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. Boerwar @ #1083 Monday, February 10th, 2020 – 6:16 pm

    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.

    I assume you’re referring to the deputy speaker thing? That’s fine, and Labor should wreck, destabilize, and score points as it can.

    But does it have any legislative effect? Will it repeal metadata retention laws, or the encryption BS, or result in better climate policy? Establish a Bill of Rights, or the Voice? No. In the context of a discussion about Labor waving through bad encryption legislation that it could have blocked (which is what I thought we were having), it’s moot.

    And you know if the Greens had done exactly the same thing you’d be dismissing it as a pointless political stunt. 🙂

  2. citizen

    I’ve taken the Tokyo/Osaka trip. That’s my experience too – a lot of turnover and a lot of people travelling the shorter segments.

  3. Crowe writes in dramatic terms:

    February 10, 2020 — 7.54pm

    Scott Morrison has just witnessed a show of force from an angry faction that will come after him on climate change when it is ready.

    The Prime Minister cannot avoid a confrontation with the unhappy Nationals who joined with Labor on Monday to elevate Llew O’Brien to the position of deputy speaker in the House of Representatives.

    This was brutal politics by former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce and a group of assertive allies who are determined to defend coal and resist any ambition on climate change.

    The impact is already being felt. The political aggression from Joyce and his group keeps everyone else quiet.

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/angry-nationals-blindside-vote-just-a-warning-of-what-s-to-come-20200210-p53zie.html

  4. Tricot

    One of the side benefits of HSR using an entirely new alignment is that it frees value in the existing tracks for freight. What I’ve proposed as far as Newcastle is concerned is using the HSR corridor for a separate freight track.

    That provides a freight bypass of Newcastle city. So instead of Fassifern to Hexham the bypass would run Morisset to Hexham – sharing much of the permanent way costs with HSR. You also get the Cowan bank (Hawkesbury River to Cowan) returned to (nearly) exclusive freight use.

  5. a r @ #1150 Monday, February 10th, 2020 – 9:47 pm

    Boerwar @ #1083 Monday, February 10th, 2020 – 6:16 pm

    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.

    I assume you’re referring to the deputy speaker thing? That’s fine, and Labor should wreck, destabilize, and score points as it can.

    But does it have any legislative effect? Will it repeal metadata retention laws, or the encryption BS, or result in better climate policy? Establish a Bill of Rights, or the Voice? No. In the context of a discussion about Labor waving through bad encryption legislation that it could have blocked (which is what I thought we were having), it’s moot.

    And you know if the Greens had done exactly the same thing you’d be dismissing it as a pointless political stunt. 🙂

    Mundo has been busy all day but is ecstatic that Labor appears to have pulled off something political which hasn’t backfired badly…..yet.
    Mundo also worries about clutching at straws and stuff……

  6. Good question from Zoomster. Deserves an answer.

    I’m curious – you started off basically admitting that your idea was a brainfart, that you didn’t know much about the subject, and wanted to know what others thought, but you now seem to have moved to a position where your idea is brilliance personified and that people who question it are arrogant tossers with no vision.

    No Zoomy, I didn’t say it was a brainfart at all. In fact I think increasing research in thermonuclear energy (Note to BW: THERMO-nuclear, so the 3/4 of your post debunking fission-based energy was a very grassy strawman) is a good idea. I wanted to hear counter arguments that might convince me I was wrong.

    So far I’ve read about contributors who were promised a thermonuclear dawn “in the next 10 years” – for the last fifty years – and, while I sympathise with their dashed hopes (and mine too, because I’ve experienced exactly the same disappointments, on the same subject) I don’t regard past performance as an infallible predictor of future outcomes. So that’s dismissed as purely emotional and/or cynical.

    Some interlocutors argued against fission based nuclear power generation. Which was not what I was talking about at all. Strawman stuff.

    Some said it was too expensive, based on… what? The cost so far, it seems. My argument against this was that any sufficiently advanced technology, once mature, brings its support technologies along with it. Everything becomes cheaper, easier, more routine. Thermonuclear fuel is cheap, abundant and effectively unlimited. There is no waste disposal problem. We are not talking anti-gravity machines, or hyperdrives, or wormholes here. The main ingredients are available.
    , not pie in the sky. There should be no lack of demand for the thermonuclear product, so marketing will be a breeze. Thermonuclear energy production will get cheaper and easier, once cracked, just like virtually any modern engineering process you could mention. Compare Mercury 7 with Apollo 11 – a mere 10 years apart – or Space-X first stages landing themselves for reuse, on a veritable postage stamp. I’m not pessimistic about engineering potential.

    Others want to rely on already proven, established processes, like solar, wind and hydro. These have their place of course, but if we only relied on what we knew worked already, we’d still be all riding horses to work and bleeding medical patients to rid them of malignant humours.

  7. But.. we have this obsession in Australia. Why?

    HSR is a competitor to airtravel (as well as compliments it). It was in China when I was there – and told it still is. I know people travelling in Europe and Japan that treat it like an alternative option to airtravel. Not to take over airtravel… just an alternative.

    I have clearly misunderstood the direction of HSR in Australia. If it isnt going to be along any air corridors then arent you limiting it to improving a couple of commuting routes in Sydney (already serviced by trains and freeways), maybe Brisbane – Gold Coast and an airport link?

    You are not getting my juices flowing. It is up there with the southern sydney freight line for headline grabbing.

  8. Bushfire Bill

    Of course bloody research will go on and unexpected breakthroughs will happen but we sure as hell can’t bet the house on us getting there in a useful time frame for helping with global warming. We have been working on it for decades and it is very likely we will still be at for a several more decades. I really really do hope we get there, always have but don’t count on being just around the corner.

  9. Interesting to see David Crowe claim, and there is more than an element of truth to it, that Jason Falinski in Mackellar is reacting to his constituents desire to see greater action from the government to deal with Climate Change. However, David Crowe would be wise to remember the Bronwyn Bishop ‘faction’ in Mackellar. They believe in using wind to sail their yachts but not to provide power. Sure there are a lot of environmentally conscious people in Mackellar but there are a lot of loud and well-organised dinosaurs too.

  10. I’m not sure that saying that the Greens borrowed the idea of a Green New Deal from America even earlier than most of us thought is actually much of a defence against the criticism that the Greens borrowed the idea of a Green New Deal from America….

  11. simon holmes à court @simonahac
    ·
    9m
    .
    @MartijnWilderAM
    speaks so much sense on energy transition and the opportunities for australia. #qanda

    The panel has been good, even though there have been pockets of numptyness from the BCA woman.

  12. Zoomster,

    The contention appears to be that the Greens talked about the concept of a Green New Deal a decade ago and therefore it was their idea all along.

    Of course, the Green New Deal idea waa subsequently never mentioned again until it became a minor thing in the states at which time the Greens co-opted it as a slogan for promoting their existing policies.

    The Golden Age of Bandt is off to a less than glorious start.

  13. Sorry for not replying sooner Douglas & Milko. Dozed off in front of the tv. 🙂
    The comments were at the end of the article re the Maritime Museum. Toungue in cheek due to the flooded site at Parramatta.
    However always interested in transport heritage so would like to hear more about that new(?) Museum.
    As for the fashion museum replacing the MAAS. I think that’s it’s official acronym.
    It sounded half arsed when Gladys announced it and it just adds to the stench around this whole saga.
    That steam engine is the oldest still around and they want to pull it apart and move it to a flood prone site.

  14. Green New Deal: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_New_Deal

    “Various proposals for a Green New Deal have been made internationally. Such efforts became more prominent following the October 2018 IPPC 1.5 °C report, and the popular support that GND received in the United States since late 2018.[12][13”

    …Australia, Canada, Europe, UK…

    “After their 2019 federal election defeat, Australian Labor Party shadow environment minister Tony Burke signalled his support for a suite of regulation and stimulus policies similar to a Green New Deal”

    “In September 2019, the Labour party committed to a Green New Deal at its 2019 annual conference”
    —–

    I understand the fixation of Confessions and some fellow travellers to criticise Bandt re the usage of a widely internationally recognised phrase “Green New Deal”. It’s a transparent attempt to Bash Bandt for a petty point scoring exercise. The need to come up with a stronger meme is required to gain any traction.

  15. …therefore it was their idea all along.

    And yet, no one but you is claiming this.

    MG: Let’s turn to the Green New Deal. Firstly, why did you choose that term, New Deal?

    AB: We’ve been talking about that in the Greens for some time. We held a conference back in 2009 to promote a Green New Deal in Australia. And it’s a term that is gaining global currency as well. And I think increasingly…

    MG: And has historical context of course from America.

    AB: That’s right. And one of the things that it raises the question of because of its historical associations is what is the role of government?

    https://theconversation.com/politics-with-michelle-grattan-adam-bandt-on-greens-hopes-for-future-power-sharing-131466

  16. Poroti wrote:

    BB,

    Of course bloody research will go on and unexpected breakthroughs will happen but we sure as hell can’t bet the house on us getting there in a useful time frame for helping with global warming. We have been working on it for decades and it is very likely we will still be at for a several more decades. I really really do hope we get there, always have but don’t count on being just around the corner.

    I discount the “We have been working on it for decades and it is very likely we will still be at for a several more decades” part of the reply as sour grapes. Not logical.

    The other accusation- that I was advocating “betting the house” on thermonuclear – is a misreading. What I was advocating (in my initial post on the subject, I think) was that MORE resources be devoted, on the scale of investment by nations, to thermonuclear energy. If some resources needed to be withdrawn from increasing the efficiency of solar or other alternative technologies, in order to bring the new technology on-stream, then that should be considered.

    Can I say, parenthetically, that I am trying to conduct a serious discussion on this topic? I’m not trolling or trying to grandstand. I’m not heckling Greens or Conservatives, nor am I pushing any Labor agenda.

    I’m sorry for using the term “cynical old fart”, not because they don’t exist, but because I’m one too. The “EDIT” function timed out before I could amend the post to make that point. So, I’m making it here.

    What DOES concern me is my observation that both “sides” of the Climate Equation have entrenched views, every bit as biased and conservative as they accuse each other of being. There should be more acknowledgement of that – and remedial action taken. Fixed views are anathema to this discussion.

  17. AOC and the Democrats in America stole the name Green New Deal from the Australian Greens?

    The delusion is just remarkable.

    Your trolling is not remarkable at all. You really need to up your game to have any credibility at all.

  18. An EXCELLENT Q&A discussion.

    The panel members are not quite in the same place on the same page as each other, but they ARE on the same page.

    That’s progress.

    Welcome Hamish. You have nothing to lose. You’ve stood up to bullies before. You’re smart and clever. Q&A is a better show for your presence.

  19. Assange, Collaery, Snowden, Smethurst: criminalising truth

    https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/assange-collaery-snowden-smethurst-criminalising-truth,13573

    But no. There’s more to come. In Australia, telling the truth is now a crime. At least four Australians who did so face secretive trials in the coming weeks, three of them in Canberra. Another is imprisoned in the ACT without you knowing what for or at whose orders. You aren’t allowed to know his name, nor the name of Witness K. You are familiar with the other two: Bernard Collaery, K’s lawyer, and Annika Smethurst, a Newscorp journalist whose home was raided by police last July.

    The fourth Australian is in pre-extradition detention in London’s high-security Belmarsh prison, also for telling the truth. Evidently, this is now a crime in your allies’ system as well, even though the U.S. has its First Amendment and the UK has a Bill of Rights.

    Revealing the embarrassing truth is what Chelsea Manning is back in a U.S. gaol for, what Edward Snowden is exiled in Russia for, and what Julian Assange did in 2010 when WikiLeaks published documents selected from more than 700,000 U.S. diplomatic cables, assessment files of Guantánamo Bay detainees, military incident logs, and videos from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    That’s why Assange, having been in diplomatic exile for seven years in London, faces 175 more years for espionage in a U.S. gaol. The absurdity of such a sentence, when the worst war criminals get 45 years, reflects the fury of the U.S. security state at being caught out and the subservience of its UK colleagues. Those on both sides of the Atlantic determined to get Assange are unrelenting and his extradition hearing begins on 24 February.
    :::
    In November the Greens’ Peter Whish-Wilson presented a petition with 200,000 signatures to the Senate, calling for Assange to be brought back from the UK to Australia. Late last year, Tasmanian Independent Andrew Wilkie formed the “Bring Assange Home” Friendship Group, which he co-chairs with George Christensen of the Liberal-National Party. It has no Liberal Party member.

  20. The contention appears to be that the Greens talked about the concept of a Green New Deal a decade ago and therefore it was their idea all along.

    The Greens in a nutshell. 😀

  21. The Greens give birth to a thought bubble. Everyone else does the hard yards to make it a reality for Australia. The Greens try to take all the credit.

  22. AOC and the Democrats in America stole the name Green New Deal from the Australian Greens?
    The delusion is just remarkable.
    ________________
    The ‘Green New Deal’ has been enunciated by various Green parties for well over a decade. That’s kinda why the word Green is in there. It’s not the Centrist New Deal.

  23. Simon Katich

    HSR is a competitor to airtravel (as well as compliments it). It was in China when I was there – and told it still is. I know people travelling in Europe and Japan that treat it like an alternative option to airtravel. Not to take over airtravel… just an alternative.

    I have clearly misunderstood the direction of HSR in Australia. If it isnt going to be along any air corridors then arent you limiting it to improving a couple of commuting routes in Sydney (already serviced by trains and freeways), maybe Brisbane – Gold Coast and an airport link?

    You are not getting my juices flowing. It is up there with the southern sydney freight line for headline grabbing.

    Let me clarify this. We shouldn’t be building HSR in this country if the sole justification is replacement of air travel. HSR can compete with air travel and in some cases overseas it does so quite well. But it lives in an ecosystem where its competing with a lot of budget carriers. Also it does best on the very short haul routes.

    Another thing not often understood by modellers is that the little details matters. Where individual airports are, what their airport to city link looks like and so on. Sometimes HSR competes purely on the fact that it usually gets you closer to the city.

    Now having said this, the best use for HSR in Australia is quite definitely not replacement of air travel. Where HSR delivers value is where it allows you to do things that were not previously possible. In other words, where its means you can get from A to B a lot faster.

    HSR Sydney to Melbourne would deliver a transit time similar to that of air travel. In other words, you’re spending a lot of money (tens of billions) to simply replace one means of transport with another. And you’re doing so in competition with an industry that has a lot of sunk capital.

    Whereas if you stack HSR up against driving Newcastle to Sydney, you’re not just providing an alternate mode of transport, you’re enabling people to do things that couldn’t have previously done. We’re talking 1 to 1.5 hours total end to end time versus 2 to 3 hours.

    Another thing people don’t often realise is that air travel accounts for a small minority of actual trips. Sydney to Melbourne (dominated by air) is about ten million trips per year – where a trip is a one way journey. That’s half of a return journey per person per year over the combined population.

    Whereas the number of people who travel between north of the Hawkesbury (Lower Hunter, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Central Coast) and south of the Hawkesbury (Sydney) by car is over 30 million trips per year. Add to that another 11 million trips by train. Likewise there are about 30 million trips per year by car between Wollongong and various parts of Sydney. These kinds of trips dwarf intercapital air travel in volume. Now throw in HSR and the total travel market can double – because these shorter trips have a higher propensity for induced demand.

    Now, does that get your juices flowing?

    Speaking of commuting routes. What we are talking about isn’t strictly speaking commuting (which is by definition, travel to work). Its actually travel for many purposes – shopping, education, health care, entertainment, social, doing business etc. Lets look at what a HSR core network can accomplish..

    The present day Sydney commuter rail network is slow. We have journeys that routinely take over an hour. This is why we have congestion on Sydney’s motorways. Its because the public transport network is too slow. There’s a well known result in transport theory known as the Downs-Thompson paradox. Simply stated it says that the average speed of the road network is equivalent to the average speed of the equivalent and competing public transport journey. Its quite intuitive if you think about it. If its faster to drive, you’ll use the car. If more people use their car the road will congest. It will congest up to the point where its about equivalent to taking public transport.

    There’s a flip side to this few mention. That is the speed of the road network is determined by the speed of the public transport network. Make the public transport network faster and you take cars off roads until the road network speeds up to match.

    Ipso.. the best way to improve congestion on Sydney’s roads (and this benefits freight and commerce) is to make the rail network faster.. So, how do you do that? You build HSR into its core.

    Presently it takes 45 minutes (at best) to commute between Hornsby and the CBD. With a HSR network in place that will take 15 minutes. Similarly it takes just over an hour to get from Campbelltown to the CBD. With a HSR network that takes 20 minutes. You could also reach Parramatta in 11 minutes and Penrith in 30 minutes. I have a niece who works near Penrith and now lives in Miranda. She drives. A HSR network would mean she would take the train instead.

    I’m not going to go on for pages here, but the fact is a HSR network revolutionises public transport outcomes over the whole corridor – from Newcastle to Wollongong. And it enables further reforms to other rail lines in Sydney and it takes pressure off Sydney’s motorway network – notably the M5 and to some extent the M2 and M7. We also would not need the full-blown M9 outer sydney orbital, nor any further extension of the M6. Billions of savings in congestion and construction right there.

    Juices flowing nicely? Good. Point is our existing transport network isn’t working well. The rail network is abysmally slow and as a result we are paying too much for road pavements.

    As for Brisbane to the Gold Coast, the cost of not doing HSR is extremely high. Between here and 2065 we will see an additional 30 million or so trips (on an annual basis) between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. That amounts to an additional 4-5 lanes of motorway. Guess how much that costs..

  24. First mention of the term in the Australian Parliament:

    It will be a scheme that does not do the job with the urgency of climate change. I remind the government that Britain has gone to a figure of 80 per cent below 1990 by 2050, as has the United States under its new president. Australia needs to catch up, get with it and get with the GREEN NEW DEAL or we will be left behind.

    Christine Milne. 2008.

    https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansards%2F2008-11-10%2F0147%22

  25. Did anyone just watch Ross Garnaut on The Business?

    Take home message. There will be good jobs for everyone who are currently working in coal and those jobs will be found in regional towns. Labor can win votes by actually being able to go to town halls and not just say “there will be new jobs” but rather say “we think that your particular town will see new jobs in this, this and that industry.

    This is the kind of hard, detailed policy work Labor needs to do. And simply going out and saying “nothing to worry about, coal will be ok for the foreseeable” isn’t going to work.

  26. Cud Chewer
    says:
    This is the kind of hard, detailed policy work Labor needs to do. And simply going out and saying “nothing to worry about, coal will be ok for the foreseeable” isn’t going to work.
    _______________________
    They should be saying that people change jobs all the time and that they should harden up, learn how to make Frappuccinos and shut the fuck up. I’m sick of these coddled coal miners on 100k plus.

  27. Bushfire Bill

    Can I just point you back to one simple thing. If we want practically limitless energy – sufficient for geo-engineering – then we already have the technology we need to do this.

    All we do is further automate the delivery of increasingly larger solar farms. That then directly drives the geo-engineering machinery. Btw, have a look at the video on this page.

    https://5b.com.au/

    This is only going to get larger and more automated.

  28. Well, would you look at that:

    According to the ACT Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission’s draft decision on regulated retail electricity prices for the next four years from 1 July, a typical customer on ActewAGL’s standing offer contracts could expect to see a 6.75 per cent fall in average retail electricity prices in 2020-21.

    The ICRC says the decrease reflects falling prices in the wholesale electricity market, driven by the growth in renewable energy generation.

    This has cut the cost of national green schemes, contributing 4.1 percentage points of the estimated price reduction, with cheaper wholesale energy costs contributing to the balance of the decrease.

    https://the-riotact.com/acts-power-bills-set-to-fall-as-renewables-make-their-mark/355342

  29. Historyintime,
    well all I can say about the greens and labor is “In times of peace the warlike man attacks himself.”

    If everyone on the left has such free time to fight each other, they must really be happy with the right having power.

  30. Socrates:

    What happened to Andrew? Did the supply of money from Gina dry up? Did his favourite ski-lodge in the Vic Alps burn down? Or is he just about to switch tactics to: “but its still way too expensive…”?

    Mr Bolt has never believed his own bullshit (and never claimed to, watch him very carefully) – it’s just his business model.


  31. Cud Chewer says:
    Monday, February 10, 2020 at 11:13 pm

    Did anyone just watch Ross Garnaut on The Business?

    Take home message. There will be good jobs for everyone who are currently working in coal and those jobs will be found in regional towns. Labor can win votes by actually being able to go to town halls and not just say “there will be new jobs” but rather say “we think that your particular town will see new jobs in this, this and that industry.

    This is the kind of hard, detailed policy work Labor needs to do. And simply going out and saying “nothing to worry about, coal will be ok for the foreseeable” isn’t going to work.

    Exactly. Unfortunately, first step is to put as much daylight between the Greens and Labor as possible. The Green’s message is, you bad people you mine coal.

  32. On HSR.

    To properly work out its value we need to work out how Australia will look in 50 years time. Take Melbourne’s rail network which was mostly built in the 1880s when suburbs like Malvern were the urban fringe. The network was built with an eye to the future of where they thought Melbourne would grow. Also It is close on certain that in 50 years we will be driving autonomous vehicles so there might not be a need.

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