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 News.com.au 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. C@tmomma @ #47 Sunday, May 30th, 2021 – 7:22 am

    I love the footage of Dan Tehan being a massive hypocrite and playing politics with the last Victorian lockdown. 😆

    Dan Tehan then: “THE LOCKDOWN IS A FAILURE OF DAN ANDREWS’ LEADERSHIP!!”

    Dan Tehan now: “The state government has listened to the medical expert to lock down for 7 days.”

  2. If anyone has been wondering why this government has been so determined to destroy our university sector – once one of our major sources of export income – the answer is in the first paragraph of Adrian Beaumont’s article …

    https://theconversation.com/non-university-educated-white-people-are-deserting-left-leaning-parties-how-can-they-get-them-back-160617

    In Australia, the US and the UK, whites without a university education have trended to the right in the past decade, relative to overall election results.

  3. Confessions @ #53 Sunday, May 30th, 2021 – 9:25 am

    C@tmomma @ #47 Sunday, May 30th, 2021 – 7:22 am

    I love the footage of Dan Tehan being a massive hypocrite and playing politics with the last Victorian lockdown. 😆

    Dan Tehan then: “THE LOCKDOWN IS A FAILURE OF DAN ANDREWS’ LEADERSHIP!!”

    Dan Tehan now: “The state government has listened to the medical expert to lock down for 7 days.”

    Words you’ll never hear Dan Tehan utter:

    ‘The lockdown is a failure of Scott Morrison’s leadership.’

  4. Dan Tehan always seems to have that “look” on his face of a man caught rifling through his sister’s knickers drawer.

  5. Have you got a roadmap for international borders?

    Tehan: waffle, waffle, waffle

    Why can’t he just say “no”?

  6. Confessions @ #65 Sunday, May 30th, 2021 – 9:29 am

    The budget handed down two weeks ago is for the next financial year. It won’t help people right now.

    ‘fess, it’s easy, in the middle of a lockdown you go to your friendly empathic Centrelink centre for an assistance programme that doesn’t exist.

  7. What bright spark has come up with ‘the Melbourne Cup, the Stawell Gift is a race…’?

    MickMack early today was still saying vaccination is not a race…

  8. Dan tehan reminds me of the guy sent in to face the music with the head teacher when a group has been caught doing something wrong. Which the smart leaders avoid like the plague. Looks like he is the fall guy for Morrison’s mistakes too.

  9. If I were sitting across the table with Dan Tehan on the other side, I reckon I would have cause to feel confident.

  10. Itza:

    That statement about people being able to receive assistance will surely come back to bite the govt.

  11. Speers needs to ask Tehan what part “UK Special Trade Envoy” Tony Abbott has had in the stalled Free Trade negotiations.

  12. Bushfire Bill says:
    Sunday, May 30, 2021 at 9:40 am
    “Nice to hear, though, that Morrison’s vaccination program is the envy of the world.”

    If only there was a vaccination against Morrison.

  13. PaulTu @ #83 Sunday, May 30th, 2021 – 9:46 am

    Bushfire Bill says:
    Sunday, May 30, 2021 at 9:40 am
    “Nice to hear, though, that Morrison’s vaccination program is the envy of the world.”

    If only there was a vaccination against Morrison.

    If there was it would win the Nobel prize for Medicine. 😆

  14. Charles Harvey
    @CJHarvey56
    ·
    1m
    #insiders If Covid spreads into an unvaccinated aged care home due to an infected aged care worker then
    @ScottMorrisonMP and Colbeck must be held accountable for this tragedy. Enough buck passing by Morrison.

  15. Just read that a Lions Hearing Assistance Dog in full uniform was refused access by a Disability Employment Service. Of all places these should KNOW the rules and regs. The woman was shown the dog’s id clearly stating on the back that there are severe penalties for refusing access.

    The quality of moron that this government contracts services out to.

  16. Joel Fitzgibbon would be a fool to retire from his seat if he thinks he is going to lose. It would cost him about $50K to walk away instead of losing his seat as he miss out on the 3 months of pay that you get if lose a seat. Additionally, all his staff would get equally screwed because they would miss out on the payments.

  17. B.S. Fairman @ #89 Sunday, May 30th, 2021 – 9:54 am

    Joel Fitzgibbon would be a fool to retire from his seat if he thinks he is going to lose. It would cost him about $50K to walk away instead of losing his seat as he miss out on the 3 months of pay that you get if lose a seat. Additionally, all his staff would get equally screwed because they would miss out on the payments.

    Labor should take it out of his hands and endorse a candidate in Hunter who is aligned to a traditional Labor area such as manufacturing, health, education and hospitality. They’d have a better chance of retaining Hunter.

  18. Rex Douglas says:
    Sunday, May 30, 2021 at 9:58 am

    Labor should take it out of his hands and endorse a candidate in Hunter who is aligned to a traditional Labor area such as manufacturing, health, education and hospitality. They’d have a better chance of retaining Hunter.

    Mining is also a “traditional” Labor area.

    The splitting of working people into subsets that are “approved” and ones that are not is exactly what the LNP have always tried to do. Labor aspires to serve all workers. This is its raison d’être.

  19. N @ #93 Sunday, May 30th, 2021 – 10:05 am

    Rex Douglas says:
    Sunday, May 30, 2021 at 9:58 am

    Labor should take it out of his hands and endorse a candidate in Hunter who is aligned to a traditional Labor area such as manufacturing, health, education and hospitality. They’d have a better chance of retaining Hunter.

    Mining is also a “traditional” Labor area.

    The splitting of working people into subsets that are “approved” and ones that are not is exactly what the LNP have always tried to do. Labor aspires to serve all workers. This is its raison d’être.

    Not for the first time you’re avoiding political reality.

    In basic tactical terms, Labor should accentuate it strengths and minimize it’s weaknesses.

    It’s main weakness now is explaining it’s climate credentials. So the obvious answer is to focus on it’s other strengths. Leave energy and fossil fuels for the states and business community to resolve, which in fact they are.

  20. Has Van O got the guts to name the PMO staffers who sledged Higgins’ partner?
    He said at time he would.
    I guess courage in short supply in the press gallery.

  21. N @ #94 Sunday, May 30th, 2021 – 10:05 am

    Labor aspires to serve all workers. This is its raison d’être.

    So, how do you best serve workers in an industry that will be substantially gone within a decade?

    Do you …

    (a) tell them “Coal has a future”, and put up pro-coal candidates in their electorate **, or
    (b) tell them the truth and help them prepare to face the inevitable change?

    ** In fairness, I should point out that this option has been tried twice and failed twice – but hey, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try it again, does it? Third time lucky!

  22. Player One @ #96 Sunday, May 30th, 2021 – 10:11 am

    N @ #94 Sunday, May 30th, 2021 – 10:05 am

    Labor aspires to serve all workers. This is its raison d’être.

    So, how do you best serve workers in an industry that will be substantially gone within a decade?

    Do you …

    (a) tell them “Coal has a future”, and put up pro-coal candidates in their electorate **, or
    (b) tell them the truth and help them prepare to face the inevitable change?

    ** In fairness, I should point out that this option has been tried twice and failed twice – but hey, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try it again, does it? Third time lucky!

    Shorten boosters should apply the same logic.

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