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. In the Age blog comments

    1.33 pm – “Eligible Melburnians will be able to apply for the payments at Centrelink from Monday”


    ““Centrelink is ready to go and they will have their people ready to move on Tuesday morning””

    Then Watch the Centrelink IT meltdown on Monday

    Had to have a giggle at the last one. But details details

  2. What sort of wanker would go all Rambo on not opening up international borders one week and then the next fully vaccinated tell us not to fear the virus?


  3. Rex Douglas
    Thank you for the suggestion but I think there are thousands of people in similar circumstances and I am probably luckier than most because of the level of at home support I have. I would see diverting resources to deal individually with people when those same resources could provide benefit to a greater number as inappropriate at this time
    My mum is in a retirement village and they have tried to get an on site vaccination hub, there are approximately 400 people on site, but this is not something the Queensland government is considering either. Of course when you consider they can’t even manage to get to all nursing homes it probably isn’t that surprising. Overall the roll out of vaccines is a total mess and should have been left to the states, they manage the influenza strategy every year. Morrison wanted to be in charge of the vaccines rollout as he saw it as a way of selling his government as keeping us safe, unfortunately he has stuffed it up and in particular Victoria are now paying the price.

  4. @AdamBandt tweets

    The Salvos have offered to deliver meals to Melb’s casual workers who’ve lost their incomes.

    Text yr name & address to 0407614614 & they’ll deliver to you.

    They shouldn’t have to do this, because gov shd be ensuring everyone lives above the poverty line, but please pass it on.

  5. Compare the pair – Joe vs Scott:

    WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is using free child care and the lure of a complimentary beer to try to persuade more Americans to get vaccinated against Covid-19, part of a push to reach his goal of 70 percent of adults having their first shot by July 4.

    Biden said Wednesday the federal government is ramping up efforts to make vaccines more convenient and promoted incentives that companies are offering, like Anheuser-Busch announcing Wednesday that it will give Americans a credit for a free beer if the U.S. reaches the July 4 goal.

    “Americans headed into the summer dramatically different from last year’s summer,” Biden said. “A summer of freedom, a summer of joy, a summer of get-togethers and celebrations, an all-American summer that this country deserves after a long, long dark winter that we’ve all endured.”

  6. Bruce Guthrie

    ABC management are fast losing their bottle. Cut ties with
    @TheNewDailyAu after pressure from government, now this. Absolutely trust
    @TheLyonsDen to fight the good fight. Not so sure of others.

  7. @Raf_Epstein tweets

    Not quite reached in principle agreement

    But very close, 500 beds – Avalon, construction starting by Sept?

    Feds keen to announce tomorrow

    Still arguing over some details

  8. Green stain
    Don’t ever speak to me again and i will never vote Greens again and they will be placed below the Liberals.

  9. “Did the Whitlam government have empathy coaches?”

    Did Margaret have a tax-payer funded friend to keep her company during those long lonely days at the Lodge?

  10. Roy Orbison @ #2714 Thursday, June 3rd, 2021 – 5:11 pm

    “Did the Whitlam government have empathy coaches?”

    Did Margaret have a tax-payer funded friend to keep her company during those long lonely days at the Lodge?

    … Who fed her with doolally conspiracy theories she got from her husband, the Doolally Conspiracy Theory chief peddlar?

  11. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Victorian quarantine proposal. As recently as last week Morrison was claiming it would not replace hotel quarantine but allow more people into the country. If anything this latest outbreak shows why we need alternatives to hotel quarantine for returned travellers.
    I also believe that Avalon was the Vic governments first choice and it was changed due to the commonwealth wanting it near a current international airport.
    At least it looks as if the idea will get started and then the state and federal government can have a bun fight about what it is used for once it’s constructed. If quarantine leaks continue and a facility is sitting unused or being used for students only the public outcry would be deafening.
    My opinion on the Toowoomba proposal is also that the Feds don’t want international travellers diverted from the current airports because I’m sure it would upset the various airport owners who currently have a nice lock on the money generated through international travel.

  12. guytaur @ #2716 Thursday, June 3rd, 2021 – 5:13 pm


    I have the same rights to post on this blog you do.

    Your vote is your business.

    Give the dog a bone. I’m sure I can speak for most of us when I say I’ve had it up to pussy’s bow with your interminable internecine blog warfare with people. You need to learn when to hold ’em, when to fold ’em and when to walk away!

  13. Roy Orbison says:
    Thursday, June 3, 2021 at 5:11 pm
    “Did the Whitlam government have empathy coaches?”

    Did Margaret have a tax-payer funded friend to keep her company during those long lonely days at the Lodge?

    From what I remember, Margaret Whitlam had a busy life and was certainly not a prop for PR photo opportunities.

  14. c@t
    exactly because it has a habit of adding insult to injury with its smartarse attitude. It says the ALP were saying the same thing but the fact it stood out speaks to how hard it went.

  15. Sassy Sewer Rat

    Scummo & co receive more in their food allowance per week
    Than what is reluctantly being given to workers of Melbourne #auspol

  16. WB,

    While you are about, you made an offhand comment the other day appealing for support following an incident you posted. Was this an appeal for more from the regulars or directed at any bludger bludgers.

    I suppose the question is whether you need help to deal with a situation.


  17. When it comes to a Morrison government ‘payment’, read the Terms and Conditions, the fine print and check for asterisks!

  18. 😆 Kenny on Sky booing Scrott for paying money to ‘indolent states’ like Victoria. Apparently it will just encourage them to bludge and ‘panic’ lock down. He was on a let ‘er rip roll. He reckons all ! ‘vulnerable people’ have been vaccinated so no wuckas if infections break out. I lasted about 1.5 minutes and changed channels thereby reducing his audience by about 5% 😆

  19. poroti,
    I’d love to see how long Chris Kenny would last if he was taken off the SAD teat for a week or more. 😀

  20. I can see 5 minutes into the future! This story just popped up!

    Normal text sizeLarger text sizeVery large text size
    ABC management has pulled an upcoming Four Corners episode about the relationship between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory, a decision that could be seen as an attempt to dampen tensions between the national broadcaster and federal government.

  21. When it comes to a Morrison government ‘payment’, read the Terms and Conditions, the fine print and check for asterisks!

    More strings attached than a Steinway piano/marionette convention.

  22. guytaur,
    It has been going on for more than one day and my general point is, you get into a tizzy with people too easily and let it run for too long. It serves no one’s interests for that to happen repetitively.

  23. Has anyone seen the reasoning for the Feds preferring Avalon over the Mickleham site?

    “You aren’t passing this Fox.” ?

  24. Ooh – the ATO bots are out and about.

    “You claimed ‘other’ work-related expenses in your tax return last year.”
    (Be a shame if anything happened to them…)

  25. guytaur @ #2738 Thursday, June 3rd, 2021 – 5:36 pm


    Stop butting in.

    Leave the moderation to William.

    Do NOT tell me what to do! To use your own excuse, this is a free blog and I have a right to my opinion!

    Anyway, I’m not going to say another thing because you look like you’re just spoiling for another fight.

    Which is just my opinion.

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