The heat is on

An issues poll finds concern about climate change up since the May federal election, and national security down.

One sort-of-poll, and three items of Liberal preselection news:

• The latest results of the JWS Research True Issues survey records growing concern about the environment and climate change, which is now rated among the top five most important issues by 38% of respondents, compared with 33% in June and 31% a year ago. There is diminishing concern about immigration and border security (26%, down from 30% in June and 34% last November and defence, security and terrorism (18%, down from 20% in June and 29% a year ago). A range of measures of general optimism and perceptions of government performance produced weaker results than the June survey, which appeared to record a post-election spike in positive sentiment.

• Jim Molan will shortly return to the Senate after winning a party vote last weekend to fill the New South Wales Senate vacancy caused by Arthur Sinodinos’s resignation. Molan scored 321 votes to 260 for former state party director Richard Shields, adding a second silver medal to his collection after being shaded by Dave Sharma in Wentworth last year. This was despite Molan’s attempt to retain his seat from number four on the ticket at the May election by beseeching supporters to vote for him below the line, to the displeasure of some in the party (and still more of the Nationals, who would have been the losers if Molan had succeeded). Molan was reportedly able to secure moderate faction support due to the apprehension that he will not seek another term beyond the next election.

• The Victorian Liberal Party is embroiled in a dispute over a plan for preselection proceedings for the next federal election to start as soon as January, which has been endorsed by the party’s administrative committee but is bitterly opposed by affected federal MPs. The committee is determined not to see a repeat of the previous term, when preselections were taken out of the hands of branch members to head off a number of challenges to sitting members. Those challenges might now come to fruition, most notably a threat to Howard government veteran Kevin Andrews, whose seat of Menzies is of interest to Keith Wolahan, a barrister and former army officer. Tim Wilson in Goldstein and Russell Broadbent in Monash (formerly McMillan) have also been mentioned as potential targets. According to Rob Harris of The Age, votes in Liberal-held seats could happen as soon as late February, with marginal seats to unfold from April to August and Labor-held seats to be taken care of in October.

Matthew Denholm of The Australian ($) reports Eric Abetz and his conservative supporters believe they have seen off a threat to his position at the top of the Liberals’ Tasmanian Senate ticket, following elections for the state party’s preselection committee. Abetz’s opponents believed he should make way for rising star Jonathan Duniam to head the ticket, and for the secure second seat to go to Wendy Askew, one of the Tasmanian Liberals’ limited retinue of women MPs.

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.

2,475 comments on “The heat is on”

  1. Though I will add that this Friday Dump is getting a tad predictable and if Australia’s journalists are worth a pinch of snuff then they will start writing Monday’s headline based on the Friday Dump. Instead of letting it fade into the ether.

  2. Lars, a personal question, if you will: were you not formerly Edwina? Look, if you want to change your persona, that’s a matter for you, so long as – in law – you’re not doing same to take advantage thereof.

  3. Boerwar
    It would be loopy not to reconsider becoming a nuclear power.
    Finally, nuclear weapons would free us from the obvious: our long term relative economic and military decline.
    Yeah I’m sure our economy won’t suffer from all the sanctions imposed on us for breaking the non-proliferation treaty. BW criticises the greens for their supposedly ruinous policies. BW has outlined a policy that would have us all…..yep living in caves.

  4. poroti
    Saturday, November 23, 2019 at 9:34 pm
    Well we are considered a “Nuclear capable state” so only a short hop step and a jump to Barnaby Joyce doing this….
    looks abit like him too.

  5. We won’t be able to persuade an authoritarian Chinese state to renounce nuclear weapons. We can’t even persuade democratic states such as France, the UK, and the USA to do so. On this particular issue, leading by example gains no traction. Perhaps we should have a nuclear deterrent so that an invasion of Australia would be prohibitively costly to the invader. The nuclear non-proliferation treaty locks in a strategic advantage for the status quo nuclear powers. We don’t really benefit from it.

  6. Very interesting watching the Coalition pivoting towards believing in climate change and supporting renewable energy.

    I suspect they realise that businesses want this pivot, and also that the recent catastrophic bushfire season has shifted the population’s view on the reality of climate change towards “Yes, it is happening”.

    I guess I should be happy that the party of government (in NSW) is shifting towards accepting that climate change is real, and encouraging renewables. Although I will never forgive said NSW Govt for closing down almost all domestic violence shelters in NSW, and for increasing homelessness with a shift from Public Housing to Social Housing. The former takes all comers, the latter only the “deserving” poor.

    On the other hand, in the early 1990s, I opined that the only way Australia would become a republic was for a Coalition Government to do it – otherwise it would become a nasty partisan debate.

    Enter John Howard – a Coalition Government did indeed bring on the referendum, but despite circa 80% of voters being in favour of a republic, the monarchists won.

    So pardon me if I look quite cynically at the NSW and Federal Coalition governments shift to suddenly “believing” in anthropogenic global warming, and falling over themselves to take action.

    It feels like another “Republic Referendum” moment to me.

  7. In the.scenario where an RN ballistic missile submarine captain “reflags” the boat as RAN, Australia will have become a nuclear power. Does this mean Australia is contingently a nuclear power today?

  8. China wants the West to hurry up and improve renewable energy technology so they can steal it. The West is much better at technology. Unfortunately the main long term outcome of the Reagan Revolution has been to cause the US to become shit at real economy business (but good at banking), following the UK down the shithole (as someone called it). Unless there is a course correction China will commercialise Western inventions.

  9. Aunty Mavis Davis

    It would be much funnier if you suggested I get “on the stuff” – that’s my msponse to your post, I hope you like it.

  10. Nicholas,

    We won’t be able to persuade an authoritarian Chinese state to renounce nuclear weapons. We can’t even persuade democratic states such as France, the UK, and the USA to do so. On this particular issue, leading by example gains no traction. Perhaps we should have a nuclear deterrent so that an invasion of Australia would be prohibitively costly to the invader. The nuclear non-proliferation treaty locks in a strategic advantage for the status quo nuclear powers. We don’t really benefit from it.

    What we need is the doomsday machine, but we really need to tell the world about it the moment it becomes active!! See e.g Dr Strangelove
    also, Dr Strangelove is now out of copyright, so you can see the whole wonderful movie for free!

  11. “The nuclear non-proliferation treaty locks in a strategic advantage for the status quo nuclear powers. We don’t really benefit from it.”

    A world where everyone and his dog had nuclear weapons would be a very dangerous place. Thus far we have 5 official nuclear states plus 3 undeclared. We can live with that. But, say, 30?

  12. There is no particular reason for Australia or Canada to acquire nuclear armed submarines and several reasons not to.

    It is fashionable to suggest Australia acquire Virginia class nuclear powered contventionally armed submarines (SSNs) that are supposedly in “spare” slots in the production line. This ignores the fact that US has only ever exported one submarine reactor (for HMS Dreadnought the first UK nuclear submarine)

    It would be of much more assistance to the British to have Australia (and/or Canada) in their SSN production line as it would lead to both higher scale economies and no loss of “drumbeat” and hence Australia (and/or Canada) would have much more leverage (even more so due to Brexit).. Canada could also team up with the French since they speak French. Both Australia and Canada can also supply uranium and Australia can supply basing of non-nuclear armed subs.

    I look forward to Mavis Davis RAN correcting my ignorance on this issue.

  13. @Nicholas: Australia benefits immensely from the NPT, the same way the whole planet does: Every tin-pot little dictator can’t get their mitts on a nuclear warhead, because the NPT, imperfect as it is, stands in their way. Without the NPT, I guarantee you that nuclear weapons would have been used in anger on more than one occasion since 1945!

    Just to name one example: Does anyone think that – without an NPT to butt his head against, which he did for many years – Saddam wouldn’t have developed (and used) nuclear weapons? We cannot persuade extant nuclear powers to surrender their stockpiles, or even commit to no further development of nukes; each of them has its own, compelling (if only internally so) reasons as to why it felt the need to develop them in the first place. But we can stop the Nuclear 9 (UNSC + India, Pakistan, Israel, DPRK) from becoming the Nuclear 30, or Nuclear 40, or Nuclear 50. And for the sake of humanity’s continued existence, we must.

    Blimey, spread nuclear weapons around, eh – what could possibly go wrong?!

  14. @Steve777: We have seven “official” nuclear States – each of the permanent 5 UNSC members, plus India and Pakistan. DPRK claims to be one, but their capabilities are thankfully very limited. And Israel doesn’t publicly admit it, but the existence of an Israeli nuclear arsenal is the worst-kept secret west of the Dead Sea.

    That’s still too many countries for my liking, but at least it seems to be manageable.

  15. Dandy Murray says:
    Saturday, November 23, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    Player One,

    I don’t know why I’m bothering, but here goes:

    – Sg predominantly use natural gas and fuel oil for electricity production.
    – Any renewables injected into the Sg grid directly offset fossil fuel electricity production, which is a straight environmental good.
    – Energy as a proportion of total electricity price is huge, about $180/MWh, compare to ~$60/MWh here, and subject to external price shocks.
    – Sg are not happy with being strategically exposed to international fuel prices and supply lines and wish to diversify.
    – Gas generation gives them flexibility to import considerable amounts of VRE without upgrading their existing generation fleet.
    – The equator is a shitty place for renewables because of clouds and no regular wind.
    – The solar farms intended to supply Sg will be in northern WA and the NT. They are at least a couple of thousand kms from the major Australian load centres in the south east.
    – We already have very large amounts of solar PV, which is causing the price for energy when they all generate to approach zero in some places, so the market is close to saturation (without storage – another story).
    – We pay much more for networks than Sg, because we are not an island.
    – Most of our network cost is in distribution networks, which large-scale solar does nothing to offset.
    – Private capitalists think they can make a buck doing environmental good (cf. Facebook), and this is to be encouraged. IMHO they are trying to get in before the big guys (Shell, BP, State Grid, etc).

    I’ll give you another on hydrogen later.

    I hope you keep doing so.

    It is critical that people push back on the sort of nonsense P1 writes, and it is also important people point out, there are solutions to this problem. That trying to export jobs by gluing one-selves to the road is not the solution.

    The Greens have failed environmental policy spectacularly. Liberals to date have pretended it is not happening (perhaps they have finally waking up, we will see). It is important Labor develop policy that offer a solution and that are based on reality, to do so needs the input of people that know the facts, it also needs to be defended by people that now what they are talking about.

    We already know all we will get out of the greens is adani, adani , adani, as useful as tits on a bull.

    When the likes of P1 posts rubbish on the relative price of energy and Singapore there needs to someone to counter with the facts.

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