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

    Nice spin in effort to demolish the Labor success.

    I quoted the unholy alliance for a reason.

    Your attitude will not help Labor in government. Especially as they will be avoiding working with One Nation.

  2. Confessions.

    Yes Daylight Savings is over.

    The later the release the worse it looks for the LNP IMO.

    That’s if one comes out. I am of the view Adkins more a reliable source than Kenny.

  3. Is Angus Taylor trying to prevent controversy over Water Buy Back designating the Nationals at the hands of the SFF, if so he is failing miserably.

    https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/drive/shooters,-farmers-&-fishers-eye-federal-poll/10937742

    Several of the significant losses for the Nationals in the NSW State election came at the hands of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers.

    The party increased its margin in Orange, and picked up the seats of Murray and Barwon in the state’s west.

    The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers are now turning their attention to the May federal election, with plans in the works to target federal National MPs


  4. The Margo Kingston / Taylor / O’Brien tweet seems to be developing.
    Another LNP disaster.

    It’s funny how stuff swirls around the internet before it breaks into the press.

  5. L-NP 39 ALP 39 Greens 9 PHON 4 Others 9 according to Kevin Bonham. Wonder if PHON’s now being adjusted down to reflect the fact that it’s not running in every seat.

  6. APRIL 14, 2019
    Pauline Hanson’s support has crashed, handing Scott Morrison the equal-best primary vote for the Coalition since just after the last election but also strengthening Labor’s lead.

    The first Newspoll since the May 18 election was called in the wake of the Coalition’s budget and Bill Shorten’s budget-in-reply speech puts the major parties neck and neck on a primary vote of 39 per cent each.

    With preferences from the Greens, Labor has maintained a two-party-preferred vote of 48 per cent to 52 per cent, representing a 2.4 per cent swing against the ­Coalition based on the last election, representing the potential loss of 10 seats for the Prime Minister.

  7. E. G. Theodore @ #1399 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 9:28 pm

    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.

    I watched a doco about Rickover which said that in the whole history of the US submarine fleet there has never been a radiation fatality. The poor Russian crews, on the other hand, died like flies.

  8. One Nation on 4. If that’s the case I wonder if it is a legitimate fall in vote or Newspoll adjusting for the party not running in all the seats?

    Also, I would be interested whether One Nation improved preference flow for LNP is still relevant.

  9. With less than five weeks to go before the poll, the Coalition has built on a two-point jump in its primary vote two weeks ago by adding a further point in the latest Newspoll, which began surveying voters on the day the election was called. This has come at the ­expense of One Nation, which has crashed to 4 per cent in the wake of the guns-for-funds scandal, with popular support falling nationally to its lowest point since 2016.

    The Newspoll showed Mr Morrison had recovered all the ground lost since the removal of Malcolm Turnbull, with the best primary vote for the Coalition since July 30 last year. This has been the Coalition’s high water mark since September 2016, just two months after the last election.

    Labor’s two-point jump fortifies the party’s election-winning lead despite still being down on a high of 41 per cent in the wake of the Liberal Party leadership spill in August last year.

    The fall in One Nation support has shifted the electoral dial and delivered the major parties a higher combined primary vote than that recorded at the last election.

    Having peaked at 11 per cent of the national primary vote less than two years ago, Ms Hanson’s conservative minor party has fallen to a low of 4 per cent in the latest poll, marking a further two-point decline in the past two weeks.

  10. Thats a good result 52- 48. Enough for a 3 percent swing in enough seats and some baseball bats in others. I CAN relax now. Phew. And have a look at the ALP PV 39% . That clinches it.

  11. I think it is a false to think that because PHON is not running in every seat that that will to the coalition. Those voters are the type which are pissed off and likely to vote somewhere else….. like the Clive Palmers crazies or anyone else who is on the ballot.

  12. “Nice spin in effort to demolish the Labor success.”

    Christ. Your Pollyanna take on the ‘success’ of the Gillard years rivals General Rawlinson’s take on the Battle of the Somme. At least Rawlinson wised up two years later. So should you.

  13. Andrew_Earlwood @ #1400 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 9:30 pm

    “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.

    But they passed over 600 pieces of legislation…

  14. Goll @ #1342 Sunday, April 14th, 2019 – 8:26 pm

    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.

    +1

  15. You’ve got to wonder why Morrison would hold a presser in the seat of Deakin, where the creepy Michael Sukkar holds it with a buffer of 6.4%. Could it be that party polling in the seat is not conducive?

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