Stable but serious

Infra-factional argybargy at both ends of the Victorian ALP, plus a poll result for NSW’s Upper Hunter state by-election.

Detailed below are some recent electoral developments, the juiciest of which relate to factional power struggles within Victorian Labor, whose federal preselection process has been taken over by the party’s national executive in the wake of the Adem Somyurek branch-stacking affair. Note also the post below offering a half-time report on the Tasmanian state election campaign.

• Josh Bornstein, employment lawyer and partner at Maurice Blackburn, has pulled out of a challenge against Kim Carr for the safe position on Labor’s Victorian Senate ticket that is reserved to the Left. This followed a report in The Australian that trawled through a decade’s worth of his voluminous social media activity, turning up criticism of party and union figures including Chris Bowen and Penny Wong. The Age reports Left faction unions were divided between Carr and Bornstein, with one or more further challengers likely to emerge. One such is Ryan Batchelor, executive director of the McKell Institute and son of former state MP Peter Batchelor.

• The Age report also says that Sam Rae, a partner at PwC and former state party secretary, is “being encouraged” to run in the new seat of Hawke on Melbourne’s north-western fringe. An earlier report indicated that a stability pact being negotiated between the main factions would reserve the seat for the Right, potentially setting up a turf war between the Victorian Right forces associated with Richard Marles and Bill Shorten, who are emerging as the main rivals for influence within the faction.

• Andrew Laming’s bid to retain preselection in Bowman has predictably fallen foul of the Liberal National Party’s candidate suitability panel.

• I’ll have a dedicated post up shortly for the May 22 by-election in the New South Wales state seat of Upper Hunter, my guide for which can be found here. Results of a uComms poll for the Australia Institute are encouraging for the Nationals, who hold seat seat on a margin of 2.6%. When added together properly, the poll credits the Nationals with a primary vote of 38.5%, compared with 34.0% at the 2019 election; Labor with 23.8%, compared with 28.6%; One Nation, who did not contest in 2019, with 13.8%; the Greens with 10.1%, more than double their 4.8% vote share in 2019; and bookies favourite Shooters Fishers and Farmers with only 8.2%, compared with 22.0%. The poll was conducted on April 7 and 8 by automated phone polling and SMS from a sample of 686.

• A new site called OzPredict offers cleanly presented poll-based forecasting of the next federal election, with the promise of more features to follow.

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.

1,410 comments on “Stable but serious”

Comments Page 1 of 29
1 2 29
  1. Looks like voters in the Upper Hunter aren’t willing to punish The Nationals but are simply happy to be shot of the former Member.

  2. Well, can he ❓ Can Frydenberg keep the recovery rolling ❓

    Valuable prizes for first thousand correct answers.

    Tra la la |♫♪ She’s ♫ only a ♪ bird in a ♫ gilded cage, a ♪ beautiful …

  3. • A new site called OzPredict offers cleanly presented poll-based forecasting of the next federal election, with the promise of more features to follow.

    Looks like a promising site. I wish whoever it is well with their endeavours.

  4. If you read The Saturday Paper today the impression you get is that the Morrison government is intent on ‘Budget consolidation’ after the pandemic. What that means in reality is that Morrison and Frydenburg want to take from the poor and give to the rich. They want to gut the NDIS and Australia Post and use the money saved to plump up their bottom line so as to justify more tax cuts and boondoggles for the already wealthy. It’s a disgusting way to run a country but these are disgusting people.

  5. C@t:

    No I haven’t really engaged with LP since the immediate election post-mortems.

    But I’ll save that and watch later today.

  6. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    In what is becoming a weekly event, Peter Hartcher writes critically of Scott Morrison, this time going to his “masterstroke of political mismanagement”.
    Scott Morrison was so keen to own a successful vaccine rollout he forgot about the risk of overseeing a debacle, says Katherine Murphy. She points to the concerns that Morrison’s new whip cracking timetable is configured around the need to feed the media cycle rather than serving the imperative of clear headed deliberation and decision making.
    Paul Bongiorno writes about Morrison’s delivery failures piling up. He looks at many of them in quite a detailed examination. This is a cracker!
    Dennis Atkins says that Morrison’s myriad messes put his re-election chances in jeopardy.
    But Peter van Onselen reckons the pile-on from the Morrison haters is likely to backfire.
    Karen Middleton tells us how Christine Holgate lost her job trying to save Australia Post.
    Jennifer Michels begins her contribution with, “Over the years Australia has had many politicians and governments who have applied one bandaid after another. Sadly, I feel in the case of the Morrison Government more than the average have been applied.”
    The NSW government is preparing for a potential major overhaul of its coronavirus vaccination program, including the possible distribution of new vaccines.
    The goalposts have shifted once again on Australia’s closed borders. The Morrison government should tell Australians what the path out looks like, urges Latika Bourke.
    The Therapeutic Goods Administration says the death of a 48-year-old woman this week was likely linked to her COVID-19 vaccination.
    The states and territories are demanding additional funding from the federal government in exchange for their stepping in to get the beleaguered vaccine rollout back on track, reports Karen Middleton.
    Treasurer Josh Frydenberg knows now is not the time to cut budget spending, but he has to make sure Australia’s remarkable economic recovery isn’t wasted, says David Crowe.
    Mike Seccombe believes that the US climate summit will be a reckoning for Scott Morrison.
    Alexandra Macdonald-Smith reports that Origin Energy has slashed guidance for full-year profit after being hit by a gas price ruling deemed “unfathomable” by one analyst and points to higher prices for east coast manufacturers, threatening the federal government’s gas-led recovery.
    In a sign the city’s recovery is gaining pace, City of Melbourne data shows pedestrian activity had returned to 72 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
    A comprehensive study of more than 230,000 people by Oxford University researchers has linked neurological disorders, such as stroke and dementia, to Covid-19.
    A ban on popular artificial stone benchtops is being considered by a national taskforce grappling with spiralling rates of deadly silicosis in tradies, reports Carrie Fellner.
    Jennifer Duke writes that childcare overhaul and parental leave top the wish list for leading female economists.
    Frank Robson sets out to explain why people get caught up in conspiracy theories.
    For too long good women have been routinely doubted and dismissed, but the reception for the courageous testimony of ousted Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate this week suggests a promising change in our culture, writes Elaine Stead.
    The AFR tells us that new witnesses will be hauled before the Senate inquiry that unearthed explosive allegations by former Australia Post boss Christine Holgate as early as April 27, with the Liberal-aligned board in the frame to be grilled. Tony Nutt will be one of them.
    Stuart Robert has been forced to defend his own luxury watch and excessive spending scandals while justifying the treatment of former Australia Post boss Christine Holgate.
    For years Susan Ryan fought to get the Sex Discrimination Act passed. Three decades later, the battle continues with a push to bring politicians and judges under the law, writes Chris Wallace.
    Margaret Simons explains why journalists need to take social media responsibilities seriously. Quite interesting.
    Tim Barlass writes about the anger, heartbreak and acceptance at our withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
    With our troops coming home, Lohn Blaxland reflects on Australia’s involvement in what has long seemed to be an unwinnable war.
    Greg Sheridan writes, “The 20-year war in Afghanistan has been a civilisational failure for the West. It is not Australia’s most expensive war. We suffered 41 combat deaths, which is a grievous and terrible burden on the families and loved ones of those brave Australians who died. But strategically, the Afghanistan war will have profound effects on Australia, many of them negative, and some of them positive.”
    A secret taskforce set up to cut costs and reduce access to the NDIS is the tip of the iceberg in a suite of plans to dramatically reshape the scheme, reveals Rick Morton in The Saturday Paper. He says controversial “robo-planning” reforms of the National Disability Insurance Scheme could lead to the loss of 1200 jobs within the agency and hugely limit the input of disabled people, according to a proposal prepared for the scheme’s board and executive leadership team.
    Bruce Guthrie looks at a clearer vision for Australian journalism beyond the Murdoch media.
    Adele Ferguson reports that the scandal-ridden Chinese-owned Van Dairy Group was in turmoil yesterday as fresh investigations were launched amid secret plans to hive off parts of the business.
    After years of a ‘coal-first’ mentality, Townsville is starting to see a future for itself as a green-energy powerhouse, writes Ben Smee.
    Richard Denniss explains coal’s fragile economics.
    The High Court’s current deliberations about the legality of warrants issued last year to the AFP to search the home of John Zhang, part-time assistant to NSW Labor MP Shaoquett Moselmane, are the tip of a massive iceberg of government abuses of power, opines Stuart Rees.
    Sarah Danckert reports that Lex Greensill faces a possible public grilling over the spectacular company collapse. And I should think so, too!
    Greensill Capital’s Australian parent group is under investigation for potential insolvent trading after administrators Grant Thornton recommended it be liquidated. This is hardly surprising!
    Beef farmers are finally in greener pastures after battling years of what was the most severe drought on record and they’re poised to tap a rare opportunity to modernise their operations and ultimately kick-start the market for climate-conscious meat, writes Mike Foley.
    The publication of two volumes of George Pell’s prison journals that may come as a surprise to people who think of him as a thug of Catholic conservatism, writes Peter Craven.
    Vale Andrew Peacock, 82.
    Tony Mokbel has been ordered to face a retrial on drug-trafficking charges that were quashed because of the Lawyer X scandal. However, writes Tammy Mills, despite the Court of Appeal ruling on Friday, prosecutors won’t pursue a new case against the Melbourne gangland identity.
    The delightful Ibrahim family is back in the news again.
    It may not be an economic miracle, but the accelerating recovery now underway is a breathtaking turn of fortunes for the much-denigrated British economy, explains Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.

    Russia has asked 10 US diplomats to leave the country in retaliation for Washington’s expulsion of the same number of Russian diplomats over alleged malign activity and suggested the US ambassador return home for consultations.

    Cartoon Corner – The Age and SMH have not published cartoons these last two days.

    David Rowe

    Jon Kudelka

    Mark David

    Alan Moir

    Cathy Wilcox

    Matt Golding

    John Shakespeare

    Johannes Leak

    From the US

  7. Katharine Murphy – “Let me share a basic insight about Morrison that you might find useful. This prime minister speaks almost exclusively to one cohort of voters: men at risk of voting Labor…”

  8. Remember the COVIDSafe app? The ANAO does, and is going to audit it…

    ‘The Department of Social Services, namely the DTA, and the Department of Home Affairs also face a potential audit for their role in the development of the COVIDSafe contact tracing app.

    The app, which was likened to ‘sunscreen’ by Prime Minister Scott Morrison when it launched in April 2020, was intended to support the manual contact tracing process by health officials.

    But more than a year on, only 17 unique close contacts – all of which were in NSW – have been identified using the app, despite more than 7 million downloads.

    At the same time, the app cost $6.7 million to develop, after entering a “business-as-usual state”, will cost at least $100,000 – and as much as $300,000 – a month on an ongoing basis.

    The ANAO said the “audit would assess how economically and effectively the COVIDSafe app was designed and is being used”, including the procurement process and “how it has been promoted”.

    The auditor noted that the inquiry probing the government’s Covid-19 response had found the “app launched with significant performance issued and only been of limited effectiveness in its primary function”.

    “The committee recommended the Australian Government commission an independent review into expenditure on, and design of, the COVIDSafe app. The government is yet to respond to this recommendation,” the ANAO added.

  9. Insiders Sunday, 18 Apr

    David Speers joins Amy Remeikis, Phil Coorey and Rosie Lewis to discuss the Christine Holgate/Australia Post saga, the troubled COVID-19 vaccine rollout, National Cabinet, unemployment, Afghanistan and Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

    Guest : Stuart Robert – Employment Minister

  10. Morning all. I was interested to see what has hardly been reported this morning. Last night at the AFL at Perth the crowd loudly booed when Morrison’s image came up on screen. It has been discussed on Twitter and PerthNow.

    “Passionate Eagles fans boo ScoMo
    Prime Minister Scott Morrison was not a popular man at Optus Stadium tonight, loudly booed by the big pro-West Coast crowd.”

    Pretty significant given the recent WA state election result.

  11. Always interesting to see the Friday arvo ‘put out the garbage’ announcements.

    For those into the arcane allocation of functions in Canberra, Promo’s Pentecostal Maaate Stuart Robert is taking some baggage with him to his new gig at Dept of Employment…

    ‘The Digital Transformation Agency has been moved to the employment portfolio and will remain under the control of Minister Stuart Robert.

    An order signed by Governor-General David Hurley shifting the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) from Services Australia to the Department of Employment was revealed late on Friday afternoon.

    It’s a significant move for the DTA, which had at one point been housed within Prime Minister & Cabinet.

    It means the government’s tech agency will remain under the control of Mr Robert, who was recently appointed as Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business after serving as government services minister.

    It was revealed this week that Mr Robert had retained his role as chair of the Cabinet Service Delivery and Coordination Committee despite the ministerial reshuffle. He has also recently been promoted onto the powerful Expenditure Review Committee by the Prime Minister.’

  12. It will be interesting to see where the unfortunate Central Coast lady got her vaccine. As I was indicating to Yabba (i think), there is a slight hint of developing shenanigans in some of the distribution places.

    Completely unrelated, my wife (sorry for being gendered – partner) had her 1st AZ at the Terrigal GP this week – they seemed to have a good supply

  13. Completely unrelated, my wife (sorry for being gendered – partner)

    You are as mature and as humorous as the most unmatured cheese, Oakeshott Country.

  14. Gosh – a politician gets booed at the football. Hold the front page.
    I only say this to get to one of my favourite Gough stories.

    Gough was attending a NSW v Qld rugby league match in Brisbane (pre state of origin rules). Pre-match he was taken into the middle of the ground to meet the teams by Senator Ron McAuliffe, the president of QRL (in the days when Labor leader = important in RL)
    The crowd went ballistic with steel beer cans, mostly empty, raining onto the field. Gough turned to McAuliffe and said “Comrade, If I had known you were this unpopular, I would have refused to come out here”

  15. Speaking of vaccination shenanigans, an acquaintance (of the non-male identifying gender) applied to be vaccinated – claiming Type-2 Diabetes as the reason for being vulnerable – despite not qualifying on age or any front line worker criteria.

    Bingo. Allocated a slot for Pfizer jab, first one this week.

  16. My feeling at the Terrigal GP is that there is significant vaccine reluctance, which must be slated to Morrison promising high and delivering low

  17. I’m not surprised people on the Central Coast are vaccine tentative:

    The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has confirmed the fatal blood clotting suffered by a 48-year-old Australian woman was likely linked to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

    Genene Norris from the New South Wales Central Coast, who had underlying health issues, was admitted to hospital four days after receiving the shot.

    The TGA met late on Friday afternoon to investigate the link between the inoculation and her death and now says the blood clots in the arteries and veins and low platelet count Ms Norris presented with does indicate a correlation.

    The TGA says Ms Norris received her vaccination on the same day that the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and the federal government announced that the Pfizer vaccine would be the preferred vaccine for patients under 50.

  18. Peacock will be remembered as the ‘soufflé which doesn’t rise twice’, and this phone call with Jeff Kennett, where they discuss John Howard and the outcome of a Victorian by-election..

    (Language warning)

    This is the transcript of the Kennett-Peacock car phone conversation.
    KENNETT: He got on the phone and said are you happy with the result, and I said “No I’m not”, and he said “Why?” and I said “Without your front pages and total disunity I’d have had a ten percent swing. I would have got myself another four and you’ve fucked it up for me and he went off his brain.
    PEACOCK: Oh did he?
    KENNETT: And he went off his brain trying to (inaudible)
    PEACOCK: He went off his brain?
    KENNETT: And I said…
    PEACOCK: And HE went off his brain?
    KENNETT: He said to me, “I didn’t like the way you kept me out of the campaign”. I said, “Wouldn’t have you in it, and I didn’t have any federal people in it.”
    PEACOCK: Well you didn’t have me. Didn’t have anyone.
    KENNETT: And I said to him, “Tomorrow, I’m going to bucket the whole lot of you”.
    PEACOCK: No! Don’t do that Jeffrey.
    KENNETT: Hold your flow. I said, “Tomorrow John” and he said, “I know where your sympathies lie”, and I said, “I couldn’t give a fuck. I have no sympathies any more. You’re all a pack of shits and tomorrow I’m going berserk”. Well he went off his brain and in the end I said to him, I said, “Howard. You’re a cunt. You haven’t got my support, you never will have and I’m not going to rubbish you or the party tomorrow but I feel a lot better having told you you’re a cunt.”
    PEACOCK: Oh shit!
    KENNETT: And the poor little fellow didn’t know whether he was Arthur or Martha.
    PEACOCK: Oh shit!
    KENNETT: (laughing) I just thought I should let you know.
    PEACOCK: Well, tomorrow you are humble. You do feel better. And I am getting out of that car. I’ve told you. I told Margaret, I said “Tomorrow I’m just gonna get out of that fuckin’ car and say this is not Howard’s day, it’s not my day, it’s not Carla’s day, it’s not anyone’s day, not Richie’s day. This is a day for Jeffrey Kennett”. And I was thinking that I’d go in even earlier, and even if only a third of the bastards were there I was gonna go and grab the mic and say this is unprecedented. This in the midst of the most horrific difficulties and I faced ’em when I was the leader in by-elections, we haven’t had ’em for some years. We had a great win yesterday, and the only person who is deserving. Not just earnt it, but deserving of support is Jeffrey Kennett and if you don’t give him everything then you’re letting down the Liberal Party.

  19. Michael West Media doing the best actual investigative journalism in auspol.

    Great to see how they’re giving young bloods an opportunity, young journos who are not as likely to be as captured by the moribund old journalistic school of nudge and wink with their contacts in the major parties, and probably with a bit more enthusiasm and energy for digging through the non-transparent trash that is characteristic of contemporary auspol.
    Few lies and BS more blatant than those about the pokies being for ‘giving back to the community’ or the number of ‘jobs in mining’ and the mining companies contribution to the country.

    Libs and Labor are really working more for their sponsors than their constituents.

    Pokies, money laundering & the tricks Clubs use to help you lose.

    Government for Sale: live coverage of AEC political bribes data
    by Michael West | Feb 1, 2021

    Pokies lobby

    Australian Hotels Association paid Labor $185,677, Liberal: $6,363 and Nationals: $40,261

    Only $95,000 was declared as donations on AEC detailed receipts the rest of the donations were retrieved from the Australian Hotels Association original return.

    Clubs NSW, which represents the biggest gambling sector (pokies) in the biggest gambling state (NSW) in the biggest gambling country (Australia) in the world. According to veteran donations watcher Stephen Mayne, ClubsNSW declaration suggests the association “only donated 50k in 2019-29 – this included 33k for NSW Labor and 11k for the Tasmanian Liberals. Mainlanders still paying for the Lib campaign to defeat (Labor leader who tried to reform Tas pokies) Rebecca White”.


    Do mining companies pay their fair share?

  20. Thank you, BK
    The coffin arrangement in the toon looked somehow immediately familiar but it actually took some pondering to decipher.

  21. I see that Sheridan acknowledges that we lost in Afghanistan, calling it a ‘civilization failure’. I suspect that he calls it that without the slightest trace of irony.

  22. OC “It will be interesting to see where the unfortunate Central Coast lady got her vaccine. ” Last nights NBN local news reported she was injected by her doctor in Lake Macquarie, not that narrows anything down much. She probably lived in South Lake Mac eg Gwandalan, Lake Munmorah and her dr in Belmont or somewhere.

  23. What our body politic lacks is Bandt connecting better with farmers, more announcements from Morrison and his little mate Minister Cu…Hunt, a billionaire’s tax, and Greens bludgers actually getting stuck into Xi for genocide.

  24. Terminator @ #NaN Saturday, April 17th, 2021 – 8:51 am

    OC “It will be interesting to see where the unfortunate Central Coast lady got her vaccine. ” Last nights NBN local news reported she was injected by her doctor in Lake Macquarie, not that narrows anything down much. She probably lived in South Lake Mac eg Gwandalin, Lake Mamora and her dr in Belmont or somewhere.

    Gwandalan. Lake Munmorah.

  25. yesterdays SMH

    Labor capitalised on Holgate’s comments to pile pressure on Morrison.

    “Christine Holgate, I think today the most powerful thing that she did was to point out the hypocrisy of Scott Morrison in demanding she go during question time and at the same time he’s hanging on to Andrew Laming,” Albanese told reporters.

    Also could have added ( & MYSELF) after Scott Morrison, it’s not too late for Albo to say he was wrong & then go after Morrison with ferocity.. or is it?

  26. Boerwar

    Covid has caused so many social changes, whether it be with the birthrate, workplace, and general attitudes about things.

    For eg. I can say that nearly everyone I know who can work from home, wants to continue to do so.
    They are resisting returning to the office.

  27. Socrates

    The citizenry of WA have not forgotten the bullying by the feds with the help of Clive palmer. They initially signed on supporting Clive in his legal action regarding the borders. When they released the public weren’t buying it. They retreated.

  28. Morrison’s new whip cracking timetable is configured around the need to feed the media cycle rather than serving the imperative of clear headed deliberation and decision making.

    Gee that makes a change from Scotty from Marketing’s SOP eh ? 😆

  29. Meanwhile here in Victoria, Dan Andrews has been out of action since 9th March due to serious injuries after fall. James Merlino the deputy has been in charge.
    Dont want to jinx it, but I
    have to say it has been a smooth ride so far.

  30. Please let it be so. Morrison so far has been saved by the states doing all the heavy lifting.

    Dennis Atkins
    Just one more? “At the moment, Morrison is doing everything to spoil his own chances and he is running out of options to distract from his own myriad messes. He may well be one big stuff-up away from oblivion.” #auspol
    Dennis Atkins: Scott Morrison’s myriad messes put re-election in jeopardy
    PM Scott Morrison is the political equivalent of a busted watch – right twice a day but useless the rest of the time. One more misstep and it could well be curtains for the man who can’t admit error

  31. boerwar at 8:45 am

    I see that Sheridan acknowledges that we lost in Afghanistan, calling it a ‘civilization failure’. I suspect that he calls it that without the slightest trace of irony.

    Back when Afghanistan kicked off . I was still buying the deadwood Australian. Sheridan was positively orgasmic over the awesomeness of Dubya and his crew there and later in Iraq. As it inevitably turned to shit he assumed all the positions in the karma sutra as he tried explaining why fuck up after fuck up were in fact 3D chess moves on their part.

Comments Page 1 of 29
1 2 29

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *