More month of May miscellany

Preselection challenges aplenty against federal Liberals from New South Wales; a potential second Labor membership ballot as the party seeks a new leader in New South Wales; and a state by-election looms in Queensland.

There has been an outbreak of preselection challenges against federal Liberal incumbents in New South Wales, which would appear to be the fruit of new preselection rules that put more power in the hands of the party rank-and-file. However, the branch has not been so democratised as to deny the possibility of federal intervention, which Sarah Martin of The Guardian reports is likely to be invoked by the Prime Minister to protect the incumbents.

• Environment Minister Sussan Ley faces a challenge in her rural seat of Farrer from Christian Ellis, whose conservative credentials extend to an effort to expel Malcolm Turnbull from the Liberal Party after he published his autobiography last year. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Ley has complained of “outsiders” descending upon her electorate with “city-based factional branch stacking” and “a toxic culture which isn’t about the policies or the candidate”.

• Further challenges are brewing against two leading factional powerbrokers: Alex Hawke of the centre right, from conservative-aligned army colonel Michael Abrahams; and Trent Zimmerman of the moderate faction, from both Hamish Stitt, a conservative barrister, and Jess Collins, a member of the centre right.

• In the marginal Sydney seat of Reid, moderate-aligned Fiona Martin faces a challenge from sports administrator Natalie Baini. Apparently at an earlier stage of gestation are potential challenges to Bennelong MP John Alexander from Gisele Kapterian, former chief-of-staff to Michaelia Cash; and Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, whose Senate seat is reportedly being eyed by conservative colleague Dallas McInerney, chief executive of Catholic Schools NSW.

• One challenge that will not proceed is the one said to have been of “most concern” to senior Liberals in a report by Sarah Martin of The Guardian. Melissa McIntosh, a member of the centre right faction who won the key seat of Lindsay from Labor in 2019, was said to have been under serious pressure from Mark Davies, Penrith councillor and husband of state Mulgoa MP Tanya Davies, having “lost control of her branches to the conservative faction”. However, Clare Armstrong of reports the conservatives have “done a deal to drop the challenge”, the terms of which are unclear.

Preselections elsewhere:

Tom Richardson of InDaily reports that candidates for Labor’s preselection in the Adelaide seat of Spence include Matt Burnell, an official with the Right-aligned Transport Workers Union, and Alice Dawkins, who works with “a consulting firm specialising in Asian strategic engagement” and is the daughter of Keating government Treasurer John Dawkins. The safe Labor seat in northern Adelaide will be vacated at the election by Nick Champion’s move to state politics.

• A Liberal preselection last weekend for the Adelaide seat of Boothby was won by Rachel Swift, moderate-aligned management consultant and medical researcher. Swift was chosen ahead of conservative rival Leah Blythe, who had the backing of outgoing member Nicolle Flint.

• The Tasmanian seat of Lyons will be contested for the Liberals by Susie Bower, Meander Valley councillor and chief executive of the Bell Bay Advanced Manufacturing Zone. Bower was a candidate for Lyons at the recent state election, but polled last out of the six Liberal candidates with 3.5% of the vote. Lyons could potentially have joined Bass and Braddon as a Liberal gain at the 2019 election if not for the mid-campaign disendorsement of the party’s candidate, Jessica Whelan.

Other news:

• Jodi McKay’s resignation as New South Wales Labor leader on Friday potentially sets up a second membership ballot for the party to go with the one that will choose Rebecca White’s successor in Tasmania. This depends on whether former leader Michael Daley puts his name forward in opposition to Chris Minns, who would appear to be the clear favourite. Today’s Sun-Herald reports that head office would prefer that Minns take the position unopposed so as to avoid “an expensive ballot of rank-and-file members, which would take weeks”. However, a tweet by Daley yesterday suggested he was not of a mind to oblige them.

• Labor MP Duncan Pegg announced his resignation from the Queensland parliament early this week after a terminal cancer diagnosis. This will lead at some point to a by-election for his southern Brisbane seat of Stretton, which Pegg retained by a margin of 14.8% at the state election last October. Such has been the electoral record of opposition parties recently that one might have thought the Liberal National Party would sit this one out, but they have in fact jumped into the fray with the endorsement of Jim Bellos, a police officer and former Queenslander of the Year. The Courier-Mail reports the front-runner for Labor preselection is James Martin, an electorate officer to Pegg.

• Occasional Poll Bludger contributor Adrian Beaumont has a piece in The Conversation on the apparent trend of non-university educated whites abandoning parties of the centre left in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.

Sarah Martin of The Guardian reports the Liberal party room was told this week that the election would be held next year.

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.

2,927 comments on “More month of May miscellany”

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  1. But I am getting distracted.

    Where the bloody hell are you?

    Answers on a postcard from a country with a better vaccination program


  2. Griff
    From your link..
    The department said that the staff were employed by the department on the recommendation of the prime minister’s office because the workload at Kirribilli House required two additional staff following the change of prime minister.

    So some how the workload doubled at Kirribilli because Scott knifed Malcolm.

  3. Since when has it been legal to discriminate against a person because of their spouse?

    Should Plibersek be barred from high office because she’s married to a convicted drug trafficker?

  4. I don’t remember anything negative about Ms Rein except some exposure of the wealth she built through government contracts.

    Rein was forced to cease trading in Australia. It was a bit more than “some exposure”. In any case the “government contracts” were with the Howard Liberal government, not a Labor government, unlike Peter Dutton’s wife’s child care connections.

    Own goal there, Buke.

    Tim Mathieson is not homosexual, which is neither here nor there. But why would you support a lie about his sexuality? We’re interested to hear.

  5. Sceptic says:
    Thursday, June 3, 2021 at 10:32 pm

    I believe that is because Turnbull didn’t live at Kirribilli. The Morrisons do.

    I’m interested to know what you consider an appropriate level of staff?

    Perhaps you could tell us what level of staffing is acceptable in 10 Downing Street or the White House?

  6. Bushfire Bill says:
    Thursday, June 3, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    “Rein was forced to cease trading in Australia.”

    She wasn’t forced to. There was no legal reason. She decided to do that herself in order to protect Rudd. It was a political decision.

  7. Bucephalus,

    “Since when has it been legal to discriminate against a person because of their spouse?” It hasn’t

    Are you saying that posters are discriminating against Morrison? I would contend that they are not.

    We are simply linking to media articles on labor hire practices in the PM’s office under the current PM.

    I am very pleased that you are asking us to recall these issues as they are at risk of blurring into the background.

    Thank you 🙂

  8. Griff says:
    Thursday, June 3, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    “Are you saying that posters are discriminating against Morrison?”

    No, the posters here clearly think that the lady shouldn’t have her job because they don’t like her husband.

  9. That is your opinion Bucephalus, not mine. It would help if you would respond to the argument at hand. Your rhetoric is faulty, perhaps by design 🙂

    There are a couple of questions that I have asked, that you have yet to answer. I shall leave it to you as to how, or indeed what, to which you respond.

  10. Cud Chewer @ #2668 Thursday, June 3rd, 2021 – 4:32 pm


    Are there houses on the tip site itself? Have they attempted to remediate it?

    There was something similar going on at a part of Stockton beach. The ocean collected some of it.

    Hi Cud, Sorry about not responding earlier. Out and about.

    I do not know whether any of the dwellings are on the tip site. I suspect that they may be on the beach side of the tip, but they would be very close. The fact that the ‘soil’ is pure dune sand, means that it is very porous, and even heavy downpours just disappear into the ground. There is possibly little danger to occupants, but lots of nasty stuff under the top layer would be leaching down to the water table, and out to the sea.

    The tip was closed, and a high fence placed around it, and everybody more or less forgot about it. Then, many years later, a golf course appeared. Nine holes at first, and the first line of townhouses, then gradually to the present ‘completed’ state. I have played golf there a couple of times, and there are occasional bits of beer bottle and metal scrap that poke out of the rough. I would say that the golf course covers most of the area of the old tip. The entrance to the complex is exactly where the old tip entrance used to be.

    I occasionally fish for tailor and/or Aussie salmon in the channels along the beach.

  11. I think what posters would like to know is,

    what are her duties,

    and what experience did she have that qualified her for the position?

  12. Ahem – Doctors should not normally treat their close friends, family or themselves:

    4.15 Providing care to those close to you
    Whenever possible, avoid providing medical care to anyone with whom you have a close personal relationship. In most cases, providing care to close friends, those you work with and family members is inappropriate because of the lack of objectivity, possible discontinuity of care, and risks to the patient and doctor. In particular, medical practitioners must not prescribe Schedule 8, psychotropic medication and/or drugs of dependence or perform elective surgery (such as cosmetic surgery), to anyone with whom they have a close personal relationship.

    In some cases, providing care to those close to you is unavoidable, for example in an emergency. Whenever this is the case, good medical practice requires recognition and careful management of these issues.

    Also see:,have%20a%20close%20personal%20relationship.

    If a family member or friend asks you to perform an operation, or treat them in some way, the following advice should help you make the appropriate decision for your circumstances.

    – Unless the risk of harm of not treating the person outweighs the risk of harm of any treatment , you should avoid doing so.
    – Prepare a respectful and empathetic explanation as to why you can’t perform the procedure. It might be, ‘I would like to help you and the best way I can do that is to help you get an appointment to see another plastic surgeon,’.
    – Avoid entering a continuing doctor-patient relationship with a family member or friend. This also applies to anyone you have a business or working relationship with.

  13. A few comments:
    1) We should all give what we can to William, because this blog is an amazingly open public space – and these days it looks as though “free speech” is not that free, in monetary terms at least.
    2) We should all give what we can – and that means “what we can”. No one should feel guilted into giving more than they can. Arthur, it will probably be good for you to give up the beer for a month. And honi soit…
    3) In honour of Brucephalus saying that he was going to give something, but someone said something he did not like (sounds a bit like, “if only you had not burned the dinner ..”), I will double the $150 I had planned to give, to make up for Buce’s lost contribution.

  14. It appears that Monday’s “Four Corners” program has been ‘delayed’, not cancelled:

    [‘An upcoming episode of Four Corners examining the relationship between the prime minister, Scott Morrison, and a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory has been delayed after concerns were expressed by the ABC news director, Gaven Morris.

    Morris “upwardly referred” the episode to the broadcaster’s managing director, David Anderson, for review, a senior source told Guardian Australia.

    ABC management’s concern about the program comes as Anderson prepares for an additional appearance at Senate estimates on Monday. He was recalled to be questioned about Christian Porter’s defamation suit against the ABC which the former attorney general dropped on Monday.

    There are conflicting accounts about whether the QAnon program had been cleared by the ABC’s legal and editorial processes when Morris stepped in. But it is standard practice at the broadcaster to “upwardly refer” sensitive content.

    Four Corners producers had hoped to air the program next week but news management believed it was “not ready”.]

  15. Bob McMullan

    “From Newspoll, Labor’s primary vote reached a nadir of 34% on several occasions up to 7 November. Since that time, it has been consistently higher, ranging from 36% to 41%.”

    41%, Really?

  16. Bushfire Bill says:
    Thursday, June 3, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    If you love Rach-3 (as I do), and think you’ve heard the best performance possible, think again.


    Love Rach-3.

    But I’ve been listening to Rach-2 for more than 70 years now. Just listen to how Rach himself played it in 1924 with Stokowski and the Philadelphia. It still makes my hair stand on end.

    Interestingly, the composer rips through it on average about 4 minutes faster than most more recent performances. May have had something to do with the fact that Victor wanted to limit the number of 12-inch 78’s. But you can’t question the man who wrote it.

    Given that it was an acoustic recording, the sound is very good. It was just at the end of the acoustic era and Rach and Stokie did it again electrically in 1929. But I prefer the earlier version.

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