Sooner or later

Odds lengthen on an early election, John Alexander calls it a day in Bennelong, doubts over the passage of the government’s voter identification bill, and more.

A consensus has locked in over the past week behind the notion that the federal election will not be until May, with John Kehoe of the Financial Review reporting public servants have been told to cut short summer holiday plans to help prepare a pre-election budget in April. The government will then be able to “fight the poll on an expected economic bounce-back from COVID-19”.

Also:

• Liberal member John Alexander has announced he will not seek re-election in his Sydney seat of Bennelong, which he recovered for the Liberals in 2010 following John Howard’s historic defeat in 2007. The Sydney Morning Herald reports contenders for the preselection are likely to include Gisele Kapterian, a former chief-of-staff to Michaelia Cash and current executive at software company Salesforce, and City of Sydney councillor Craig Chung. Kapterian was mentioned as a possible challenger to Alexander’s preselection earlier in the year.

• The federal government seems to be struggling to get the numbers it will need to pass its voter identification bill through the Senate before the election. With One Nation for and Labor, the Greens and independent Senator Rex Patrick vehemently opposed, the swing votes in the Senate are Centre Alliance Senator Stirling Griff and independent Jacqui Lambie. While Griff supports the idea in principle, the Financial Review reports that Lambie and the Centre Alliance’s lower house member, Mayo MP Rebekha Sharkie, has criticised the short time frame and the government’s prioritisation of the matter over issues including the establishment a federal integrity commission. Independent MP Bob Katter added to the momentum against the measure when he declared it “blatantly racist” due to its disproportionate impact on indigenous voters.

• In the period between his drink driving misadventure a fortnight ago and announcement at the start of this week that he would bow out at the next election, Tim Smith’s Victorian state seat of Kew was the subject of a comprehensive poll by Redbridge Group which had Liberal on 39%, Labor on 31% and the Greens on 12%, suggesting a close contest between Liberal and Labor at the final count to be determined by the unknown quantity of independent and small party preferences. However, the poll also recorded a 40.2% “very unfavourable” rating for state Labor, along with 44.9% for Smith and 49.5% for one of his backers, Tony Abbott. The poll was conducted November 4 to 7 from a sample of 920.

• The Liberals have confirmed candidates for two Hunter region seats that swung heavily against Labor in 2019. In Paterson, where the margin was cut from 10.7% to 5.0% in 2019, the candidate will be Brooke Vitnell, a family law solicitor and former ministerial staffer to Paul Fletcher and Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. Shortland will again be contested by Nell McGill, a commercial litigator at Sparke Helmore Lawyers, who cut the margin from 9.9% to 4.4% in 2019.

• It has come to my attention that US pollster Morning Consult conducts a weekly tracking poll of approval and disapproval for 13 world leaders including Scott Morrison, who has lately fallen into net negative territory.

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.

1,037 comments on “Sooner or later”

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  1. New emails and documents released by a congressional committee investigating the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic show the extent to which top White House officials interfered in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s efforts to warn Americans about Covid-19.

    The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis has conducted interviews over the last several months about how former President Donald Trump and his closest confidantes, including former White House adviser Scott Atlas and son-in-law Jared Kushner, tried to steer the course of the federal response, sidestepping the interagency process.

    On Friday, the committee released emails and transcripts with former senior CDC officials about the White House’s attempts to sideline the agency at critical moments at the beginning of the U.S. outbreak.

    The emails and transcripts detail how in the early days of 2020 Trump and his allies in the White House blocked media briefings and interviews with CDC officials, attempted to alter public safety guidance normally cleared by the agency and instructed agency officials to destroy evidence that might be construed as political interference.

    https://www.politico.com/news/2021/11/12/trump-cdc-covid-521128

  2. Critical revelations this week confirmed that the Abbott government’s changes to the national broadband network have been an expensive disaster. They also demonstrated the extent to which the company building the network, NBN Co, has consistently hidden the real cost of the project, which has failed to meet original budget predictions.

    The current minister, Paul Fletcher, has effectively conceded his predecessors’ mistakes and is about to start fixing the problems they created. But this will add billions of dollars to an already massive blowout in costs.

    Meanwhile, millions of Australians struggle with slow and unreliable internet connections. It wasn’t supposed to be like this and the mess could have been cleaned up years ago.

    When the Coalition announced its changes to the NBN it claimed a build cost of $29 billion for its “cheaper, faster” version. However, cost increases have seen the total exceed $50 billion.

    Citing dubious commercial-in-confidence issues, NBN Co has consistently refused to release details on its internal costs. Some of those details were finally outlined in a report in Guardian Australia this week.

    In 2013, NBN Co estimated the cost of using copper wires instead of fibre would be $600 to $650 per premises and using pay TV (HFC) cables would cost between $800 and $850 per premises. The average for copper is actually $2330 and HFC is $2752.

    https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2021/11/13/the-real-cost-the-bungled-nbn-rollout/163672200012876#mtr

  3. More complicated, more expensive, slower rollout, less reliable, lower bandwidth & slower speeds. Obsolete prior to delivery.

    You know how engineers often talk of trading off one of performance, reliability or cost for the other two? Well Fraudband managed to trade off all three for nothing.

    (but then this has all been said before, even before they switched to Malcom Turnbull’s Mess)

  4. You can expect gushing and pusillanimous sycophancy articles from Rob Harris in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, from now until the election, if today’s effort is anything to go by. He has already virtually handed a win at the election to Morrison:

    The opposition reacted furiously to his electric vehicle strategy this week, having been on the receiving end for their own policy at the last election.

    Morrison, in typical style, has refused to volunteer any ground on the issue. He denied ever ridiculing the technology this week. It further enraged those who believe he is shifty, a liar and a conman on climate.

    … But Morrison thinks the Australian people understand where he is coming from. “They believe [climate change] is really important but, you know, they’re not all out gluing themselves to things about this,” he says.

    “Most Australians are quite practical about it. And I think this is where so much of Australia is at: ‘yeah, we’ve got to deal with that. We’ve got to sort that. But can you just get on and sort it’.”

    Having used climate politics to destroy its opponents for years, the Coalition now thinks it has a one size-fits-all policy to hold on to seats in the inner city, the suburbs and the regions.

    It won’t please everyone. Perhaps not even anyone. But Morrison seems certain he’s found a middle ground to finally neutralise the bitter politics of climate change.

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/campaigning-pm-believes-he-s-found-a-miraculous-middle-ground-20211112-p5989l.html#comments

  5. The bungling of the NBN is the perfect illustration of the waste, mismanagement and incompetence that underscores everything this government touches.

  6. Insiders Sunday, 14 Nov

    David Speers is joined by Karen Middleton, Shalailah Medhora and Lanai Scarr to discuss Scott Morrison out on the road selling electric vehicle, climate and energy policies. Plus COP26 outcomes and unemployment rose by 0.6%.

    Guest : Greg Hunt – Health Minister

  7. If voters are really saying “can you just get on and sort it”, then they should note that his “middle ground” is to lie about “sorting it”, and that it’s been the Coalition getting in the way and no-one else. The Coalition aren’t the victim of “difficult climate politics”, they are the cause of it.

    Activitists are not angry that The Coalition has swung around, they’re angry that the Coalition are *pretending* to have swung around, while labelling the activitists who have been actually sorting it for decades as “defeatists”.

  8. William seems to have ignored/missed yesterday’s Victorian Morgan showing a 58-42 lead to Labor. More credibility than the unregistered Redbridge group, I’d have thought.

  9. WB: has come to my attention that US pollster Morning Consult conducts a weekly tracking poll of approval and disapproval for 13 world leaders including Scott Morrison, who has lately fallen into net negative territory.

    Modi is the most popular with net rating of around +40. Then Mario Dragi followed by Angela Merkel, who is retirement in a month. Most of the world leader net rating is in negative territory

    BTW, this poll does not include dictators like Xi and Putin.

  10. DisplayName @ #8 Saturday, November 13th, 2021 – 7:32 am

    If voters are really saying “can you just get on and sort it”, then they should note that his “middle ground” is to lie about “sorting it”.

    Which is exactly the comment I made to the article. 🙂

    All of his blather and his blizzard of lies is simply to disguise the fact of business as usual for the Coalition but he is now prepared to allow innovation in technologies that are created to deal with Climate Change.

    It’s just not enough though to engage in this sleight of hand, whereby you pay wealthy people to put EV car chargers in their houses but still give the go ahead to new Thermal Coal Mines and do nothing about Methane emissions.

  11. Porter to jump ship, from the Government Stenographer…

    Phillip Coorey
    Phillip Coorey
    Political editor
    Nov 12, 2021 – 6.00pm

    Speculation is building within the Coalition that former cabinet minister Christian Porter will not recontest the next election, a move that would pave the way for a female candidate in his West Australian seat of Pearce.

    As Prime Minister Scott Morrison claimed underdog status ahead of the election which, he said, would be fought over the economic recovery, several colleagues of Mr Porter’s said they did not expect him to run again.

    Mr Porter’s seat is one of three in WA the Coalition fears could be lost to Labor. The other two are Swan and Hasluck. Mr Porter was subjected to unproven and historic rape allegations earlier this year, costing him his position of attorney-general.

    He later stepped down from cabinet altogether after he declined to reveal the identities of donors to a blind trust that had helped him with legal bills.

    The Liberal Party still plans to poll Mr Porter’s seat before the end of the year to ascertain his prospects, but his colleagues believe he will leave anyway. One said a preliminary search was already under way for a female candidate.

  12. A bit more from Coorey…

    ‘The election is now expected in March and Mr Morrison is hoping to reverse his government’s flagging fortunes by focusing on the economic recovery.

    “We’re moving into a different economic phase and the economic uncertainty that is going to come with the post-pandemic period is very real,” he said, invoking John Howard’s 2007 warning about there being economic storm clouds on the horizon.

    https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/doubts-increase-over-christian-porter-s-future-20211112-p598bu

  13. DisplayName @ #8 Saturday, November 13th, 2021 – 4:32 am

    If voters are really saying “can you just get on and sort it”, then they should note that his “middle ground” is to lie about “sorting it”.

    The problem there is that you can’t just sort it out.

    There are no quick fixes, it will be in the order of decades before we notice the impact of things done now.

  14. If I were Labor, I think I’d be out there saying “Morrison speaks with the Devil’s tongue” rather than just calling him a liar.

  15. ‘The election is now expected in March and Mr Morrison is hoping to reverse his government’s flagging fortunes by focusing on the economic recovery.

    An economic recovery Morrison’s government has little to nothing to do with.

  16. Dandy Murray @ #952 Saturday, November 13th, 2021 – 12:29 am

    ” Some of you may have picked up that I do energy system modeling in my professional work.

    The document released earlier today is closer to a list of input assumptions than to a modeling exercise. And that is the most charitable thing I can say about it. ”

    As a professional, full time modeller, I completely agree. It is nothing like a model and, as an aid to informed decision making, it is useless.

  17. Half senate election in March. Only unknown is the excuse. Our punishment for electing a Liberal government is having to put up with this shit for another 10 months.

  18. Big news from the US:

    Natasha Bertrand
    @NatashaBertrand
    Breaking on
    @CNN
    : Trump adviser Steve Bannon has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

    An arrest warrant will be signed soon by the magistrate judge,

    DOJ has not charged anyone with criminal contempt of Congress in 38 years,
    @eliehonig
    says.

  19. Morrison has laid down the ideological markers for the next election campaign, and his message couldn’t be clearer.

    The Coalition government does not want to do anything.

    No taxes. No mandates. No legislation. No policies.

    After edging slightly to the left to deliver the net zero by 2050 target, Morrison is now retreating to the right, sniffing Palmer’s “freedom” breeze in Queensland and signing up to Barnaby Joyce’s yelling-at-clouds opus that people are sick of the government being in their life.

    The hands-off approach couldn’t be more evident than in the Coalition’s “plan” for net zero by 2050 unveiled in the lead up to Glasgow, or in the “strategy” to increase the take-up of electric vehicles.

    It’s is a bit like the pseudoscientific self-help documentary The Secret – simply state your goals and sit back and wait for the universe to deliver on your thought vibrations.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/nov/13/scott-morrison-seems-intent-on-taking-misinformation-mainstream?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

  20. C@t

    It is big news. Considering that many thought that this was not going to happen. There was so much discourse as to how ineffectual and weak Merrick Garland is as AG.

  21. Meanwhile Mark Meadows did not show up as per his subpoena.

    He will now need to consider what he does next in light of the Bannon development.

  22. Jon Cooper Flag of United States @joncoopertweets

    BREAKING: A federal criminal grand jury has INDICTED Steve Bannon for TWO COUNTS of contempt of Congress.

  23. Federal grand jury indicts former Trump adviser Steve Bannon for contempt of Congress

    (CNN)A federal grand jury has returned an indictment against former Trump adviser Steve Bannon for contempt of Congress, the Justice Department announced Friday.

    Bannon, 67, was charged with one count related to his refusal to appear for a deposition and another related to his refusal to produce documents. Each count carries a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year in jail, the Justice Department said.

    https://edition.cnn.com/2021/11/12/politics/steve-bannon-indicted/index.html

  24. Frednk,

    If he does go for a split election, it’s likely the second one will be the ALP’s biggest modern victory.

    Australian’s don’t joyously march to the booths, we go moaning and kicking our feet.

    Two Federal elections in one year and it would be a massacre.

  25. Victoria @ #23 Saturday, November 13th, 2021 – 8:10 am

    C@t

    It is big news. Considering that many thought that this was not going to happen. There was so much discourse as to how ineffectual and weak Merrick Garland is as AG.

    But I heard that with such a slew of consequential people from the Trump era to likely be charged as well as they also ignore subpoenas to testify to the Jan6 Inquiry, waiting as they are for Trump’s Executive privilege challenge to go all the way to the Supreme Court where he thinks his plants will save him, that Merrick Garland wanted to make sure he dotted all the is and crossed all the ts and did nothing wrong legally that could be challenged in court by these people and Trump.

  26. phoenixRED @ #28 Saturday, November 13th, 2021 – 8:14 am

    Federal grand jury indicts former Trump adviser Steve Bannon for contempt of Congress

    (CNN)A federal grand jury has returned an indictment against former Trump adviser Steve Bannon for contempt of Congress, the Justice Department announced Friday.

    Bannon, 67, was charged with one count related to his refusal to appear for a deposition and another related to his refusal to produce documents. Each count carries a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year in jail, the Justice Department said.

    https://edition.cnn.com/2021/11/12/politics/steve-bannon-indicted/index.html

    Lock him up! 😀

  27. The commentary around the ~14% Others appearing in the polls have pointed to the fat yellow slug party – however this is more likely the cause IMHO..

    ‘The Coalition now has 76 seats in the 151-seat parliament. Labor needs to win eight seats to govern in its own right.

    “If we can just win two or three seats it’s highly likely there will be a minority government,” Holmes à Court says. “We will be back in the situation in 2010, where the independents will have a tough decision to make and, whichever way they go, they will give the government of the day the backbone to deal with the issues we care about.”

    The flashpoints
    There are many seats with “Voices of” groups, but among the main ones to watch are five in Sydney – Warringah, Wentworth, Mackellar, North Sydney and Hughes – and three in Melbourne – Kooyong, Goldstein and Flinders – as well as Hume and Indi in regional NSW and Nicholls in regional Victoria.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/nov/13/backed-by-climate-200s-2m-war-chest-independent-challengers-circle-coalition-seats

  28. C@t

    The trump executive privilege is looking like going all the way to the Supreme Court. No doubt Trumps strategy is to run the clock.

    Merrrick Garland is a stickler for following due process.
    And the last thing anyone wants is Biden to interfere. Who can forget all the interference Trump did during his tenure.

  29. ‘Message sent — there will be consequences’: CNN legal analyst explains why Steve Bannon had to be indicted

    Trump ally Steve Bannon was indicted on a criminal contempt charge Friday after he defied a congressional subpoena, and CNN legal analyst Elie Honig said that it was a long overdue and necessary development.

    While discussing Bannon’s indictment, which could put him in jail for up to one year, Honig laid out the stakes about the need for Bannon to face legal repercussions for his defiance.

    “This is going to be so significant for Congress’s oversight power, the power of the January 6th committee to meaningfully enforce its subpoenas,” he said. “If Merrick Garland had decided not to charge Steve Bannon, it would have just been game on for anybody who wanted to defy the subpoenas.”

    With Bannon’s indictment, Honig said, the equation has now changed.

    “Now the message sent here is if you defy the subpoenas, there will be consequences,” he explained. “You can be charged with a crime and DOJ has backed that up right now.”

    https://www.rawstory.com/steve-bannon-indictment-cnn/

  30. Notice the language of Coorey. It is as if Porter is victim all along.


    sprocket_says:
    Saturday, November 13, 2021 at 7:39 am
    Porter to jump ship, from the Government Stenographer…

    Phillip Coorey
    Phillip Coorey
    Political editor
    Nov 12, 2021 – 6.00pm
    …………
    …………..
    Mr Porter was subjected to unproven and historic rape allegations earlier this year, costing him his position of attorney-general.

    He later stepped down from cabinet altogether after he declined to reveal the identities of donors to a blind trust that had helped him with legal bills.

  31. Re Yabba @7:59.

    The Plan…

    … It is nothing like a model and, as an aid to informed decision making, it is useless.

    We’ll see soon enough whether it’s an aid to getting re-elected, which after all is its purpose.

  32. PhoenixRed

    Yep, the equation has now changed! The rest of the rabble who have been subpoenaed know what the deal is if they don’t show up.

  33. We can’t get too excited though (from phoenixRED’s CNN article):

    Any criminal case against Bannon could take years to unfold in court, and a successful prosecution isn’t a certainty. Historically, criminal contempt of Congress cases have been derailed by juries sympathetic to the defendants and by appeals rulings. Bannon’s case is likely to raise novel legal questions about executive privilege and about the House’s ability to enforce its investigative subpoenas when they seek information about the executive branch.

  34. Christian Porter leaving politics altogether would be no huge surprise.
    Election will be in May next year, that is my tip, Morrison and Frydenberg will want to hand down a feel good budget beforehand. Also, the South Australian state election is scheduled for March 2021

  35. With the arrival of winter in a Europe, another covid wave is presenting itself.

    From what I have gleaned, most places still don’t have enough of the adult population vaccinated. Sigh


  36. Barney in Tanjung Bungasays:
    Saturday, November 13, 2021 at 7:41 am
    DisplayName @ #8 Saturday, November 13th, 2021 – 4:32 am

    If voters are really saying “can you just get on and sort it”, then they should note that his “middle ground” is to lie about “sorting it”.

    The problem there is that you can’t just sort it out.

    There are no quick fixes, it will be in the order of decades before we notice the impact of things done now.

    Like fixing Ozone layer hole around South pole. Countries decided to do something about CFC gases in mid to late 80s and the hole almost fixed at the end of 2010 decade.

  37. The election is now expected in March and Mr Morrison is hoping to reverse his government’s flagging fortunes by focusing on the economic recovery.

    We’ll had probably caught inflation – and rising interest rates – by then.


  38. C@tmommasays:
    Saturday, November 13, 2021 at 8:06 am
    Big news from the US:

    Natasha Bertrand
    @NatashaBertrand
    Breaking on
    @CNN
    : Trump adviser Steve Bannon has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

    An arrest warrant will be signed soon by the magistrate judge,

    DOJ has not charged anyone with criminal contempt of Congress in 38 years,
    @eliehonig
    says

    So what does it mean?

  39. Last time Steve Bannon was arrested, he was on some billionaires yacht.

    He will no doubt be trying to fly or sail offf somewhere again this time too.

  40. According to Sarah Martin in The Guardian, Labor’s problem in countering LNP’s do-nothing policy will be that anything at all that they propose will be labelled as “big spending on your taxes”, or “more interfering in your lives”.

  41. C@t, Morrison once again showing poor judgement parading around and blathering rather than going to an early election when he should have in October/November.

    The promise of better times, we got you through this, opening up, blame the recalcitrant Labor premiers will have faded by 2022.

  42. Patience is running thin for legal experts who see a slam-dunk criminal indictment against Trump: ‘Where oh where is Merrick Garland?’

    https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-indictment-prosecution-justice-department-january-6-2021-11?r=AU&IR=T


    C@tmommasays:
    Saturday, November 13, 2021 at 8:15 am
    Victoria @ #23 Saturday, November 13th, 2021 – 8:10 am

    C@t

    It is big news. Considering that many thought that this was not going to happen. There was so much discourse as to how ineffectual and weak Merrick Garland is as AG.

    But I heard that with such a slew of consequential people from the Trump era to likely be charged as well as they also ignore subpoenas to testify to the Jan6 Inquiry, waiting as they are for Trump’s Executive privilege challenge to go all the way to the Supreme Court where he thinks his plants will save him, that Merrick Garland wanted to make sure he dotted all the is and crossed all the ts and did nothing wrong legally that could be challenged in court by these people and Trump.

    It looks like legal experts don’t like Garland pace of prosecuting this case

  43. Morrison was at the funeral service of Bert Newton yesterday.
    He was the only idiot wearing an Australia flag face mask.

    He was right to know it would make him stand out. But it wasn’t in a good way. He looked so out of place. It was cringeworthy stuff.

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