Monday miscellany: Coalition Senate preselections, campaign finance reforms (open thread)

An emerging conservative ascendancy in the South Australian Liberal Party finds expression in a Senate preselection boilover.

We’re entering the final week of the Tasmanian election campaign, with a hotly contested by-election for the South Australian state seat of Dunstan to be held the same day. On the federal polling front though, it’s likely to be a quiet week. There is the following federally relevant electoral news to relate:

• Arch-conservative South Australian Liberal Senator Alex Antic, who was elected in 2019 from third position on the party ticket, will be the lead candidate after a preselection vote on Saturday that will reduce fellow incumbents Anne Ruston from first to second and David Fawcett from second to third. Paul Starick of The Advertiser reports Antic won the ballot for top position ahead of Ruston by 108 votes to 98. This was despite Ruston’s greater seniority within the parliamentary party as Shadow Health Minister, and Peter Dutton reportedly “using his personal authority” to protect her. A conservative challenger, Leah Blyth, lost to Ruston by 118 votes to 82 in a vote for second position and to Fawcett by 106 to 103 in the vote for third.

• New South Wales Nationals Senator Perin Davey, who made headlines last month after a tired and emotional performance at Senate estimates, narrowly survived a preselection challenge at a party ballot held on March 8. Andrew Clennell of Sky News reports Davey scored 42 votes against 37 for Juliana McArthur, the party’s federal secretary.

• Liberal sources cited by Paul Starick of The Advertiser say Nicolle Flint has been declaring interest in returning to the Adelaide seat of Boothby, which Labor won when she vacated it in 2022. Flint “appears to have effectively ruled out” a run for the state seat of MacKillop, which it was long thought she was planning in pursuit of leadership ambitions.

• It was reported last week that Labor is developing legislation to place caps on political donations, to be balanced by greater public funding. This would be most consequential with respect to Clive Palmer, whose company Mineralogy gave $117 million to his United Australia Party before the last election, and businessman Mike Cannon-Brookes, who donated $1.2 million to Climate 200. The cap is “likely to be in the tens of thousands of dollars”, with the government concerned it be able to survive the kind of High Court challenge that Palmer says he is “absolutely considering”. It is also proposed that a cap be imposed on the amount that can be spent on campaigning in any given electorate, which teals and the Greens complain would disproportionately affect those who target small numbers of the seats. Any changes would not take effect until after the next election.

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.

1,512 comments on “Monday miscellany: Coalition Senate preselections, campaign finance reforms (open thread)”

Comments Page 31 of 31
1 30 31
  1. Sorry William, I’ve been reading through posts from earlier today and only just saw your comment that followed.

    I was particularly attracted to the speech because of my Irish heritage.

  2. Have another look Ven.

    You didn’t criticise unions, you just said you didn’t need them.

    I’m not going back that far but you tried to justify that.

  3. What some people don’t understand is that all workers need unions. Even if they don’t need them in their particular job, they need the protection a strong union movement gives them from Howard’s dream of ‘fear in the workplace’ becoming a reality.

  4. Arky: ‘… nobody up here wants to spend time on a Hare-Clark explainer infographic.‘

    Speak for yourself.

  5. Kevin Bonham: ‘My aggregate of all polling is that the polls collectively say approx 15 Lib 10 ALP 4 Green 3 JLN 3 IND. ’

    On that scenario (*if* realised), the Liberals would need to negotiate a guarantee of confidence from the Lambies (a Lib-Lam coalition?) …

    … or wrangle support from each of three idiosyncratic independents …

    … and even then, they would need to rely on the Speaker’s casting vote.

    One way or another, not a stable or prospectively durable parliament.

  6. WTAF?

    ‘The Australian government will seek to prop up the Aukus pact by sending A$4.6bn (£2.4bn) to the UK to clear bottlenecks at the Rolls-Royce nuclear reactor production line.

    ‘The funding … is in addition to billions of dollars that will be sent to the US to smooth over production delays there.’

    A few billion here and a few billion there, and pretty soon you’re talkin’ real money …

  7. Party time at the Port: Adelaide shipbuilder ASC will be the joint constructor and sole maintainer of the nation’s nuclear-powered submarine fleet, as part of a move hailed as “yet another massive day” for the state by Premier Peter Malinauskas.
    ASC and Osborne Naval Shipyard neighbour BAE Systems Australia will be named on Friday as the joint builders of Australia’s AUKUS submarines.
    ASC, the builder and maintainer of the nation’s six Collins class submarines, also will handed the lucrative sustainment program for nuclear-powered submarines, starting with Virginia class boats to be obtained from the United States and followed by an Adelaide-built fleet.
    Defence Minister Richard Marles says this will involve “significant workforce growth and the development of skills, knowledge and experience”.
    As revealed on, the announcements will be made in Adelaide during Friday’s high-level talks between Mr Marles, Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong and their United Kingdom counterparts Grant Shapps and David Cameron.
    In joint statements with Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy, Mr Marles outlines plans for a Skills and Training Academy at Osborne, including overseas placements in the US for vocational teachers to learn nuclear-powered submarine skills in a “train-the-trainer” scheme.

  8. Are you feeling sluggish(aka constipated), swallowed something you regret, maybe you have a death wish or feel a like self-harming?
    Do I have an event for you!

  9. Steve777 @ #1489 Thursday, March 21st, 2024 – 11:43 pm

    I’m happy with the term “First Nations”, mainly because it’s our First Nations people’s preferred designation.

    It’s an accurate term for the descendants of those who lived here before 1788. It is inclusive of the Torres Strait Islanders. The original inhabitants comprised diverse cultural groups with different customs, languages, shared history and beliefs, the original meaning of “nations”.

    Looking at the earlier designation “Aborigine”, that is a neutral, generic word that means “original inhabitant”. However, like “Negro”, another neutral term applied to sub-Saharan Africans and their descendants (it means “black”), it seems to have acquired negative connotations, so best not to use it.

    Ab origine, latin meaning “from the beginning”. I think it’s better than neutral, but like all language it acquires alternative connotations over the years.

Comments Page 31 of 31
1 30 31

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *