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. Andrew_Earlwood @ #1327 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 8:13 pm

    “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.

    Well played, sir!

  2. There is nothing at all in the Constitution preventing it.

    Well, the Constitution explicitly says that laws about tax can only be about the one tax.

    How that relates to bills and parliamentary procedure I’m clearly unqualified to say, but the intent of the Constitution is clear about trying to avoid exactly what you are suggesting.

  3. It is amazing to find how much GetUp! get up the noses of some of our extreme anti-Labor relatives. They are seen as the devil incarnate – possibly worse than the Greens! And their tactics of using a whole lot of ‘free’ volunteers to bombard certain electorates – it is seen by these relatives as positively undemocratic, and somehow sinister! One of them was banging on about how GetUp! should not have charity status – I told them that they in fact don’t have charity status, while the IPA does (which is bizarre and hilarious in a black humour sort of way.)

    I really hope there are some polls out in the next day or so. My euphoria at seeing the Saints win their third game for the year (after winning 4.5 for the whole of last season) could just last that much longer with another favourable poll tonight or tomorrow!

  4. ‘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.’

    There is nothing in the Constitution preventing bundling. And if those Bills are knocked back twice then the they form a trigger for a DD.

  5. I said earlier that Cormann’s interview with Speers this morning could represent a ‘birthday cake’ of its own.

    Senior WA Liberal Mathias Cormann has endured an embarrassing interview in which he was unable to say how much taxpayers earning over $180,000 will receive under the Coalition’s tax cut plans.

    He was asked about the Government’s claim that a Shorten Labor Government would burden the economy with $387 billion in taxes by 2029-30 if it won the election.

    Sky News host David Speers said $230 billion of that disputed $387 billion figure could be explained by Labor’s decision to not agree to stages 2 and 3 of the Coalition’s income tax cut pacakge.

    Labor has said it is opposed to the final two stages of the Coalition’s tax cuts because they will disproportionately benefit Australia’s highest-income earners and put a greater tax burden on middle income households.

    Speers asked Mr Cormann if he knew how much of that $230 billion would go to Australia’s highest income earners under the Coalition’s plan.

    But Mr Cormann couldn’t answer the question.

    https://thewest.com.au/politics/federal-election-2019/federal-election-2019-mathias-cormann-struggles-to-explain-coalitions-tax-cut-plans-ng-b881168292z

  6. “They are are humungous big swinging dicks. There is no end to these pricks.”

    Ahhh, but can they keep it up over the campaign.

  7. ‘Jackol says:
    Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    There is nothing at all in the Constitution preventing it.

    Well, the Constitution explicitly says that laws about tax can only be about the one tax.’

    OK. So the one tax might be changes to negative gearing. Does the Constitution prevent that Bill from also including how the money would be spent?

  8. Confessions
    I thought Mr Speers did quite a good job of cornering Mr Corman on that one. Mr Corman promised to provide Speers with the numbers, as if he was doing Senate Estimates.
    The notion that Corman has never seen that particular number is as who might say interesting.

  9. I think the Captain Getup campaign is about rallying the young adult vote to the Liberals, by looking cooler, and deriding their main rivals. Young adults is a demographic the Liberals struggle with, (outside party members families).

    Yet it is so ham fisted it only emphasis3s how out of touch the young libs are with their campaign. It shows GetUp is getting to them.

  10. Boerwar @ #1354 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 8:30 pm

    ‘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.’

    There is nothing in the Constitution preventing bundling. And if those Bills are knocked back twice then the they form a trigger for a DD.

    Yeah, but the DD option means the voting threshold for election to the Senate is 7-8%.

  11. I had thought that the original aim of Captain GetUp! campaign was to expose the evil manipulators who were secretly funding GetUp!

  12. boerwar – again, the relationship between bills, parliamentary procedure, and what ends up being classified as ‘a law’ is not clear to me. What the constitution actually says is (s55):

    55 Tax Bill
    Laws imposing taxation shall deal only with the imposition of taxation, and any provision therein dealing with any other matter shall be of no effect.
    Laws imposing taxation, except laws imposing duties of customs or of excise, shall deal with one subject of taxation only; but laws imposing duties of customs shall deal with duties of customs only, and laws imposing duties of excise shall deal with duties of excise only.

  13. Jackol – interesting. From memory, the Coalition were bundling cuts in areas they don’t like (Welfare, etc) with new spending.

  14. Rocket Rocket:

    It says a lot about the conservative side of Australia’s politics that its response to GetUp, a genuine, well-supported policy outfit that campaigns with real volunteers in electorates in order to engineer progressive policy, is a cartoon character with a fake Asian accent who dry humps the billboards of its opponents.

  15. 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 suspect the thinking is that the unfiltered output of Donald Trump’s id got him elected, so it can work for them too. It’s basically gives the right a licence to believe that whatever they want to believe is, ipso facto, good politics. As manifestations of this go, Captain GetUp is probably no worse than Peter Dutton for PM.

  16. These RWNJs are a laugh a minute!

    eteran News Corp columnist Piers Akerman has rejected criticism directed at him for joining former Prime Minister Tony Abbott on the campaign trail in his seat of Warringah on the weekend.

    Former Sydney Morning Herald and The Age journalist Mark Kenny said on the ABC’s Insiders on Sunday morning that “a lot of people are looking at this thinking: ‘This surely crosses a line’.”

    Mr Akerman – who was wearing a “Tony Abbott for Warringah” t-shirt – rejected that, saying he was there as an “independent Australian and a private citizen”.

    Piers Akerman donned an Abbott shirt but said he had spent most of the day patting dogs standing in the background.

    https://www.smh.com.au/federal-election-2019/i-just-stood-in-the-background-piers-akerman-on-campaign-trail-with-tony-abbott-in-warringah-20190414-p51e1p.html

  17. Of course GetUp is against the Natural Order. The left has to get billionaire media barons to campaign for them like the Right.

  18. Captain GetUp is a fitting footnote to the absurdities of the parliament just dissolved. It was pretty obvious from day one of Advance Australia that it was just going to be a Dad’s Army version of GetUp!, by turns comical and clueless.

    When the contrast at the moment is between an opposition that has done policy work and a PM who seems only capable of stunts which misfire, why wouldn’t you try to put yet another pure stunt into the public gaze?

    I’ve just started reading Troy Bramston’s new book on Menzies, which is pretty good. Menzies, of course, would have had no need, and no time, for Captain GetUp.

  19. steve777 – as I said, I’m unclear about the relationship between bills and law, so eg, a bill that includes a series of amendments to a variety of existing legislation – if each piece of resultant legislation individually complies with s55 even if multiple laws covering a variety of topics were amended at the same time, it may not be a problem.

    Although given that s55 is titled ‘Tax Bill’ it would seem to suggest that the intention was to prevent any such bundling, but might be rendered moot by sloppy wording.

  20. Confessions says:
    Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 8:40 pm
    Rocket Rocket:

    It says a lot about the conservative side of Australia’s politics that its response to GetUp, a genuine, well-supported policy outfit that campaigns with real volunteers in electorates in order to engineer progressive policy, is a cartoon character with a fake Asian accent who dry humps the billboards of its opponents.

    I think the billboard in question belonged to Advance Australia.

  21. Rocket Rocket @ #1353 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 8:30 pm

    It is amazing to find how much GetUp! get up the noses of some of our extreme anti-Labor relatives. They are seen as the devil incarnate – possibly worse than the Greens! And their tactics of using a whole lot of ‘free’ volunteers to bombard certain electorates – it is seen by these relatives as positively undemocratic, and somehow sinister! One of them was banging on about how GetUp! should not have charity status – I told them that they in fact don’t have charity status, while the IPA does (which is bizarre and hilarious in a black humour sort of way.)

    I really hope there are some polls out in the next day or so. My euphoria at seeing the Saints win their third game for the year (after winning 4.5 for the whole of last season) could just last that much longer with another favourable poll tonight or tomorrow!

    The Libs hate Get-Up because its threatens the right wing stranglehold on the flow of political information in this country that has lasted for 100 years. Without that stranglehold, all they’ve got is a bunch of shit policies that they can’t sell. Get-UP and the like are a true existential threat.

  22. “As manifestations of this go, Captain GetUp is probably no worse than Peter Dutton for PM.”

    Agreed. My main sadness with that as a concept is that we still have, what, 5 weeks to go, and probably haven’t yet reached peak stupid. 🙁

  23. antonbruckner11 says:
    Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    The Libs hate Get-Up because its threatens the right wing stranglehold on the flow of political information in this country that has lasted for 100 years. Without that stranglehold, all they’ve got is a bunch of shit policies that they can’t sell. Get-UP and the like are a true existential threat.

    The Libs hate GetUp because, along with Labor, it highlights how ineffective the Right is at generating any sort of grassroots support.

  24. “it is seen by these relatives as positively undemocratic, and somehow sinister! ”

    And that, i think, says something pretty fundamental about their attitude to democracy. whatever you think about Getup they have the support of enough VOLUNTEERS to be a significant political force. Thats what frightens the RW.

    “Captain Getup” seems to me to be an attempt to use humor by the RW. But..they just dont really get the humor thing.

  25. Have just come back from Josh Wilson’s launch at “Little Creatures” in Freo. I.e. “the Socialist Republic of Fremantle”. Such a great venue overlooking Fisherman’s Harbour. Albo gave a great speech. Everyone very positive. He likened Freo to his own electorate. I will be in Canning to try and knock off Andrew Hasting on Election Day.
    I think it would be easy for labor to win if not for the Murdoch press and Stokes’s West Australian newspaper. Lies ,lies,lies.
    I found the NYT articles on the Murdoch family very in lightning.

  26. Kevin Bonham@kevinbonham
    12m12 minutes ago
    OK @dwabriz said no #Newspoll tonight but numerous sources are reporting that @chriskkenny has said there is one.

    So where is the Newspoll?

  27. frednk: “It’s the accidents. Coal destroys square miles of low grade country ( fly over the open cuts in Queensland if you don’t believe). Nuclear accidents destroy 100 sq miles of prime real estate.”

    Yes – so that’s a contingent land factor (of high value land) in nuclear electricity production, which needs to be accounted for.

    And of course coal consumes land factors in two ways:
    – land destroyed (but low grade in most cases, at least in AUS)
    – extracted coal consumed

  28. Boerwar
    “I had thought that the original aim of Captain GetUp! campaign was to expose the evil manipulators who were secretly funding GetUp!”

    Interesting. Do they mean the more than 10,000 core members who regularly contribute funding? I confess I have been one of those doing it for more than ten years. Shocking of me.

  29. For those of you waiting for polls don’t forget its NSW Upper House results day tomorrow.

    I am holding out hope for Lib Dems loss.

  30. Nuclear reactor technology

    Most if not all technology currently in production is derived from that developed to power nuclear submarines under the program run by Hyman Rickover. Submarines (and aircraft carriers) have extreme requirements in relation to corrosion and other things, which don’t apply to on land reactors. It might be possible to develop land specific technology that is safer, but that’s not where the USGOV defense funding (which was most of the funding over history) went.

  31. “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.”

    Most of which are ash. Remember the East Timor Solution? The People’s Convention? The Real Julia? A Good Government that lost its way. And the biggest tomali of the lot “no carbon tax under a government I lead”. Now I know, I know – the whole “in context” and full quote was quite consistent with how things technically shook out after the election but the fact remains – Credlin and the shitgibbon she ran were able to manufacture the lie because it had a truthy quality about it: Gillard had promised to find a new political consensus on climate before acting – the public expected to be taken along in this process, not simply be told: “surprise” – I have a deal with the Greens and my consensus is the three amigos supporting me for supply in the lower house. That was a fucked deal and it killed Gillard stone dead because it said “something” about her character that the public had been unseasy about ever since 90% went to sleep on night with one, still well liked and respected PM (albeit a little tarnished) and woke the next morning to Koshie saying “surprise Australia, you have a new Prime Minister”.

    Never again. Never.

    Right now, or should I say in about three months time, there is a positive and real need for a Shorten Labor Government to put the Wiggle and the Greens urgers in their box and make it 100% clear to the Australian public that it is as good as its word.

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