Federal election minus 35 days

The campaign’s first leaders debate locked in, plus various electorate-level brush fires and candidate announcements.

As the campaign enters a lull over the Easter extended weekend, there is at least the following to report:

• The first leaders’ debate of the campaign will be held on Wednesday, to be hosted in Brisbane by Kieran Gilbert of Sky News and with the leaders to face questions from 100 undecided voters.

Stephen Lunn of The Australian reports the Australian Electoral Commission will be operating 550 pre-poll booths at this election, up from 515 in 2019. The period for pre-poll voting has been reduced since the last election from three weeks to two.

• Liberal Ben Small has had to resign from his Western Australian Senate seat after becoming aware he was a dual citizen of New Zealand, where his father was born, which somehow escaped the notice of all concerned when he filled Mathias Cormann’s vacancy in November 2020. His term was shortly to expire in any case, and he will return if elected from third on the party’s Senate ticket at the election.

Paul Starick of The Advertiser reports that Liz Habermann, who came close to winning the regional seat of Flinders from the Liberals at last month’s South Australian state election, will shortly announce her candidacy for the corresponding federal seat of Grey, held for the Liberals by Rowan Ramsey.

The Age reports Zoe Daniel, the former ABC journalist challenging Liberal MP Tim Wilson as an independent in Goldstein, has apologised over an article she wrote in 2017 in which she said then US President Donald Trump was “satisfying his wealthy Jewish donors” when he declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel. The electorate’s 6.8% Jewish population as of the 2016 census was the third highest in the country, behind Wentworth and neighbouring Macnamara.

• A spokesperson for the Law Society of New South Wales told the Daily Telegraph that Sarah Richards, the Liberal candidate for the marginal Labor seat of Macquarie in outer Sydney, may have broken the law in describing herself as a qualified solicitor on her LinkedIn profile. Richards holds a law degree, but ceased to be a practising solicitor in 2007.

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.

1,259 comments on “Federal election minus 35 days”

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  1. I think i will accept the stats of one of the world’s leading health economics units over an anonymous poster whose main concern, which condemns the whole system, seems to be that he was stung by a private surgeon.
    Here’s a hint: health funds provide increased payments for surgeons who don’t charge a gap – next time you need an operation your health fund or GP may be able to tell you which surgeons no-gap or ring around.

    Your attitude to the Canadian system is similar to that of many Americans who believe it is the best system in the world – and there is no doubt it is provided your are not black, latinex or a poor white (30-40% of the population)

    Medicare has many problems but I rate improved access and equity particularly for the indigenous and regions as priorities compared to gaps for private patients. The most efficient way to reform Medicare is to combine the two systems. The private hospitals could be persuaded to do this but, going on what happened to the Rudd reforms, the state governments would object.

  2. Itep at 4.13pm

    “Can definitely recall Howard making a Mr Speaker reference during his final election campaign.”

    Not the only thing I hope to see Howard and Morrison share in common!

  3. If Morrison addresses a journalist as ‘Mr Speaker’ three times AND mistakes the size of the Australian economy by an order of magnitude, he can’t manage the Australian economy.

  4. Oakeshott Country says:
    Sunday, April 17, 2022 at 6:37 pm

    I think i will accept the stats of one of the world’s leading health economics units over an anonymous poster whose main concern, which condemns the whole system, seems to be that he was stung by a private surgeon.

    Here’s a hint: health funds provide increased payments for surgeons who don’t charge a gap – next time you need an operation your health fund or GP may be able to tell you which surgeons no-gap or ring around.


    No. Fortunately, personally I’ve managed to avoid Australian surgeons, except on the golf course.

    But I will take your advice to tug my forelock and go around and beg for a fair charge if I need one. Or I can spend my time, like Diogenes, looking for an ethical practitioner. After all, we have such a wonderfully accessible health system, as you and the Commonwealth Fund remind us.

    My concern is more about how people who are less fortunate than I am, are prevented from getting the medical care they need because of the cost.

    The participants who are determined that Australians will not get a truly universal and fair Medicare system, are:

    –conservative politicians who want the government out of everything.
    –health funds (insurance companies) who charge exorbitant premiums for the least amount of coverage they can get away with while being coddled and subsidized by those same politicians.
    –the aged care industry. And you now know how they make their money off our oldest citizens.
    –some specialist physicians and surgeons who failed to take the hypocrite oath as well as the other one.

    These organizations and people are among the most highly remunerated in the country. Maybe PBers can add to that list.

    I don’t include general practitioners because most of them are the underpaid foot-soldiers of the medical system.

    I recall the words of my G.P. who told me the system was corrupt.

    Imagine the suburban G.P. who gets 40 bucks for a bulk-billed consultation, watching specialists who can charge up to $300 for a routine visit, gliding by in their new Bentley. Ok that’s a bit of hyperbole, but you get the message.

    And if you have the bad luck to have to go under the knife, don’t try to figure out how much it is going to cost or who will pay what.

    The charges for specialist medical services in this country are inscrutable. Transparency “doesn’t enter into it” as Monty Python would say.

    The surgeon’s staff will tell you that they will let you know a day or two before the procedure. Afterwards, you don’t receive a proper statement showing how much the procedure costs. You will need an accountant to figure out the total cost, how much is paid by the Health Fund, how much by Medicare, how much goes to the surgeon and how much goes to his or her practice or clinic. You are deliberately treated like a growing mushroom.

    You look at the bill and all you know is you’ve paid a total of $1,000 for say, a colonoscopy, in addition to the $450 a month premiums to the health fund, and there’s the Medicare levy.

    In Canada you would pay nothing, apart from the $900 a year Medicare levy which covers all medical costs if you are in the middle tax bracket. “Privileged white guys” never see any kind of bill, year in and year out.

    It’s no wonder people of limited means avoid expensive tests that could prevent further, higher costs down the road, not to mention them getting sicker.

    And the Commonwealth Fund gives the Australian system high marks for “administrative efficiency.”!

    Don’t get me started!

    But I still would like O.C. to tell us how he benefits from the present status quo system or how he is working to improve it. I know, I shouldn’t hold my breath.

  5. Jim Chalmers – is fantastic – great communicator. He needs to be at every presser with Albo. They make a great team interacting with the hostile journalists.

  6. Everyone should be able to go to the dentist when they need help.

    Many people put off going to the dentist because they can’t afford it, which doesn’t just mean worse teeth, it can lead to other health problems too.

    Everyone should be able to use their Medicare card when they go to the dentist, just like when they go to the doctor. That’s why it’s time to get dental into Medicare.

    Getting dental into Medicare is unfinished business for the Greens. In the 2010 power-sharing Parliament we got dental into Medicare for 3.4 million children and now we want it for everyone else too.


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