The fortnight before Christmas

Another pre-Christmas election theory, a court ruling brings some clarity to Labor’s preselection process in Victoria, and the latest on New South Wales’ looming bonanza of state by-elections.

Seemingly nothing doing on the polling front this week, though I would have thought we were due the monthly Resolve Strategic poll from the Age/Herald. That may yet come – perhaps even very shortly – given the publisher’s unpredictable past treatment of it. I need a new post sooner than that though, so here are some relevant recent developments:

• Anthony Albanese has reportedly told his party to be prepared for the possibility that Scott Morrison will call an election for December 11 after he returns from the Glasgow climate summit early next month. Andrew Clennell of Sky News describes this as a “ploy”, and says the genuine view within Labor is that the election will most likely be held in March. Kevin Bonham notes that the proximity of this date to Christmas and New Year would complicate the protracted process of Senate counting, and that it would not allow time for new laws requiring registered parties to have at least 1500 members to take effect.

• The Victorian Supreme Court has thrown out a legal challenge against the Labor national executive’s takeover of the Victorian branch’s federal preselection process. This had been pursued by the factional bloc of the Right associated with Bill Shorten, which The Age reports is considering an appeal. Assuming the ruling holds, it confirms the preselection of former state party secretary Sam Rae in the new seat of Hawke, and allows the party to proceed with other federal preselections that have so far been in limbo.

• The Sydney Morning Herald reports that candidates for Liberal preselection in Hughes are likely to include Jenny Ware, moderate-backed director of legal services at Georges River Council, and that there is also likely to be a factional conservative in the field. This complicates matters for Melanie Gibbons, who will quit her state seat of Holsworthy to run, and has the backing of Scott Morrison.

New South Wales by-election latest:

• There is now a fifth state by-election on the way in New South Wales, and the first in a Labor-held seat, after Jodi McKay announced her intention to resign five months after losing the leadership to Chris Minns. This will create a vacancy in her seat of Strathfield, which she held at the 2019 election by a 5.0% margin. Anton Rose of Inner West Courier reports potential preselection candidates include Sravya Abbineni, multiculturalism adviser at NSW Government Health and former staffer to McKay; John Faker, mayor of Burwood; and Jennifer Light, the party’s national assistant secretary.

• The Nationals have preselected Nichole Overall, a local historian, communications consultant and freelance writer, to succeed John Barilaro as the party’s candidate in Monaro.

• In addition to the previously noted Gail Giles-Gidney, the mayor of Willoughby, the Sydney Morning Herald reports candidates for the preselection to succeed Gladys Berejiklian in Willoughby will include Tim James, factional conservative and executive general manager of the Menzies Research Centre.

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.

2,419 thoughts on “The fortnight before Christmas”

  1. It’s really hard to gauge just what effects Palmer’s influence will have this time around, but there are two things that make me cautiously optimistic that we won’t see a repeat of 2019:

    – The UAP are targeting a rather different demographic than last time, anti-vaxxers and anti-lockdown types rather than mining seats nervous about job losses. With the Coalition and Labor basically on a unity ticket when it comes to vaccinations (lockdowns, not quite so much), the votes taken from each major party and then distributed back in preferences could well be all over the shop, more akin to what happened during Palmer’s original tilt in 2013.

    – The results of the last Queensland state election suggests Palmer influence is wanting, and that Labor has also gotten a lot better at countering his astroturfing campaign. (I’d caution people about reading too much into that one, though – in hindsight, Palmer’s “platform” in 2020 was really half-assed, just some bullshit about death taxes that everyone mostly seemed to see for the lies they were. He’s being a lot craftier this time.)

    Still, I can’t say I’m not nervous about it all, and the ALP best be ready to hit back once the bullshit begins to flowing thick and fast.

  2. Boerwar:


    Sunday, October 24, 2021 at 5:15 pm

    [‘This goes to my point, actually. What is ‘professional’ about calling incompetence ‘pragmatic’?’]

    Had Kelly described Morrison as incompetent, Aunty’s critics would have had a field day, the ABC not enjoying the latitude of commercial Radio & TV presenters.


    Lars Von Trier:

    Sunday, October 24, 2021 at 5:25 pm

    [‘Mavis, what are your thoughts on that Miles fellow up North? Premiership material ?

    He seems to have been chained up from the attack-dog role? Presumably on the basis of advice/polling or to preserve him for greater things?’]

    Lars, while not knowing the thinking of Qld Labor, Miles would be the obvious successor of Palaszczuk. Then again, I could be wrong as I think he’d do very well in Canberra. I like the man – a straight talker, personable though I have a small quibble, if you’re going wear a tie, knowledge of the Windsor knot is de rigueur.

  3. NSW joins the ACT in having a 100% vaccinated cohort (ACT has several). 70+ first dose

    70 and over – population 962,606 – dose 1, 963,335 10

    Both jurisdictions being a little bit held back by their 20 somethings

  4. So Perrottet will showcase NSW’s vaccination success to the world. I’ll bet he doesn’t mention how Morrison short changed the other states to rush vaccines to NSW.

    NSW’s soaring COVID-19 vaccination rates have prevented an expected horror October, with the Perrottet government now focused on showcasing NSW to the world as part of its recovery plans.

    Premier Dominic Perrottet on Sunday described NSW’s vaccination rates as “extraordinary” as he continued on his path of reopening by unveiling a new campaign to encourage tourism to the state.

  5. Mavis says:
    Sunday, October 24, 2021 at 7:40 pm
    Does anybody wear ties anymore?

    I’d say lawyers in court and male politicians in parliament would be the last bastions?

  6. We have a ‘NewsPoll Wow’ from Alice Workman, who has been trousering the grubby Murdoch shilling at the SmearStralian…

  7. I think the suggestion of limiting the number of posts, presumably over a period of 24 hours, is absurd. Besides, what else would one do with one’s spare time – clean the yard, read a book, feed the chooks(?). And who would invigilate this regime, which appears to have the quasi support of dear moderator. Can you imagine that you’ve got the perfect retort to anor, only to be trumped by exceeding your number of posts? A post some time after an exchange would be meaningless. Back to the drawing board, Confessions.

  8. As someone who posts over many hours of the day I think that limits would be very restricting on the free flow of conversation. Repetition a la Mundo could well be eliminated, however.

  9. Lars Von Trier:

    Sunday, October 24, 2021 at 7:58 pm

    [‘Does anybody wear ties anymore?

    I’d say lawyers in court and male politicians in parliament would be the last bastions?’]

    That’s my point. They should be prohibited. But until they are, reference thereof is drawn to Edward VIII.

  10. Nothing has significantly changed since the last Newspoll other than the states have basically given up on lockdowns. Can’t see that the WOW is meaningful in any way.

  11. I’m struggling to see how Scomo delivering the Nats truckloads of pork, just so he can make some nebulous pledge in Glasgow which falls due in 29 years time, is any kind of political plus for the LNP. I had a look for marginal NP seats which might be shored up-and there aren’t any. The most marginal NP seat is Flynn, on 8.7%. There are 31 Liberal seats on smaller margins than that.

    On the other side of the equation, is there a single Labor seat which is under threat from the Nats? Labor hardly has any regional seats. The few that they do which might be under threat, like Eden-Monaro, Gilmore and maybe Lyons, are all under threat from the Libs, not the Nats.

    The absurd policy-making process the coalition has gone through, including the seeming irrelevance of Prime Minister in the process, and the ongoing divisiveness that we’ll see from Canavan and company, surely makes climate change a positive issue for Labor this time around, compared to 2019.

  12. The leaks are acoming…

    ‘While details of the package are yet to be made public, it is understood it includes a new regional future fund and an extra cabinet position that is expected to go to the resources minister, Keith Pitt, who was dumped after Joyce became leader.

    The Nationals MP George Christensen, who has repeatedly threatened to shift to the crossbench, told colleagues he would now reconsider his position in the government in protest at the party’s position.

    Christensen attended the meeting remotely wearing a “support coal” T-shirt.

    Others who spoke out strongly against the target included senator Matt Canavan and Wide Bay MP Llew O’Brien.

    The party’s Senate leader, Bridget McKenzie, also spoke against supporting the deal, and suggested Joyce could yet secure more for the party through the cabinet process.

    Joyce was coy on the details of the package, and would not comment on whether he had advocated supporting the deal.

    Sources present at the meeting said Joyce finished the meeting by telling MPs he did not support it, but acknowledged he was not in the majority.

    A tally of MPs had 12 in support of the net zero target, and nine opposed.

  13. My new neighbor asked me to tend his chooks while going to Toowoomba. Before his departure, I asked him, how do you round them up? He said they’ll work it out. Sure enough, when closing the coop-gate, they were all roosting – if that’s the right word. He must think city slickers are dumb to country life – he’d be right.

  14. William @3:38AM

    Since you made this public, I’ll respond publicly.

    Whether you’re aware of it or not, OC did behave abysmally towards me. He was part of the reason why I was absent much of last year. And yes, he did, quite blatantly, attempt bullying on a number of occasions. If you want more, you can email me.

    Oh and I might also add, despite your reckoning, this had absolutely nothing to do with politics – at least not for me. He behaved despicably and it was quite personal on his part. This is all I’m going to say publicly. Thanks.

  15. sprocket_ says:
    Sunday, October 24, 2021 at 8:34 pm
    Meanwhile in Dickson, Ali France is standing against the Potato again – her launch yesterday…

    Is the old guy in the front of the photo Miles’ dad? He looks the spitting image of him?

  16. sprocket_ @ #2325 Sunday, October 24th, 2021 – 5:05 pm

    Cracks are emerging in Barnaby Joyce’s “deal” to deliver net zero by 2050 for the Prime Minister with Nationals MPs confirming they won’t support it.
    Nationals Senator Matt Canavan has told that the deal doesn’t have unanimous support.

    Speaking after the meeting, he confirmed that he still believed it was a “bad deal”.

    “Net zero will be a bad deal for Australia because it will send jobs and industry to China just as we face greater risks of conflict.”

    Gotta hand it to Canavan, he vomited up a lot in that single sentence.

    Climate change action bad
    Aussie Aussie Aussie
    Job security and economics
    The Yellow Peril

  17. Lars Von Trier says:
    Sunday, October 24, 2021 at 7:58 pm
    Mavis says:
    Sunday, October 24, 2021 at 7:40 pm
    Does anybody wear ties anymore?

    I’d say lawyers in court and male politicians in parliament would be the last bastions
    —- ————
    Funnily enough, in corporations I’ve worked for in recent years that had a business casual dress policy, a lot of the younger guys choose to do the suit and tie thing in the office. Dunno how the office will look post COVID.

  18. Parramatta Moderate,
    I expect that the Liberals in voter land have not enjoyed seeing Barnaby hold one over the larger section of the party all week.

    Lets hope that translates to everyone hating on Scomo.

  19. The Nats meeting sounds like a collection of egos fighting each other and Barnaby couldn’t deal with them. He didn’t even agree with the decision he had to announce. What a shambles.

  20. Lizzie @ #2365 Sunday, October 24th, 2021 – 8:16 pm

    As someone who posts over many hours of the day I think that limits would be very restricting on the free flow of conversation. Repetition a la Mundo could well be eliminated, however.

    How about repetition a la Lizzie?
    A little self reflection wouldn’t hurt or do you want me to call out your repetitions?.

  21. The Nationals MP George Christensen, who has repeatedly threatened to shift to the crossbench, told colleagues he would now reconsider his position in the government in protest at the party’s position.

    I wish I had a dollar for every time Christensen threatened to move to the back benches.

    And an additional dollar for every time the Liberals fell for it.

  22. Lizzie

    One thing that I find hard to wrap my head around is just how deeply ingrained climate denial is within the Nats. That and just how much of an airtight bubble they must exist in to not actually talk to scientists and engineers and learn they’re plain, matter of fact, wrong.

  23. South, surely Labor’s campaign messaging for urban electorates will include plenty of imagery of Scomo and Barnaby together. Just to remind people who calls the shots in the federal LNP.

  24. Parramatta Moderate,
    It can only be a good thing if the ALP can grab the news and start saying the PM is being led around by his nose like a streer by Barnaby.

    I hope they strike at this issue. Its about time that relationships fractured

  25. A website purporting to represent people from the Northern Territory who support fracking for gas in the Beetaloo Basin was registered by a former Liberal staffer in Sydney who now runs a digital marketing business.

    The slickly produced website appeared in early September alongside a Facebook account and a private Instagram account, and online experts say it bears all the hallmarks of “astroturfing” – a term used to describe a fake grassroots campaign.

  26. Curious that the Central Coast had 4 cases today whereas Hunter New England had 53. Even if you ignore the far flung bits, there were still 17 from Newcastle and 8 from Lake Macquarie.

    Pockets of low vaccination?

  27. Lars,

    I feel your pain but you chose that route by being provocative. I personally think you’re good value, as I do Lurker. But I think that by provoking Cat, you may’ve envisaged the outcome – not posting until tomorrow, where we’ll all be friends again.

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