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. Make you pay more super? Super is the only chance of any pay rise most workers have these days. Not sure why Gittens is so against it…

    As for the Powerhouse move, why is Gladys so stubborn on this ? The Ultimo site is not thaaat valuable. She just wont budge.

  2. P1:’So, in terms of being much use in keeping us below 2 degrees, then if it ain’t happening sometime in the next 10 years, then it just ain’t happening ‘

    When I read what you have written there, I just can’t understand why you never have a critical word to say about the LNP and their non-action on emissions.

  3. RD

    Do you think Labor folded in order to not appear weak on security matters in the eyes of those swinging marginal soft PHON voters in Queensland who Labor has been wooing for decades without much success?

    After all, generally speaking, up to now there has been a bipartisan pact on matters of national security, terrorism, and related issues.

  4. @NotSwagman
    Here is the most embarrassing fact relevant to tonight’s #thedrum

    Ann Sudmalis has a science degree from ANU and was a science teacher for 10 years.

    I thought frontal lobotomies had been outlawed!

  5. Labor and most of the ‘predictors’ in the media thought Labor would win the election after which they could fix some of the legislation that they agreed to.

    Most also believed there’d be positive movement on climate change.

    A handful of qlders seats put paid to all that (don’t forget ALP lost net 1 seat).

    Sadly – those few seats have made all the difference.

  6. Abbott showed there wasn’t a convention the Coalition wouldn’t trash . The notion that they could be expected to honor a “gentlemen’s agreement” is laughable.

    Isn’t it though. Labor’s mealy-mouthed rationalisation and justification for passing the bill was, and still is, totally ludicrous.

    It was all about the optics.

  7. KayJay and Citizen 😁

    There were numerous comments concerning the moving of the Maritime Museum.

    This move of The Powerhouse museum has never made sense in any way shape or form. Other than developer donors being looked after.
    There’s a stack of exhibits in storage that never see the light of day. A new facility, not located on a flood plain, could have been built to house a supplementary collection.

    The Discovery Centre at Castle Hill could be upgraded probably for far less to achieve this.

  8. Pegasus @ #1054 Monday, February 10th, 2020 – 6:50 pm


    Do you think Labor folded in order to not appear weak on security matters in the eyes of those swinging marginal soft PHON voters in Queensland who Labor has been wooing for decades without much success?

    After all, generally speaking, up to now there has been a bipartisan pact on matters of national security, terrorism, and related issues.

    Despite declaring the bill was flawed they folded to avoid a debate they knew they didn’t have the political skill to win.

  9. The budget surplus was always going to be hard going because of the fires and the drought, with the floods now adding to the challenge. But the Coronavirus has significantly upped the risks of to delivering what Josh Frydenberg has already claimed to have happened; a surplus.

    While to some extent voters will (and should) forgive falling short of the pledge — given the context — not delivering on such a long promised commitment won’t go unnoticed. In the wider spectrum of recent government missteps another deficit (because don’t believe the spin, the last “balanced budget” was just a smaller deficit) could hit the Coalition where polls have long stipulated it has an advantage over Labor: economic management.


    I reckon they went so hard on declaring the budget was ‘back in the black’ and they’d achieved their coveted surplus because they expected Labor to win the election, and knowing the surplus was going to be dicey at best, could’ve whacked Labor over ‘losing’ the surplus and ‘going back into deficit’ when it didn’t eventuate.

    Well LOL of LOLs that those chickens (among many others) are coming home to roost.

  10. sprocket_

    Labor thought they were home and hosed, and were playing small target politics.
    There is an old saying that Labor forgot: “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”

  11. Adam Bandt on twitter

    With LNP members quitting and threatening to cross the floor, the Greens will renew our push to establish a federal anti-corruption watchdog.

    A #Greens Bill has already passed the Senate & if we can get the numbers in the House, we could have a federal ICAC by Easter!


    It’s always good to be hopeful.

  12. Rex …. good work! Was not meant derogatory we need to move on.

    Respect your response, want the Greens and Labor to bring down the Coalition and want it sooner than later.

    Also want a serious response to be able to place a price on carbon and respond to the crisis that is global warming……it is beyond time.

  13. Labor outmanoeuvred the LNP on the dep speaker to destabilise the govt

    And Josephine Citizen will dismiss it as self-absorbed politicians playing games, that is, if they even notice or care.

  14. Scout @ #1068 Monday, February 10th, 2020 – 6:58 pm

    Rex …. good work! Was not meant derogatory we need to move on.

    Respect your response, want the Greens and Labor to bring down the Coalition and want it sooner than later.

    Also want a serious response to be able to place a price on carbon and respond to the crisis that is global warming……it is beyond time.

    Let’s hope for a conscience vote on Steggalls bill.

  15. Gladys backtracked slightly on The Powerhouse. It’s now going to be a fashion museum. Well, part of it.

    My guess is when the fashion museum fails to set the world on fire we’ll get a “well we tried” and hey presto, more apartments.

  16. C@t

    Its not just about repackaging the same turd. I also think Scrot believes that concern about climate change will dampen as memory of the fires recedes and is also relying upon News Limited pushing denialist themes – just as they did successfully under Rudd.

  17. Cud,
    That’s won’t work. PTSD is a thing and we’re going to see it in the residents of NSW and ACT and VIc from this summer.
    Just wait till the start of next year. News Ltd won’t play down the chance of fires. if anything they’ll amp it up to sell copy. This will always scar scomo.

  18. Pegasus

    Was this perceived hubris the reason you and the Greens worked so hard to ensure a Coalition victory?

    I can understand it being offensive to the upper middle class sensibilities of the Greens party.

  19. PeeBee,

    Player One is essentially mentally lazy and just like an old hack of the horse variety that continues to trot around the same old track, like they have been doing for years.

    To craft an attack of the Coalition would require her to actually analyse what the Coalition are doing as well as proposing to do and then critique that.

    It’s a lot lot easier to snark at Labor, criticise them for things they have no control over because they have decided not to commit political suicide and commit to things they have no control over, parse the words of Labor Party MPs and snark at that, and trot around the track at PB like they are a Group 1 race winner. 🙂

  20. PeeBee

    I expect the response from P1 will be that the Liberals are a lost cause so instead they need to expend all their effort on attacking Labor as loudly and incessantly as possible in order to get Labor to “see the light.” That said, in the next breath they’ll be carping on about Labor and Liberals being exactly the same.

    I know its utter nonsense, but it apparently it makes sense to Greens (and people who tie themselves in knots pretending they aren’t Greens).

  21. ‘bakunin says:
    Monday, February 10, 2020 at 6:57 pm


    Labor thought they were home and hosed, and were playing small target politics.’

    Complete and utter Greens bullshit. Labor was proposing swingeing wealth distribution policies and that frightened the horses. Labor’s emissions targets were way above the Government’s.

    Both the Coalition and the Greens took the opportunity to Kill Bill and Sink Labor.

    Given the re-writing of history by the Greens, including the desperate pissant advice for Labor from those who want to destroy Labor, (Bandt was at it again today with Grattan), Labor has learned an important lesson.

    It is giving the Government the rope to hang itself. It is refusing to give the Greens the rope they need to hang Labor. And don’t the Greens just hate that! Grrrrr. Bad Labor!

    Instead of trying to trash Labor you would do better to do something real and become a Greens New Deal ZeroHero. Start walking the talk for a change. It will do you and the planet some good. Which is way more than anyone can say for the first 30 years of the Greens.

  22. Cud,
    I don’t know about that. I’m sitting here in the dark with candles on and barely any charge left on my phone, no power for the second day after a massive storm uprooted trees which then brought down power lines, and feeling pretty PTSD myself barely 2 months after believing the house was going to burn down in a Bushfire!

    I’m not going to forget in a hurry, that’s for sure! And before you know it it will be time for it all to happen all over again and next time we might not be so lucky.

  23. sprocket_ @ #1044 Monday, February 10th, 2020 – 5:39 pm

    There was a time when good policy amendments from a bi-partisan commitee, bolstered by a promise from the Leader of the Government in the senate, Minister Cormann, would have been honourable to shake hands on and accept.

    But no.

    That’s all very high and noble. Meanwhile the right has learned to play without mercy, take no prisoners, and more or less get on with doing whatever the hell they feel like; tradition and decorum be damned. And all while bashing their political opponents over the head with whatever blunt objects happen to be handy.

    Labor brought a handshake to a knife-fight. And they’re still doing it!

  24. It was good to see the roar of approval from the Bludger Greens when Labor succeeded in using Parliamentary tactics to destabilize Morrison.

    All the usual suspects piled on with praise: Mundo, ar, Bakunin, P1, Rex, guytaur, scout, Astrobleme…. They were rapturous at Labor’s success.

  25. Pragmatism, neutralising Coalition advantage and Labor disadvantage *and so helping Labor win an election* (impotent are the pure, blah blah) has been a frequent argument made to support Labor’s strategy regarding national security, and their passing of (shockingly) bad legislation.

    If Labor had won (and then fixed all the bad legislation) then you can bet we’d all be agreeing it was a pretty good strategy. Haha to all the doubters. They didn’t win, and I will be forever more wary of any similar argument made in the future. Me-too is not a strategy without downsides or significant risks, and not something to so blithely wave by in such a critical area as national security. Quoting Gough will not impress me, I assure you.

    The Coalition, as far as I can tell, only ever me-too things they don’t really care about. Anything they really care about they either:
    – Lie through their teeth about what they’re doing (witness their current rehabilitation over anthropogenic global warming, i.e. doing nothing while saying they are), or
    – Persist with and consistently hammer away at over the long term (decades, if not longer).

  26. Let’s see – loses two Ministers, one to misconduct. Deputy PM challenged. A Government member resigns from his party.

    Haven’t seen a newspaper today. I expect that they’re all screaming “Government in Chaos!”

  27. I promise to be considerably impressed by Labor’s part in all the current shenanigans going on in the Australian political landscape.

    After the next election. When Labor win it.

  28. Jengis Osman has written two excellent articles about the Australian Greens and the New Green Deal. His argument is that the Greens have appropriated the slogan of a Green New Deal with none of the macroeconomic understanding and policy ambition of what is being proposed in the United States.



  29. I have commented here several times over the years how the Greens party is attacked from the left by Socialist Alliance and similarly aligned groups because the Greens do not eschew the capitalist system.

    At the same time, for decades, the MSM and the political duopoly have propagated the meme of how extreme left the Greens are. As we continue to see here on PB. Go figure.

  30. C@t

    Yikes I didn’t know things were so crap down there.

    I was thinking more of those outer urban tradies in Sydney who might have whinged about the smoke but for whom life goes on. The ones that actually read the Daily TellMeCrap. No PTSD there. Just a fuzzy awareness that climate change has been talked about more. But still thinking its all too hard/costly. Those are the ones Scummo hopes to hoodwink.

  31. michael @ #1060 Monday, February 10th, 2020 – 6:23 pm

    Good to know Labor supports Barnaby Joyce and more coal, more coal mines and new coal fired power stations. Thats what they have done to support a National Member of the Hard Right over a moderate. What a clueless bunch of fools.

    Every time Scummo from Marketing plumbs a new depth, up pops Puce Phalus and michael the moron to confirm the fear…

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