Looking forward to it being over.
I’m tired of hearing that voters are turned off by politics, that politicians don’t listen to them, that the big parties are both the same, promise everything, even the Loch Ness monster and deliver nothing.
Antony Green has the lowdown on each of the seats. Click on the icons and all is revealed.
Malcolm Turnbull, keeping up his character assessment of Bill Shorten, called him a “quitter”. Ironic then that the Liberals were a no-show in the two Western Australian seats. Perth is only held by 3.3%, so should not be unwinnable.
I suspect the Liberals think declining to run is an easy way of assisting the Greens to give Labor curry in the west, without preferencing them.
In Mayo the Liberals won the seat 12 times in a row with the Liberal Party poll 5-10% above the Liberal two-party result for South Australia as a whole. A very safe seat, until Rebekha Sharkie knocked it off for the Nick Xenophon Team in 2016.
You might remember that the previous member Jamie Briggs was forced to quit the ministry at the end of 2015 following an incident involving a DFAT staff member in a Hong Kong bar. However, Briggs stayed on to run as a candidate against Sharkie who had worked for him. Sharkie overwhelmed him with the support of more than 80% of Labor and Green preferences.
Now ReachTEL shows Sharkie ahead of Georgina Downer 62-38, with YouGov/Galaxy showing Sharkie ahead 59-41.
Georgina Downer has a brilliant record and qualifications, clearly ministerial potential, if you look at her bio in her present position as Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs.
Yet Sharkie seems to have won the trust of the people, whereas Bev Pote has runs the Piccadilly Kitchen cafe in the Adelaide Hills reckons she’s not too sure what Downer stands for. Pote is seen as having her finger on the pulse, although she’s up one end of an electorate that takes in Fleurieu Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Victor Harbour and out to Murray Bridge. I guess she is near the centre of gravity of where people actually live.
We’ve heard that the five by-elections will show the mood of the nation in relation to the major parties prospects at the next election. Mayo, according to the spin, doesn’t mean anything. It’s all about Bill Shorten, rather than the candidates, is going to win one or both of Braddon and Longman. In Mayo it’s just a dud candidate, except the Liberals say she’s no dud, she’s brilliant.
Braddon was won by the Liberals nine elections in a row from 1975 to 1996. Since then it has been Labor five times and Liberal two.
Labor traditionally does better in Tasmania than on the mainland, but against that Antony Green says that for the last three decades, Labor’s two-party preferred vote in Braddon has always been below Labor’s result for Tasmania as a whole. In 2016 Justine Keay took the seat off Brett Whitely, who is now trying to take it back. The swing was 4.8% to achieve a margin of 2.2%, so it’s close.
Of note is independent Craig Garland, a fisherman, who has been described as “authentic”. The Oz has Turnbull “slamming” and “lashing” Garland, while The Guardian says ‘They’re going to get a hell of a shock’: the anti-politician shaking up Braddon’s byelection.
He’s an environmentalist who doesn’t like national parks, doesn’t really want to be in parliament, but wants to draw attention to his concerns about the planned expansion of the salmon farm industry into the Circular Head region.
If he gets 5% or more of the vote his preferences could determine the outcome. He has Labor behind the Shooters and Fishers, but ahead of the Liberals.
Turnbull has spent five days in the electorate, Shorten nine. Turnbull has attacked Shorten rather than the candidate.
He attacked Shorten for “hiding” in Longman on Friday, just because Turnbull happened to be there while Shorten concentrated on radio interviews. Albo was in Longman, which then can only mean that Albo wants Shorten’s job, in Turnbull’s spin. He really is a nasty piece of work.
Penny Wong was in Braddon. Shorten is in both electorates today, saturday, which is quite a trick.
In both electorate Labor is running hard on health and to a lesser extent education, versus giving $17 billion to the banks. Whitely was the local member when the horror 2014 budget hit, demonstrating that he was no use at all in protecting the locals from the idiocy of his Canberra mates.
Longman was created in 1996, and since then has been Liberal six out of eight times, falling to Labor only in 2007 and 2016.
Much has been made of the fact that only once since Federation has a government taken a seat off the opposition in a by-election. Susan Lamb ousted Wyatt Roy with a 7.7% swing to achieve a margin of 0.79%. Antony Green says Roy:
- was defeated by a 7.7% swing, the largest in any Queensland seat that finished as a two-party contest. Only Family First voters favoured him in the distribution of preferences, with One Nation recommending preferences to Labor and 56.5% of One Nation voters following the advice.
It’s curious how he got Family First preferences, because he upset One Nation by favouring same-sex marriage.
Roy also sinned in ON eyes because he was part of the plot to oust Abbott.
- In 2016 there was 21% of the vote with non-Green minor parties and independents, and these preferences flowed to Labor at 56% on top of 81% of Green preferences.
One Nation preferences pushed Lamb over the line. Back then they had 9.4% of the vote. This time they recently polled 18% and scored 20% or more in state seats in the area last year. This time they will most definitely preference the LNP, as it is called here, but some of its support will be drawn from Labor and may nevertheless return to Labor.
- Electors thought he was too young, too aloof, too cocky, and they didn’t like him being a key plotter in toppling Tony Abbott. And there were morality issues, like his stance on gay marriage, all of which culminated in One Nation directing preferences against him.
Graham Young identified immigration as a leading issue in Longman. Immigration!! Turnbull, Dutton and a whole string of LNP ministers have been warning of “African gangs” in Melbourne. This is quite intentional, completely misleading, and utterly despicable. I’ll say more in Saturday salon.
The electorate is one of the least multicultural in the country in a near-metropolitan seat*. Young has a good description of the demographic:
Longman is typical of the outer-ring suburban seats that decide the fate of governments in Australia: full of new families, and retirees, a feeder suburb where people leave home to go to work, trading mortgage payments against miles in the car.
These are aspirational voters, with realism. They take modest steps towards their goals and tend to be frugal and careful.
Nestled between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, it has two major population centres – Caboolture/Morayfield and Bribie Island – and a swathe of hinterland.
Caboolture was a dairying centre with some small cropping and farming. Today most of Queensland’s strawberries, for example, are still grown in the area.
Morayfield was tacked under it, and is an urban area threaded by ribbon industrial and retail development along the major roads.
Bribie Island is a rapidly developing economy, beachside retirement area. You can buy a new house and land there for $349,900 – or for $386,000 you’ll get waterfront and a marina berth.
Only two things wrong there. Longman is not typical, it’s unique. And it’s misleading to typify the population as “aspirational”. It has a large population of retirees, and more than a few in bushland retreats.
Here’s the map:
The Sunshine Coast begins top right at Caloundra. Brisbane proper probably ends with Strathpine in the south. North Lakes is a new dormitory suburb development, which is mostly outside the electorate. Here’s Google:
I highlights the Glasshouse Mountains, because they dominate the area, although the electorate appears to wrap around to the west, taking in Woodforde, of Woodford Folk Festival fame. Australia Zoo founded by Steve Irwin is somewhere in that area.
Here’s how people voted:
Down the bottom there Kallangur East voted Labor, and the single booth in North lakes voted LNP. The strip up the middle – Kallangur, Narangba, Burpengary, Morayfield, Caboolture – is where Labor has a chance.
Big Trev (he is big), Trevor Ruthenberg, the LNP candidate, was representing the Caboolture area in the Newman government when funds were ripped out of Caboolture Hospital and 730 nurses lost their jobs. Apparently voters will be reminded of this today by Labor by means of a robo-text as they go to vote. Not sure that’s smart.
The AFR took a look at promised spending for Mayo, Longman and Braddon. Here’s the LNP:
If you think that is big, take a look at this:
Of course, we are not told how many years that will take. Labor is hitting health in a big way, but $120 million goes to a new university campus in Moreton Bay, which will benefit other electorates.
The extra Centrelink staff are not to be sneezed at. Longman has high youth unemployment.
I can’t understand the headline figures on the tables, so here are two bits from the text:
- Labor’s promises in Longman have reached $155 million in the nine-week byelection campaign, more than three times the $44.6 million for the LNP.
In Braddon, Labor has promised more than $183.2 million, compared with the Coalition’s $122.7 million.
Chris Bowen, in an AFR piece I can’t find on the web, pointed out that Labor is fully committed to a Gonski spend of $31 billion over a decade, and an NDIS commitment of $63 billion. The LNP has not indicated where this order of funds will be found elsewhere in the budget while committing to corporate tax cuts of $80 billion and personal tax cuts of $140 billion.
This election matters, and it’s not about Bill Shorten’s leadership.
About which, if Shorten wins both, or loses one, his leadership will be secure. Turnbull will jump for joy, because then he faces Shorten at the next election and he can continue his ‘kill Bill’ strategy. If Labor loses two, chances are Turnbull will go straight to the polls to make sure Labor doesn’t have a chance to change leaders.
Here’s a bit of voter interaction Turnbull and Ruthenberg did not expect.
Ruthenberg spent six years in the RAAF, has lived overseas, and prior to entering state parliament was CEO to the Lutheran Church of Australia.
As such I’m prepared to consider him an honest bloke, although careless about how he described his army medal. More importantly, has anyone asked him about climate change. A fair swag of his electorate lives on sand barely above sea level, and vulnerable to saltwater penetration.
No need to ask Georgina Downer what she thinks about climate change. When Naomi Klein got stuck into the IPA on the matter, we got this:
- Georgina Downer, an adjunct fellow at the IPA, responded, saying: “The IPA is absolutely committed to research and discussion of the facts.” She then went on to question how settled the science of climate change is.
Downer said: “The IPA is, we don’t have an IPA opinion on climate change per se. We have a committed line of research into the facts.”
Sounds like an intelligent person’s version of Malcolm Roberts.
Finally, here’s an image of the Glasshouse Mountains taken from Wild Horse Mountain:
It’s godzone country. For the featured image up top I’ve used Beerburrum, which looms large when you drive up that way. It’s emblematic of the mountain Susan Lamb has to climb. She actually needs a considerable swing her way, and for some reason when she explained her citizenship in terms of a personal story which was truly tragic, empathy seems a stretch too far for the people of Longman. In the Oz she was accused of lying and misleading parliament.
The electorate is one of the least multicultural in the country in a near-metropolitan seat.
This sentence appears to be misleading. I was trying to reflect Graham Young’s comment:
- Multiculturalism and identity politics aren’t important things in Longman. Most people are of European extraction, and they are nationalists, not cosmopolitans.
In other words it would have been more appropriate to say it is one of the least racially diverse near-metropolitan electorates.
I’m thinking that immigration is likely to be important to the electors because of high youth unemployment, and the countryside is gradually being chewed up by urban expansion. I understand that there were around 6,000 more voters added to the roll since the 2016 election. The Young article contains this photo:
Update 2: Here’s where big Trev and Malcolm get some gratuitous advice from Toni Lea:
And here’s the sign that probably won Susan Lamb the seat, and which has the LNP packing it now: