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. The ALP needs Greens preferences to win anything more than 50 seats. It cant pass legislation without the Greens. The ALP is completely beholden to the Greens whether they like it or not.

    As Joe Pesci said in Casino, the Greens might as well say to the ALP:

  2. Labor could try bundling, IMO.

    Cancer funding is bundled with neg gearing reforms.
    Knock back the neg gearing reforsm, knock back the cancer funding.
    Hospital funding is bundled with the franking credits reforms.
    Knock back the franking credits reforsm, knock back the hospital funding.
    Put up a package of half a dozen of these as triggers for a DD.
    Then GO!

  3. Greensborough Growler @ #1293 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 5:36 pm

    Confessions @ #1283 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 7:26 pm

    Greensborough Growler @ #1277 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 5:18 pm

    Anyone else think that Captain Getup may be demoted to Private and drummed out of the campaign?

    What purpose does he serve? I can’t imagine how coalition supporters can think he is helping their cause. Unless of course, their campaign strategy was implemented by Young Liberals.

    Steggall is a mother and an Olympic Medallist. She’s a candidate and someone whom I would not personally vote for. However, this disgusting performance needs to be condemned across the political spectrum. What is it about Liberal supporters and victimising women?

    I agree. I wouldn’t vote for Steggall either, but she is doing a great job of blanking Abbott and the Liberal attack dogs (including Cartoon Orange), and just getting on with it. Meanwhile it’s her opponent who is ‘face planting on social media’ and having to retrospectively delete photos and posts, so she comes out looking like the authoritative, mature alternative with a plan and policies for the future.

  4. Breaking news the LNP are leading finally in the polls and will win the May election by a landslide and shorten is not fit to run our great country..

  5. Wayne when you first posted that I thought you were the funniest poster on this blog. But by the 3rd or 4th repetition it’s just becoming sad. Must be past your bedtime, so ni-night.

  6. Confessions @ #1101 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 4:06 pm

    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.

    She deliberately put it up herself, with appropriate commentary.

  7. I suppose if Wayne goes back 6 years there IS a Newspoll 52/48 to the coalition … not sure how relevant it’d be for this election though

  8. ar
    It would appear from the thread that Angus isn’t being accused of illegal action or corruption.
    Ronnie Salt tweet just seems to be a list of fortunate occurrences.
    If anything it’s an exposé on the Water Buyback scheme.. which recieved a huge fail in SA Royal Commission.

    Angus will be less successful than the Daily Turdsheet in the Rush case.
    Why are they agitating it?

  9. yabba @ #1316 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 5:55 pm

    Confessions @ #1101 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 4:06 pm

    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.

    She deliberately put it up herself, with appropriate commentary.

    Really? My estimation of her, while already extremely low, just got lower.

  10. I have just caught up with Bill Shorten speech today.

    Very interesting when he said “…..time for change “

    I am sure it was just coincidence that Shorten was calling for change at the same time as thousands of volunteers are doorknocking across the country as part of the “ change the rules “ union campaign. Pure coincidence.

  11. “As Joe Pesci said in Casino, the Greens might as well say to the ALP …”

    Hmmm. Casino … that was the movie where the Pesci character ended up buried alive with his brother having had every bone in his body broken by baseball bats, right? One might think that a fitting (political) end for the Wiggle. …

    I’d be happy for the Greens to work with Labor to improve its legislation – you know, like buffing out the dents in a car fender, or changing over the chrome details. Perhaps even undertaking an upgrade to the camshafts. BUT NOT REPLACING IT FOR A WHOLE NEW FRACKING CAR!!!

    Politics in this country is broken. There is next to zero trust in the political process. Governemnts being elected promising one thing and then deleting another – surprise! – is the single biggest reason for that antipathy. The best thing that could ever happen to restore trust is for the next Labor government to deliver its promises. Especially on climate change. No matter how inadequate the Greens think they are. Restore trust and then insist Labor be bolder in its next term. Labor would actually go along with that and I reckon so would the public and guess what we’d have: public progress that actually sticks. Endures. Lasts. Huzzah.

  12. The whole Captain Getup is about rallying the hardcore conservative and pissing off the left wingers and fellow travellers like on PB.

  13. Simon² Katich® @ #1135 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 4:56 pm

    Tidal power has lots of problems.

    It has ruined the view from one of the most expensive beach realestate in SA.

    The Rance tidal power station near Dinan in Brittany has been running continuously since 1966. I have walked across the barrage. Dinan is an absolutely beautiful little mediaeval town. My daughter was there in the high school for six months in 2015, on exchange. The school was built as a monastery in the 1300’s. She had lunch every day in a cafeteria with walls 1 metre thick, and enormous oak logs holding up the ceiling, built in 1370.

  14. Boerwar @ #1305 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 7:43 pm

    Labor could try bundling, IMO.

    Cancer funding is bundled with neg gearing reforms.
    Knock back the neg gearing reforsm, knock back the cancer funding.
    Hospital funding is bundled with the franking credits reforms.
    Knock back the franking credits reforsm, knock back the hospital funding.
    Put up a package of half a dozen of these as triggers for a DD.
    Then GO!

    Australian Parliaments don’t do bundling of unrelated legislation.

  15. It’s Time
    There is nothing at all in the Constitution preventing it.
    If unrepresentative swill persist in denying a mandate then bundled bills are one way to bypass them.

  16. nath says:
    Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    The ALP needs Greens preferences to win anything more than 50 seats. It cant pass legislation without the Greens. The ALP is completely beholden to the Greens whether they like it or not.

    The Greens, just like any other Party or candidate, have no preferences to give.

    As for passing legislation, if they are going to block progressive legislation or legislation that is an improvement for the environment, then they will need to explain what they actually stand for.

  17. Just home from ALP launch in Freo. Nice event. Cider was good.

    Albo Made a Speech!!

    And a fine one it was. Good energy and many looking forward to Morrisons concession speech

    Not into hubris, but frankly, i reckon the Libs are Fwarked to a Fare Thee Well come the 18th. 🙂

  18. guytaur

    Very interesting re Finland – will have to catch up tomorrow morning. I am also following closely the Spanish election on April 28 – PSOE (the Socialist Party) are surging, while Vox (new far right party) seem to have stalled in the last few weeks.

    Red – PSOE (Socialists)
    Blue – “Popular Party” (Franco’s heirs)
    Orange – Citizens
    Purple – Podemos
    Light Green – Vox

  19. Nath
    And the Greens will be where without the Labor Party to win the government benches and give the Greens some relevance.
    In fact the Greens benefit whem Labor is in opposition.
    Nath, if you want to be taken seriously then make serious suggestions.
    For ages we’ve tolerated your provocation, narcissism and obstreperous agitation against Labor and Shorten as a future PM.
    Get yourself some help.

  20. Willy – I don’t think they thought that far. It reminds me of how the Young Liberals used to counter protest the Torts at University.

  21. It’s Time says:
    Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 8:24 pm

    Boerwar @ #1333 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 8:15 pm

    It’s Time
    There is nothing at all in the Constitution preventing it.
    If unrepresentative swill persist in denying a mandate then bundled bills are one way to bypass them.

    Rubbish Boerwar, the double dissolution is the mechanism to resolve such situations.

    Yep, also the Senate can vote to consider each element in a bundle separately.

  22. “To what end?”

    William, if you are talking the current state of campaigning by the RW of Australian politics then there are huge essays and learned papers to be written on the pointlessly idiotic self harm aspect of it. I’ve actually given up trying to get my head around it to preserve what laughingly passes for the remnants of my sanity. Am going to take the campaign over the next few weeks as bloodsport.

  23. Boerwar @ 8:15 pm

    “It’s Time
    There is nothing at all in the Constitution preventing it.
    If unrepresentative swill persist in denying a mandate then bundled bills are one way to bypass them.”

    Sections 54 and 55 of the Constitution do prohibit such bundling with bills appropriating funds for the ordinary annual services of government, and bills imposing taxation.

    Whether the sort of bundling you suggest would fall foul of these is, I would guess, one for the lawyers.

  24. Andrew Earlwood

    I agree about the politics in this country. The Blame lies with the right that does fear and division.

    Despite the Labor leadership chaos the Gillard Government was one of the best in my lifetime. It was a time of compromise that gave us excellent outcomes.
    Climate Change Policy. So good some parts still survive the LNP today.
    Plain Packaging Legislation.
    Infrastructure Australia
    The Child Abuse Royal Commission and many many more.

    Its part of why I hate the Labor Green wars.
    On the realities of outcomes it was an excellent parliament.

    I am hoping that the Greens and Labor can work together on legislation.
    As I expect Labor to win an outright majority in the HOR (I could be wrong of course but not on current polling). That means the Greens have to work with whatever legislation Labor has passed in the Lower House.

    However it takes two to tango and Labor should look at the constructive way the Greens work in the ACT as a model.

    The real problem was shown in Wentworth. The unholy alliance of the hard right LNP and Murdoch.
    So bad Morrison thought copying Trump on Israel was a vote winner.

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