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”

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  1. I have a feeling this is the official version of his speech, omitting the bits where he slings off at Labor..

    Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has warned his party it must lift its game in Victoria and called for a new strategy targeting suburban voters in growth corridors to improve the Liberals’ victory prospects in coming elections.

    Mr Frydenberg told a Liberal state council meeting the party needed a new game plan to win back seats in the outer suburbs and regional Victoria.

    He said that strategy should start early and stretch over “multiple electoral cycles”. Mr Frydenberg insisted voters in growth corridors shared Liberal values despite Labor’s stronghold on many outer suburban electorates.

  2. lizzie @ #2396 Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 – 6:09 pm

    Simon Love @SimoLove
    · 7h

    Josh Frydenberg has taken a swing at @billshortenmp & @DanielAndrewsMP for having a celebratory drink the day before May’s federal election. But – they were actually having a toast to Bob Hawke at the John Curtin hotel the day after the former PM died. @10NewsFirstMelb

    Josh isn’t backing down. He believes his own lies.

    It’s not that, it’s whether he gets other people to believe them.

  3. Danama Papers @ #2403 Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 – 7:07 pm

    C@tmomma @ #2402 Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 – 3:57 pm

    Charles @ #2373 Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 – 4:54 pm


    Yes, you are probably my right. He’s singing because he got caught. It’s just amusing that he’s made it known he wasn’t happy Trump cast him off as another coffee boy.

    I thought Trump never drank coffee, only Diet Coke?

    Isn’t it covfefe? 😉

    So, Lev Parnas, was the covfefe boy? Must be a Ukrainian thing. 😀

  4. Zoomster re Pine Gap and ANZUS (and FVEY) more generally

    It’s not really a problem given Australia and US have been allies since Curtin and the base is now joint.

    US military has great respect for AUS, reasons are:
    – Aus (+Can and NZ) infantry have been best in every war fought
    – Aus SASR
    – Aus rules of engagement and lawful conduct of war at operational level (all three services)
    – Aus general officers in war fighting roles, starting with Monash and Chauvel and continuing on (and now inside US commands)
    Based on this, AUS could be a much more helpful ally to US by speaking truth to power, and this candor would be respected and appreciated . For example, Aus army experience from Malaya and Viet Nam should have informed US army and Marines to a greater extent than it did

    This not helped by (and may be harmed by):
    – Aus General officers in relation to procurement (particularly the Admirals for some reason)
    – Idiotic defence industry policy (production, key supporting industries, restrictions on overseas sales)
    – Idiotic ideas in relation to procurement (it’s not off the shelf; putting bespoke combat systems into established hardware designs doesn’t work)
    – DST-G (we should just subcontract to DARPA by funding Aus bid teams; find ways to help SASR in propertion to their importance)
    – Nonsense like “light mobile force” from the Left (Aus could valuably develop a “greenie” regiment, but this would an additional SF regiment with call on heavy forces, not an unsafe non-force at extreme risk of getting killed)
    – Inconsistency from the Centre-Left
    – Sycophancy from the Right – mostly just confuses the US (at least pre-Trump)
    – Lack of distinct coast guard (Aus has a lot of coast; coast guard can address impediments to recruitment which is in a bit of a crisis – there are many people who would join coast guard who won’t consider joining navy; coast guard equipment is at about 80% of navy standard, but less than 80% cost; the issue relating to training naval officers on patrol boats can be dealt with)

  5. 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.

  6. Zoomster:

    When China starts testing nuclear bombs on our soil or establishes military bases here, as both the US and the UK have done, I’ll start looking mildly interested.

    Hey it’s thanks to UK and Menzies govt that we now know more about dirty bombs than we previously did.

    How good is that?

  7. EGT

    ‘This not helped by (and may be harmed by):…’

    A lack of clarity about depending on China for economic security and the US for military security.

    A sense of white superiority (see, for example, Abbott’s comments about Pacific Islanders, Morrison’s treatment of Pacific Island leaders, Australia’s treatment of East Timor, etc,etc,etc…

  8. z
    The only testing of nuclear weapons by China on Australia will be the real thing.
    You can assume that warheads are permanently targeted on Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane and JOQ, all the joint spy bases, all major naval bases and the main air force bases.

  9. DM
    I don’t know why you bothered, either. Some additional considerations:
    If Singapore Inc thinks there is a buck in it, it will buy in.
    Singapore routinely gets threatened with (usually implicit) blackmail by Malaysia with respect to fresh water supplies.
    Singapore would not be all that interested, strategically, in adding electricity to water.

  10. Boerwar

    The only testing of nuclear weapons by China on Australia will be the real thing.

    Assuming the Russkiy hypersonics have not already dropped in to say “Hi” to the same targets 🙂

  11. p
    Tweedledee, Tweedludum?
    IMO, Australia should start developing a nuclear weapons capability. We can no longer rely on the US nuclear umbrella.

  12. Why is Corporal Fiscal Fumble Fingers talking about asylum seekers? That decision is in the purview of Field Marshal Heinrich Duttonuci surely.

    “Mr Frydenberg declined to comment on whether Mr Wang deserved the protection of the federal government.” smacks of weasel words and cowardice in not wanting to upset the CPC. We can but wait and see.

  13. Boerwar

    Not much use without delivery means. So unless NZ,PNG or Jakarta are in line they are not much use. NZ may be off our target list now though as they have rockets that can hit any city in Australia ……….. or the world for that matter 🙂

  14. DM

    There is a further further consideration.

    A major political flashpoint in Indonesia is home fuel costs.
    Having major additional cheap energy sources by way of energy cables could potentially be of considerable domestic political interest. The distribution networks could terminate, for example, in home or village batteries.

    As Steve Jobs said, innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.

  15. “Mr Frydenberg told a Liberal state council meeting the party needed a new game plan to win back seats in the outer suburbs and regional Victoria.”

    Meet the new game plan, same as the old game plan – lie, dogwhistle, divide, selectively bribe, demonise class enemies and the Other.

  16. S777
    Good point. It is why the Coalition has a stranglehold on regional seats in the large states.
    I look forward to Labor developing a strategy for these seats while remaining resigned to the fact that the Greens will substantially help to destroy Labor’s chances therein.

  17. By the way, for the uninitiated, ‘Pica’ is fake news.
    ‘Pica’ is your Euro maggie.
    Pica’s avatar is an Aussie maggie.
    I smell a fifth columnist.

  18. Boerwar

    Why do you think our new subs are deep enough structurally to accommodate vertical missile launch tubes?

    Easy.So The NZ All Blacks can launch their rockets on overseas tours. It’s an ANZAC thang 😆


  19. Dandy Murray:

    [‘Player One,

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

    You shouldn’t have dear Dandy, but you couldn’t help yourself.

  20. “Well actually what a con job.”

    Yup, their play seems to be to get sunk assets into Hydrogen from Coal. That will make it a lot harder to get rid of down the track and provide long term support to their coalminer donors.

  21. Steve777 @ #2440 Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 – 8:53 pm

    First Dog on Robodebt.

    This really is a disgrace, but no one will be brought to account.

    And Australians voted for this.

    No, Australians voted against a ‘Death Tax’. Because ‘the mob’, as Howard dismissively called them, are about as intelligent as sheep.

  22. Josh TaylorVerified account@joshgnosis
    Nov 22
    PM&C waited until 6.20pm on Friday night to reject my long overdue FOI on whether the PM asked the White House to invite Brian Houston to the state dinner.

    On the grounds it would hurt the relationship with the US


  23. I’ll only know that journalists are serious about holding this government to account when stories like that make the front page of every paper on the same day and lead the 6pm news at night.

  24. C@t:

    I was searching for something on the ABC’s news website, but couldn’t find anything. I thought it might warrant a mention on the ABC given their Chairperson’s public face in the your right to know campaign.

  25. imacca

    A while back through a couple of jobs I go to see how carbon capture works in LNG production and a possible carbon capture project at a coal fired power station. Shit loads of energy needed and or the need for suitable geology conveniently close. The boss cocky engineer at the coal fired power station told me to one side that the numbers will never stack up but he and we were there to provide “Green wash” for the owners. To discover the volumes involved in those small to average installations was mind boggling.To then think of the enormity of the global problem was a real “We’re all fcuked” moment and that was 10 years of inaction ago. Happy happy joy joy 🙁

  26. ‘nath says:
    Saturday, November 23, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    Now Boerwar is advocating Australia develop Nuclear weapons. It doesn’t get much loopier does it.’

    I know that it is an axiomatic no no amongst the extreme left. Disarmament has long been a fave. This is the same crowd that stamped their feet against military expenditure between the wars. They were successful. The democracies were luck to get away with this foolishness.

    While we were safe under the nuclear umbrella of the US it was worth not becoming a nuclear power. But Trump has wrecked that calculus stone dead. We simply cannot rely on the nuclear umbrella any longer.

    What would be loopy would be to ignore that our security arrangements are in tatters. We have a rampant aggressive militaristic China grabbing territory from half a dozen nations in South-east Asia.

    I know the extreme left just assume that somebody else will die on their behalf when push comes to shove. You know the poor sods of the Light Mobile Force who will be the cannon fodder. But how ethical is that? Or the poor bastards who took to the skies in the Boomerangs v Zero slaughter.

    Considerations for becoming a nuclear power: No nuclear power has ever been invaded. No state has initiated a war against a nuclear power. Nuclear weapons are much cheaper than conventional weapons. There has been no world war since major powers became nuclear powers.

    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.

    So, we could wind defence expenditure back to 1%. We could adopt a credible posture of armed neutrality. And we need never go to another war.

    Certainly worth considering.

  27. The fundamental premise of the disarmament crowd has always been the same: that their states will never be involved in another war.

    They are like doosmsday cults. Over the decades they keep getting swept up in wars. But they just hit the reset button and start all over again.

    The Greens are latest to manifest this nonsense. They propose to defend Australia with the ‘reinvigoration’ of peace studies (yep it is in their policies) and with a Light Mobile Force.

    Ludicrous does not even come near to it.

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