Democracy in the time of COVID-19

Queensland council elections and state by-elections to proceed in spite of everything; two polls on attitudes to coronavirus; and Josh Frydenberg off the Section 44 hook.

I had a paywalled article in Crikey yesterday considering the implications of coronavirus for the electoral process. For what it’s worth, the New York Times today reports that research finds no evidence that elections act as vectors for disease. Apropos next Saturday’s local government elections and state by-elections in Queensland, my article had this to say:

According to Graeme Orr, University of Queensland law professor and a noted authority on electoral law, it is still within the power of Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe to postpone the council elections. The byelections for the state seats of Currumbin and Bundamba could also theoretically be called off if the speaker rescinded the writs. Since a state election will be held in October in any case, it might well be argued that filling the latter vacancies for a few months is not worth the bother. However, the official position is that neither pre-poll nor election day booths will experience activity amounting to a gathering of more than 500 people, as per the latest advice of the chief medical officer β€” advice that will surely be showing its age well before next Saturday.

In other by-election news, the Liberal National Party has put Labor last on its how-to-vote cards in Currumbin and Bundamba, and thus behind One Nation, a move that has evidently lost its taboo since the issue of One Nation preferences tore the state’s Coalition parties apart around the turn of the century. This could potentially be consequential in Bundamba, where it is conceivable that One Nation could outpoll the LNP and defeat Labor with their preferences.

Elsewhere:

• The Federal Court has dismissed a Section 44 challenge against Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s eligibility to sit in parliament on grounds of dual Hungarian citizenship, to which he was allegedly entitled via his Hungarian-born mother. The petitioner, Michael Staindl, initially pointed to Australian documentation suggesting her family arrived in Australia in 1950 with Hungarian passports, having fled the country the previous year as the post-war communist regime tightened its grip. However, it was established that this arose from loose definitions used at the time by the Australian authorities, and that what the family actually had was “a form of single use emigrant exit passport”. This led Staindl to twice reformulate his argument, eventually settling on the contention that Frydenberg’s mother was left with the “shell” of a citizenship that had been emptied only by the communist regime’s arbitrary and capricious “pseudo-law”, a factor that ceased to apply with its demise in 1989. This did not impress the court, which dismissed the petition and ordered Staindl to pay costs.

• The Age/Herald has polling results from Newgate Research on which aspects of coronavirus are of greatest public concern. The results are reasonably consistent across the board, but top of the list is “the overall economic impact”, with which 41% express themselves extremely concerned, 36% quite concerned, 19% slightly concerned and 4% not at all concerned. “Regular health services not being available” produces similar results of 35%, 32%, 25% and 8%. There are slightly more moderate results for other questions on health impacts and “shortages of food, toilet paper and other essentials”, although in all cases the combination for extremely concerned and quite concerned is well above 50%. The poll is an “online tracking study of more than 1000 Australians, taken between Wednesday and Saturday last week”.

The West Australian ($) also has a WA-only coronavirus poll, which finds 66% supporting cancellation of large sporting events, 45% for night venues, 35% for cinemas and theatres, 34% for gyms and leisure centres, 29% for schools, 28% for universities, 22% for shopping centres and 16% apiece for restaurants and cafes and public transport. Fifty-one per cent of respondents agreed the government had been fully open and honest about the risks and implications of the virus, with 25% disagreeing. The poll was conducted Friday and Saturday by Painted Dog Research from a sample of 890.

• The count for the Northern Territory’s Johnston by-election was finalised on Friday, with Labor’s Joel Bowden winning at the final count over Steven Klose of the Territory Alliance by 1731 votes (52.6%) to (47.4%), in the absence of any surprises in the full preference count. With no candidate polling more than 29.9% on the primary vote, the latter was always an abstract possibility, but the result after the previous exclusion was not particularly close, with Bowden on 1275 (38.7%), Klose on 1110 (33.7%) and Greens candidate Aiya Goodrich Carttling on 907 (27.6%). It seems unlikely that preferences would have favoured the Greens even if it had been otherwise. My live results facility now records the final numbers – there will be more where this came from on this site with the Queensland elections on Saturday week, certainly with the state by-elections, and perhaps also for the Brisbane City Council elections, depending on how things go.

Note also two new posts below this one, one dealing with a new poll of state voting intention in Tasmania, the other being Adrian Beaumont’s latest contribution on the Democratic primaries in the United States.

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.

3,538 comments on “Democracy in the time of COVID-19”

  1. Mavis @ #3389 Saturday, March 21st, 2020 – 7:20 pm

    Danama Papers:

    [‘Thanks Cud. Good to have some real music posted on here rather than the flood of opera shit it normally gets.’]

    It’s not your fault that you have a lack of breeding. I blame your parents.

    Mavis, I say this with the utmost respect, go fuck yourself.

    Since you made your appearance on this site you have appointed your self arbiter of what people can and can’t post. Who the fuck do you think you are?

    First off, here’s one dedicated to Mavis: (NSFW)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AH7pOUm5s9k

    Now, for some real music

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwpB6b6mhUM

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eK1hmDpa8bo

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLS0Med0s6E

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdhDj8aFzrA

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3lsqUqGTzM

  2. Dio
    β€œ SA also shuts borders as of tomorrow.”

    That is sensible and I am still hopeful that we might succeed at containment. The number of land, sea and air entry points and passenger flows across the SA border is an order of magnitude less than borders like NSW/Vic or NSW/Qld.

  3. It’s now been named so I can tell bludgers the resort where the American tour group is staying is The Louise, which is a luxury boutique place in the Barossa with a top quality restaurant. It’s well out of the Barossa towns.
    If I had to be quarantined, it’s probably the best place in SA for it to happen.

  4. Aqualung @ #3409 Saturday, March 21st, 2020 – 7:55 pm

    I deliberately didn’t go down that path C@tmomma. But my inner prog needed a release.
    Could have gone with Phaedra.

    I hope your inner prog was sated by what I posted above.

    Some other stuff I wanted to post but didn’t (apart from the FULL version of Thick As A Brick) includes
    The Musical Box by Genesis
    Magnum Opus by Kansas
    Echoes by Pink Floyd
    Willie The Pimp by Frank Zappa
    Astronomy by Blue Oyster Cult
    The Snow Goose by Camel
    Tamlyn by Fairport Convention
    In The Court Of The Crimson King by King Crimson
    Merlin The Magician by Rick Wakeman
    The Great Nothing by Spock’s Beard
    All Of The Above by Transatlantic
    The Magician’s Birthday by Uriah Heep

    And many more, πŸ˜‰

  5. Danama Papers:

    [‘Mavis, I say this with the utmost respect, go fuck yourself

    Since you made your appearance on this site you have appointed your self arbiter of what people can and can’t post. Who the fuck do you think you are?’]

    Yes, dear. Is there anything more?

  6. I went and saw Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets last week at the Verona on Oxford Street.
    Excellent movie. Only 1 Floyd in the band but it was excellent.
    I’m constantly amazed at how Nick can look like he’s hardly raising a sweat and the drums sound so amazing.
    Anyway it was great to hear so many classic early Pink Floyd songs.

  7. Northern Territory introduces strict new coronavirus border controls to halt COVID-19 spread

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-21/northern-territory-strict-new-covid-19-border-laws/12078048

    “The Northern Territory will introduce strict border controls from 4:00pm on March 24 that mean anyone arriving from interstate or overseas will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
    :::
    Commissioner Chalker said NT Police and the Territory Government were likely to keep the tough measures in place until September.

    “We are working towards this being in place for at least six months,” he said.

    He said officers would likely be placed on the major roads into the NT β€” including the Victoria Highway, Stuart Highway and the Barkly Highway β€” as of 4:00pm Tuesday.”

  8. “Does this include truck drivers delivering goods?”

    Not that i have heard but i think restriction on drivers activities may be suggested.

  9. Danama Papers I was fortunate enough to see Blue Oyster Cult and Uriah Heap in the last 7 years.
    At the Hub and Metro respectively. Both small venues and the shows were brilliant.
    Of course some original members were missing. That’s life or rather death unfortunately.

  10. CC
    They said exemptions for essential services and compassionate cases.

    On the US tourists
    β€œ She said SA Health believed the tourists had travelled through the eastern states before arriving in Adelaide.”

  11. C@tmomma @ #3425 Saturday, March 21st, 2020 – 8:08 pm

    DP,
    Wot!?! No Emerson, Lake and Palmer!?! No Pink Floyd!?! Careful with that axe, Eugene! or I might take it off you! 😆

    EL&P – see Karn Evil 9 in my post above

    Careful With That Axe Eugene – brilliant! Could also have have included One Of These Days by Floyd as well.

    Perhaps we can still wrestle this blog away from Mavis posting its videos of fat people shouting in tune yet.

  12. Danama Papers @ #3421 Saturday, March 21st, 2020 – 10:05 pm

    Aqualung @ #3409 Saturday, March 21st, 2020 – 7:55 pm

    I deliberately didn’t go down that path C@tmomma. But my inner prog needed a release.
    Could have gone with Phaedra.

    I hope your inner prog was sated by what I posted above.

    Some other stuff I wanted to post but didn’t (apart from the FULL version of Thick As A Brick) includes
    The Musical Box by Genesis
    Magnum Opus by Kansas
    Echoes by Pink Floyd
    Willie The Pimp by Frank Zappa
    Astronomy by Blue Oyster Cult
    The Snow Goose by Camel
    Tamlyn by Fairport Convention
    In The Court Of The Crimson King by King Crimson
    Merlin The Magician by Rick Wakeman
    The Great Nothing by Spock’s Beard
    All Of The Above by Transatlantic
    The Magician’s Birthday by Uriah Heep

    And many more, 😉

    What?! No Four Seasons by Sebastian Hardie?!

  13. Mr Gunner said there would be exemptions to the self-isolation requirement, including health and emergency services, defence and policing, flight crews and freight β€” with strict guidelines in place to monitor and manage the new laws.

    “Arrivals will have to show they meet the essential arrival criteria to be granted an exemption,” he said.

    “There will also be exemptions granted on compassionate grounds.

  14. C@tMomma (and others)

    I remember Scott Morrison getting on the piss regularly.

    I’ve confused Hillsong with Assemblies of God, and one looking at Hillsong in more detail I have no idea what they think they are doing (e.g. consorting with celebrities, immaculately trimmed facial hair). it looks more and more like a commercial racket.

    Puritans in New England were simultaneously all of:
    – abstainers (teetotalers is too strong a word)
    – beer brewers (they were quite good at it)
    – communal binge drinkers

    Their formal position was the first, and this determines their planned activities (such as touring of wineries in an organised group, or rather not). What people actually get up to is always a completely different thing (unless one is openly a libertine).

    It is however, still unlikely that US-born Hillsingers would attend an organised winery tour as a in-Church event. The drinking (with celebrities) activities of the most famous Hillsong USA Pastor are framed as “outreach” activities (drinking with those outside the Church in an attempt break down barriers) and evangelism.

    Now on reflection it is possible (particularly in Australia) that the winery tour idea is to illustrate that Hillsong affirms alcohol in moderation (certainly the case in Australia) and is thus outreach (pretty ineffective, I would’ve thought…).

    As for Mr Morrison, he is a willow in the wind….

  15. Are these State and Territory border controls constitutional? They make sense for Tasmania and the NT, maybe also for SA and WA, so I guess that’s something that can be sorted out later.

  16. Dandy Murray
    says:
    Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 11:17 pm
    Some of you dissapoint me.
    nath, form once, I’m not talking about you. FWIW, my Dad grew up in β€œthe jungle” in LA
    _____________
    Dam. I seen Training Day!

  17. ”As for Mr Morrison, he…”

    So many ways to complete that sentence, many of which are far too vulgar to say in such polite company.

    There’s a party in the next building opposite. No virus worries for them? Or perhaps a last hurrah before things get really serious (of course they already are).

  18. It’s Time @ #3439 Saturday, March 21st, 2020 – 8:16 pm

    Danama Papers @ #3421 Saturday, March 21st, 2020 – 10:05 pm

    Aqualung @ #3409 Saturday, March 21st, 2020 – 7:55 pm

    I deliberately didn’t go down that path C@tmomma. But my inner prog needed a release.
    Could have gone with Phaedra.

    I hope your inner prog was sated by what I posted above.

    Some other stuff I wanted to post but didn’t (apart from the FULL version of Thick As A Brick) includes
    The Musical Box by Genesis
    Magnum Opus by Kansas
    Echoes by Pink Floyd
    Willie The Pimp by Frank Zappa
    Astronomy by Blue Oyster Cult
    The Snow Goose by Camel
    Tamlyn by Fairport Convention
    In The Court Of The Crimson King by King Crimson
    Merlin The Magician by Rick Wakeman
    The Great Nothing by Spock’s Beard
    All Of The Above by Transatlantic
    The Magician’s Birthday by Uriah Heep

    And many more, 😉

    What?! No Four Seasons by Sebastian Hardie?!

    That’s included in the “many more” bit. πŸ˜‰

    Another one to include would be this ‘un:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MV0F_XiR48Q

    And while we’re on the subject of prog/metal instrumentals, this one should get a run as well:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8f-Qb-bwlU

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