Weekend miscellany: Archer on, Pearce off (open thread)

Retirement announcements from both the Liberal and Labor camps, and various disturbances in the force ensuing from the New South Wales redistribution proposal.

We’re about due for polls from Resolve Strategic in the Age/Herald and Freshwater Strategy in the Financial Review, which could perhaps be along this evening. The fortnightly Essential Research should also be along on Tuesday, and as always Roy Morgan will come through on Monday. Other than that, the dominating piece of electoral news at the moment is the publication of the proposed federal redistribution of New South Wales on Friday, for which you can see my estimated margins and party vote shares in the dedicated post, and read my analysis piece in Crikey if you’re a subscriber.

Semi-relatedly, it’s also been a big week for preselection news:

• Gavin Pearce, who has held the traditionally marginal seat of Braddon in north-western Tasmania for the Liberals since 2019, will not recontest the seat at the next election, saying his parliamentary career had “taken a toll” on his family life. A factional conservative ally of state party powerbroker Eric Abetz, Pearce earlier told colleagues he was holding back on nominating to force the party to block his arch-moderate colleague Bridget Archer in the neighbouring seat of Bass, who in the event was preselected unopposed. The party will have to reopen nominations in Braddon, for which the failure of Pearce or anyone else to nominate last week was the first indication of his impending retirement. Matthew Denholm of The Australian reports Latrobe deputy mayor Vonette Mead is “understood to be the most likely candidate to replace Mr Pearce”, while Burnie deputy mayor Giovanna Simpson “has also been touted but is said to be eyeing the state upper house seat of Montgomery”. Both were candidates in Braddon at the March state election, respectively polling 2.1% and 2.6% on a Liberal ticket dominated by Premier Jeremy Rockliff.

• Another retirement announcement last week was that of Maria Vamvakinou, who has held the safe Labor seat of Calwell in northern Melbourne since 2001. Paul Sakkal of The Age reports Basem Abdo, a communications specialist born in Kuwait of Palestinian parents, has what seems decisive backing to succeed her from the Socialist Left faction.

James Campbell of the Daily Telegraph reports former New South Wales Treasurer Matt Kean is weighing up a preselection challenge against Bradfield MP Paul Fletcher, after the redistribution proposal made it likely the seat will be contested by teal independent member Kylea Tink, whose seat of North Sydney is to be abolished. The report quotes a Liberal source saying there would be “an argument among the moderates about who is best to hold that seat and a lot of them are going to say it is Matt Kean”. This would require reopening nominations for the seat, but Kean would likely have enough support to accomplish this.

• The Australian’s Feeding the Chooks column reports two candidates have nominated for Labor preselection in the northern Brisbane seat of Longman, which the party lost in 2019 and failed to win back in 2022: Rebecca Fanning, who has worked for Steven Miles, Wayne Swan and most recently state Mines Minister Scott Stewart, and Rhiannyn Douglas, a 27-year-old Left-aligned party organiser and former staffer to state Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon.

• Claire Clutterham, Norwood Payneham and St Peters councillor and special counsel at LK Law, appears set to be the Labor candidate for the Adelaide seat of Sturt, held for the Liberals by James Stevens on a margin of 0.5%, after a public endorsement from Anthony Albanese. InDaily reported last week that no other nominees were expected.

Katina Curtis of The West Australian reports that Ian Goodenough, who has lost Liberal preselection for his northern Perth seat of Moore, says he is considering accepting an invitation from the Nationals to join the party, and has also raised the possibility of running as an independent. The Nationals have been pursuing designs on seats in Perth at the looming federal and state elections, and are “excited about the new seat of Bullwinkel”, a mixed urban-rural seat that encompasses traditionally Nationals-voting territory in the Avon Valley east of Perth.

• In her The Sauce column in the Sunday Telegraph, Linda Silmalis reports former state Nationals leader Paul Toole is a potential candidate for Calare, whose member Andrew Gee has been sitting as an independent since he quit the party in December 2022 over his support for the Indigenous Voice. Silmalis says there are also moves in the Liberal Party to persuade former state minister David Elliott to consider seeking preselection in Greenway, where the proposed boundaries reduce the Labor margin from 11.5% to 8.2% on my calculations. Elliott has often been mentioned in relation to the seat of Parramatta, where the party preselected local lawyer Katie Mullens after he declined to put his name forward.

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.

317 comments on “Weekend miscellany: Archer on, Pearce off (open thread)”

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  1. Stinker says:
    Sunday, June 16, 2024 at 8:16 pm
    There’s a very clear and definite trend in PPM over numerous polls now. It’s pretty troubling.


    I don’t see it in the two party preferred. I see a first term government that used up its political capital with the Voice referendum. It has pretty much flatlined since then.

  2. Thanks LVT.

    Perhaps this Govt has some similarities with first term Howard? But its hard to see what the equivalent of the GST is that seems to be causing this poll trouble other than perhaps a perception of the Govt is a bit of a do nothing. I personally think it might be a harsh assessment to say its a do nothing Govt but give the ‘we are serious people’ a rest as maybe the populace are not feeling it very much.

    Still dont think the Liberals can come through it though for all the noise and gnashing of teeth. Would the TEALS come home to Dutts. Thats a very interesting question. The answer might involve the end of both.

  3. Bizzcan @ #295 Sunday, June 16th, 2024 – 8:38 pm

    To be clear, my definition of “bold economic policy” is not the old “reform” rhetoric of the Business council type, or radical redistribution of some further to the left.

    My argument is that free trade and “competitive advantage” is dead, so hard economic nationalism is the best way to drive (and sell) the climate transition. Even if it costs more, this government needs to make it loud and constantly announce that Aussie jobs will be created in achieving net zero.

    I’m actually supprised that the Greens aligned media are not onboard with this given their constant banging on about “neoliberalism”. I see much more “lol, just buy it from China” type articles when it comes to batteries and solar, the economic policy equivalent of Bob Brown’s mad convoy to Queensland.

    Yes, The Greens seem to get away with being completely contradictory, when you scrutinise them closely. But they’ve jumped onboard the Populist rhetoric train with vuvuzelas and Labor have only just started to hold them to account for it.

  4. Personally I think Labor have to be patient. Despite all the talk the key cost of living measures (modified Stage 3 and power price relief) don’t take effect for a few more weeks. Labor would be mugs to change anything before then.

    Most people won’t get their first post Stage 3 pay till the end of July. We need to wait till August to see where Labor really stands.

    In some respects the poll reflects my own views that Labor has been too slow to implement changes and hence has annoyed marginal supporters. The recent delays in implementing EV changes are one example.

    It has been a slow moving government since the psychological shock of the Voice loss seemed to damage the confidence of its leaders in 2023.

  5. C@tmommasays:
    Sunday, June 16, 2024 at 8:01 pm
    Chris Bowen has a lot on his plate right now, which I can’t say anything about, so you can count him out for the foreseeable.
    C’mon. What’s the goss ?
    Is it personal or is it political.

  6. Told you Freshwater was coming didn’t I.
    I might be a bit of a numpty with the 2PP thing, but I know my polls.
    Looks like we have a big night tonight. Almost feels like “Newspoll night”.
    Still trying to find the poll period and sample for the earlier Resolve poll.

  7. Griff @ #301 Sunday, June 16th, 2024 – 8:42 pm

    Stinker says:
    Sunday, June 16, 2024 at 8:16 pm
    There’s a very clear and definite trend in PPM over numerous polls now. It’s pretty troubling.


    I don’t see it in the two party preferred. I see a first term government that used up its political capital with the Voice referendum. It has pretty much flatlined since then.

    Same same with the Republic referendum. The Coalition refused bipartisanship and it went down, taking Labor with it. And the common denominator in all of it? Howard and Abbott, who are advising the Coalition now.

  8. Oh no, just popped in, and posted, and seem to have auto generated a Boerwar list post. I apologise to all other posters.

    Boerwar, having read your list, I think you should put it on a how to vote and distribute on election day. Perhaps give ALP Nat Sec a call and see if you can get it across to their printers asap. Its needed in the field.

  9. Taylormade @ #305 Sunday, June 16th, 2024 – 8:49 pm

    Sunday, June 16, 2024 at 8:01 pm
    Chris Bowen has a lot on his plate right now, which I can’t say anything about, so you can count him out for the foreseeable.
    C’mon. What’s the goss ?
    Is it personal or is it political.

    Personal. Give him some space, eh? You’d expect it in the same position.

  10. Stinkersays:
    Sunday, June 16, 2024 at 8:16 pm
    There’s a very clear and definite trend in PPM over numerous polls now. It’s pretty troubling.

    It might be troubling for you but i’m pretty relaxed about it. Power cost will be coming down significantly in the next financial year. While there will also be a lot more good news on the economic front for Labor before the next election. So don’t get to troubled by it.

    Look for the silver lining
    Whenever a cloud appears in the blue
    Remember, somewhere the sun is shining
    And so the right thing to do is make it shine for you

    A heart full of joy and gladness
    Will always banish sadness and strife
    So always look for the silver lining
    And try to find the sunny side of life

  11. Ah yes, the famously “green friendly” media of… who exactly? Between the “greens are the new nazis”, the “green voters are young niave people who will grow out of it” and “greens should return to environmental policy only” messages of the last few weeks, I must have missed the pro greens media

    Can someone point me towards these?

    Also love that certain posters are making a classic 2016 mistake of discounting things they don’t like as “populism”… that’s never blown up in people’s faces at all 🙂

    Also bw you have “sava appointed to old parliament house board”… who is that supposed to impress?

  12. Yeah wranslide I agree – I doubt even Dutton thinks he’s going to be PM after the next election. But maybe first term Opposition Leaders are like candidates in hopeless seats – they see signs no one else sees.

  13. Sprocket also. With QLD, they are heading closer to a 31st Division. The abs population figures were recently released. Won’t impact the upcoming election, but during the next term of parliament, expect QLD to pick up another division. No other changes expected, so our parliament will increase again to 151 seats.

  14. I’m waiting for Dutton to do a Keating and describe Albanese as a shiver looking for a spine.
    Yes. He is that bad.
    I consider myself centre left. This government is centre right. It only looks vaguely leftist because the coalition have moved so far to the right.
    I’m in Chifley and I’m struggling to justify putting 1 next to Husic’s name.
    The problem for me is that there’s usually buggar all alternative choices on the ballot here.
    Mundo and I are on a joint ticket.
    Labor for whatever reason don’t do politics.
    Watt comes across well and seems to have a bit of starch to him. Let him off the leash.
    And the NACC is clearly a sick joke.

  15. One thing in Qld, dunno if it’s legislation or regulation, a tenant can do structural alterations to the property without seeking the landlords approval first and can’t be evicted or penalised for doing it.
    Sounds nuts, a Housing Commission inspector told me about it years ago.
    If that happened to you, would you want to keep on being a landlord, or just let the house sit vacant and appreciate in value?
    Dunno whether that was a Campbell Newman brainstorm, but I do know Labor have done nothing to knock it on the head.

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