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. My Millennial son informs me that a lot of his generation are just floating from one short term hookup to the next. Sure, there are still long-term relationships that happen, but things are a lot more fluid these days.

  2. Victoria @ #794 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 3:23 pm

    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.

    Labor DID have a policy to deal with older workers. They had too many policies. 😐

  3. a r @ #777 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 3:02 pm

    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.

    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
    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
    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

    Amen to that.

  4. Victoria
    Telstra were probably hoping the ALP won the election because they are paying the price for having been so focused on paying dividends that they now face serious pressure as their customer base has been falling, Telstra are not in great shape.

  5. Victoria
    Yes and no
    Many retail “mum &dad” shareholders see Telstra has being great for its dividend, so if the benefits of franking credits had been reduced then many of those shareholders would have sold out, this is where the no comes into it, Telstra has already cut and should cut its dividend again to mirror its financial condition and then increase investment in its business to generate growth. Telstra are hoping the NBN is gifted to them and that 5G delivers, if those things don’t happen then Telstra faces real difficulties going forward.

  6. I’m not sure whether it’s very smart for Shorten to blame “corporate leviathans” (Murdoch’s rags) and “a financial behemoth” (Palmer) for his loss. The policies Labor took to the election were the problem coupled with the fact that they weren’t sold very well. Anyway, as they say: when you fall from a horse…

  7. 5G is more hype than substance, even more than 4G. Telstra’s record with infrastructure is not great and the NBN is going to be a shitfight for whoever owns it. More millstone than lifesaver.

  8. I’m not sure whether it’s very smart for Shorten to blame “corporate leviathans” (Murdoch’s rags) and “a financial behemoth” (Palmer) for his loss. The policies Labor took to the election were the problem coupled with the fact that they weren’t sold very well.

    Murdoch is an ever present anti-ALP force. That’s not going to change anytime soon unless Lachlan decides he just doesn’t care about the Murdoch vanity projects here.

    But don’t underestimate the Palmer effect. His $60 million campaign of shit had a big effect on turning people off of politics altogether, and the beneficiaries were always going to be the small target, promise-no-change party of ScoMo. Palmer’s ads were nonsense, but the drip drip drip was powerful.

    There were many factors in Labor’s loss. They all need to be addressed or worked around in some way if Labor are to win.

  9. Mundo
    Send your suggestions to Albanese’s office.

    Just so you know; even if mundo does this, it is likely he/she will still be shoving his suggestions up our orifices for the foreseeable future.

  10. 5G is more hype than substance, even more than 4G. Telstra’s record with infrastructure is not great and the NBN is going to be a shitfight for whoever owns it. More millstone than lifesaver.

    Telstra have already shown their hand with 5G. It will be offered at a premium price beyond the standard 4G. A two tiered system. Even if 5G does live up to the hype, most will be priced out of it.

  11. On the news this afternoon the Minister for (something), the Hon. (somebody) welcomed the 3% increase in the minimum wage because it proved Australia has a “strong economy”.

    Tell that to the Reserve Bank.

  12. citizen @ #815 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 4:07 pm

    On the news this afternoon the Minister for (something), the Hon. (somebody) welcomed the 3% increase in the minimum wage because it proved Australia has a “strong economy”.

    Tell that to the Reserve Bank.

    By crikey, Albo and Chris will be all over this like a rash…..any minute now……

  13. We still have a Telstra landline pending being booted onto FTTN. Yesterday we received a letter from Telstra that the monthly rental has been increased again. Presumably that’s because their customer base is shrinking.

  14. Telstra and 5G. I don’t think the technology has necessarily been overhyped but Telstra doesn’t have a great record with infrastructure and other telcos will have access to 5G then you add Telstra’s pricing and basically after a honeymoon period Telstra will just continue losing customers.

  15. I was speaking to my real estate agent today, as you do when she reverses into the little power pole feeding electricity into your house and you both inspect the damage to her car and the pole together, and she told me that she was disappointed that Labor didn’t get in at the election. She thought it might have been better if the property market had been opened up a little bit. Though she also observed that a LOT of wealth is tied up in Investment Property and people were concerned that their investments would devalue with Labor’s policies.

    I don’t think she subscribed to the Real Estate Institute propaganda campaign either.

  16. “My Millennial son informs me that a lot of his generation are just floating from one short term hookup to the next. Sure, there are still long-term relationships that happen, but things are a lot more fluid these days.”

    A very apt choice of words, C@tmomma. Things are a lot more fluid indeed… 😉

  17. mundo @ #826 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 4:32 pm

    mundo @ #817 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 4:09 pm

    citizen @ #815 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 4:07 pm

    On the news this afternoon the Minister for (something), the Hon. (somebody) welcomed the 3% increase in the minimum wage because it proved Australia has a “strong economy”.

    Tell that to the Reserve Bank.

    By crikey, Albo and Chris will be all over this like a rash…..any minute now……

    When?

    Soon, very soon….it’s a whole new ball game, Labor have learnt their lesson…..

  18. From the SMH online
    ‘ANALYSIS
    POLITICAL LEADERSHIP
    Albanese’s captain’s call has backfired and he’s left with the worst of both worlds

    It’s already started.
    Kill Albo!

  19. ‘Shorten was a competent minister in the Rudd and Gillard governments but it is questionable whether someone who has dreamed of being prime minister since he was a boy is capable of shelving his ambition and serving under his rival.’

    Libtard Bourke up to her old tricks. Wasting no time.
    There’s a lesson – another one – for Labor here……

  20. “I’m not sure whether it’s very smart for Shorten to blame “corporate leviathans” (Murdoch’s rags) and “a financial behemoth” (Palmer) for his loss. The policies Labor took to the election were the problem coupled with the fact that they weren’t sold very well. ”

    You’ve just backed up your disagreement using evidence that agrees with Shorten.

    The policies weren’t sold well because they were misrepresented by Murdoch and Palmer. At their core – when presented accurately – the policies are sound and would be popular. Who can argue against Medicare covering Cancer tests? Who can argue against making childcare more affordable and accessible?

    No one. But people didn’t know about those as much as they heard about “death taxes” and “retiree taxes”.

    Media fail.

  21. People talking up ambition need to be reminded that there are 151 people that really believe they should be the PM, there isn’t a member of the HoR that doesn’t want the top job.

  22. @gregbrown_TheOz

    Labor’s defence spokesman Richard Marles has backed calls for navy personnel who have helped “stop the boats” under the asylum seeker crackdown to be honoured in a potential expansion of the Australian War Memorial #auspol

    A War on Asylum Seekers? That’s the LNP story, shouldn’t be Labor’s.

    Christmas Island Shire President Gordon Thomson said he had no knowledge of any asylum seekers being brought to the island, and called the Government’s conduct “sinister” if it was true.

    Mr Thomson said shire officials had regular intergovernmental agency meetings, and at the last meeting a week ago an Australian Border Force official made no mention of any asylum seekers arriving.

    He also expressed concern such an incident could go completely undetected by shire officials.

    “I don’t understand … it’s quite a sinister approach to intergovernmental relations in my opinion,” Mr Thomson said.

    “It is consistent with the secret state policy of the Government in relation to Operation Sovereign Borders.

    “If the Government has conducted a secret operation on the island, it’s extraordinary, and they’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal it.”

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-30/asylum-seekers-sent-back-to-sri-lanka-from-christmas-island/11163526?pfmredir=sm

  23. I only just got back in, so this is news…

    Dutton holds a press conference about the boat intercepted at Xmas Is.
    Not one question on the suicide attempts on Manus & Nauru.
    How good is the Australian media?

  24. No comment.

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

    According to The Australian today, the Adelaide-born former Foreign Minister had been in talks with Premier Steven Marshall about the possibility of her replacing Governor Hieu Van Le later this year.

    Sources told The Australian, Ms Bishop declined the offer and will instead join the lucrative speaking circuit, charging up to $50,000 per event and that she is also being courted for board roles at major Australian companies.

    Ms Bishop’s sister, MaryLou Bishop, told ABC radio Adelaide on Thursday, the former foreign minister was offered the job shortly after she was defeated in a vote for the Liberal leadership in a spill last August.

    https://thewest.com.au/politics/federal-politics/former-foreign-minister-julie-bishop-turns-down-offer-to-become-governor-of-south-australia-ng-c3752e7de4ea0355809d338879ad7f9e?utm_campaign=share-icons&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&tid=1559181865352

  25. As a South Australian I am so glad Bishop turned down the offer to become Governor here. I could just imagine her flouncing about here there and everywhere.

  26. Some people who know Shorten well believe that he may hope to return as party leader. Having stood on the edge of greatness, this deeply driven and ambitious man may find it impossible to relinquish all hope of national leadership.

    Other Labor MPs want Shorten to leave Parliament. “He should go,” says one. “He going to be a magnet [for dissent]”.

    NSW MPs say their Victorian counterparts are worried that Shorten still has enough sway in the party to threaten parliamentary careers. They fear retribution if they urge Shorten to quit politics to allow younger talent to take his place, the NSW theory holds.

    https://www.afr.com/news/politics/national/the-downfall-of-bill-shorten-20190527-p51rof

  27. Not unexpectedly the MSM are trying to stir up “Labor disunity” and “factional bosses”.. Ch10 news had video of Shorten speaking at the party meeting today and then intimated that Albanese needed to watch his back.

    Also ABC article “A new-look federal Labor has taken shape with the ALP caucus endorsing its leadership for the next three years in the political wilderness. The factional bosses determined the makeup of the leadership, with NSW MP Anthony Albanese the leader and Victorian MP Richard Marles the deputy.”

    And Latika in Fairfax.

  28. All former prime ministers will be eligible for taxpayer-funded international travel under rule changes made by Scott Morrison – a privilege previously only extended to Malcolm Turnbull.

    The changes allow Tony Abbott, Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, John Howard and Paul Keating to apply to the current prime minister for approval for themselves and a spouse or de facto partner to travel internationally.

    If approval is given, the former prime minister may also take one staff member.

    Former prime ministers are entitled to a parliamentary retirement travel entitlement – which was previously known as the lifetime gold pass – which grants them up to 30 domestic return trips a year.

    Turnbull scrapped the lifetime gold pass for former federal MPs and vowed he would never use it.

    As a former prime minister Abbott will also be entitled to office accommodation, unlimited postage for official business and the same publication allowance as MPs.

    Good old ScoMo.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/may/30/tony-abbott-gets-100000-raise-on-backbenchers-salary-now-hes-a-retired-pm?CMP=share_btn_tw

  29. 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.

  30. citizen

    Same with Karvelas.

    The story seems to be:
    Nobody liked Shorten therefore he shouldn’t try to make excuses for losing. Labot has been in power before so they can do it if they want to.
    Nobody trusts Shorten and we (the media) are waiting to pounce on the slightest sign of disunity.
    How can he possibly be happy with a front bench position when he wanted to be PM?

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