Laying down the law

The latest on voter identification law and other electoral legislation, plus reams of federal preselection news.

This week should see the fortnightly federal voting intention poll from Roy Morgan, the regular fortnightly Essential Research poll which is scheduled to feature neither voting intention numbers nor leadership ratings, and possibly the more-or-less monthly Resolve Strategic poll from the Age/Herald. Until then:

Tom McIlroy of the Financial Review reports the Centre Alliance will push for an inquiry into the government’s voter identification bill when it comes before the Senate, to which it will presumably progress swiftly after coming before the House of Representatives today. Three further electoral bills come before the House on Tuesday: to reduce the thresholds beyond which those who spend money on their own election campaigning are required to lodge annual disclosures; to provide for measures deemed desirable under emergency conditions such as pandemics, including greater flexibility with postal and pre-poll voting; and to require security assessments and such like for the computer systems and software used to conduct the Senate count. Two notable bits of detail include bringing forward the deadline for receipt of postal vote applications from the Wednesday before the election to the Tuesday, and requiring the Australian Electoral Commission to publish the Senate vote data files within seven days of the return of the writs, having presumably been allowed to play it by ear in the past.

• A preselection vote on Saturday to determine the successor to Victorian Liberal Senator Scott Ryan, both in respect to the vacancy arising from his imminent retirement and the third position on the Coalition ticket at the election, was won by Greg Mirabella, Wangaratta farmer and husband of Sophie Mirabella. James Campbell of the Herald Sun reports Mirabella won the final round by 165 votes to 141 over Simon Frost, staffer to Josh Frydenberg and former state party director. Incumbent Sarah Henderson comfortably won the ballot for the top position, with the second reserved for Bridget Mackenzie of the Nationals. Other unsuccessful candidates were Emanuele Cicchiello, former Knox mayor and deputy principal at Lighthouse Christian College, and Ranjana Srivastava, an oncologist who also contested the preselection for Casey.

• A dispute within the New South Wales Liberal Party affecting preselections for Warringah, Hughes, Gilmore, Eden-Monaro, Dobell and Parramatta reached a new pitch at a meeting of its state executive on Friday night, which resolved to close nominations on December 3 with plebiscites likely to follow in February. However, James Massola of the Sydney Morning Herald reports the issue could be settled next week by a deal between Scott Morrison and Dominic Perrottet, potentially through the federal executive choosing candidates with plebiscites. Broadly speaking, the dispute pits centre right powerbroker Alex Hawke against the combined forces of the moderates and the hard right, with the former wanting candidates to be promptly installed by the state council and the latter wanting party plebiscites at the cost of delaying the process until February. One aspect of this is that Scott Morrison, who is close to Hawke, is backing state MPs (specifically Holsworthy MP Melanie Gibbons run in Hughes and Parramatta MP Geoff Lee’s for the federal seat of the same name) for preselection in federal seats while Dominic Perrottet, from the hard right, would sooner avoid the resulting state by-elections.

• Dominic Perrottet’s concerns apparently do not extend to the done deal of Bega MP Andrew Constance contesting preselection for Gilmore. However, Constance’s field of competition has now expanded to include Jemma Tribe, a charity operator and former Shoalhaven councillor, and Stephen Hayes, a former RAAF officer and staffer to Christopher Pyne. They join Shoalhaven Heads lawyer Paul Ell, who by all accounts has strong support in local branches, while Constance is favoured by Alex Hawke and the centre right.

• Sharon Bird, who has held the Illawarra seat of Cunningham for Labor since 2004, has announced she will retire at the election. With the seat seemingly the preserve of the Right faction, candidates to succeed her reportedly include Misha Zelinsky, Fulbright scholar and assistant national secretary of the Right faction Australian Workers Union, who aborted a planned challenge to Bird’s preselection before the 2016 election; Alison Byrnes, an adviser to Bird; and Tania Brown, Wollongong councillor and an administrator at the University of Wollongong.

• Labor’s candidate for north coast New South Wales seat of Page, which was held by Labor through the Rudd-Gillard period but now has a Nationals margin of 9.4%, is Patrick Deegan, who works for a domestic violence support service and also ran in 2019.

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.

1,089 comments on “Laying down the law”

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  1. Firefox says:
    Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    “Its really the difference between real progressive politics and fake progressive posturing.”


    Real progressives don’t team up with parties like the Liberals and Nationals to pass their conservative agendas like Labor does.

    They do if it moves their agenda forward. Same sex marriage happened and will stick because members in all parties supported it.

  2. I wonder, if we are fortunate enough to have a Labor federal government, which Labor policies the fake progressives in the Greens will team up with the Liberals to block.

  3. Its running a convoy of Audis to central Queensland to prove your own moral perfection.

    Was it actually a “convoy of Audis” or is this just a spot of light propaganda you’ve decided to throw in?

  4. The CPRS is important as it was the beginning of this sad saga.
    The sad thing is the Greens have still not worked how damaging their actions were.
    The really sad thing is for all the damage the Greens have done over the last decade they think it is appropriate to continue as they have.

  5. caf says:
    Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 11:06 pm

    Its running a convoy of Audis to central Queensland to prove your own moral perfection.

    Was it actually a “convoy of Audis” or is this just a spot of light propaganda you’ve decided to throw in?

    It was actually a convoy of Gas guzzlers with Bod Brown, like king Muck, in a Tesler.

  6. ar

    Read the transcript of the submission of Counsel Assisting

    What Aspen (and others) were contracted by the Federal government to supply is detailed – including what the outcome SHOULD have been

    The Aged Care businesses where the tragic loss of life occurred were all businesses under Federal government oversight and audit

    The independent report into the business where over 30 deaths occurred recommended all Federally controlled Aged Care businesses be transferred to State government control, noting in their Report that the State had so acted (and the situations markedly improved accordingly – the State government regained control of an abject disaster)

    Then you get to the bit about the Aspen “surge staff” staying in a hotel and partying, spreading the virus

    Now, in the face of a once in 100 year Pandemic you do not expect for every response to be perfect

    There was no rule book

    But you don’t expect the outcomes we saw in bed licence holder businesses and from the likes of Aspen

    Aspen was a private contractor, promoted by Wooldridge to the Federal government to provide “surge staff” in times of a Pandemic

    A $1.4 trillion Contract

    And then reference to $45 million

    In furloughing staff because of the spread of the infection at a business premises (so direct contact with infected persons), the expectation would have been that the likes of the Contracted Aspen (and others) had the available “surge staff” to cover all resident care requirements

    That is what they were paid $1.4 trillion to provide – by the Federal government

    Where was the Federal government audit of the money going out the door?


    Can do capitalism – funded by taxpayers

  7. Military police lack the investigative skills, the street wise of state & territory police forces/services, and the term “military justice” is almost oxymoronic. And it used to be the case that the AFP were referred to as the Keystone Cops. To be fair, this may not be the case now.

  8. “Small government” is predicated on the idea that corporations are more efficient than government bureaucracy so when Victoria asked the Commonwealth to step into St Basil’s with surge capacity staff they had every expectation that Aspen Medical could provide qualified, experienced staff capable of completing the contract satisfactorily

    Sadly, Aspen failed to
    provide competent surge staff to aged care homes
    immunise residents of care homes
    immunise remote aboriginal communities

    The Victorian government found their covid response was hampered by
    untrained security guards in hotel quarantine
    incompetent PPE protocols in hotel quarantine
    corrupt businesses taking money to deep clean trains & trams which wasn’t done

    Covid has highlighted the failures of “small government” and loss of institutional memory caused by outsourcing

  9. [‘Vaccine rollout:


    92% fully vaccinated; 94.4% first dose


    85.5% fully vaccinated; 91.7% first dose

    Of the estimated population aged 16 and over.’] – SMH

  10. billie

    I wonder what explains the chain of failures that led to the limo driver in Sydney using an inappropriate vehicle, not using adequate PPE, not being tested and not being trained or supervised?

  11. Greensborough Growler says:
    Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 11:17 pm


    And the rest are bullshit!
    All the children of Labor MP’s appreciate your support!

  12. If you can’t get your friends jobs, what’s the purpose of attaining success? Corrado ‘Junior’ Soprano

    Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is poised to appoint a former regional mayor from his NSW electorate of New England as chairman of the federal government’s independent infrastructure advisory panel on a six-figure salary.

  13. “Real progressives don’t team up with parties like the Liberals and Nationals to pass their conservative agendas like Labor does.”

    Like the Greens who voted with the Liberals against the CPRS?

    The Greens have 10% of the vote. Firefox nobody cares with your argument that the Greens were the first on a particular issue because they don’t have power to do anything about it.

    Unlike Labor the Greens also have the luxury of promising the world because they know they will never have to be in the position to deliver.

  14. The night before the 2010 Federal election Julia Gillard was interviewed by The Australian. In their report on the interview, Julia Gillard’s carbon price promise, Paul Kelly and Dennis Shanahan wrote:

    JULIA Gillard says she is prepared to legislate a carbon price in the next term.

    It will be part of a bold series of reforms that include school funding, education and health.

    In an election-eve interview with The Australian, the Prime Minister revealed she would view victory tomorrow as a mandate for a carbon price, provided the community was ready for this step.

    “I don’t rule out the possibility of legislating a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, a market-based mechanism,” she said of the next parliament. “I rule out a carbon tax.”

    This is the strongest message Ms Gillard has sent about action on carbon pricing.

    While any carbon price would not be triggered until after the 2013 election, Ms Gillard would have two potential legislative partners next term – the Coalition or the Greens. She would legislate the carbon price next term if sufficient consensus existed.

  15. I know it’s getting close to midnight over east so many probably won’t read this. All these CPRS arguments seem to forget the essential fact that the Greens and ALP together were insufficient to pass legislation in the Senate. To pass legislation the ALP needed the support of either the Coalition or the Greens and both independents (FF’s Fielding plus Xenophon). Fielding was a denier and Xenophon seemed to have his own ideas so it was unlikely any legislation acceptable to the Greens was going to have sufficient numbers to pass (it would need at least one member of the Coalition to cross the floor and vote with the Government.

    The only way an ETS was going to pass that Senate was if it had the support of the Coalition. Labor could have negotiated with the Greens until the cows came home, and accepted everything the Greens wanted, but it wouldn’t have made it through the Senate.

  16. Wooldridge was an arrogant sawn-off bug-eyed fat bastard of a health minister who whined a lot but achieved bugger all. A typical know-all Lib with a sense of entitlement. His missus entered Vic state politics and may still be there.

  17. The Greens on this blog aren’t a fair reflection of all the Greens. I have spoken to Greens that a thoughtful, fair-minded, and objective.

    FireFox and Lars Von Trier are attack dogs that put the worst spin for Labor on everything.

  18. bc

    There was an interview Gillard did during the election. I’ve forgotten exactly which TV show but it was one of the commercials. I recall seeing it.

    In this interview, Gillard was asked questions about what she thought of the Greens’ carbon tax policy. At one point, she was asked directly about whether she would consider one. She replied “there will be no carbon tax… “.

    I distinctly recall watching this and thinking “now that will get spun”.. but the context was pretty clear. She was saying “I’m not going to implement a carbon price in the form of a regular tax.

    I’d dearly love to find the original source material. At one stage I was told which show it was and I went to their YouTube video links and strangely enough that particular episode was missing (this was years ago but not long after the Peta/Murdoch beatup).

    There was some confusion caused by the fact that another network picked up on the issue and went for a gotcha. Again, they put the question in such a way that Gillard repeated herself. I don’t know if the out of context sample much misused was from this interview or the previous one. I’d love it if someone who knows the exact and accurate facts would spell out what happened.

    But the interview where she was first asked about the Greens’ policy and then asked if she would implement the carbon price in the form of a tax. That I saw with my own eyes.

  19. Drongo, wasn’t Wooldridge the Health Minister who tipped off his mates in the AMA that as a budget measure, MRI machines were going to be covered by medicare so they had better go and buy one, and they did.

  20. Limo driver in Sydney collecting in an inappropriate vehicle, with air con on recycle not fresh air, mask wearing or not

    Another example of poor training and poor execution

    This was compounded by Sydney’s failure to lock down hard and fast and implement ring of steel around Sydney allowing covid to seep into the regions & interstate

  21. Morrison’s and Hunt’s vaccine rollout failure neatly captured in a submission to the ANAO by the RACGP.

    Sudden vaccine eligibility changes, late deliveries, missing doses and a confusing online booking system wreaked havoc in the early stages of the vaccine rollout, the RACGP said in a submission to the Australian National Audit Office’s audit of the federal program.

    “We lost the trust and faith of the Australian public,” Dr Price said.

    She said GPs had borne the brunt of frustration when eligibility changes were announced without extra doses being made available and that lessons must be learned as Australia headed towards a potential wave of breakthrough infections as borders opened.

    And then there’s the failures with Indigenous population, whose vaccination rate is woeful at less than 60% double-jabbed. RACGP are saying that the rollout delays left this cohort especially vulnerable to a misinformation campaign by the anti-vaxxers.

    A tragic failure all round, really. The worst of it is that it didn’t have to be like this.

  22. The fundamental difference between “hotel quarantine” and Aged Care was that those in Aged Care were in aged care and a known

    The occupants were in dedicated facilities

    As led by Counsel Assisting the numbers of arrivals into Australia from overseas and into mandatory detention were unknown – and “simply there was not the time to turn a plan into a policy and to then deliver on that policy”

    Plus that hotels were not fit for purpose as infectious disease control facilities

    It is ironic the criticism the Victorian government received for using private contractors for “hotel quarantine”, starting from Kennett and the Liberal Party

    Yet Private Contractors, introduced to the Federal government by a former Health minister Wooldridge, were employed by the Liberal Party Federal government in Aged Care

    No doubt the attacks by the Liberal Party and their operatives in the media in regard Private Contractors were preemptive knowing full well what the Victorian Wooldridge had been up to

    And I understand the Wooldridge in Victorian politics is a sister of the individual who picked up his success fee in this matter

    Quick, back to declaring War on China

    I note the media focus is on the partying of the surge staff in the hotel where they were accommodated

    Typical media

  23. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Looking st the latest Resolve poll, David Crowe writes that trust is turning into a toxic issue for Morrison and he has made a simple decision. The best form of defence is attack. Branded a liar on the international stage, he tells Australians they can trust him on the economy. Branded a liar in Parliament, he tells voters that Albanese is not being straight with them.
    Michelle Grattan says that, for a leader with something of a fetish about having things under control, Scott Morrison is in a painful place. Just now, it seems, very little is controllable. She describes the tough time he is getting from all directions.
    Shane Wright and Jennifer Duke tell us that economists are warning falling commodity prices could deal a blow to repairing the budget and caution it could take a decade to unwind COVID-19’s fiscal damage.
    David Crowe tries to work out what’s in the religious freedom bill. I am none the clearer and am interested in what is really the specified “statement of belief”.
    Luke Beck explains what has changed in the latest draft of the religious discrimination bill.
    Chris Uhlmann reckons Morrison is trying to focus the election away from a contest with state premiers, where he fares badly, to one against Albanese.
    ‘Can-do capitalism’ is delivering less than it used to. Peter Martin gives us three reasons why this is so.
    Michael Pascoe tells us why the GDP is almost a fetish and how it has a narrow business focus.
    With campaigns against pandemic mandates the need for a human rights act has never been greater, argues Greg Barns.
    Paul Sakkal writes that leading pandemic specialists Julie Leask, Catherine Bennett and Tony Blakely argue Victoria’s vaccination rate, on track to reach 95 per cent next month, is high enough to protect the state from any increased transmission that might happen if unvaccinated were given the same rights as those who’ve had their jabs.
    Peter Dutton says federal Labor won’t stand up for Australian values in the face of Chinese attacks and accused it of “crab-walking” away from the AUKUS defence agreement in the angriest dispute between the two major parties over foreign policy in years. Mr Dutton on Tuesday lashed Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong for delivering a “very irresponsible” and “embarrassing” speech in which she argued the Defence Minister was hyping up the threat of war over Taiwan for domestic political advantage. Senator Wong hit back late on Tuesday to say Mr Dutton was lying about her speech and Labor backed the AUKUS deal.
    The slow, roiling crisis of Australia-China relations reached a distinct new stage with China’s president, Xi Jinping, directly criticising Australia’s new AUKUS agreement for the first time, writes Greg Sheridan.
    “Steady on ranters, Victoria is not descending into totalitarianism”, says Jack Waterford.
    In this flippant contribution, Andrew P Street looks at Morrison’s electoral challenges.,15776
    Matt Wade explores why Australian businesses are not taking advantage of the good relationship that governments of the last two decades have been building with India.
    In this op-ed, Jacqui Lambie adds to her ripper of a speech on vaccinations.
    Clearer boundaries for consensual sex have been enshrined in law after the NSW Parliament passed historic consent reforms to ensure more effective prosecutions of sexual offences.
    Dana Daniel tells us that GPs have criticised the federal government over its coronavirus vaccine rollout, saying delayed information campaigns left a “vacuum” for anti-vaxxers to spread dangerous messages.
    Coal plants are closing faster than expected, but governments can keep the exit orderly explains The Conversation.
    A report prepared by an investigative journalist which summarised allegations and rumours about Ben Roberts-Smith will remain secret, after the Federal Court found it cannot be used in the former soldier’s defamation case because it is covered by legal privilege.
    Scott Morrison is pitching to parts of the mainstream with his lines on freedom, writes a former Liberal party adviser, Pete Shmigel.
    The Coalition banks on the myth they are better economic managers than Labor, but facts are eroding the slogan, writes Peter Lewis.
    Tom Rabe explains how the future construction of the multibillion-dollar Western Harbour Tunnel means the government is faced with the challenge of ensuring the new motorway’s tolling structure does not push motorists onto existing northbound crossings, which are free.
    Premier Dominic Perrottet insists the Delta outbreak did not create a two-tiered Sydney, while the Minister for Western Sydney has railed against a “victim mentality” being imposed on areas worst hit by the lockdown.
    Weakened labour markets in Australia and New Zealand have resulted in a significant slump in net migration of NZ citizens, writes Dr Abul Rizvi.,15780
    Tony Wright does not appear to be a fan of Barnaby Joyce. Here he describes his performance yesterday answering a question from Catherine King.
    Lucy Cormack says that Dominic Perrottet insists the Delta outbreak did not create a two-tiered Sydney, while the Minister for Western Sydney has railed against a “victim mentality” being imposed on areas worst hit by the lockdown. She refers to what the SMH had found out about CHO Kerry Chant’s advice at the time was.
    Peter Hannam explains why some petrol prices are on the road to $2 a litre.
    Lisa Visentin reports that a government-backed Senate inquiry into the ABC and SBS’s complaints handling processes has been derailed by a Labor and Greens push to suspend it until the next term of Parliament.
    Dana Daniel explains how a royal commission has heard employers fear asking workers if they have a disability, making data collection on employment rates tricky as companies work to boost their diversity credentials.
    Jacqui Lambie, the Coalition and Labor have banded together to demand an apology from One Nation for sharing the independent Tasmanian senator’s personal mobile number on social media, leading to a torrent of abuse, reports Nick Bonyhady.
    Vaccine mandate protests around the country are distracting politicians from the ongoing climate crisis that still requires urgent attention, writes Sue Arnold.,15774
    The AFR tells us that actuaries and academics are frantically working up plans to help “Middle Australians” get access to critical advice about retirement, which could replace the troubled financial advice industry with a software algorithm. UNSW law professor and former ASIC Commissioner Pamela Hanrahan is promoting a “standardised” tool that collects personal data about people transitioning to retirement and makes automated recommendations to buy products such as an annuity or account-based pension.
    Karen Maley writes that a ham-fisted regulatory response has left average Australians struggling to pay for financial planning. Astute players in the financial planning industry have long warned that we are now in a situation where average Australians can’t afford the $5000 or so it costs to prepare a high-quality personalised investment plan for their superannuation savings.
    The failures of Australia’s fragmented and ineffective housing policy are accumulating — governments should take heed or pay a political cost, urges Duncan McClennan.
    Professors Ben White and Lindy Willmott are concerned that a last-minute pile on of amendments and extra “safeguards” put at risk the workability of the NSW addicted dying legislation.
    John Collett writes that the property market might crack under higher interest rates, with some market watchers predicting a price slump of up to 10 per cent during 2023.
    According to Lucy Carroll and Mary Ward, junior doctors are set to launch legal proceedings against the state government on Wednesday over unpaid wages as pressure mounts on NSW Health over its alleged treatment of trainee medics. I don’t think these practices are limited to NSW.
    Clancy Yeates tells us that the CBA has released data that it says shows customers who use buy now, pay later operators are more likely to overdraw their accounts and fall behind on repayments. This is hardly surprising, but BNPL is a consequence of these companies going for a serve of the usurious credit card business of the big banks.
    Senator Gerard Rennick’s use of Facebook to push unverified stories about vaccine side-effects is potentially dangerous, a top health expert has warned, as fresh doubt is cast on the legitimacy of a story he helped promote.
    The acerbic John Crace writes that Boris Johnson is making a real pig’s ear of winning the Confederation of British Industry back over. He says that after telling business to eff off, the PM needed to impress. Instead, he went into bizarre meltdown.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Pope

    David Rowe

    Matt Golding

    Cathy Wilcox

    John Shakespeare

    Warren Brown

    Glen Le Lievre

    Mark David

    Mark Knight

    Andrew Dyson


    From the US

  24. From BK links

    From his lofty towers in Nova Scotia and Scotland author Duncan McClennan fails to pick the zeitgeist of on the ground Australians which are
    1. increasing numbers of workers in insecure jobs, don’t earn enough to get a deposit, casualised workers can’t get a mortgage
    2. covid has led to high rental vacancy rates ie in Malvern East 1 in 8 rental properties are vacant
    3. boomers stay in family home after kids have left because downsizing means leaving the suburb they have lived their adult lives in

    He is correct that housing policy is fueling social instability

    The failures of Australia’s fragmented and ineffective housing policy are accumulating — governments should take heed or pay a political cost, urges Duncan McClennan.

  25. Despite more predicted closures, coal is still set to be with us till past 2050, let alone 2030 or 2040 …

    Faster closure means less coal generation capacity in future years. For example, the early closures of Yallourn and Eraring will reduce the expected coal generation capacity in 2030 by 1.5 gigawatts.

    But the current closure schedule would still leave at least six coal-fired power stations operating in Australia after 2040.

    As noted by the CSIRO in July, this is incompatible with Australia pursuing the Paris Agreement goal to limit global warming to 1.5℃ this century.

    Unfortunately, current political reality indicates neither side of politics wants to be seen to support any policy resembling a carbon price, even though carbon pricing has the overwhelming support of Australian economists and the business community.

    Overwhelming indeed – 9 out of 10 economists think a carbon tax is the best option, with only 1 in 10 thinking that government backing for carbon reduction technology was a good idea … but if you listen carefully, you might hear the faint election cry from Labor … “Technology not Taxes” … or at least you would if Labor weren’t too petrified to say anything 🙁

    Think for yourself for a change. Vote Independent.

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