Battle stations

A lift in the tempo of federal preselection activity finds one Liberal MP out the door and another likely to follow.

First up, note the new post below on the Western Australian state election campaign. To the matter at hand: as talk proliferates of a federal election later this year, there has been a noticeable uptick on the volume of preselection news to report.

• A Liberal preselection for the eastern Melbourne seat of Menzies last weekend produced a boilover with the defeat of Kevin Andrews, who has held the seat since 1991. Andrews lost the local party ballot by a 181-111 margin to Keith Wolahan, a barrister and former army officer. Wolahan was reckoned to have enough support locally to have knocked over Andrews ahead of the 2019 election, but was thwarted when the state party organisation took charge of the entire federal election preselection process, much to the chagrin of the membership. Wolahan had support from factional moderates but took to Andrew Bolt’s program on Sky News to push back against the notion that he personally could be so described, and put it to Virginia Trioli of the ABC that he “never joined the Liberal Party to be called a moderate and very few people do in Victoria”.

• It appears increasingly likely that controversial Liberal MP Craig Kelly will be bumped aside for preselection in his Sydney seat of Hughes by Kent Johns, who had the numbers locally in both 2016 and 2019 but was saved on both occasions by prime ministerial intervention. The Australian reported on Friday that Nationals MPs, apparently including Queensland Senator Matt Canavan, wished to recruit Kelly to the party, apparently with a view to him seeking re-election in his entirely suburban electorate. However, a Nationals source was quoted saying this “wouldn’t happen while Michael McCormack is leader”.

Nine News reports New South Wales Deputy Premier and state Nationals leader John Barilaro is considering a move to the Senate. The Coalition arrangement in New South Wales gives the Nationals second and third positions on the Senate ticket at alternating elections, with the next election being the party’s turn for the unloseable second spot. The party’s position is vacant because one of its two Senators elected at the 2016 double dissolution, Fiona Nash, lost her position amid the Section 44 fiasco in December 2017 and it was won on a countback by a Liberal, Jim Molan. Molan lost his seat after being reduced to fourth position at the 2019 election but returned to the Senate upon filling Arthur Sinodinos’s vacancy in November 2019. Since he is now 69, he is presumably set to retire. The Liberals’ first and third positions on the ticket will presumably remain with the incumbents, Marise Payne and Connie Fierravanti-Wells.

• With the retirement of Labor veteran Warren Snowdon, Sky News reports his regional Northern Territory electorate of Lingiari is set to be contested for Labor by the former Deputy Chief Minister, Marion Scrymgour.

• The Northern Territory News reports the Country Liberal Party’s Senator for the Northern Territory, Sam McMahon, may face preselection challenges from Damien Ryan, the mayor of Alice Springs, and Linda Fazldeen, a Darwin businesswoman. The report says the preselection is likely to be held in June or July.

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.

3,041 comments on “Battle stations”

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  1. L R

    We all make mistakes (now who said that?). Last week when I was signing all the repetitive documentation for going into day-hospital, I had such a blank moment that for the first time ever I signed with my previous married name. Oooops!

  2. My first thought on seeing the date was that the letter might be a hoax, but maybe KR just doesn’t give a damn if he gets the date right when writing to Sky News. (I wish I could write like that.)

  3. lizzie, stress can do that. I hope things went well for you and continue that way. (I’ve never done well with names, stress or no.)

  4. Late Riser @ #656 Saturday, February 13th, 2021 – 5:18 pm

    Cud Chewer @ #2883 Saturday, February 13th, 2021 – 3:49 pm


    What is the Pence thing about?

    I read a story recently that Mike Pence, even after all his unquestioning loyalty to Trump, because he wouldn’t do the last thing Trump requested, has led to Mike Pence being virtually excommunicated from the Republican Party of Trump. It is said he is residing in a cabin in Indiana that a friend has let him stay in because he has nowhere else to go. Truly a sad situation.

    At the end of the day Trump didn’t give a shit about Pence, which only proves what a disgusting piece of garbage he is.

  5. This statement can be read in one of two ways:

    1. A genuine nod of approval to Victoria’s handling of the matter; or

    2. A pat on the head implying “You’re doing a great job but you’re on your own as my boss has no intention of doing anything about quarantine’.

    Professor Paul Kelly, the nation’s Chief Medical Officer, has welcomed the good news – just one positive case – to come out of Melbourne today.

    “The good news from Victoria is that all of the cases are either related to workers at the Holiday Inn near Tullamarine … or household contacts of those cases. It is contained in that sense,” Professor Kelly said.

    He also applauded Victoria’s healthcare workers on day one of the state’s snap five-day lockdown.

    (SMH updates at 14:47)

  6. Lars Von Triet @ #649 Saturday, February 13th, 2021 – 5:06 pm

    On what do you base this allegation of criminal negligence citizen ? The implication in your post is that the States are too hopeless (with the resources of their police and health departments) to manage up to what 500 people being in quarantine at any given time ?

    How many sock puppets has this person got!?!

  7. Rudd wouldn’t be the first person to get the date wrong. I’ve done it at the start of a new month or a new year.

    It used to be a problem when cheques were widespread. Accidentally dating the cheque with the previous year would result in a stale cheque that a bank was not obliged to honour.

  8. The Age
    COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria commissioner Emma Cassar said she could not explain the differing accounts from CQV and the traveller who told The Age on Friday that he informed hotel staff about his nebuliser at the centre of the Holiday Inn outbreak.
    I can explain it.
    He is telling the truth and CQV staff are not. Simple.

  9. C@tmomma

    Pence’s journey reminds me of The Wicker man. All that Purity up in flames. Maybe it’s simply anger that motivates him now.

  10. Taylormade @ #2909 Saturday, February 13th, 2021 – 5:55 pm

    The Age
    COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria commissioner Emma Cassar said she could not explain the differing accounts from CQV and the traveller who told The Age on Friday that he informed hotel staff about his nebuliser at the centre of the Holiday Inn outbreak.
    I can explain it.
    He is telling the truth and CQV staff are not. Simple.

    And, this is because you only believe things that confirm your personal prejudices.

  11. Fun Fact: Ms Rebecca le Tourneau’s brother, Stephen, is a Lefty.

    He told me they have very vigorous discussions at Xmas when the family gets together. 🙂

  12. GG Just for u – the definition is on urbandictionary.

    I can’t post a link – Colonel Oleg has only give us iPhones to work with and not laptops.

  13. In the old days of physically signing and dating stuff, I used to write today’s date a few dozen times on New Years Day. That expunged the old year from my muscle memory.

  14. “Marjorie Taylor Greene looks like she pulls beers at Northies at North Cronulla for a living and is currently dating Dave the plumber from Gymea after the breakdown of her third marriage.”

    More like plays darts at the Blue Cattle Dog in St Clair on Tuesday nights and does a bit of shoplifting at Mount Druitt Westfield every time she goes there. Those three kids are to three blokes and they always happen just after Jayden buys her a new tattoo and two of those are Southern Cross. One of them is “private”. Got the newest car seats on her front porch and keeps one spare for Scomo. The LNP consider her a rising star.

  15. Apropos of the Richard III discussion earlier in this thread, those who are critical of More should perhaps view history contextually; that is to say, taking into account the social, religious, economic, political mores of the time. Bearing this in mind, More was somewhat ahead of his times.

  16. Their class system is not set by birth, but by perceived wealth.
    Both ridiculous but there you have it – American culture.
    They worship the dollar.
    They won’t lock him up.

  17. ”The true map of Australia that has been hiddn”

    One big difference between Australia and New Zealand is that their South Island is bigger than their North Island.

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