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. GG @10.31 am:

    Don’t fret over BK’s failure to link to any article about Winx this morning. Tomorrow he will be able (should he so wish) to link both Winx and the PM in the same article. According to an early ABC news item today, the PM will be at Randwick this afternoon to watch “the”race.

  2. Usually there is a poll on a weekly basis.

    Immediately before the 2004 election was called Labor was in front 54-46 on 2pp. The first poll after the election was called saw a halving of that lead to 52-48 and two weeks in it was 50-50. Howard went on to win the election with an increased majority and an absolute majority in the senate. Labor do not even have that sort of a buffer to begin with this time round.

  3. Nostradamus @ #253 Saturday, April 13th, 2019 – 12:38 pm

    Usually there is a poll on a weekly basis.

    Immediately before the 2004 election was called Labor was in front 54-46 on 2pp. The first poll after the election was called saw a halving of that lead to 52-48 and two weeks in it was 50-50. Howard went on to win the election with an increased majority and an absolute majority in the senate. Labor do not even have that sort of a buffer to begin with this time round.

    So, what’s your prediction ?

  4. Ven

    I thought I was being outraged at Bucephalus for calling women names – and was careful to add a codicil that I don’t find making fun of people’s names as acceptable in anyone.

  5. Boy, Dutton has given his opponent a spectacular amount of exposure. Too bad for him that she has a fantastic story to tell. He might be struggling to get 45 % TPP. Further proof he is just not a political professional.

  6. Immediately before the 2004 election was called Labor was in front 54-46 on 2pp. The first poll after the election was called saw a halving of that lead to 52-48 and two weeks in it was 50-50. Howard went on to win the election with an increased majority and an absolute majority in the senate. Labor do not even have that sort of a buffer to begin with this time round.

    ________________________________

    Except Morrison has been PM for 8 months, not 8 years. And Shorten’s temperament is as far from Latham’s as any Labor leader could be. Oh, and the popular PM had not been dumped inexplicably only a few months before.

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

    Excellent point, that.

    When the traditional “Will your ministry be the same?” and “Who will be the minister for…?” questions start popping out, what will ScoMo be able to say?

    Some twaddle about not being cocky enough to predict who will be left in the Parliament?

    We’ve already heard about how if we vote for ScoMo we get Scomo, but who else do we get?

    (And incidentally, why is “getting ScoMo for PM” such an automatically wonderful thing?)

  8. Peter Dutton apologises to Labor Dickson rival Ali France for disability comment:
    _____
    Is an apology issued well after a refusal to apologise somewhat devalued?

  9. Well done Mari, quote in The Guardian:

    Mari R
    @randlight
    Melissa Parke has resigned over her remarks.

    Peter Dutton still hanging around.

    Pretty stark contrast. #JustSayin

  10. Messrs Morrison and Frydenberg have mentioned our `strong economy.’ Could they then please explain why there are so many shops in shopping malls either closed down, closing down, or are constantly having sales?

  11. BK @ #267 Saturday, April 13th, 2019 – 1:03 pm

    Peter Dutton apologises to Labor Dickson rival Ali France for disability comment:
    _____
    Is an apology issued well after a refusal to apologise somewhat devalued?

    To his credit, he didn’t embellish it with any snark or conditions.

    The effect on his campaign will be horrendous imho. The feedback must have been character challenging.

  12. There once was a spud named Dutton
    As smart as a pound of mutton
    When it came to France
    The tubered smarty pants
    Should have kept his Trumpmouth buttoned.

  13. TPOF @ #144 Saturday, April 13th, 2019 – 10:46 am

    EGW says:
    Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 10:14 am
    TPOF @ #88 Saturday, April 13th, 2019 – 10:05 am

    Careful, expressing concern for the plight of the Palestinians has been known to get people banned from PB.

    ____________________________________

    Only when it is expressed in the form of holocaust denial.
    Oh really?

    Can’t say I ever noticed that.

    The Holocaust (note the capital which you omitted) is an unchallengeable historical fact.

    Interestingly, there have been Holocaust survivors who have likened the actions of Israel toward the Palestinians to those of the Nazis.
    _________________________________

    I omitted the capital because I was lazy. I don’t know what other point you were making about that.

    As for the banning, I was talking about DTT, who posited that the Warsaw Ghetto was not such a bad deal because it only went on for a few years and didn’t seem to want to know about the liquidation of the Ghetto and Treblinka, doubling down on the assertion.

    If you have someone else in mind, please let us know. And if you agree with her, perhaps you should start corresponding with David Irving rather than here.

    I did not see that.
    When was it?

    The point bout the capital is that Holocaust with a capital has a very specific meaning beyond that of the general use of the word holocaust.

    You should have been aware of that.

  14. 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 sailors

  15. 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 and let people smugglers start there trade again

  16. GG Yes, I did read it on ABC. His apology was only issued on twitter I thought.

    Pretty gutless if that’s the case.

    And no credit to Dutton at all. He only apologised because Crosby Textor probably told him to.

  17. I’m getting exhausted, trying to keep up with all the reasons to be offended on others’ behalf. I think I’ll try to limit it to, say, three a day. 😉

  18. Lynchpin says:
    Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    GG, an apology on twitter is pretty lame IMHO

    Someone must have hacked his account.

  19. If the apology is sincerely given and perhaps includes an acknowledge not only of the original offence but the delay then it I do not think it is devalued.

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