So much trouble in the world

Upheaval in conservative politics in New South Wales over abortion law; a pickle for Labor in Tasmania over a vacancy in state parliament; and suggestions of a looming state by-election in Victoria.

In New South Wales:

A row over a bill to decriminalise abortion is prompting murmurings about Gladys Berejiklian’s leadership just five months after she led the Coalition to an impressive election victory, with tremors that are being felt federally. The bill was introduced by independent MP Alex Greenwich, but its sponsors included the Berejiklian government’s Health Minister, Brad Hazzard. It was headed last week for passage through both houses of parliament, before Berejiklian bowed to conservative outrage by pushing back the final vote in the upper house by nearly a month. Claiming credit for this concession is Barnaby Joyce, whose high-profile interventions have angered his state Nationals colleagues, most of whom support the bill (prompting Mark Latham, who now holds a crucial upper house vote as a member of One Nation, to tar the party with the cultural Marxist brush). Following suggestions the party room had discussed expelling him from the party, Joyce said he would go of his own accord if four of them publicly called for him to do so. It doesn’t appear that is going to happen, but if it did, the government would be reduced from 77 seats in the House of Representatives out of 151, costing it its absolute majority on the floor.

In Tasmania:

Labor MP Scott Bacon’s decision to end his state parliamentary career, citing family reasons, represents an unwelcome turn of events for an already understaffed state opposition, owing to the manner in which parliamentary vacancies are filled under Hare-Clark. This will involve a “recount” (as officially known, though “countback” is the generally preferred term for such procedures) of the votes that got Bacon elected to his seat in Denison (which is now called Clark), either as first or subsequent preferences. The procedure is open to any unsuccessful candidates from the previous election who care to nominate, among whom is Madeleine Ogilvie, a former incumbent who was defeated in 2018 – possibly because progressive sentiment had been alienated by her social conservatism.

The problem for Labor is that Ogilvie has since parted company with the party, to the extent of running as an independent for an upper house seat in May. If she wins the recount, and no reconciliation with the party is forthcoming, there will be nothing to stop her sitting as an independent, reducing Labor from ten seats to nine in a chamber of 25. As explained by Kevin Bonham, we can see from the 2018 results that this will produce a “first preference” count in which 33.1% of the vote goes to Madeleine Ogilvie and 28.4% to Tim Cox, a former ABC Radio presenter who ran unsuccessfully, and has confirmed he will nominate for the recount. More than half the remainder went to candidates who are not in contention because they’re already in parliament, so it will assuredly be one or the other.

In Victoria:

John Ferguson of The Australian reports the Liberals have been conducting internal polling for former party leader Matthew Guy’s seat of Bulleen, prompting speculation he will shortly quit parliament. The Liberals retained the seat with a 5.8% margin even amid the debacle of last November’s election, and the polling is “believed to show the Liberal brand holding up”.

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.

2,112 comments on “So much trouble in the world”

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  1. ‪The Tamil Tigers – the equivalent of the Khmer Rouge. Marxist Nihilists. War Criminals: Invented use of suicide bombers against civilians. Child soldiers. Human shields.‬
    ‪How can anyone support these people?‬

  2. nath

    ‘I’m wondering why you have not applied your brilliant knowledge of economics to your own personal circumstances every now and then?’

    More evidence that you’re not a progressive voter, but a Young Lib posing.

  3. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. And now it’s off for yet another Bunnings sausage sizzle.

    Here we go again. Midnight deportations thwarted by legal injunction.
    Kate McClymont tells us about Sam Dastyari’s day at ICAC.
    Waleed Aly gives a good account of the Brexit mess.
    The SMH editorial begins with, “Australia and Britain share a monarch and the Westminster system of government, so the decision by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to prorogue Parliament for five weeks should be of special concern here. It might seem like just another twist in the tedious political battle over Brexit but the concern is this will set a precedent for other leaders who think they can govern without a majority in Parliament.”
    An independent panel has approved the Sydney school’s divisive plan to spend $29 million to turn its library into a building resembling a Scottish castle. Why do we pay tax money for this?
    The NSW Opposition Leader said the party will begin the search for a new boss after ordering Kaila Murnain, a “broken person”, to be stood down as general secretary writes Alexandra Smith.
    And Sam Maiden reports that Sam Dastyari has told the anti-corruption probe he believes Huang Xiangmo, the billionaire accused of delivering an Aldi bag stuffed with $100,000 to the Labor Party, was “an agent of influence” for the Chinese Government.
    Thousands of public servants want to quit Peter Dutton’s home affairs department, with a new report finding staff are suffering low morale, poor engagement and high levels of bullying and harassment. What wonderful inspiration is the Uber Tuber!
    Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is nothing if not innovative. In a daring new plan for Australia’s economy, instead of implementing policies – with all the tedious work and planning that that would require – he has embarked on an ingenious approach: begging.,13053
    Morrison has been sucked in by a toilet sign in his own department.
    Here’s Michael Koziol’s take on the draft religious freed legislation.
    Rob Harris goes a bit deeper.
    Even deeper go three law academics in an informative contribution inThe Conversation.
    Rodney Croome declares, “This is not a religious freedom bill, it’s a licence to hate”. He says that at the behest of religious leaders who feel their power and privilege slipping away, the federal government wants to punch holes in existing anti-discrimination laws.
    But The Australian’s Geoff Chalmers writes that religious leaders are demanding Scott Morrison provide them with extra safeguards after the government unveiled proposed laws shielding religious ­institutions from discrimination claims and protecting workers who express their beliefs from being sacked. Oh dear! What a can of worms the legislative spotlight is shining upon! Google.


    Michelle Grattan says the Religious Discrimination legislation would hit big companies harder than small business.
    Benjamin Press reports on how Victorian Labor MP Paul Edbrooke has opened up about the sexual abuse his father suffered at the hands of a Catholic clergyman while taking aim at Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli’s controversial refusal to comply with new mandatory reporting laws.
    Brigid Delaney writes about the effect on the Catholic church of the Pell verdict.
    A corruption inquiry, new university rules, an internet cable under the Pacific. The government can’t even separate its domestic economic agenda from China, writes Philip Coorey.
    Michelle Grattan reckons Australia isn’t avoiding prodding the Chinese bear.
    Declassified documents show the then foreign minister Alexander Downer was angered by leaks showing Australia rejected US request for peacekeepers for East Timor.
    Shane Wright and Eryk Bagshaw team up again to explain how new figures show that remote parts of the country have shed up to a third of their population and turned away from the major political parties.
    There is a risk of “catastrophic failure” if Australia adopts nuclear energy, a federal parliamentary inquiry has heard from Ziggy Switkowski.
    Mike Pezzollo called the deputy commissioner of the Australian Federal Police to congratulate him on raiding the home of a journalist. But he had nothing to do with it did he?
    Security firm Paladin was fined more than a thousand times for “performance failures” by the Home Affairs department, even as officials insisted they were happy with its delivery of a $532 million contract, new documents show.
    Tory McGuire explores the stark choices we face as the trade war continues.
    Intellectual property rights are shaping up to be the key battleground as the trade war between the United States and China escalates. And Australia’s position favours the US, writes Clinton Fernandes, even though it is patently against Australia’s interests because of the huge costs intellectual property rights impose on the community.
    Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker says the move to criminalise wage theft signals a big change for the watchdog, which has come under fire for its light-handed regulation.
    The AFR tells us that ASIC can now match it with the big boys, with an expanded budget and a determination to prosecute cases raised in the Hayne royal commission.
    David Shearman explains how Labor is all over the shop on climate change.
    Australian governments will give $4.4bn in effective subsidies to Adani’s Carmichael coal project, which would otherwise be “unbankable and unviable”, a new analysis has found.
    Super savers are voting with their feet which, combined with stand-out investment returns, has accelerated industry fund growth. With that comes greater influence over companies, markets and the economy.
    Suppression of Family Law cases in the interests of justice works against the publicity needed to raise awareness, writes Ariel Marguin.,13051
    Stephen Bartholomeusz explains the impressive transformation of Woolworths.
    Meanwhile David Jones will close and shrink stores as part of a new aggressive relationship with its landlords in response to a consumer spending slump that has almost halved the department store chain’s profit.
    We have the blueprint for liveable, low-carbon cities. We just need to use it explains Professor Deo Prasad.
    In order to counteract the effects of global warming, we need to consider ways to enhance biodiversity within our cities, writes Dr Peter Fisher.,13054
    Proroguing parliament sets a horrifying precedent. I’m going to court to stop it writes businesswoman Gina Miller.
    The New York Times explains the Trump secrets hiding inside Deutsche Bank.
    Two cameras that malfunctioned outside the jail cell where financier Jeffrey Epstein died as he awaited trial on sex-trafficking charges have been sent to an FBI crime lab for examination, a law enforcement source says as his lawyers cast doubt o the suicide theory.
    For today’s nomination for “Arsehole of the Week” we have this bastard (when they catch him).

    Cartoon Corner

    More great work from Mark David.

    Cathy Wilcox gives us the ICAC cycle.

    From Matt Golding.

    What a classic from David Rowe!

    A health report from Jim Pavlidis.

    Zanetti seems to forget who else Huang has showered with donations.

    Jon Kudelka with the trouble Morrison has with the religious freedom bill.

    From the US.

  4. Apart from the humanitarian concerns, what is this costing the Australian taxpayer?

    ‘A judge has granted a last-minute temporary injunction to stop a Tamil asylum seeker family being deported from Australia.

    The family of four left Melbourne airport for Sri Lanka on a non-commercial flight about 11pm on Thursday.

    But the plane landed in Darwin early on Friday and Priya, her husband, Nadesalingam, and their two Australian-born daughters were taken to accommodation, according to a family friend who was in contact with them by phone.

    “They’re pretty traumatised, as you can imagine, but also very relieved to be still here,” said the former Biloela resident, Simone Cameron.

    Priya’s arm had been injured after she was forcibly taken on to the plane in Melbourne, Cameron said.

  5. From Sam Maiden’s report. This has been an aspect of the NSW ICAC inquiry which has bothered me, hence the Keystone Cops monicker..

    ‘The former Labor senator admitted he was surprised by the controversy over the $100,000 donation because it was an established practice to accept money from prohibited property developer donors simply by putting the cash in the federal fundraising accounts.

    While developers are banned from donating at a state level, there is no (edit) prohibition at a federal level.

    “The bit that’s flabbergasted is that, that I can’t understand, is that money could legally have been accepted if that was the case into the federal campaign account, and the fact that if that isn’t what happened, I don’t, to me what’s incomprehensible about this entire enquiry,” Mr Dastyari said.

    “They could have just accepted the money into the federal campaign account, which is what, how you normally take money from prohibited donors or people about the limits. The federal rules allow you to take that money.”

    “You take the money, accept the money into the federal campaign account, and you fully disclose it.”

  6. Boerwar @ #2127 Thursday, August 29th, 2019 – 9:08 pm

    Not forgetting, of course, catching social diseases off toilet seats AND/OR getting pregnant from sitting on toilet seats.
    These were both hot epidemiological questions when I was a lad.

    So “toilet seats” turns out to be an alias for men like the Beetrooter? How apt. #notalltoiletseats?

  7. It seems to be difficult for some Labor supporters to grasp the reality that support for the Greens increased significantly at the recent election. That may be understandable, considering many of them are still in shock and denial about Labor’s terrible result. Honestly, I don’t blame them. I think we all thought Labor would perform much better than they did.

    There will be those who will continue to incorrectly predict the imminent demise of the Greens, as they have been doing since the party’s creation. Each election the right (including Labor) trot out and claim the Greens are finished. Each election we prove them wrong.

    Whether you like it or not, the Greens are the third force in Australian politics and we are here to stay.

  8. Diogenes @ #2153 Thursday, August 29th, 2019 – 9:50 pm

    I said I wasn’t a specialist in HIV. Which was true as I was just an intern.

    I was a specialist in HIV. The biology of disease trumps wishful self-delusion every time – eventually.

    One of the most tragic cases was that of the ex-army officer pillar of the Sydney Anglican diocese (localised for those who know what that implies) who maintained his reactionary self-loathing homophobia until the HIV-related cerebral lymphoma robbed him of his ability to express it. It was not a good death.

  9. It is clearly not an Australian derailment in the photo, wrong train, wrong trees, wrong quality of coal.

    So I went looking, it is in the US. It will be US coal, one of the countries that will pick up the slack with lower quality coal if Australia stops exporting. Not a good choice of photos I would have thought:

  10. Richard Willingham
    Interesting from @billshortenmp
    “What have you got to send a message to some people in this government? The election is over stop using these people as political pawns, if the community want them let them stay”
    #Biloela @abcnews

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