Election plus 11 days

Late counting, a disputed result, new research into voter attitudes, Senate vacancies, and the looming party members’ vote for the state Labor leadership in New South Wales.

Sundry updates and developments:

• As noted in the regularly updated late counting post, Labor has taken a 67 vote lead in Macquarie, after trailing 39 at the close of counting yesterday. However, there is no guarantee that this represents an ongoing trend to Labor, since most of the gain came from the counting of absents, which would now be just about done. Most of the outstanding votes are out-of-division pre-polls, which could go either way. The result will determine whether the Coalition governs with 77 or 78 seats out of 151, while Labor will have either 67 or 68.

• Labor is reportedly preparing to challenge the result in Chisholm under the “misleading or deceptive publications” provision of the Electoral Act, a much ploughed but largely unproductive tillage for litigants over the years. The Victorian authorities have been rather activist in upholding “misleading or deceptive publications” complaints, but this is in the lower stakes context of challenges to the registration of how-to-vote cards, rather than to the result of an election. At issue on this occasion is Liberal Party material circulated on Chinese language social media service WeChat, which instructed readers to fill out the ballot paper in the manner recommended “to avoid an informal vote”. I await for a court to find otherwise, but this strikes me as pretty thin gruel. The Chinese community is surely aware that Australian elections presume to present voters with a choice, so the words can only be understood as an address to those who have decided to vote Liberal. Labor also have a beef with Liberal material that looked like Australian Electoral Commission material, in Chisholm and elsewhere.

• Political science heavyweights Simon Jackman and Shaun Ratcliff of the University of Sydney’s United States Studies Centre has breakdowns from a big sample campaign survey in The Guardian, noting that only survey data can circumvent the ecological fallacy, a matter raised in my previous post. The survey was derived from 10,316 respondents from a YouGov online panel, and conducted from April 18 to May 12. The results suggest the Coalition won through their dominance of the high income cohort (taken here to mean an annual household income of over $208,000), particularly among the self-employed, for which their primary vote is recorded as approaching 80%. Among business and trust owners on incomes of over $200,000, the Coalition outpolled Labor 60% to 10%, with the Greens on next to nothing. However, for those in the high income bracket who didn’t own business or trusts, the Coalition was in the low forties, Labor the high thirties, and the Greens the low teens. While Ratcliff in The Guardian seeks to rebut the notion that “battlers” decided the election for the Coalition, the big picture impression for low-income earners is that Labor were less than overwhelmingly dominant.

• As reported in the Financial Review on Friday, post-election polling for JWS Research found Coalition voters tended to rate tax and economic management as the most important campaign issue, against climate change, health and education for Labor voters. Perhaps more interestingly, it found Coalition voters more than twice as likely to nominate “free-to-air” television as “ABC, SBS television” as their favoured election news source, whereas Labor voters plumped for both fairly evenly. Coalition voters were also significantly more likely to identify “major newspapers (print/online)”.

• Two impending resignations from Liberal Senators create openings for losing election candidates. The Financial Review reports Mitch Fifield’s Victorian vacancy looks set to be of interest not only to Sarah Henderson, outgoing Corangamite MP and presumed front-runner, but also to Indi candidate Steve Martin, Macnamara candidate Kate Ashmor and former state MP Inga Peulich.

• In New South Wales, Arthur Sinodinos’s Senate seat will fall vacant later this year, when he takes up the position of ambassador to the United States. The most widely invoked interested party to succeed him has been Jim Molan, who is publicly holding out hope that below-the-line votes will elect him to the third Coalition seat off fourth position on the ballot paper, although this is assuredly not going to happen. As canvassed in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Financial Review, other possible starters include Warren Mundine, freshly unsuccessful in his lower house bid for Gilmore; James Brown, chief executive of Catholic Schools NSW, state RSL president and the husband of Daisy Turnbull Brown, daughter of the former Prime Minister; Michael Hughes, state party treasurer and the brother of Lucy Turnbull; Kent Johns, the state party vice-president who appeared set to depose Craig Kelly for preselection in Hughes, but was prevailed on not to proceed; Richard Sheilds, chief lobbyist at the Insurance Council of Australia; Mary-Lou Jarvis, Woollahra councillor and unsuccessful preselection contender in Wentworth; and Michael Feneley, heart surgeon and twice-unsuccessful candidate for Kingsford Smith.

• Federal Labor may have evaded a party membership ballot through Anthony Albanese’s sole nomination, but a ballot is pending for the party’s new state leader in New South Wales, which will pit Kogarah MP Chris Minns against Strathfield MP Jodi McKay. The members’ ballot will be conducted over the next month, the parliamentary party will hold its vote on June 29, and the result will be announced the following day. Members’ ballots in leadership contests are now provided for federally and in most states (as best as I can tell, South Australia is an exception), but this is only the second time one has actually been conducted after the Shorten-Albanese bout that followed the 2013 election. As the Albanese experience demonstrates, the ballots can be circumvented if a candidate emerges unopposed, and the New South Wales branch, for one, has an exception if the vacancy arises six months before an election. Such was the case when Michael Daley succeeded Luke Foley in November, when he won a party room vote ahead of Chris Minns by 33 votes to 12.

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.

999 comments on “Election plus 11 days”

  1. adrian @ #943 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 9:23 pm

    And Latika’s also right that Bill Shorten remaining on the front bench is not a good look at all. Why on earth does he want to stay in parliament? He’ll be a continuing liability: every time Albo makes even a tiny misstep, the media will zoom in on Bill.

    The media can get fawked.
    I’m sick of Labor trying to second guess those fawk wits. It gets them nowhere, and never has.

    And whenever they try to, they just get sneered at some more. So the media parakeets in the political petshop can squawk away, they are just there for our amusement at the end of the day anyway. Labor is best to ignore them.

    What I would focus on with a laser-like zeal though, if I was leading them, would be every job in the regions of Queensland that didn’t materialise as a result of Adani, or went to a foreigner instead of a local. Or every day, on top of another when it didn’t rain and no dam with no water in it came to save their sorry arses out on the land, I would be there reminding them who the government they voted for was and what little they have actually been able to do about any of it..

    Oh, and if the media as it is presently constituted refuses to show this, then Labor should start their own tv channel. Copy that much of Trump, or what he was going to do if he lost, and that is start Trump TV and broadcast every day to everyone via facebook all of the information that Murdoch, or in his case MSNBC, and the other chum bucket swillers and regurgitators choose to ignore.

    It works. It’s probably the only thing that will work until the News Corpse python squeeze on the media in this country, and their anti Labor bias, is shattered, once and for all.

  2. LvT,

    KK – what a disaster! Does anybody (outside of C@tmomma -1-2%) think a loud mouthed American who has a special talent for losing elections is a good bet!

    I know KKK, and she is very smart and very articulate. I also had strong disagreements with her, in person, at the time she was Premier for NSW. I have no idea why she took to fall for that rabble.

    However, she has moved a long way since then, and I hear very positive murmurings out in the community about her. She is also now a modern Catholic as C@Momma said, and like it or not, the ALP needs together some of its religious base back, by convincing them that the “Social Gospel” trumps the stupid “I burn for god and bugger everyone else” attitude. Catholics are a good target for this.

    The Uniting church is already voting 1 Green / 2 Labor as far as I can tell.

  3. Oakeshott Country @ #950 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 9:51 pm

    KK or Jane Jetson if you prefer will always have problems living down the reputation of being Eddie’s girlie. Just on a third of electors live in NSW and many of them remember her time as premier

    Piss off Oakeshott Country. You are just a bitter old man who never made it out out of the house due to an outsized ego and into a position of prominence in the Labor Party. Oh sorry, that’s right, you were second banana for the Labor Party in some long forgotten election back in the mists of time and therefore that gives you the right to comment so disrespectfully about a woman who has more talent in her little finger than you have in your whole decrepit body.

  4. Government led from the upper house – the NSW experience

    1. Barry Unsworth was selected as premier while an MLC and then went periously close to losing the by-election to get into the NSWLA

    2. Michael Egan was a successful Treasurer while an MLC. He used to present the budget from the bar of the Legislative Assembly

    3. Truly bizarre. When Eddie and Joe noted that Nathan Rees was discovering a backbone and needed to be hit with a brick in a sock, John Della Bosca, who was unelectable in a single member electorate, announced that he could be Premier while in the LC. But as we soon found out he was going through a difficult time and his big brain might have lost control to his little brain

  5. Oakeshott Country @ #954 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 10:00 pm

    Government led from the upper house – the NSW experience

    1. Barry Unsworth was selected as premier while an MLC and then went periously close to losing the by-election to get into the NSWLA

    2. Michael Egan was a successful Treasurer while an MLC. He used to present the budget from the bar of the Legislative Assembly

    3. Truly bizarre. When Eddie and Joe noted that Nathan Rees was discovering a backbone and needed to be hit with a brick in a sock, John Della Bosca, who was unelectable in a single member electorate, announced that he could be Premier while in the LC. But as we soon found out he was going through a difficult time and his big brain might have lost control to his little brain

    Nobody cares.
    Nobody gives a fuck.
    Get the picture?

  6. Lars Von Trier @ #946 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 9:34 pm

    I reckon Albo deserves a fair crack at it. Littlefinger hanging around doesn’t really give him that.

    KK – what a disaster! Does anybody (outside of C@tmomma -1-2%) think a loud mouthed American who has a special talent for losing elections is a good bet!

    The problem of course is the Labor right has very few women.

    And all this with the wedge of the tax cuts coming – it seems ScoMo will pass them with the support of PHON et al and the opposition of Labor whilst the environment burns!

    And speaking of talentless wastes of space, I give you Exhibit 2.

  7. C@tmomma @ #951 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 9:54 pm

    adrian @ #943 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 9:23 pm

    And Latika’s also right that Bill Shorten remaining on the front bench is not a good look at all. Why on earth does he want to stay in parliament? He’ll be a continuing liability: every time Albo makes even a tiny misstep, the media will zoom in on Bill.

    The media can get fawked.
    I’m sick of Labor trying to second guess those fawk wits. It gets them nowhere, and never has.

    And whenever they try to, they just get sneered at some more. So the media parakeets in the political petshop can squawk away, they are just there for our amusement at the end of the day anyway. Labor is best to ignore them.

    What I would focus on with a laser-like zeal though, if I was leading them, would be every job in the regions of Queensland that didn’t materialise as a result of Adani, or went to a foreigner instead of a local. Or every day, on top of another when it didn’t rain and no dam with no water in it came to save their sorry arses out on the land, I would be there reminding them who the government they voted for was and what little they have actually been able to do about any of it..

    Oh, and if the media as it is presently constituted refuses to show this, then Labor should start their own tv channel. Copy that much of Trump, or what he was going to do if he lost, and that is start Trump TV and broadcast every day to everyone via facebook all of the information that Murdoch, or in his case MSNBC, and the other chum bucket swillers and regurgitators choose to ignore.

    It works. It’s probably the only thing that will work until the News Corpse python squeeze on the media in this country, and their anti Labor bias, is shattered, once and for all.

    Yes, labor needs to strategically call out our corrupt media at every opportunity, because whatever the strategy has been thus far has obviously not worked.

  8. adrian,
    Like I said, Oakeshott Country is a very bitter and twisted old Labor lag. His successes, such as they were, only came in the same bad old days he sneers at now.

  9. The associated you know whats obviously think that KK is a threat, being smart and articulate and assertive.
    Thus the pile on begins.
    It happens with tedious consistency.

  10. Gee C@t, with you leading the debates your branch meetings must be exhillerating. Now I am living in Robertson permanently I think I will re-join. Which branch are you in again? Is Belinda back from her forced exile?

  11. Adrian, OC’s points on the question of political leaders being situated in the upper house, modest as they are, are many millions of times more interesting than anything I can remember you ever posting.

  12. OC
    I like KK and my recollection of her as Premier was dobbing in the ratfinks in NSW Labor Right at the hearings. She’s no shrinking violet and has done great work on SIDS and has spoken out against her religion during the recent RC.

  13. “Probably beats your collection of ornamental bongs, nath. ”
    ________________________________
    I don’t know, ornamental bongs can be far more intriguing than you think:

  14. Oakeshott Country @ #962 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 10:06 pm

    Gee C@t, with you leading the debates your branch meetings must be exhillerating. Now I am living in Robertson permanently I think I will re-join. Which branch are you in again? Is Belinda back from her forced exile?

    I relish the challenge, OC. You should be easy to spot, you’ll be the one trying to throw their weight around as if you are someone.

    And Belinda is gone for good. Though maybe you could join the little insurgency that she and John are trying to get going. I’m sure they would appreciate your talents. You would no doubt enable them to go far. Like about as far as far as they have gotten already. Like nowhere fast.

  15. The only thing I can use to pick on KK for was not checking her facts before jumping into the debate because during the election she tried to beat up on Frydenberg (not hard) when he announced he was going to somehow fix the Glenferrie Rd rail crossing, and KK thought he was referring to a railway crossing in Toorak Rd.

    But in all seriousness she brings a level of wit and passion the ALP needs.

  16. nath @ #975 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 10:16 pm

    i’d suggest the cone like appendage on the right.

    Really? I thought it might be the pipe at the back.

    Nevertheless, the best one I ever saw was when I turned up to a party in Surry Hills when I was at Uni. An Engineering student had constructed an automatic bong. Just kept going and going as long as you kept the fire stoked with ‘kindling’. 🙂

  17. nath:

    were you saying something about Shorten with that Napoleon critique William?

    Even with Mr Shorten alluding to Hobbes’s Leviathan the obvious Hobbesean insult still eludes you!

  18. citizen @ #846 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 5:05 pm

    Julie Bishop has reportedly turned down an offer to become the next Governor General of South Australia.

    Governor General? Is SA considering seceding and becoming a separate country. I thought WA and perhaps Queensland were ahead in that queue.

    Thank fock for that. We have sinned in electing a Liebral state gov’t but that punishment would be over the top!

  19. Well, you’ve got to give Christian Porter credit for standing up to the Conservative Christian crazies in his own party:

    Attorney-General Christian Porter is pushing back on calls from within the Coalition to exempt religious beliefs from employment contracts, which could afford legal protection to views like those expressed by rugby player Israel Folau.

    Mr Porter, who was sworn in as Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations this week, cautioned the government was not necessarily interested in “trying to prevent individuals privately contracting the terms of their employment”.

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/religious-freedom-20190530-p51suq.html

  20. citizen :

    Julie Bishop has reportedly turned down an offer to become the next Governor General of South Australia.

    Governor General? Is SA considering seceding and becoming a separate country. I thought WA and perhaps Queensland were ahead in that queue.

    Well – she is the very model of the modern mode ephemeral

  21. Nice house.

    Don’t know why the PM and ministers can’t use those state government house when they are visiting from interstate instead of running up a hotel bill.

  22. https://www.pollbludger.net/2019/05/29/election-plus-11-days/comment-page-20/#comment-3194986

    I suspect these are the reasons the PM and ministers don`t use Government Houses when visiting state capitals are:

    It could create over-closeness between the Government and the state governors (potentially threatening the governors` impartiality at both state level and Commonwealth level (they all hold dormant commissions to be Administrators of the Commonwealth when the Governor-General is overseas on business/on holiday/indisposed/a vacant position/etc)).

    The are state buildings and thus the Commonwealth would likely not have free use of them.

    Many of them would not be of large enough size for all ministers, if they were all visiting at once.

  23. The discussion that goes on about who is and isn’t on the front bench seems to miss the basic point. They are all in opposition and they all have a say in formulating policy so front bench or back bench, they all get a say. Does anybody actually think that all Labor’s policies came from the front bench alone?, if you do I have a lovely bridge with harbour views in a place called Sydney for sale. For whatever reason Labor lost the election, so get over it. Labor will rebuild, rethink and change what they think need changing. Even if you are a member there isn’t much you can do. Get over it. Regroup, rebuild and move on

  24. Today is a public holiday in Germany, the Feast of the Ascension.

    Glad for this holiday – although I just worked from home mostly, but much merriment was caused when some Indian postgrad students enquired into the meaning of the holiday.

  25. The Queen is also the crown with respect to each of the states isn’t she? The Prime Minister and Commonwealth ministers have nothing to do with the states and using a state government house (as of right instead of invitation) would be entirely inappropriate.

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