By-elections of the XXXIV Olympiad

’Tis the night before a Queensland state by-election; we may not have seen the last of Nick Xenophon; Labor picks candidates for key Melbourne seats; plus further matters for those with a professional interest in our nation’s electoral affairs.

Election news:

• The Palaszczuk government faces what it may now think a fortuitously timed by-election tomorrow in the southern Brisbane seat of Stretton. The seat was vacated by the late Duncan Pegg, who retained it for Labor by a margin of 14.8% at the state election last October. The intimidating margin has not stopped Liberal National Party taking the field, together with the Greens, Animal Justice and the Informed Medical Options Party. My guide to the by-election can be found here; tune in tomorrow for live results, my page for which awaits the numbers here.

Jack Morphet of the Sunday Mail reports Nick Xenophon is “seriously considering another tilt at federal politics”, ostensibly because the federal government has failed to protect the rights of Australian producers to market sheepskin boots as ugg boots, the name of which is trademarked by an American company.

• The Herald Sun reports Labor’s Victorian preselection process, which has been commandeered by the party’s national executive after a branch-stacking scandal, has confirmed candidates in four marginal Liberal seats. Gladys Liu will defend her negligible margin in Chisholm against Carina Garland, former assistant secretary at Victorian Trades Hall Council, who was chosen ahead of Monash mayor Rebecca Paterson. In Higgins, the once safe Liberal seat that is developing into a three-cornered contest between Liberal, Labor and the Greens, Katie Allen will face Michelle Ananda-Rajah, consultant physician in general medicine and infectious diseases at Alfred Health. In Casey, where the Liberals will defend a 4.6% margin in the absence of retiring incumbent Tony Smith, Labor has again chosen its candidate from 2019, engineer and small business owner Bill Brindle. In Deakin, which Michael Sukkar holds for the Liberals by 4.7%, the Labor candidate is Matthew Gregg, a teacher.

From the world of academia (Queensland chapter):

• In the Australian Journal of Politics and History, Paul Williams of Griffith University offers Queensland’s role in the 2019 Australian federal election: a case study of regional difference (paywalled, naturally). Williams argues the Coalition’s strong federal performance in Queensland can be understood in terms of its six diverse regions and five elements of its political culture. The former reflect the state’s decentralisation and reliance on primary industries, which show up demographically in low educational attainment, high religious observance and a paucity of migrants. The political culture elements are “a predilection for strong, masculine political leadership; a zealotry for state development; a disproportionate focus on regional and rural districts in budgetary allocations; a pragmatically flexible approach to policy-making” (the Humphrey Appleby-esque note struck by the latter would seem to be deliberate) and “a parochial chauvinism celebrating a Queensland difference, and drawing a moral superiority from it”.

• In the Australian Journal of Political Science, Graeme Orr of the University of Queensland and Tracey Arklay of Griffith University are rethinking voter identification: its rationale and impact. This includes an analysis of Queensland’s one-off experiment with a soft voter identification regime in 2015, which reaches the unsurprising conclusion that migrant and especially indigenous areas had the greatest number of voters needing to lodge provisional votes for want of acceptable identification on the day. For this reason, and despite the measure’s clearly modest impact on the voting returns, the paper concludes “there is no real case for voter ID in Australia”, which it deems “a solution in search of a problem”.

Psephological arcana:

• In keeping with its code of conduct obligations as a member of the recently launched Australian Polling Council, YouGov has published methodology statements for the last four Newspoll surveys. Among other things, these fully detail the questionnaires that were presented to the respondents.

• David Barry has developed a tool for exploring Senate preference flows at the 2019 election using the ballot paper data files, which is immensely nifty if you can work out how to use it.

• A Tasmanian Electoral Commission report into the recent state election, which unusually coupled a statewide lower house election with one of the state’s periodic upper house elections for two of the chamber’s 15 seats, finds over 6% of those who ought to have lodged an upper house vote did not do so because they attended a booth in the wrong part of the electorate, and a further 1% were not issued with a ballot due to staff error. It argues against the contention that this should invalidate the election, since the errors in the former case were committed by the voters rather than the commission, and the latter were too few in number to affect the results.

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.

1,674 comments on “By-elections of the XXXIV Olympiad”

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  1. lizzie at 2:18 p.m.:

    I do feel that the media have encouraged these lockdown protests by concentrating on all the complaints from small businesses, the sob stories and mental health problems, instead of clearly explaining the reasons for lockdowns


    No doubt some of these sob stories/viewpoints have been presented on the ABC for ‘balance’ – as though there is an alternative to quashing the virus beside implementing lockdowns, in some alternative universe where COVID was allowed to ‘let rip’, yet ‘the economy’ was not affected at all and kept going as normal.

  2. “Impressive that getting stuff to Jupiter’s moons only costs $200m now.”

    The Europa mission could be a pretty spectacular one. Whatever the lift, NASA has an impressive record of making the exploratory engineering damn robust. 🙂

  3. Cud Chewer says:
    Saturday, July 24, 2021 at 11:14 pm

    a r

    That’s just for the launch service. And its a fair bit more expensive than their regular commercial rate, but that’s NASA for ya..
    There’s added costs for NASA lauches, security protocols and they pay extra for guaranteed flight windows. Still costing NASA far less than they were paying under the previous arrangement with the alliance between Lockheed and Boeing. 🙂

  4. From the Wikipedia entry on Falcon Heavy..

    From 2017 onwards, the price has been stated at US$150 million for 63.8 t (141,000 lb) to LEO or 26.7 t (59,000 lb) to GTO (fully expendable).[95] This equates to a price of US$2,350 per kg to LEO

  5. Cud, all your claims about Musk are clouded by your obsessive hatred for the man, including, it seems, making up stories about him sending a roadster into space out of spite. I hope your train ideas rest upon surer foundations.

  6. “in some alternative universe where COVID was allowed to ‘let rip’, yet ‘the economy’ was not affected at all and kept going as normal.”

    ARGHHHHHH! anger and incredulity!!!

    Has really been giving me the shits the cartoons in the Australian. So many of them hanging shit on Victoria and Daniel Andrews. 🙁

    Until these idiots protesting today it was looking like Victoria had a really quite plausible chance of pulling back its lockdown in the next few days, while NSW just does not even have that on the horizon.

    Say what you like about Andrews and his Govt overall, but this would have showed up the effectiveness or not of the different states approaches in a very unequivocal way. Big GladysFail / ScottyFail that even their tame media trolls would not be able to spin around. 🙁

  7. All those pre-printed protest signs, the ones with yellow background with red and black text. Also appearing as billboards on the side of factories along Eastlink in Melbourne.

    Going by the colour scheme – would I be correct in assuming Clive Palmer is pumping a ton of money into the nutjobs?

  8. More and more evidence that this is a well organised attempt to derail the defeat of the virus.

    A completely immoral and frankly evil position.

  9. Why are they buying more Pfizer doses if they sincerely believe that AstraZeneca is just as good, and we have our own production capacity?

  10. “Going by the colour scheme – would I be correct in assuming Clive Palmer is pumping a ton of money into the nutjobs?”

    Is there an election coming up for which Clive wants to corner the Nutbagger vote better than das Beetenrooter?

    Surely if the cops are going to bust protesters for breaching public health orders, they can also bust the organizers for inciting it ?? If Clive was involved it would all come across as pretty Trumpian and would certainly NOT help him or his mate Scotty in W.A.

  11. N0 mention of it because he wasn’t asked and because when he was pressed on his relationship with Elon he clearly does not want to talk about it. The information you seek is in the video I linked to.

    If you can’t deal with the truth, go somewhere else, troll.

  12. I think he would have mentioned it. That video looks like some troll made hate compilation. If it is true then there would be some mention of it. Also, the Roadster rolled off the line in what 2008, so you are saying that Musk hung on to it for nearly a decade to launch it out of spite? In fact, the Roadster belonged to Musk and the origin of the idea is clear:

    In March 2017, SpaceX’s founder, Elon Musk, said that because the launch of the new Falcon Heavy vehicle was risky, it would carry the “silliest thing we can imagine”.[8] In June 2017, one of his Twitter followers suggested that the silly thing be a Tesla Model S, to which Musk replied “Suggestions welcome!”.[9][10][11][12] In December 2017 he announced that the payload would be his personal “midnight cherry Tesla Roadster”

  13. Interesting factoid

    During the covid lockdowns in the US, 355 billion fewer miles were driven, but fatal crashes per mile increased by up to 34 percent.


    Reason, less congestion meant faster speeds and thus more chance of a fatality. The video says “the reason these unsafe American roads aren’t killing people even more regularly is that they are usually so jammed up with traffic that drivers can’t get going fast enough to kill each other.”

    Pretty sad indictment of the US urban landscape and car culture.

  14. imacca @ #1650 Saturday, July 24th, 2021 – 11:15 pm

    Me having second Astrazeneca and following with interest the availability of any vaccine for the under 20’s. My offspring would like to get it. At the moment in W.A. the risk / reward is probably for them to get Pfizer, but if we were in NSW then it would be whatever we could get soonest.

    Its with not a small amount of despair to see the protests in NSW and Victoria. What, it will take about a week, 10days to see if these have been super-spreader events?? That’s got to affect the calculations for Victoria at least on how long their lock-down goes on.

    NSW, maybe not so much since they are run by Libs who have always had a preference for letting it rip and “protecting”the economy as the priority.

    And for NSW to do the “we are poor people who help every one else and you lot aren’t helping us.” ?? FFS, use up some of the Astrazenica NSW is apparently “”awash” with as that will protect the integrity of the hospital system soonest.

    Honestly, we need to get production based on the mRNA platform up and running in Asutralia as well as the older methods that CSL seems pretty good at. And i wouldn’t be giving up on the UQ molecular clasp platform either. Bet you will find longer term that a diversity of approaches for local vaccine production is going to be an essential from a national security perspective. There are other things out there besides Covid 19 and this wont be our last pandemic. 🙁

    Want people to “learn to live” with pandemics? When we have staffed, 1000 bed purpose built quarantine facilities in each state then i’ll hear you on that.

    The protesters?? I reckon bust the lot of the selfish boofheads. So passionate about their own freedom and so contemptuous of others. 🙁


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