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. What a difference a day makes. Yesterday Dutton’s office categorically and repeatedly ruled out any chance of an apology to the comments he made to me in an interview, before releasing a statement reaffirming the attack. Seems like overnight track polling changed his mind.#auspol

    From Michael McKenna, Qld editor of the SmearStralian

  2. “Thanks for that; heard he was good; never seen one; he is good.
    _____
    It comes from years and years of match practice.”

    These have i think been a really important part of the “ground game”. Seem to be going thorough a period where the ALP have a much better handle on “modern campaigning”. Will see how well it works out on the 19/5 i guess. 🙂

  3. briefly @ #178 Saturday, April 13th, 2019 – 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.

    Another of your classically ignorant pronouncements.

    The ultra-orthodox started off as a small percentage of the Israeli population and to win their support, a government of the day granted them all sorts of privileges such as exemption from military service and even having to work so they can attend to their religious duties.

    Their numbers have now increased to where they represent a significant proportion of the population and are becoming a real burden and blight on Israeli society.

    Sooner or later an Israeli govt is going to have to deal with them and remove some or all of their privileges.

    I view them much the same as I view Morrison’s ratbag Pentacostalists or any other religious extremists. So do a lot of Israelis. Maybe they are anti-Semitic too?

  4. imacca

    It must give Bill a great lift to be well received at the town hall meetings, when the LNP with their media boosters are doing nothing but criticising and misrepresenting him.

    Even if I disagreed with Labor policy, I think Bill deserves a tick for having worked so hard. Compare him with the Libs… Dammit, there’a no real comparison, just bluff.

  5. I’m sure JBishop doesn’t care what Trump thinks.

    Remarks by former foreign minister Julie Bishop about US President Donald Trump’s wife Melania have reportedly caused trouble between the White House and Canberra.

    The comments were made during an event at the Adelaide Festival in March.

    Ms Bishop recounted a trip to United Nations in New York in 2017 when Mrs Trump mistook her partner David Panton for Foreign Minister.

    “Melania, standing by, assumed David was the foreign minister and she said to me: ‘Julie, will you be coming to my ladies’ lunch tomorrow?’”, Ms Bishop told journalist Annabel Crabb.

    The retiring WA MP’s anecdote was reported widely, including in the influential New York Magazine.

    A senior White House source told The Australian the President was angered by Ms Bishop sharing the story and that “significant damage control” was required.

    https://thewest.com.au/politics/donald-trump/julie-bishops-comments-about-melania-trump-spark-reported-damage-control-with-white-house-ng-b881167858z

  6. David Dalley
    ‏ @david_dalley

    8 politicians all brandishing guns!!!!!!!! What possess these people to be enthusiastic about guns?Guess it must be the donations. No moral compasses here!#auspol #AusVotes19

  7. no_filter_Yamba @no_filter_Yamba
    14m14 minutes ago

    Ha! The Morrison Government is now telling voters that the Cashless Debit Card can cost taxpayers as little $820pa per cardholder and not the $10,000+pa that they had to admit to some time back. How many more whoppers are going to be told before 18 May 2019? #AUSVote2019

  8. I think it’s time ScoMo was politically tagged as the used car salesman.

    It’s an image that will resonate: he looks cheap, greasy and insincere. He’s trying to flog ideas that are no longer roadworthy.

  9. 8 politicians all brandishing guns!!!!!!!!

    Is that a gun over your shoulder or are you just happy to be with each other?

  10. Ven @ #186 Saturday, April 13th, 2019 – 11:23 am

    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?

    Labor in Victoria is working to remedy this and has no hesitation in pre-selecting women and minority group candidates. e.g. Chisholm – Jennifer Yang, Deakin – Shireen Morris, Menzies – Stella Yee, Aston – Kadira Pethiyagoda, Kooyong – Jana Stewart
    2 have Chinese background, one Fijian Indian, one Sri Lankan, one Aboriginal. Two of them also happen to hold PhDs.

  11. 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….,

  12. So Bucephalus, you are a supporter of the corrupt and fascist Israeli government then. Congratulations. Do you wear an arm band over the brown shirt or what?

  13. frednk @ #306 Saturday, April 13th, 2019 – 1:45 pm

    imacca

    Morrison comes across as an angry little ant. Shorten; you may not agree with him but as least he knows his shit.

    Yeah, labor is brilliantly casting Shorten as the eye in the storm, while the brawlers in the party take on the Libs. If I recall, at the last election, it was Sam Dastyari who played the Shorten sidekick. This time, Labor has muscled up. Labor, once again, showing outstanding political professionalism.

  14. poroti @ #200 Saturday, April 13th, 2019 – 11:35 am

    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

    Thanks for that poroti, the factual basis for what I was saying in a colloquial fashion.
    It has come to distort Israeli politics to the ultimate detriment of all Israeli citizens.

  15. From 2016.
    https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/can-we-talk-headspace-ceo-leaves-in-frustration-as-turnbull-government-dismantles-vital-mental-health-initiative/news-story/099ac8788f2ec2dc14949e73c1f6afcd

    Mr Tanti on Wednesday agreed to accept a redundancy because the government has reduced its national office budget from $19 million to $8 million per annum next year, and $5 million the following year.

    Headspace’s overall $170m budget has been handed to the newly created PHNs and Health Minister Sussan Ley said the government is committed to Headspace.

    She argues individual centres may actually get more funding as a result of the changes.

    This is the way that the Libs always argue, wtte “We’re cutting the funds but you will receive more money.”

  16. I doubted that Dutton would ever be rolled, mainly because electorates tend to keep high ranked minsters etc, and I didn’t think QLD would swing much. But he is a real chance to go now. The moderates retired, could be the conservatives get voted out.

  17. frednk @ #295 Saturday, April 13th, 2019 – 1:31 pm


    sprocket_ says:
    Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    Livestream of Shorten Town Hall

    https://www.pscp.tv/w/b4FEqDFlV0t5TUR3bHhaS0F8MWpNSmd2Ynpqa1hHTEpPZxIjBVmUDopy3lwq_bf70L3rI5kQ7LUeEfYrKIMv?t=21m54s

    Thanks for that; heard he was good; never seen one; he is good.

    Oh give me a spell the crowd was obviously partisan to Labor. He could have told them anything and they would still have cheered him on.

  18. @EddyJokovich
    5m5 minutes ago

    Lazy journalists fail to point out Liberals cut mental health services by $140 million, put half back and claimed “a funding boost”. Now making election announcement of more funds, even though it’s less funding than before. This is easy to check.


  19. Rex Douglas says:
    Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    Oh give me a spell the crowd was obviously partisan to Labor. He could have told them anything and they would still have cheered him on.

    Poor little Rex. It was the answers I listening to. The crown in fact seemed quite varied. What impressed me was he came back to the hecklers.

  20. imacca @ #214 Saturday, April 13th, 2019 – 11:44 am

    “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.

    Yes! They breed like rabbits. I do not resile from pointing that out.

  21. frednk and Rex

    Yes, the crowd was varied. There were several occasions when a group in the audience didn’t applaud, obviously not particularly supportive.

    Contrast some LNP crowds who only attend on invitation.

  22. Bucephalus: “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.”

    Gaza – prior to 1967 was part of Palestine but both dominated by Egypt and a sort of haven for the Muslim Brotherhood led by Sayyid Qutb (whom Egypt attempted to suppress). Pre- and Post 1967 Israel gave strong support / safe haven to the Muslim Brotherhood, in order that they should act as an irritant to Egypt. Subsequent to Camp David, Israel continued to support Muslim Brotherhood (which evolved i to Hamas) as counter to Fatah (whom they at that stage they considered the main enemy), and this strengthened Muslim Brotherhood / Hamas to a point that Egypt felt it would not be able to control it effectively (and in fact led to the temporary Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt). Finally, subsequent to Oslo, Israel and Egypt (and to an extent Fatah), recognised what had been the truth all along, that Muslim Brotherhood / Hamas are the common enemy. However the situation is now so dire that none of them wants to be responsible for the mess, and in particular Egypt is not prepared to resume dominance of Gaza, let alone to annex it.

    Golan I assume you mean, rather than Gillan? or Gilead (now in Jordan) – Syria can’t be trusted to control Hezbollah, and they will shell/rocket Israel from the heights. A complete reconfiguration of (designed to fail) Sykes-Picot arrangement is required, perhaps resulting in Lebanon annexing the northern (Druze) part of Golan, and Jordan the south, or even a Druze state.

    West Bank – transfer of control from Israel to Jordan is now very unlikely unless there is a radical change in Israeli politics, though perhaps some parts can be so transferred.

  23. lizzie @ #331 Saturday, April 13th, 2019 – 2:17 pm

    frednk and Rex

    Yes, the crowd was varied. There were several occasions when a group in the audience didn’t applaud, obviously not particularly supportive.

    Contrast some LNP crowds who only attend on invitation.

    ‘Varied’ ..?

    All that was varied were the different coloured granny pants being flung at him…

  24. Bucephalus@11:35am
    You are only who posted that Omar is representing only the Sudanese community in her constituency implying that she is a racist.

  25. What I do love about seers is there ability to have each-way bets on their predictions.
    The beauty of the writings of Nostradamus, Mother Shipton and even those responsible for the Book of Revelations, cloaked their soothings in such ambiguous terms that anything could be found in them.
    I notice our local Nostra has predicted that there “could be” a hung parliament. When pressed to pick a winner, the response was “it could go either way”!

  26. Rex

    “All that was varied were the different coloured granny pants being flung at him…”

    LMAO at that one – but strange don’t you think? All the elderly worried about their frank credit cashback rorts and you get this reaction when you go to WoyWoy and not Toorak

  27. When defending Dutton’s brutish comments Morrison resorted to the old standby of “his words were taken out of context”. When this excuse is used I usually ponder what context would make the words acceptable . In this case as in most other cases I am unable to conceive of any such context.

  28. How’s Ita going? Can we feel her influence yet?

    Elizabeth Marr @JmarrMarr
    Apr 10

    Ita Buttrose hasn’t stopped the propaganda from the ABC, if anything it is worse, pushing a negative View of Labor & giving enormous air time to the LNP lies. I warned that Ita was going to be a big problem & the Media said “don’t pick on Ita she’s true blue” Ita sure is BLUE

  29. Peter Stanton @ #340 Saturday, April 13th, 2019 – 2:28 pm

    When defending Dutton’s brutish comments Morrison resorted to the old standby of “his words were taken out of context”. When this excuse is used I usually ponder what context would make the words acceptable . In this case as in most other cases I am unable to conceive of any such context.

    The apology has indeed ended up as a negative for Morrison given his ‘context’ comments.

    Bill Shorten is the luckiest politician ever.

  30. kate says:
    Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 12:56 pm
    Same article different headlines.

    In The Conversation, Grattan’s “Frydenberg up to Bowen’s old tricks” changed to “Lesson lost from Bowen error” in The West.

    Subtle isn’t it – omit Frytheplanet from the headline and magically it’s all about Bowen’ mistake.

    So today in The West lovely puff piece on Morrison, nothing on Dutton (surprise surprise) but plenty on Parke. Nothing on the Treasury dishonesty as a news item. Of course yesterday the Government line was big news.

    Oh I nearly forgot, more pics of distraught cafe owners who can’t afford to pay living wages. Diddums.

  31. Interesting that earlier people were having a go at Shorten for standing back and letting others speak saying he should be the one speaking.

    For me it highlights a strength for Labor under Shorten, it’s not about him, it’s the team.

    That’s why Morrison wants it to be about him and Shorten, Labor’s team is a huge strength, especially compared to Morrison’s where many won’t be there after the election irrespective of the results.

    Unfortunately for Morrison, Shorten has had plenty of practice and performs well when it’s just him as the Town Hall meetings demonstrate.

  32. zoomster@12:40pm
    I saw your earlier comment on Bucephalus which were half hearted. I posted my response based on it. Then I went away. I saw your later response just now. Apologies for my previous comments.

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