Weekend miscellany: Senate preselections, electoral reform latest and more (open thread)

Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes dumped to an unwinnable position on the Coalition’s New South Wales ticket, and a return of talk about extra territory Senators.

The big electoral news for the week was the publication on Friday of proposed new federal boundaries for Victoria and Western Australia, which you can read all about on the dedicated post. Other than that:

• New South Wales Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes was dumped to fourth position on the Coalition ticket after running third in a Liberal preselection vote last weekend, the third position on the ticket being reserved to the Nationals. The top places will go to moderate incumbent Andrew Bragg and conservative challenger Jess Collins, who earlier ran unsuccessfully for preselection in North Sydney and for Marise Payne’s Senate vacancy. Hughes is part of the struggling centre right faction, but had endorsement from Peter Dutton, Jacinta Price and Michaelia Cash, while Collins was endorsed by Angus Taylor and Joe Hockey. Linda Silmalis of the Daily Telegraph reports that “while the right were claiming a major win, the left claimed it was the result of a larger and less factional state council”. A distribution sheet showed Bragg scored 196 votes in the first round of voting to 146 for Collins, 145 for Hughes and 51 for also-ran Lincoln Parker, which became a 191 to 167 vote win for Collins over Hughes after distribution of Parker’s votes and Bragg’s 16-vote surplus.

• The second position on Labor’s Queensland Senate ticket appears set to go to Corrine Mulholland, in-house lobbyist at Star casinos and the party’s candidate for Petrie in 2022. This follows the withdrawal of her two mooted rivals, former state minister Kate Jones and former Townsville mayor Jenny Hill. Jones had been backed by Left faction heavyweight Gary Bullock in a scheme that would have overturned a convention that the top two positions be shared between the Left, whose incumbent Nita Green will lead the ticket, and the Right, which is backing Mulholland.

The West Australian reports preselection runner-up Howard Ong, IT consultant and former Australian Christian Lobby activist, has been confirmed as the new Liberal candidate for Tangney following the withdrawal of the initial winner, Mark Wales.

• Special Minister of State Don Farrell told Senate estimates on Thursday that the government had been seeking a cross-party deal on electoral reform that included doubling the number of Senators for the two territories, and that legislation could be expected “soon”. The government also hopes to introduce truth-in-advertising laws and real-time disclosure of campaign donations of greater than $10,000.

• I belatedly observe that Nine Newspapers’ report on Resolve Strategic’s quarterly state breakdowns includes data for Western Australia and South Australia for four sets of quarterly aggregations over the last year, where normally the pollster’s breakdowns are only for the three larger states.

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.

829 comments on “Weekend miscellany: Senate preselections, electoral reform latest and more (open thread)”

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  1. Irene @ #771 Tuesday, June 4th, 2024 – 7:00 pm

    Seems this is why the NDIS needs to cut services to needy people


    ‘Criminals have been posing as providers to use NDIS participants’ money for organised crime.

    Funds have been spent on drugs, holidays and cars.

    What’s next? The government has put forward changes to require all providers be registered.

    Criminals manipulating participants in the National Disability Insurance Scheme have used their money to buy drugs, holidays and new cars.

    Among the instances of fraud of the $42 billion scheme were a $20,000 holiday, and a $73,000 car.

    NDIS participants have also been forced to hand over cash for criminals to buy drugs, and later harassed by the fraudulent providers.

    Officials told Senate Estimates on Monday evening courts can’t keep up with the number of cases of exploitation of participants by organised crime, with reform needed to stop manipulation of participants.

    John Dardo — integrity chief of the National Disability Insurance Agency which runs the scheme — claimed at least five per cent of the scheme’s spending wasn’t on genuine needs.

    “I have spoken to, very recently, a participant who would meet the provider at the ATM, the provider would withdraw cash and provide that cash to the participant for her to source illicit substances,” he said.

    “We have moved participants in some cases from those providers only to have the providers knocking back on their door to actually solicit them.

    “They’re coming through as a different provider, as a different entity or they’re buying different providers or they’re establishing other providers or they’re coming back as an unregistered provider, so there’s a whole series of patterns.”

    Mr Dardo said some participants have even had to be moved to different locations to escape the harassment from criminals.

    “We have had situations where we’ve involved state police in interventions where we have tried to move people away from providers that are putting participants in harm’s way.”

    NDIS Minister Bill Shorten was grilled on the fraudulent spending in Question Time, saying the issues with fraud began and worsened under the Coalition government’s 10-year-term.

    Best to keep Bill Shorten far away from any position where he can abuse taxpayer money. After all, using well paid providers to supply services to people with disabilities is his idea.

    We know he also supports, is continuing, Morrison’s Job Provider model, where Job Providers will be given $9.5billion over 4 years. To many who are not doing their job properly, also harassing unemployed people who may have found a job on their own.

    A rather incompetent government we have now.

    Regarding the NDIS.
    My son has Aspergers. I am his carer.
    When the NDIS first began, I was feeling very optimistic as to what that might mean for my son. It very quickly became apparent upon enquiry that they could offer little of substance for him. Whilst high functioning he is all but unemployable. Autism is complicated and variable in it’s consequences.
    After submitting a swathe of documents – up to the point of registering – it was determined that no help was available through the NDIS. The people at NDIS were very understanding of the situation and it was agreed that the best course of action was for them to retain all the info I had given them on file so that should the situation change, that registering NDIS could then be fast tracked. All good.

    Fast forward to late 2021. A huge storm came through and brought down an enormous tree on top of my son’s caravan(bedroom) whilst he was inside. Not a scratch on him, the front half of the van squashed flat to the ground. So, having survived that I started to build him a proper granny flat. The local nurse that he saw for medical reasons, decided for herself that the answer would be to seek assistance from NDIS – WITHOUT informing me.

    I was contacted by NDIS (one of their “Service providers”). They informed me that they could not help him, and even if they could he would need to register with NDIS. They sent letters, rang me a few times. Their priority was to get him registered. I assumed – correctly I think from their attitude that they needed this registration more than anything else – SO THEY COULD GET CASH from the government.

    And here is the clincher. The last contact was a phone call to my son (not me, wonder why?) in which they informed him he would need to go down to their office in Melbourne to sign a document stating he did not want their services. Well, he went into a full Aspy hissy fit, screaming, tears, jumping up and down, the lot. When he finally told me of the details of the phone call I was furious. I calmed myself down, rang them back and informed them that my son did not need to do anything. He wasn’t registered with NDIS, nothing had been signed and certainly nothing else needed to be signed. We heard no more from them.

    This is what happens when you get private businesses to what the government departments should be doing. I also wonder about their desperation to get him registered as quickly as possible. What was in the wind in late 2021…hmmm. Did they see changes coming to the NDIS that would turn off the tap to this company?

    I hope others had a better time with the providers they accessed. I also hope that Bill Shorten, now back in the saddle again can sort this mess out because we all know the LNP will just white ant it till it’s broke, wave their arms in the air and shout “See! Told you it wouldn’t work.”

    PS. Welcome home C@t. Sounds like you had a good time.

  2. @timbo at 9:29pm

    Oh my god, that is a horrifying story. I think you should spread that story around more, namely to your local MP and MHR offices, and even to Shorten himself.

    That what they tried to get away with is just disgusting, and goes against everything the NDIS was set up for in the first place.

  3. Nicholas,
    Have you apologised to Douglas and Milko for the outrageous slur you made against her? We haven’t forgotten, even if you had hoped we had by now.

  4. Have you apologised to Douglas and Milko for the outrageous slur you made against her? We haven’t forgotten, even if you had hoped we had by now.

    I didn’t make an outrageous slur against Douglas and Milko. I said that supporting Labor is probably part of her identity and is therefore not entirely rational. That was true then and it continues to be true. Douglas and Milko, in classic Boomer fashion, then chose to make it entirely about her.

  5. OC from earlier

    Gavin Robinson is absolutely in trouble in Belfast East, and while I don’t want to see Alliance win anything, he has brought this on himself with his support of the Donaldson sellout. TUV are running, and given they are poling at 8 percent in the latest Northern Ireland wide poll, could cut a significant chunk from the DUP vote in Belfast East. As for a post election DUP leader, my personal choice would be Sammy Wilson.

  6. C@tmomma says:
    Tuesday, June 4, 2024 at 8:57 pm

    the Coalition are not particularly fond of transparency

    …because the ALP are so well known for their transparency?


  7. These snarks about “Labor politician x spent $n * 10^^y on speech writers / photographers / spin doctors / official travel / shoe polishers are meaningless. So did the other lot. You’re allowed to not like Labor. Just tell us why. You don’t like the policies, decisions or ideologies?

  8. Thanks Kirsdarke and timbo, happy to be back. 🙂

    I know exactly where you are coming from. I think that I have told the story here a couple of times before about how my son, a Carer for the NDIS, worked at one home where they would take on recently-released prisoners with mental health problems (and if The Greens’ bleeding heart brigade who wear their heart on their sleeves want to know why people are unable to rent houses, then look no further than the NDIS Providers who keep snapping up places to put their clients in).

    So, one day my son was ordered by the House Manager (the sister of the owner of the business), to take the client in my son’s car down to his dealer so he could buy his drugs, because that was the only way they could keep him under control and keep the money coming in to their business. I told my son to refuse to do it again, after he told me about it after work. I then went to see my son’s boss to tell him not to make my son do this again.

    So, what did he do? He sacked my son for telling me about it! ‘Breaking patient confidentiality ‘ he called it. Which was bullshit.

    This was all happening on the Coalition’s watch. My son’s old boss was a staunch Liberal Party supporter who had grown fat and rich off the Coalition’s bowdlerisation of the NDIS. He knew how to keep the gravy train rolling along, and it was not until Labor came to power that anything began to be done about it. Thankfully, that NDIS Integrity Manager is now able to speak out. He wouldn’t have been under the Coalition.

    But yeah, blame Bill Shorten, who has inherited this mess, yet another scam the Coalition had going for their mates with their snouts in the trough, who’s actually trying to sort it out, in case harpies like Irene hadn’t noticed.

  9. Thanks Matt 33
    Sammy and Gregory strike me as being cast from the same mould.
    Both hard men, likely to pull out of Stormont, this will stop the leakage to TUV but will it stop the leakage to Alliance?

  10. FUBAR,
    Whataboutism is no way to argue about a statement of fact. It’s pretty piss poor, actually. However, Mr ‘I don’t give a rat’s clacker about CO2 Emissions!’, good faith debating isn’t one of your strong suits, so I don’t expect much more than that sort of thing from you.

  11. Steve777,
    Nickel and diming Labor is all they’ve got because Labor do good work that they can’t attack. I fully expect after Winter the Coalition will produce letters from little old ladies (closet Liberal Party members), who will plaintively complain (probably ghost written by a Liberal speech writer), that they couldn’t afford to put the heater on and had to eat dog food in order to pay their bills 🙄

  12. Cat

    Hello, welcome back and hope you had a great trip. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall over there when the Trump verdict was announced.

    On your son
    “ So, what did he do? He sacked my son for telling me about it! ‘Breaking patient confidentiality ‘ he called it. Which was bullshit.”

    As you probably know you can’t force an employee to do something illegal, in fact that is a crime in itself, as you are probably aware. And so being sacked for refusing an illegal work instruction is unfair grounds of dismissal. Too late to report it?

  13. Disney are about to spend megabucks in Anaheim and Orlando.
    This Disney down under announcement has all the hallmarks of fusion reactors and fast rail. 10 years!

  14. I see a lot of commenters complain about whataboutism, but what about the fact that they all engage in whataboutism when they feel like it?

    Pot calling the kettle hypocrite much?

  15. “I don’t give a rat’s clacker about CO2 emissions” is probably the position of most right-wing political parties and their boosters in the media old and new. There would be various reasons they might hold this position:

    1. They may think that it’s better to adapt. I think that one of our visiting Liberals (all-caps FUBAR?) accidentally admitted to this.
    2. They believe that the cure is worse than the effects of global heating
    3. They believe for whatever reason that the science is wrong.
    4. It’s too hard to replace fossil fuels, it won’t work, so go to 1.
    5. For many, it’s just a tribal thing. Climate denial, like calling out “wokeness”, is a Right-wing virtue signal.

    It’s funny that those who hold positions 1, 2, 3 and 4 don’t try to honestly argue their case, or even state it. They pretend to care about bird-killing turbines, they bang on about how ugly wind turbines or solar farms are (uglier than an open cut coal mine?) or how ugly transmission lines are (but only the extra ones to support renewables). They lie about the relative costs of renewables. When the subject of climate is raised, they bang on about power costs, but not when power prices escalate by multiples of a carbon price owing to disruptions in fossil fuel supply and the actions of price-gouging oligopolies.

    And on the rare occasions when they do try to argue a case they cite assorted cranks and shills in the blogosphere, not any anyone with actual qualifications.

  16. Steve777

    The first time I heard someone actually say mitigation was a lost cause and we should embrace adaptation was a young leading light in the AMWU in 2006.

  17. From Daily Kos Abbreviated pundit roundup

    McKay Coppins of The Atlantic article about the European fears and preparations for a second Trump Administration.

    “We’re in a very precarious place,” one senior NATO official told me. He wasn’t supposed to talk about such things on the record, but it was hardly a secret. The largest armed conflict in Europe since World War II was grinding into its third year. The Ukrainian counteroffensive had failed, and Russia was gaining momentum. Sixty billion dollars in desperately needed military aid for Ukraine had been stalled for months in the dysfunctional U.S. Congress. And, perhaps most ominous, America—the country with by far the biggest military in NATO—appeared on the verge of reelecting a president who has repeatedly threatened to withdraw the U.S. from the alliance.

    Fear of losing Europe’s most powerful ally has translated into a pathologically intense fixation on the U.S. presidential race. European officials can explain the Electoral College in granular detail and cite polling data from battleground states. Thomas Bagger, the state secretary in the German foreign ministry, told me that in a year when billions of people in dozens of countries around the world will get the chance to vote, “the only election all Europeans are interested in is the American election.” Almost every official I spoke with believed that Trump is going to win.

    The irony of Europe’s obsession with the upcoming election is that the people who will decide its outcome aren’t thinking about Europe much at all. In part, that’s because many Americans haven’t seen the need for NATO in their lifetime (despite the fact that the September 11 terrorist attacks were the only time Article 5 has been invoked). As one journalist in Brussels put it to me, the alliance has for decades been a “solution in search of a problem.” Now, with Russia waging war dangerously close to NATO territory, there’s a large problem. Throughout my conversations, one word came up again and again when I asked European officials about the stakes of the American election: existential.

  18. @Steve777 at 10:42pm

    Very good points there. In fact I think I managed to convince a climate-agnostic person today that even if solar power wasn’t as magical that would solve all our problems, it at least had something of a positive feedback loop.

    So if there was a week-long heatwave in a part of Australia where there was a major solar power plant, then surely that would be a problem that would solve itself? Where the sun is shining at a shade temperature of 45°C or greater, and all that was bearing upon solar panels designed to convert that solar energy to electrical energy and all that was converted to the energy grid to keep everyone’s air conditioners and fans going, and not having to rely on the barely functioning Loy Yang or Eraring coal powered stations for such boosts to power, and even then there’s the solar panels on the average person’s roof to keep that power running, it’s almost foolproof, just it so happens that a lot of fools want such a system to fail and they so happen to have a lot of power in Australian politics, so there we have it for the time being.

  19. Rewisays:
    Tuesday, June 4, 2024 at 10:34 pm
    I see a lot of commenters complain about whataboutism, but what about the fact that they all engage in whataboutism when they feel like it?

    Pot calling the kettle hypocrite much?

    I think you have a point there Rewi. To me it seems quite a valid way of pointing out an inconsistency or a hypocrisy in the other person’s argument.

  20. OC

    Campbell has also been a vocal supporter of the Donaldson sellout. The sad thing, from a Unionist/Loyalist pirspective about what the DUP have coming to them at this election, is that they were seeing their best poll numbers in years and the base were right behind them. A problem for the DUP, really since St Andrew’s, has been getting the base to vote and it finally looked like the base was back on board. Hopefully the self inflicted damage can start being repaired post this election.

  21. FUBARsays:
    Tuesday, June 4, 2024 at 9:55 pm
    C@tmomma says:
    Tuesday, June 4, 2024 at 8:57 pm

    [the Coalition are not particularly fond of transparency]

    […because the ALP are so well known for their transparency?]


    You left out “apparently”

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