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. The Murdoch gutter dwelling Daily ToiletPaper every so often fires a shot across the bows of a Liberal PM (who they helped install), just to show what Rupert giveth, Rupert can taketh away (Rupert 3:16)

    Today’s instalment of the standover’s merchant craft.

    “Taxpayers may find themselves slowly boiling over revelations they forked out thousands to buy Prime Minister Scott Morrison a Sous Vide machine, as well as premium wines and air purifiers.

    New government audit reports for 2019 reveal how public money was used to buy booze and new appliances for the Morrison family’s two homes in Sydney and Canberra.

    One of the biggest costs was $1899 for a Sous Vide machine, which gently cooks vacuum-sealed food in a water bath.

    Taxpayers also coughed up more than $3000 during the 2018-19 summer for four Dyson fans but can be reassured they came with HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, ensuring the Morrisons weren’t bothered by harmful bushfire smoke particles.

    The total cost of the Prime Minister’s Kirribilli cellar jumped by 50 per cent in the past year while the value of The Lodge stocks dropped by 30 per cent.

    The $8300 collection housed at the Prime Minister’s official residences is still less than Kevin Rudd’s $14,000 booze collection but similar to Malcolm Turnbull’s 370 bottle cellar which was worth close to $9000.

    The most expensive wine in Mr Morrison’s cellar was eight bottles of $57 Curly Flat pinot noir which leading wine experts James Halliday has described as a “superstar of Victoria’s Macedon Ranges”.

    https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/scomos-dysons-and-a-sous-vide-machine-paid-for-by-taxpayers/news-story/b5c262b97a657b808db22e425f3cd9bf

  2. Peg,

    Follow the money….
    AHA didn’t donate $750K to Victorian Labor without good reason.

    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/secret-state-victoria-cans-access-to-stance-on-container-deposit-scheme-20191102-p536rz.html

    Local councils also back a container deposit scheme, with the Municipal Association of Victoria calling on Victoria to “catch up” with other states.

    But the one major and strident opponent to a CDS is the hotels and gaming lobby, the Australian Hotels Association. In its 2017-18 report to the Registered Organisations Commission, the AHA listed advocating against a container deposit scheme in Victoria as a campaign priority.

    The AHA is known to be concerned that a CDS would lead to an impost on beer drinkers when the cost of managing the scheme is passed on. Senior Andrews government insiders have expressed similar concerns.

    :::

    However, in government and Labor circles the association is regarded as a potent lobby, with the ear of Premier Daniel Andrews in particular. The AHA is also one of Victorian Labor’s biggest financial backers.

    Earlier this year The Age revealed the association had donated at least $500,000 to Labor – and possibly much more – and about $300,000 to the Coalition parties ahead of last year’s state election. It also funded independents who preferenced the major parties.

  3. Player One:

    [‘It is not really clear which party room he is talking about. Could be either ‘]

    You’re being more than a little mischievous. It’s obvious which party room is in turmoil.

  4. P1

    Don’t bother. An article by anyone atm about Labor’s future policy on climate change is worthless.

    Labor will formulate a policy, which will go to Conference, which will be endorsed by the membership. Until that happens no one – not even Albo – knows what Labor’s policy will be.

    This shouldn’t be a problem for a sentient being. The election is over two years away. Any policy put forward at that time needs to make sense in the context of that time.

    For the present, however, we know that Labor is committed to the Paris Agreement. That’s the baseline. To paraphrase Queen Elizabeth 1 ‘all else is a quibbling over details.’

  5. Bipartisan? It could work.
    The Coalition has parleyed climate politics into political success for most of the majority of the last 25 years.
    The Greens, ditto.
    Both parties would be extremely reluctant to forego their perceived political advantages by working
    co-operatively with each other.
    But you never know.
    If the Austrian right and the Austrian Greens can get into bed, why not the Coalition and the Greens in Australia? Di Natale was talking about this shortly before he quit. I am not sure about whether Bandt would follow the same path.

  6. P1

    ‘So the only way Labor can achieve bipartisanship is by conceding on virtually everything.’

    So there won’t be an agreement.

    Sheesh.

    You should be able to understand that aiming/hoping for something to happen doesn’t mean that you expect it to happen.

    You should also be able to understand that wishing for a unicorn doesn’t mean you’ll settle for a goat with one horn instead.

  7. zoomster @ #200 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 12:34 pm

    After all, it shouldn’t matter who comes up with an emissions policy — as long as it is effective and gets implemented.

    If the Liberals come up with an effective emissions policy, are you saying that Labor should not support it just because?

    No, I think Labor is now becoming more interested in simply “defusing” this as an issue rather than fighting for it. I think this is all they mean by “bipartisanship”. It seems some people in Labor believe this is a better strategy, because it might give them an election win, and Labor supporters probably believe that once in government Labor would do better things. However, while Labor continues to accept donations from fossil fuel companies, I think it is fair to have doubts on that score.

    As Greg Jericho pointed out today, we are past the stage of just needing a slightly better policy. We now need the best possible policy to do much good.

  8. BW

    The Coalition has parleyed climate politics into political success for most of the majority of the last 25 years.
    The Greens, ditto.

    ____________________________

    Not much ditto for the Greens!

  9. If the RGR years has taught us anything, if you want ever lasting progressive policy then you have to bring the central right voters with you. The far right rump of the LNP and media stooges must be isolated. Signs of bipartisanship may help with this.

  10. ‘TPOF says:
    Sunday, February 9, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    BW

    The Coalition has parleyed climate politics into political success for most of the majority of the last 25 years.
    The Greens, ditto.

    ____________________________

    Not much ditto for the Greens!’

    Ask them.

  11. ItzaDream @ #152 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 11:45 am

    mundo @ #154 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 11:40 am

    ItzaDream @ #143 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 11:36 am

    mundo @ #148 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 11:34 am

    Danama Papers @ #134 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 11:29 am

    Spray @ #47 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 6:24 am

    What a train wreck by Marles.

    Pegasus @ #48 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 6:24 am

    Speers absolutely skewering a floundering Marles.

    sprocket_ @ #50 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 6:25 am

    Marles doing a good job.

    Hmmm.

    My favourite bit was when Marles really did a job on Speers, saying….’Well Speersy, I’m not sure how far I’ll get into this answer before you interrupt me, but I’ll give it a go…’ completely turned the interview around.
    Good to see a confident Labor spokesperson taking charge for a change.

    Oh, wait…..

    Did you watch it? He did several times tell Speers to back off and let him answer.

    So not my favorite bit then.
    Humor and ridicule beats rattled and defensive every time.

    So you missed the joke he told Speers, who was making a goose of himself by pretending not to understand him, about the Japanese business man who was at a meeting in Sydney without his interpreter, and having got more than lost in translation and pissed that he was being taken advantage of, stood up and banged the table shouting – ‘You think I know fuck nothing well I telling you I know fuck all’

    Interesting how jokes are paraphrased over time..
    This first appeared in David Niven’s Bring on the Empty Horses, and was about a film director.
    Director Mike Curtiz to David Niven & Errol Flynn: “You lousy bums, you and your stinking language, you think I know fuck nothing, well let me tell you— I know FUCK ALL!”

  12. Player One @ #208 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 9:48 am

    zoomster @ #200 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 12:34 pm

    After all, it shouldn’t matter who comes up with an emissions policy — as long as it is effective and gets implemented.

    If the Liberals come up with an effective emissions policy, are you saying that Labor should not support it just because?

    No, I think Labor is now becoming more interested in simply “defusing” this as an issue rather than fighting for it. I think this is all they mean by “bipartisanship”. It seems some people in Labor believe this is a better strategy, because it might give them an election win, and Labor supporters probably believe that once in government Labor would do better things. However, while Labor continues to accept donations from fossil fuel companies, I think it is fair to have doubts on that score.

    As Greg Jericho pointed out today, we are past the stage of just needing a slightly better policy. We now need the best possible policy to do much good.

    And yet the main thing holding real action on the climate back, is that it is a political issue.

    The previously implemented price on carbon lasted only as long as Labor held Government, so even if Labor is able to form a Government in the future without a bipartisan agreement on any action, the probability exists that it will only last until the next change in Government.

  13. From AFR article linked to by P1

    Morrison is emphasising a greater role for gas, describing it as “transition fuel” bridging coal and renewable power generation. You could be forgiven for a case of deja vu – gas was also described as the transition fuel a decade ago when Labor was legislating its carbon price.

    While not ruling out funding new coal-fired power stations or retrofitting old ones, Morrison says the business case needs to stack up economically and environmentally, which is unlikely in today’s carbon conscious era.

    Likewise, Albanese backs gas. “When gas replaces coal, that’s good for the transition towards clean energy because it results in lower emissions,” he said following Morrison’s $2 billion energy deal with NSW.
    :::
    With both sides rejecting carbon pricing, the most notable point of difference perhaps remains the level of emissions reduction ambition.

  14. Player One @ #208 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 12:48 pm

    zoomster @ #200 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 12:34 pm

    After all, it shouldn’t matter who comes up with an emissions policy — as long as it is effective and gets implemented.

    If the Liberals come up with an effective emissions policy, are you saying that Labor should not support it just because?

    No, I think Labor is now becoming more interested in simply “defusing” this as an issue rather than fighting for it. I think this is all they mean by “bipartisanship”. It seems some people in Labor believe this is a better strategy, because it might give them an election win, and Labor supporters probably believe that once in government Labor would do better things. However, while Labor continues to accept donations from fossil fuel companies, I think it is fair to have doubts on that score.

    As Greg Jericho pointed out today, we are past the stage of just needing a slightly better policy. We now need the best possible policy to do much good.

    Like defence, OSB, cyber security, etc., Labor has folded on climate policy because they don’t have the skill to win a debate, which the turnip Marles showed today
    There’s no ‘looking for bipartisanship on climate policy’ – they’ve already got it.

    Voters can only get meaningful change by awarding the balance of power to the Greens and enviro-Indys.

  15. Rex

    ‘Voters can only get meaningful change by awarding the balance of power to the Greens and enviro-Indys…’

    There is no way you can meaningfully cast a vote with this aim in mind.

  16. Player One:

    [‘So, the one containing Joel Fitzgibbon and Mark Butler would be a love-in? ‘]

    That doesn’t come close to the likes of Joyce threatening (though he’s denied it) to disrupt the Morrison Government’s legislative agenda; and, the palpable loathing of those who accept the science of GH and the denialists in the Tory and Country Parties.

  17. George Monbit – The Most We Can Do – Climate targets seem sensible, but are actually impeding effective action. Let’s do something completely different.

    https://www.monbiot.com/2020/01/31/the-most-we-can-do/

    The crisis is not imminent. The crisis is here. The recent infernos in Australia, the storms and floods in Brazil, Madagascar, Spain and the US, the economic collapse in Somalia, caused in part by a devastating cycle of droughts and floods, are not, or not only, a vision of the future. They are signs of a current and escalating catastrophe.

    This is why several governments and parliaments, the UK Parliament among them, have declared a climate emergency. But no one in government acts as if it is real. They operate within the old world of incremental planning for a disaster that has yet to arrive.
    :::
    But less discussed is the way in which targets can encourage officials to underperform. As soon as you set a target, you pull back from maximisation. Even if you say “this target is the minimum”, as the CCC does, politicians treat it as the line they need to cross. At this point, they fulfil their legal duty, even if they fail to fulfil their wider duty of care.
    :::
    The appropriate response to the climate emergency is a legal duty to maximise climate action. The CCC’s board should be disbanded and replaced by people whose mandate is rigorously to explore every economic sector, in search of the maximum possible cuts in greenhouse gases, and the maximum possible drawdown. We have arrived at the burning building. The only humane and reasonable aim is to rescue everyone inside.

  18. zoomster

    As I am in Tony Smith’s electorate and for some unknown reason he’s thought to be a good Speaker, I don’t have much influence either. I can only be a spectator. 🙁

  19. mundo
    …of course, you can elect all the indies/enviro types to hold the balance of power you want, but you are ultimately dependent on whoever HAS power to put up the kind of legislation you want, and then you only really have a chance of modifying whatever it is they want.

    Medevac worked because Labor was willing to support it. The indies couldn’t have done it on their own.

    And, of course, it didn’t last, for exactly the same reasons that most of Gillard’s achievements haven’t, despite those resulting from the kind of government you advocate.

    The first task is thus to get a major party elected who is going to work on the same kinds of policies you want and be in power long enough to ensure that they become fixed.

  20. P1

    ‘Which, of course, Labor has dropped.’

    No, Labor has remained committed to the Paris Agreement. They’re simply open atm as to how to get there.

  21. Let’s cut straight to the chase.

    Environmentally minded Labor partisans would logically vote Green 1 and Labor 2 at the next election.

    That’s the only position that makes sense for them.

  22. Speaking of deluges… our neighbour who keeps meticulous local rainfall records using a very spiffy-looking rain gauge- tells me that, as at 11am this morning, we have had 585mm (23 inches) of rain since the current downpours started late last Tuesday night.

    We had 175mm over just last night, according to her gauge.

    Since 11am it looks like another 10mm has fallen.

    On a less professional level, we have filled one of those 2 litre blue Streets icecream buckets twice, to the brim, since yesterday morning.

    Our water restrictions (Mid Coast Water) have been reset from Level-4 to Level-2 virtually overnight.

    Our lawn (buffalo) has grown 3 inches since I mowed it last Sunday.

    All the farm dams in the district are full to overflowing, indeed many have topped their dam walls. All the paddocks are a bright, beautiful green, with healthy regrowth apparent already.

    Smith’s Lake has gone from nearly empty to completely full.

    Despite this, our new embankment drain has coped, and the house is perfectly dry.

    The fires are out. The drought – at least in our area – is broken.

  23. Mavis, you are correct. The usual suspects continue to waste everyone’s time attacking Labor. I imagine it is because they lack the intellectual firepower to formulate a plan to attack the Coalition and only have intellectual dishonesty to resort to instead.

    They’re great at criticising Labor but woeful at coming up with an effective way to critically wound the Coalition.

  24. Rex

    Realistically minded environmentalists would vote Labor 1 Green 2 at the next election, because we need urgent action, and a handful of extra Green MPs aren’t going to be able to achieve that.

  25. NE Qld:

    caf, while I completely agree with your sentiment, it definitely needs further thought in future mass evacuations. Most travellers would have been away from their home chargers while on holidays.

    I don’t think there’s an EV on the market here that doesn’t come with a travel charger that plugs into a regular 10A GPO.

  26. Sounds like Warren might be throwing in the towel. I assume her votes will go to Bernie.

    Shane Goldmacher@ShaneGoldmacher
    ·
    31m
    New w/
    @AsteadWesley: Elizabeth Warren, a candidate not prone to punditry, said of her debate performance last night:

    “I just didn’t say enough, didn’t fight hard enough, didn’t tell you how bad I want this…”

  27. Rex

    Ah, ‘same same’. I’ve pointed out the weakness – and damage – of this glib phrase.

    Labor is committed to the Paris Agreement. It has rejected the Liberals’ false accountancy. Therefore, far from being ‘same same’, it has a far stronger stance on climate change than the Liberals.

    Where is doesn’t presently have policy is on the precise path forward, because that will largely depend on what Australia – and the world – are doing in two years’ time.

  28. zoomster @ #235 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 1:23 pm

    Rex

    Ah, ‘same same’. I’ve pointed out the weakness – and damage – of this glib phrase.

    Labor is committed to the Paris Agreement. It has rejected the Liberals’ false accountancy. Therefore, far from being ‘same same’, it has a far stronger stance on climate change than the Liberals.

    Where is doesn’t presently have policy is on the precise path forward, because that will largely depend on what Australia – and the world – are doing in two years’ time.

    You’re sounding like the turnip.

  29. Was is really necessary to re-quote over 1000 words of several other people’s fairly thoughtful discussion about the planet’s current predicament, before inserting your own completly irrelevant, and pointless tripe about an event that is several billion years away?

    Not to mention, the eventual colliding of the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies isn’t going to be a cataclysm anyway. Galaxys are mostly empty space: two galaxies colliding is like two clouds colliding. Some star systems could be flung out of the eventual combined galaxy, left to wander intergalactic space – but even for those, the only real change would be a much less interesting night time sky.

  30. Brain dead idiots will vote Greens 1 at the next election and end up getting the same result as the last 30 years. It’s the definition of insanity.

  31. Rex

    ‘You’re sounding like the turnip.’

    Far, far, better than having the brain of one.

    If you’d actually like to refute what I said with, you know, facts and stuff, go for it.

    But it appears glib is all you’ve got.

  32. Hi there everyone from East Coast Low Central! We have no power but massive storm flooding and I just checked out the radar and it looks like no change in the weather pattern until 2am at the earliest. Sigh.

  33. Bene Pandy ☄ @MoaniePandium
    Why is it not acknowledged that Greta Thunberg is directly related to the scientist Svante Arrhenius?
    Svante was the first to use basic principles of physical chemistry to calculate estimates of the extent to which increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2)
    will increase Earth’s surface temperature through the greenhouse effect.
    So it’s just a massive coincidence that Greta is closely related to the instigator of modern climate science?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svante_Arrhenius

  34. zoomster @ #242 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 1:31 pm

    Rex

    ‘You’re sounding like the turnip.’

    Far, far, better than having the brain of one.

    If you’d actually like to refute what I said with, you know, facts and stuff, go for it.

    But it appears glib is all you’ve got.

    You made no sense.

    You say they have a ‘far stronger stance on climate change than the Liberals’ then concede they have no ‘precise path forward’.

    Just concede. They have a bipartisan stance on climate.

  35. If we could see into the future and know for certain that there will be no Labor or Labor/Greens government in the next 10 years, what should our approach be for reducing emissions reduction?

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