Month of May miscellany

A number of Queensland preselections fall into place as both parties jack up preparations for a federal election that may be held as soon as October.

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).

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.

1,206 comments on “Month of May miscellany”

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  1. “C@tmommasays:
    Monday, May 24, 2021 at 8:59 am
    Ven @ #39 Monday, May 24th, 2021 – 8:57 am

    “Scott Morrison says the values of working-class voters are now more aligned with the Coalition than Labor as government strategists focus on ALP heartland seats ahead of the next federal election.”

    Does it mean what it means in US, where non-college educated people vote for Republicans?

    Yep. Non-University educated, greedy bigots.”

    What I mean is that even if party policies harm us our well being and may cause death we must stick together to show our supremacy to others.

  2. KK has blown up the Estimates attacking Stoker and Dutton over a $1.4b contract and political donations and Sarah Henderson has suspended it.

  3. Good Morning

    Regarding Joel Fitzgibbon’s threat. Call his bluff. Don’t give into blackmail. You saw the results of the Hunter campaign.

    I replied to you in the other thread.

  4. I find it very disturbing that almost every ABC program ends with a reference to a mental health number. I haven’t yet worked out what they are afraid of.

    It’s become so ubiquitous as to be virtually meaningless nowadays. Like spelling “God” as “Dog”. Or describing someone as “LGBTQI” instead of “homosexual” or “lesbian”. You can’t be all of L, G, B, T, Q or I, but it’s assumed all of these are huddled in the same corner waiting to be offended if you don’t treat them as some kind if oppressed minority by lumping them into an accommodating, if acronymic form of words.

    On euphemisms, we say “passed away” or just “passed” instead of “dead”. We say “partner” instead of “wife” or “husband” (or “spouse”). Why? Someone gets offended if we don’t.

    It’s just assumed on the ABC now that there are millions of frightened people out there who can’t watch an item on domestic violence, rape, incest, anything to do with priests or religion, the police, indigenous issues, The Disabled, gender, car accidents, shark attacks, or any one of the thousands of supposed “trigger” issues lurking out there, without going into paroxysms of PTSD from which they may never return.

    Safer to just put up a graphic and a rather lazy, rote form of words advising you to phone 1-800-RESPECT. If nothing else it keeps the Outrage community from going onto Twitter and condemning you and your program. You get enough aggravation from Coalition politicians as it is. You don’t need the Offence Takers off-side too.

    The only warnings I personally appreciate are the ones advising that animal cruelty is about to be graphically flashed up on-screen. Whether it be greyhounds starving to death, terrified horses about to be slaughtered, chickens crammed in a shed with a hundred-thousand other chickens, or some psychopathic Indonesian abbatoir worker torturing Australian cattle with a baseball bat, I don’t want to see it. I don’t need to see it. I don’t do those kinds of things, and I hate anyone who does. That’s enough for me.

    Which his why when, a few weeks later, I don’t get why the follow-up news item (on how the perpetrators got off with a warning, or the people who captured the footage were actually prosecuted for trespass) replays the previously “disturbing” footage without any warnings whatsoever. I guess it’s assumed we’re used to seeing it by now. But if we needed the first warning, and didn’t choose to watch, isn’t it logical to presume we still don’t want to see it? So why no warning on the second showing?

    There’s a fair case for warnings such as this, and warnings advising they’re about to show cruelty to humans. The warning is about actual depiction of violence, not mere discussion of it.

    We saw the other night on 7.30 what happened when a woman who alleged she’d been beaten up by her boyfriend rang 1-800-RESPECT. They dutifully ooh’d and aah’d, told her they couldn’t help her, and to ring 000. Then they hung up. The woman rang 000. The duly cops arrived, and ended up arresting the alleged victim, not the boyfriend.

    Now, we don’t know the ins and outs of the relationship in question, or who hit whom first. It was mentioned darkly that other women had current AVOs against the boyfriend, but that’s not proof of anything at law. AVOs also don’t guarantee that a jealous, depraved or insane boyfriend will not ignore them. Was that the point of the story? Don’t know!

    It is clear, however, that 1-800-RESPECT was next to useless in this situation, at least for the alleged victim. She ended up being convicted of trespass for her trouble. The boyfriend escaped prosecution altogether.

    So, after the story ended, what was 7.30’s sage advice to viewers?

    “If anyone watching is disturbed by anything in this story, phone 1-800-RESPECT”.

    As I suggested: so thoughtlessly appended as to be rote, mindless, and useless.

  5. Shellbell @ #48 Monday, May 24th, 2021 – 9:09 am

    Bold assumption that ALP would not lose equivalent % vote in any other bi-elections in NSW.

    Interesting to see if the Premier pulls the trigger on Whitey Jackson in Kiama and what the consequences are.

    She will. And there won’t be any. Because Saint Gladys of the Teflon.

  6. [‘Prominent Black Lives Matter activist Sasha Johnson has reportedly been shot in the head and critically wounded.

    The Taking the Initiative Party (TTIP) reported the mother of two is in a critical condition after sustaining a serious gunshot wound to the skull.

    The Party claimed the attack on Ms Johnson followed “numerous death threats as a result of her activism”.”It is with great sadness that we inform you that our own Sasha Johnson has been brutally attacked and sustained a gunshot wound to her head,” a statement read.
    “She is currently in intensive care and in a critical condition. The attack happened in the early hours of this morning, following numerous death threats as a result of her activism.”

    Sasha has always been actively fighting for black people and the injustices that surround the black community, as well as being both a member of BLM and a member of Taking the Initiative Party’s Executive Leadership Committee.

    “The youth worker and cafe owner previously gained attention as a prominent figure at a number of BLM protests following the death of George Floyd, and has since helped to found the Taking the Initiative Party.
    Ms Johnson serves on the party’s executive committee as the member in charge of activism, advocating policy changes to protect minority groups from racist abuse and other discriminatory behaviour.

    “It’s similar to the sex offenders register,” she said.
    “If you were to be racially abusive to someone, (the register) would question whether someone is fit enough to hold a particular job where their bias could influence another person’s life.”] –

  7. And as soon as I saw a photo of Chris Minns I knew he could never be leader of the NSW ALP:

    The four contenders: Chris Minns, Paul Scully, Ryan Park and Michael Daley.

    His forehead is too high and it makes him look kind of weird. Honestly, there’s only one guy there who looks like the image of a modern political leader, Paul Scully. Honestly, Labor need to start taking things like that into consideration.

  8. Samantha Maiden
    Intersting reminder of how parliamentary privilege works in budget estimates with Department revealing the protocol is to tell the minister – in this case
    @lindareynoldswa before giving CCTV of an alleged crime to police

  9. 3 Wuhan lab researchers sought hospital care before Covid-19 outbreak disclosed: WSJ

    WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – Three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) sought hospital care in November 2019, months before China disclosed the Covid-19 pandemic, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday (May 23), citing a previously undisclosed United States intelligence report.

    The newspaper said the report – which provides fresh details on the number of researchers affected, the timing of their illnesses and their hospital visits – may add weight to calls for a broader probe of whether the Covid-19 virus could have escaped from the laboratory.

    The report came on the eve of a meeting of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) decision-making body, which is expected to discuss the next phase of an investigation into the origins of Covid-19.

    A National Security Council spokesman had no comment on the Journal’s report but said the Biden administration continued to have “serious questions about the earliest days of the Covid-19 pandemic, including its origins within the Peoples Republic of China”.

    The Journal said current and former officials familiar with the intelligence about the lab researchers expressed a range of views about the strength of the report’s supporting evidence, with one unnamed person saying it needed “further investigation and additional corroboration”.

    The US, Norway, Canada, Britain and other countries in March expressed concerns about the WHO-led Covid-19 origins study, and called for further investigation and full access to all pertinent human, animal and other data about the early stages of the outbreak.

    Washington is keen to ensure greater cooperation and transparency by China, according to a source familiar with the effort.

    The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

    On Sunday, China’s Foreign Ministry noted that a WHO-led team had concluded a lab leak was extremely unlikely after a visit in February to the virology institute.

    “The US continues to hype the lab leak theory,” the ministry said in response to a request for comment by the Journal. “Is it actually concerned about tracing the source or trying to divert attention?”

    The Trump administration had said it suspected the virus may have escaped from a Chinese lab, which Beijing denies.

    A State Department fact sheet released near the end of the Trump administration had said “the US government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illnesses”. It did not say how many researchers.

    China refused to give raw data on early Covid-19 cases to the WHO-led team probing the origins of the pandemic, according to one of the team’s investigators, Reuters reported in February, potentially complicating efforts to understand how the outbreak began.

  10. Poroti
    Big hugs for your posts while recovering from your op.
    When you’re fit we can go highland dancing

    “Come on Joel, less talk more action. Resign now.”

    Yes, please. 25 years as the member is long enough.

  11. BB

    Shut the F up with your bigotry about how the younger generation deals with difference.

    You think you are so accepting of diversity. Yes you did the right thing voting yes. That doesn’t excuse this bigotry and I am not just referring to the gay stuff.

    You are old man yelling at sky.

    Get used to it. It’s what the community calls itself. The ABC is avoiding lawsuits as understanding of self esteem and what encourages suicide has become greater.

    This isn’t the world you grew up in.
    This is change.

  12. The Nats retaining Upper Hunter at the by-election would be a bit of a minor miracle from their perspective, considering that the by-election occurred due to the former Nats member being accused of sexual assault and inviting a sex worker into parliament house. They really should have lost. They certainly deserved to lose it, that’s for sure. The fact that Labor suffered a large swing against them in such circumstances should be a cause of great concern for the ALP.

  13. Upper Hunter……The Right win another round in the politics of climate change v jobs. Nothing new here. This is a foretaste of the results in QLD and NSW in the coming federal election. The Right are winning. For Labor, on the climate change turf, it’s become lose:lose in Tasmania, QLD and NSW.

    Labor cannot win federal elections unless it markedly improves its vote and seat share in QLD. It is not on the cards.

  14. N

    I see you are using the fossil fuel technique of we are all doomed. There is nothing we can do.

    Reality for you. Look at the record. How many times has Labor won the seat in the Upper Hunter?

    Get out of your despair. The media is changing.
    Biden has made it that the carbon tax lie would not work today in our media.

  15. guytaur

    You remind me of a young cockerel itching to fight with everyone. I’m sorry, but your tolerance seems very low.

  16. How I miss KayJay’s gentle civility …
    as you were.
    Could swear some here just enjoy the brawling.
    The sun is shining and life is short.

  17. Barrie Cassidy@barriecassidy

    ·A clever punter would first consider that labor has never won that race and that the 8% vote lost went to the anti gas independent candidate therefore backing the gas industry Horse might not be the smartest thing to do on cup day.

    Jane Caro (who has a property there)@JaneCaro

    Much of the electorate is farming focussed – if not most of it – neither major party offered them anything.

    Are the upper Hunter farmers weekend farmers on electoral rolls elsewhere. Someone on Twitter said that Upper Hunter had many evangelical christians, some sects will not vote

    30% of electorate did not vote

    If you extrapolate Upper Hunter results Australia-wide (which I think is pointless) then Australians don’t care about politics or climate change or long term viable employment

  18. NSW Labor chose a candidate who was a past union official, a coal miner who was never going to articulate how the upper Hunter residences would be able to transition away from coal.

    I saw him give his final pitch to voters on the TV news.

    He could hardly string a single sentence together. Seemed a pretty poor candidate.

  19. Zoomster
    “Oh, and Joel can go away. According to himself, he’s beloved by the electorate, so he shouldn’t have any problems.”

    We’re at the bottom end (Newcastle) of Hunter.
    He’s not so loved here.
    People know the advantages of cleaner air here now.
    The highest rate of asthma/respiratory problems is around Singleton and Musselbrook. We have rellies there and they all urged their kids to leave for jobs elsewhere.

    Thnks, I think to lizzie, for posting Barrie Cassidy’s tweet. 8% of the Labor vote went to anti gas candidates. Bet Fitzgibbon is avoiding that.

  20. Chinese move to cool iron ore may be no bad thing

    Chinese steel mills expect their government to try to slow surging steel demand.

    But rather than fearing such an intervention at a time of heightened trade tensions between Australia and China, local miners may be able to use it to their advantage. Demand from steel makers outside China is so strong that any slowdown in the Chinese market will give Australian miners a rare opportunity to broaden their customer base.

    The price of iron ore fell 5.3 per cent to $US200.72 a tonne on Friday, ending a week in which Chinese officials signalled their frustration with high ore prices, which have more than doubled in the past 12 months.

    While China has a long-term, if somewhat vague, plan to reduce its reliance on Australian ore over the next 15 years, sources inside Australia’s iron ore giants say none of the government’s current frustration is being directed at Australian producers.

    Instead, there is recognition the Australian miners are working as hard as possible to get as much ore as possible into the white-hot market, which is being boosted by a demand surge that started in China about 12 months ago and has expanded to the rest of the world amid a post-pandemic economic recovery.

    Not only have mills been trying to get as much ore as they can lay their hands on, they have been prepared to pay for Australia’s better quality product; better ore allows mills to run more efficiently and increase their output further.

    China’s steel mills have had two good reasons to go hell for leather.

    The first is the recognition that theirs is a cyclical game and the good times won’t last forever.

    No panic stations yet

    Usually, the suggestion of Chinese intervention in the steel market would have Australia’s miners worried. But the level of demand across the rest of the world is so strong that they see no need to panic.

    “If China cuts steel production someone else will do it,” a source inside one of Australia’s big miners says.

    Should China pump the brakes on its steel sector, the fact Australian metallurgical coal is already going into markets outside China could help smooth the path for the iron ore miners to increase sales into these markets. Over time, higher iron ore exports to India, Europe and parts of Asia beyond China might then provide a boost for Aussie coal.

    China takes about 75 per cent of Australia’s iron ore.

  21. Virginia Trioli
    Chair of the ABC @ItaButtrose tells me chief health bureaucrat Brendan Murphy is wrong – the media is not to blame for vaccine hesitancy.

  22. guytaur says:
    Monday, May 24, 2021 at 9:59 am

    I see you are using the fossil fuel technique of we are all doomed. There is nothing we can do.

    Reality for you. Look at the record. How many times has Labor won the seat in the Upper Hunter?

    Get out of your despair.

    The Right have been winning non-stop on the politics of climate change since the 1990s.

    This is not a consequence of despair though it is certainly a cause. It’s just the mathematical/electoral reality. Labor’s PV in the Hunter was in the low 20s…less than in QLD in the 2019 Federal election. Labor will not win seats when its PV is in the 20s.

    The country is fucked. This is the starting point. The Right are winning. This will continue until all those who want change start to collaborate with each other for that purpose. This is not going to happen. Count on that.

    Labor are in Opposition and are going to remain there for the foreseeable future.

  23. Lizzie

    Why because I used the word bigotry?

    Sorry I had to call it. If I was the angry person you are talking about I would have posted way way more gay stuff on this site.

    I would have been posting way more like other posters on Greens stuff. Plus what is wrong with being angry at what you think is bigotry. You can argue the right or wrong of that but blaming the marginalised group for being angry is part of bigotry.

    So sorry Lizzie I think BB is in Peter Dutton territory complaining about tea parties with rainbow colours.

  24. BK at 9:25 am

    Lizzie – it’s a Pentecostal takeover! Enough is enough!

    It may not be all bad news. WA State Libs had a bit of an infestation a while back. Now remind me how WA State Libs are going these days 😆

  25. guytaur

    No, it wasn’t just “bigotry”. It was your daily need to find someone to fight with. That’s why I frequently refuse to read your posts.

  26. It always frightens me when airline executives and travel agents insist we have to live with Covid19. That we have to live with a certain number of cases because it will always be bubbling away.

    People who want a certain number of cases don’t understand expontential growth or appreciate the long incubation period for this damn disease. By the time a covid patient is found they have been out and about for 5 to 10 days.

    In other countries the most vulnerable people are the health care workers treating Covid patients. Can Australia afford to burn up our expensively trained doctors because small business people want to OPEN UP

    Although I am having the Astra Zeneca vaccine new reports show it is 30% effective against newer strains. I will be lining up for my booster shots and isolating from crowds in confined spaces

  27. guytaur,

    Take a moment. Reflect. To what end are statements like “So sorry Lizzie I think BB is in Peter Dutton territory complaining about tea parties with rainbow colours”?

    Do you change minds? Do you feel more at peace? How about some kindness instead?

  28. Really, given the political impact of Covid and the politics of climate change, the Liberals should expect a handsome win at the next federal election, whenever it’s held.

    Morrison has taken a leaf from the playbook of Mark MacGowan. Voters like a policy of closed borders. He’s implementing that. He will – at the very worst – do no worse because of covid than he did in 2019. He may well pick up seats.

    Meanwhile, the politics of climate change is win:win for the LNP.

  29. lizzie

    ‘Chair of the ABC @ItaButtrose tells me chief health bureaucrat Brendan Murphy is wrong – the media is not to blame for vaccine hesitancy.’

    And yet whenever I challenge people about delaying to have themselves vaccinated, they inevitable cite articles from the ABC….

  30. A big weekend of global cartoons.

    From the UK:
    Ben Jennings on the rich getting richer during Covid-19

    Dave Brown has studied his Tom Roberts well:




    South Africa:

    New Zealand:








    Went searching for cartoons from Argentina because they have gone into a 9 day lockdown as Covid surges there (32k cases in a day)


  31. Griff @ #84 Monday, May 24th, 2021 – 10:12 am


    Take a moment. Reflect. To what end are statements like “So sorry Lizzie I think BB is in Peter Dutton territory complaining about tea parties with rainbow colours”?

    Do you change minds? Do you feel more at peace? How about some kindness instead?

    Bravo! Sane and rational observation. 🙂

  32. Get used to it. It’s what the community calls itself. The ABC is avoiding lawsuits as understanding of self esteem and what encourages suicide has become greater.

    Guytaur, you have the classic Offence Industry mentality: never happier than telling others how wrong, uncaring, biased, homophobic, or racist they are. It does your cause(s) no good, as it only gets more and more otherwise reasonable people pissed off.

    Now it’s “Not OK” to have been born before a certain date. If it was applied to you that condemnation would be called “ageist”. But you arrogate to yourself to break any rule you care to. Because you make the rules, I guess. Rules are for fools, unless they’re your rules, eh?

    I seriously doubt whether anyone suing the ABC for harm caused by excluding a “1-800-RESPECT” warning at the end of an item would get very far.

    It’s woke Twitter folk the ABC is worried about (though, come to think of it, God knows why… Leigh Sales et al seem to have blocked just about everybody on social media these days).

  33. BH
    And hugs in return to you. So far so good. Wet, cold and miserable on the walk to the shops and back. However this “highly tuned athlete” very pleased to find that only twice did I notice a brief shortness of breath. Definitely a PB since getting out of hospital 🙂 Roll on 22 June , the current date for being allowed to drive again !!

  34. Labor has decided to just take over all of estimates – it is also live blogging the hearings.


    Kristina Keneally set up this website – looks like the party has decided it should be getting more use.

  35. Lizzie

    I see a narrative forming.

    Debate can be very robust when you are challenging a majority view that appears as groupthink on a website.

    I do everyone the courtesy of not blocking them and reading their posts. I take them seriously I have the luxury of having William as moderator. I don’t have to deal with twitter trolls.

    Stop saying the very openly gay man is angry all the time. Or stop saying the Green posters on this site are angry all the time.

    It’s called robust debate. Especially when that gay man is reacting to what he perceives to be bigotry. Argue the merits. Don’t say you should not be angry.

  36. Why aren’t you all talking about the crookiness of the crook from the NSW coalition with the Tim-Tim haircut?
    The coalition control the MSM perhaps?
    Coalition for workers ….. indue card contracts …… Clean energy money evaporating with gas ……. tribal politics with the supporters asleep on the bus of deceit …… Voters hate politicians and Morrison has convinced enough bogans that he is different!
    Morrison announces free baked beans in an attempt to be inducted into the political hall of Fame ……. the cheering unabashed, unabated … the voters love a parody even if they have no idea.
    They all whimpered in unison ” they all lie, we like his lies better”.

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