In through the out door

Sarah Henderson returns to parliament via a Senate vacancy and a hotly contested preselection, as Coalition MPs blow bubbles on electoral “reform”.

Two brief news items to relate on Australian matters, as well as which we have the latest of Adrian Beaumont’s increasingly regular updates on the constitutional mess that is Brexit.

Sarah Henderson, who held the seat of Corangamite for the Liberals from 2013 until her defeat in May, will return to parliament today after winning preselection to fill Mitch Fifield’s Victorian Senate vacancy. This follows her 234-197 win in a party vote held on Saturday over Greg Mirabella, a Wangaratta farmer and the husband of former Indi MP Sophie Mirabella. After initial expectations that Henderson was all but assured of the spot, Mirabella’s campaign reportedly gathered steam in the lead-up to Saturday’s vote, resulting in a late flurry of public backing for Henderson from Scott Morrison, Josh Frydenberg, Jeff Kennett, Michael Kroger and Michael Sukkar.

Also, The Australian reports Queensland Liberal Senator James McGrath will push for the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, of which he is the chair, to consider abolishing proportional representation in the Senate and replacing it with a system in which each state is broken down into six provinces, each returning a single member at each half-Senate election – very much like the systems that prevailed in the state upper houses of Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia in the bad old days before the advent of proportional representation.

Ostensibly motivated by a desire to better represent the regions, such a system would result in a Senate dominated as much as the House of Representatives by the major parties, at a time of ongoing erosion in public support for them. The Australian’s report further quotes Nationals Senator Perin Davey advocating the equally appalling idea of rural vote weighting for the House. The kindest thing that can be said about both proposals is that they are not going to happen, although the latter would at least give the High Court an opportunity to take a stand for democracy by striking it down.

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.

2,838 comments on “In through the out door”

  1. spr
    Robert on Speers yesterday said that Gladys was going back through all the relevant paperwork.
    Possibly with a box of matches and an incinerator to hand?

  2. Lars
    Eddie will get parole before the next trial ends.
    Next up is the Mt Penney coal license case. It was scheduled to start in March but was delayed until after the state election and still hasn’t commenced. Eddie has hired Margaret Cunnen for an estimated 6 months trial.
    I suspect it may not happen due to MAFAT and pleas that the Obeidster is too old/frail

  3. OC
    A few months ago I happened to pass by Mr Obeid’s current residence. Shallow values of course. Built to impress rather than for comfort and it makes absolutely nothing of the surrounding views.

  4. ‘swamprat says:
    Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    The Poms seem to appeal every ball. ‘

    Against Warner and Harris that would be rational behaviour.

  5. Well I hear they are looking for a new General Secretary so there may be some opportunities for Eddie after all. Perhaps Richo could give a reference

  6. Bushfire Bill @ #1569 Sunday, September 15th, 2019 – 8:11 pm

    The by-product of desal plants is super-saturated salt water.

    Depends upon the process used to desalinate the water.

    The salt is returned to the ocean.

    At the operator’s choice. Where they send the slurry, if using a process that produces slurry, is up to them.

    It’s a non-issue any way you slice it. It’s either moot because returning the salt to the ocean doesn’t make the entire ocean perceptibly saltier. Or it’s moot because if you don’t want to return the salt you build your hypothetical new desal plants to do something else with it.

  7. ar, BB

    It is not locally moot, IMO.

    If the slurry gets pumped into a relatively enclosed bay or inlet with low tidal flows then the slurry can bugger up the local marine environment.

    OTOH, get it out to blue water and the dilution effect of 320 million cubic miles of ocean water ensures that it makes bugger all difference.

  8. More than 16,000 desalination plants scattered across the globe produce far more toxic sludge than fresh water, according to a first global assessment of the sector’s industrial waste, published Monday.

    For every litre of fresh water extracted from the sea or brackish waterways, a litre-and-a-half of salty slurry, called brine, is dumped directly back into the ocean or the ground.
    The super-salty substance is made even more toxic by the chemicals used in the desalination process, researchers reported in the journal Science of the Total Environment.
    Copper and chlorine, for example, are both commonly used.
    The amount of brine produced worldwide every year—more than 50 billion cubic metres—is enough to cover the state of Florida, or England and Wales combined, in a 30-centimetre (one-foot) layer of salty slime, they calculated.

    https://phys.org/news/2019-01-brine-highlights-toxic-problem.html

  9. ajm
    says:
    Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 9:05 pm
    Why not just let Smith and Labuschagne open the batting?
    ___________________________________
    I suppose Smith needs a few wickets to take the shine off the ball before he gets into it.

  10. nath (AnonBlock)
    Sunday, September 15th, 2019 – 6:03 pm
    Comment #1625


    The amount of brine produced worldwide every year—more than 50 billion cubic metres—is enough to cover the state of Florida, or England and Wales combined, in a 30-centimetre (one-foot) layer of salty slime, they calculated.

    Sounds like some pretty good places to put it.

  11. It would be a surprise if more than six of the current test team lineup in Brisbane against New Zealand.

    Maybe the selectors can re-introduce the four centurions from the test match in Canberra in February all of who have been dropped since then.

  12. The worry I have C@t is that Eddie was apparently brought into the party and LC by Richo because of his money raising and influence in the Arab community.
    Now in the reformed party we have Ernest Wong brought in to the party and LC apparently because of his money raising and influence in the Chinese community
    Have things really changed?

  13. From the article nath linked to earlier:

    ‘”There is an urgent need to make desalination technologies more affordable and extend them to low-income and lower-middle income countries. At the same time, though, we have to address potentially severe downsides of desalination—the harm of brine and chemical pollution to the marine environment and human health.”

    “The good news is that efforts have been made in recent years and, with continuing technology refinement and improving economic affordability, we see a positive and promising outlook.”‘

    Basically the article is upbeat about the future of desalination, identifying ways of dealing with most of the problems identified and pointing to opportunities in the future to make use of brine and other by products.

    As for this rhetorical question —

    ‘How long until the oceans are just a dead cesspool of brine, plastic and human waste?’

    Eons, really. The ocean is a very vast place. It’ll outlast us.

    (Of course we should deal with problems we cause, but let’s not get melodramatic).

  14. Shellbell

    Yep. Warner, Harris, Wade, Marsh, Paine would be my 5 to go.

    Patterson, Usman, Head, Pucovksi and Carey to replace them. Keep the bowling squad.

  15. zoomster

    “Eons, really. The ocean is a very vast place. It’ll outlast us.”
    —————-

    Thats what they said about the Big Scrub in Northern Rivers a few decades before 99% was cleared.

    Over 8 million tons of plastic a year, acidification, etc etc. What do you mean the ocean will outlast us? I suppose there will always be an ocean, though it might be a toxic soup, almost lifeless but not to worry.

  16. nath (AnonBlock)
    Sunday, September 15th, 2019 – 6:09 pm
    Comment #1632

    How long until the oceans are just a dead cesspool of brine, plastic and human waste?

    Actually if it stays together, it will eventually break through the stratification and flow across the continental shelf and descend until it finds its equilibrium.

    There’s a great natural example of this in Spencer Gulf.

    During the summer evaporation increases the salinity of the water in the upper Gulf region. This water has a higher density due to the increased salinity and eventually it builds up enough to become unstable. This results in the high density upper Gulf waters forming a turbidity current, basically an under water avalanche of water, which travels along the bottom of the Gulf, around the western coast of Kangaroo Island and over the continental shelf until it finds its equilibrium.

  17. zoomster
    says:
    Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 9:18 pm
    From the article nath linked to earlier:
    ‘”There is an urgent need to make desalination technologies more affordable and extend them to low-income and lower-middle income countries. At the same time, though, we have to address potentially severe downsides of desalination—the harm of brine and chemical pollution to the marine environment and human health.”
    ____________________________
    Wrong. that is not the article I linked to. which was:

    https://phys.org/news/2019-01-brine-highlights-toxic-problem.html

    I assume you just googled for an article giving a positive spin of desal just to show me up. How sad.

  18. My guess is Warner will play the first Test in Australia.

    The others will pick themselves from early Shield performances.

    Paine will be Captain if he wants it.

    It’ll be between Cummins and Marsh to be the next Test Captain.

  19. Apologies, nath – there are a number of very similar articles, which are based on the same paper. I assumed I was reading the same one, as (being based on the same paper) they all use similar wording.

    No intention to deceive or whatever, just an honest mistake.

  20. The ocean is vast, everything’s going to be just fine:

    In June this year, scientists from the University of Tasmania and the University of Technology Sydney published research showing that over the past decade the biomass of large fish in Australian waters has declined by more than a third. The results may have jarred with government claims of Australian fisheries being among the most sustainable in the world, but they closely matched official figures showing a 32 per cent decline in Australian fishery catches in the same period. The declines were sharpest in species targeted for fishing and areas in which fishing is permitted, but even populations of species not exploited by fishing declined across the same period.

    https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2018/august/1533045600/james-bradley/end-oceans

  21. …in the case of the article nath quoted, the positive aspects of the original paper appear to have been ignored.

    The quotations I’ve used appear to have come from the parent article, on which several similar articles have been based.

  22. zoomster
    says:
    Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 9:40 pm
    …in the case of the article nath quoted, the positive aspects of the original paper appear to have been ignored.
    ______________________________
    There was some positive rhetoric in the research paper that was not included in the article I linked to. Perhaps it’s warranted. I’m not sure why, what with 50 billion tonnes of toxic sludge being added to the oceans every year.

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