In addition to Saturday’s Upper Hunter by-election in New South Wales, the results and aftermath of which you can discuss here, I have the following electoral news to relate, much of it involving federal preselections in Queensland:
• James Massola of the Age/Herald reports that “Liberal MPs believe an early election is increasingly likely after Josh Frydenberg’s well-received third federal budget”, although “much will depend on Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout”. An early election may still mean next year rather than this: according to an unnamed Liberal MP quoted in the report, “the thinking was it would be May 2022, now it’s February-March or maybe even October-November”.
• The Liberal National Party’s candidate for the Brisbane seat of Lilley is Ryan Shaw, an army veteran who served in East Timor and Afghanistan, and the unsuccessful LNP candidate for the corresponding seat of Nudgee at last year’s state election. The Prime Minister visited the seat with Shaw in two last week to promote the government’s HomeBuilder program. Phillip Coorey of the Financial Review reported the seat was one of two in Queensland that the LNP was “making a play for” – notwithstanding that “the Coalition is acutely aware that the huge swing towards it in Queensland at the last election could easily go the other way next time … without the red hot issue of the Adani coal mine, the Bob Brown convoy and an unpopular leader in Bill Shorten”.
• The second of the two Queensland seats the Coalition hopes to add to its pile is Blair, which Shayne Neumann has held for Labor since 2007. This is one of two seats which have been the subject of speculation surrounding former state Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington, whose state seat of Nanango largely corresponds with it. The other is the rather more attractive prospect of Flynn, which will be vacated with the retirement of LNP incumbent Ken O’Dowd. Michael McKenna of The Australian reports Frecklington has “denied she had considered running for Flynn, but has not responded to questions about a possible preselection bid in Blair”. Another nominee for the LNP’s Flynn preselection is Colin Boyce, who has held the state seat of Callide since 2017. Labor announced last week that its candidate for the seat would be Gladstone mayor Matt Burnett.
• In Capricornia, another theoretically winnable seat for Labor in regional Queensland that inflicted a blowout swing on the party in 2019, Labor has endorsed Russell Robertson, who works at the Goonyella coal mine.
• Labor in Tasmania will conduct a ballot of party members as part of its process to choose a successor to Rebecca White, who resigned as leader after last month’s election defeat. The contestants for the position are David O’Byrne, a figure of considerable influence in the Left faction, and Shane Broad, whose profile is rather a bit lower. The membership vote will constitute 50% of the total, with the other half consisting of a ballot of the party’s state conference. I believe this will be the third such party membership vote for a parliamentary leader in Australia, after the contest between Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese after the 2013 federal election, and that between Jodi McKay and Chris Minns after the 2019 state election in New South Wales (readers may correct me in comments if I’ve missed something).
1,206 comments on “Month of May miscellany”
More cases of covid and variants
Australia is playing with Fire.
More bad luck.
Little did someone think that after all those years of training and study before gaining employment at such prestigious institution that they would one day issue such advice 😆
Stop Kissing and Snuggling Chickens, C.D.C. Says
Good morning Dawn Patrollers. Sorry it’s a bit late this morning.
A person who tested positive for COVID-19 in Melbourne’s northern suburbs this week had attended an AFL match at the MCG on the weekend, forcing some football fans into isolation.
The news of fresh cases of COVID-19 across Melbourne has left the city rattled – understandably so, given the trauma we have endured over the past year, writes Liam Mannix who looks at the winter months ahead.
Millions of Australians could receive their Pfizer shots from GPs, in pharmacies and Commonwealth run respiratory clinics after a crucial decision by the Therapeutic Goods Administration to allow the vaccine to be stored in regular refrigerators for up to a month.
Being open about why Australia’s vaccination take-up is low is the first step to improve it, posits Julie Leask.
Meanwhile, Queensland LNP Senator Gerard Rennick has used a live television appearance to say he would “sit back and watch and see” how the vaccine rollout goes before getting a jab.
Incentives could boost vaccine uptake in Australia, but we need different approaches for different groups explain two social marketing experts in The Conc=versation.
The AIMN’s Rossleigh celebrates the number of Australians vaccinated having just exceeded the number of government announcements on the subject.
Scott Morrison has repeatedly reiterated that all decisions in relation to Coronavirus public health measures have been taken in accordance with medical advice. But the advice itself has frequently been considerably less than transparent, even as he has had medical officials standing alongside him, giving every appearance of having crafted his words and drafted his decisions, writes Jack Waterford.
NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay is facing further attempts to destabilise her leadership with more MPs expected to quit her frontbench, furious over the release of an internal dirt file on her main rival Chris Minns.
Labor frontbencher Meryl Swanson has warned Anthony Albanese he is leading the opposition to an election defeat, telling a closed-door caucus meeting in Canberra the party is “sleepwalking off a cliff”.
“NSW Labor followed the Joel Fitzgibbon playbook in the Hunter and look what happened”, says Felicity Wade.
David Crowe reports that Liberal and Nationals MPs are being urged to raise money for a federal election to be held next year out of concern at the power of activist groups and the union movement to threaten the government’s hold on power.
Albanese may not inspire hope, but he knows how to hold on to leadership, says Shaun Carney.
Paul Kelly pontificates that “Labor’s dual identities are well known – it is the party of educated progressives, public sector and service delivery employees, minorities and cultural adherents of woke or grievance politics on one hand and, on the other hand, Labor loyalists holding jobs in coal, resources, electricity, gas, water, manufacturing, agriculture and industry, many being cultural conservatives.”
Dennis Atkins describes Scott Morrison’s four favourite ways to bend the truth.
Michaela Whitbourn reports that Jo Dyer, who is seeking a court order to stop a high-profile barrister acting for Christian Porter in his defamation proceedings against the ABC, has said she believed the allegation should be made public. The court case continues today.
According to Jennifer Duke, controversial superannuation reforms giving the federal government the ability to intervene in funds’ investment decisions are facing an uphill battle with crossbench MPs who say the changes hand too much power to the government. Bob Katter and Craig Kelly are two of them.
Scott Morrison’s chief of staff has ruled there isn’t strong evidence that media advisers gave negative briefings against the partner of former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins after she made public allegations she had been raped. (That’s because the journos to whom the backgrounding was allegedly leaked have all not responded to questions because they don’t want to lose their sources.)
Penny Wong has said Morrison’s staff were not cleared over the Brittany Higgins backgrounding allegations.
Josh Butler writes that Brittany Higgins was apparently blindsided by the release of “malicious” content within a report that cleared the Prime Minister’s staff of running a background smear campaign against her partner.
And Michelle Grattan says the report from John Kunkel, Scott Morrison’s chief of staff, on whether the Prime Minister’s office briefed against Brittany Higgins’ partner David Sharaz has been drafted with Jesuitical subtlety.
Rob Harris tells us how more than 700 highly paid employees at NBN Co, the taxpayer-owned body which runs and operates the National Broadband Network, received average personal bonuses of $50,000 last year. So, is it only big bonuses on top of big salaries that will allow employees to do the job they were taken on for?
Government and private sector money must go into telecoms projects across Australia, writes Paul Budde who laments that internet access is still lacking in parts of Australia.
Nick Toscano and Mike Foley tell us that Snowy Hydro chief executive Paul Broad said the business case for Kurri Kurri forecast the “internal rate of return is double-digit”. Snowy was in commercially sensitive negotiations for turbines at the plant, Mr Broad said, but he committed to releasing the business case within two months.
Matthew Elmas reports that fresh questions have emerged about whether Australia needs a new $600 million gas-fired power station after it was revealed an existing government-owned plant was not used during a recent spike in prices.
Foley writes that the Labor Party will oppose the federal government’s proposed changes to expand the remit of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to allow it to fund fossil fuel technology including carbon capture and storage and “blue” hydrogen which is produced with gas.
The Morrison government is under increasing pressure to act on the climate crisis, with a new poll showing seven in 10 Australians want the Coalition to lock in stronger commitments in the lead-up to this year’s Glasgow summit. The Lowy Institute’s annual survey of sentiment on climate action finds strong domestic support for Australia committing to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and majority support for a ban on new coalmines., explains Daniel Hurst.
Jenny Hocking declares that it is a national disgrace that the National Archives has turned to crowdfunding to save irreplaceable historic records.
Alan Fels opines that a mental healthcare levy the right move to fix a broken system.
A cynical Ross Gittins examines the government’s response to the Aged Care Royal Commission and concludes that adequate reform of the system has a long way to go. He says until it gets there, the critics are right to fear it will be only a few years before the system’s back in crisis.
Rates of homelessness are rising alarmingly, particularly among Australians aged 65 to 74. The government offered them nothing in the budget, in defiance of the Aged Care Royal Commission recommendations. Jeff Fiedler reports.
Katina Curtis reports on the AFP’s appearance yesterday at Estimates where it was revealed that they are investigating 15 claims of misconduct involving federal politicians or their staff, including sexual assaults.
Lucy Cormack explains how sexual consent laws in NSW will be overhauled to require a person to show they took active steps to find out if a person consented to sex before they can rely in court on a mistaken but reasonable belief in consent.
If intelligence agencies are to continue to stop foreign agents committing nefarious acts, they will need the trust and support of the diaspora communities, urges the SMH editorial that says Chinese Australians are not to blame for the actions of CCP.
Anthny Galloway reports that Australia’s Defence Department has been warned its spending on contractors is a “looming iceberg” that risks eating into its acquisition budget and demoralising its own workforce.
The US and its NATO allies are cutting defence spending in preparation for economic reconstruction in a post-Covid world. Not so Australia, which is increasing its spending on expensive weapons that will not deter any potential aggressor in the slightest. Alison Broinowski reports.
Georgina Mitchell writes that a court was told yesterday that Ben Roberts-Smith wiped the contents of his laptop five days after he was told by lawyers in a defamation case to retain certain information and documents. Said man keeps digging holes for himself!
The Australian Taxation Office is targeting cryptocurrency profits, investment property deductions and work-related expenses in annual tax returns this year. John Collett writes that, while many investors like the anonymity of crytpocurrency trading, when it is held as an investment it is classed by the ATO as an asset. If later sold at a profit it is subject to Capital Gains Tax .
Julie Szego examines Peter Dutton’s political motives in his early actions as Minister for Defence.
National Australia Bank and the Finance Sector Union are headed to the Federal Court over what could be the nation’s biggest staff underpayment issue, possibly in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Investors are becoming more risk-averse, reining in speculative bets such as bitcoin and showing a stronger appetite for assets such as gold, explains Karen Maley.
Australia’s domestic spy agency has warned ideologically-motivated extremism, including right-wing terrorism, is now approaching nearly half the organisation’s investigations.
Former “Arsehole of the Week” nominee Pete Evans has just been fined almost $80,000 and ordered to stop making various claims about his wellness products.
From the US
‘Meanwhile, Queensland LNP Senator Gerard Rennick has used a live television appearance to say he would “sit back and watch and see” how the vaccine rollout goes before getting a jab.’
And Labor will be all over this, right?
If only David Rowe was required viewing by all voters.
It’s time for Labor to get back to core business of providing jobs in traditional Labor areas of manufacturing, health, education and hospitality.
It’s time to jettison the fossil fuel rats who are delivering govt to the crackpot Libs and Nats.