A woman’s place

More on Pearce preselection prospects, another parliamentary retirement announcement, and a poll suggesting WA voters favour Tanya Plibersek over Anthony Albanese.

After an eventful conclusion to the year’s parliamentary sittings, more retirement announcements and preselection news, plus an opinion poll of sorts.

• The Financial Review reports there are two leading candidates to replace Christian Porter as the Liberal candidate in Pearce: Libby Lyons, former director of the Australian Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (and granddaughter of Joseph and Enid Lyons), and Nicole Robbins, a Melville councillor and high school teacher. No mention is made of Miquela Riley and Alyssa Hayden, who featured in a report in The West Australian on Thursday. Michael Read of the Financial Review reports former state Hillarys MP Peter Katsambanis has indicated he would have been a contender had not the state government’s “heavy-handed” border restrictions left him stranded in Melbourne, but he would have had to contend with the party leadership’s clear preference that a woman be selected to succeed Porter.

Phillip Coorey of the Financial Review reports Christian Porter’s decision to jump ship was influenced by internal polling for his seat that was, according to a source familiar with the matter, “not good”. However, the remainder of the report emphasises Labor’s hard path to a majority: the Coalition “claim they will hold Bass and Braddon in Tasmania”, “feels comfortable in all-important Queensland but may lose at least one seat”, and “believe they can win Lyons in Tasmania and, if Andrew Constance is preselected, Gilmore in southern NSW”. Elsewhere in the Financial Review, Michael Read of the Financial Review reports both parties expect Labor to win the Melbourne seat of Chisholm from Gladys Liu.

• Damian Drum, who has held the rural Victorian seat of Nicholls (known before 2019 as Murray) for the Nationals since 2016, has announced he will not contest the election. Rob Harris of the Sydney Morning Herald reports the Liberals now hope to recover the seat, which Drum won upon the retirement of Liberal member Sharman Stone. Anticipated Nationals preselection candidates are Sam Birrell, former chief executive of the Committee for Shepparton; Michael Dobbie, former paralympian and staffer to Liberal MP Jane Prentice and Nationals MP Darren Chester; and Amanda McClaren, former Strathbogie Shire mayor. The only Liberal mentioned is Stephen Brooks, a “Cobram school teacher, irrigator and former international commodities trader”. Rob Priestly, Greater Shepparton deputy mayor and co-owner of an industrial laundry firm in Shepparton, recently announced he would run as an independent.

• The Katina Curtis of the Sydney Morning Herald reports the Liberals have pushed back the closure of nominations for the Warringah preselection to January 14, in the hope that Gladys Berejiklian might yet agree to run, and also in Parramatta, where the Liberals are hoping the retirement of sitting member Julie Owens will help them knock over the 3.5% Labor margin. State Parramatta MP Geoff Lee has thus far resisted entreaties to run, which have displeased Dominic Perrottet, who would sooner avoid further by-elections.

• The West Australian has a poll by Painted Dog Research in which 801 Western Australian respondents were presented with a four-way preferred prime minister question, putting Scott Morrison at 41%, Tanya Plibersek at 32%, Anthony Albanese at 22% and Peter Dutton at 4%. Plibersek led Morrison by 41% to 36% among women, while Morrison led 47% to 25% among men. When asked who they trusted more out of the Premier and the Prime Minister, Mark McGowan scored 78% and Morrison 22%. Here too there was a significant gender gap, with McGowan’s lead of 71-29 among men comparing with 86-14 among women.

Affairs of state:

Antony Green notes on Twitter that South Australia’s parliament has adjourned ahead of the election without having corrected the legislative anomaly that means pre-poll votes are not counted on election night, which is now unique to the state. As a result, the election night count will be “quick, over early, but will be very incomplete with no guarantee we will know the outcome until the declaration votes start being counted on the Monday after the election”.

Yoni Bashan of The Australian reports Bridget Sakr, who has gained prominence as a victims support advocate since her daughter and three of her cousins were killed after in February last year after a ute mounted the kerb, is considering an approach from the New South Wales Liberals to run in the looming Strathfield by-election. The seat is being vacated with the retirement of ousted Labor leader Jodi McKay, who held the seat by 5.0% 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.

937 comments on “A woman’s place”

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  1. Also when a PM’s flexibility with the truth becomes a running joke of panel TV shows, internet memes and other media it is pretty had to get it back with the big open palm gestures.

    Was watching two shows the other week and both had running jokes about SfM – I know Guen was one but buggered if i can remember the other.

  2. bakunin @ #799 Sunday, December 5th, 2021 – 8:18 pm


    QAnon is a self-protecting meme. The rejection of official sources, media, government as fake or part of the deep state means you can’t argue with facts. So not a matter of having time – QAnon actively rejects as lies what the mainstream believes.

    My son and I just discussed it and he said, boy am I glad that my mum didn’t get sucked in by all that! 😀

  3. nath:

    Sunday, December 5, 2021 at 8:22 pm

    [‘I predicted 10+ a few weeks ago Mavis.’]

    I think you’re on the money. I would not encourage gambling but in this particular case, you could bet your mortgage – Morrison’s game’s up.

  4. C@tmomma @ #890 Sunday, December 5th, 2021 – 8:10 pm

    Lizzie @ #786 Sunday, December 5th, 2021 – 7:40 pm

    I thought it was a good move that Albo spoke from Western Sydney today.

    Ashfield is Inner West. Well, more like Medium West. It’s where I grew up and went to school from kindergarten to Year 6. It used to be considered suburbia but now it’s been rebranded as Inner West as the rest of the Western Suburbs have expanded further west. It’s also just a hop, skip and a jump from Marrickville, where Albanese lives. 🙂


    Albanese knows that the key to success in NSW is sandbagging ALP seats in Western Sydney and going after Coalition seats to offset any losses in NSW- think Hunter, Shortland, Paterson- with gains – think Reid, Banks, Robertson, Lindsay. The location of that election speech was a good indicator that the ALP knows where to win in NSW.

  5. Can only add to the chorus of approval for Peter Cundall.
    Such a lovely man. Gardening Australia was compulsory viewing for us when Peter was host.
    Knew his gardening shit and a commie to boot.
    Perfect. Rest well gentle man.

  6. People are already sick of the stunts without substance. Just like you don’t eat fairy floss every day, an electorate doesn’t want to see a stunt a day from the guy who is supposed to be running the country effectively.

    And this garbage about, ‘Australians have had a gutful of government in their lives’, well what about the ~95% of adult Australians who have gotten vaccinated because government told them to and all the Australians that dutifully followed what their state and territory governments told them to do throughout the pandemic? They were certainly glad to have government ‘in their lives’, ie caring about them and their lives and the lives of their families. 😐

  7. My son told me today that in the last couple of weeks he has had three letters criticising Morrison published in The Age. Very proud of him. But also pleased that The Age accepted the criticism 🙂

  8. So Scotty visited Forbes over two weeks after the flood, ensuring he didnt have to do anything usefull like fill sandbags.
    Saw some of my relatives from out in Redneckistan today. They were all laughing at Scotty and his non stop bullshit. They reckon he is a real goose, one said he lacked the class of Barnaby. They will of course still vote for him, because they always do.
    Were also blaming the Greens for the bushfires, reckoned Green councillors stopped burnoffs. Couldnt tell me off hand which councils had a syfficient green majority to actually do anything about burnoffs.

  9. Well the ‘Australians have had a gutful of government in their lives’ does resonate with some people.

    How about those on jobseeker and mutual obligations, work for the dole, those demeaned with the indue card, work obligations for those on DSP, Robodebt..oh hang on wrong sort of people they wont vote for LNP.

    The shameless populist hypocrisy of SfM

  10. Cut Snake,
    You should recommend to check out the doco “Burning” to your relos, which is on Amazon Prime. However it never mentions Greens stopping burn offs though.
    Although perhaps they would like to know why rainforests that have never burnt before, are now burning.

  11. Lizzie:

    Sunday, December 5, 2021 at 8:53 pm

    [‘My son told me today that in the last couple of weeks he has had three letters criticising Morrison published in The Age. Very proud of him. But also pleased that The Age accepted the criticism ‘]

    I often post on the SMH site and although it’s a pain awaiting for one’s post to appear, I’ve found they’re fair as long as there’s no gratuitous abuse.

  12. Of course when Morrison says people want the Government out of their lives, he really means he wants things to calm down so the Government can go back to doing nothing needed or constructive and just feather theirs and their supporters nests with little scrutiny.

  13. Simon Benson
    Labor is the favourite among voters to win the next federal election after Newspoll confirmed the Coalition is once again the underdog.

  14. Mavis at 9:16 pm

    I often post on the SMH site and although it’s a pain awaiting for one’s post to appear, I’ve found they’re fair as long as there’s no gratuitous abuse.

    Back in the Later Rodent era I was very surprised to find I’d ‘cracked the code’ for getting letters posted in The Australian. They were pretty fair , you could throw shit at Howard and his government just so long as it was done with humour or with a bit of subtlety. Was getting 2-3 published a week. Was pretty chuffed to have snuck into Mordor Media’s flagship 😆

  15. hazza4257
    “Also disappointing to see almost no change in Preferred PM, after Albo made a gain last time.”

    Conventionally, the incumbent has the advantage in the Preferred PM metric. After all, the incumbent IS the PM. There is only one PM at any given time.

  16. 96% have made up their minds on Morrison’s favourability where as there are still 16% who are yet to decide on Albanese. Terrible numbers for an incumbent PM.

  17. No real surprise at the lack of change. People have mostly tuned out of news and are in Christmas and Summer mode. Television news ratings have been down a fair bit over the last couple of weeks.

  18. Two articles from Benson just now:

    Labor to win election
    Labor is the favourite among voters to win the next federal election after Newspoll confirmed the Coalition is once again the underdog.

    Bitter personal contest between Morrison and Albanese key
    While the Labor leader is now slightly ahead of Morrison for the first time since the pandemic the polls show voters aren’t thrilled with either of them.
    Political Editor

    And a bit on SfM:
    ‘Noise’: PM lashes Labor’s skills policy
    Scott Morrison has lashed out at the Labor party’s $1.2bn pledge to boost university and TAFE funding to address skills shortages.

    Plus the Sphere of Influence:
    Oakes goes to work for the ABC
    The public broadcaster paid Laurie Oakes, Nine’s legendary long-term political editor, ‘between $10,000 and $50,000’ as part of a special project.

  19. When Labor’s reinstalled, a priority should be to prioritise civics in the curriculum thereby giving the young at least a modicum of understanding of how the system works.

    As a youngster, the then NSW minister of health – Sid Enfield – (the father of the no-good former federal judge Marcus) visited Kiama in circa ’58, where we all went mental. Fancy a minister coming to what was then a backwater, the politics of which, unbeknownst to us at the time, was to upgrade the hospital.

    I don’t mean that the young would for a minute need understand the complexity of the competition of resources but they should at least be knowledgable of the rudimentaries. I mean to say, I hesitate to say this but I don’t think my dear young kin know a charlatan from an imposter.

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