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. I don’t see how the ABC story is anything other than a factual representation of what has happened. Farrell had the numbers but decided to not contest the Senate deputy leadership.

  2. Simon² Katich® says:
    Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    …”This city desert makes you feel so cold
    It’s got so many people but it’s got no soul”…

    I hold that hairy bastard partly responsible for the untimely end of K Cobain.

  3. “With primaries in the mid-30’s, Labor is going nowhere without Greens preferences. Attacking Greens voters is a good way to ensure that fewer of those preferences flow back to Labor, and a bad way of accomplishing pretty much anything else.”

    You’re suggesting that Greens voters would preference Liberals over Labor. If true it’s pretty damning of Greens voters that they’d endorse the rule of people like Craig Kelly and Barnaby Joyce in the midst of an environmental catastrophe.

    In the absence of optional preferential voting, committed Greens voters will always preference Labor – Labor don’t need to be grateful for this at all. It’s not a favour – it’s simple logic.

  4. Simon² Katich® says:
    Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    …”You probably blame Flea for killing River Phoenix”…

    Was he there?
    And, are you on it right now?

  5. poroti @ #702 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 12:27 pm

    Does this mean HC Scrott have to hand back his trophy ? 🙂
    .
    .
    Dutton warns over more boats
    Peter Dutton warns more boats may be headed here as first boat in years arrives on Christmas Island.
    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/politics/sri-lankan-asylumseeker-bid-turns-back-time/news-story/e0a214b2d5b06cd9572965c32b2b0b74

    Could someone tell Eggman that teh boats have started up again on HIS watch?

  6. Not Sure @ #697 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 12:16 pm

    C@tmomma says:
    Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    …”Have you?”…

    I don’t know if it could be described as a “conversation”.
    But the memory of those few, fleeting moments in the disabled toilet of Baker St tube station in 1986 will live with me forever more.

    As they should. 🙂

  7. “I accept my share as a senior shadow minister in the show, for the fact we weren’t successful. I think the senior members, all of us, have to accept responsibility” – New Labor leader Anthony Albanese speaking to colleagues”

    Bizarre. No mention of the Lib-kin.

  8. If a person is elected (formally or informally) to a leadership position (whether it be in a legislative body, union, body corporate executive committee, P & C Association, bowling club, sport team captaincy or a political party/faction), this leader cannot be factually characterised as a “boss” of the people who elected them. For the ABC to continue to misrepresent the facts by incorrectly employing the term “boss” constitutes systemic linguistic bias at worst or bone lazy sloppiness at best.

  9. Simon² Katich® says:
    Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    …”Were you?”…

    Well yes actually I was, but about 2 decades to late to be held responsible.

  10. ltep – not quite sure what your point is besides having a go at Briefly (and no, I won’t try to defend the silly names).

    Albo, as all political leaders, crafts messages in order to appeal to voters. He’s not going to do a comprehensive dump about all of the myriad factors involved in the election loss, nor is he going to run around saying “it was the Libs that did us in! it was the Greens that did us in!” (for being blatantly obvious if nothing else – they are Labor’s political competition, so of course they’re going to be “responsible” for Labor not winning, it just doesn’t provide any useful information to point it out).

    Appearing humble, appearing to not be blaming voters, accepting responsibility – all fine, but meaningless.

  11. Poroti. 8.55 am
    If the rights to religious beliefs are passed by the LNP will the potential for Sharia law be addressed. How will the MSM react in helping sell this idea if someone points out that they are therefore supporting Sharia Law.

  12. I think there is actually a legitimate point to be made about whether the tactics often employed by the Greens are in fact detrimental to the goals of the left as a whole. But as is generally the case with the ridiculous levels of exaggeration found in so much political discourse, such points are totally undermined by hysterical hyperbole about Lib-Libs and agent provocoteurs, to the point where I sometimes wonder if Briefly is in in fact a Green coming here with the goal of tainting any legitimate criticisms of the party through association with his ravings.

  13. Obviously the boats that have just arrived misunderstood their timing instructions from Dutton and set out too late to appear just before the recent election.
    Typical LNP project management.

  14. Voice Endeavour 9.04 am
    When the laws were passed re Electricians having to install the solar panels I wondered if it was a reaction to the unfair claims Labor both federally and Stare have worn in regards to the pink batts deaths.

  15. Assantdj says:
    Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 1:08 pm
    Poroti. 8.55 am
    If the rights to religious beliefs are passed by the LNP will the potential for Sharia law be addressed. How will the MSM react in helping sell this idea if someone points out that they are therefore supporting Sharia Law.

    In the minds of some there are “good” religions and “bad” religions. It will be interesting to see how the RWNJs treat what they consider to be bad religions.

  16. Meaningless perhaps but also an encouraging sign that looking at what they did wrong and what they can do right in future (which is all they can control!) is the best way to move forward. Blaming others will get them nowhere.

    Mostly though I was just having a little joke. It doesn’t all have to be so serious, we’re years from an election.

    Speaking of which, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see a late 2021 election rather than a 2022 election. If the Government senses the time is right to strike then, given their very small majority, they may do so. Labor should plan to be ready for an election (and to switch leaders if necessary). The smart thing to do would be to build up a future leader well in advance. Placing Chalmers in Treasury seems a poor decision to me. I’d put him into a fluffy portfolio that doesn’t require negativity or too much conflict, and give him the Sunrise/Today show placement, to try and emulate a Kevin07 style building of a brand.

  17. poroti @ #699 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 12:27 pm

    Does this mean HC Scrott have to hand back his trophy ? 🙂
    .
    .
    Dutton warns over more boats
    Peter Dutton warns more boats may be headed here as first boat in years arrives on Christmas Island.
    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/politics/sri-lankan-asylumseeker-bid-turns-back-time/news-story/e0a214b2d5b06cd9572965c32b2b0b74

    Obviously arrived expecting the new Labor government to let them in and steal our jobs etc….

  18. booleanbach:

    “Obviously the boats that have just arrived misunderstood their timing instructions from Dutton and set out too late to appear just before the recent election.
    Typical LNP project management.”

    Or maybe they arrived per schedule post election (instructed by Dutton) so he could say “see, boats under Labor!” – but being at sea they didn’t receive the telegram that the ALP lost the election?

  19. I think this is a good point.

    Dr Stuart Edser @StuartEdser
    54m54 minutes ago

    @AustralianLabor must be clear & assertive in opposition to this over-reach by conservative elements in the LNP & the Church & must NOT allow themselves to be emasculated by being wedged. We cannot do to religious freedom what was done to refugees

  20. Labor should transition the debate away from “religious freedom” and onto “secularism”. Possibly also with a side of “economic liberalism” because telling businesses what things they can/can’t put into their contracts certainly isn’t that.

  21. If the Libs try to put up a lot of culture war stuff the Labor party should just hammer them on “where was all this during the election campaign?” Whether or not one of them talked about it at all during the election doesn’t matter – the Libs ran on absolutely no policy except tax cuts and first home buyer loans and should be slammed for hiding their agenda from the Australian people.

    Untrustworthy! Devious! Scheming!

    All. The. Time.

  22. citizen @ #719 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 1:14 pm

    In the minds of some there are “good” religions and “bad” religions. It will be interesting to see how the RWNJs treat what they consider to be bad religions.

    Yeah, that. If they make it illegal for someone to lose their job for saying plastering all over social media that gays will burn in hell, presumably it would also be illegal to fire someone for saying plastering all over social media that “Allah is great and the infidels will be punished and sharia law should be the only law”. Religious freedom!

  23. Isn’t freedom of religion already enshrined in the constitution ?
    If I remember correctly religious freedom is the only explicit right in our constitution, so what the hey are the Coalition on about ?

  24. Plus the ALP might be able to finesse something out of the disaster of this last campaign – something along the lines of “well, we had the guts to put out our comprehensive platform to the public before the election; the public rejected that and we accept that, but we were up front and honest about what we wanted to do – this government said nothing about (some ugly reframing of the Libs’ ‘religious freedoms’ proposals) before the election because they didn’t have the guts to be honest to the Australian people about what they really wanted to do”

  25. YBob @ #731 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 1:56 pm

    so what the hey are the Coalition on about ?

    That religious freedom should also explicitly include the right to force your employer to keep paying you even after they discover you’re a rabid, raving fundamentalist in public and even if you’ve signed a contract explicitly stating that you won’t be a rabid, raving fundamentalist in public because your employer’s business relies upon presenting an open and inclusive image to the public.

  26. Kate Miller-Heidke is a Queenslander and maybe a lib-libkin

    Kate Liber-Heidke? Along with that camp libkin Liber-Archie.

  27. Shorten is an idiot or has poor self-awareness because of course vested interest was a factor after all everyone has a vested interest in something whether that be their children’s education or their investment income or their business profitability. The ALP’s own policies played to a group with a particular vested interest such as the group of workers offered a special payrise.

  28. ar, that’s not actually religious freedom, thats being an ignorant twat. If the Government wants to argue that people have the freedom to be an ignorant twat, then they should come out and say it. Religious freedom is a totally different thing.

  29. Isn’t freedom of religion already enshrined in the constitution ?
    If I remember correctly religious freedom is the only explicit right in our constitution, so what the hey are the Coalition on about ?

    I suspect they’re having another at 18C; “freedom of religion” is more palatable than “the right to be a bigot.”

  30. Beijing has dropped a bombshell in its escalating trade war with the United States.

    China has, by far, the worlds’ greatest reserves of rare earths — the mineral sands that contain the exotic elements crucial in much high-performance modern technology.

    “Will rare earths become a counter weapon for China to hit back against the pressure the United States has put on for no reason at all? The answer is no mystery,” the People’s Daily declared rhetorically. “Don’t say we didn’t warn you!”

    And the threat, which economic analysts are calling Beijing’s ‘nuclear option’, is very real.

    The equally nationalistic Chinese newspaperGlobal T imes warned that China has plenty of ways to retaliate against the US, including the threat of cutting off supplies of rare earths.

    Rare earths are a group of 17 chemical elements which have properties key for the production of everything from satellites to jet engines.

    China last year produced 78 per cent of the world’s rare earths, according to researchers at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The US relies upon it for up to 80 per cent of its imports.

    The threat to use China’s rich supply as leverage in the conflict has contributed to sharp losses in US stocks and sliding long-term bond yields.

    But the impact of such an export freeze would have military as well as economic implications.

    “Rare earths are essential to the production, sustainment, and operation of US military equipment,” a 2016 US Government Accountability Office report detailed. “Reliable access to the necessary material, regardless of the overall level of defence demand, is a bedrock requirement for DOD.”

    An Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer needs 2500kg or rare earths for its construction. A Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine needs 4200kg. Each F-35 Stealth Fighter built consumes some 400kg.

  31. I also wouldn’t say the constitution has very much to say about freedom of religion – all it says, as far as I am aware, is that the State can’t make/impose an official religion, which is a nice protection, but doesn’t say very much about where different religious practices and rights might sit in relation to other rights.

    ETA: ah yes ltep is quite right, it does say (s116):

    The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.

  32. The constitutional protection concerning religion is quite limited, it doesn’t establish freedom of religion, but prevents the Cth from limiting the free exercise of religion. Several cases have interpreted it quite narrowly.

    I’d be open to investigating freedom of religion legislation but it would need to be carefully considered, and treat all religions equally. I’d think it would have to be extremely limited or risk the lawyer’s picnic that the Coalition purports to be concerned about with bills of rights etc.

  33. briefly @ #654 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 10:52 am

    Dan Gulberry says:
    Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 10:46 am
    Simon² Katich® @ #646 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 8:43 am

    We must act.
    We won’t.

    The Lib-Libs derive a political advantage from splitting the electorate over climate change, by making it a choice between jobs and the climate. They will pursue a conspicuously anti-environment program. This will be a virtue for them.

    The Greens will bash Labor for failing to stop the Lib-Libs, and yet will at all times and in places seek to prevent Labor from taking power.

    This is the catch-22, the dysfunction, in Left politics. Until it is resolved, nothing of any substance will be done in this country. Nothing. The Right have been winning. They will go on winning, emboldened and strengthened. They will destroy the place.

    The Gillard-Milne-Indy progressive Govt was the chance to bury the RWNJ’s.

    Sadly, internal Labor madness deliberately tore it down. This act of bastardry has given rise to RWNJ political supremacy and blinded the ALP of policy direction.

    The ALP is a victim of it’s own bastardry.

  34. An amendment enshrining Freedom of religion was rejected at a referendum by nearly 70% of the voters in the 1988 referendum. It was opposed by most organised religions as it had the threat of separating church and state to the degree that state aid could be unconstitutional
    Religion is only mentioned in the constitution to the degree that there is no established church a cause of great concern to Catholics in 1901

  35. The Chinese are playing with Trump yet most of the western media only follows what Trump does as if they think he is in control of the situation.

  36. The ALP is a victim of it’s own bastardry.

    Thats right. Especially in comparison to the last 6 years of the unified happy-joy team of the Coalition.

  37. YBob @ #732 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 1:56 pm

    Isn’t freedom of religion already enshrined in the constitution ?
    If I remember correctly religious freedom is the only explicit right in our constitution, so what the hey are the Coalition on about ?

    Crafting legislation that enshrines religious bigotry and discrimination, basically.

  38. An unintended consequence of Barnyards proposal ? If religion is kept out of employment contracts then many religious schools’ hiring rules would surely be stuffed .

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