Empty chairs

Victoria’s Greens gear up for a party vote to fill Richard Di Natale’s Senate vacancy, plus similar developments for the state Liberals in Tasmania and Victoria.

As you can see in the post below this one, the Courier-Mail yesterday had a YouGov Galaxy state poll for Queensland that found both major parties stranded in the mid-thirties on the primary vote. State results from this series are usually followed a day or two later by federal ones, but no sign of that to this point. If it’s Queensland state politics reading you’re after, I can offer my guide to the Currumbin by-election, to be held on March 29. Other than that, there’s the following news on how various parliamentary vacancies around the place will be or might be filled:

Noel Towell of The Age reports two former state MPs who fell victim to the Greens’ weak showing at the November 2018 state election are “potentially strong contenders” to take Richard Di Natale’s Senate seat when he leaves parliament, which will be determined by a vote of party members. These are Lidia Thorpe, who won the Northcote by-election from Labor in June 2018, and Huong Truong, who filled Colleen Hartland’s vacancy in the Western Metropolitan upper house seat in February 2018. The party’s four current state MPs have all ruled themselves out. Others said to be potential starters include Brian Walters, a barrister and former Liberty Victoria president, and Dinesh Mathew, a television actor who ran in the state seat of Caulfield in 2018.

• Former Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman’s seat in parliament will be filled by Nic Street, following a preference countback of the votes Hodgman received in the seat of Franklin at the March 2018 election. This essentially amounted to a race between Street and the other Liberal who nominated for the recount, Simon Duffy. Given Street was only very narrowly unsuccessful when he ran as an incumbent at the election, being squeezed out for the last of the five seats by the Greens, it was little surprise that he easily won the countback with 8219 out of 11,863 (70.5%). This is the second time Street has made it to parliament on a countback, the first being in February 2016 on the retirement of Paul Harriss.

The Age reports Mary Wooldridge’s vacancy in the Victorian Legislative Council is likely to be filled either by Emanuele Cicchiello, former Knox mayor and deputy principal at Lighthouse Christian College, or Asher Judah, who ran unsuccessfully in Bentleigh in 2018. Party sources are quoted expressing surprise that only four people have nominated, with the only woman being Maroondah councillor Nora Lamont, reportedly a long shot. Also in the field is Maxwell Gratton, chief executive of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

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.

1,209 comments on “Empty chairs”

  1. I await with a complete lack of confidence for Jericho to stop talking and to start walking.

    You can do better than this.
    I have only read the extract from peg (filing it for later reading). Gericho is right and wrong. We do, as a planet, need to strive for perfect policy. But the LNP will blather on and on about our small contribution for good reason. Because it resonates. It is the perfect slogan in its simplicity and its truth. So the politics of that must be recognised and dealt with. An opposition party who wants to gain power in order to do more on emissions reduction will have to develop a 3 stage policy.
    1. Achieve on our existing goals and agreements – the letter and the spirit of those.
    2. Over achieve in order to place more pressure on other countries.
    3. Be ready in policy/legislation/technology and investment (as well as mentally prepared politically and as a country) to go big for rapid reductions in emissions and natural sequestration as other countries and global agreements step up.

    All of this is in our national interest; climate change is devastating for our country and we do not want to be left behind in the new economies that will come from this change.

    Going straight to option 3 in policy formulation for the next election is not in our national interest, may not have significant affect in the global interest and will probably be pointless anyway if it means the LNP stay in power.

  2. Dublin:
    The polls are closed and the RTÉ exit poll is in with bizarre results:
    Sinn Féin 22%
    Fianna Fáil 22%
    Fine Gael 22%
    Green 8%
    Labour 4.5%
    Soc Dem 3.5%
    People before Profit 3%
    Independent and others 15%

    A three way tie between parties who have vowed not to go into coalition. There is already talk of another election

    Actual counting will not start till Sunday Morning in Ireland – 10 hours time

  3. Boerwar,

    Credlin’s words sound *very* familiar…

    From Peter Walsh’s 1999 “Labor and the Greens”.

    1. The radicals, many of them Trotskyites, a small but very active minority, the paramount objective of whom is economic sabotage.

    2. Secular religionists, fellow travellers, whose primary objective may not be economic sabotage, but whose activities have that effect.In earlier times their passions might have been expressed as theistic religious fervour.For them God has been replaced by all of his creatures and species, and by Gaia.

    3. Opportunists driven by power lust, who don’t believe in anything except self-aggrandisement and self-advancement,about whom no more will be said.

    4. The moderates, that large but relatively passive majority who are concerned about real issues like clean air and water, land degradation, preservation of natural beauty and the sustainability of economic activity.

    The first two categories are contemptuous of both truth and scientific method.

    Of the four groups classified, only the moderates, those concerned about real environmental issues, most of which are measurable and science-based, are worth their keep.

    No wonder you are upset at Credlin.

  4. Speers had Marles on the run because he interrupted every answer and moved on to something else before Marles had finished. Very aggressive questioning which anti-Laborites will love.

  5. Someday we should play a game, where people post their impressions of an interview BEFORE it’s actually happened.

    I reckon that we’d have almost 100% correlation between how people thought an interview was going to go with how they thought it actually went.

  6. @FlatEarthGang
    ·
    13m
    Those criticising Marles on #insiders tell me how many answers he was able to give without multiple interruptions?

  7. lizzie,

    And yet, according to the commentary here when Morrison was interviewed by Speers the same interview style was fantastic.

    ———–
    Speers had Morrison on the run because he interrupted every answer and moved on to something else before Morrison had finished. Very aggressive questioning which Laborites love.

  8. Shame Insiders didn’t play a grab from the Barnaby interview with Mark Riley from the other night. What a train wreck that was!

  9. Peg

    Because everyone knows that Morrison is an expert at avoiding giving answers.

    Personally, I believe that Marles should have worked out a few short replies to the questions he must have known he would be asked, and repeated them. He tried to qualify his answers instead.

  10. Interesting point by Probyn that there are no Nats in the coalition Senate leadership team, leaving them footloose and fancy free to cause mischief.

  11. I expected the usual patronizing pats on the head from those unwilling to listen to my argument made late last night about mass species extinctions.

    This was one of them, from the zealous Mr Newbie:

    It’s clear you do not understand the concept of the food chain. If one species dies, then everything that depends on it as a food source also dies, and everything that depends on *that* species dies, and so on, as you go up the food chain.

    It assumes pig ignorance on my part, perhaps also stupidity regarding how species are interdependent and how the loss of one can have reverberations “up the food chain”, beyond the local.

    But that would be a wrong reading of the purpose of my post.

    I was positing last night whether “Gaia” (for want of a better name or concept) could care less whether a species, indeed even an entire food chain, existed or not. I was asking what is so special – in an absolute sense – about the climate and ecosystem as it existed in pre-industrial times that it should be re-attained by global effort, and then preserved forever?

    As part of that it is logical to wonder whether bees are absolutely necessary for the pollination of plants if a “spill” of species, food chains and even entire ecosystems occurs. Flies do perfectly well in this regard in some areas. Elsewhere, is it necessary for koalas to exist if, in the new ecosystem, they have no role?

    Such upheavals have occurred in the past arising from asteroids, gargantuan volcanic eruptions and ice ages due (it is theorized) to solar cycles. What does “Gaia” care if one species shits in it’s own nest and causes a global climate catastrophe, triggering mass extinctions (including its own). Won’t something, some new solution eventually come along to first plug the gap, then prosper as the premier form of life?

    Isn’t much of the call for action on Climate Change just us – homo sapiens – reckoning we’re pretty special and wishing to preserve ourselves as top dogs, species-wize, and to take along a few other species and evolutionary niches that we have come comfortable with? And why is that such a good and vital thing, in the long term galactic scheme of things?

    What is so special about us and our world that we wish to stop the clock, indeed rewind it a bit, in order to freeze the Human Moment in time pretty well forever, as being the best that life can ever be?

  12. Adam Bandt is a threat to himself being given clear air! It’s looking increasingly like he’s going to be even more LOOK AT ME!! than his predecessor.

  13. The benefit of the Greens becoming more “shrill” is that it will move the Overton window on environmental issues.

    Will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  14. ajm:

    One can only hope.

    However from the reaction of Insiders, it just looks like Bandt is making himself the story, not climate change.

  15. After a reasonable start last week, this edition of Insiders was poor.

    Not just the lighting and sets, but little ‘chemistry’ on display with the panel – and an overall jerky feel to the segues.

  16. I find it interesting that in many areas of endeavour we highly value someone being a team player, pursuing the agreed team strategies and supporting one’s team mates, even the ones who may not be so brilliant.

    However in politics we seem to demand that people be their “authentic selves”, and the party be damned.

  17. BB

    Probably the best way to look at extinction is by way of human risk management of extinction rates.

    There have been previous large extinction events when, for example, 90% of marine species became extinct within a short geological time period.
    The most notable of these extinction events are named.

    Then there is what might be called a ‘normal’ or ‘background’ rate. New species evolve. Others go extinct. Evolution provides the mechanism by which impacts are mediated. All good.

    But, if humans speed up the extinction rate, they basically increase various risks of chaotic and/or major impacts that will affect basic elements of human amenity including food, living habitats, temperature, oxygen, and water.

    Up to now, the sum of human impacts, including climate change, is speeding up the extinction rate such that an increasing number of biologists are calling it the ‘Anthropocene Extinction’ event. The consequent risks, as ecosystems are simplified, are growing rapidly.

    Beyond that, there are all sorts of value judgements about how to value diversity, wilderness, individual species, ecosystem services and large and unknown pharma potentials.

    There are ethical considerations about rendering species extinct and foreclosing all related options for future generations.

    Then there are ethical considerations surrounding the rights of a species and of individuals within those species.

  18. Mario Puzo, take a bow.

    What happened Friday was the political equivalent of one of those mob-movie montages where the don’s enemies are gunned down to the accompaniment of an operatic score. And the Don in the White House isn’t done yet. He reportedly is interested in firing Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community, who brought to Congress a whistleblower’s complaint. The whistleblower required a security detail because he or she has been smeared by the president and his minions. Sen. Rand Paul (R.-Ky.) read the name of the person alleged to be the whistleblower by many on the right on the floor of the Senate this week. What possible purpose can this serve save to bring retribution down upon that person?

    Trump is also said to be plotting to punish Romney and Schiff. “He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!” Trump tweeted about the House Intelligence Committee chairman. Such venomous talk led to a death threat against Schiff.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/08/trumps-friday-night-massacre-is-just-beginning-i-fear-whats-come/

  19. Confessions @ #30 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 9:04 am

    C@t:

    We had windy weather overnight too and at one point I thought the bedroom window was going to blow in! Glad your son wasn’t injured in the process.

    Thanks, ‘fess. So am I. He has Haemophilia, so deep cuts with glass turn into instant disasters which can only be treated in the local hospital! 😯

  20. ajm @ #82 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 10:08 am

    I find it interesting that in many areas of endeavour we highly value someone being a team player, pursuing the agreed team strategies and supporting one’s team mates, even the ones who may not be so brilliant.

    However in politics we seem to demand that people be their “authentic selves”, and the party be damned.

    Politics is the ultimate ‘team’ of Individualists.

  21. Judith Ireland on Adam Bandt:

    ‘I’m doing it for them’: Bandt says family inspired him to seek Greens leadership

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/i-m-doing-it-for-them-bandt-says-family-inspired-him-to-seek-greens-leadership-20200207-p53yu2.html

    When Adam Bandt was considering nominating for the leadership of the Greens, he talked to his wife, Claudia Perkins.

    His predecessor Richard Di Natale resigned because he was not able to spend enough time with his eleven and nine-year-old sons. And Mr Bandt already knew the impact on family life was the “toughest thing” about a job in politics.
    :::
    But while Mr Bandt and Ms Perkins are daunted by what the extra work and travel will mean for their young family, they both believe his promotion is they best way to address climate change on behalf of their daughters Wren, 4, and Elke, 3.

    “Having kids focuses the mind about what kind of world they’re going to grow up in,” Mr Bandt said.

    “Wanting to be able to say that I did everything I could to tackle the climate crisis is something that’s important to me. I think this gives us a good opportunity to do that. I’m doing it for them and because of them.”

    Ms Perkins – who works part-time as a yoga teacher and was an adviser to former Labor prime minister Julia Gillard – supports her husband’s political career for the same reasons.

    “What he’s doing is the best way that we’re going to get change,” she said.
    :::
    “One of the most unexpectedly challenging parts of this job is talking to school students about climate change,” he said. “Not wanting to lie [to them], but on the other hand wanting to ensure that there’s hope. I reckon there’s a lot of parents going through that balancing act as well.”
    :::
    Ahead of the next federal election, Mr Bandt wants to develop a sweeping economy-wide plan to address climate change, social inequality and jobs (a “Green New Deal”).

  22. Speers overdid it with the interruptions. It was literally impossible for Marles to complete even one sentence throughout the entire item. As a result, with all the talking-over, it was impossible to understand the few words – from either interviewer or interviewee – that got through. You were keyed up, waiting for the next interruption.

    Political interviews really do need to progress beyond crass interruption in quest of a gotcha. Once or twice here or there is fine. But to take up the whole ten minutes in a pointless test of wills is a waste of everyone’s time.

    Speers was asking Marles a hypothetical question about a hypothetical coal project coming about as a result of a hypothetical planning process with a hypothetical result. The answer is: “It depends”, which is what Marles said, quite early on. Speers persisted, to the point of wrecking his own interview, in quest of a cheap gotcha.

    His question was asked in the context of four million REAL dollars having been spent by the ACTUAL government, on a feasibility study in the context of REAL party eruptions based on wishing to maintain coal as the basis of our energy future.

    Marles is not a member of the government.

  23. Perhaps there’s some shrill, passionate or dare it be said, disingenuous posters up and about on PB this morning.
    K. Murphy was attempting to suggest on Insiders that K. Murphy is sick of the bullshit in and around Parliament and particularly the LNP contribution.
    The public are generally sick of the bullshit.
    Australia is a resource blessed nation with rampant corruption at all levels of politics. Ths MSM are the main drivers of this corruption by not reporting the corruption, camouflaging the corruption and having many within its ranks wanting to be players without being elected.

  24. Bushfire Bill @ #89 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 10:19 am

    Speers overdid it with the interruptions. It was literally impossible for Marles to complete even one sentence throughout the entire item. As a result, with all the talking-over, it was impossible to understand the few words – from either interviewer or interviewee – that got through. You were keyed up, waiting for the next interruption.

    Political interviews really do need to progress beyond crass interruption in quest of a gotcha.

    Speers was asking Marles a hypothetical question about a hypothetical coal project coming about as a result of a hypothetical planning process with a hypothetical result. The answer is: “It depends”, which is what Marles said, quite early on. Speers persisted, to the point of wrecking his own interview, in quest of a cheap gotcha.

    His question was asked in the context of four million REAL dollars having been spent by the ACTUAL government, on a feasibility study in the context of REAL party eruptions based on wishing to maintain coal as the basis of our energy future.

    Marles is not a member of the government.

    Totally.

    Speers was petty and looked ultimately foolish in the pursuit of an answer his script told him he wanted, but didn’t exist.

    To reiterate, he was trying to get Marles to say labor would not approve a business financed coal powered power station (which will never come to fruition) on environmental grounds. Marles said clearly very early on that Labor would not spend a cent on a coal powered power plant and that any hypothetical business one would be evaluated on its environmental impact. End. Of. Story.

    Far from evasive.

  25. BB @2:08am

    Seems to me the simplest and cheapest solution to Climate Change is to perfect nuclear fusion-based electricity production and then use the unlimited power this would provide to terra form the Earth.

    I think the prospect of cheap fusion is exceedingly remote. On the other hand, we could have a lot of cheap solar and wind and use that for tidying the planet up – starting with things like mining/reprocessing the billions of tonnes of landfill, providing safe drinking water everywhere, restoring land degraded by sheep.. etc.

  26. BW wrote:

    But, if humans speed up the extinction rate, they basically increase various risks of chaotic and/or major impacts that will affect basic elements of human amenity including food, living habitats, temperature, oxygen, and water.

    BW, my question asks: what is so important about preserving homo sapiens, other than for our own selfish species-centric reasons? Will “Gaia” really care if we take a lot of other species with us down the extinction rabbit hole?

    I’m trying to take the sentiment out of the argument.

    We have declared that “intelligence” (to perhaps over-simplify) is the criterion for ranking the species. This is pretty convenient for us, as it is our definition and our concept of what’s important.

    But this same intelligence has brought us world wars, environmental devastation and may well cause a new round of species extinction (as you point out, named after ourselves) to rival the notable extinctions of the past.

    Why bother trying to preserve “us”, if we are so much trouble?

    To me, that is the fundamental philosophical question that underlies the entire environmental movement.

    But it is almost never asked.

  27. Dutton was behind this, as was evidenced by his triumphal claim when the decision was announced that they had to use Christmas Island to ‘keep Australia safe’. It was a political decision, neither medical nor resource driven.

    The Feds rejected NSW Govt offer to receive the evacuees at Richmond RAAF base, were they could be medically assessed, and then housed in NSW facilities already available for the 14 day quaranteen period.

    https://www.smh.com.au/national/sydney-solution-for-coronavirus-evacuees-spurned-in-favour-of-christmas-island-20200207-p53ynn.html

  28. Senator Murray Watt
    @MurrayWatt
    ·
    1m
    Yesterday the Nationals claimed they’ll fund a business case into a new coal fired power station in Qld (one the private sector won’t touch).Today a Govt Minister says it’s just a study into new power options.Don’t tell me the Govt is saying one thing in Qld & another down south?

  29. ItzaDream @ #93 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 10:31 am

    C@t, thanks for the Maddow/Buttigieg* interview.

    (* I’ve nearly learnt it – ‘i’ before ‘e’except after ‘c’)

    Yes, it may have been from April last year but it was worthwhile to take the time to listen to him expound at length on a lot of issues. Also Rachel Maddow was the only person who could go there. 🙂

  30. C@tmomma @ #99 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 10:39 am

    ItzaDream @ #93 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 10:31 am

    C@t, thanks for the Maddow/Buttigieg* interview.

    (* I’ve nearly learnt it – ‘i’ before ‘e’except after ‘c’)

    Yes, it may have been from April last year but it was worthwhile to take the time to listen to him expound at length on a lot of issues. Also Rachel Maddow was the only person who could go there. 🙂

    Indeed. Thanks again.

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