. The presidential run may be pointless, but it creates an organisation and base which can be of use in lesser campaigns.

    It’s also a way of injecting a particular policy into the race, such as gun control. If there is a groundswell of support from the base, the other candidates will fall into line behind your position. It’s what substitutes for policy debate in the US.

  24. Kj @ #897 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 12:01 pm

    Rex. The problem with just banning coal is that Australian coal is higher quality than Indian coal and coal for many other countries.
    Also, there is no current replacement in Australia except for gas. Renewables are not up to the task.

    If you actually want to benefit the environment, the Greens would get behind science and support nuclear. Unfortunately, the greens, just like the LNP and Labor, don’t care for science if it doesn’t suit them.

    How big is your back yard ? …big enough for a nuclear power plant ?

  25. @Rex

    Science, look at the facts and not just people that tell Fukushima or Chernobyl.

    But yes, I’d be very happy to live in a town with a nuclear power plant. Would you ever visit Middlesborough? Heck, even London is an hour away from a nuclear plant.

    Would you be happy to work on wind farms (higher death rate) or happy for someone to put solar on your roof (also higher death rate).

  26. More Bill “The election isn’t between him and me, it’s about the people of Australia. “.

    No names mentioned though.

    Now about the McCran “end of the world article”.

    Shorten said he confidentially rules this out as a policy.

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