Election Gets Willing As Preference Deals Announced; Turnbull Says Libs Will Put Greens Last

The Liberal Party has announced that it will preference the Labor Party ahead of the Greens in every electorate in the election.

The ALP has announced that it will preference the Liberal Party ahead of The Nationals in the rural seats of Murray (Vic), Durack and O’Connor (WA).

The Liberal Party decision is particularly important since it makes it very difficult for the Greens to make up ground in Batman, Wills and Melbourne Ports (Vic), and in Sydney and Grayndler (NSW). The decision all but guarantees that the ALP candidates will win these seats. Late last week, the Greens announced that they would preference the ALP ahead of the Liberals in the inner-city Melbourne seats.

The decision could make Melbourne difficult for the Greens member Adam Bandt, who will need to maintain his primary vote to overcome the lack of Liberal preferences.

The ALP’s preferences in the three rural seats will also prevent The Nationals increasing their numbers in the Coalition, relative to the Liberal Party. ALP preferences will be of particular value in Murray, where the new Liberal candidate, Duncan McGauchie, faces a strong Nationals contender, Damian Drum. [Read more…]


“Our Policy Is Clear” – Liberals Pounce On ALP’s Border Protection Dissension

The Liberal Party has seized on dissension in Labor ranks over offshore processing of asylum seekers.

The ALP candidate for Melbourne, Sophie Ismail, went on the record today as favouring bringing asylum seekers to Australia and processing them here. Melbourne is held for the Greens by Adam Bandt.

The Liberals released the advertisement shown below. It quotes Ismail and other comments by retiring WA MP Melissa Parke and Tasmanian Senator Lisa Singh. The repeated “our policy is clear” comments from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten are taken from his media conference today where he was questioned about Ismail’s comments. [Read more…]


Melbourne: Two Kinds Of Politics

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m standing in front of Melbourne’s State Library. A large crowd has gathered for the Equal Love rally in support of gay marriage.

It’s a motley crowd. Many carry placards, one of which reads, “I can’t believe we’re still protesting this shit”. Others demand amendment of the Marriage Act. There are calls for equal rights and many challenges to the conventional definition of “family”.

My interest is to see how the election candidates fare. In a week’s time, the electorate of Melbourne will have a new member in the House of Representatives. This Federation seat, established in 1901 and represented by the ALP since 1904, may be about to reject the Labor candidate in favour of the Greens. [Read more…]


Day 27: What Are They Thinking?

Day 27 of my election campaign began with a hair-cut.

The salon I visit lies close to the boundary between the safe Liberal electorate of Goldstein and the safe Labor electorate of Hotham. The local members, Andrew Robb and Simon Crean, are leading lights in their respective parties and one or other man will be a senior minister after the election.

Paul, my hairdresser, tells me interest in the election has tailed off in the past couple of weeks. The political talk around the time Gillard deposed Rudd has been replaced by other concerns.

A lot of people are annoyed with both sides, Paul says. Some are saying they won’t vote or will vote informal. I tell him the electoral statistics show that most of these people won’t do what they say they will. Nevertheless, he says they’re disillusioned with what’s on offer.

“It’s as if two apprentices are after a craftsman’s job,” is Paul’s interpretation of the mood. [Read more…]


Lindsay Tanner Announces His Retirement

A history-making day in Australian politics has produced another unexpected turn of events with Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner announcing that he will retire from politics at the forthcoming election.

The announcement came at the end of new Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s first Question Time in the House of Representatives.

Tanner said he had approached former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd a couple of weeks ago and indicated he would not contest the election. He said the decision “is driven entirely and absolutely by matters of personal circumstances”.

Tanner was elected as the member for Melbourne at the 1993 election. He has served in six parliaments.

Hansard transcript of Lindsay Tanner’s statement to the House of Representatives.

Mr TANNER (Minister for Finance and Deregulation) (3:15 PM) —On indulgence, I rise to advise the House that I will not be contesting the forthcoming federal election. I just wish to outline some of the reasoning behind my decision. A couple of weeks ago I spoke with the then Prime Minister indicating that it was my intention not contest the coming election. He asked me to delay consideration of this decision, indeed to reconsider. He indicated that he wanted me to stay on as a minister even if I did choose to step down. I concurred with his request and we agreed that we would revisit the matter at the end of the parliamentary sitting period. In fact, we had an appointment scheduled for 9.30 this morning to consider this matter. As you all know, by one of those strange quirks of fate that tend to occur in politics, other matters intervened. So I found myself doing what I expected to do—namely, confirming my intention not to recontest the election—slightly later in the day to a different Prime Minister, the incoming Prime Minister. I am now formally advising the House of my decision. I have indicated to the incoming Prime Minister that I am equally happy to continue serving in my current ministerial position until the election or to step aside without demur should she choose to ask me to do so. [Read more…]


Essendon Wins 16th AFL Flag, Crushes Melbourne By 60 Points

5.30pm – Essendon has won today’s AFL Grand Final, defeating Melboune by 60 points. The final score was Essendon 19-21-135 to Melbourne 11-9-75.

EssendonEssendon has now won 38 of its last 41 matches and equals Carlton’s record of 16 premiership wins. The club has won 4 premierships since 1983.

The easy victory was never in doubt throughout the afternoon, reminiscent of the easy win Labor’s Bob Carr had over the Liberals’ hapless Kerry Chikarovski in NSW last year, or Jeff Kennett’s crushing defeat of Labor’s Joan Kirner in 1992. [Read more…]