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. Bucephalus says:
    Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 10:44 am

    It is generally accepted that Anti-semitism is referring to attacking Jews. The leftist anti-Jewish pedantry that claims that Anti-semitism is anything else than being anti-Jewish is a load of bollocks.


    The phrase ‘anti-semitism’ was invented as a faux scientific way to talk about hatred of the Jews as anything other than sheer hatred. It may be time, in view of how there are attempts to make the term meaningless, to return to the original concept of hatred of the Jewish people.

  2. Rex Douglas: “lhan Omar is a leader with strength and courage. She won’t back down to Trump’s racism and hate, and neither will we. The disgusting and dangerous attacks against her must end.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders)”

    I’ll probably astonish many on here by stating that I can’t see anything at all wrong with Ms Omar’s comments re 9/11, and think it is unjust for the right commentariat to pile on her about it (especially given the extent to which the American right has harboured a certain amount of crazy, and often anti-semitic, conspiracy theories about the same event).

    However, Ms Omar has a record of making out there comments and this has had the unfortunate effect of making her a target.

  3. Confessions @ #145 Saturday, April 13th, 2019 – 10:46 am

    adrian @ #140 Saturday, April 13th, 2019 – 8:42 am

    To those of you who may have thought that this was a photoshopped picture to prove a point, the only addition to this ABC promo shot is the LNP logo!

    <a href="” rel=”nofollow”>” rel=”nofollow”>

    Michael Rowland’s head is out of proportion to the rest of his body.

    Fake News. There are women in that photograph.

  4. On the footballer issue, I thought we were meant to respect peoples religious beliefs – no matter how stupid, ignorant and superstitious..?
    Hell is made up, it’s not a real place.
    So the comment is just stupid.

  5. Rep Omar plays to her district. What the GOP says is irrelevant. She will continue to drop similar comments and then roll them back. She is in there on the back of a very large Somali-muslim population in Minneapolis. She’s not there for her grasp of tax policy.

  6. Ilhan Omar and AOC embody a bright future for the Democratic Party.

    Pete Buttiegeg, Beto O’Rourke, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker belong in a time capsule that is labelled “retread of New Democrats circa 1995”.

  7. It appears The Guardian isnt on the journo planes following Morrison and Shorten around. There was a tweet from Lenore Taylor saying they wouldnt.

  8. I have no problem with criticism of Trump for being a doofus but holding out Omar and Occasional Cortex as examples of fine leadership potential for the Democrats is a joke.

  9. The goofy-dad routine that Morrison’s adopted was entirely foreseeable. It’s concerning that many might be fooled into believing he’s one of the boys: likes a beer, kicks a football, chomps into a maggot-bag. And, his recent act of shedding a tear on cue, speaking with a quavering voice is almost totally insincere -the acts of a political shyster.

    Far from being lovable, he was a member of a cabinet that attempted to impose on the Australian people the 2014 budget; he agitated for mitigation strategies to avoid granting permanent visas to 700 refugees; defended his use of the terms “illegal arrivals” and “illegal boats”, whereas the correct term is “unlawful”; failed to act in the best interests of children in detention during his time as Minister; brought a lump of coal in the House, claiming it was the bees knees; opposed the banking royal commission; announced the moving of our embassy to Tel Aviv; believes the world is only some six thousand years old – and these are only a few examples that are in the public sphere. What goes on behind closed doors is anyone’s guess.

    What Labor needs is a person to counter the crap coming from Morrison’s lips. Be it a man or a woman, someone with the mongrel in them is requisite. No one should underestimate Morrison, despite polling. Labor should win, but winning won’t be a lay down misere.

  10. What zoom said.

    But also, any similarity of Trump and the two new Democrat congress reps mentioned would have to be at the inane or subatomic level.

  11. Bucephalus says:
    Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Barney, who in the political left in Israel are calling for the dissolution of the State of Israel?

    Did Price do so?

    Yet, somehow you deem her as being anti-Semitic.

  12. Mavis – do you have evidence to support your claim about what Morrison thinks about the creation of the earth? Or, are you just making crap up?

  13. Shame on AOC for thinking up innovative ways and goals to ease the transformation of the economy away from fossil fuels and hence make the world a better place for all peoples and the natural environment.

    It is just like how Trump looks for ways to enrich himself by dividing people, or like how he fosters racism and other hatreds in his followers.

    Same same.

  14. “Mavis – do you have evidence to support your claim about what Morrison thinks about the creation of the earth? ”

    Bucephalus, you should probably look up the doctrine of the Pentecostal Church. Basically, exclusionary nuttbaggers who should really be expunged from the shallow end of the gene pool they inhabit.

  15. EGW: “The religious nutters in Israel don’t contribute to the society, are exempt from military service and breed like rabbits. Things can only get worse.”

    This is a classically anti-Semitic expression. It is a racially and religiously-charged defamation. It is phobic defilement.

  16. Bucephalus says:
    Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 11:11 am
    Mavis – do you have evidence to support your claim about what Morrison thinks about the creation of the earth? Or, are you just making crap up?


    Do you have any evidence that Morrison rejects the fundamental teachings of the church to which he devoted?

  17. briefly says:
    Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 11:18 am
    EGW: “The religious nutters in Israel don’t contribute to the society, are exempt from military service and breed like rabbits. Things can only get worse.”

    This is a classically anti-Semitic expression. It is a racially and religiously-charged defamation. It is phobic defilement.


    Sorry Briefly, but I don’t agree. It is a view expressed by many within Israel and has many counterparts in other religious societies where religious fundamentalists hold sway.

  18. * Apologies for typos ahead. Written on a tablet while swatting mozzies *

    Upon reflection, my cautions in the Pell matter were more about the vehement over-reaction to what is the first stage in a lengthy legal process (should Pell choose to apoeal).

    My view was that there was a lot of (i.e. uncomfortably so) pent up hatred of Pell, arising from his covering up of the sexual crimes of others in the past, and even his involvement in domestic politics.

    I reserve my real hatred for those who deserve it (round up the usual suspects here, but as a hint I’m talking about the kind of people who used to goosestep for a living).

    I offer no apology for the Catholic Church either, being a Catholic of the lapsed variety (and never missing or regretting it).

    I do admit that I was astonished at the Pell verdict, as many others were. To me it didn’t ring true, and did not arise out of any pattern of behaviour (as such criminal histories usually do). I thought it was an unsound verdict (especially given the up-and-down, patchy history of the case, the lack of corroboration and the denial by the only other eye witness), and that verdict needed to be robustly tested.

    I thought the visceral hatred I saw here (and elsewhere in the media) was not only premature, but unnecessary, even unseemly. It had obviously been pent-up for a long time and exploded in an ugly way (again, in my opinion).

    So I guess I’m not that much of a critic of the legal system. I’d just like it to be tested to the fulkest extent, especialky in the Pell case.

    But even if the verdict is confirmed I won’t be expressing seething hatred, or feeling it. Life is too short.

    In the case of Eryn Norvill, the Telegraph may well appeal, as they should. They may complain that the judge prevented them from offering their full evidence, as one or two late witnesses were denied them. But even that, in a way, confirms Rush’s propisition: that at time the story was eritten it was pure gossip, he wasn’t fairly consulted about it and that the Tele didn’t care. In effect, they made up the whole thing and only when Rush complained did the Tele go searching for proof.

    That proof rested almost entirely on Norvill’s evidence that Rush had, in front if dozens – and even once nearly a thousand – people sexually molested her, and that he is a vindictive bastard prepated to ruin her lufe and career if she dareed to complain about it. There was only one corroborative witness, and that as to only one of the acts alleged. But he mangled his evidence so comprehensively (despite being coached off-stage, as it were, by counsel for the defendant) that the judge was forced to disregard it, as any judge would have.

    Norvill’s answer to this was that the entire theatre industry, on and off stage, including its audiences apparently, is corrupt or even complicit. That’s a hard ask to put across, I’m afraid.

    Norvill at best had a very weak case for sexual misbehaviour on the part of Rush. Perhaps this is why she kept it informal in the first place? She would have been wise to tell the Tele that they were on their own on this story, and that her decision to keep her complaint at “informal” status was final. After all, they did not consult her about the article. In fact they consulted no-one. That was their problem.

    But she chose to speak up. Maybe she had a Hollywood job offer if she helpef, or maybe she feared never getting one if she didn’t support News Corp. I can sympathize with either position, but I have no sympathy for her actions outside the court this week. Now it is she that is on her own. And she put herself right there.

  19. Bruce

    They voted present rather than on the Bill because it was clearly a wedge tactic by The Republicans. AOC asked them to do so. Further, 6 Dem senators that are running for President are co-sponsors of the Bill. Hardly running from it.

  20. Bucephalus@10:57am
    Can we than extrapolate your logic and ask you why 10 % of Australians MPs and Senators do not belong to minorities and Asians?
    You logic is dangerous because it implies that people other than anglo-saxon background represent only their communities. Isn’t it racist?

  21. “This is a classically anti-Semitic expression. It is a racially and religiously-charged defamation. It is phobic defilement.”

    Apart from the “breed like rabbits” bit that i think was just not necessary, i disagree that its anti-semitic. There are religious nutters in Israel as elsewhere in the world, and they are driver of many of the political problems in the region and i think they should be called out on their contribution to the situation.

    All morphed into and wrapped up with the very toxic situation over the occupied west bank. Essentially the killing there wont stop until that’s resolved and the Israeli govt doesn’t want a resolution as it takes away their fear and skeer.

    Criticism of Israeli politics and the players is not necessarily anti-semitic though you have to be careful with language.

  22. The effectiveness of Get Up has the LNP apoplectic with fear.
    They tried to dish the dirt in Senate estimates to absolutely no avail, now Murdor is after them.
    Get Up appeals to the younger vote a demographic that has spurned the LNP.

    Maybe the LNP will roll out geriatric mumbling Howard to argue their case .

    Donate to GetUp !

  23. Excellent presser from Shorten & Co.

    Keneally is obviously the bulldog who will grab the ankles of the Coalition with gnashing teeth and won’t let go. Dutton just lost some skin.

  24. And by the way, I’m sick of hearing about Israel.

    It has a low relevance to Australia and criticising/defending it is mainly being used as a form of virtue signalling from all parts of the political spectrum, whether attacking its conduct as the worse of the worse or ignoring misconduct because it is Israel. And can the bullshit anti-semitism crap. It is not hatred of Jews to attack Israel, but there are plenty who used expressions of hatred towards Jews and even Holocaust misrepresentation or denial in the process of doing so (not so much here). To say that you are criticising Israel should not relieve anyone of scrutiny about what they are ACTUALLY saying, as some here would propose.

    Re Ms Parke, as she said, her views are well known. In other circumstances I would have been unhappy with dropping her but even she realised that she was not a serious candidate to win the seat and was there for Labor’s political benefit and this had been blunted by the recording of her well-known views expressed recently. Labor hard-headedness that is worth celebrating – although some moral absolutists here would wring their hands.

    We have an election on and the main game is to return this country, Australia, to a semblance of a sane honest government acting in the interests of all its people – not Israel, which just muffed its opportunity.

  25. Bucephalus

    Making fun of someone’s name – particularly, I must say, when their name is ‘ethnic’ – is just pathetic.

    And yes, I have the same opinion of every other poster who employs that device.

  26. Good Morning

    Wow. Quite a few here don’t understand how US politics has shifted.

    As an example. Beto O Rourke. His appeal to voters was not because he was a white centrist. It was because he was going against the hard right.

    Have a look at his Midterm campaign. It looked far more like AOC’s campaign than being a centrist. Why? Getting that fundraising and people out to vote

    As for Mayor Pete he appeals because he can be the anti Pence. Possibly the First Gay President. A man who knows what hate speech is. He combats it well as he did on Ellen DeGeneres show.

    All including Biden know trickle down economics has ended.

    The whole a Muslim pointing out the Israeli State is killing Palestinian people is anti semitism is a Zionist trope.
    That’s not hating Jews. That’s pointing out facts. Its also not left or right. Its just not being extreme right.

    A lot of Australians are going to be shocked in June at the debates. It won’t just be that Bernie Sanders isn’t radical left in the US. Or the number of candidates in the debate.

    That’s how much our media has not kept up with what has been happening.

    For those that doubt even all that. Look at the campaign Stacey Abrams ran. Then think about her State of the Union reply and wonder why she has been seen as good in that reply. Also why she was picked by Pelosi and Schumer.

    Its escaped our media’s attention and to a large degree as a result in this country the Overton Window has shifted.

  27. KK asked if Morrison is too scared of Dutton. Alex Turnbull just tweeted: Fact check. Yes, he’s too scared.

    While I agree he is scared of Dutton, I rather thinks he hopes Dutton was damaged by yesterday and will have to bow out of politics (at least for the short term) so he can keep the leadership.

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