Crying Fowler

A plan to move Kristina Keneally from the Senate to the western Sydney seat of Fowler looks set to solve one problem for Labor while creating another. Also featured: a Senate vacancy and a state poll from South Australia.

Before we proceed, please note a) the post below on electoral developments in California, Canada and Germany courtesy of Adrian Beaumont, and b) the fact that tomorrow is the day of the by-election for the Northern Territory seat of Daly, where the Country Liberal Party is defending a margin of 1.2%.

Now to the week’s big item of federal election news, which is that Kristina Keneally is set to be parachuted from her current position in the Senate to the western Sydney seat of Fowler, which will be vacated with the retirement of Chris Hayes, who holds it on a 14.0% margin. The Australian reports this will be accomplished by fiat of head office, without a ballot of local party members.

Moving Keneally to the House of Representatives resolves a difficulty arising from the 2016 double dissolution, at which three of the four elected Labor Senators were allocated full terms of six years, which will expire in the middle of next year. This includes two members of the Right – Sam Dastyari, whom Kristina Keneally replaced after his resignation in February 2018, and Deborah O’Neill – and Jenny McAllister of the Left. Since factional arrangements reserve second position on the ticket for the Left, either O’Neill or Keneally faced delegation to third position, which has not been a winning proposition for Labor at a half-Senate election since 2007. As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, the power of O’Neill’s backers in the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association appears likely to secure her the top spot, although The Australian cites unidentified Keneally supporters saying she was confident of beating her.

The use of Fowler as a backstop for Keneally comes with the substantial difficulty that the electorate boasts the nation’s highest proportion of non-English speakers, in large part owing to the presence within it of the Vietnamese enclave of Cabramatta. As such, Labor appeared to have a promising successor lined up in Tu Le, a 30-year-old lawyer and daughter of Vietnamese refugees. By contrast, Keneally lives in a $1.8 million property in Sydney’s northern beaches. Le had the backing of Hayes and, according to another source cited by The Australian, would have won a rank-and-file ballot if one were held. The ABC reports senior front-bencher Tony Burke shares Hayes’ displeasure at the development, although it also notes that others in the Right felt Hayes “had no right to try to act as a kingmaker or name his replacement publicly”.

In other Labor preselection news, Tom Richardson of InDaily reports the South Australian Senate vacancy created by the death of Alex Gallacher last week is likely to be filled by Karen Grogan, national political coordinator with the United Workers Union and convenor of the state branch’s Left faction. According to the report, a Senate seat was set to pass from Right to Left in the factional deals arising from the abolition of the federal seat of Port Adelaide at the 2019 election. Gallacher’s death may have had the effect of preserving Steve Georganas’s position in the seat of Adelaide, which might otherwise have been used to create the requisite vacancy by providing a refuge for Right-aligned Senator Marielle Smith.

Also from South Australia, the Australia Institute has published a Dynata poll of state voting intention, although it was conducted back in July from a modest sample of 599. It suggests Steven Marshall’s Liberal government might struggle at the March election, recording 38% support to 34% for Labor, 10% for the Greens, 5% for SA Best and 12% for the rest.

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.

1,894 comments on “Crying Fowler”

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  1. Age pensions and other social security payments are about to deliver millions of Australians their biggest increase in seven years.

    From next week, the maximum single age pension rate will rise by $14.80 to $967.50 a fortnight, while age pensioner couples will receive an extra $22.40 combined, taking their fortnightly payment to $1458.60.

    JobSeeker and other allowances will increase by up to $11.90 a fortnight, and parenting payments and rent assistance are also set to rise.

    Pensions and other payments are adjusted twice a year and the coming rise, which takes effect from September 20, is the largest increase since 2014, the government says.

    The $1.46 billion annual rise reflects stronger inflation data, which has rebounded after dropping sharply during the early months of the pandemic.

    Almost 5.3 million people will receive the increased social security payments, including 2.58 million on the age pension, 756,000 on a disability support pension, and 977,500 receiving JobSeeker payments.

  2. WB:

    [‘The Oz reports Joel Fitzgibbon to retire at the election.’]

    That should solve a few intractable problems. I wonder what his second career will involve?

  3. @Lurker says:

    I guess I will have to spell it out. Rachel Griffiths is looking at a tray of Dim Sims when she makes up the name of her fiance ‘Tim Sims’.

    Therefore, Tim Smith’s nickname is due to his predilection for the tasty morsel.

    Not that I like correcting people but Tim Sims was the the name of Muriels fake fiance that she made up and told the Rachel Griffiths character Rhonda when they first met at Hibuscus island.

    Indeed it was Muriel – or Mariel was the one who offered Tim Tams to the Matt Day character after returning to the flat.

    Tim Sims was also mentioned when Rhonda caught muriel trying on wedding dresses where she admitted that she made him up

  4. Mavis says:
    Sunday, September 12, 2021 at 9:49 pm

    [‘The Oz reports Joel Fitzgibbon to retire at the election.’]

    That should solve a few intractable problems. I wonder what his second career will involve?

    Maybe he can ask Martin Ferguson for advice..

  5. @Holdenhillbilly

    Smells like an election is coming, though almost a million on jobseeker with 5% unemployment is nothing to cheer for, the extra 90c per day will be most welcome.

  6. @Lurker

    Apologies, my error dont know where the tim tam reference was from, maybe i need a snack and was projecting

    All it matters is Dim Tim is a figment of ones imagination, an aspirational target but a fiction and probably better off staying that way as far as the Vic libs are concerned.

  7. This is the real killer for Gladys/Morrison. The assumption that their precious economy will bounce back hard. Or, maybe not..

    The UK economic rebound slowed to a crawl in July as a surge in the Delta variant of coronavirus forced workers to self-isolate and consumers spent less, raising doubts over the strength of the recovery.

    Output rose just 0.1 per cent in July on the previous month, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday, well below the 1 per cent expansion in June and weaker than the 0.6 per cent growth forecast in a Reuters poll of economists.

    It was the weakest monthly performance since January and left gross domestic product, or GDP, 2.1 per cent below February 2020 levels, the last full month before the pandemic hit.

    “The recovery is now entering a tougher phase,” said Andrew Goodwin, chief UK economist at Oxford Economics. Many risks remained in the coming months, he said, including the scaling back of government support and shortages of components and labour that would represent a growing constraint on activity.

    The UK faces “permanent shortages” of staff in the food distribution sector, and supply chain issues are “going to get worse”, the Food and Drink Federation, a trade body, said on Friday.

    This is “living with covid”…

  8. @C@tmomma says:
    Sunday, September 12, 2021 at 10:00 pm

    Wayne Swan has a good name for how the Coalition operates:

    ‘Chequebook democracy’.

    Best thing is it works both ways, we talking donors or car parks, jobkeeper mates, other rorts

  9. @Cud Chewer

    Is it just covid though? As I read it there is a big Brexit element WRT delivery drivers, talk about a perfect storm for the UK by Boris’s own doing

  10. In its social media post, Chef Secrets – a dine-in restaurant in Berowra Waters – says it “welcomes everyone, jab[bed] or unjabbed”.

    A restaurant lessee, who did not want his name published, told the Herald that the restaurant wanted to be inclusive of all customers.

    A NSW Health spokeswoman said: “The finer details of the road map are currently being worked through…

    Shut them down.

  11. Yep UK has supply shortages due to logistic problems because a lot of their heavy vehicle drivers were East European and left with Brexit and the Conservatives are handling the problem with their customary incompetence.

  12. Dr Fumbles Mcstupid @ #1866 Sunday, September 12th, 2021 – 10:05 pm

    @Cud Chewer

    Is it just covid though? As I read it there is a big Brexit element WRT delivery drivers, talk about a perfect storm for the UK by Boris’s own doing

    From the Guardian:

    “Key to the worker shortage are difficulties with Brexit after casual workers left the country during the pandemic, while the coronavirus Delta variant and continuing border restrictions have acted as a further drag.

    Employment of EU workers has fallen faster than for the domestic workforce. The number of Romanian and Bulgarian workers in particular, who would typically fill lower-paid logistics and food production roles, has plunged by almost 90,000, or 24%, since the end of 2019. Employees from eight eastern European countries, including Poland and the Czech Republic, have fallen by more than 100,000, or 12%.”

  13. At I think cat’s suggestion that their stuff was worth reading I joined the Fabian society. The second issue of their magazine arrived today.

    If you interested in political ideas it is well worth getting a hold of. Looks like cover to cover reading to me.

  14. Bushfire Bill @ #1869 Sunday, September 12th, 2021 – 10:07 pm

    In its social media post, Chef Secrets – a dine-in restaurant in Berowra Waters – says it “welcomes everyone, jab[bed] or unjabbed”.

    A restaurant lessee, who did not want his name published, told the Herald that the restaurant wanted to be inclusive of all customers.

    A NSW Health spokeswoman said: “The finer details of the road map are currently being worked through…

    Shut them down.

    They obviously don’t want to be open for very long, in any case.

  15. I reject what I said about Cooper. He’s an Oz hero – 8 of 8, the last of which counted the most. I also retract what I said about Rennie, he’s too an Oz hero. Beating the World Cup holders is a feat indeed. Tonight the Springboks; towmorrow the All Blacks – well maybe next year.

  16. From the Australian
    “I quit: Fitzgibbon to reignite ALP tensions

    Joel Fitzgibbon will retire from federal parliament at the next election, telling colleagues he believes he has largely succeeded in his campaign to bring Labor back to the political centre.”

    Halleluyah! Contrary to the Oz this should greatly reduce Labor tensions. I hope Fitzgibbon enjoys his retirement but his departure will greatly reduce the risk of contradiction and inconsistent messaging in Labor ranks. New England needs a new employment strategy either way.


    Ministers called to ICAC over Gladys Berejiklian’s ex-boyfriend Daryl Maguire

    Yoni Bashan State Political Reporter
    An hour ago September 12, 2021

    Two NSW cabinet ministers have been summoned to appear before the state’s corruption watchdog and give evidence over the activities of Daryl Maguire and a significant grant he obtained with the help of Gladys Berejiklian.

    Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Jobs Minister Stuart Ayres have been given notice to attend private hearings with the Independent Commission Against Corruption, whose examinations into the former NSW Liberal MP restarted this month.

    The sessions are being held via videolink while the agency’s premises remains closed.

    Mr Barilaro, one of several ministers who was ordered in May to surrender paperwork and documents to the ICAC’s investigators, provided his evidence to the agency this month. It is unclear when Mr Ayres will appear as a witness.

    There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by either Mr Barilaro or Mr Ayres, only that they are ­assisting the ICAC with its inquiry into Mr Maguire. Both ministers declined to comment.

    The NSW Premier’s office, the Department of Premier and Cabinet, NSW Treasury, the NSW Treasurer’s office and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment all received similar notices to produce documents of relevance to the investigation.

    An ICAC spokeswoman said: “The commission declines to make any remarks.”

    Summoning two high-ranking members of Ms Berejiklian’s government marks an escalation in the agency’s inquiries and strongly suggests other ministers connected to the multimillion-dollar grant will be called to provide ­further assistance.

  18. “ Earlwood really needs to read this. Then maybe he might cease being a smart arse.


    C@t – there was literally nothing I disagreed with in ratsak’s post.

    Don’t you get tired? just a little bit, of defending not just the indefensible, but the downright ludicrous?

    You accused me in one of my posts of being farcical – missing that was the whole point: my proposal was no less farcical than what has been dished up.

    This whole Fowler kerfuffle is more ‘Bunfight of the mediocrities’ than ‘bonfire of the vanities’.

    On the one hand we have the Hayes brothers – fresh off a two year campaign to buffalo out the only NSW Labor Leader in history to be voted into that office by a near two thirds vote of both the rank and file AND caucus – in favour of a bloke who could not – and still would not – win a vote of either. A bloke with a fake CV and no achievements at all to speak of.

    The Hayes brothers -one of whom removed his union from party affiliation only 4 months ago – only to presume to be able to throw around his weight as a factional player NOW and allegedly on behalf of ‘the rank and file’.

    The other Hayes brother – champion of the rank and file who has been parachuted into not one – but two federal seats in his career and probably hasn’t lived in either.

    I’ve met scores of very impressive people in my life – from all walks of life – and I’ve also met countless … logs. The Hayes brothers are most definitely in the log category.

    Then there is Kristina Kennelly. She IS one of the most impressive people I’ve ever met. Granted. However, exactly what sort of political operative thinks it a good idea to re-engage in politics as a career for a working class party and … promptly relocate herself and family to an island in Pittwater? THAT move was made between the Bennelong by-election and filling Dastyari’s senate seat in a casual vacancy. She wants to pursue a career in the lower house? she may as well have moved to Saint Moritz. Now she expects the faction to clear the way, because she’s the great Kristina Kennelly, and the faction – or at least Bob Who – duly obliges. Why should the faction, tarnished as it has been over the past decade (and if we are being honest, since about 1998) take her seriously? Why should the party expend political capital on a woman who clearly has skills, but who obviously can’t be fucked to do any of the necessary leg work to secure herself a seat on her own steam. She has skills, she has agency. She has friends – the right sort of friends even. But can’t be fucked to do the work herself. The shear hubris. The sense of entitlement.

    That leads me to Mother Superior. How has it got to the stage where a log like O’Neill has the support of the faction over someone with the skills like Kristina Kennelly? Who is the Deputy Leader in the senate. Who gets good press. Who sticks it to Dutton on a regular basis? I mean, while the whole ‘Kennelly for Fowler’ is fucking risible and downright embarrassing for all concerned, having the likes of her and Penny Wong at the top of any senate ticket is a no brainer.

    To be fair to O’Neill she’s dependable I supposed. According to her lights. … which are dim. But really. …That’s it? Is THAT all the groupers who ‘own’ that senate seat can produce. Really? I suppose she’s a step up from cos-playing Kimberly Kitchings sitting astride the Victorian ALP senate ticket like the self proclaimed ‘Wolverine’ playing the Jennifer Grey character opposite Andrew Hastie’s Patrick Swayze she imagines herself to br in her fettered fever dreams. I guess losing the debate within the party and in the broader public domain on gay rights, abortion, euthanasia and other ‘No!’ God-bothering issues, the groupers will always have China to bay about. … sigh.

    So, c@t – aren’t you … tired … of the absurdity of it all? Sometimes?

  19. Mavis, what impressed me most was the lead up to “the kick”. Australia had just been smashed in the two previous scrums, but somehow with 30 seconds to go Tupou managed to destroy his side of the scrum. An amazing effort, in the context of what had just happened. It then gave White the opportunity to pounce and force the penalty. 3 very classy plays to win the game at the death.

  20. I can’t believe that there are people willing to back a party other than Coalition/Labor to win the Federal election on Betfair. Or is it Betfair itself playing silly buggers?

  21. Brexit made things worse in the UK, but we’re already having staff shortages in places due to covid and isolation – notably in supermarkets and distribution.

    Also, the point I was making was not just about labour shortage. Its about people responding rationally by avoiding going out and spending. Something we saw before the first lockdown here.

  22. a r

    Tsar Bomba was designed for 100 MT and probably would have reached its design if they hadn’t dialled it back to 50 MT in order to give the delivery aircraft some chance of surviving.

    I’ve no doubt that the US has plans for high yield nukes (10s of MT) that would probably work.

  23. I can’t believe that there are people willing to back a party other than Coalition/Labor to win the Federal election on Betfair. Or is it Betfair itself playing silly buggers?

    Betfair is playing who wants to donate some free money to betfair

  24. This week and next may see some interesting additions to the “bravely ran away brigade” while some delicious fruit hangs irresistibly available.
    The possibilities from Covid would be enough to see even the most ambitiously brave seek safe haven.
    The PM is displaying a “hang dog look” .
    Or it could be just a bad hair day!
    Morrison has experience with the awkwardness of being judged unfavourably despite blowing his own trumpets with misplaced confidence.
    The lead up to next Federal grand final is looking more interesting with each day.

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