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. Section 116 of the Constitution:

    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.

  2. Ytep
    true. We have those bastards, Scientology, as a tax-free religion where other countries have kicked that dangerous cult out of the door.

  3. Mexicanbeemer @ #746 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 2:17 pm

    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.

    Not exactly. The Chinese THINK they control the Rare Earths market because they have 80% of it now. This doesn’t mean that that will be the case in perpetuity. Other countries, such as Australia, have vast Rare Earth reserves they can sell to America too.

    The only hangup I can see for America is that they have based a lot of their tech manufacturing facilities in China to use their supplies of Rare Earths. I don’t think this will be such a big problem either though because America can equip themselves to do this. Much as Trump wants, actually.

    I think the only downside to this is that prices would increase due to America’s higher wage rates. Though, on the other hand, America could just decide to locate their manufacturing in some other low wage country, like India, for example.

  4. Jackol @ #732 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 1:56 pm

    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”

    The ALP weren’t honest re coal. They said one thing in Victoria and another thing in Queensland. Queensland rejected them.

  5. I think that some employer who is not religious should test the new ‘Religious Freedom’ rules to demand future employees sign a contract where they pledge NOT to bring their religion into the workplace, or their employment will be terminated. 🙂

  6. An established church like the Church of England in England (but no longer in the rest of the UK)is a church which is supported by the state and has some role in government. In the UK eg the monarch is the head of the church and the bishops sit in the Lords.
    It has nothing to do with banning religions or religious rights. The commonwealth has the power to define what a religion is; otherwise I would create my own church and claim tax benefits

  7. 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?”

    Mega George in the 7am podcast said that Labor will learn from their defeat and go for the jugular of the Coalition next time.

    They better.

  8. It’s a great pity that Andrew Leigh has been dropped from Labor’s frontbench. You’d have to think he won’t want to stick around as an Opposition backbencher for too long.

  9. The first act of European government in Australia was an act of religious bigotry/established church

    Arthur Philip was required to take the Oath of Non-consubstantiation to prove he was not a Papist before he could take the other oaths

  10. Mega George in the 7am podcast said that Labor will learn from their defeat and go for the jugular of the Coalition next time.

    Who will do this? And which part of the media will support them? Or where will the money come from to flood the weberverse with anti Coalition advertising?

    Or maybe some xenephon style gimmickry is in order?

  11. “Crafting legislation that enshrines religious bigotry and discrimination, basically.”

    The right is defining the terms of the debate yet again.

    It’s not about legislating for “religious rights”, it’s about legislating for “religious privileges”.

    In particular, fundamentalist christian privileges.

    Was I imagining it, but didn’t this government withdraw funding from religious groups because they dared to criticise this government’s policy in relation to the poor, homeless and unemployed? Wasn’t that their christian duty?

  12. boerwar
    The other night I was chatting with a couple of Greens here. I asked for the Honour Roll of Green successes in the 21st C, and cost of policies.
    When I looked up from my drink, their bar-stools were empty!

  13. @Simon² Katich®

    George Megalogenis does rightly point out that for Labor to win next time, they have to win considerably more seats in Queensland, they won only 5 out of 30 this time. Western Australia is a problem for Labor as well, only winning five out of 16 seats there.

    Perhaps Anthony Albanese can appeal to enough voters in Queensland and Western Australia in order for this to be achieved. I can’t see why this cannot be done, since the cultural differences between say Queensland and Victoria is a lot narrower than between say New England and the Deep South in America.

  14. Low Aromatic Fuel Act is still in place (a Greens private senator’s bill). They managed to repeal the Commonwealth’s power to disallow territory laws by way of regulation. The Renewable Energy Agency. Senate voting reform – opposed by the Labor Party mind you.

  15. C@t

    I still cant figure out why Labor didn’t counter the Clive palmer bullshit and the coalition clusterf@@k of the past six years. It is all so weird.

  16. I do not think the voters have suffered enough to elect an ALP government. At the moment their grandkids will pay the price of their stupidity. When they start paying the price, things may change. Which might be a good time for the ALP to run dead and say, ‘Eff Off, you made your bed, go pee in it.’ (sarc)

  17. I don’t know if they’d list anything else, I was just going from memory. There’s only so much you can achieve from the Senate cross bench, without sole balance of power. It will be many years until that ever happens again. I do think it’s important to have different voices in the parliament though, and the Parliament serves other roles other than legislating (inquiring, accountability, policy formation, etc.). The Greens have also maintained pressure and argued for things that have eventually become policy in the Labor Party.

    If one was being unkind they could also point out that the Labor Party haven’t been in the position to deliver much in the past 20 years either.

  18. Oakeshott Country:

    [‘…and the bishops sit in the Lords.’]

    Only twenty-six of them and that’s far too many.

    If ever there was a political anachronism it has to be the House of Lords, where upwards of 800 are entitled to sit, including soon the Baroness May of Brexit.

  19. Not having $60mill and a compliant MSM?

    If Labor doesn’t have the first thing, then it needs to either find some Palmer-esque backers (surely not all the super-rich are RWNJ’s) or fix up its grassroots fundraising game. Eggboy managed to turn an egg into $100k pretty quick. A national political party should be able to do at least a couple orders of magnitude better than that.

    And since Labor won’t be getting the second thing, they need to hone their social-media skills and direct their advertising dollars to where it counts. And also take every opportunity they get to be on live, national television to challenge and call out the media bias for what it is. Labor needs to find some backbone and fight back.

  20. Victoria @ #772 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 2:45 pm

    C@t

    I still cant figure out why Labor didn’t counter the Clive palmer bullshit and the coalition clusterf@@k of the past six years. It is all so weird.

    I think the problem is Labor didn’t have an effective pollster to make them woke to how effective such attacks might have been, via the use of focus groups to filter up messages that could have been deployed into attack ads and memes, by an effective ad agency, which they also didn’t have, for fb and Insta, to deploy these findings at short notice. I mean it’s really quite simple when you read how the Coalition and Palmer did it. Labor have to do it too.

    I also think that Labor under Bill Shorten were afraid of getting tarred with the Union Thugs brush, due to Bill’s past associations. So they decided to play him as Mr Nice Guy instead. When, all along, I don’t think it was the Union association that did him in, it was his woodenness and seeming to be too scripted and not letting people see the Real Bill, because on that day that he let the mask slip and behaved like the person people who know him love, due to that disgusting slag piece in The Daily Telegraph about his mother and his telling of her story, it was then that finally his Approval numbers shot up and Disapproval numbers went down.

    And Mega George is right. As usual. He says that Labor need to craft a path to victory away from the aging blue collar Baby Boomers, in retirement or nearing retirement, who the Coalition have got sewn up now and direct their attention to the younger generations and the thoughtful city and regional voters. He can see a path to victory that way.

  21. Eggboy started a worldwide protest movement. People realised, post Eggboy, that you could be just as effective with an egg as with a rock. Hence the Maccas milkshake adeptly deployed at Nigel Farage.

  22. For those interested, this is a link to the results of their monthly survey by Relationships Australia for April 2019, which was on April 2019: ‘Contemporary views of marriage’.
    From what I can see, people are waiting later to marry, if at all and women more than men are giving it the flick altogether. And most are using civil celebrants.
    https://www.relationships.org.au/what-we-do/research/online-survey/april-2019-contemporary-views-of-marriage?utm_source=RA+Survey&utm_campaign=a79cf41a8e-RA_Survey_Nov_2017_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_737240dd35-a79cf41a8e-368855009

  23. ltep –

    I do think it’s important to have different voices in the parliament though

    I totally agree. And I agree as a general concept, but also in the specifics of the current political landscape. To me it seems clear there is currently a gaping void where voters who want something that is not the current conservative reactionaries, but won’t vote for Labor, have nowhere to go. It also seems clear to me that Labor are fighting a losing battle trying to cover enough different support bases to give it enough votes to win government in their own right. While it would seem logical to me that we should see a centrish/centre-leftish party rise to fill that void, the actually-making-it-happen seems beyond reach at the moment to someone as pessimistic as myself. Of course not having PR in the chamber that forms government doesn’t help.

    If one was being unkind they could also point out that the Labor Party haven’t been in the position to deliver much in the past 20 years either.

    Indeed. I think that is actually Briefly’s point, and more that it may not be coincidence that it corresponds to the rise of the Greens…

  24. PuffyTMD @ #774 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 2:56 pm

    Victoria @ #771 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 2:15 pm

    C@t

    I still cant figure out why Labor didn’t counter the Clive palmer bullshit and the coalition clusterf@@k of the past six years. It is all so weird.

    Not having $60mill and a compliant MSM?

    Rubbish.
    They didn’t even try.
    There were plenty of suggestions right here on PB on a daily basis of the kinds of things Labor could have done.
    No killer instinct.
    No feel for politics.
    Morriscum is there till the wheels fall off and then Labor just tumbles back in to office….maybe 2022, maybe not….it’s up to the tories how far they can push their shite up the hill…..

  25. Well, I would have thought the NDIS, the NBN (not forked by Labor) and navigating the country through the GFC relatively unscathed are three big pieces of silverware in the ALP trophy cabinet. And that is off the top of my head.

  26. Jackol @ #782 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 3:08 pm

    ltep –

    I do think it’s important to have different voices in the parliament though

    I totally agree. And I agree as a general concept, but also in the specifics of the current political landscape. To me it seems clear there is currently a gaping void where voters who want something that is not the current conservative reactionaries, but won’t vote for Labor, have nowhere to go. It also seems clear to me that Labor are fighting a losing battle trying to cover enough different support bases to give it enough votes to win government in their own right. While it would seem logical to me that we should see a centrish/centre-leftish party rise to fill that void, the actually-making-it-happen seems beyond reach at the moment to someone as pessimistic as myself. Of course not having PR in the chamber that forms government doesn’t help.

    If one was being unkind they could also point out that the Labor Party haven’t been in the position to deliver much in the past 20 years either.

    Indeed. I think that is actually Briefly’s point, and more that it may not be coincidence that it corresponds to the rise of the Greens…

    Since 1983, Labor has occupied the government benches for 19 years. The LNP for 17

  27. Since 1983, Labor has occupied the government benches for 19 years. The LNP for 17
    ____________________________________________
    the ALP has had a majority for 3 years out of the past 24

  28. The NBN sadly is one of the largest policy failures of recent years. Not that I blame Labor for that. The debacle that it has become should’ve seen this government out the door on its own.

    The NDIS – it would’ve been nice for Labor to have been around to see it through in implementation.

    The Coalition of course have achieved nothing in the past 6 years, with little evidence that anything is coming in the next 3 years either.

  29. Simon² Katich® @ #764 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 2:34 pm

    Mega George in the 7am podcast said that Labor will learn from their defeat and go for the jugular of the Coalition next time.

    Who will do this? And which part of the media will support them? Or where will the money come from to flood the weberverse with anti Coalition advertising?

    Or maybe some xenephon style gimmickry is in order?

    $500 a day is all it cost Clive Palmer to have 2 memes a day created and sent out through social media during the campaign. Labor could afford this, at the very least. Not to mention that internet ads are cheaper than legacy media ads. But it’s the Shares that do it and so they need to be, for want of a better word, funky, and snarky and lolworthy. Maybe Labor could employ Xenophon? 🙂

  30. The stuff the ALP got done so far in the 21st C, has long term real positive impacts on people’s lives. Just because the Coalition is forking up the processes does not mean Greens here can just quietly sweep these important wins under the fake grass.

  31. PuffyTMD @ #784 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 3:12 pm

    Well, I would have thought the NDIS, the NBN (not forked by Labor) and navigating the country through the GFC relatively unscathed are three big pieces of silverware in the ALP trophy cabinet. And that is off the top of my head.

    I’d add the CEFC, Paid Parental Leave Scheme, LGTB Rights Reforms of 2008…..

  32. C@tmomma
    I was thinking more broadly because I think there is or was a perception that the U.S had the upper hand and only needed to apply some pressure and the Chinese would accept U.S demands.

  33. C@t

    Yep. Quite a number of layers of failure.

    Labor could have the over 55s if they could implement a meaningful policy that deals with the changing workforce.
    The whole waiting till 65 years for access to pension and super is going to be redundant in the not too distant future.

  34. Being a minority probably isn’t that big a problem, if anything it helps to dampen the more extreme ideas and focuses the mind of ministers in ensuring their policies are sound.

  35. For eg Telstra is going to shed 6000 workers this financial year.
    Once again culling their top heavy older workers heading towards 50 years of age

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