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. a r
    I don’t know if I’d go that far. But it is odd that neither “sustainable” nor “renewable” were awarded the same primacy as “cheap” and “reliable”. The environmental aspect should have at least equal standing with the cost/relaibility ones.
    —————
    I did say renewables were the cheap option.

  2. GG

    Again you miss the point.

    Windsor is a conservative Ex MP. He was naturally of the National Party right.

    This has not changed. What has changed is Labor party partisans have moved to the right of him and label that the “Sensible Centre”.

  3. Simon Katich @ #239 Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 2:55 pm

    I’d rather RDN to pick up the phone to Peter Garrett.

    You keep mentioning this. Is there any indication PG has any interest in such a thing?
    A mate saw him at the Big Red Bash. Said he was awesome and he looked pretty happy with his lot.

    The Greens begged Peter Garrett to join them. He was smart enough to run a mile.

  4. Marles a future leader, eww gross. He’d be better off selling dodgy used cars. Fitz may be thick as a brick, but Marles is just walking slime.

  5. You’ve got to wonder whether the XR people are turning more people off their cause, than on.

    I fully appreciate and understand why inaction on climate change has young people angry and on the streets. I wish them well and fully support their right to protest on something that will clearly detrimentally effect their future.

  6. More Grange mentions at #icac. Now Jamie Clements is recalling how, during a dinner at Master Kens Seafood Restaurant with Chinese billionaire Huang’s Xiangmo, former federal Oppositon Leader Bill Shorten “sent some grange out to his staff (sitting in the tearoom) to enjoy”— Sarah Gerathy (@sarahgerathy) October 10, 2019

    How nice of Bill….

  7. Rex Douglas:

    I’m thinking of a Greens’ dream team, which I can tell you is no easy task. That said, I’ve come down on the side of SHY as leader; Rachel Stewart, her deputy – I can hear the phones ringing right now. Where that leaves Larrisa is anyone’s guess.

  8. Simon Katichsays:
    Thursday, October 10, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    I’d rather RDN to pick up the phone to Peter Garrett.

    You keep mentioning this. Is there any indication PG has any interest in such a thing?
    A mate saw him at the Big Red Bash. Said he was awesome and he looked pretty happy with his lot.

    Just another fantasy from Rexworld!

  9. Simon Katich @ #258 Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 3:08 pm

    You’ve got to wonder whether the XR people are turning more people off their cause, than on.

    I fully appreciate and understand why inaction on climate change has young people angry and on the streets. I wish them well and fully support their right to protest on something that will clearly detrimentally effect their future.

    That virtually goes without saying, and I made a point of not including the ‘School Strikes for Climate’. However, at the end of the day it’s not you or I who needs convincing, and so I wondered whether XR will have the desired effect on those who aren’t already on board?

  10. Ante Meridian @ #240 Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 2:55 pm

    There was a time when public utilities such as Victoria’s SEC took on apprentices as part of their brief to act in the public interest. Now it appears we have a shortage of tradies, for some strange reason.

    Even the small CSIRO Division I worked for in the 1990s had an apprentice on staff in the early days. The site researched metal work, welding and foundry so a good environment for an apprentice. Unfortunately when his apprenticeship finished they did not replace him – I am guessing funding as the reason.

  11. I think there is a risk of a backlash but its more a case of those opposed will feel empowered to whinge and those in support will feel empowered by the numbers involved while the great many in the middle will probably be pissed for a while then forget about it unless it had a larger term impact such as making them miss an important appointment.

  12. Erdogan had better look out!
    Yesterday Morrison had Trump’s back on the Turkish assault on the Kurds.
    But TODAY Morrison is ‘deeply troubled’.
    So is Payne!
    The Treacherous Arsehole Club does not know whether it is coming or going.

  13. laughtong

    I seem to remember a sudden funds cut off in the – late 70s was it? – automotive apprentices were unable to complete their apprenticeship. Can’t remember the exact details.

  14. Mexicanbeemer @ #247 Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 2:58 pm

    Player One
    No way could you reach that conclusion from what i wrote particularly as i did say renewables were part of the answer to question one.

    General comment
    I sometimes wonder if people actually read full sentences or just look for buzzwords.

    I was fooled by the fact that the people who claim coal is “unimportant” generally also don’t want to actually do anything to reduce the use of it.

    Just an odd coincidence, I guess.

  15. Yes, by all means re calibrate the language and the focus on working people. However Fitzgibbon must recognise that concerted global action on climate change is in everyones best interests. The role of a Centre Left government is to make sure the costs and any adverse effects of this action are not unfairly placed on the working classes (and I include middle to middle high income workers in that – which many coal miners are) but rather are fairly distributed. Same for the benefits that will come from changing our energy and transport sectors (and maybe ag as well).

    That doesnt mean you protect coal jobs – full stop, end of policy. The era of one job for life is long over. Nobody else has this sort of protection. I will not support a party that protects their job preference demands at the risk of 2-3° global heating. I will happily allow my tax dollars to help them and their communities cope and revitalise.

    Mining has always been boom/bust. If the coal regions want the rest of us to subsidise their boom for eternity even if it means our bust…. Well f that.

  16. Aficionadoes of activism could do worse than to spend an hour or two in the Canberra Museum and Gallery.
    This is the territory level version for both functions and the building is situated on the opposite side of the square from where our parliamentarians labour long and hard for all of 39 sitting days a year.

    Mr Barr receives just short of $10,000 per sitting day which is not bad pay if you can get it.

    Anyhoo, the current main exhibition is a essential a bit of a review of the history of activist actions in the ACT – starting from Canberra citizens demanding some form of representation, though Indigenous protests at the opening of Parliament House, though Jim Cairns addressing hundreds of the nuddies out at the Cotter, to the tent Embassy, etc, etc, etc.

    I got to six participations before I lost count…

  17. Joel Fitzgibbon’s proposals concerning the issue of greenhouse gas emissions, if they were to become official Labor policy, would be a massive gift to the Greens, who can argue that Labor has capitulated to the Coalition.

    Indeed I have argued repeatedly, that the Greens are potentially a huge electoral threat to Labor. Because if the Greens vote were to rise to between 15-20%, a number of Labor seats could be lost to the Greens, including Albanese’s. Sure they will take some Liberal votes, however the Greens will take as much four, maybe five times a many Labor votes.

    Also Morrison has made himself clear, what side he is on what is becoming seen as the “climate emergency”. While Morrison is terrible at governing, as a political strategist he is arguably the best since John Howard. So voters when faced with a choice with voting for the real deal in Morrison or a pale imitation, will vote for the real deal.

  18. Player One
    That comment was in answering an earlier comment that only time would tell if the ALP shifting to being pro-coal will bring political benefit.

    To which i said that might be unimportant as the issues seem to be wider than just being pro or anti coal. Coal is no longer the cheapest form of energy in parts of the world and where it is still the cheapest, it is only time before renewables catch up.

  19. Previously posted what was supposed to be satire on Qld laws being pushed through by the ALP and no doubt with the LNP’s support

    So now we have the Betoota Advocate versus The Guardian

    Extinction Rebellion: Labor members say ‘chilling’ mass arrests have echoes of Bjelke-Petersen era
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/oct/10/extinction-rebellion-labor-members-say-chilling-mass-arrests-have-echoes-of-bjelke-petersen-era

    “Labor members from inner-Brisbane have unanimously passed a resolution condemning the mass arrests of climate activists and describing the Queensland government’s proposed crackdown as “eerily reminiscent” of the state’s authoritarian Bjelke-Petersen era.”

  20. Ante Meridian
    “I have a section of garden that’s covered in nasturtiums, and I want to replace them with something native to the area (Melbourne’s outer east). Any ideas?”
    It’s October – wildflower time
    Go for a walk in Maranoa Gardens Balwyn. (Parring Road, off Whitehorse Road)
    Get some ideas!

  21. People can belt Fitzgibbon around the ears as much as they want.

    But, in so doing, and in all fairness, they would have to address the direct political consequences and the direct policy outcomes:
    27 out 34 large state regional seats held by the Coalition.
    3 out of 34 large state regional seats held by Coalition-leaning Indies.
    4 out of 34 large state regional seats held by Labor.
    0 out of 34 large state regional seats held by the Greens.
    zero progress to destroying the coal industry by 2030.
    increasing annual CO2 emissions.

    If politics is the art of the possible, then Fitzgibbon gets it.

    If politics is the art of the impossible, then, with 1 seat out of 151 seats in the House of Representatives and with no regional seat in any state or territory, the Greens get it.

    So, if it feels good and righteous, go ahead. Belt Fitzgibbon around the ears while ignoring the total aridity of the total failure of achieving 0% by 2030.

  22. Mexicanbeemer @ #274 Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 3:34 pm

    Player One
    That comment was answering an earlier comment that only time would tell if the ALP shifting to being pro-coal will bring political benefit. To which i said that might be unimportant as the issues seem to be wider than just being pro or anti coal.

    Coal is no longer the cheapest form of energy in parts of the world and where it is still the cheapest, it is only time before renewables catch up.

    Fair enough. I don’t think there is any doubt that the ALP shifting to a pro-coal stance will bring political benefit. The $64 question is who to? The LNP think it will benefit the LNP. The Greens think it will benefit the Greens. Some parts of Labor (but not all of it) thinks it will benefit Labor.

    They can’t all be right. But it is entirely possible they are all wrong

  23. It is good to see that Ms Cash has finally understood that if companies are not paying a living wage workers cannot work for it.
    Smart woman!

  24. In the interests of equal opportunity criticism of the political major incumbents and their complete mediocrity and uselessness in regard to fossil fuels and our climate futures.

    Even when the Bylong valley residents have spent years fighting and finally winning over coal mining the interests of the major political parties donors seem to force their way up through shit pile called parliament of NSW. The Libs come up with this.

    NSW government may open two new coal fields for exploration to boost economic growth
    Exclusive: Berejiklian government urged to develop Hawkins-Rumker area and Wollar field near Bylong
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/oct/10/nsw-government-may-open-two-new-coal-fields-for-exploration-to-boost-economic-growth

  25. Boerwar
    If the ALP wants a successful rural MP then go with Catherine King. She has taken the traditionally marginal seat of Ballarat and is now one of the longest serving MP’s for a Ballarat based electorate in either federal or state political history.

  26. ‘Mexicanbeemer says:
    Thursday, October 10, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    Boerwar
    If the ALP wants a successful rural MP then go with Catherine King. She has taken the traditionally marginal seat of Ballarat and is now one of the longest serving MP’s for a Ballarat based electorate in either federal or state political history.’

    Horses for courses. Fitzgibbon with his views would struggle in Ballarat. King would struggle in Hunter.

  27. Boerwar @ #278 Thursday, October 10th, 2019 – 3:38 pm

    People can belt Fitzgibbon around the ears as much as they want.

    But, in so doing, and in all fairness, they would have to address the direct political consequences and the direct policy outcomes:
    27 out 34 large state regional seats held by the Coalition.
    3 out of 34 large state regional seats held by Coalition-leaning Indies.
    4 out of 34 large state regional seats held by Labor.
    0 out of 34 large state regional seats held by the Greens.
    zero progress to destroying the coal industry by 2030.
    increasing annual CO2 emissions.

    If politics is the art of the possible, then Fitzgibbon gets it.

    If politics is the art of the impossible, then, with 1 seat out of 151 seats in the House of Representatives and with no regional seat in any state or territory, the Greens get it.

    So, if it feels good and righteous, go ahead. Belt Fitzgibbon around the ears while ignoring the total aridity of the total failure of achieving 0% by 2030.

    All those figures suggest is that the LibNats are far better at selling their message of deceit.

    The Labor benches are bereft of political talent thanks to their closed (union) shop mentality.

  28. @SenatorCash
    · 3h
    Introducing Australia’s first National Careers Ambassador @ScottyCam9!
    Fantastic to make the announcement with the PM @ScottMorrisonMP. As a former apprentice and proud tradie Scott Cam will be a sensational advocate for the vocational education and training sector!

    You too can become a carpenter, own an angus stud, then turn into a TV star!

  29. From the point of view of a corporation, the trouble with training apprentices is that you can spend years getting them up to speed, with all the attendant expense, only to have them poached by another company the moment they graduate.

    It’s like that old dilemma I can’t remember the name of (not the prisoners’ dilemma, but something like that). The best overall outcome is if everyone puts in, but the best outcome for one player is to free-ride while everyone else contributes. In that situation eventually everyone stops contributing and the activity in question (training apprentices) comes to a halt.

    Which is why the role of former public utilities was so important. Of course it led to the usual accusations of inefficiency in the public sector compared to the private sector which was free to poach tradies brought up in the public utilities. Which is why the utilities just had to be privatised. And so on.

    But now we have a celebrity to encourage kids to aspire to become tradies, so all is well.

  30. Boerwar says:

    Horses for courses. Fitzgibbon with his views would struggle in Ballarat. King would struggle in Hunter.
    ————————————-
    Why do you say that?

    Ballarat is very much a working class community with a strong mining heritage and is home to a thriving agriculture industry.

  31. Player One:

    I’m confident that Sarah and Rachel will be capable of working out their substantial differences upon taking over the Greens’ leadership, as I’m sure is Rex.

  32. Boerwar
    There are still a few gold mining operations in the Ballarat and central Goldfield areas but they are far fewer than they were and people in the Hunter would understand that mineral reserves deplete over time.

  33. Morrison is not concerned about the Kurds. GAGF.
    He was not concerned about Australian women and children who are going to be stuck at the centre of the butchery. GAGF.
    But he IS concerned that the Turkish invasion will let loose a horde of ISIS fighters. In other words, Morrison somehow finds a way of beating the islamic terrorist drum loud enough for the racist part of his base to get the message.
    As far as the Turkish invasion liberating ISIS fighters, that was one of the immediate concerns raised by those who opposed Trump’s lunacy as soon as it came out. It was as true when Morrison had Trump’s back yesterday as it is true to day.

    Morrison is showing clear signs that he is well out of his depth.

    Reynolds, who has done operational duty in the Middle East, would know full well the immediate and long-term consequences of the betrayal of the Kurds. If she has any integrity at all, she would resign. She won’t.

  34. Marles has argued that Labor has to “be prepared to ignore and avoid and look past the manufactured parliamentary tests, the stunts and the wedge politics the Liberals spend so much of their time constructing for us”.

    “We know that sometimes that will hurt in the short term, sometimes it will sting our passionate supporters who might prefer a pyrrhic parliamentary victory. But so be it. That is pain we will have to wear.

    “Because none of the people who count on Labor governments benefit if we all die in the first ditch the Liberals dig for us.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/oct/10/labor-must-help-coalition-pass-legislation-even-if-it-disappoints-purists

    What a weak and insipid capitulation of principle this is.

    The old Labor spirit – Dead Buried and Cremated.

  35. Just listened (RN) to a debate between Greg Craven and Gillian Triggs re. a charter of human rights.
    Triggs had it all over him, so much so that he was at times belligerent, demeaning.

  36. ‘Mexicanbeemer says:
    Thursday, October 10, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    Boerwar
    There are still a few gold mining operations in the Ballarat and central Goldfield areas but they are far fewer than they were and people in the Hunter would understand that mineral reserves deplete over time.’

    I should have said that the economy of Ballarat does not depend on mines. The economy of Newcastle does. The electorates are free to vote accordingly.

    One of the reasons the Coalition did well in the last election is that it was quite tolerant of policy and position freelancing by sitting MPs in the big state regional seats. Winning messages were mixed and matched accordingly.

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