A second by-election now looms in Queensland, in which One Nation may cause trouble in a traditionally Labor-voting working class seat. Elsewhere, Josh Frydenberg faces a contentious Section 44 challenge, and a Victorian Liberal aspirant regrets not paying his train fare.

At the top of the sidebar are links to guides I have up for three by-election campaigns currently in progress, including yesterday’s new addition:

• Queensland’s festival of democracy on March 28 looks set to receive a new attraction after Jo-Ann Miller’s announcement to parliament yesterday that she is resigning as member of the eastern Ipswich seat of Bundamba, effective immediately. After two decades as Labor member, Miller has grown increasingly estranged from her party over time, a particularly interesting manifestation of which was an appearance alongside Pauline Hanson on the campaign trail two days before the December 2017 state election. One Nation did not field a candidate against Miller in 2017, but has been quick to announce it has a candidate ready to go for the by-election, who will be announced on the weekend. Since Ipswich was the birthplace of the Hanson phenomenon, this could yet make the by-election more interesting than the 21.6% two-party margin suggests. Tony Moore of the Brisbane Times reports Steve Axe, Miller’s electorate officer, will contest the preselection, but Sarah Elks of The Australian reports the front runners are two candidates of the Left: Nick Thompson and Lance McCallum, who are respectively aligned with the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union and the Electrical Trades Union. I have a provisional by-election guide up and running which takes it for granted it will be held on March 28, though this is yet to be officially confirmed. Also on that day will be the Currumbin by-election and council elections, including for the big prizes of the Brisbane city council and lord mayoralty.

• Further on the by-election front, I had a paywalled piece in Crikey yesterday on the Greens preferences imbroglio in Johnston.

Legal matters:

• The Federal Court is hearing a Section 44 challenge against Josh Frydenberg relating to his Hungarian-born mother, which complainant Michael Staindl argues makes him a dual citizen. Frydenberg’s mother and her family fled the country in 1949 as its post-war communist regime tightened its grip on power, describing themselves as stateless on arrival in Australia. Staindl maintains that the whole family’s Hungarian citizenship rights were restored with the collapse of communism in 1949. Staindl is also pursuing defamation action against Scott Morrison over the latter’s claim that his action was motivated by anti-Semitism. The Australian ($) reports a decision is expected “within weeks”.

• In further legal obscurantism news, Emanuele Cicchiello has withdrawn from the race to fill Mary Wooldridge’s vacancy in the Victorian Legislative Council on the grounds that he once pleaded guilty to an offence carrying a prison term of more than five years – for improperly claiming a concessional train fare when he was 19. The Australian ($) reports that those remaining in the field are Asher Judah, former Property Council deputy director and Master Builders policy manager, and Matthew Bach, deputy director of Ivanhoe Girls Grammar.

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.

1,417 comments on “Bundambarama”

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  1. mundo says:
    Sunday, February 23, 2020 at 9:51 pm
    sprocket_ @ #1357 Sunday, February 23rd, 2020 – 8:34 pm

    If my NewsPoll selections have any weight, it will be:

    2PP -no change
    Morrison approval down
    Albo approval up
    Albo increases lead on PPM
    Wrong, wrong, wrong….and, wrong.
    Bob Sprocket doesn’t have a great track record with predictions!

  2. There is a daily, unfunny cartoon here in which Morrison is incontinent and his religion attacked. I have never seen anyone object

  3. Douglas and Milko
    that’s not her point, i think Mavis was hinting that his outrage at the picture was undermined by his reference to bolt’s “retarded” love child. i could be wrong. -a.v.

  4. Douglas and Milko:


    [‘Welcome to the debate, though you know instinctively you could do better?

    Umm – can you tell me what important political satirical point the picture of Bill Shorten with tits was making?

    I cannot see it myself, but you can?’]

    I really don’t get your point.

  5. sprocket_ @ #1405 Sunday, February 23rd, 2020 – 9:54 pm


    Why do you think Morrison has -20 approval rating?

    A two-point net improvement for Mr Morrison follows the lowest Newspoll reading of his leadership. Satisfaction with his performance lifted a point to 38 per cent, while those dissatisfied dropped a point to 58 per cent.

    Mr Albanese, however, suffered an eight-point deterioration in his own numbers, falling from 43 per cent to 39 per cent on ­approval ratings and rising from 40 to 44 on disapproval.
    Nuff said.
    Bit by bit Scrotty will worm his way back into the hearts of the dumbarses who put him there.

  6. mundo:

    [‘Wrong, wrong, wrong….and, wrong.’]

    Agree, if there is a period where Labor’s approval should be up, now’s the time.

  7. BB

    Seriously D&M, that comment is pretty one-eyed.

    This place is full of comments about appearance, both clothed and (as fancied) unclothed.

    You can’t justifiably excuse one as fair caricaturist comment, but not the other.

    Lefties need to recognize that their hypocrisy on issues such as ad hominem comments (particularly regarding personal appearance) is one of the things that gives energy to their opponents.

    I agree with your last paragraph, but on this blog, the only physical nasturtiums I can see being bandied around about the right are political caricatures that make a political point.

    I still can see no actual political satire justification for the picture Nath posted.

  8. Boerwar:

    My view is that we should pull out now and either order a dozen US nuclear powered subs or a variant of the German boats.

    Why* would the US sell nuclear subs? They have never done that before (for very good reasons). They only thing they have ever done is sell the UK one submarine reactor, which was then used in the UK’s first nuclear “fleet” sub (all subsequent boats use a UK designed reactor). This was done to allow UK to get a nuclear boat into the North Atlantic to confront the Russians (who would otherwise have faced only the US boats, and exploited this in propaganda). Even then there was a kerfuffle where the US tried to sell an obsolete reactor instead.

    *OK – Trump!!!!

  9. Boerwar:

    8. That a Greens BOP can deliver significant national outcomes in any domain over time. no

    A effective balance is by definition between the two things balanced.

    The Greens can’t wield BOP effectively whilst they remain positioned to the left of both major parties.

    To leverage BOP, one of the following three things would need to happen:
    1. Greens move to centre/centre-right (al la Democrats)
    2. ALP moves to extreme left (left of the Greens)
    3. Coalition moves to extreme left!!!

    Unless one of the above happens it is a geometric impossibility for the Greens to wield an effective BOP.

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