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. New employment ‘hubs’ are being set up by Libs and will compete with #TAFE . This is all part of the defund, run-down, undermine, sell-it-off strategy that the neo-liberals use for their mates to make profits from.

  2. Socrates. Incorrect. It is cheaper at small scales but not when it makes up a bigger chunk of the energy mix.

    As I said before, why does France have cheaper power than Germany? Germany has phenomenally more renewables than France. Why does France have less emissions than Germany when Germany has more renewables.

    In fact, Germany, moving to renewables has increased prices and not moved emissions.

    I agree, we need to reduce emissions ASAP, which is why closing nuclear down and not building new plants is counter productive.

    Which province/State/Country has achieved 100% carbon free electricity without geothermal (geography specific), hydro (geography specific and massive environmental issues) or nuclear (which can pretty much go anywhere)?

  3. ^^ Care to refute that by showing somewhere in the world that has achieved zero emissions from renewables?

    The higher the proportion that renewables go up, the need for battery storage goes up exponentially. The less you rely on base load power, the more hours worth of back up you need.

  4. Scott huffing and puffing and shouting at his rally. Interesting to hear that youth mental health and suicide are now a priority. Interesting because he has historically not supported the LGBTIQ community, where the youth suicide rate is huge. An opponent of same sex marriage, with comments like: ‘Those who oppose same-sex marriage face discrimination too’. If there was a No vote decision, suicide rates would have been impacted. So the sudden care about youth suicide seems disingenuous. Feels more like Labor has cut through with cancer policies, so we will match it with youth mental health.

  5. The higher the proportion that renewables go up, the need for battery storage goes up exponentially. The less you rely on base load power, the more hours worth of back up you need.

    It is a bit of a shame some of these ridiculous ideas like ‘base load power’ have got entrenched into peoples minds.

  6. KJ says:
    Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    As I said before, why does France have cheaper power than Germany? Germany has phenomenally more renewables than France. Why does France have less emissions than Germany when Germany has more renewables.


    In what world is nuclear cheaper? The construction costs were socialised, as are the insurance costs, as are the spent fuel storage costs, as will the cleanup costs of any disaster, as will the decommissioning costs.

    Solar and wind are very cheap when you don’t take into account construction too.

  7. Using fear to prove your point is exactly the same as the LNP in an election campaign. Useless.
    Shouting Fukushima or Chernobyl when someone brings up nuclear is the equivalent to Morrison yelling tax in an election campaign.
    Not looking at countries that have pretty much already achieved 0% emissions from electricity generation and saying you know better is the equivalent to the Liberals and their welfare card policy.

    Unless I can be shown otherwise, I will reiterate. Economy wide carbon emissions will not drop significantly if we focus on 100% renewables.

  8. Charles says:
    Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    A brilliant campaign performance by Bill Shorten.

    Agreed. It was a very solid speech. I personally liked the reference to Concord Hospital because my mother, a war widow spent a lot of time there when it was a Repatriation Hospital. It is very well located for the burgeoning Canada Bay area from Strathfield up to Ryde and the adjoining Homebush Olympic precinct. I understand that the hospital has one of Australia’s leading burns units.

    As Lowe, the electorate was held by Billy McMahon for 33 years. One of my first political memories as a young lad was seeing his election posters when he won for the first time in the Menzies resurrection of 1949.

    If you were there could someone tell whether Bill was using a teleprompter. I’d like to believe that he was speaking without that assistance.

  9. @Grimace.

    And of course we don’t have big subsidies for renewables here? Or extra network costs as a result.

    Again, of the subsidies for renewables Germany are providing were put into nuclear, the country would be at near 0 emissions by the end of the program. They currently cannot get close and the have hundreds of billions more they need to spend.

  10. I watched Sen Di Natale without the PB commentary.

    To me he handled the interview well. Despite what you hear here he primarily attacked the LNP. Most of the Labor comments came in response to questions not volunteered.

    It was interesting Savva started using his knuckle dragged comment talking about Cash

  11. Unless I can be shown otherwise, I will reiterate.

    Please please don’t

    Solar and wind are very cheap when you don’t take into account construction too.

    Nicely put.

  12. Big business loves nuclear power because it needs big technology which lets them gets their hooks into our lives and boss govts around. F… it.

  13. April 12 (Renewables Now) – The combined output of Germany’s wind and solar parks increased by almost 25% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019, reaching 49.4 billion kWh.

    SPREMBERG, Germany (Reuters) – A German far-right party is using a simple message to attract voters in a mining region threatened by government plans to phase out coal: jobs are more important than the environment.

    Yeah you really want that @KJ ?

  14. Sprocket, I’m saying the clean up is very unfortunate, but incredibly rare. Are you saying that there are no side effect costs of solar or wind? If you say no, I suggest you look through the whole of life impacts. In addition, Germany spent that money and have nothing for it. They haven’t decreased their emissions significantly at all.

    Socrates, even at 3 times the cost, it will be cheaper than if they focused on wind and solar. Finland has a higher percentage of low emission power than Germany. Also, if an over budget project is the reason to no longer progress with a power project, we wouldn’t have any wind or solar at all.

  15. KJ says:
    Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    Also, if you don’t consider nuclear, you actually don’t care enough to reduce emissions or you are willing to cherry pick from sources you agree with rather than that which cuts through the emotion.

    Remember, if you go all in on renewables, you support fossil fuels. No country has come close to 100% renewables regularly.

    Well considering how relatively new renewables are that’s hardly surprising at this stage.

    It certainly doesn’t discount it happening in the future.

  16. @Zoidlord.

    I don’t care how much is renewable. What I care about is level of emissions and the environmental impact.

    I never said jobs are more important than the environment. In fact, jobs should never come into it when talking about the environment. In fact, we shouldn’t be building any new coal or gas plants at all.

    @Barney, in that case. Anywhere that’s 40% renewables?
    If we need rapid action, and immediate results, saying it’s new technology and we have to wait won’t cut it.

  17. Speaking of that coal moment.

    Both Greens and Labor should have that as their image at polling stations. Possibly excluding North Queensland

  18. When Piis Ackerman is not out door knocking for Tony Abbott, he writes ‘opinion’ under the banner of a mass market tabloid..

  19. Rex: “negging, negging, negging”
    Rhwombat: “Rawhide!”

    Pollin’, pollin’, pollin’
    Pollin’, pollin’, pollin’
    Pollin’, pollin’, pollin’
    Pollin’, pollin’, pollin’

    Keep pollin’, pollin’, pollin’
    No policies extollin’
    Keep them pollies pollin’, rawhide!
    Don’t try to understand ’em
    They’re mostly effin’ random
    Soon we’ll be votin’ far and wide
    Bowe is calculatin’
    The narrowin’s abatin’
    Abatin’ at the turnin’ of the tide

    Preference deal, cut em in
    Stack the branch, cut em out
    Cut em in, cut em out, rawhide!
    Stack the branch, cut em in
    Preference deal, cut em out
    Stack em in, cut em out, rawhide!

    Neggin’, neggin’, neggin’
    Neggin’, neggin’, neggin’
    Neggin’, neggin’, neggin’
    Neggin’, neggin’, neggin’

    Keep neggin’, neggin’, neggin’
    Now Sexy’s overeggin’
    Keep them bludgers neggin’, rawhide!
    Through blog and tweet and twitter
    Everythin’s a-titter
    Wishin’ for the vict’ry of one’s side
    All the things we’re missin’
    Good vittles, love and kissin’
    Are waitin’ at the end of the ride

    Libling, liblin’, liblin’
    Libling, liblin’, liblin’
    Libling, liblin’, liblin’
    Libling, liblin’, liblin’

    Now libling, liblin’, liblin’
    Enough with all the quibbling
    Keep them bludgers driv’lin’, rawhide!
    Green and red and blue ones
    As well as all the new ones
    Pushin’ for the vict’ry of their side
    All the things they’re missin’
    Good vittles, love and kissin’
    Are waitin’ at the end of their ride

    Libling, liblin’, liblin’
    Quibbling, quibblin’, quibblin’
    Quisling, quislin’, quislin’

  20. Back agian. Just wanted to let you all know that the ‘Nuclear Now!’ campaign is another covert Liberal operation perpetrated by some very committed vested interests. I was exposed to it at the NSW State election recently. The lobbyists for Nuclear have co-opted the low emissions mantra to, yet again, try and sell their bill of goods.

    Don’t buy it.

  21. KJ
    If you go by what the market is doing nuclear is dead & buried. Apart from 11 possible new plants in China there are very few under construction around the world , average is 1 in the few countries doing them & most of those are on hold. Given the lead up time solar is growing exponentially compared to the development of nuclear.
    The market knows best.

  22. KJ says:
    Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    @Barney, in that case. Anywhere that’s 40% renewables?
    If we need rapid action, and immediate results, saying it’s new technology and we have to wait won’t cut it.

    How long does take to build a nuclear power plant?

    When was the last one built?

    When was one last started, but abandoned before completion?

  23. @Guyter

    South Australia is currently sitting at 53% low carbon and would be useless without the connection to the rest of the country.

    It is still heavily reliant on oil and gas.

  24. “If you actually want to benefit the environment, the Greens would get behind science and support nuclear.”

    The Greens are far from the only ones who you’d have to convince to support nuclear. It’s not like we’re the only ones standing in it’s way. Good luck convincing anyone – no matter what party or side of politics they support – to buy a house in the vicinity of a nuclear reactor. They may be able to provide plenty of power, nobody doubts that, but when something goes wrong with them the consequences are absolutely catastrophic. We don’t need them so why take that risk?

    Besides, solar power is pretty much nuclear power anyway if you think of the Sun as being a giant nuclear reactor. It’s infinitely more powerful than any other source of power in our solar system. And if it has a “meltdown” (which it will eventually in a few billion years or so) we’re going to have faaar bigger problems than working out where our power comes from. If humans still exist then we should have found another planet by then anyway. It’s so ridiculously far off into the very distant future though that it’s totally irrelevant to all of us. I digress…

    We don’t need nuclear power and we certainly don’t need coal either. Solar, wind, hydro, wave and tidal are more than capable of providing more power than we will ever need.

    There is one thing that nuclear may still be useful for though and that’s to power long distance space probes. If we were ever to send a probe directly to another star system it could use a combination of nuclear and solar. We know that solar energy will be available to it when it eventually gets close enough to it’s target star. Nuclear may be able to power it during the long trip through interstellar space. That’s an very unique exception though.

  25. There is one thing that nuclear may still be useful for though and that’s to power long distance space probes.

    Let’s not forget nuclear medicine.

  26. One can’t just imagine up a fully mature nuclear industry overnight. Even Ziggy in full on Pollyanna mode reckoned it would take 20 years.

    Similarly one can’t just ignore the significant downside risk or the sheer expense involved in the laborious task of building said industry from scratch.

    Simply put nuclear is a non starter for Australia’s energy needs.

    Using existing coal power stations – and if needs be gas plants – as transitional power sources over the next 30 years will give renewables plus various forms or storage more than enough time to take over.

    Germany on the other hand seems to have blundered in not using its existing nuclear industry to at least transition out of its peat fired power stations. However domestic political considerations dictated that move and it’s up to the Germans to decide whether they are happy with the additional costs associated in transitioning to a renewables based power industry without nuclear being the transitional base.

  27. KJ

    Your response just proves we need to buy more batteries.

    After all South Australia was a world first test case for Tesla for its scale.

    I personally am so pleased Labor’s Jay Weatherill got the time to prove it.

  28. Sceptic, there are currently 50 plants under construction worldwide in 15 different countries.

    All I really want is for it not to be illegal, for regulations to be equivalent for all energy sources and for a carbon price so that the market has the opportunity to choose.

    @C@t, I can’t stand the federal Liberal Government. There are plenty of people who have no association with conservative politics at all that are not anti nuclear.

    Also, the Liberal approach really highlights the situation well. Without nuclear, you have coal or gas. Also, scare campaigns, such as that against nuclear, works more than facts.

  29. Guyter,

    That’s my point though. You just need more. So once you start looking at the price per mWh, it really starts escalating very very quickly the higher the percentage. Base load doesn’t do this. This is why batteries can’t be considered base load.

    Germany is currently sitting at well lass than 30% capacity factor. Meaning the sticker mWh needs to be multiplied by .3 at the best to get the actual production…..on average.

    If you want a consistent flow, you need batteries for every percentage it’s below that for that length of time

  30. KJ

    You are arguing ideology. Base Load is code for reliability.

    Asked and answered in South Australia. Since then battery costs have reduced. Not increased.

    Edit: it’s my firm belief we will not have new coal plants built. Ditto Nuclear. Worst case option is use Tasmania and Snowy as batteries.

    Policy rightly ridiculed due to economics and speed of availability of batteries

  31. Also, scare campaigns, such as that against nuclear, works more than facts.

    You really can’t call a position based on something that has actually happened ‘a scare campaign’, doing so gives the arguments around it a very Abbottesque flavour.

  32. “Let’s not forget nuclear medicine.”

    True. Another unique exception. Nuclear should only be used when there is absolutely no alternative. There are plenty of alternatives when it comes to power generation on Earth.

  33. Guytaur – as much as I love the Tesla Big battery, it isn’t – and was never meant to be – a ‘base load’ power source. It serves a different purpose.

  34. Luckily, battery tech and renewables gen tech are getting more efficient, more effective and cheaper all the time.

    The forward curve is what we should be looking. It’s never going to be possible for the costs of carbon-based or nuclear-derived power to fall. The costs can only rise. The opposite is true for renewables. Increasing returns to scale are available from renewables. We have long since passed that point with solid and liquid fuels, where economic viability depends on socialising the indirect costs and increasing cash prices for energy derived from them.

  35. Andrew Earlwood

    Base Load Power is a myth. That’s exactly the point with renewables. That’s why you can tell those using it are using ideology based on out of date tech. Not today’s reality.

  36. There are very few tech-gains still to be made from solid or liquid fuels or from nuclear. However, we are just at the bottom of the curve with renewables. The gains will come exponentially.

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