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. Goll: “I assume you make this statement with sense of jocular lightheadedness.
    It’s good fun.”

    Well, yes, of course I can certainly laugh at people who have pretensions above their station: Moliere’s Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Hyacinth Bucket et al.

    But I don’t like condescension: I think it’s an abominable attitude.

  2. I think ‘straddling’ is fair enough with human beings*, who tend to be a mix of good and bad and the bits in between.

    More could have been a genuine saint; that’s still irrelevant when we’re considering his reliability as an historical source.

    *Keep your naughty thoughts to yourself.

  3. To those posters who are heavily into the Richard III/princes in the tower/Thomas More’s biography stuff, I would strongly recommend – of all things – a detective novel called “The Daughter of Time” by the ridiculously underappreciated British writer Josephine Tey.

    I’ll say no more because I wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t encountered it. You can buy it on line or, last time I was there, at Kinokinuya bookshop in Sydney (which was retailing all of her wonderful novels).

  4. Leon:

    Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 9:38 pm

    [‘Mavis, errors are usually compounded rather than “confounded”.’]

    Thanks, dear. It’s time to do a Pepys.

  5. meher baba @ #757 Saturday, February 13th, 2021 – 9:29 pm

    Been There: “The Pilger of twenty years ago is not the Pilger of now.”

    With respect, I beg to differ. Like Thomas More, I think Pilg has always had a strong flavour of the self-righteous FIGJAM about him.

    One has heard a lot over the years about the concept of a “self-hating Jew.” Well Pilg is a “self-hating Aussie”: a bit of a relic of the cultural cringe era.

    Yup. John Pilger is one of those expats who makes their fortune hating on Australia.

  6. meher

    My mother’s favorite is ‘The Franchise Affair’. And although I have “Miss Pym Disposes” it’s one of the few books I can’t re read, as I found the ending too shattering.

  7. Eddie McGuire’s administration of Collingwood cost not one life, yet has resigned. Another bloke we all know accepts no responsibility for his failures and he lives in Melbourne as well.

  8. Here comes Censorship!

    Australia’s proposed media bargaining code has inched closer after the senate committee examining the landmark bill recommended that it pass through federal parliament.

    Handing down its report on Friday, the committee recommended the Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill pass without any major changes.

  9. Not exactly the glowing reference Buce gives Helen Coonan:

    The report has already claimed the scalp of three directors who stepped down from Crown’s board this week, with calls now coming from within the business community for Coonan, who has been on the board for a decade, to also consider her position. Philip Crawford, chair of the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority, said at some point Coonan should “probably” step down.

  10. More was somewhat ahead of his times.

    What era do you need to be living in to be able to put a large number of people to death in the most gruesome way possible – and because of their religious beliefs, not because of they actually did anything wrong – and still be considered “ahead of his times”?

  11. The moon is dark and the piranhas are out.

    On another note, do people think we are in an election year? Further, is it too early to canvas opinions of a Federal polling date?

  12. Griff @ #3028 Saturday, February 13th, 2021 – 9:00 pm

    The moon is dark and the piranhas are out.

    On another note, do people think we are in an election year? Further, is it too early to canvas opinions of a Federal polling date?

    I’m not sure they can.

    They’ve committed to the vaccine role out and if that doesn’t go well, there could be a big backlash.

  13. Lindsay Graham changes vote to yea for call for witnesses.

    He’ll be up to something, but the pincers are closing in on him via legal peril in Georgia on the one hand and whatever it is that he fears from Trump.

    Meanwhile this trial has now transformed following the revelations about the Trump McCarthy call during the insurrection. Uncharted waters here. Trump’s lawyers’ bluff called. Mind boggling incompetence on display on their part.

  14. C@tmomma says:
    Sunday, February 14, 2021 at 6:59 am

    Oh please, your little baby rant earlier on shows you can’t put on an argument on so you decide to attack others personally.

    What a low lying fruit you are.

    And now your running away from your own argument.


    The only one who can’t string some sentences is you.

    Those who bark louder often lie the most.

  15. Maybe it has something to do with this:

    After six weeks as a district attorney, Fani T. Willis is taking on a former president.

    And not just that. In an interview about her newly announced criminal investigation into election interference in Georgia, Ms. Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, made it clear that the scope of her inquiry would encompass the pressure campaign on state officials by former President Donald J. Trump as well as the activities of his allies.

    “An investigation is like an onion,” she said. “You never know. You pull something back, and then you find something else.”

    She added, “Anything that is relevant to attempts to interfere with the Georgia election will be subject to review.”

  16. Michael @10:27 PM.

    ”Eddie McGuire’s administration of Collingwood cost not one life, yet has resigned. Another bloke we all know accepts no responsibility for his failures and he lives in Melbourne as well.”

    Scott Morrison lives in Sydney.

  17. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    According to James Massola, Labor plans to formally dump the negative gearing and capital gains tax policies, but remains undecided how best to tackle housing affordability.
    Peter Hartcher reckons that this is an IR fight that Scott Morrison can’t win.
    Michelle Grattan writes about the IR issue, how the government will go flat out with a mother of all scare campaigns and she says that Albanese needs to come up with concrete policies on the matter.
    Michael Pascoe: writes that Scott ‘Stunt’ Morrison says ‘cheese’ while taxpayers pick up the tab for his photo ops. A very good explanation.
    Jacqui Maley tells us about Alan Jones’ part in getting Packer’s Sydney casino project rolling.
    Peter FitzSimons unloads on Joh Barilaro attitude to pork barrelling.
    Daniel Hurdt reveals that Morrison deflected parliamentary questions to other ministers almost 200 times since becoming PM. Not one did Julia Gillard do this.
    Greg Jericho accuses the government of being stuck in the fallacy of debt and deficit while ignoring the climate crisis.
    Dear old Gerard Henderson writes that the sneering critics underestimate ‘Scotty’ at their peril.
    Ross Gittins tells us why we’re stuck with low interest rates for a long time.
    James Massola reports that Greg Hunt has pushed back at a suggestion from Daniel Andrews that Australia should consider cutting its weekly intake from thousands to hundreds.
    The Age’s editorial says that trust and communication will be key to vaccine rollout success.
    The Australian has run an article from The economist which says, “The persistence of acute infections and chronic, debilitating ‘long Covid’ means that the next stage of the pandemic sounds grim. Expecting vaccines to see off this virus is mistaken.”
    Squabbling governments and evil rulers with mindless minions isn’t just the plot of a TV show but a real-world crisis putting our planet in peril, writes Stephen Fitzgerald.,14797
    The AIMN’s Rossleigh looks at the performance of Greg Hunt in his interview by Michael Rowland.
    Caitlin Fitzsimmons writes that Australians went on a shopping spree for consumer goods during the COVID-19 pandemic and are now waiting months for everything from barbecues to bicycles because of a backlog with international manufacturing and shipping.
    FFS! Two brothers banned from working in the poultry industry after starving more than a million chickens were able to acquire two aged care homes in Melbourne, despite being bankrupt at the time and having no experience.

    Cartoon Corner

    Peter Broelman

    Matt Golding

    Glen Le Lievre

    David Rowe

    Matt Davidson

    Reg Lynch

    John Shakespeare

    from the US

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