Many preselections

Scott Ryan’s retirement brings the Victorian Liberal Senate preselection to a boil; Labor lines up its ducks in New South Wales; a federal voting intention poll from the ACT; and much more besides.

We begin with the unusually complicated state of affairs arising from Senate President Scott Ryan’s announcement yesterday that he will retire from politics before parliament resumes next month, having previously planned to do so when his term ends in the middle of next year. The Victorian Liberal Party now has the task of both filling his vacancy and determining its Senate ticket for the coming election, with the latter process having been up in the air due to the lockdown. Candidates for Ryan’s vacancy are reportedly likely to include Simon Frost, staffer to Josh Frydenberg and former state party director, and Greg Mirabella, Wangaratta farmer and husband of Sophie Mirabella.

The Coalition secured three long-term Senate positions at the 2016 double dissolution, which went to Mitch Fifield, Bridget McKenzie of the Nationals and Scott Ryan. Fifield quit politics after the 2019 election and his vacancy was filled by Sarah Henderson, lately defeated in her lower house seat of Corangamite. With the second position on the ticket reserved to the Nationals, and hence to McKenzie, Henderson urgently needs to win top spot on the ticket.

Rob Harris of The Age reports that she will probably need a rank-and-file ballot for this to happen, since she is unlikely to win a vote of the administrative committee if it exercises its power to take matters into its own hands. The same apparently applies to Frost in his bid to fill the Ryan vacancy, which would appear to suggest that the administrative committee would pick Mirabella both to fill the immediate vacancy and top the Senate ticket at the election. This would, however, be a hugely contentious move, given resentment over the rank and file being denied preselection ballots before the last election.

Further preselection news:

• Daniel Repacholi, a former coal miner who represented Australia in pistol shooting at the Olympics, was confirmed as Labor’s candidate to succeed Joel Fitzgibbon in Hunter by the party’s national executive yesterday. The Australian reports Repacholi “will run as a factionally unaligned candidate but he has the backing of elements of the Right, including Joel Fitzgibbon, and also the Left, including Mr Albanese and the CFMEU”. Preselection hopefuls thwarted by the move include Stephen Ryan, Newcastle barrister and former Cessnock councillor; Morgan Campbell, a former lawyer and local councillor; and Jo Smith, executive director of the Australian Guild of Screen Composers and unsuccessful candidate for Lake Macquarie at the 2019 state election. A late withdrawal was Cessnock nurse Emily Suvaal, whom The Guardian reports had support from Right-aligned unions. The Nationals candidate for the seat is James Thomson, 28-year-old community relations officer at Maitland Christian School; One Nation, who recorded 21.6% of the vote in 2019, have endorsed Singleton hotelier Dale McNamara, who ran for the party at the state by-election for Upper Hunter in May.

• As reported in The Australian, Gordon Reid, a local doctor of Aboriginal heritage, has been preselected unopposed to run as Labor’s candidate for Robertson, held for the Liberals by Lucy Wicks on a margin of 4.2%. The preselection for Reid, held by Fiona Martin on a margin of 3.2%, will be contested between Sally Sitou, a University of Sydney doctoral candidate and one-time ministerial staffer to Jason Clare, and Frank Alafaci, president of the Australian Business Summit Council. In Banks, held by David Coleman on a margin of 6.3%, will be contested between former diplomat Xian-Zhi Soon and Georges River councillor Warren Tegg.

The West Australian reports Ian Goodenough, Liberal member for the Perth northern suburbs seat of Moore, has won a preselection ballot ahead of Vince Connelly, whose existing seat of Stirling is to be abolished in the redistribution, by a margin of 39 to 36. Goodenough is noted for his support network among local Pentecostal churches, and his association with a broader grouping within the state party known as “The Clan”. The report says Goodenough owed his win to support from Young Liberals and religious conservative powerbroker Nick Goiran. Further contested preselections for the Liberal-held seats of Swan and Durack will follow over the fortnight to come.

• The Greens have announced candidates in the two Melbourne seats they could potentially win from the Liberals: Piers Mitchem, an employment lawyer with corporate law firm Thomson Geer, will run against Josh Frydenberg in Kooyong, which Julian Burnside came within 5.7% of winning for the party in 2019 after outpolling Labor; while Sonya Semmens, owner-director of a fundraising consultancy, will run against Katie Allen in Higgins.

• Legal academic Kim Rubenstein has cleared the new-and-improved benchmark of 1500 members to register a party called Kim for Canberra in support of her run for an Australian Capital Territory Senate seat.

Other news:

• A uComms automated phone poll of 1057 voters in Canberra, commissioned by of The Australian Institute, records federal voting intention results for the Australian Capital Territory that are strikingly similar to those at the 2019 election. When the results to the forced-response follow-up for the initially undecided are included, the poll shows Labor on 41.1% (up 0.2% on the election), Liberal on 31.3% (down 0.8%) and the Greens on 16.9% (up 0.4%). One Nation, who did not field candidates in 2019 and probably won’t next time either, were on 3.9%. The poll also gauged Senate voting intention, which had Labor on 35.9% (down 3.4%), Liberal on 29.7% (down 2.6%) and the Greens on 21.1% (up 3.5%), with independents on 7.4%, One Nation on 4.0% and others on 1.7%. However, the disparity between the House and Senate results would be typical of an issue to common to Senate polling, which often inflates minor party support. In any case, both suggest the usual result, in which Labor wins the house seats and the two Senate seats divide between Labor and Liberal.

• Also from the Australia Institute, a tidy display of Essential Research COVID-19 polling data, including time series charts of the regular question on federal and state governments’ handling of the situation.

Final results from the Daly by-election in the Northern Territory: 2022 votes to Labor candidate Dheran Young (56.1%), 1582 to Country Liberal Party candidate Kris Civitarese, for a swing to Labor of 7.3%.

• A federal election preview from Daniel Smith of CGM Communications draws on state-level poll trend calculations I provided, suggesting Labor stands to pick up 13 seats based on the current numbers.

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.

1,085 comments on “Many preselections”

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  1. @Buce – of course not, and you know that.

    But, it’s why other countries are in a different situation, even with similar vaccination rates.

  2. The Virus isn’t going away and we can’t hide from it forever. In due course, when vaccination levels are high enough, we will need to live with it. I don’t want to spend more time being locked down than I have to.

    So what is high enough? Certainly not bullshit 70% (i.e. 56%). Fortunately, Gladys seems to be crab-walking away from any big changes then. The vaccination rate is picking up, even if October Pfizer supplies look a big wobbly. We are now only about 3 months behind. Bullshit 50-odd % in June would not have averted the NSW-ACT-Vic Winter outbreak, but maybe it would not have been as bad. But we are where we are.

    Looking forward to catching up in person with family in mid-late October. I won’t be rushing to the pub, club or restaurants when they first reopen, however, nor to the barber, even though my hair (what’s left of it) hasn’t been this long since my student days.

  3. Bucephalussays:
    Sunday, September 26, 2021 at 8:04 pm
    Goll says:
    Sunday, September 26, 2021 at 7:59 pm

    “Morrison took a polling lead into the last election”

    Did he?

    Those close to the info knew of the impending results two weeks out from the elections.
    If you are as knowledgeable and important as you make out you would be aware of this.
    It is not that difficult to authenticate my claim.

  4. Only if Morrison and his cronies kept their promise of upto 90% Australians would be fully vaccinated October 2021

    Due to Morrison and his incompetence 53-55 % of the Adult population will be fully vaccinated October

    Big difference from the original to the present

  5. Thanks Yabba. Noice.

    This version of the Lloyd Stone lyrics resonates for me… .

    For the original (albeit retrofitted) Sibelius, two others ring:
    The Covid version: ..

    …and the Helsinki Station flashmob:

  6. [‘There, Premiers Gladys Berejiklian and Dan Andrews have laid out a cautious return to normal for millions of residents who have been living under lockdown for months.’]

    I’ve observed a most distinct change of tack in Andrews’ approach to the management of C.19. It’s almost like he’s doing a Berejyklian – “let her rip”. While unsure of his change of posture, perhaps he’s over it, bending to Morrison’s template? Sad if he is. I mean, overseas’ experience shows that even where 80% are vaccinated, approximately 35% aren’t.

  7. Alan Lancaster, founding member and bassist for Status Quo, has died aged 72. According to a social media post shared by Lancaster’s close friend, Craig Bennett, the British musician had been suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for some time. He died in Sydney, Australia.

  8. [‘…even though my hair (what’s left of it) hasn’t been this long since my student days.’]

    Do you know you can lower your blood-pressure while improving your locks. See your local quack.

  9. Some numbers…

    Gippsland had a quarter of the vote for non-majors in 2019 (in order: Shooters, Greens, Palmer’s mob, another indie, Anning’s mob).

    Vic 2018: Morwell could only manage 57% for Labor, Libs and Nats between them, leaving 19.6% for Northe and 23% for another seven candidates (including the accidental senator Ricky Muir, who did a lot better than 0.5% this time).

    Eastern Vic region in the upper house has elected a Shooter in both 2018 and 2014. The 2018 election there was a bizarre kaleidoscope of minor / microparties, which got about a third of the vote between the lot of them.

    Taken all together: there’s certainly potential for an independent upset in Gippsland.

    (An aside: Gippsland seems to have a weirdly huge number of candidates: 9 in 2019, 10 (2016), 11 (2013), 9 (2004), 12 (2001), 11 (1998). The 2008 by-election actually had less candidates than any other time in the last few decades.)

  10. We have reached a surreal situation in NSW in terms of the pressure on the Healthcare system this week. Due to the change in how long a COVID case is considered active, from 28 days to 14 days (changed very quietly on Sept 5), NSW Health is now caring for more COVID patients than there are active COVID cases in the State.

    Weekly update here:

    The Hospital in the Home/Medi-Hotel/Private Hospital population is getting right up there at 14.5K…

  11. Vaccine rollout


    60.1% fully vaccinated; 85.5% first dose


    51.5% fully vaccinated; 75.8% first dose

    Of the estimated population aged 16 and over.

    – SMH

    However one interprets these stats, one has to say that the campaign of mass vaccination is working. They’ll always be a fringe group opposed to nigh on everything but the overwhelming majority is finally accepting the science – I dare say even Morrison’s lot.

  12. Steve777 says:
    Sunday, September 26, 2021 at 8:57 pm
    That’s children – a very small subset of a total population that has significant numbers of migrants.

  13. Bucephalus @ Sunday, September 26, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    Why do you post false information? Do you believe it yourself? Do you read it somewhere or so you just make it up? In any case, this is the wrong forum for such spurious claims that can easily be checked.

  14. Just went to my bookmarks on my browser and at the bottom was a Siri Suggestion…none other than Scott Morrison’s website! Deleted in quick time.

  15. I hope that Burney has a solid policy background, because in public she comes across as being very under whelming. I think she is a bit of a passenger, if I am going to be frank. Can somebody please enlighten me as to what her great strengths are? Public speaking certainly isn’t one, like Butler, she mumbles and rambles various thought bubbles.

  16. Are there any intelligent Tories left? You have to wonder after reading the absolute crap constantly spouted by Boy Soldier Buce and Talyormade.

  17. Just like Bucephalus regularly speaks to generals, I used to speak to admirals in Russell Offices (aka “Malfuction Juction”).

    If they gave me a hard time, their TXs would be inexplicably delayed, until the then Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Mike Hudson (who Hawke promoted to Admiral on the day of his retirement) summoned me to his office.

    Not only did my staff get his relacing gratuity wrong, he was also really pissed that some senior officers weren’t getting their expenses paid expeditiously (they didn’t know the meaning of acquittal, matching actual expenditure relative to the capital or non-capital city allowance, something that pollies treat with disdain.

    I said, “Mike, may I call you Mike; can I be frank? I’ve spent 20 years in the outfit and I resigned today, thus the terms on the Naval Discipline Act (s.39) don’t apply.” He responded, “You’ve got it wrong, “Mavis”; you’re subject to it until 2359. To cut a long story, I know why Hawke promoted Hudson to a full admiral

    Bucephalus, I look forward to your personal anecdotes re. your exchanges with generals.

  18. Final Canadian results

    At the September 20 Canadian election, the Liberals won 159 of the 338 seats (up two since 2019), the Conservatives 119 (down two), the Quebec Bloc 33 (up one), the NDP 25 (up one) and the Greens two (down one). Vote shares were 33.7% Conservative (down 0.7%), 32.6% Liberal (down 0.5%), 17.8% NDP (up 1.8%), 7.7% Bloc (up 0.1%), 5.0% People’s Party (up 3.3%) and 2.3% Greens (down 4.2%).

    Canada…. Very few Greens to be seen…reformists win comfortably. I am particularly thrilled with the about 60% decline in the G vote. Excellence in electoral politics in Canada.

  19. Nil desperandum Zerlo! (at 10.12pm)

    IIRC, Coalition won QLD with 58+ 2PP, so 55 is a swing against them.

    In fact, I think all those State breakdowns are bad for Coalition and VIC disastrous.

    Are WA figures available, anyone?

  20. Buce thinks we will be gutted when we “open up”.

    Morrison can wank on all he likes. McGowan and Palaszczuk will open up when they think their constituents are confident they won’t be infected by virus imported from the the southeast of the country. Morrison’s rants and botched vaccination program will have nothing to do with it.

    I reckon Buce will be gutted long before the rest of us. Morrison has a one seat margin before minority government and if at least 5 seats change sides he’s gone. WA and Qld can deliver that change easily.

  21. The perfect outcome for McGowan and any competent leader, would be for the High Court to force them open and take responsibility for the disaster that unfolds, you know the kind of disaster NSW and Victoria are already seeing because they are badly led and selfish stupid people who’ve been decidedly pro virus and death, and where unsurprisingly the virus has done well and there had been a lot of death.

    The report by the Brookings Institution, a leading think tank in Washington DC, analyzes publicly available evidence that shows that Trump and his allies attempted to pressure Georgia officials to “change the lawful outcome of the election.”

    A key piece of evidence is the now-infamous call made by Trump on January 3 to Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger. He told him to “find 11,780 votes” to overturn Biden’s win.

    The report adds that Trump publicly pressured and personally contacted several other officials in Georgia to ask them to help him overturn his loss in the state.

    It includes Governor Brian Kemp and Attorney General Chris Carr, who Trump reportedly placed direct calls to in December to urge them to go along with “his increasingly desperate plans to decertify his loss.”

  23. Just got polled online by Roy Morgan. Political questions only (and general “how is the country going” stuff). No leadership or preferred PM stuff – just voting intention and past voting behaviour.

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