The news from Hughes (and Boothby and Dickson)

Craig Kelly quits the Liberals, Nicolle Flint to quit politics, and unsuccessful Labor candidate Ali France lines up for another crack at Peter Dutton.

The week’s federal election preselection developments:

• Facing the apparent certainty of preselection defeat, Craig Kelly announced his resignation from the Liberal Party at a party room meeting Wednesday. Kelly says he will sit as an “independent Liberal” and then run in his Sydney seat of Hughes again at the election, which I believe leaves open the possibility that that may be as the candidate of another party. He appeared to rule out running for the Nationals, as some in the party hoped he might, saying he was “not sure whether a pair of RM Williams and a big Akubra and a Driza-Bone will necessarily work in Sutherland”.

• It had generally been assumed the Liberal preselection in Hughes would prove third time lucky for Kent Johns, Sutherland Shire councillor and factional moderate, from whom Kelly had to be saved by prime ministerial intervention before the 2016 and 2019 elections. However, The Australian reported on Tuesday that moderates were cooking up a deal with conservatives in which Hughes would go to Dallas McInerney, chief executive of Catholic Schools NSW, in exchange for a free hand in the preselections for Warringah and Gilmore. Reports that the Hughes preselection might be contested by police commissioner Mick Fuller were dismissed as a “furphy” by a source quoted in the St George Shire Standard. Those who may run were said in the report to include Carmelo Pesce, a cafe owner and former Sutherland Shire mayor; Ned Mannoun, a former Liverpool mayor; Bree Till, a veterans service adviser whose husband was killed on service in Afghanistan in 2009; and Naji Najjar, a former Bankstown councillor and staffer to Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.

• Nicolle Flint, two-term Liberal member for the marginal Adelaide seat of Boothby, announced on Friday she would not contest the next election. Flint said she had soured on politics after personal attacks against her during the 2019 election campaign, which the Liberals have cited in support of proposed electoral law changes that would clip the wings of the GetUp! organisation, and the recent rape allegation by former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins.

• Labor has announced that Ali France, a motivational speaker and former television producer who lost a leg in a car accident in 2011, will again be the party’s candidate in Peter Dutton’s northern Brisbane seat of Dickson. Dutton won the seat by 4.6% in 2019 after a favourable swing of 2.9%, a fairly typical result for Brisbane.

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.

1,965 comments on “The news from Hughes (and Boothby and Dickson)”

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  1. ‘ The cabinet minister at the centre of historical rape allegations involving a 16 year old girl in 1988 is preparing to identify himself and deny any wrongdoing.
    Government sources have confirmed that now New South Wales Police has declared “case closed” on the matter he will relinquish his anonymity to categorically deny the allegations.
    He will not stand down from his job and plans to continue in his role now that police have confirmed they will not investigate or lay charges.’

    https://www.news.com.au/national/politics/cabinet-minister-at-centre-of-historical-rape-allegation-to-identify-himself/news-story/9a7956a29eaf585445da8ce097794996

  2. Re. Joyce’s ruddy complexion:

    [‘Alcohol flush reaction (AFR) is a condition in which a person develops flushes or blotches associated with erythema on the face, neck, shoulders, and in some cases, the entire body after consuming alcoholic beverages. The reaction is the result of an accumulation of acetaldehyde, a metabolic byproduct of the catabolic metabolism of alcohol, and is caused by an aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 deficiency.’]

  3. Following on from the spasmodic debate on this thread about whether the F35 is a failure, a quick recap of the points Ive already made:

    The F35 jet is far for a failure – it comprehensively beats every 4th generation platform available.

    Even the fly away unit costs are competitive with fourth gen platforms.

    However the sustainment costs are still high – around $40,000 per hour, compared to between $12,000 and $28,000 per hour for fourth generation platforms.

    Originally intended to be a high-tech low cost platform to complement the high tech-high cost F22, it is likley to settle at being a high-tech medium cost platform at a time when there is a real budget squeeze going on.

    The new USAF Chief off Staff, General Brown has characterised the F35 as a Ferrari that you only drive on a Sunday, when the USAF needs a fleet of SUVs for Monday to Friday.

    The reality is that the F35s main strength is as a force multiplier – it can quarterback lesser platforms in a way that works just as well as if only F35s and F22s were used for a particular mission. So, it is arguable that the USAF would get better bang for buck in having less F35 airframes and a new clean fourth gen airframe.

    I wonder whether putting the cat on table of a whole new airframe program is just positioning by the new Chief – to soften up congress for a 500 plane purchase of upgraded and new F16 and F15 airframes (which would complement the USN’s purchase of extra and new FA18E/F airframes).

    It is madness to invest a decade or more in coming up with a new fourth generation airframe that wont be any better than the ‘teen series’ (F14,15,18) developed in the 1970s.

    The obvious long term solution to the ‘low cost’ component of a ‘high-low’ cost mix is autonomous drones.

    Behold the future: the first flight of the Boeing/RAAF ‘Loyal Wingman’ autonomous drone airframe:

    https://youtu.be/BiSHVl7UMRk

    This future is approaching rapidly. It would be stupid for any country in 2020 to develop a new 4th generation fighter jet platform.

    While I don’t think they’ll perfect the autonomous and fusion components of the loyal wingman project before the end of the decade, that’s still good enough: especially for the RAAF and the USAF if they follow suit.

  4. I have a vision of sprockets sitting in the dark, curtains drawn , blankie in lap with an excited gleam in his beady eyes reading the sordid allegations.

  5. sprocket_ @ #1856 Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021 – 8:05 pm

    ‘ The cabinet minister at the centre of historical rape allegations involving a 16 year old girl in 1988 is preparing to identify himself and deny any wrongdoing.
    Government sources have confirmed that now New South Wales Police has declared “case closed” on the matter he will relinquish his anonymity to categorically deny the allegations.
    He will not stand down from his job and plans to continue in his role now that police have confirmed they will not investigate or lay charges.’

    https://www.news.com.au/national/politics/cabinet-minister-at-centre-of-historical-rape-allegation-to-identify-himself/news-story/9a7956a29eaf585445da8ce097794996

    How convenient for him.

  6. How does a dead complainant prove Porter’s innocence? It just means there’s no one still alive to give evidence against him.

  7. Lars Von Trier:

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 8:04 pm

    [‘My great-aunt Mathilde said to me on the weekend words to the effect ” Lars, you won’t believe it but there was a time Labor actually did policies”.’]

    Given you’ve been off the radar of late, I thought something
    may’ve happened to your great-aunt Mathilde. Good to know that’s not the case, still dispensing her sage advice.

  8. Mavis @ #1866 Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021 – 8:15 pm

    Lars Von Trier:

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 8:04 pm

    [‘My great-aunt Mathilde said to me on the weekend words to the effect ” Lars, you won’t believe it but there was a time Labor actually did policies”.’]

    Given you’ve been off the radar of late, I thought something
    may’ve happened to your great-aunt Mathilde. Good to know that’s not the case, still dispensing her sage advice.

    She must be blind.

  9. C@tmomma:

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 8:17 pm

    [‘She must be blind.’]

    Optic nerve damage is quite prevalent when one’s 114 or is that great-aunt Maude’s age, Lars?

  10. boerwarsays:
    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 6:08 pm
    Leaving this to Morrison to sort this out for Australia is like leaving Trump to sort out Covid for America.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/china-taiwan-invasion-military-exercise/2020/10/12/291f5d86-0c58-11eb-b404-8d1e675ec701_story.html

    ……..

    Boerwar,
    I think I might be beginning to understand the problem here.
    You seem to view domestic consumption Chinese Communist Party propaganda, as having some relevance to regional geopolitics?

  11. What would have been the reaction at the police station when the victim walked in with her lawyer and gave a statement accusing a high profile politician of rape? How many minutes before the NSW Commissioner was informed? How many more minutes before the police hierarchy in Canberra was informed? How many more minutes before the Prime Minister was informed? How many more minutes before the accused was informed?

    I don’t know why but the victim walking into that police station puts me in mind of a certain embassy in Istanbul…….

  12. Mavis says:
    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 8:23 pm
    C@tmomma:

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 8:17 pm

    [‘She must be blind.’]

    Optic nerve damage is quite prevalent when one’s 114 or is that great-aunt Maude’s age, Lars?
    Comments navigation
    ______________________________
    I prefer not to discuss family members mavis – just leads to personal attacks on PB

  13. Kate says:
    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 8:26 pm
    ______________________
    Seriously ? Your comparing the NSW Police to Saudi Arabia?

  14. How does a dead complainant prove Porter’s innocence?

    Another comment from the lynch mob.

    It’s not up to anyone to prove their innocence, especially in cases that took over 30 years to come to the attention of police, which were then withdrawn by the complainant herself, before she suicided.

    Nevertheless, Minister X’s career is probably in ruins, perhaps also his portfolio, and certainly his prospects for future promotion. He is a ticking time bomb. Where there is one allegation, there are likely more. No party wants a liability like that in a leadership position.

    The future options for humiliation of Minister X, and the government in which he serves, are many. The longer he stays in place the more damage he will do. That’s his punishment, and the government’s.

  15. Sounds like an admission of a stuff up by Hunt:

    “ADF called in to assist aged care COVID-19 vaccine rollout”

    (SMH headline)

  16. To think that paragon of virtue, Julie Bishop virtually accused FPJG of some kind of criminal act from some event 20 years earlier while she and the current boyfriend renovated an old house…..
    Gillard took questions from the so-called CPG for nearly 2 hours until they called it quits. I will bet tomorrow, if the suspect one does come forward he will be treated with kid gloves by the CPG…..As is my want to say, both political parties do hypocrisy but the LNP are just so much better at it than Labor………
    Oh, and local right-wing mouth piece from the West here in WA, Paul Murray, at the time of the Gillard thing had the gall to say she had “got away with it”. I think he put it something along the lines of “Oh, she talked them into the ground did she?” (or wtte) at that time………

  17. Tom the first and bestsays:
    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 6:40 pm

    “I think that it is increasing likely than Morrison will be rolled before the next election, once the governments polls are negative for an extended period. The current events are almost certainly killing off Morrison`s pandemic leadership bounce, which I think will be very hard to get back.”

    ……….

    That would be the worst possible outcome for democracy in this country.

  18. Lars Von Trier:

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    [‘I prefer not to discuss family members mavis…’]

    But you just did, though I accept that you respect your great-aunts’ right to privacy.

  19. Arthur @ #1874 Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021 – 8:36 pm

    Tom the first and bestsays:
    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 6:40 pm

    “I think that it is increasing likely than Morrison will be rolled before the next election, once the governments polls are negative for an extended period. The current events are almost certainly killing off Morrison`s pandemic leadership bounce, which I think will be very hard to get back.”

    ……….

    That would be the worst possible outcome for democracy in this country.

    Obviously some here aren’t prepared for Smirko’s numbers to actually improve.

  20. Mavis I have been prepared to share the wisdom – but there have been US republican style birther attacks on this forum against family members so I don’t go beyond sharing the comments not the background details.

  21. Nicholassays:
    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    “There needs to be an inquiry directed by a panel of judges who are empowered to compel people to give evidence under oath. They should examine all of the diary entries, the complainant’s written statement, all of the accounts of people who knew the complainant. Then those judges should decide whether on the balance of probabilities the accused committed sex crimes. If the answer is yes, the accused should not only be dismissed from the Cabinet. He should be expelled from the Parliament. There should be no place in the Parliament for someone who is, more likely that not, a rapist.”

    ………

    Fascism takes many forms.

  22. mundo
    “Obviously some here aren’t prepared for Smirko’s numbers to actually improve.”

    I prefer to look at 2PP.

  23. Amazing how people here, male and female, who care enough about a woman who took her life due to, as she alleged, a rape by someone who is now a Senior Minister in the Morrison government and who are hopefully seeking accountability, get labelled ‘a lynch mob’. That’s just pathetically tawdry.

  24. Given he’s Treasurer, Frydenberg is the heir apparent. But he’ll need to lift his game, overseeing the worst debt and deficit since Federation, though debt as a percentage of GDP was probably bigger in WWII. He’ll blame C.19 but it’s a lot more than this. He’s also not a very good media performer giving the impression he’s on Nitrazepam – well, he makes me sleepy.

  25. The SA coroner has directed the SA police to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of the alleged victim

  26. Two important contributions from female journos:

    Louise Milligan
    @Milliganreports

    To mansplainers: It’s nigh on impossible to obtain conviction beyond reasonable doubt, when complainant hadn’t made formal statement & died. Police CAN investigate for Coroner. High Court commissioned its investigation, Govt can too. Is #CabinetMinister suitable for high office?

    Katharine Murphy
    @murpharoo

    New: The minister at the centre of the allegation of rape in 1988 has engaged the services of defamation lawyer Peter Bartlett, and there is a strong prospect he will make a statement tomorrow.

    So the person at the centre of the controversy is going to brazen it out and use one of the best Defamation lawyers in the country to silence people?

    Nothing says to females, back off, I’m more powerful than you, than that.

  27. Lars Von Triersays:
    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 8:08 pm

    “I have a vision of sprockets sitting in the dark, curtains drawn , blankie in lap with an excited gleam in his beady eyes reading the sordid allegations.”

    ……….

    Is this degenerate supposed to be a replacement for the missing halfwit from yesterday?

  28. Fascism takes many forms.

    Was the inquiry into Dyson Heydon fascism because the judges were using a balance of probabilities standard of proof and the consequences of the finding were political, cultural, and organizational rather than a criminal penalty?

    Holding high office is a privilege. People aren’t entitled to hang on to high office just because the very serious allegation against them wouldn’t meet a beyond reasonable doubt standard of proof in a criminal trial. The Parliament has its own reputation to consider, and it is entitled to set up inquiries and act on the findings.

  29. C@tmomma @ #1857 Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021 – 7:13 pm

    It just means there’s no one still alive to give evidence against him.

    It doesn’t even necessarily mean that. Forensic evidence can speak for itself. Other witnesses could testify, or corroborate specific events from the victim’s account.

    Not that any of those things are likely to exist in this particular case. But it’s not like a living victim is a requirement for justice to be served on any charge short of murder. If that’s how it worked the murder rate would be much higher.

  30. a r @ #1896 Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021 – 9:20 pm

    C@tmomma @ #1857 Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021 – 7:13 pm

    It just means there’s no one still alive to give evidence against him.

    It doesn’t even necessarily mean that. Forensic evidence can speak for itself. Other witnesses could testify, or corroborate specific events from the victim’s account.

    Not that any of those things are likely to exist in this particular case. But it’s not like a living victim is a requirement for justice to be served on any charge short of murder. If that’s how it worked the murder rate would be much higher.

    Yes, I did mean, ‘in this specific case’. I thought that was understood.

  31. I would wager a fair sum that Minister X, at his media appearance tomorrow, will cast aspersions on the mental health of the deceased alleged victim. Oldest trick in that particular book. Other than that, he will say very little, sticking to lines carefully crafted by Peter Bartlett, his defamation lawyer.

  32. Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 8:40 pm
    Arthur @ #1874 Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021 – 8:36 pm

    “Obviously some here aren’t prepared for Smirko’s numbers to actually improve.”

    ………

    Some of us demand that a Prime Minister be held accountable to the electorate using the formerly regular method.
    I couldn’t give a flying fuck about Newspoll.

  33. There was nothing compulsive about the Dyson Heydon process.

    Disclosure he was a colleague of my father’s and organised a farewell dinner on the occasion of my father’s retirement in 2005.

  34. I would’ve thought something along the lines of denying the allegations which are deeply troubling and hurtful but not wanting to do anything to diminish the legacy of the deceased or upset her friends and her family.

  35. Looking at the woman’s friend interviewed on 7 30 I don’t think she is going to let this rest with a denial from the minister and a smirk from Morrison.

    More power to her.

  36. Pointing out that we can never know the truth about what happened between Minister X and the dead woman 33 years ago is NOT misogynistic, sexist, or acting in lockstep with “the Men’s Rights Movement”.

    It’s pointing out the reality of the situation.

    Wishing it were otherwise, stirring statements of support from the sisterhood, demanding inquiries despite every police force asked to declining to participate, automatically assuming women always tell the truth and the men they accuse always lie, requiring every such allegation be followed by arrest and trial, writing the rules of evidence, believing the man must be guilty because he’s an obvious creep, and gratuitously insulting others who point out the futility of the above positions will not change that reality.

  37. Arthur says:
    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 9:17 pm
    Lars Von Triersays:
    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 8:08 pm

    “I have a vision of sprockets sitting in the dark, curtains drawn , blankie in lap with an excited gleam in his beady eyes reading the sordid allegations.”

    ……….

    Is this degenerate supposed to be a replacement for the missing halfwit from yesterday?
    _________
    I’ve never heard sprockets described as a degenerate but I grant you it may be appropriate given his behaviour.

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