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. Cud Chewer, absolutely. And doing your second point, will enable and motivate the LNP climate change moderates in helping out with your three and four.

  2. Player One @ #300 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 2:57 pm

    Greensborough Growler @ #298 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 2:53 pm

    This civil disbodience thingy is interesting. I’m sure she will applaud anyone participating. Of course, that will not include her.

    Why would you assume everyone is as morally bankrupt as yourself?

    I’m sure you’d co-ordinate and encourage. You might even donate threepence to the legal campaign. But, coming down from your Bumcrack paradise would be a bridge that hasn’t been built.

    I know, I know. You control the world from where you are and every one must dance to your fanatsies.

    So, answer my basic question of what this civil disobedience thingy actually means and what is your proposed role?.

  3. Greensborough Growler @ #303 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 3:03 pm

    I’m sure you’d co-ordinate and encourage. You might even donate threepence to the legal campaign. But, coming down from your Bumcrack paradise would be a bridge that hasn’t been built.

    I know, I know. You control the world from where you are and every one must dance to your fanatsies.

    So, answer my basic question of what this civil disobedience thingy actually means and what is your proposed role?.

    There’s plenty of clouds around today, GG. Why don’t you go shout at a few more? I’m sure you’ll feel better after that and a good lie down.

  4. Rex

    ‘You can’t have a “far stronger stance on climate change than the Liberals” then concede there’s no “precise path forward”.’

    Oh dear. You really do struggle with basic concepts.

    Let’s imagine I’m going on a trip in a couple of years time. I know exactly where I’m going, and where I want to be when, but there’s several different routes I could take to get there.

    I could decide exactly how I’m going to get there now, but I risk major changes happening in the interim period – road closures, changes to routes, changes to costs of transportation, my own ability to do certain things I can now, World War III, whatever.

    The fact that I haven’t decided which route I’m going to take doesn’t mean that I’m undecided or uncertain about my destination.

    So, yes. It’s perfectly possible to “far stronger stance on climate change than the Liberals” without knowing ‘the precise path forward’.

    I hope that was simple enough for you.

  5. zoomster @ #308 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 3:09 pm

    Rex

    ‘You can’t have a “far stronger stance on climate change than the Liberals” then concede there’s no “precise path forward”.’

    Oh dear. You really do struggle with basic concepts.

    Let’s imagine I’m going on a trip in a couple of years time. I know exactly where I’m going, and where I want to be when, but there’s several different routes I could take to get there.

    I could decide exactly how I’m going to get there now, but I risk major changes happening in the interim period – road closures, changes to routes, changes to costs of transportation, my own ability to do certain things I can now, World War III, whatever.

    The fact that I haven’t decided which route I’m going to take doesn’t mean that I’m undecided or uncertain about my destination.

    So, yes. It’s perfectly possible to “far stronger stance on climate change than the Liberals” without knowing ‘the precise path forward’.

    I hope that was simple enough for you.

    So exactly where is Labors destination ?

  6. Player One @ #306 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 3:07 pm

    Greensborough Growler @ #303 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 3:03 pm

    I’m sure you’d co-ordinate and encourage. You might even donate threepence to the legal campaign. But, coming down from your Bumcrack paradise would be a bridge that hasn’t been built.

    I know, I know. You control the world from where you are and every one must dance to your fanatsies.

    So, answer my basic question of what this civil disobedience thingy actually means and what is your proposed role?.

    There’s plenty of clouds around today, GG. Why don’t you go shout at a few more? I’m sure you’ll feel better after that and a good lie down.

    I see, you’re stuck on stupid again!

    You can’t answer simple questions about ideas you propose. So, you just babble incoherently hoping it will all go away.

  7. rhwombat

    Has anyone established a short list of the climate deniers in the LNP.. or at least he ring leaders?

    Just wondering how big a problem it is.

  8. rhwombat
    But that is where we need to focus our efforts. Not pissing in the wind with the Greens. Take politics out of climate change. Be partisan on any other issue. The UK managed to do it.

  9. Labor are in a difficult bind, one progressive parties are prone too. RW parties are not because they just lie and then do what the hell they like.

    How to look after union members and their industries when unions are part of the party DNA and the reason for its founding, and square that with the inevitable demise of that industry and the loss of those jobs.

    I have not yet seen a clean and clear way to handle this in all the history of Labour/Labor/Left parties so far and I assume this will be just as messy for Labor.

    We all know coal is dying and us along with it, but I do see why the ALP hesitates when they has been punished by the stupid voters in our country every time they mention a carbon price, or closing down an industry,

    Just look at those logging union members embracing John Howard ffs in Tasmania in that Federal election, because of ‘my job;. That they probably got sacked and replaced with non-union members in the end due to the Howard gov’ts Work Choices is an irony not much appreciated

    What I am saying is the ALP is not perfect by any means, and is known to try walk own both sides of the street at the same time, but it is not hopeless, nor is that a good reason for with-holding a vote for them,

    Nothing, absolutely nothing, will change as long as the ALP is in Opposition.

    By all means keep the pressure on the ALP. But do not expect Shadow Ministers to come out and gift the gov’t nor the Murdoch press with headlines to bash the ALP over the head with in an election campaign.

    Marles is not the best speaker, he develops stutter over small words when trying to get his message out, especially when under pressure. But in Insiders today, David Speers was looking for a headline, a quote, a string of controversial words. Speers did his job well, and if he does the same to the Coalition politicians, I will not complain. Marles did a good job on trying to remind Speers who actually is in government right now and has the responsibility to be implementing Climate Change policies, and that is the question, not whether the ALP is going to have a blanket policy of refusing approval for any mine.

    Richard Marles is right, market forces will shut down mines and power stations. Without government intervention there will be no more mines and no new coal power. Why tie an anchor around your neck coming up to the next election by making bold statements designed to alienate key voters, when the focus should be on helping those voters cope with the coming changes.

    In the ALP shoes, I would rather be the rescuer than the blade of doom.

    If that is wishy-washy, so be it. Sometimes the pure is the enemy of good.

    (Yes, union membership is falling, and it can be said the ALP should cut it ties with them and be a broader progressive party, and pay no heed to them; Gig economy and dog eat dog and all in the workplace now. But I am old-fashioned in thinking that restoring our human right to form unions and with-hold labour, including by secondary boycott, is worth something.)

  10. lizzie:

    [‘These dogs are belgian malinois. No dog can jump as high. Not the ideal pet. They need training and discipline.’]

    Thanks for those posts. I’ve got a Staffy Cross Labrador. She’s quite an escape artist, who can get over a five-foot fence, but nothing like a Belgian Malinois. Quite incredible.

  11. I used to have a Belgian shepherd mallinois variety and she was a great pet. Very loyal, good with kids, even tempered. I never experienced the jumping thing and would recommend the breed to anyone.

  12. P1
    “Probably. And Labor will no doubt be undertaking yet another review into how they managed to lose yet another election”

    Yeah, but why should I worry? Our Glorious The Greens Government will have fixed everything by then.

    Sorry, I am opening up another ALP/Green crap fight again.

  13. Puffytmd @ #322 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 3:21 pm

    P1
    “Probably. And Labor will no doubt be undertaking yet another review into how they managed to lose yet another election”

    Yeah, but why should I worry? Our Glorious The Greens Government will have fixed everything by then.

    I wonder if I should change my login name to “Player (Not A Green) One”. Do you think that would help? 🙂

  14. Cud Chewer @ #101 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 3:13 pm

    rhwombat

    Has anyone established a short list of the climate deniers in the LNP.. or at least he ring leaders?

    Just wondering how big a problem it is.

    1.730 million km² & the entire Qld LNP. As far as I can see, only Alexander, Allen, Zimmerman and the IPA’s pet poodle Timmy the Franking Credit Retriever are even farting in the general direction of non-denial, and they are as believable as Scummo from Marketing. Who else can you think of?

  15. P1

    I understand the criticism of the ALP, and I am not saying it isn’t warranted. But I really, really want the ALP to win the next election, and if that means not totally pissing off Qld, so be it. Our face needs a nose.

  16. 1. will albanese allow labor members a conscious vote on steggall’s climate change (national framework for adaptation & mitigation) bill 2020 ?httpss://www.zalisteggall.com.au/climate_change_national_framework_for_adaptation_and_mitigation_bill_2020
    2. will labor support independents to get the bill debated & voted on the national parliament, or will labor support the government to get the bill suppressed ?
    that’s what i’d like to know. -a.v.

  17. Rex

    It’s OK. I knew you weren’t capable of understanding simple concepts when I started.

    There’s only so much dumbing down one can do.

  18. alfred venison @ #332 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 3:34 pm

    1. will albanese allow labor members a conscious vote on steggall’s climate change (national framework for adaptation & mitigation) bill 2020 ?httpss://www.zalisteggall.com.au/climate_change_national_framework_for_adaptation_and_mitigation_bill_2020
    2. will labor support independents to get the bill debated & voted on the national parliament, or will labor support the government to get the bill suppressed ?
    that’s what i’d like to know. -a.v.

    Great questions alfred !

    I think Labors response to Steggalls bill could be the tipping point for many Labor voters.

  19. Player One @ #293 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 1:49 pm

    It was always a longshot to expect politicians – of any pursuasion – to be able to address our current problems.

    Maybe. The risk for Labor is that if the Coalition wises up and learns to (believably) present itself as having better climate policies than Labor then it’s pretty much game over.

    And it’s not even that far-fetched. Johnson’s conservative UK government just promised to end all ICE vehicle sales in the next 15 years.

    Labor needs to be seen leading on the climate issue, not merely offering bipartisan support for whatever good ideas the Coalition manages to sneak past its RWNJ cohort. Letting the Libs be seen as offering any sort of leadership in this area is a mistake.

  20. Puffytmd @ #329 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 3:32 pm

    P1

    I understand the criticism of the ALP, and I am not saying it isn’t warranted. But I really, really want the ALP to win the next election, and if that means not totally pissing off Qld, so be it. Out face needs a nose.

    I think the main area where we differ is that I no longer see much chance of Labor winning government in its own right. If Labor could accept this, they would have a much better chance of achieving government. Eventually, I think they will be forced to do so – but I am afraid it is currently looking like it will take at least one more election loss before the message that the electorate has been trying to tell them sinks in.

  21. alfred venison

    1. I would certainly hope Labor MPs are conscious for the vote.

    2. Why would Labor members NEED a conscience vote? (This isn’t the kind of issue where any party allows one, btw).

    …the problem with such legislation is usually in the detail. It’s hard enough for a major party to work out sound policies, with the correct costings, and with some understanding of the consequences down the line, with the heaps of staff and expertise they can tap into, it’s even harder for a minor party or an indie to come up with a piece of sound legislation.

    Labor votes against ‘worthy’ proposals all the time – not because it disagrees with the intended outcomes, but because of serious flaws in the proposed legislation.

    Regardless, no indie/Green bill put up at the moment has any chance of getting anywhere, so they are – by definition – vanity exercises, designed to get attention rather than being serious pieces of legislation. In which case, the devil won’t even be in the detail, because there won’t be enough detail to be bedevilled.

    In fact, most such pieces of legislation are designed with the view that they will be rejected by the major parties. If a major party can get the job done, there’s no reason for the indies to exist, so the indies aren’t going to do anything which makes a major party look good.

  22. a.v

    Ah, so you’re admitting the motives.

    If the Bill is set up to be rejected by both major parties, I’m sure that outcome will be achieved.

  23. alfred venison @ #332 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 3:34 pm

    1. will albanese allow labor members a conscious vote on steggall’s climate change (national framework for adaptation & mitigation) bill 2020 ?httpss://www.zalisteggall.com.au/climate_change_national_framework_for_adaptation_and_mitigation_bill_2020
    2. will labor support independents to get the bill debated & voted on the national parliament, or will labor support the government to get the bill suppressed ?
    that’s what i’d like to know. -a.v.

    Good question. BTW, you have a typo in your link …

    https://www.zalisteggall.com.au/climate_change_national_framework_for_adaptation_and_mitigation_bill_2020

  24. zoomster @ #333 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 12:34 pm

    Rex

    It’s OK. I knew you weren’t capable of understanding simple concepts when I started.

    There’s only so much dumbing down one can do.

    Keep to one syllable words!

    Dick walked up a hill.

    It got steep.

    Too steep for Dick.

    Dick turned right.

    Just a small bit.

    It was good now.

    Dick got to the top. 🙂

  25. a r @ #335 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 3:39 pm

    Player One @ #293 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 1:49 pm

    It was always a longshot to expect politicians – of any pursuasion – to be able to address our current problems.

    Maybe. The risk for Labor is that if the Coalition wises up and learns to (believably) present itself as having better climate policies than Labor then it’s pretty much game over.

    And it’s not even that far-fetched. Johnson’s conservative UK government just promised to end all ICE vehicle sales in the next 15 years.

    Labor needs to be seen leading on the climate issue, not merely offering bipartisan support for whatever good ideas the Coalition manages to sneak past its RWNJ cohort. Letting the Libs be seen as offering any sort of leadership in this area is a mistake.

    The problem with this argument is that election after election we see that voters do not see Climate change policies as being a driver of where they vote.

    Sure, there are plenty of polls showing the depth of voters feelings. But, in the end they vote for self interest, economic well being and not making any personal sacrifices.

  26. NE Qld @ #104 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 3:17 pm

    rhwombat
    But that is where we need to focus our efforts. Not pissing in the wind with the Greens. Take politics out of climate change. Be partisan on any other issue. The UK managed to do it.

    No, we have to take the climate deniers out of politics by calling them what they are to their faces. The votes of Queensland (and NE Qld in particular) are responsible for the shit that all of us are in, and have been for most of the last 7 years. It’s not the Green pissants, it’s your mob. I can’t do any thing except refuse to accede to the special pleading of the precious over-privileged yokels of the 10%, most manifest in NE Qld, who don’t want to accept their responsibility for the shit we are currently in.

  27. a r @ #335 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 3:39 pm

    The risk for Labor is that if the Coalition wises up and learns to (believably) present itself as having better climate policies than Labor then it’s pretty much game over.

    Agreed. I’ve been saying this for a while now. And Labor’s current crab-walk over to the Coalition’s side only makes it more likely.

  28. Climate Change (National Framework for Adaptation and Mitigation) Bill 2020
    https://www.zalisteggall.com.au/climate_change_national_framework_for_adaptation_and_mitigation_bill_2020

    Rebekha is seconding Independent Member for Warringah, Zali Steggall’s Private Member’s Bill, Climate Change (National Framework for Adaptation and Action) Bill 2020 … The Bill is yet to be tabled in the Parliament, but she said hopefully would be introduced in March. It will be available for public viewing online next week. (The Islander, 6 Feb 2020 – 2:10PM)

    https://www.theislanderonline.com.au/story/6618109/federal-member-rebekha-sharkie-addresses-bushfire-climate-change-connection/

    Australia can seek guidance from 2008 legislation passed in the United Kingdom. The UK Climate Change Act, … imposed a long-term objective of an 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and set processes for multi-year targets to meet that objective, without dictating how the government was to meet that target. “The act led to significant changes in government policy, including the implementation of minimum pricing on carbon, reverse auction schemes and government-determined renewable energy targets”

    https://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/politics/27238-is-a-climate-change-act-on-the-cards

    Private members Bills can be difficult to get through the parliament when the government has a clear majority, as the LNP presently does … the shift in the national psyche following the catastrophic bushfires means the LNP’s response to such a Bill will come under significant moral and political scrutiny. That may just help get some form of the Bill through.

    https://www.sustainabilitymatters.net.au/content/sustainability/article/what-would-a-national-climate-change-act-mean-for-australia–1395494675

    Use the form on the right hand side of this page to find and contact your local Member of Parliament. There is also a letter writing resource linked on the left hand side to help you draft your own.

    https://www.climateforchange.org.au/action_bipartisanbill

  29. a r

    The risk for Labor is that if the Coalition wises up and learns to (believably) present itself as having better climate policies than Labor then it’s pretty much game over.

    They’re already leaning towards this with their “but we’re meeting our goals,” etc, and “of course we believe in climate change.” Voters who normally vote LNP would be comforted by this and settle back into their old ways. No need to take a chance with an Independent.

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