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. imacca

    Keep the ‘like rabbits’ check this out for the Ultra Orthodox.
    .
    .
    Haredim will constitute a third of all citizens and 40% of the Jewish population in 2065.
    However, the fertility rate amongst the community has been dropping since 2005, when the number of children per Haredi woman stood at 7.5; now it is 6.9 per woman, compared with 2.4 for non-Haredi Jewish women.

    https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Haredi-population-tops-one-million-521515

  2. @DrCraigEmerson
    59m59 minutes ago

    I was a Queensland MP for 15 years. My constituents didn’t care where their electoral boundaries were. Most didn’t even know. Dutton’s claim his constituents demanded he point out that @alifrance5 lives 2km across a boundary (in a house modified for her disability) is absurd.

  3. “Excellent presser from Shorten & Co.”

    Oh was it but……….!!!

    Shorten comfortable. Including the rest of the “team” as people who can speak better to certain matters than he can..fine. King good and Kennealy magnificent. Sure of her ground and position getting right in Morrisons face over Dutton.

    Shorten takes all their questions then signs off with the Town Hall meeting (subtext…we are listening to real people) thing of seeyah there.

    Now someone will correct me if i’m wrong i’m sure…but my understanding is the town hall meetings have been open events where Bill takes unscripted q’s from the floor. And he is confident enough to do that in an election campaign in front of the press? Morrison will be dreading any debate with Shorten. 🙂

  4. jenauthor @ #199 Saturday, April 13th, 2019 – 11:35 am

    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.

    Morrison can’t pull Dutton in to line because Dutton would simply ignore any directions given. That would expose the charade that they are a united team and plainly show that these two despise each other.

  5. I know this won’t stop the Fibs’ lies, but I can’t resist posting.

    Stephen Koukoulas
    ‏@TheKouk
    19m19 minutes ago

    Election Fact 2:
    Mr Morrison says he’ll pay off Labor’s debt in a decade
    Coalition inherited $273 billion gross debt & have added $262 billion to it since 2013

    Budget shows gross debt at $416.8 billion in 2029-30 some $144 billion more than they inherited #AUSVote2019

  6. Shabbat shalom to @IlhanMN and our Black & Muslim family.The attacks on you from the President are violent and unconscionable.Our Jewish community has your back. We will not be silent. We will keep fighting for a world where your faith & your leadership are respected.— Bend the Arc: Jewish Action (@jewishaction) April 13, 2019

  7. President Trump's inflammatory and dangerous rhetoric towards Ilhan Omar is jeopardizing her safety. He is deliberately putting her and all Muslim Americans in harm's way.— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) April 13, 2019

  8. Rex Douglas:

    [‘She’s leading him into a trap.’]

    I think Dutton knows he’s ratshit. Thus he’s lashing out. And to think this prick came within three votes of the top gig.

  9. “Haredim will constitute a third of all citizens and 40% of the Jewish population in 2065.
    However, the fertility rate amongst the community has been dropping since 2005, when the number of children per Haredi woman stood at 7.5; now it is 6.9 per woman, compared with 2.4 for non-Haredi Jewish women.

    https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Haredi-population-tops-one-million-521515

    FFS!! 7.5 children each??? With modern medical care and lower infant mortality thats completely insane.

  10. KK being on the Bill Bus alongside Shorten every day is a great tactical decision by labor. Just as the choice of Jim Chalmers as campaign spokesperson was a great choice.

    Tanya Plibersek is fronting up with a bit of mongrel. No coincidence both she and KK are leading the charge. Penny Wong as well is on the job.

  11. GG
    Shame you didn’t post the whole of that tweet. 🙂

    Michael Koziol @michaelkoziol
    12m12 minutes ago

    Ah the perils of the campaign street walk. Scott Morrison says “ni hao” to an Asian voter in Strathfield plaza, she responds: “I’m Korean.” #ausvotes

  12. doyley @ #215 Saturday, April 13th, 2019 – 11:45 am

    KK being on the Bill Bus alongside Shorten every day is a great tactical decision by labor. Just as the choice of Jim Chalmers as campaign spokesperson was a great choice.

    Tanya Plibersek is fronting up with a bit of mongrel. No coincidence both she and KK are leading the charge. Penny Wong as well is on the job.

    KK, Chalmers and Wong will do the job for Labor.

    The less we hear from Shorten and Plibersek the better for Labor.

  13. doyley @ #209 Saturday, April 13th, 2019 – 11:45 am

    KK being on the Bill Bus alongside Shorten every day is a great tactical decision by labor. Just as the choice of Jim Chalmers as campaign spokesperson was a great choice.

    Tanya Plibersek is fronting up with a bit of mongrel. No coincidence both she and KK are leading the charge. Penny Wong as well is on the job.

    Labor are using strong, assertive women from the Members of Parliament to present their policies. I don’t understand why the Libs won’t do the same!

  14. lizzie:

    [‘Is Bucephalus very young? He/she doesn’t seem to know much.’]

    I don’t know, but he/she is big on evidence, which isn’t a bad trait.

    The thing is that in politics, evidence is often not easy to discern.

  15. Rick Wilson with more assault on Barr :

    Bill Barr Is the Most Dangerous Man in America

    The banality of the AG’s droning Hill testimony hides its evil purpose: to protect the president, not the rule of law.

    The gray, heavy-set man who sat before two congressional committees over the last two days embodies the triumph of the banality of Washington’s bureaucratic class

    William Barr’s tone was calm, but his agenda was clear: His job is to protect Donald Trump, no matter the prerogatives of Congress or any consideration of the rule of law

    The fact the Democrats aren’t already in court to get the full, unredacted Mueller report is exactly the kind of behavior that happens in nations slipping from democracy to authoritarianism. They think this is procedural and political, not existential. There are no brakes, no white knight in DOJ to come to the rescue, and unless Democrats get the entire report in court, Barr, Trump, and Fox will write the history of this sorry affair.

    MUCH MORE : https://www.thedailybeast.com/william-barr-is-the-most-dangerous-man-in-america?ref=home

  16. On Israel and why the new government is dangerous

    A two state solution requires recognising the State of Israel. Equally it requires Recognising the State of Palestine

    Not bulldozing the Occupied Territory’s and calling that settlement

  17. The Liberals have Ministers who will not sit in the parliament again – they have given their farewell speeches and departed the House – but they are still Ministers

    The Libs are so divided Ad Man can not even announce replacements

    I am told Ad Man from Mad Men can currently rely on 12 (yes, just 12) votes in the Party Room – hence he is paralysed

    There is now great and non repairable friction between Ad Man and the treasurer (who, as things stand will also not be returning to the parliament)

  18. GG

    Morrison lives in Sydney. He should know. Strathfield is Korea. Cabramatta is Vietnam. Hurstville is China etc.

    That’s a huge gaffe.

  19. Buce

    I referred specifically to the Two State solution. If you want to go one State it can’t be a Jewish theocracy because the surrounding Muslim countries will destroy it.

    That’s the reality. Like it or not.

  20. I didn’t say anything about not having a two State Solution. It should be back to the original 4 state solution. Gaza is Egyptian. Gillan is Syrian, West Bank is Jordanian and Israel is Israel.

  21. I can tell you now that our great LNP will win the May election by a landslide and Morrison will be the best PM this country will ever have and shorten will not be PM ever as he is for higher taxes and spending like a drunken sailor

  22. Can’t get enough of Kristina Keneally? Here she is on the BillBus in the mid north coast chatting to Bill (who unlike ScoMoFaux, is also on the bus).

    This is part of the ‘lets Introduce the real Bill Shorten to the internet generation’ – to the growing number who don’t watch free to air TV, and the only thing they pay for is Netflix, Stan and maybe Spotify. As for reading a newspaper, what is that again?

    https://mobile.twitter.com/AustralianLabor/status/1116591115329650689/video/1

  23. I apologise to Ms France for my comments yesterday. My argument with the Labor candidate is about how our respective policies would affect the people of Dickson.— Peter Dutton (@PeterDutton_MP) April 13, 2019

  24. Zoomster@11:04am
    Where is your outrage against bucephalus for calling women names?
    Or is there no point in criticising anti-women LNP? 🙂
    It is ingrained in every pore of their body

  25. Sprocket

    Even for the media it’s working. Alex Ellinghausen with his usual expert photography showing the relaxed fun challenges of the Morning Park Run.

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