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. How the hell can L Bourke make commentary on whats happening in Canberra when she is located half the globe away in London ?
    What sort of fools do the press take us for ?

  2. Someone on Twitter checked Libtika’s last 12 articles. All negative about Labor.
    I can see how she does it from London though. PMO sends the talking points through to her. She puts her name to them to give them a degree of separation. Too easy.

    Money for jam.

  3. Someone much smarter than I might have an answer. Humour might be part of an answer, maybe?

    Yep. Derision. ‘Money can’t buy you class but he’s trying to buy an election’, that sort of thing. Honestly, the cruellest take down of Palmer I saw during the campaign was a meme of him as a contemporary Jake and the Fatman. He being the Fatman. Too funny.

  4. YBob @ #901 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 7:26 pm

    How the hell can L Bourke make commentary on whats happening in Canberra when she is located half the globe away in London ?
    What sort of fools do the press take us for ?

    Gullible ones. I mean, how many people actually know she is doing it all from London? Digital media being what it is she can do it from anywhere and no one’s the wiser.

  5. Dr Rhonda Garad
    @elyasgarad

    Ok, so take a seat for this one.

    -Rupert claimed $882m tax rebate from us
    -this was the single biggest reason our budget blew out 2014/15
    -Hockey told US to tighten our belts!

    So our needs sacrificed for the avarice of this man.

  6. Adrian
    Why is it their job to know, sure if they are covering industrial relations or business then you could expect them to know but most of them are just reporting the campaign news. I differently think there should have been some attention given to Queensland Nickel.

  7. C@tmomma says:
    Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 7:29 pm
    YBob @ #901 Thursday, May 30th, 2019 – 7:26 pm

    How the hell can L Bourke make commentary on whats happening in Canberra when she is located half the globe away in London ?
    What sort of fools do the press take us for ?
    Gullible ones. I mean, how many people actually know she is doing it all from London? Digital media being what it is she can do it from anywhere and no one’s the wiser.

    The frightening thing is that our elections are probably being influenced from overseas – the US evangelicals influencing the happy clappers here, the RW Republicans having links with the LNP, the ultra RW neo-nazis in both countries, the NRA and the gun lobby here, multinational miners and businesses…the list goes on.

  8. DavidWH, Channel 7 ran a relatively negative report on the Wage rise today, interviewing naysayers from industry groups, as well as tut tuting that Australia has the highest wages in the world.
    What these fools don’t seem to realise is that ours is a consumer society, and as such people need to at least earn enough to be able to consume. If our wages are so high, then surely that says a bit about how high the cost of living is in Australia

  9. YBob it does help when you use a business reporter rather than a general reporter. Channel 7 can be hit and miss because there are times when they only give a small amount of information and its often incoherent.

  10. YBob

    says a bit about how high the cost of living is in Australia

    Or maybe………………….

    says a bit about how much business gouges customers in Australia

  11. MB, you’re right about 7, they should just stick to reporting Football

    DavidWH, you might think like that, but the Bozo’s that 7 found were dead against wage rises, bad for their hip-pockets apparently

  12. Ybob The guy from the hospitality industry was playing the crowd that doesn’t want to spend more, as if they would stop buying coffee if it went from $4.60 to $4.80.

  13. So Palmer spent tens of millions setting up a sham party that was not designed to win any seats, but to provide the Libs with scrutiny-free donations. No need for the Libs to disclose them: the money went to another party.

    This other party, the UAP, had no policies to write home about – other than the ridiculous $300 per fortnight increase in the age pension (how Palmer was ever going to achieve this has never been explained). Oh, and yes, he was going to be Prime Minister – without standing for office himself. Like a plywood Hollywood movie set the UAP was, on close examination, a phoney. But it had everything – compliance with the AEC rules, a full set of candidates, talking points, stump speeches, a “membership”, an advertising campaign, and lots of money. But no chance of winning, and hardly any of even getting one of its candidates elected.

    Seems to me it was a scam to get around the AEC’s donation, accountability and associated entity rules, by making a mockery of them.

  14. DavidWH, Channel 7 ran a relatively negative report on the Wage rise today, interviewing naysayers from industry groups, as well as tut tuting that Australia has the highest wages in the world.

    ABC TV News helpfully pointed out that the minimum wage in Russia is less than $1.00 per hour.

    Obviously our low-wage workers have been living in the lap of luxury compared to their Slavic comrades.

    And lets not even think about the minimum wage in Chad, where apparently they work for betel nuts.

  15. Perhaps our Pollies, and so-called Journos be forced to live on the minimum wage for 6 months before they pass judgement. Better still, make them live on newstart.

  16. Bushfire Bill

    ABC TV News helpfully pointed out that the minimum wage in Russia is less than $1.00 per hour.

    Is that for real ?? FMD that is Sky News After Dark grade shit.

  17. you can’t be PM from the Senate.

    Wellllll …. there is no rule that says that. Just convention. And if we’re talking about Clive fantasy land then I kind of doubt that convention would cut it…

  18. How about this for an ad:

    Lurid yellow screen.
    The worst b&w photo of Clive.
    Voice over: “This man closed QN
    leaving x number of workers unemployed. He did not pay their entitlements. You, the Australian taxpayer paid $70m to these employees”
    Cut to video footage of Clive:
    “I’m worth $4,000 million dollars. I don’t give a stuff”
    Back to lurid yellow screen with photo of Clive. Add horrible smirking image of Morrison.
    Voice over:
    “This man just made a preference deal with Clive…”
    Back to video footage of Clive. Zoom right in to Clives mug. “I’m worth $4,000 million. I don’t give a stuff.”
    Finish with the smirkiest photo of Morrison.
    Voice over. “And this man doesn’t give a stuff about you either.”

    Feel free to comment. Surely someone smarter than me in the ALP could have put something like this or better together. No idea if it would have helped but it certainly couldn’t have hurt.

  19. Richard Marles on SKY showing his 3 favourite snow domes which he collects. He has one of the largest collections in Australia, over 500.

    That should take care of connecting with Queensland! Phew!

  20. Please don’t quote the theory. We all know that, rather than contradict it, Gorton’s case proves the rule.

    You can’t stay in the Senate and be PM.

    In any case what are we even talking about? As if Palmer was going to (or even intended to) win anything, much less a majority.

    He simply wanted to be able to swear that he and his candidates did everything a real party would do so that his funneling of money to the anti-Labor side of politics could not be held to be a direct (or associated entity) donation to the Ljbs.

  21. You can dump on Latika all you want, but I thought she made a couple of reasonable points.

    It’s quite a bit of a mess that, in order to get KK into the Deputy Senate position, Albo has had to lose a talented performer like Ed Husic from his front bench. And, while I never had much time for him, Andrew Leigh certainly did have a lot of fans on here. Until today, when he seems to have become suddenly quite expendable, at least for those who post on this forum.

    And KK for Deputy Senate Leader? Really? Perhaps she’d make a good Foreign Affairs spokesperson: after all, she’s coming with plenty of baggage.

    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.

    Of course, there’s some garbage in the article too: how on earth can there be a problem with Albo saying that Husic is “one of his best mates”?

  22. You can’t stay in the Senate and be PM.

    No one has ever explained to my satisfaction why this is so, because it’s certainly not a law or the constitution, and in Westminster tradition there have been PMs from the House of Lords – up until the late 19th century – and nothing to stop the equivalent here.

    Now it is true that the undemocratic nature of the House of Lords puts a particular perspective on the Prime Minstership, but that simply doesn’t apply here.

    The only explanation for the Australian tradition that I’ve heard is something along the lines that because the government is formed in the lower house that the PM needs to personally be there to oversee the functioning of the House of Reps. This doesn’t strike me as anything other than an organizational convenience, and hardly justifies the sense that this is a hard and fast rule.

  23. meher baba,
    KK will prove her worth taking the fight up to the Tories in an entertaining and biting way. A bit like Labor’s own JBish. Except with more substance. She’ll also be good in the Culture Wars against the Conservative Catholics on the other side. A Contemporary Catholic vs Conservative Catholics in the battle for the hearts and minds of Faith voters-which is what Morrison is lining up-should be an enthralling spectacle over the next 3 years. Now with the added authority and profile that being Deputy Leader in the Senate brings.

    As Katherine Murphy explained it well yesterday to Josh Szeps on ABC Sydney radio, Labor has arcane practices which say that once you are a front bencher and Shadow Minister you are on the front bench until you are voted out of parliament, and these positions are jealously guarded usually. They are not in the gift of the LOTO to allocate, like the Liberals, but have to respect fair allocation based upon gender, State and, yes, faction. So, to get KK in there so quickly after her having just arrived in the Senate must be saying that many believe she will be a star performer for Labor.

    Ed Husic will be back. Albanese said as much today. Everyone agrees. It’s just this initial shake out that has seen him lose.

  24. 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.

  25. Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    @nntaleb
    6- Napoleon
    His central flaw: viewed the world (including socioeconomic life) as a top-down streamlined military structure. Could not grasp selforganization and complexity.

  26. 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!

  27. Keneally has had years in which to generate ideas and policies and all the resources to do so.

    If she has produced something, it is well hidden.

  28. every time Albo makes even a tiny misstep, the media will zoom in on Bill.

    I know cognitive dissonance must be a prerequisite for working as a journalist these days, but how can they reconcile the “Shorten was a terribly unpopular leader” with the “Shorten is the popular alternative that the party will turn to in a moment of weakness”.

    Not to mention the small matter of the new leadership rules, and more importantly the trashing of the reputation of polling – leadership challenges are going to be non-starters for quite a while because anyone going around with “but the polls!” is going to be laughed at. Albo is in at least until the 2022 election unless he chooses to stand down.

  29. 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

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