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. Kerry Chant stood at the press conference yesterday.

    What did she do? Did she say “hey this isn’t working, here are tighter restrictions?”


    She launched into her “national emergency” shit.

    Nowhere in that press briefing did Kerry say “there are more things we can do.”

    So yeah, she failed.

  2. Rex



    “Stopping movement is the only way…”

    Context. When? Where? Link please. I don’t doubt she has said this but I don’t think it was yesterday.

  3. Anyone in Melbourne’s northern suburbs who knows where Lachlan Thorpe-Smith is hiding would be doing him a favour by letting police know.

  4. Mexican

    Covid-infected Sydney removalists who sparked Victoria’s fifth lockdown WON’T be punished
    1 Sydney removalists are unlikely to face charges after sparking Covid outbreak
    2 Workers delivered furniture to Maribyrong’s Apartments before travelling to SA
    3 Men were found to have broken no rules except for one man not wearing a mask

    I guess Dan decided to follow the rule of law.. not what you wanted?

  5. Chant has hit a dead end by throwing so desperately to vaccines, rather than going harder on people movement.

    Chant MUST realize that the Vaccine Gambit is a very long road, far longer than the one required to end the lockdown promptly.

    She is doing nothing less than selling (almost literal) snake oil as a remedy for a short term political problem that has beset her boss.

    I can’t see Chant surviving for much longer. She’ll either commit professional hara-kari before it’s too late to salvage her reputation (preferable), or she’ll be thrown under a bus by the Head Prefect (otherwise inevitable). The Senior Executive Service of NSW is disposable for any, or no reason. And there are plenty of examples of the latter.

  6. Cud Chewer says:
    Saturday, July 24, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    It was yesterday at press conference .. feel free to have a look for it.
    In any event that has been the main message the whole last 2 weeks.. even garbled at times.

  7. Sceptic
    Welmar said the book was going to be thrown at them or was that just media spin.

    This backdown is nothing short of BS.

  8. Men were found to have broken no rules except for one man not wearing a mask

    If this is the case then they failed in making their rules. Not unlike Hazzard with his rules that failed to ensure people ferrying around international flight crews were vaccinated.

    I may have misunderstood what happened, but I thought that the removalists got into Victoria using a permit intended for freight transport. The freight transport stuff is supposed to be pretty strict in terms of ensuring that drivers basically stay in their vehicles and don’t go gallivanting around given that they aren’t (for obvious practical reasons) required to quarantine etc. Hence the comments about the fact that spending several hours moving furniture in or out of an apartment should not have been allowed by the permit they used.

    ie if they can’t be charged with anything then their permit system is not worth the paper it’s printed on.

  9. BB

    Agreed. Something is terribly wrong. Kerry’s “national emergency” vaccine gambit. She knows that that is pointless. She’s better than that. So what gives?

  10. Jachol is right and Welmar said they hadn’t done the right thing but now on a Saturday the government walks away from taking any action.

  11. CC – that failure I put squarely at the feet of Hazzard and NSW Health – it was Hazzard’s order that wasn’t up to the task and NSW Health failed to either properly scrutinize or provide adequate advice that his order was inadequate, or to be proactive about checking whether things were working as expected.

  12. Death riders and scolds abound as usual on here.

    As Bob Hawke used to say the Australian people always get it right.

  13. Jackol

    I’d add to that the reluctance of NSW Health to acknowledge the virus is airborne so even if the driver were wearing a mask, it would have been inadequate.

  14. The problem with the GladysLockdown is class.

    Western Sydney is proletariat. Eastern suburbs and North shore are bourgeois . The Shire and the Hills are petit bourgeois. Marxism 101.

    Heavy lockdowns eg. You can’t leave the area to work unless you are on a approved list versus soft lockdowns, work from home if you can but hey, if you are an essential worker go for it.

    So why would Gladys leave her Willoughby electorate (north shore) as a soft lockdown? The Shire as a soft lockdown (Wally) and the Hills a soft lockdown (Dom Member for OpusDei)?

    Yet the LGAs for the heavy lockdowns are all proletariat – perhaps lumpen proletariat and welfare, migrants, non English speaking heritage – Fairfield, Canterbury Bankstown, Cumberland, Blacktown, Liverpool – have become Gladys Ghettoes. You can’t leave. Visible police fining anyone who tries. A few steps from making these people were visible markings on their clothes…

    The Bourgeois and petit Bourgeois suburbs can have MockDown.

    Looking at the crew who joined the protest today, yes there were the ratbag anti vaxxers (useful idiots cf V.V.Lenin) – but their faces, young, 2nd generation Lebanese, southern European, SE Asian, brown people – their secure jobs and income taken away initially by the casualisation of the workforce, and then by Gladys Ghettoisation.

    It has been popular to say Morrison failed on 2 things – Quarantine and Vaccination. That is true.

    But the third and possibly biggest failure is on income support. Phase 1 of the pandemic had JobSeeker and a souped up JobSeeker. Phase Now has a shitty $600 a week, if you can jump through many hoops.

    No wonder the demo drew 3,500 – next week?

  15. BB,

    Agreed. Something is terribly wrong. Kerry’s “national emergency” vaccine gambit. She knows that that is pointless. She’s better than that. So what gives?

    I wouldn’t say it was pointless in the absolute; just pointless in the short term.

    To offer it as a “way out” is a political gambit, not a medical solution. Chant has to go.

  16. The way Gladys has locked the western suburbs down whilst treating the eastern suburbs with kidgloves smacks of bias classism from the government.

  17. The failure of financial support is the fault of Morrison.

    I wonder what those protesters think they will do with their freedom.

  18. For Australia to properly and most efficiently vaccinate everyone there needs to be well set up and staffed distributed processes. For these to be effective there needs to be a reasonable amount of load levelling with capacity matching demand and supply. All this short term reactive fiddling with allocations and pull forward will damage these processes.
    Logistics 1.01

  19. and just a titbit of the conspiracy theories circulating in Western Sydney – Gladys, doing the bidding of her masters – is wanting to put down the strong ethnic communities. Suppress the Lebanese and Muslim men, who are strong and a threat to the corrupt old money in Sydney.

    Lots of this stuff on TikTok and WhatsApp. Nothing to do with vax/antivax- everything to do with class and ethnicity.

  20. Irrespective of whether it was intended or not, there is a palpable feeling in the affected LGA’s that the Government has betrayed them. And that they are being unduly singled out.

    In addition to talk, there is some defiance in not wearing masks. This is mostly restricted to men. Young men in particular. That said, inability to wear masks correctly is not restricted to these areas.

  21. The way Gladys has locked the western suburbs down whilst treating the Eastern suburbs with kidgloves smacks of bias classism from the government.

    I was – and still am – in favour of a SW Sydney lockdown. The virus doesn’t care about traditional extended families, ethnicity, income, employment status, or whether recent immigrants are scared of uniforms.

    However, the antics of Eastern Suburbs-ites are reprehensible. Don’t they have any idea of what their fellow citizens are going through?

    There is nothing more pathetic than the sight of fitness narcissists worried that their gorgeous bods might deteriorate a tiny bit if they don’t power walk along Campbell Parade for a week, or that their barista might forget who they are and what their order is if they don’t turn up for coffee for a few days.

    Lock them all up… or, more to the point, down.

  22. Sprocket_
    Sydney is a very localized city and there is a sense that the rules are not being applied evenly because i was talking to two Sydney mates one in Sydney’s east and the other in the western suburbs and the eastern mate says there were few police around but the mate in western Sydney felt the police present had been ramped up but how much of this is real or imaged is hard to tell.

  23. From this distance, it has always seemed as if Gladys wasn’t treating all parts of Sydney equally and I can understand why there is resentment.

    Could we even say that she has no political judgement?

  24. Bushfire Bill says:
    Saturday, July 24, 2021 at 7:14 pm
    What are you on about? Your angry about people who live in the Eastern Suburbs now? Your angry about everything!

  25. What are you on about? Your angry about people who live in the Eastern Suburbs now? Your angry about everything!

    To quote the annals of ancient PB Tradition: “Fuck off Lars”.

    And don’t forget to swallow.

  26. sprocket_ says:
    Saturday, July 24, 2021 at 7:12 pm
    What is this ‘emergency reserve’ of Pfizer vaccines? Lack of transparency is the hallmark of Morrison

    From todays press conference, one things for sure, Brad Hazzard hasn’t got any idea & he thinks the lack of transparency is pathetic.
    I think he also said there was a lot of cooperation between the State heath ministers including “informal” discussions.. pointed criticism of SfM & federal Health

  27. Lars Von Trier says:
    Saturday, July 24, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    What are you on about? Your angry about people who live in the Eastern Suburbs now? Your angry about everything!
    The only time I met Malcolm his strong advice was to ‘to get yourself a straw boater hat, some kind of craft, and head out onto the harbor.’

  28. Lizzie:

    Saturday, July 24, 2021 at 6:33 pm


    Does your mind ever rise above your groin?’]

    Really, that’s more than a trifle over the top.

  29. Dan initially locked down the north western suburbs which generated resentment, then he locked down housing commission towers which lit a powder keg

    All of Melbourne metro was locked down which made all of us realise we were in it together

    In my corner we were quietly sneaking around the rules till Covid came knocking to our local Woollies Metro supermarket that services 20,000 people, the covid victims also shopped at our alternate shopping strips. Concentrated mask wearing and got me developing my shopping on line shopping list

    NSW needs to lock down Sydney evenly and protect rest of Australia with a ring of steel around Sydney

  30. shellbell @ #1524 Saturday, July 24th, 2021 – 7:14 pm

    John Ruddick would have needed google maps to find Victoria Park

    Since he graduated with a BA in History from the Uni of Sydney, I suspect that he may have noticed it next door, out the Fisher Library windows, and probably walked through it on the way down to Broadway shopping centre. Its pretty hard to miss.

  31. apropo today’s protest march, this Sam Harris podcast is on vaccine hesitancy and misinformation, in the USA context, relating mainly (but not only) to mRNA vaccines, but nonetheless very relevant. Each position (for/agin) tends to be pretty much inside its own bubble. There is an increasingly instilled mistrust in government and science, a new vaccine is regarded with suspicion and danger, and Covid is too often (mis)regarded as not a serious disease.

    The result in the USA is a complete inversion of the intent to vaccinate to herd immunity, where a large pool of vaccinated protects a small pool of unvaccinated, to the conundrum of a large pool of unvaccinated people infecting the vaccinated!

    It’s over an hour, but good for just listening while whatever else-ing.

  32. recon It some kind of emotional distemper. I for one would like to see the NSW Health report so we can clear it up once and for all.

  33. The thing is I am troubled about people scamming NSW Health for personal gain when that money could have gone to combatting covid.

  34. I think there’s enough evidence in on NSW Health to prove my point about them a hundredfold, Lars.

    You don’t need a report. Just stick your head out the window and smell the stupidity.

    Wipe your face first (wouldn’t want to scare the children, would we?)

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