Affirmative inaction

Federal preselection season keeps rumbling on, with the Queensland LNP settling a keenly fought Senate contest on the weekend.

Before proceeding with the latest preselection news, I have a still-active post with daily updates on the progress of Tasmanian state election count; a live results feature that I can’t promote often enough, since it remains by some distance the most detailed source of results data available; and a lengthy plea for cash from Friday from which I’m still vaguely hopeful of squeezing another donation or two.

On with the show:

• The long-awaited Liberal National Party Senate preselection has allocated top position on the Queensland ticket to James McGrath while relegating Amanda Stoker to third, maintaining an impressive bipartisan run of preselectors never getting anything right. Michael McKenna of The Australian relates that McGrath secured a sweeping 212-101 win from the “biggest ever turnout for a State Council Senate vote”. The second position is designated to the Nationals, and is duly a lock for Matt Canavan.

Paul Starick of The Advertiser reports that Leah Blyth, who has the backing of the South Australian Liberal Party’s conservative faction to replace the retiring Nicolle Flint in the Adelaide seat of Boothby, may be poleaxed by the Section 44 of the Constitution. Blyth’s efforts to renounce a dual British citizenship even this far out from the election could fall foul of extended processing times arising from COVID-19, although others quoted in the report express doubt that it will really be a problem. Rival contenders include Rachel Swift, moderate-aligned proprietor of a health consultancy firm, and Shaun Osborn, a police officer who ran in the seat of Adelaide in 2019. However, Osborn is hampered by the optics of putting a man forward to replace Flint, whose experiences have been a key element in Liberal efforts to parry suggestions that disrespect for women is particularly a problem on their own side of politics.

John Ferguson of The Australian reports dissension within Victorian Labor over the likelihood that former state secretary Sam Rae will secure preselection for the new seat of Hawke on Melbourne’s north-western fringe. The report says a draft preselection agreement reserves the seat for the Right faction Transport Workers Union, which remains associated with party powerbroker and former Senator Stephen Conroy. While Conroy evidently backs Rae, “other parts” of the Right are said to favour the position going to a woman, specifically Natalie Hutchins, the Andrews government Corrections Minister and member for the seat of Sydenham.

Matthew Denholm of The Australian reported last week that “wholesale ALP federal intervention” loomed for the party’s Tasmanian branch, “barring a shock win for the party” at Saturday’s state election – which, for those of you who have just joined us, didn’t happen. The concern is that Left unions use their excessive weight within the branch’s affairs to do foolish things like deny preselection to Dean Winter, who was able to achieve his thumping win in Franklin on Saturday only because the national executive intervened to give him a place on the ticket. This would appear to be relevant to Labor’s preselections for the federal seat of Bass and Braddon, which it lost at the 2019 election, and also to the fate of twice-defeated state leader Rebecca White. The aforesaid Left unions are apparently keen on replacing her with David O’Byrne, who was outpolled in Franklin on Saturday by the aforesaid Dean Winter.

• The Liberal Party has done tellingly extensive research for its submission opposing the registration of a party under the name New Liberals, which included CT Group polling indicating that 69% of respondents believed a party thus named sounded like it had a connection with the other Liberal Party.

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.

1,646 comments on “Affirmative inaction”

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  1. “ The report says a draft preselection agreement reserves the seat for the Right faction Transport Workers Union, which remains associated with party powerbroker and former Senator Stephen Conroy. However, “other parts” of the Right are said to favour the position going to a woman, specifically Natalie Hutchins,”

    I’ve never understood the Byzantine nature of victorian factional politics. This makes no sense to me at all as Natalie is a very distinguished TWU alumni in her own right.

  2. Rival contenders include Rachel Swift, moderate-aligned proprietor of a health consultancy firm, and Shaun Osborn, a police officer who ran in the seat of Adelaide in 2019. However, Swift is hampered by the optics of putting a man forward to replace Flint, whose experiences have been a key element in Liberal efforts to parry suggestions that disrespect for women is particularly a problem on their own side of politics.


    Ima thinking you mean Shaun Osborn. 😀

  3. ‘Other parts of the Right’ in Victoria. Otherwise known as Bill Shorten. The Short Cons are no more, they are a dead parrot, so even though it makes sense to have Natalie, daughter of Steve, it may not happen.

    Frankly, I reckon Daniel Walton should get the gig.

  4. And just so you aren’t misled into thinking that Labor is the only party that gets up to shenanigans, the Liberal Party do it on an industrial scale with taxpayers’ money:

    At least 13 former Liberal MPs and political staffers have been appointed to plum federal government jobs since the start of the year, including a former deputy mayor given a 26-year-long, $10 million post at the Fair Work Commission.

    Alana Matheson, the former Liberal deputy mayor of Campbelltown who has worked for the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and for KPMG – and who is the daughter of two-term Liberal MP Russell Matheson – was appointed to the $387,960 per annum post as a Fair Work Commissioner on April 1.

  5. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    In examining Morrison’s identity politics stance, a concerned Sean Kelly writes, “Australian citizens in India can be treated as non-citizens. Chinese Australians can be treated as potentially disloyal citizens. Indigenous Australians can be treated as citizens whose lives are worth not quite as much as those of white Australians.”
    Peter van Onselen says that making criminals of Aussies trying to get home shames us all.
    Luara Ferracioli. a senior lecturer in political philosophy, argues that fining or jailing Australians arriving from India is a step too far.
    And Professor Kim Rubenstein says that it is difficult to reconcile the concept of being a citizen of a democratic country while being trapped by one’s own government, unable to leave Australia or to return.
    Anthony Galloway tells us that the Morrison government has asked the Department of Defence to review the Northern Territory’s 99-year-lease of the Port of Darwin to the Chinese-owned company Landbridge – a deal that has unsettled national security figures in the federal government since it was signed six years ago.
    And he reports that Peter Dutton has vowed to speak out more openly about China’s acts of aggression, declaring everyday Australians are with the government and understand the threats posed by Beijing.
    According to Ross Gittins, we are now trying Plan C to end wage stagnation. He says that at last, they’ve concluded that the only way to get wages growing again is to get unemployment down so far that employers are having trouble finding the workers they need and are forced to compete with other employers by bidding up the wages they’re prepared to pay.
    Jennifer Hewett says that for Josh Frydenberg, red ink is the new black.
    Shane Wright says that soaring iron ore prices and a stronger-than-expected jobs market are poised to deliver Treasurer Josh Frydenberg a $98 billion improvement to the budget bottom line as Australian workers become increasingly confident about the nation’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
    And he tells us that Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy says while Australian debt levels are modest by global standards, taxpayers will have to decide how they are paid.
    Deloitte Access Economics director Chris Richardson estimated annual savings of about $40 billion would eventually need to be found but stressed the task of budget repair should not begin too soon, reports Ronald Mizen.
    Gareth Eavans tells us why the Hawke-Keating government remains the gold standard.
    The government’s embrace of ‘clean hydrogen’ helps no one but the fossil fuel industry, explains Richard Denniss.
    John Lord fills us in on how Scott Morrison sees himself as our prime minister.
    Eleven crew members from a livestock cargo vessel docked in Townsville are claiming asylum after refusing to get back on board the ship, while a hunt is underway for a twelfth crew member on the run in Queensland.
    The Covid-19 vaccination program is becoming an ethical discussion of the difference between national vs global, private vs public, and whether to co-operate or to compete. It is also about who pays and who benefits, explains Terry Slevin.
    The Liberals’ victory in Tasmanian election is more status quo than a ringing endorsement, writes Michael Lester.
    Jacqui Maley examines when it is OK to criticise a prime minister’s spouse.
    Parliamentary Budget Office costings, commissioned by The Greens, has revealed an extra $1.1 billion would be made available next financial year if 65 companies that made excessive profits or paid out executive bonuses while receiving JobKeeper payments returned the amount they received from the government.
    Crispin Hull has had enough of certain media coverage and he declares, “Australia’s Covid risk is far greater than blood clot vaccine hysteria”.
    Amanda Vanstone has a spit about media groupthink.
    South Australia’s latest euthanasia Bill will pass the first major hurdle in parliament this week, a poll has found, as some MPs grapple with the hardest decision of their lives. An Advertiser survey of all Upper House members, excluding President John Dawkins, found 11 members were committed to voting in support of the Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) legislation on Wednesday. Seven members remained against the Bill, while just three were undecided.
    COVID-19 may serve to intensify the pre-existing turn towards fascism, currently inflaming the Western world, writes Gerard Gill.,15029
    Lisa Visentin explains how parents will have to wait until after the next election to benefit from the Morrison government’s $1.7 billion childcare package, amid concerns that it won’t be a game-changer in boosting women’s workforce participation.
    An extra $1.7 billion for child care will help some, but it won’t improve affordability for most say these contributors to The Conversation.
    Sarak Keoghan writes that Indian-Australian community members say bringing cricket stars home while thousands of Australians remain stranded would not be well received.
    The moment they turn 65, newly disabled people are excluded from the National Disability Insurance Scheme – and that, according to former business titan Bill Moss, is discrimination, writes Jewel Topsfield.
    Belated arts support offered by the Coalition does little to encourage stable recovery from the impacts of funding cuts and COVID-19, writes Leya Reid.,15040
    Netflix has paid less than $550,000 in income tax in Australia in 2020 despite estimates it earned more than $1 billion in revenue.
    Britain’s overgrown Eton schoolboys have turned the country into their playground, declares John Harris who says the reckless disdain of Boris Johnson and David Cameron is evidence of the institutional elitism blighting UK politics.
    The first 100 days of Biden were also the first 100 without Trump, and that’s telling, says Robert Reich.
    Mitt Romney was loudly booed at the Utah Republican party convention on Saturday – and called a “traitor” and a “communist” as he tried to speak.

    Cartoon Corner

    Peter Broelman

    David Rowe

    Jim Pavlidis

    Michael Leunig

    Mark Knight

    Johannes Leak

    From the US

  6. ‘I’m a clairvoyant psychic medium reiki healer spiritual guidance mentor ….’

    Line from a facebook post.

    Oh, how I wish I had the sheer effrontery……I’d make a motza.

    btw, why do psychics advertise? Surely they know you need their services, and why, and just contact you. Then bill you. As psychics, they’d have no trouble accessing your account, and they’d know in advance you were willing to pay.

  7. The problem with the Netflix revenue vs income tax article is what percentage of the revenue is spent on content and is not taxable anyway.

  8. The Liberal Party has done tellingly extensive research for its submission opposing the registration of a party under the name New Liberals, which included CT Group polling indicating that 69% of respondents believed a party thus named sounded like it had a connection with the other Liberal Party.

    They needed to do extensive research to tell them that?!

  9. Thérèse Rein
    May 1
    I have to stop holding my breath waiting for the Australian federal Government to do just one thing right, otherwise I will go blue in the face and pass out.

  10. $1.7 for Childcare. I wonder how much of that fund will make it’s way to struggling centres in the Brisbane outer suburbs of Bald Hills and Everton Hills that might really need the money?

  11. Peter van Onselen
    CMO Paul Kelly on RN right now AVOIDING saying that the medical advice given was to make it illegal for citizens to return, before CONFIRMING that NO advice was given like that. So the government has misled the public it was just following the medical advice. Case closed…

  12. I bet that the Childcare funds will go to privately run centres ahead of going to the underpaid staff…

  13. Follow-up podcast from Juice Media with Ketan Joshi goes into great detail on how totally shit Australia has been when it comes to EV’s, personal and public transport and delusions of choice in the governments FFS policy, that is actually not a policy.

    Seems like the $3000 subsidy Vic announced has not really moved many people and may have actually just reinforced how stupid EV policy has been, to have both a new subsidy and a new tax on EV at the same time.

    Hard to see much movement from various manufacturers or local start ups in EV going anywhere much as long as Federal policy is such a pathetic mess. Perhaps even worse if every state tries to go its own way and develop a mish mash of policies, even though something is required to change the situation.

    Either way Australia is already being left well behind the pack when it comes to decarbonising private and public transport.

    Why Australia sucks so much at EVs FFS | with Ketan Joshi

  14. Quoll

    ‘Seems like the $3000 subsidy Vic announced has not really moved many people..’

    The subsidy started yesterday. It’s a bit early to decide its effectiveness.

  15. This government is very good at passing off responsibilities to people whose responsibilities they aren’t. That way if things go differently it was never their fault: they didn’t suggest anything it was the other guy, or they didn’t promise anything it was the other guy.

    If you’re ever presenting something with a Coalition politician, you’re together answering questions, and they pass a question over to you, pass it back :P.

  16. Eddy Jokovich
    “Needs one more seat to secure a convincing majority.” More ABC framing for a Liberal Government. A one-seat majority is not “convincing”, it’s about as unstable as you can get. More wet-behind-the-ears analysis at the ABC.

  17. zoomster @ #NaN Monday, May 3rd, 2021 – 8:09 am

    ‘“ Natalie, daughter of Steve”


    I don’t know who Dean Walton is, either.

    Put your glasses on when you read a post, zoomster. This is what I wrote:

    Frankly, I reckon Daniel Walton should get the gig.

    This guy:
    National Secretaries of the AWU: Daniel Walton 2016–present

    And yes, Natalie Hutchins is Steve Hutchins’ widow, not daughter. So shoot me already.

  18. And this is more garbage out from Quoll:

    Seems like the $3000 subsidy Vic announced has not really moved many people and may have actually just reinforced how stupid EV policy has been, to have both a new subsidy and a new tax on EV at the same time.

    Obviously Greens don’t know how to think policy through thoroughly. Never having governed in their own right beyond Council level in Australia I guess it’s understandable.

    So, Quoll, do you not have an ICE car? Because if you do drive an Internal Combustion Engine car of any sort, if only a Hybrid, then you are paying a tax every time you buy petrol for it. This tax goes into Consolidated Revenue, sure, but it allows the government to plan for road infrastructure that we all use, as you pictorial history of bushfire hit areas recently showed that you use too.

    So, give me one good reason that, as we transition to the use of EV cars, that we should not replace one tax most people are willing to pay in order to contribute to a modality provided by government that we all use most every day, with another? Other than you are a greedy person who thinks everyone else should pay taxes but you while you ride around in your EV, virtue signaling to the world?

  19. And if you don’t recognise the name of Daniel Walton, then you have obviously forgotten this:

    The Australian Workers Union says federal police raids on their Sydney and Melbourne offices are part of an attempt to smear Labor leader Bill Shorten.
    The police investigation relates to whether donations made to the activist group GetUp! were approved under the AWU’s rules.
    Officers searched the union’s Sydney headquarters in Sussex Street and the West Melbourne headquarters on Spencer Street this afternoon.

    AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton said the raids were an “extraordinary abuse” of police resources and taxpayer funds.
    “This is an extraordinary abuse of police resources and taxpayer funds by a desperate government,” Mr Walton said in a statement.

    “It is clear the ROC has been established not to promote good governance, but to use taxpayer and police resources to muckrake through historic documents in an attempt to find anything that might smear a future Labor prime minister.

    And this, subsequent to that:

    The Australian Workers’ Union has today welcomed the Federal Court’s ruling that the Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) did not have reasonable grounds to launch an investigation into the union that led to the AFP raiding the AWU’s offices.
    AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton said he was pleased the court had ruled in the union’s favour.

    “We have said from the very beginning that this investigation is was invalid, that it never should have commenced. So we’re very satisfied the court has ruled that way today,” Mr Walton said.

    “This has been an exhausting, resource-draining, and distracting process for our union, but it’s a vital part of democracy that the actions of public agencies can and should be held to account.

    “We were determined to bring the facts in this case to light, and that has taken a huge effort. When our union is attacked, when our members’ interests are attacked, we will always push back.”

    Maurice Blackburn Principal Josh Bornstein, who is acting for the AWU, said the decision made clear the ROC had made a serious legal error of judgement in deciding to pursue its AWU investigation.

    Anyone in Labor or the Union movement who has the patience and fortitude to push back against the federal government’s abuses of their power, has my vote to go further in politics.

    Simple as that really.

  20. Josh Butler
    My understanding of this, after some digging, is medical experts would have broadly advised to restrict travel. The government would decide to specifically use Biosecurity Act to do it, which itself already carries jail penalty. This tracks with Greg Hunt’s Saturday announcement

  21. C@tmomma
    His union was raided for bullshit reasons and then it was lawyers at 20 paces. Sounds pretty SOP.

  22. Got to say, it’s a bit sad seeing a Greens poster such as Quoll willing a policy which will benefit the environment to fail.

  23. How unsurprising the cabal respond before bothering to listen and they play out exactly the kind of idiotic arguments that are discussed in some of the Juice Media interview.

    Well done.

    Go read what various EV groups and people are saying about Australian and the Vic EV policy, a new tax and a new subsidy both together, really? Socrates pretty much said the same thing.

  24. Happy to look into the runes to think Dr Andrew Miller, current AMA President in WA, will make a run for politics.
    He has been a voluble critic of the McGowan government on almost anything to do with Covid and the current state of health care, his words are taken almost without question and he has a regular soapbox in the local West rag and on talk-back radio.
    He was, I understand, part of the cheer squad when Morrison made his once-in-22-month visit to WA a week or two ago…..
    No prizes for predicting which party will be his preference…..

  25. Conservationists are up in arms after a prescribed burn in the South West decimated one of only two numbat habitats left in Western Australia.
    The burn – lit by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) in Perup, east of Manjimup, on March 25 – scorched nearly 1,900 hectares of forest.
    Key points:
    Conservationists are furious after the DBCA dropped incendiaries into a numbat habitat from a helicopter
    The blaze was described by an onlooker as an “inferno” that totally devastated the bush
    The DBCA insists precautions were taken and many numbats would have survived the blaze

  26. Quoll
    So you for you electric cars is only about getting out of tax. Sad indictment of you commitment to the environment.

  27. “ Never heard of him.”

    Daniel Walton – assiduously campaigning against Jodi McKay for that last 20 months – rank and file and caucus democracy be damned.

    No thanks.

  28. Molan joins Dutton in promoting the idea that a war with China is inevitable.

    Complacency is an enemy as the reality of conflict sets in

    Many ordinary Australians are awakening to the sombre reality that war is not just possible in our region, but likely. Our nation must face up to some tough questions.
    (headline in Murdoch’s Oz)

  29. Quoll

    The part of the policy being objected to is the road usage levy.

    It is inevitable that some kind of charge for EVs along these lines will be adopted sometime – the revenue from petrol sales will need to be replaced.

    If you’re going to do it, it (may) make sense to do it upfront, before EVs become established, so that the charge is something which has already been accepted.

    (I’m willing to fence sit on this a bit longer; I’m explaining, not defending).

    The $3000 subsidy seems to have been welcomed (by some of the same groups which condemned the road charges) –

    Tesla expects it to drive sales –

    The subsidy also seems to be in line with Green party policy, which has been pushing for subsidies for EV purchases.

    Regardless, writing off an incentive when it’s less than a day old seems a tad premature.

  30. If Daniel Walton is from NSW (hence never heard of him) I don’t see why he should get a Federal seat in Victoria (although I know there have been precedents).

  31. Tricot

    Heard about 30 seconds of him on RN, with no idea who he was, and decided he must be a Liberal MP.

  32. Perrotet in NSW is also promoting a per km charge for EVs. This is inevitable across Australia. The Victorian rate of 2.5c per km equates to $25 per 1,000 km or about $375 per year for the average distance of 15,000 km.

  33. China Deletes Social Media Posts Mocking India Amid Backlash

    A social media post by China’s top law enforcement body juxtaposing the country’s successful launch of a module into space with grim cremation pyres in India was deleted after it sparked online criticism in China.

    Photos of the Tianhe module launch and its fuel burn-off were compared with what appeared to be a mass outdoor cremation in India, and captioned “China lighting a fire versus India lighting a fire.” The post on Saturday by the Communist Party’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission on its official Sina Weibo account was accompanied by a hashtag noting that new Covid-19 cases in India had surpassed 400,000 a day.

    Later that day, it could no longer be found. Many Chinese social media users expressed shock and anger at the insensitivity of the post.

    “We hope everyone gives attention to the Chinese government and mainstream public opinion supporting India’s fight against the epidemic,” China’s foreign ministry said in response to a request for comment. The office of the ministry’s spokesperson added that more supplies will continue to be sent to India in the coming days showing China’s support through practical action.

    Official social media accounts should “hold high the banner of humanitarianism at this time, show sympathy for India, and firmly place Chinese society on a moral high ground,” Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of Communist Party-backed Global Times newspaper, wrote on Weibo commenting on the deleted post. Hu said such methods were not an appropriate way for official social media accounts to gain traffic.

    Ties between China and India have been rocky in recent months. A border dispute that killed dozens last year and hurt economic ties between the two nations has fanned nationalistic sentiment in both countries. Tensions remain despite ongoing high-level talks, with India most recently urging early disengagement from all friction points along the border.

    That didn’t prevent President Xi Jinping from sending a message of condolence to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday and offering to provide assistance to help the South Asian country deal with a fierce surge in Covid-19 cases.

    Another deleted post that first appeared Friday compared China’s “fire god mountain” — the name of the emergency hospital complex built in Wuhan — with a photo of a mass cremation in India on the official Weibo account of China’s Ministry of Public Security. It too was criticized, with social media users saying it was “morally problematic.”

  34. The tendency of the cabal to bang on their keyboards, try and verbal others, before listening, watching and engaging their brains is remarkable. Certainly why engaging is a mostly a waste of time.
    Invective? Such sensitive petals for a bunch who never let a chance to accuse others of anything, no matter how inane, pass.

    Evidently none have actually bothered to listen or watch yet and appear to be suggesting they understand more about it than anyone else anywhere already, so why bother.

    Blind partisans of PB would be the last people I’d take advice on anything from.

  35. U.S. COVID update:

    – New cases: 31,058 ……………………. – New deaths: 375

    – In hospital: 37,986 (-962)
    – In ICU: 9,764 (-74)

    591,056 total deaths now

    ( India reports 369,942 new coronavirus cases and 3,421 new deaths )

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