Federal preselection and electoral law developments

Federal preselection news from New South Wales, not all of it about the Liberals, plus plans to lower the voting age to 16 in the ACT and much else.

The mercurial Roy Morgan organisation put out a newsletter this week saying its fortnightly poll had Labor leading 56.5-43.5 and would be published in full within 48 hours, but nothing more was heard. However, there is no shortage of other electoral news to relate, even without getting too deep into the developing situation of the New South Wales Liberals’ federal preselection tangle, which was covered in depth here. Note that I also have a separate post dealing with the imminent Super Saturday of four New South Wales state by-elections.

• The Liberals in New South Wales have at least resolved their dispute to the extent of proceeding with plans for a preselection ballot for Bennelong, which David Crowe of The Age reports is likely to be held in March. The candidates are Gisele Kapterian, former chief-of-staff to Michaelia Cash and current executive at software company Salesforce; Craig Chung, a City of Sydney councillor; and Simon Kennedy, a former partner at McKinsey.

• Labor also has a few loose ends in New South Wales, having yet to choose candidates to succeed retiring members Sharon Bird and Julie Ovens in Cunningham and Parramatta. A membership ballot for Cunningham will be held on February 19 between Misha Zelinsky, Australian Workers Union assistant national secretary and former criminal defence lawyer, and Alison Byrnes-Scully, staffer to Sharon Bird (and wife of state Wollongong MP Paul Scully). Zelinsky has been in the news over social media posts and an e-book he co-authored nearly a decade ago which featured jokes denigrating women. The Guardian reports that Labor is struggling to find a candidate in Parramatta that the party hierarchy considers up to standard, having lately been rebuffed by Cameron Murphy, prominent barrister and son of Lionel Murphy.

• Northern Territory Senator Sam McMahon, a Country Liberals member who sat with the Nationals in Canberra, resigned from the party last week and is leaving open the possibility of contesting the election either for a different party or as an independent. McMahon lost her preselection last June to Alice Springs deputy mayor and conservative media identity Jacinta Price.

Noteworthy matters of electoral law and administration at state and territory level:

• A headache looms in South Australia ahead of its March 19 state election, with no contingency in place for voters put in COVID-19 isolation who are unable to meet the deadline for a postal vote application. A bill to allow for voting to be conducted over the phone in this circumstance was passed by the lower house and amended in the upper, and the lower house had not considered the amendments when it rose in early December. The Advertiser reports that Labor says it would be a simple matter for the house to reconvene and agree to the amended bill, but Premier Steven Marshall says there is not enough time to pass legislation before the government enters caretaker mode ahead of the election. Marshall blames Labor for supporting the amendments, but it appears to me that the government chose to sit on the bill for the last three days of the session.

• The Canberra Times reports Labor has “indicated a willingness” to support a Greens bill to make voting compulsory for 16 and 17 year olds in ACT elections, notwithstanding the local electoral commission’s evident horror at the resulting administrative burden.

Remy Varga of The Australian reports the Victorian government is taking a stand against the pernicious practice of political parties handling postal vote applications so they can harvest data from them.

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.

1,236 comments on “Federal preselection and electoral law developments”

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  1. Steelydan @ #1198 Monday, February 7th, 2022 – 9:45 pm

    No character assassination just the facts, you get caught out take your ball and go home, vowing never to return then lo and behold with the usual sick note your back the next morning.

    * That is an absolute lie.
    * It is irrelevant to my contributions here anyway.
    * However, it’s the sort of sleazy contribution I expect from you, Steelydan. Who knows nothing about my medical conditions. Besides, I’m sure plenty of people have thought they have contracted COVID-19 and then were relieved to find out that they hadn’t. I have always responsibly gotten tested when I have been notified that I was a close contact. You probably don’t even wear a mask or wash your hands.
    * Oh, and usually it has been the case that I have decided to take a break from the blog when guttersnipes, like Lars von Trier and nath, launched fact-free, sleazy attacks on me. Like the one nath launched on zoomster today and was rightly exiled for.
    * From your commentary you obviously believe that that sort of personal attack’s allowable, and seek to condemn those of us who think it was not. You’d love it if there were no rules and you could let fly with whatever base insult you could come up with, launched against people who don’t share your politics.
    * Thankfully the Moderator doesn’t agree and has standards that you don’t. And you never will.
    * You are a sad and pathetic individual, Steelydan, because you think that coming over all head-kicker makes you the winner of stoushes here. When, in reality, all it does is put up in neon lights your inadequacy as a decent human being, with no redeeming features.

    Don’t reply. You are being put on my, ‘not worth the time of day’ list.

  2. Momma

    Get over yourself it was the moderator that told you to apologise or you would be kicked off, simple. Then you cracked it saying you would never return only to simper back the next day.

  3. Expat Followersays:
    Monday, February 7, 2022 at 9:50 pm
    Whilst surely insensitive, if Nath’s comment is the standard for being evicted then i’ve seen plenty as bad go unpunished… i wouldnt know if in this circumstance he’s on parole with thin leeway perhaps

    At least a few celebrating his suspension are doing so because they dont like his politics, which is pretty sad

    William says he want a diversity but he means the Oakenshot Country and Meher Maba’s of this world Nath is definitely no worse than some of the absolutely shocking things said from the loony left contributors on this site (I am talking about wishing people dead etc) The difference is he stirs up the lefties into such a state it gives William a headache.

    Diversity yes but small l liberals with good manners not the opposites of the majority on this site.

  4. A great “Media Watch” tonight, Paul Barry deserving of the
    $200k he’s paid to front it. Still not sure about tonight’s “Four Corners” though.

  5. alfred venison @ Monday, February 7, 2022 at 10:47 pm

    One of many denizens of pollbludger that it would be good to see. We are a community and there are more in the shadows. So many lurk before or even after posting. I lurked for years before posting. Lovely to see jenauthor post today. Perhaps pegasus will too.

  6. And thank you for the collective nouns. All worthy, but I am partial to a “limbo”. I would offer a “purgatory”, but I shall desist 🙂

  7. Which reminds me of the two magistrates glumly sitting in their Chambers common room.

    Finally one asks the other “What’s the problem?”

    “You remember the drinks we had yesterday after the court sessions? Well, I was stopped by a booze bus going home and now I have to face court today.”

    “Bugger, so did I! I’ll tell you what we’ll do. Ill hear your charge, and then you hear mine. Nudge nudge, wink,wink!”

    So the first magistrate stands in the dock, pleads guilty and is fined $50 with no suspension of his licence.

    He then takes his place on the bench and the second magistrate takes his place in the dock. He pleads guilty and the first magistrate says “This offence is becoming far too prevalent these days. Why, you are the second case only this morning. Fined $2000 and licence suspended for 2 years.”

  8. Nice to see an old-fashioned internecine shit-fight going on here without me being involved in it, or even being put up as an example of bad behaviour.

    On other matters, Peter Dutton obviously shaves his head, so his “hair style” is a personal choice, and thus criticisable on aesthetic grounds, if nothing else. He can absolutely help the way he looks. If he wants to disport himself around the place looking like some manic Dr Evil or a demented Lex Luthor, it’s his pigeon if he cops flack for it.

  9. Cheers Jaeger. “MMI” was “2001”, the “6” actually a “5”, the “22” a “22” Well spotted. I couldn’t crack it.

  10. On other matters, Peter Dutton obviously shaves his head, so his “hair style” is a personal choice, and thus criticisable on aesthetic grounds, if nothing else. He can absolutely help the way he looks. If he wants to disport himself around the place looking like some manic Dr Evil or a demented Lex Luthor, it’s his pigeon if he cops flack for it.

    “Sir Bob Geldof waits patiently as a crew member shaves his eyebrow in preparation for his role as rock star Pink” (Not that Pink.)


  11. Some late night reading on the 14th amendment of the US constitution, which concerns the US civil war, short term implications for Trump and his allies, and long term implications for US politics.

    Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn, who was on the mall that fateful day, implored Trumpists to “fight,” and is now seeking re-election in North Carolina. His candidacy is being challenged on the basis of the 14th Amendment. Passed after the Civil War, it disqualifies from holding office anyone who has sworn allegiance to the Constitution and then engages in insurrection.

  12. https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/bring-it-on-pm-challenged-to-deliver-on-anti-corruption-pledge-20220207-p59ui2.html


    Prime Minister Scott Morrison will be asked to deliver on his election pledge to create a federal agency to crack down on corruption after he corrected a senior cabinet minister who suggested the government had run out of time to act on the promise made three years ago.

    In a test in Parliament on a national integrity commission, the government will be challenged to put what Labor describes as a “phantom” law to a debate and end years of waiting for the Commonwealth Integrity Commission announced in December 2018.


    Dave Crowe sucks as a Journalists you know.

  13. Greg Jericho @GrogsGamut

    Just going to put it out there that if the cooked convoy dolts disrupt EPIC on Friday when the bookfair starts, they will find out what angry Canberra really looks like

    Lifeline Canberra @Lifeline_ACT

    Volunteers are required for set up Monday 7 February to Wednesday 9th as well as during our Bookfair from Friday 11 to Sunday 13 February.


    Please email us at –
    bookfairvols@act.lifeline.org.au with your Name & Days Available.

  14. Labor should support the founding of a FICAC if it comes up for debate, and even if it is Morrison’s pissweak version.

    But in doing so they should make it clear that their support is practical: there to get the secretariat and logistics up and running, rent them a building, get a logo designed, select an interim head etc., pursuant to a much bigger role after the election.

    They should make it clear that if Labor wins the election the charter and scope of the organization will be substantially expanded to something more along the traditional lines of such bodies.

    The worst that could happen would be to see Morrison vote against his own bill.

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