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. Firefox @ #347 Sunday, February 13th, 2022 – 5:23 pm

    “There you go talking about the climate emergency again and linking action with the Greens being in power.

    You’ve just had a lesson in there being more than one way to achieve an objective and yet you continue to spout this absolutist nonsense.

    Do the Greens want make themselves completely redundant in any action?”


    The lesson is that voting for Labor gets you either weak ALP policies or terrible Coalition policies. Labor continues to betray it’s supporters over and over again and continues to completely ignore and shun the left. The Greens will put an end to that if the people of Australia put us in a position to do so.

    😆 😆 😆

    A major problem with this current Government is their inflexibility and lack of contingency planning for when things don’t go as expected.

    With the absolutist approach of the Greens they are placing themselves in the same position.

    I have no confidence in their ability to implement anything. They seem to think that they have all the answers and everything will happen as they say it will. In the real world this is rarely the case.

  2. Tom @ #350 Sunday, February 13th, 2022 – 8:32 pm

    sprocket_ @ #342 Sunday, February 13th, 2022 – 8:16 pm

    A tough watch this – 8 minutes of Vox pop at the anti vax demo in Canberra this weekend. They are highly deluded, but able to get their point across. Language warning.

    Will win the Oscar for the most stupidity crammed into 8 minutes of film hands down!

    This is a very informative article about the main players in the movement and the story of one who made it out:

  3. Re Rossmcg at 8.30 pm

    Yes, Kotvojs got her hat-trick of defeats, but her dismissal this time by the electors was emphatic. There is a Liberal candidate vacancy for Eden-Monaro, her previous gig, when she got a swing of 0.46% in 2020 to reduce Labor’s margin to 735 votes or 0.39%. The margin could be around 7,000 votes this time.

  4. “Welcome to the Firefox paradigm: despite repeated explanations regarding political strategy, in this paradigm Labor WANTED Morrison’s Religious Discrimination Act in its original form, because they allowed it through the house even though some amendments failed.”


    If they didn’t want to support it they should have voted against it, not for it. It’s not complicated.

    With the exception of the Greens, Willoughby was a contest full of right wingers. That’s just the kind of seat it is. Leaving it up to the voters was a reasonable decision, they’re the ones who get to decide anyway, not parties.

    Besides, I find it a bit rich for Laborites to be lecturing the Greens about what we should and shouldn’t have done in a seat that Labor was too gutless to contest. I mean, I get that it’s a very conservative seat and being a by-election they didn’t want to run when they were no hope of winning, but that didn’t stop us from at least fielding a candidate and putting in a showing. So don’t come prancing in here on your high horse when it is Labor who really cut and run.

  5. Steve777says:
    Sunday, February 13, 2022 at 7:18 pm
    NSW Premier blames byelection loss on local issues…

    Yes Dom, keep believing that.

    You got to laugh at what DoPe said.
    Where is the ‘local’? In NSW
    What are the issues? COVID related
    Who caused them? DoPe government.

  6. Firefox says:
    Sunday, February 13, 2022 at 5:40 pm

    So utterly disingenuous of you. So utterly deceitful. So utterly fucking Green.

    It was very gratifying to see the decline in the Green vote in yesterday’s NSW elections, following the trend of the vote in WA last year. Hopefully this decline will be reproduced in the federal election. Hopefully the Greens will fail in their Senate bids.

    The Labor-phobic Greens – the pro-Reactionary Greens – do not deserve to hold any seats in the Federal Parliament. They should be consigned by voters to the political spittoon, with the Democrats and the DLP.

  7. According to the SMH:

    Jenny Morrison says she’s disappointed by Grace Tame’s lack of manners

    The Prime Minister’s wife told 60 Minutes she wanted her own daughters to become fierce and independent but “be polite and have manners”, as she labelled Ms Tame’s refusal to smile at the couple “a little bit disappointing”.

  8. Not harsh enough. Who’d put their family in the firing line other than a desperate man? Keating, for instance, introduced his family once, thereafter they were off-limits, more so now.

  9. “Then number the other boxes in order of your preferences.”

    If you think that’s an instruction to only vote 1 and exhaust, you have a reading comprehension problem.

  10. It is obscene that this character is allowed to spend $100 million to attack democracy.

    Palmer’s $100m of pain for pollies ‘only a couple of months’ work’

    In an exclusive interview on his superyacht in Sydney Harbour, the mining magnate reveals he is targeting the Liberal Party and Labor with his huge advertising spend as part of a ‘nasty’ plan for the federal election
    (Oz headline)

  11. Generally if one sticks the family out there it is because there is a sense that people don’t know the candidate. But Morrison has been Prime Minister for 4 years and the public therefore does know him.
    It is a bit odd, it is like they have been getting advice from an American source or something.

  12. Spence says:
    Sunday, February 13, 2022 at 4:19 pm

    briefly. if you have your way

    It is not I that brews bad blood. It is the Greens. They campaign at all times and in all places against Labor. They are throughly Labor-hostile and set out to defeat Labor wherever they can. I simply point this out, as so many are wont to misread the Greens.

    Make no mistake: Green Senators will make trouble for Labor, and together with the LNP they will seek to destroy a Labor Government should one be elected this year.

    The single best thing that could happen for the historical Labor plurality would be the dissolution of the Greens. The second best thing would be their electoral obliteration at the hands of voters. The latter might preface the former. I avowedly hope so.

  13. It seemed a fair enough comment to criticize Labor for not standing a candidate in Willoughby and that The Greens put up their hands in a tough seat when Labor didn’t.
    Having said that, however, the Labor decision meant that Labor voters could support The Greens or any other progressive candidate they chose. I don’t know how The Greens PV went but the Independent gave the Libs a good shake-up.
    So, after the initial criticism , it appears that its decision was pretty pragmatic and on the money. I doubt any wavering Lib voters preferenced The Greens so setting the Independent up to gather the other progressive voters and disenchanted Libs appears pretty strategic. Perottets later comments about the overall results reflect that view.
    Good on The Greens but Labor are smiling tonight.

  14. citizen:

    Sunday, February 13, 2022 at 9:15 pm

    [‘It is obscene that this character is allowed to spend $100 million to attack democracy.’]

    But what’s the antidote? Where individual wealth’s an issue, where do you go?

  15. Newspoll 55/45

    …according to someone called David Cannavo.

    Kevin Bonham is saying something about Albanese’s ratings dropping

  16. Gettysburg1863 says:

    The Greens supported the Liberal candidate by not directing preferences. If the Greens had ran dead like Labor did, by not running a candidate the Liberals would have lost another seat.

    The Greens behaved as one would expect, in full support of the Liberals.

  17. Firefox:

    With the exception of the Greens, Willoughby was a contest full of right wingers.

    Reason are hardly right-wing. I wouldn’t be surprised if they picked up a few % from the Greens.

  18. Tom the first and best says:
    Sunday, February 13, 2022 at 4:58 pm

    Victoria hasn`t elected a government of the same party as the Commonwealth Government since 1996

    …which is another way of saying the Reactionaries have been in power most of the time since 1996….as if we might have overlooked this dismal fact.

    The Reactionaries are supported by their alternates….their auxiliaries, delegates, substitutes, reserves, playmates, siblings, gophers, moles, spies, caddies, scouts, foot-servants, chums and cadets…the Greens.

  19. That will probably take the Dutton challenge out of play for a while. Hard to see why Albanese would drop 3 and Morrison pick up 1 but there it is. I guess this is what 46-54 looks like, eh Wayne?

  20. I watched the Scott and Jenny show and I thought she came across reasonably well. She is definitely not the bubble head that some here seem to prefer to try and portray her, nor is she just a handmaiden attending to Scott’s every whim. She comes across as quite a strong woman, who is very protective of her family as you would expect.

    Did it improve Scomo’s re-election chances? I doubt it. Stefanovic certainly didn’t pull any punches and brought up every embarrassing moment that has occurred over the last three years, including Hawaii and the Press Club and Morrison was not all that impressive in his responses. I also don’t think that telling the Australian public that he has spent a lot of the last two years on his knees praying for divine assistance during the pandemic is going to go over very well. Most people would just want him to stand up and get on with the job for which he is being paid.

    A mark out of ten? Eight for her and about a five for him.

  21. #Newspoll Federal 2 Party Preferred: L/NP 45 (+1) ALP 55 (-1) #auspol

    #Newspoll Morrison: Approve 40 (+1) Disapprove 56 (-2) #auspol

  22. Sprocket_ says:
    Sunday, February 13, 2022 at 9:38 pm
    #Newspoll Federal Primary Votes: L/NP 34 (0) ALP 41 (0) GRN 8 (-3) ON 3 (0) #auspol

    Dream coming true. The swing to Labor consolidates. The LNP PV wallows in the shallows. The Green PV drains away. Lovely.

  23. #Newspoll Federal Primary Votes: L/NP 34 (0) ALP 41 (0) GRN 8 (-3) ON 3 (0)

    #Newspoll Morrison: Approve 40 (+1) Disapprove 56 (-2)

    #Newspoll Albanese: Approve 40 (-3) Disapprove 46 (+3)

    #Newspoll Preferred PM: Morrison 43 (0) Albanese 38 (-3)

  24. “It seemed a fair enough comment to criticize Labor for not standing a candidate in Willoughby and that The Greens put up their hands in a tough seat when Labor didn’t.”


    It should be noted for emphasis that this was Glady’s seat – it’s about as “blue ribbon” Liberal as it gets. She won it last time with a primary of 57% and a TPP of 71%. Liberal heartland. Uber conservative. Not a strong area for either the Greens or Labor. A right wing indie will have more success against the Libs just simply due to the conservative lean of the seat.

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