Preselection developments

A major Labor preselection resolved, plus a few slightly less major ones.

The big news at the moment is of course yesterday’s New South Wales state by-elections, where you can continue to follow the count here. On the polling front, there may be a Resolve Strategic result this week and presumably a Roy Morgan – Newspoll isn’t due, unless The Australian has decided to quicken the schedule with an election in view. That leaves the following preselection news:

• Alison Byrnes, staffer to Sharon Bird, will succeed Bird as Labor’s member for the safe Illawarra seat of Cunningham after the withdrawal of Misha Zelinsky, Australian Workers Union assistant national secretary and former criminal defence lawyer. Rob Harris of the Age/Herald reports it had “become clear in recent days he would not have enough support among branch members”, his prospects having been harmed by the emergence of past online activities in which he made comments denigrating women.

• Some new Labor candidates for unlikely-but-not-impossible seats: Amanda Hunt, chief executive of Uniting WA, will run against Andrew Hastie in the Perth fringe seat of Canning; Naomi Oakley, former police officer and owner of a private security firm, will run in the eastern Melbourne seat of Menzies, where Keith Wolahan will succeed Kevin Andrews as Liberal candidate; and Sonja Baram, a family therapist, will run against James Stevens in the eastern Adelaide seat of Sturt.

• Recently announced independents of note: Kate Chaney, Anglicare WA director of innovation and strategy and member of a family of local Liberal Party and business notables, will run against Celia Hammond in the blue-ribbon Perth seat of Curtin; and Craig Garland, a local fishing identity who made a minor splash in the seat at the by-election in 2018, will again run in the north-western Tasmanian seat of Braddon.

• It was reported this week that ASIO had rumbled an effort by Chinese spies to financially support “sympathetic and vulnerable” candidates for Labor preselection in New South Wales. Anthony Galloway of the Age/Herald reports the agency is satisfied no candidates of concern were endorsed, but that it remains concerned about the ongoing activities of “a wealthy businessman with deep ties in both Australia and China, who was known to ASIO as ‘the puppeteer’”.

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.

406 comments on “Preselection developments”

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  1. The primaries shown add to 86, giving 14 for ‘others’ and (presumably) uncommitted.

    Would this perhaps indicate a vote for the Teals at the expense of the Greens. The Teals would not be expected to give the same rate of 2nd preferences to Labor as the Greens.

  2. ‘Andrew_Earlwood says:
    Sunday, February 13, 2022 at 7:40 pm

    You know Boer, i reckon that is quite possible to cut defence spending back to about 1.5% of GNP without the ADF being turned into a ‘peace studies’ basket case that you accuse the Greens of wanting to do.

    it would involve some acceptance of risk – namely that we are not going to get involved in a kinetic war with either the ChiComms or any other larger than us power in the next 30-50 years. In my view, abandoning the pretence of being America’s South Pacific chihuahua and investing heavily in diplomacy, multilateral institutions and a 0.7% of GNP foreign aid budget very probably makes that a reasonable level of risk to take.

    It would mean that we don’t get involved – or even intimate that we would get involved – in a kinetic war in the northern pacific or east Asia. It would mean removing American marines from the NT, and terminating the joint comms bases (as a consequence that would probably see us kicked out of the Five eyes, however I note that even NZ is still allowed to play in that little anglo club).

    It would mean limiting our ambition in three key budgetary sinkholes – cancelling the Hunter class (but building another 6-9 Hobarts), not proceeding with any AUKUS nuclear subs (or even reverting back to the Attack class as the total costs of that programme were a quarter of a trillion dollars over 70 odd years) and any foregoing any Lockheed Martin style missile defence system. It would also see us have to curtail the number of long range strike missiles that are currently on the menu.

    But other than those big items, some savvy investments and costs savings could easily see us squeeze a very effective ADF in for about 1.5% of GNP.

    If we were prepared to take an even bigger gamble then the Greens 1% of GNP budget would be possible.

    For example, cutting our in service number of JSFs to 36, but otherwise maintaining the overall RAAF composition (plus investing heavily in autonomous drones) would certainly still deliver some effective bang for buck. And so on.

    Neither of the above reflect not my preferred option (which is to strike out more independently and invest more heavily in defence spending), but frankly on this issue the greens are light years ahead of your bellicose call to arms.’
    What bellicose call to arms would that be? I have long supported a policy of heavily-armed neutrality. I have long supported the Swiss and Swedish models.

    Bludger has long been the home of posters who reflexively bag the West, the US, the ADF and arms spending. It is automatic and it is gut for a whole suite of sneerers: the West is bad. Western politicians have cocked it up. Xi and Putin have been forced into bad behaviour by the West’s bad behaviour. yada yada yada.

    Consistent with this anti-West gut instinct, just today we learned from a bludger that Biden is ‘immature’ FFS. What is Putin if he proposes to start a war? Immature? What is Xi if he proposes to start a war in Taiwan? Immature. My commentary on Xi and Putin is a matter of giving some balance to the bludger discussions. This leads to some interesting responses: sneers and snarks from the usual crowd. Blank incomprehension from others. Verballing from still others.

    There is nothing bellicose about pointing out that Xi and Putin are imperialistic and militaristic. These are readily observable facts. Yet for some reason a significant number of people head straight to the West for an ‘explanation’. The sick joke is that while they go through the motions of providing ‘reasons’ imperialists go right ahead and expand. The West should have learned that from various empires over the past 500 years. Trade follows the flag. The Cross follows something or other… But somehow Xi and Putin are not like western imperialists over the past half millenium! Odd, is it not?

    There is nothing bellicose about posing the most basic question: ‘Where and when will they halt themselves?’

    As for a proper blend of defence and foreign policy spending, that is an important policy discussion to have. I don’t see any of that discussion anywhere, ATM.

  3. Following on from the NSW by- elections, pretty grim reading for Morrison and his team.
    Has his strategy of holding and/ or consolidating his Premier State seats to counterbalance expected losses elsewhere falling apart before his eyes?
    Surely Labor is not going to fold in NSW now and cede him seats.

  4. Corporate media smearing the Voices Independents with mistruths.

    They want to maintain their corporatocracy, so they attack the Independents who will provide as close to pure democracy as you can get.

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