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. There’s an extremely tacky photo of Jacqui Lambie eating a dagwood dog circulating on social media. I can’t determine whether it was a deliberate pose by her, or just a random snap taken and shared without her knowledge.

  2. Nailed it Simon

    Thanks. Interesting you should use those words, I often think our political system has become a coffin

  3. What is the betting for Warringah atm. Sorry I went to the sportsbet site but could not see how to get to individual seat markets

  4. Holden Hillbilly @ #1096 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 3:58 pm

    The following Mackerras pendulum shows the notional margins for seats following boundary redistributions in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT.

    Based on a) ABC analyst Antony Green’s calculations of the effect of boundary redistributions for the next election,[1] b) Coalition MPs moving from the government to the crossbenches,[2][3] and c) the outcome of the 2018 Wentworth by-election, the pendulum has the Coalition government on 72 of 151 seats with the Labor opposition on 71 seats and a crossbench of eight seats.[1]


    That peudulum is wrong. In reality Page is a Coalition seat so that 8 seat “cr0ss-bench” is wrong. The Nationals member is trying to disconnect from the NATS brand for the election because they are on the nose so bad in NSW I can smell it in Tasmania. Concede Corangamite to Labor and it is 72 72 7

  5. Simon² Katich®

    Put down Lake Taupo in NZ as a dark horse. Bookies will be paying good odds for a proven performer with a fine track record.

  6. Put down Lake Taupo in NZ as a dark horse. Bookies will be paying good odds for a proven performer with a fine track record.

    I couldnt bring myself to put it down. Just the thought of losing all that quality wine in Scenic Cellars….
    no, canna happen.

  7. AFR does a summary of the election weekend. In case you cannot determine the particular “blatant cant” in which Abbott is engaged, the writer was referring to being “in the streets of our communities with our friends and neighbours and away from the noise of the media and vested interests”…with Piers Akerman

    Peter Dutton accused a rival of exploiting her lost leg for convenience. Scott Morrison made a racist assumption about a woman’s heritage. Tony Abbott engaged in blatant cant.

    The weekend’s rookie-like errors by three Liberal men who all believe the Lodge is their rightful home illustrated why Bill Shorten is likely to be moving into the prime minster’s residence in five weeks: he doesn’t stuff up.


  8. Simon² Katich® @ #1100 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 4:05 pm

    Can we have dibs on where the next supervolcano will blow?

    Put me down for, in order;
    Lake Toba
    Mount Gambier.

    Mt Gambier part of a long line of extict volcanoes that occur in west Vic and se SA. I grew up next to one of them so it better not blow or all the living and deceased members of my family will get incinerated……I am pretty sure they are all very dormant however (famous last words…..)

  9. Stephen Mayne @MayneReport
    3h3 hours ago

    It’s not too late for NSW Libs to disendorse @TonyAbbottMHR in Warringah after this shocking comment at a pokies pub on Thursday night: “you know what’s depressing wages at the moment? You know what’s sending house prices and rent up? It’s immigration.”

  10. Pica
    I believe the continent has moved north away from the Gambier-related hotspot. The next eruption will be under the sea. Possibly. Possibly even probably.

  11. It is starting to look like Corbyn has played a brilliant hand keeping his party together and staying cool while the Tories destroyed itself.

  12. Denise Shrivell @deniseshrivell
    12m12 minutes ago

    Spoke to 3 farmers/land owners as they stood in front of their large fruit & veg displays – all with a theme of drought. One said climate change was crap, another agreed with cc but not human induced – another said 100 years ago they had a bad run of weather too #auspol

  13. I am pretty sure they are all very dormant however

    Yes. No chance. But it is my running joke with Barney (hilarious!), and I couldnt put down Taupo and I dont know any others.

    The most impressive volcano remains is Mt Warning (not a supervolcano). Stunning if viewed from the top of the mountain itself or more spectacular… from The Pinnacle in Border Ranges NP.


  14. Anyone with even an elementary understanding of plate tectonics knows that Mt. Gambier (or anywhere else in Australia) is not going to erupt in the foreseeable future.

  15. lizzie
    I am sure that they are all knocking back on ethical grounds the drought aid necessitated by the worst drought on record.

  16. For PHON QLD watchers, still no PHON candidate on the website for Herbert (ALP), Griffith (ALP), Dickson (LNP) or Forde (LNP).

    To date 11 in QLD

    Blair Capricornia Dawson Fairfax Fisher Flynn Groom Hinkler Longman Maranoa Petrie.

    I hope PHON does not find candidates for Herbert or Griffith before nominations close on the 23rd. Her pay back to selected sitting members where she fields candidates will have some impact on the result in a few of these. Beware the scorned woman.

  17. Pica, Toba and the beautiful Blue Lake may be dormant, but Yellowstone is bubbling and fizzing constantly, with the ground level rising alarmingly and then falling a bit. Definitely a candidate. The other one the geologists worry about is the Phlegrean Fields in the western suburbs of Naples. But nothing is likely to just go “bang” without warning – Vesuvius, Krakatoa, and St Helens all put on fireworks for several months before the big kaboom, and I believe Santorini/Thera did the same (I seem to recall everyone got away in boats). Problem is sometimes a volcano turns on some activity that looks like it’s going to do a Krakatoa and then calms down again – eg Tavurvur in 1994 buried Rabaul in ash but didn’t explode as expected. So who can tell?

  18. Is it true that the best soils in Victoria are due to recent volcanic actions. Seems like it might be a good things to get a few mini volcanoes going.

  19. Anyone with even an elementary understanding of plate tectonics knows that Mt. Gambier (or anywhere else in Australia) is not going to erupt in the foreseeable future.

    Some volcanoes are caused by hotspots that are not on plate boundaries.

  20. “Has anyone given a thought to what might happen – as far as electricity production is concerned – if there is, say, a major volcanic eruption, or perhaps a largish (but not extinction-level) bolide collision with Earth causing a “nuclear winter” that substantially limits solar radiation reaching solar cells worldwide?”

    Two words – tidal generation.

    As long as we have oceans full of water and the Moon continues to create tidal movement in them, they should continue to generate power 24/7, even during a catastrophic event such as sunlight being blocked out.

    Tidal generation (basically wind turbines underwater) is so ridiculously underrated, especially in a country like Australia where we have no shortage of coastline. The oceans never stop moving. Now that is true renewable baseload power right there. The great thing about tidal too is that because the tuebines are underwater they won’t ruin our beautiful beaches either. You won’t even know they’re there.

  21. EB, Palmer’s money seems to be attracting some of Poorleen’s potential candidates away from her, and Fraser Anning is attracting some who don’t think she’s sufficiently (openly) Islamophobic. So the list of candidates come April 23rd is going to be intriguing. So many competing for the last number on our ballot papers! At least for the Senate we can stop after 1 above or 6 below. (The instructions will say to number 6 above or 12 below but that’s a bluff.)

  22. Wait, I take that back. There is still technically a hotspot in South East Australia and Gambier is still considered technically dormant rather than extinct. My mistake. Serves me right for not doing my research first.

  23. Mr Andrews rejected suggestions that he was using Victorian taxpayers’ money to fund Mr Shorten’s drive to win power when the nation votes on May 18.

    “That’s not what’s occurring here at all,” the Premier said on Sunday morning.

    “Who people vote for is a matter for them, but the days of us just going along with these cutbacks, just settling for much less than our fair share, are over.

    “This is not unprecedented, the South Australian government ran a similar campaign some time ago and I make no apology whatsoever.

    “We will fight hard every day, it’s part of my job, to get a fair share for Victoria.”


  24. sprocket_ @ #912 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 11:54 am

    Lizzie, saw it too – question is, when will an open Liberal figure or Murdoch outlet resurrect the Smear? Which, by the way, was fully investigated by Victorian police years ago who found nothing in the allegations.

    I think it is almost a given that they would try that. I assume the ALP tacticians are ready for it.

  25. KJ @ #943 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 12:14 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.

    If Australia has not gone nuclear by now, it never will. You are flogging a dead stuffed horse.

  26. Chuckle.

    Apr 12

    Coalition Govt: “People already think we’re ‘homophobic, anti-women, climate deniers’. How could we possibly offend anyone else?”

    Dutton: “Hold my beer”

  27. SK
    I doubt that the heading for the link ‘world’s longest continual chain’ would stand much comparison with other continual chains.

  28. KJ says:
    Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 1:50 pm
    Briefly, plenty of R&D advancements still to come with nuclear. To say otherwise is incredibly naive.


    Same old promise for the last 70 years, still not delivering.

  29. Simon² Katich® @ #928 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 12:00 pm

    I don’t want to encourage malicious gossip…

    Nobody is touching it. Watched one such twitter post get removed very quickly – either by the poster or twitter. The longer the campaign runs the more any claim will look disingenuous and desperate.

    My hunch is there is nothing new. The Liberals may resort to rehashing some old gossip dressed as new. The low road is bottomless.

    After the Rush case, maybe the spreading of malicious gossip does not seem so profitable for our news and social media sets.

  30. Tidal is only just getting started. It’s long been neglected and lags well behind wind and solar in terms of development. There are signs that it’s starting to be researched and developed more though. Apparently there’s already a turbine in QLD that’s feeding power into the grid. Like I said, it’s currently so underrated but has enormous potential.


  31. “Yeah. Tidal is hugely underrated by all the stupid people with money to invest in energy generation.”

    Correct. Just look at all the stupid people who invest in coal generation which is stuffing the planet.

  32. Did DiNatale say what was going to happen to the Australian economy when the Greens take $60 billion in exports a year out of it? (Not counting cotton and uranium, of course).

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