Sins of commission

Kooyong and Chisholm legal challenge latest; by-election rumblings in Isaacs; Jim Molan strikes back; and the Victorian Liberals gearing up already for federal preselections.

Possible (or possibly not) federal by-election news:

• The Australian Electoral Commission has petitioned the Federal Court to reject challenges against the federal election results in Chisholm and Kooyong. The challenges relate to Chinese-language Liberal Party signage that appeared to mimic the AEC’s branding, and advised voters that giving a first preference to the Liberal candidates was “the correct voting method”. As reported by The Guardian, the AEC argues that “the petition fails to set out at all, let alone with sufficient particularity, any facts or matters on the basis of which it might be concluded that it was likely that on polling day, electors able to read Chinese characters, upon seeing and reading the corflute, cast their vote in a manner different from what they had previously intended”. This seems rather puzzling to my mind, unless it should be taken to mean that no individuals have been identified who are ready to confirm that they were indeed so deceived. Academic electoral law expert Graeme Orr argued on Twitter that the AEC had “no need to intervene on the substance of a case where partisan litigants are well represented”.

• Talk of a by-election elsewhere in Melbourne was stimulated by Monday’s column ($) from acerbic Financial Review columnist Joe Aston, which related “positively feverish speculation” that Labor’s Shadow Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, would shortly quit his Melbourne bayside seat of Isaacs with an eye to a position on Victoria’s Court of Appeal. Aston further reported that Dreyfus hoped to be succeeded by Fiona McLeod, the prominent barrister who gained a 6.1% swing as Labor’s candidate for Higgins in May. Dreyfus emphatically rejected such “ridiculous suggestions” in late August, saying he was “absolutely committed to serving out this term of parliament”, and again took to Twitter on Monday to say he would be “staying and fighting the next election”. Aston remains unconvinced, writing in Tuesday’s column ($) that the suggestions derived from “high-level discussions Dreyfus has held on Spring Street with everyone from Premier Daniel Andrews, former Attorney-General Martin Pakula, his successor Jill Hennessy and his caucus colleagues”, along with his “indiscreet utterances around the traps”.

Federal preselection news:

• Jim Molan has won the endorsement of both Scott Morrison and the conservative faction of the New South Wales Liberal Party to fill the Senate vacancy created by Arthur Sinodinos’s departure to become ambassador to the United States. However, the Sydney Morning Herald reports this is not dissuading rival nominee Richard Shields, former deputy state party director and Insurance Council of Australia manager, and the runner-up to Dave Sharma in last year’s keenly fought Wentworth preselection. Shields’ backers are said to include Helen Coonan, former Senator and Howard government minister, and Mark Neeham, a former state party director. Earlier reports suggested the moderate faction had been reconciled to Molan’s ascendancy by a pledge that he would only serve out the remainder of Sinodinos’s two-year term, and would not seek re-election in 2022.

Rob Harris of The Age reports the Victorian Liberals are considering a plan to complete their preselections for the 2022 election much earlier than usual – and especially soon for Liberal-held seats. The idea in the latter case is for challengers to incumbents to declare their hands by January 15, with the matter to be wrapped up by late February or early March. This comes after the party’s administrative committee warded off threats to members ahead of the last election, most notably factional conservative Kevin Andrews in Menzies, by rubber-stamping the preselections of all incumbents, much to the displeasure of party members. Other preselections are to be held from April through to October. Also proposed is a toughening of candidate vetting procedures, after no fewer than seven candidates in Labor-held seats were disendorsed during the period of the campaign.

Self-promotion corner:

• I had a paywalled piece in Crikey yesterday which noted the stances adopted of late by James McGrath, ideological warror extraordinaire and scourge of the cockatoo, in his capacity as chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, which is presently conducting its broad-ranging inquiry into the May federal election. These include the end of proportional representation in the Senate, the notion that parliamentarians who quit their parties should be required to forfeit their seats, and — more plausibly — the need to curtail pre-poll voting.

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.

1,817 comments on “Sins of commission”

  1. Many billionaires have bought land and installed bunkers in New Zealand so that they have a sanctuary during an apocalypse. Peter Thiel is a famous example.

    In the immediate wake of that Altman revelation, Matt Nippert, a reporter for the New Zealand Herald, began looking into the question of how exactly Thiel had come into possession of this apocalypse retreat, a 477-acre former sheep station in the South Island – the larger, more sparsely populated of the country’s two major landmasses. Foreigners looking to purchase significant amounts of New Zealand land typically have to pass through a stringent government vetting process. In Thiel’s case, Nippert learned, no such process had been necessary, because he was already a citizen of New Zealand, despite having spent no more than 12 days in the country up to that point, and having not been seen in the place since. He didn’t even need to travel to New Zealand to have his citizenship conferred, it turned out: the deal was sealed in a private ceremony at a consulate handily located in Santa Monica.

    When Nippert broke the story, there was a major public scandal over the question of whether a foreign billionaire should be able to effectively purchase citizenship. As part of his application, Thiel had agreed to invest in New Zealand tech startups, and had implied that he would use his new status as a naturalised Kiwi to promote the country’s business interests abroad. But the focus internationally was on why Thiel might have wanted to own a chunk of New Zealand roughly the size of lower Manhattan in the first place. And the overwhelming suspicion was that he was looking for a rampart to which he could retreat in the event of outright civilisational collapse.

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/feb/15/why-silicon-valley-billionaires-are-prepping-for-the-apocalypse-in-new-zealand

  2. @Player One

    Framing is what I meant, thanks for pointing that out.

    I agree with the need with a debate about population policy, being linked with climate policy. Personally, I believe that the country needs to be a stable population, for the sake of environmentally sustainability. However, it is going to be pretty difficult to have such a debate, without the racists being embolden.

    Therefore; I believe it is better to frame the debate in another way. Because if we had a much fairer immigration program, the number of migrants coming to Australia would decrease considerably. Because a lot of immigrants who are coming to Australia nowadays, are on temporary work visas or are international students, which are seen as employers as a huge pool of cheap, easily exploitable labor. Also many of these immigrants are working in jobs, which are often over qualified for.

    Personally while I vote for the Greens, I have disagreements with some of their policies, particularly the economic ones. While I agree a lot with their social policies. This comes from that I am ideologically a Social Democrat or even Democratic Socialist. While many Greens who are actually very Liberal ideologically, indeed many would have been Small ‘L’ Liberals back say in the 1980s, while I would have been on the Left of the Labor Party.

  3. [‘He told 2GB today that the only way the protesters will stop is to start billing them for their illegal demonstrations.

    “The police need to recover the cost of these responses. There’s nothing else that will deter them from this life’s work, as they refer to it,” Mr Dutton told Ray Hadley.

    “And if they don’t pay the $40,000, then they’re locked up.’]

    https://www.news.com.au/national/extinction-rebellion-protesters-to-block-another-city-street-on-day-four-of-action/news-story/779844eb616a544fbc89638c4aea5e27

    In Queensland, fines are referred to the State Penalties Enforcement Registry. You normally enter into an agreement whereby fines are paid off over a period of time. If you renege on the agreement:

    https://www.qld.gov.au/law/fines-and-penalties/fine-enforcement

    The point is, however, your’re not gaoled for non-payment, much to Dutton’s chagrin.

  4. Sustainable Aust seemed to spend most of their time during the election campaign trying to troll Greens and Greens voters and continually bringing up ending immigration as the solution. From the intereactions I saw. Seemed like a concerted attempt to Green wash anti-immigration politics, perhaps aimed at sucking in both rural or regional Greens and PHON voters who will never be going back to voting for the major parties. Otherwise they just seemed to cut and paste a few other policies straight from the Greens.

    Whoever you are, the only current group of people if elected to parliament that would push continually for rapid action on climate change, ecological degradation and extinctions and carbon emissions would be the Greens.

    The never-ending febrile attacks here and elsewhere just reflect how much infantile panic infuses the veins of the incumbent major parties, when they think about parliamentarians actually doing something other than the bidding of their political donors and masters. You know, like actually making decisions in the real interests of the country and the people, not just their own future sinecures and possible legal costs.

    Sure to not seem so funny to some, though this highlights the difficulty in discerning what is comment and satire across much of contemporary politics it seems.

    QLD Labor Pass Laws To Arrest Protestors, Like Sir Joh Did To Them, When They Were Lefties
    https://www.betootaadvocate.com/breaking-news/qld-labor-pass-laws-to-arrest-protestors-like-sir-joh-did-to-them-when-they-were-lefties/

  5. @beneltham
    ·
    2m
    For those complaining about the “disruption” caused by a few climate protestors blocking roads … Cape Town, a city of 3.7m people, ran out of water in 2018. A crippling drought was made worse by climate change. This is climate disruption.

  6. I await confirmation from Morrison that yesterday the genocide of the kurds was a good idea but that today the genocide of the Kurds is a bad idea.

  7. And if they don’t pay the $40,000, then they’re locked up.

    And if they can’t pay for the cost of keeping them locked up, then they’ll be locked up even more, until they can.

    Brilliant plan! Debtors’ prison? What’s that?

  8. Dr Stuart Edser @StuartEdser
    ·
    1m
    Oh God, just what I need to see on my television and Newsfeed: #slipperyscott and Scott Cam doing their blokey everyman thing together. That baseball cap looks sen-saaay-tional. Where’s the bucket?

  9. Regarding those billionaires buying bunkers in New Zealand;

    I once read a story about a Yank in the 1930s who foresaw a massive global conflict, so he moved himself and a stockpile of provisions to the most remote location he could find, which was an island called Iwo Jima.

    It’s probably not true, but it should be.

  10. The laws recently passed in Australia, to crackdown on Extinction Rebellion, is conforming what I believe the state of Australia democracy is. I argue we are well down on a path, of becoming an authoritarian ‘illiberal democracy’ like Hungary. Greg Barns in his recent book The Rise of the Right, outlined how we stated on this road about twenty years ago and how far our politicians have taken down this road. Now we have Scott Morrison, who I argue wants to be a strongman leader like Viktor Orban is in Hungary. Also, both Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison, between them have been building a police state, of the scale that Donald Trump can only dream of for six years now. I wonder what will happen if this country, we to go through say an economic crisis or another crisis on that scale. There is no doubt in my mind both Morrison and Dutton, will ramp up the authoritarianism considerably.

  11. Most Australians probably don’t know it but the RAAF has provided active support to the Kurds in their War on Isis. This active support has consisted of launching precision guided munitions on selected ISIS targets such as leadership personnel, ISIS weaponry, ISIS munitions stores, ISIS transport and ISIS command and control facilities.
    The RAAF also provided extensive airborne refuelling facilities for allied air forces, in particular that of the US.

    11,000 Kurds died fighting on our side. Yesterday Morrison backed Trump’s open sesame to Erdogan.

    Today…?

  12. I can’t recall this in Morrison’s election pitch..

    “The Block’s Scott Cam has taken a job working for the Prime Minister but it’s not renovating parliament house.

    Australia’s two highest-profile Scotts will be joining forces to build the number of tradies in the nation, with Scott Morrison enlisting Scott Cam to get more young people on the tools.

    The prime minister has announced the host of TV renovation show The Block will be Australia’s first national careers ambassador.

    The Gold Logie winner’s role will be to highlight how practical and technical training can lead to high-paying and fulfilling jobs.

    Mr Morrison said university, which had become the default expectation for young people, wasn’t the only path to success.

    “I want to see more Australians become plumbers, electricians and bakers than lawyers and consultants. I would like to see more of them going on to become their own boss,” he said on Thursday.

    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2019/10/10/scott-cam-prime-minister/

  13. BW

    We need to stand by the Kurds.

    Big picture Trump is right we need to end the endless wars.
    At least if the US and it’s lapdog Australian government stops entering conflicts it’s the start of the end of war in the Middle East.

    Be in no doubt. The GOP traditionalists are losing their minds because the best way to reduce the industrial military complex is not to be at war.

    Even a broken clock can be right twice a day

  14. ‘Ante Meridian says:
    Thursday, October 10, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    Regarding those billionaires buying bunkers in New Zealand;

    I once read a story about a Yank in the 1930s who foresaw a massive global conflict, so he moved himself and a stockpile of provisions to the most remote location he could find, which was an island called Iwo Jima.

    It’s probably not true, but it should be.’

    Sounds like 100% fake news to me. Iwo Jima was owned by the xenophobic and militaristic Japan of the day.

  15. Quoll @ #157 Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 12:42 pm

    Sustainable Aust seemed to spend most of their time during the election campaign trying to troll Greens and Greens voters and continually bringing up ending immigration as the solution.

    It’s been a while since I looked at their policies, but a quick glance brings up this …

    Reduce population growth pressures – by lowering immigration from a record 200,000+p.a. back to the long term average of 70,000

    So I can’t see that they are opposed to immigration. They just want it wound back to sustainable levels. We actually need some immigration as our own population growth is negative. The point about a population policy is that you have to decide on what you want your population to be. How you get there is not so important. Immigration is fine.

    I don’t actually see how this can be cast as “racist”, except by those who clearly don’t want any population policy. But since these people will also probably be the same people who do not want any climate policy, I don’t think a Climate party need be concerned with them.

  16. Tristo

    Spot on.

    Look at the outrage on this site for daring to tell Labor it was wrong to vote for the LNP increasing its surveillance powers.

    Now we have Morrison showing he really does have the same values as Trump. Unlike the US we have no laws to stop him even on the park let alone in the game.

    Edit: Speaking of such things. Labor The Greens should get together and force the Senate to sit. Centre Alliance would be on board. Hanson and Lambie could be convinced they would get more attention with the Senate sitting than if it’s not. At the moment we have unaccountable executive government

  17. There are interest groups who want maximum immigration for their own selfish reasons – property developers, for example – and it’s easy for them to play the race card against anyone who disagrees.

  18. Player One,

    Having a non-racist immigration policy (yes, I agree that’s what we need) won’t stop the self-interested claiming it’s racist anyway. And just the suggestion that an idea is racist is, in these times, almost impossible to defend against. Sadly.

  19. Ante Meridian @ #177 Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 1:15 pm

    Player One,

    Having a non-racist immigration policy (yes, I agree that’s what we need) won’t stop the self-interested claiming it’s racist anyway. And just the suggestion that an idea is racist is, in these times, almost impossible to defend against. Sadly.

    Probably true. Just have to deal with it, I guess.

  20. Yep.

    Rick Wilson
    @TheRickWilson
    ·
    51s
    2/ If the tweet says, “this is tragic, this is awful, this is a mistake” without saying, “Mr. President…” first, it’s a pathetic, weak-dick staffer tweet that carries no moral weight.
    Show this thread
    Rick Wilson
    @TheRickWilson
    ·
    2m
    1/ All these GOP types posting “this is a bad decision” tweets about the Kurds are missing one key thing, aren’t they?

    They won’t tag
    @realdonaldtrump
    .

    Watch. It’s a sign as to whether they’re serious, or sycophants.

  21. BK
    Not a profession noted for its sense of humour, I believe.
    Except if it is black humour, of course.
    But is black humour better than white humour and are white lies better than black-hearted lies.
    There’s a mine field out there that is neither yours nor mines.

  22. I reckon Nick might be on to something.

    Political progressives have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing of the Labor Party’s defeat at the May 18 election. They delude themselves that the defeat was narrow, which it technically was.

    This despite Labor facing a feeble government which had cycled through three prime ministers in three and a bit years. A government led by a prime minister who could not explain why he had assumed the nation’s top job and presiding over a sluggish economy of record low wages growth, rising insecure work and a fading great Australian dream of home ownership.

    Yet, on May 18, enough Australians in enough key seats trusted the Coalition over Labor in respect of their core concerns – their jobs, wages, housing, the budget, debt and the economy despite its mediocre record of economic management over five and a half years.

    Instead of facing these hard truths too many Labor supporters – especially those branding themselves “progressive” – have entered a fantasy world of delusion and denial.

    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/labor-has-yet-to-learn-the-hard-lessons-of-defeat-20191009-p52z5e.html

  23. Did you know that Scott Cam’s net worth is about $78 Million and he lives down the street from Lucy and Malcolm Turnbull ?

    Real ‘Man of the People’.

  24. GG

    The denial is from the right. 15 million voters. The difference between who voted for whom is very narrow in numbers.

    This is reflected in the seat numbers.
    All Labor has to do is engage the voters.
    When it does it wins. Bill Shorten proved that.

    Ignore that lesson is what the right wants you to accept.
    That means Labor will be forever under the rights political narrative of politics.

    All hail the LNP the natural party of government

  25. lizzie says:
    Thursday, October 10, 2019 at 11:08 am

    Tricot

    “Trouble is, the Oz electorate seems to accept that LNP -regardless – are safer than Labor. ”

    …a fortnight ago, Labor’s Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers gave a fine “Light on the Hill” speech in Bathurst. He spoke directly to the need for Labor to reassert its economic credentials, of the threat of economic insecurity to individuals, families and the economy at large, and of the need to be fiscally responsible.

    For his troubles some Laborites assailed his speech as a “shift to the Right”, as a capitulation to “neo-liberalism”, and a “Liberal-lite” form of politics.
    ———————–
    I don’t see those comments as “neo-liberalism” or “liberal-lite”

    If the left thinks that financial security is right wing then that is has silly as the reactionary right saying that climate change is a left wing issue.

    Workers go to work for their financial security and being fiscally responsible is just a fancy way of saying they will spend on what is important instead of just spending for spending sake.

  26. Mexican

    Financially responsible and economic security have become right wing talking points to pretend raising revenue for government means financial insecurity for all.

  27. Bushfire Bill @ #131 Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 11:45 am

    Some people – even some right here on PB – seem to believe the answer is to stop talking about the issue.

    But of course the answer is exactly the opposite.

    Not always true. There are other many issues that warrant discussion.

    Saying that your pet issue (whatever it may be) is the only one worth discussing looks like fanaticism, and will lose you your audience quicker than you can say “Global Warming”.

    Telling someone that the only solution to their unemployment is to close down their industry, start up another, and during the 20 years in the meantime work as a tourist guide in a national park is guaranteed to empty the town hall in seconds.

    Abso-bleedin-lutely.

    Not everyone can afford to own an Eco Resort and spend day after day on PB crapping on about the minutiae of the Climate Change issue.

  28. That John Hewson article pretty much nails Scotty Morrison, he and his reactionary crowd needs someone to cuddle up too and Trump fits that bill perfectly for them. Morrison’s shallow thinking is on full display with his response to the Turkish/Kurd situation, yesterday he was happy to back Trump, today he is said to be worried for the Kurds.

  29. Cat

    Telling people to stop talking about an issue as you have is not entering constructive discussion on an issue.

    That includes your dismissive tone of tiny details.

  30. Mexicanbeemer @ #189 Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 1:58 pm

    That John Hewson article pretty much nails Scotty Morrison, he and his reactionary crowd needs someone to cuddle up too and Trump fits that bill perfectly for them. Morrison’s shallow thinking is on full display with his response to the Turkish/Kurd situation, yesterday he was happy to back Trump, today he is said to be worried for the Kurds.

    That’s EXACTLY what Trump does as well! Morrison is a quick learner.

    Day 1: Say you are all for it, how it is necessary for some bs reason.

    Day 2: When there is a massive uproar about the death and destruction that has occurred (that you knew was likely to happen), you wring your hands like Lady Macbeth. Too late to do anything about it of course, but at least you don’t seem like the rolled-gold heartless bastard you really are.

  31. guytaur says:
    Thursday, October 10, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    Mexican

    Financially responsible and economic security have become right wing talking points to pretend raising revenue for government means financial insecurity for all.
    —————
    The right would say climate change, Indigenous and gender issues are left wing.

    Both sets of statements are just partisans playing partisan games instead of just governing and this is why many people become politically cynical and turn off.

  32. Many billionaires have bought land and installed bunkers in New Zealand so that they have a sanctuary during an apocalypse. Peter Thiel is a famous example.

    They’ll get sick of the sandflies soon enough.

  33. Mexican

    Yes. It’s infected this blog too.

    Now to be centre left is to be seen as radical left. That’s when you are not branded Green for talking about the issue outside of approved Labor partisan talking points.

  34. Player One @ #125 Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 11:26 am

    Watermelon @ #104 Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 10:46 am

    The only hope is for the Left of the ALP to defeat and purge the Right of the ALP.

    This is not going to happen. The events of yesterday demonstrated that in spades. Even when the Left gains ascendancy, everyone knows it is only temporary. Labor had to speak with one voice. The punters will not vote for a divided party. If Labor wants to be taken seriously, people like Joel Fitzgibbon need to be jettisoned. He should certainly be immediately removed from the front bench. How likely do you think it is that anything will happen to him?

    Fitzgibbon seems to be gaining support from his colleagues rather swiftly.

    I think Albanese is in trouble…

  35. Rex

    Fitzgibbon will lose.

    The members will not vote for him. It’s not like it used to be. The right actually has to persuade not steamroll. That’s if it gets to that point.

    Edit: this does confirm to me that Cat is right on the money about Albanese being serious about Labor NSW. There was always going to be a move to stop him

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