Return of the frack

A contentious preference recommendation by the Greens brings a Northern Territory by-election to life, while the closure of nominations yields only a small field of candidates for the Queensland seat of Currumbin.

No Newspoll this week, owing to The Australian’s enthusiasm for unleashing them at the start of parliamentary sitting weeks, requiring a three week break rather than the usual two. However, we do have a extensive new poll on the bushfire crisis from the Australian National University’s Centre for Social Research and Methods and the Social Research Centre. It finds that fully 78.6% of the population reports being affected by the fires in one way or another, 14.4% severely or directly. Half the sample of 3000 respondents was asked how Scott Morrison had handled the bushfires, of whom 64.5% disapproved; for the other half the question was framed in terms of the government, with 59.4% disapproving.

Beyond that, there’s the two state/territory by-election campaigns currently in progress:

• I have posted a guide to next Saturday’s by-election in the Northern Territory seat of Johnston, which has suddenly became of more than marginal interest owing to the Greens decision to put Labor last on their how-to-vote cards (albeit that local electoral laws prevent these being distributed within close proximity of polling booths). This has been done to protest the decision by Michael Gunner’s Labor government to lift a moratorium on gas fracking exploration. The party has not taken such a step in any jurisdiction since the Queensland state election of July 1995, when it sought to punish Wayne Goss’s government in the seat of Springwood over a planned motorway through a koala habitat. This made a minor contribution to its loss of the seat, and hence to its eventual removal from office after a by-election defeat the following February. There’s acres of useful information on all this on Antony Green’s new blog, which he is publishing independently due to the ABC’s cavalier treatment of the invaluable blog he had there in happier times. There will also be a piece by me on the Greens’ decision in Crikey today, God willing.

• The other by-election in progress at the moment is for the Queensland seat of Currumbin on March 28, for which my guide can be found guide can be found here. With the closure of nominations last week, only two candidates emerged additional to Laura Gerber of the Liberal National Party and Kaylee Campradt of Labor: Sally Spain of the Greens, a perennial candidate for the party in federal and state Gold Coast seats; and Nicholas Bettany of One Nation, about whom the only thing I can tell you is that he recently deleted his Twitter account (what’s preserved of it on the Google cache reveals nothing particularly outrageous).

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.

1,591 comments on “Return of the frack”

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  1. “A rule of government is never look into anything you don’t have to, never start an enquiry unless you know what its findings will be.”
    …and never let a Report see the light of day if it does not suit you…

  2. SK

    Bernie sticks to a few clear examples – medicare for all, free education, tax the rich – and gives good examples about how ‘socialist’ European countries like Denmark do very well with these policies. So why can’t the USA have them? Answer is billionaires, big Pharma, WallSt.

    Simple messaging and he doesn’t stray off it.

    I do suspect in a debate with Dotard that he would have a few, not many, say 3 (three is the magic debating number) absolute put downs based on Dotard’s record. It will be hard to minnow his history of outrage and ignorance down to 3, but by the time the voters reach for those voting levers, everyone will know what they are.

  3. Bloomberg on the other hand, has got the best lines money can buy. Can his 78 year old brain remember the right ones to use at the right time? Does it matter? And he is ruthless.

    If Bloomberg gets to debate Dotard, it will be a cage fight between 2 absolute assholes.

  4. Where is Three House Sanders going to find the $30 trillion to pay for medicare for all.

    Free education for all is going to come in at a couple of $trillion a year.

  5. Someone on Rick Wilsons twitter account made a good point that Trump campaign has brilliantly capitalised on :

    ” I also say this as someone who has been in the game. People want a vision that is described in a phrase that will fit on a trucker hat “

  6. Thanks sprocket_

    Completely agree with this…

    Simple messaging and he doesn’t stray off it.

    If anyone can sell socialism to the US it is Sanders when facing a crook like Trump. But Trump will be ready. And he will run ad after ad after ad of BS.

  7. CNN has 2 losers tonight…

    * Michael Bloomberg: The first hour of the debate was an absolute and total disaster for the former mayor. He looked lost at times — and those were the best times for him! Warren dunked on him repeatedly. Sanders slammed him. Biden bashed him. It was like watching a pro wrestling match where everyone decided to gang up on a single wrestler in the ring — and that wrestler was totally and completely caught off-guard. Bloomberg is still very, very rich — and will continue to spend his money on the race. So he’s not going away. But it’s hard to see how the momentum Bloomberg had built through his heavy ad spending wasn’t slowed considerably by a performance that slid waaaaay under what was a very low bar of expectations.

    * Amy Klobuchar: The Minnesota senator has been one of the best debaters in the race to date. Not on Wednesday night. Klobuchar’s authenticity has been at the center of her rise of late but it all seemed too hokey and too forced this time around. Klobuchar had to know she was going to get a question about why she couldn’t remember the name of the Mexican President, but she still had to look down at her notes to get the name right! And her follow-up bit of trivia about the number of people in the Israeli parliament fell totally flat too. Just not her night.

  8. @boerwar

    Stephaine Kelton was economic adviser to Bernie Sanders during the 2016 campaign, she is one of the most prominent advocate for Modern Modern Theory (MMT). Therefore; Sander’s election promises will be funded by implementing MMT, which Trump is sort of doing now by running massive budget deficits. Also, Americans just don’t care anymore if the government prints more money or the deficit goes even higher.

    I am predicting Labor will adopt MMT, a ‘Green New Deal’ (they wont call it that), increases to Centrelink Benefits, maybe something like ‘Medicare for All’ (which will be an essentially expansion of Medicare) and a Universal Jobs Guarantee at the 2022 election. Especially if we go into a recession, resulting in very few believing that balancing the budget, let alone producing a surplus is a either achievable or desirable anymore. Not to mention people are much more concerned about reducing unemployment if it reaches or exceeds the level of the early 1990s recession.

  9. CNN winners..

    * Elizabeth Warren: Holy moly — what a debate for the Massachusetts senator. From the jump, Warren seemed to understand that she desperately needed a spark in the race. And she came out fighting — mostly against Bloomberg. “I’d like to talk about who we’re running against,” Warren said moments into the debate. “A billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians, and no I’m not talking about Donald Trump, I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.” But that wasn’t even the most savage hit Warren scored on Bloomberg! That came later, when she absolutely destroyed his equivocation on whether he would release women who had worked for his company from non-disclosure agreements they had signed. It was a takedown — aided by Bloomberg’s inability to mitigate the damage — that you rarely see at this level of politics. If debates matter, Warren should overperform her current polls in Nevada.

    * Bernie Sanders: The ganging-up on Bloomberg was just fine for the Sanders, who, in case you forgot, is the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination. With all of the attention — and opposition research — being used to tear Bloomberg apart, the Vermont democratic socialist largely got a pass. On his major weakness at the moment — his walking back of a previous pledge to release his full medical records — Sanders took a few hits, but benefited from Pete Buttigieg’s decision not to push the issue of his personal health but rather to pivot to Sanders’ health care plan. Sanders, as he usually does in debates, played his greatest hits (millionaires and billionaires, “Medicare for All,” etc.) that have put him atop the Democratic field.

  10. Funny how Boer and co are just repeating the same nonsense about Bernie that the Clinton camp did four years ago. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

  11. Boerwar

    Where is Three House Sanders going to find the $30 trillion to pay for medicare for all.

    Go on make it a round $50 trillion, you know you want to. Terrible policy though as currently their medical sector costs the economy nothing…………………… oh wait.

  12. And hanging on…

    * Pete Buttigieg/Joe Biden: Warren giving Bloomberg the emperor-has-no-clothes treatment will slow the former New York City mayor’s attempt to seize control of the pragmatic centrist lane. That’s good news for both Buttigieg and Biden, who want/need to be that candidate. Biden, a hugely mediocre debater, turned in one of his more solid performances on Wednesday night but that was due, in no small part, to the fact that everyone else on the stage ignored him. Buttigieg is, without question, the most naturally gifted debater in the Democratic field, meaning he is simply not going to turn in a clunker. He was steady if not spectacular in this debate. And he spent lots of time going at Sanders, a clear effort to send a signal to voters that he is the most credible alternative to the Vermont senator.

  13. sprocket_
    A European health system still produces big pharma companies.

    Not surprised with Bloomberg’s performance which is why I see him more like Palmer than Trump. Warren seems the winner and she needed it, not surprised to see people say Amy came off as forced, as that is how i find her when listening to her speeches.

  14. AN opinion :

    Democratic Debate: Who Won, Who Lost, and What You Need To Know

    Democrats Who Won

    1). Elizabeth Warren – If one believes that debates are won based on clips that get played on cable news, and moments that stick the voters’ minds, Sen. Warren had one heck of a night. Having a billionaire right next to her, was like flashing a red cape in front of a bull. Warren decimated Mike Bloomberg. She was ready, and reminded everyone of the populist fighter who was on the upswing early in the campaign.

    2). Pete Buttigieg – Mayor Pete had his sharpest debate of the year so far. Buttigieg went after Bernie Sanders on holding his supporters accountable, stood up for working people, and clearly defined and clearly explained the middle lane that will appeal to Independents in November.

    3) Joe Biden – Biden was strong, and it was clear that people who were trying to write him off were making a big mistake. Biden took on both Sanders and Bloomberg and demonstrated why polls continue to show him as the Democratic candidate who would have the best chance of beating Trump.

    Who Lost

    1). Bernie Sanders – Sen. Sanders wasn’t great, but he wasn’t horrible either. There was nobody who was already supporting Sanders who left him after this debate. There was also probably no one who wasn’t supporting him who was moved over to his camp. The problem for Sen. Sanders was that Mike Bloomberg did some serious damage by linking his economic ideas to communism and exposing him as a socialist millionaire with three houses. Bloomberg came at Sanders hard and he didn’t have many great retorts.

    2). Mike Bloomberg – Bloomberg was also uneven. The former mayor was hit on everything from stop and frisk to his sexism, and trying to buy the nomination. Bloomberg was the first candidate in two presidential election cycles who was able to land heavy blows on Bernie Sanders. Bloomberg like Sanders is a flawed candidate who showed both the good and the bad in his candidacy.

    3). Amy Klobuchar – One gets the sense that Bloomberg’s arrival will end up pushing Klobuchar out of the race. There doesn’t seem to be enough room in the middle lane of the primary for four candidates. Klobuchar may do a little better in Nevada than some expect, but the writing is clearly on the wall for the future of her candidacy.

  15. I’m beginning to think that Bloomberg’s baggage with both stop-and-frisk as well as women, makes him unelectable. Publicly refusing to release women he allegedly harassed from non-disclosure agreements? Wow. Thats gotta hurt him.

  16. Let’s do some back-of-the-envelope numbers for Three House Sanders:

    Free education for all: $2 trillion per annum.

    Free medicare for all: $3.8 trillion per annum.

    Social services for all: $1 trillion per annum.

    Size of current Budget: $3.8 trillion.

    Shortfall on health, education and social services alone: $3 trillion.

    This leaves nothing for Defence $.75 trillion; US foreign aid, $50 billion; Environment, $6 billion; law enforcement, $14 billion; agriculture, $140 billion.

    Some rich folks with three houses each are going to have to give up at least two houses each to pay for all this!

  17. “Biden took on both Sanders and Bloomberg and demonstrated why polls continue to show him as the Democratic candidate who would have the best chance of beating Trump. ”

    Wait… what? But I thought polls told us Sanders had the best chance of beating Trump!! That’s what Bernie’s people told me, and they never get it wrong.

  18. I know I am in the minority here but I still think when it comes to the Dem convention that a Biden/Harris combination will get the vote …….

  19. “The problem for Sen. Sanders was that Mike Bloomberg did some serious damage by linking his economic ideas to communism and exposing him as a socialist millionaire with three houses. Bloomberg came at Sanders hard and he didn’t have many great retorts.”


    Haha what nonsense. This was all raised four years ago! Everyone knows Bernie has a few mill from his books. Annnnnd?

    The crowd booed and jeered Bloomberg when he took the cheap shot of incorrectly labelling democratic socialism as communism. The only people I know who call socialists communists are right wing nutters. He exposed himself as a right winger.

  20. Boerwar

    Where is Three House Sanders going to find the $30 trillion to pay for medicare for all.

    The same place every civilised nation on earth finds it.

    As an aside, where did you get that figure of $30 trillion from? You wouldn’t be making shit up again would you?

    As a further aside, the US could stop all the military boondoggles, toys for boys and illegally invading foreign countries to steal their resources. That’d raise a few trillion to start with. Then raise taxes on the 1% back to levels they were in the 1950s and 60’s. Back in the time when America was great. The MAGA crowd, including Dotard, will be all in favour of that. After they want to turn the clock back to Make America Great Again

  21. “Bloomberg called Bernie a communist. Typical establishment style lie.”

    Agreed. Saying every socialist is a communist is like saying every capitalist is a fascist. Not true.

  22. Sanders’ election promises will be funded by implementing MMT

    It is not correct to talk of “implementing MMT” because MMT is not a policy or a regime to adopt or switch to. Rather, MMT is a conceptual framework for understanding monetary systems as they currently exist. It is true to say that the insights of MMT have implications for policy choices and political debates, but it is important to clarify that we already live in an MMT world whether people recognise it or not. People did not start implementing the theory of evolution or the theory of gravity – those phenomena already existed before people had the conceptual frameworks for understanding and describing them. MMT is like that.

    The main implication of MMT for current policy debates is that currency issuing governments should be making much more active use of fiscal policy than they currently do. There is currently a lot of unused real resources in the economy – which means a lot of scope for the government to increase its net investments in the economy without causing an inflation problem.

  23. Those predicting a Bloomberg collapse would have predicted the same about Trump.

    The US people seem to like rich, narcissist assholes who will promise them the world. A couple of Bloomberg’s rehearsed lines about:

    – being the only one on stage to start a business
    – worked hard to earn his money, and is now giving it away
    – giving mentoring, start up grants, access to banking for disadvantaged wanting to start a business

    This is what will be flooding the airwaves over the coming weeks, not the ‘lambasting he got’ which only the rusted ons would have watched

  24. Sacré bleu! Maybe Mike should’ve steered clear of the debates? Judged by his performance today, he can only get better(?). In any event, he’s promised to put his vast resources behind the eventual winner.

  25. ‘Labor to announce net zero emissions target by 2050 and will oppose taxpayer funding of new coal power
    Exclusive: Anthony Albanese is expected to confirm in speech on Friday that Labor will oppose using Kyoto carryover credits..’

    None of this should surprise anybody.

  26. “As ‘finished’ as Trump was when “grab them by the pussy” started airing?”

    The difference of course is that this is a democratic primary, not a two horse race for the presidency. The advantage Trump had with ‘grab them by the pussy’ was that 90% of people who vote for the repug presidential candidate have always voted repug and always will, no matter what. And God knows Hillary had enough baggage of her own to turn off the precious few swing voters (Jim Comey, remember, came out with his bombshell within a matter of days of ‘grab them by the pussy’ if I remember correctly).

    In a democrat primary on the other hand, I credit the majority of democrats to actually abhore the sorts of things Bloomberg is being alleged of doing, and they have plenty of other viable candidates to choose instead. Actually when you think about it, Bloomberg is so far removed from the values you would think the typical democrat voter would stand for. Which is not surprising, since he used to be a repug. And when it comes to the crunch, I frankly don’t think democrat voters will buy Bloomberg’s egotistical pitch that only a billionaire bastard like him can defeat the other billionaire bastard.

  27. Warren was on fire, she absolutely cut the centrists to shreds which was handy for Sanders because he didn’t need to get his hands too dirty.

  28. Heard part of Morrison’s presser in the car and I am fed up to here with his constant mantra “keep australians safe”.

    Ingrid M@iMusing
    PM priorities at this presser:
    increasing federal executive power;
    militarisisation of disaster response;
    branding this fire season “black”;
    framing anthropogenic climate catastrophe as “natural”;
    pretending his decisions are made by the Australian public.

    the prime minister did not mention carbon emissions, the coal industry, or transition to renewables. He did lie about the Australian public, claiming we want the Commonwealth to review how states and territories are managing hazard reduction, native vegetation, and land clearing.

    I see some journos are already crystallising the preferred Morrison branding of what could more accurately be labelled the #MorrisonFires ie dishing up to the public exactly what Morrison wants us to hear also known as bias.

  29. a r:

    As ‘finished’ as Trump was when “grab them by the pussy” started airing?

    Trump didn’t have to win a Democratic Party nomination!

  30. Amanda Perram
    “A Manus refugee has a broken leg & several others are injured after being attacked by an angry mob in Port Moresby. The mob, which eventually grew to about 20 people, was reportedly yelling, “we will kill you; get out of our country”

  31. – being the only one on stage to start a business
    – worked hard to earn his money, and is now giving it away
    – giving mentoring, start up grants, access to banking for disadvantaged wanting to start a business

    Yep. And all the jobs he ‘created’. This Bloomberg/Sanders battle is important. Trump will learn from it. But if Sanders wins, can Trump use the same Bloomberg lines? Trump got a huge leg up…. at least Bloomberg started from the ground.

  32. How will Bernie pay for his medicare for all?

    This is a pretty persuasive paper put out by the senator’s office. Evidence based and sourced with links.

    It starts out by answering that question with “we already are”.

    “If the status quo stays in place, between 2022 and 2031
    the federal government will spend $59.65 trillion.1 According to estimates from the conservative
    Mercatus Center, under the Senate’s Medicare for All legislation, those expenditures will drop
    by approximately $2 trillion.”

    Well worth a read.

  33. I agree with you too, PhoenixRed

    I think between them, they’d cover a range of dem voters and wouldn’t ‘scare the horses’.

    The Bernie brigade underestimates the hesitancy that most voters feel about a ‘bold revolution’.

    And we saw it here in May 19 – Labor had a comprehensive platform that had bold policies … but nowhere near as ‘socialist’ as Bernie (and to some extent Warren – even though I like her).

  34. phoenixRED says: Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    I know I am in the minority here but I still think when it comes to the Dem convention that a Biden/Harris combination will get the vote …….

    Biden – old, bland, steady pair of hands ……….. but everything Trump is NOT

    Harris – woman, of colour – extremely intelligent and analytical

    just need a policy statement that fits on a blue hat 🙂

  35. The most interesting finding from the recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll is that, while the overall country may have quite a different opinion and unbelievable as it might appear, Democrats prefer the system of democratic socialism 50% over capitalism 46%. It seems Democrat voters are far more open to substantial change than the Democrat establishment are willing to accept and the most vociferous opponents of democratic socialism are to be found within the Republican ranks.

  36. The US economy already has a lot of non-inflationary space for the government to increase its net spending, but the government could free up even more real resources for its programs if it pruned:

    The immensely wasteful and globally destructive military industrial complex

    The immensely wasteful and socially harmful prison industrial complex

    The immensely wasteful and inequitable health care system – which is so wasteful because it is dominated by private health insurers, instead of being a single payer system

    And that is just for starters. There are other steps the government could take to free up real resources for its socioeconomic programs.

    There is no lack of real resources to do the things that Sanders want to do. And of course, as you would know, there is never a lack of money if the federal government is making the payments. The federal government creates its currency every time it makes a payment. And it deletes some of its currency out of existence when it taxes.

  37. I think that for the sake of the party, Ms. Trad should follow suit, and before the Currumbin byelection on March 28. Ms. Miller’s former seat of Bundamba is as safe as houses – a buffer of 21.6%. I met her briefly some five years ago at a function when she was Police Minister, the next day or so, she resigned before Ms. Palaszczuk could give her her marching orders for a “pattern of reckless conduct.”

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