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”

Comments Page 1 of 38
1 2 38
  1. ALP does have a healthy supply of parachutes for Senator Keneally.

    I am not sure, why when you are in the ascendancy, you would gift a sense of division to your opponent.

  2. Biden administration sues Texas over six-week abortion ban

    The Biden administration is suing Texas over its six-week abortion ban, which went into effect last week after the supreme court declined to block the law’s implementation.

    Attorney general Merrick Garland confirmed the news at a press conference this afternoon.

    “The act is clearly unconstitutional under longstanding supreme court precedent,” Garland said.

    The attorney general warned that the law “deputizes all private citizens, without any showing of personal connection or injury, to serve as bounty hunters” to ensure the law is respected.

    “The obvious and expressly acknowledged intention of this statutory scheme is to prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights by thwarting judicial review for as long as possible,” Garland said.

    Joe Biden had previously promised that he would pursue a “whole-of-government effort” to respond to the supreme court’s decision, specifically looking at what tools the justice department may have to push back against the Texas law.

  3. Fess

    Stephen Duckett is right. It’s a business driven decision and must lead to more cases. Meanwhile, 7.30 had their pet epidemiologist (too early in the morning to remember names – the black haired woman with a white streak – who always supports Gladys) saying, with a lot of qualifying clauses, that it was the right thing to do and would work out well.

  4. Why am I not surprised at this? This is the govt who brought us the much-vaunted failure the COVID safe app.

    The federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination certificate can be forged using a widely known technique to bypass the protections against editing the PDF version.

    Finn Bailey, a software developer in Melbourne, stumbled upon the security flaw this week after reading about other publicised vulnerabilities.

    He discovered the government was relying on a “high-school grade permissions password” to prevent unauthorised people from being able to edit PDF versions of the vaccination certificates.

    This password protection can be stripped from the PDF by using a technique that comes up when googling “PDF remove password”.

    It’s then possible to change the name or vaccinated status on the certificate.

  5. When it comes to COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and religion, look no further than the United States, where white evangelical Christians are the most opposed, by a long way: 24% were classified as vaccine refusers in a recent US poll — twice the rate of the secular population.

    In Australia the role of religion has not been so clear. But now there is an organised backlash from conservative Christians in the form of a national petition called The Ezekiel Declaration. Started by three Baptist church ministers from Queensland, the declaration calls on the federal government to halt plans for a vaccine passport.

  6. lizzie:

    The news last night featured a full 12 minutes of celebratory, happy reporting on opening up, a bright summer etc. It’s as if nobody has realised that with high case numbers, this is going to be a disaster for the unvaccinated, just as what we’re seeing in the US at the moment.

  7. Well, if Victoria remains closed to NSW, “I stand with Dan”.

    The animosity between State Premiers was on full display during the influenza pandemic of 1919, I have news clippings about it. This isn’t new.

  8. “My message to unvaccinated Americans is this: what more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see?” Biden said. “We’ve made vaccinations free, safe and convenient.”

    “We’ve been patient but our patience is wearing thin and your refusal has cost all of us,” he said.

  9. I thought a million bucks got you a run down hovel in outer Penrith down there.

    Have you seen Brisbane house prices recently? The madness is spreading.

  10. From William’s post above:

    ‘ Keneally lives in a $1.8 million property in Sydney’s northern beaches…’

    I thought basically anyone who lived in Sydney lived in a $1.8 million property.

    Five years ago, my son was renting a property in Melbourne which sold for $1.4 million. It was about as bog standard a house as you could get.

  11. ” Dr [Stephen] Duckett [health economist, director of the health program at the Grattan Institute,] believed the road map was purely business-focused with little consideration on the impact opening up would have on hospitals.

    “(It’s) very, very clear this plan has been developed by business,” he said.”

    We’re being railroaded into opening a month early because Money.

  12. Morning all. I disagree with the premise of this Grattan article. There is no sign the Liberals under Morrison are being blocked from climate action by the Nationals. The Liberals don’t want climate action either.

    Resources Minister Angus Taylor is a Liberal – he is the one who dreamed up funding a new gas plant in the Hunter Valley. Liberal opposition to climate change action has become entrenched since Abbott won power. Moderates like Julia Baird who might act are squeezed out of the party.

  13. zoomster @ #16 Friday, September 10th, 2021 – 7:28 am

    From William’s post above:

    ‘ Keneally lives in a $1.8 million property in Sydney’s northern beaches…’

    I thought basically anyone who lived in Sydney lived in a $1.8 million property.

    Five years ago, my son was renting a property in Melbourne which sold for $1.4 million. It was about as bog standard a house as you could get.

    Try $3.3 Million:,+nsw+2105/list-1

  14. Taylormade says:
    Friday, September 10, 2021 at 7:37 am
    How hell is Keneally going to represent the seat effectively from the Northern Beaches.
    She needs to move house.


    Lol Taylormade , same as the liberal/nats who supposedly do not live in the seat they represent

  15. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Michelle Grattan tells us how Scott Morrison is wedged between Joe Biden and Barnaby Joyce in forging climate policy for Glasgow.
    David Crowe describes PM’s culture of creeping secrecy and how a flight to Sydney confirmed his aversion to disclosure.
    In this exclusive, Nick McKenzie, Chris Masters and Anthony Galloway, reveal that the day before he was dumped as defence minister in 2015, Liberal hardliner Kevin Andrews pulled a bold move – he appointed his long-time staff member and conservative party factional player Nick Demiris to the crucial quasi-judicial role of inspector-general of the defence force. They say Details of the appointment, which was overturned days later by a furious prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, have emerged as concern circulates at the highest levels of the Australian Defence Force about whom the government will appoint when outgoing watchdog James Gaynor’s term ends amid the fallout from the damaging Brereton inquiry into war crimes.
    Lucy Cormack and Tome Rabe unravel Gladys’s “freedom road map”.
    But Mary Ward writes that public health experts have expressed concern about NSW’s road map to reopening its economy, which they say appears to have been driven by industry rather than consideration of the state’s stretched hospital system.
    This is a great path to freedom (so long as you’re vaccinated), say Gregory Dore and Liz Hicks in this measured and detached contribution.
    The NSW roadmap is uncharted territory, a Covid experiment pitting the vaccinated against the rest, writes Anne Davies. She says the big unknown in the plan is how it will be enforced. The good news for other states is they can watch it unfold and decide whether to follow.
    Vaccine passports are coming to Australia. Katie Atwell tells us how they will work and what we will need them for.
    Australians must be prepared to see the Covid vaccination uptake curve start to flatten in coming months, a leading vaccine communication expert has warned, due to the rate of hesitancy, explains Melissa Davey. She says the latest data from Melbourne Institute’s Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Tracker suggests 20.3% of Australians are either unsure about or unwilling when it comes to vaccination.
    We’re sick of COVID. So government messaging needs to change if it’s to cut through say these contributors to The Conversation.
    NSW has a road map out of lockdown, but absurd restrictions on useful signposts such as rapid antigen testing are going to make the narrow path more difficult, says Jennifer Hewett.
    The Age says top-level Victorian government officials are increasingly frustrated with the speed at which the state’s public health team is developing a plan out of lockdown, as experts call for more measures to control the spread of COVID-19. Brett Sutton appears to be under the pump.
    It has been just three weeks since Covid first came to the far north-west New South Wales community of Enngonia, but already it has claimed the life of a beloved elder and infected 21 – or 30% – of the Indigenous population of the town, reports Lorena Allam.
    Rachel Clun looks at Morrison’s defence against the allegations over the delay in negotiations with Pfizer.
    The Pfizer deal was an insurance policy we needed, but it was too little, too late says David Crowe.
    Josh Butler reports that American drugmaker Novavax says it is ready to begin shipping COVID vaccines to Australia as soon as the federal government gives it the official tick of approval, claiming it has resolved production issues that threatened to derail plans to deliver millions of jabs in 2021.
    Waleed Aly says that police accessing QR data is a violation of our emergency pact.
    After a delay of over six months, the Australian government has now decided to support a temporary waiver of property rights in the World Health Organisation (WHO) on COVID-19 vaccines. The waiver would allow world-wide production. The WHO meets again on September 14. If agreement can be reached this will enable the production around the world of life-saving vaccines that are needed particularly for poor people.
    Australians will be paying more for groceries and other essential goods heading into Christmas as COVID wreaks havoc on retail supply chains. Matthew Elmas tells us that economists have warned households to expect higher prices as supermarkets and other retailers start passing on large cost increases to consumers.
    Employment experts Stephen Clibborn and Chris F Wright hope that the eventual reopening of national borders will provide an opportunity to end the mistreatment of migrant workers.
    Michelle Pini writes about Morrison’s underwhelming effort at the Women’s Summit.–but-not-tame-enough-womens-summit,15495
    The editorial in The Age goes to News Corp’s climate change shame.
    News Corp’s climate change campaign allows the company to shift its public without being committed to much at all, opines Kim Carr.
    The National Party has abandoned farmers in favour of caving into the demands of fossil fuel donors, writes David Paull.,15497
    Labor’s candidate for the Melbourne seat of Higgins, Michelle Ananda-Rajah, says the government’s lack of action on climate change will be a decisive issue for voters at the next election, as she eyes winning the seat off the Coalition for the first time in more than 70 years.
    Labor’s leading lawyer, Mark Dreyfuss, has promised a tough, transparent anti-corruption body Prime Minister Scott Morrison would be “terrified” of if the opposition won the next election, writes Sarah Basford Canales.
    The AIMN says “This week marks 1000 days since the Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised Australians an integrity commission. In that time, the Prime Minister has done almost nothing to live up to his word. The truth is, this Government does not want an integrity commission before the next election”.
    Australia is at a critical point. A Coalition government that would cling to power to impose broadly unpopular policy threatens the very nature of our democracy, warns Lucy Hamilton.
    JobKeeper for dentists? Fair enough. But more public subsidies for doctors’ lobby groups who enjoyed rising surpluses or hardly suffered a downturn? Callum Foote reports on Australia’s Medical Colleges refusing to pay back the millions in JobKeeper payments.
    Angus Thompson writes that Sydney Liberal MP, Jason Falinski, who is leading the Commonwealth’s inquiry into housing affordability has equated social housing with “housing commission” and criticised affordable schemes as rent fixing that drive up prices and limit supply elsewhere.
    Meanwhile, Westpac chief executive Peter King has underlined a deterioration in housing affordability, saying regulators should wait for lockdowns to end before assessing whether there was a need for lending curbs to be introduced.
    The gaming industry spent $271.3 million on advertising last year, up from $89.7 million in 2011, and the CEO of Tabcorp says more restrictions are needed.
    Shareholders should be outraged by the casino gaint’s remuneration policy. Not only have they not received any dividends, but the board has also allowed failed executives to make out like bandits, complains Elizabeth Knight.
    And The Australian says that, as if things couldn’t get any worse for billionaire James Packer’s casino empire, its brand new auditor, Rachel Milum and her team from top-tier accounting firm KPMG, have issued a formal warning that there is a “material uncertainty” and “significant doubt” that Crown will be able to continue as a “going concern”.
    The Future Fund’s exceptional performance highlights the constraints, not the failings, of super funds, explains the AFR’s Jonathan Shapiro.
    Staff at the nation’s domestic spy agency are working overtime to reduce long waits for officials needing high-level security clearances to handle top secret information. Doug Dingwall reports that a new report from the national auditor shows ASIO is relying on employees to work longer hours when the backlog for high-level security clearances grows.
    The catastrophic failure of US and coalition intelligence in Afghanistan offers serious food for thought about the extent to which Australia relies on the vaunted Five Eyes arrangements, writes former ambassador to Korea, Mack Williams.
    French warships and troops would be given guaranteed access to Australian naval bases and military sites under a proposal being discussed by both countries, as the federal government moves to lock in the next stage of its troubled $90 billion future submarine program next week, reports Anthony Galloway.
    The US government is running out of cash and a stalemate over the raising of the US debt ceiling threatens to throw economies and share markets around the world into turmoil, writes Stephen Bartholomeusz. It’s not a pretty picture.
    Yesterday Joe Biden announced sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging Delta variant that is killing thousands each week and jeopardising the nation’s economic recovery.
    The US Justice Department is suing Texas over a new state law that bans most abortions, arguing that it was enacted “in open defiance of the Constitution”. And we think WE have culture wars!

    Cartoon Corner

    Cathy Wilcox

    David Rowe

    Peter Broelman

    John Shakespeare

    Peter Broelman

    Andrew Dyson

    Simon Letch

    Jim Pavlidis

    Mark Knight


    From the US

  16. Taylormade @ #19 Friday, September 10th, 2021 – 7:37 am

    How hell is Keneally going to represent the seat effectively from the Northern Beaches.
    She needs to move house.

    Thank you for agreeing she will win the seat. 🙂

    And yes, there are plenty of places to live around there, I’m sure she’ll find one.

    Though, if you have any connections in the NSW Liberal Party, Taylormade, could you get them to make Lucy Wicks move from the North Shore, where her main house is and where she is getting her children schooled, to the Central Coast among the untermenschen whom she represents in the seat of Robertson, rather than just pretending she lives here (she owns a holiday house here)?

  17. The media keep writing that “covid zero is no longer possible”. With vaccines, it should be possible. Opening up is based around the assumption that vaccines will allow us to maintain low, stable case numbers. Just with lower restrictions, hence higher than zero cases, in some sort of tradeoff.

    If those numbers can be stable around some arbitrarily picked number like 1000, then they can be stable around some arbitrarily picked number like zero :P.

    You can’t have it both ways. Either it will be possible to get to zero by maintaining a higher level of restrictions while using vaccines, or zero is impossible and this virus so terrible that opening it up is “let it rip” even with vaccines.

    That’s not to say zero will be necessary or desirable, given vaccines also reduce the severity of the disease.

  18. Good Morning

    Forget about the price of the house. Keneally lives on the North Shore. LNP territory in the main.
    The first to open up while SouthWest Sydney suffers under Berejikilian.

    That’s the look Labor.

    The truth is that Labor is still overriding the locals to ensure the career of its “performers”.

    In the case of Keneally with her stint as Premier in the Obeid years it will be the argument of the LNP. Corruption overriding democracy. Not a good look for a party doing the whole ICAC thing.

    That’s the problem created for Labor.
    It may be a price Labor is willing to pay but be in no doubt as to how undemocratic it is and how bad it looks to party outsiders.

  19. Snap, Cat!

    They should quote the price of Frydenberg’s pile of bricks if we want to talk about wealthy MPs.

    And of course our PM lives in Kirribilli rent free, valued at $12.5 million years ago. It was originally purchased to be accommodation for visiting heads of state. As part of a salary package that would be worth $200K+ per year. The gardening costs over $100K per year. Meanwhile we are all still paying to get the Lodge maintained.

  20. Morrison’s bullshit about trade agreements being separate from climate agreements seems not to have bothered him with the EU trade agreement. Which has both.
    He is serving one useful purpose. Every time he opens his mouth he reinforces Australia’s vulnerability to carbon tariffs.

  21. guytaur,
    get off your high horse about where KK lives. She hasn’t even been endorsed to run in the seat yet! Until last week she was still a Senator whose patch covered those areas of Sydney!

  22. Raf Epstein @Raf_Epstein

    All I have heard is that today’s Covid number is similar to yday

    So in the 300s is my best estimate

    @migga says 8 days until we hit 70% first dose

  23. Cat

    I’d be happy if he took up residence at the Christmas Island facility, if he has a penchant for living in government owned property. The Morrisons could trade places with the Tamil family.

  24. Cat

    I am on no high horse. I said it may be the price Labor is willing to pay. That’s acknowledgement of all the political calculations. It’s the direct opposite of being on a high horse.

    You just don’t like the truth being told because you must defend Labor at all costs.

  25. Morrison has announced that a slightly modified version of ICAC will be implemented.
    The Lack of Integrity Commission will investigate and punish all instances where Morrison Government ministers behave with integrity.

  26. Guytaur

    I do not always defend Labor, oppose the lettuce wars on principle, and support the Greens’ climate policy.

    In this case though you can’t reasonably expect a political candidate in a city with real estate prices as high as Sydney to move houses before they know they have won a different seat. The cost would be so crippling only millionaires would be able to stand for parliament.

  27. Cat

    No. I am if I am condemning anything condemning the process. I have told you what it looks like to party outsiders and what I expect the character attack of the LNP to be on Keneally.

    I expect it because they have form.

  28. Matt Thistlethwaite’s (hard to pronounce) seat would seem to be the obvious one for Senator Keneally.

    He seems alright but he has been around for a bit and is hardly going to get to the stage of having a political biography written about him.

    However, Senator Keneally will know from her own experience in getting state pre-selection that those holding south eastern Sydney seats, state or federal, are somewhat araldited in.

  29. Socrates

    Which is why I started with forget about price and said instead look at where Keneally lives. Labor can’t attack Berejikilian over apartheid Sydney and then expect no criticism on the silver tails from North Shore theme from political opponents.

    This is real obvious stuff which must have been factored into the decision before it was made.
    Labor thinks it’s a price worth paying. That’s well and good. Just don’t kid yourselves about how it looks

  30. “@migga says 8 days until we hit 70% first dose”

    A day or two before that, I think, after achieving 1% increase in first dose yesterday and being 63.5% on Wednesday vaccinations.

Comments Page 1 of 38
1 2 38

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *