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New Zealand politics

Feb 23, 2012

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The government is down a Foreign Minister this evening (the Canberra Times reports on the likely shape of the looming reshuffle, in case you were wondering), and by all accounts the Prime Minister will seek to clear the air tomorrow by calling a leadership spill for Monday. This makes the timing of the next Newspoll very interesting indeed: usually it reports on Monday evening, but it occasionally emerges a day earlier. The Prime Minister would presumably prefer that the matter be resolved before it comes out rather than after.

Beyond that, I do not venture to guess what will occur, beyond observing the consensus view that Kevin Rudd will be seeking to wound rather than kill, as he starts far behind on most caucus head-counts. Two such have been published: an error-ridden effort from The Weekend Australian which was corrected the following Monday, and this from the Sydney Morning Herald. The former was rather kinder to Rudd. There are 51 out of 103 whom The Oz and the SMH agree are firm for Gillard, and 30 whom they agree are firm for Rudd. There are four agreed Gillard leaners and four agreed Rudd leaners. The Oz has six down as undecided, but the SMH has everyone as either firm or leaning.

Gillard supporters: Albanese, O’Neill, Combet, Clare, Fitzgibbon, Owens, Arbib, Thistlethwaite, Garrett, Bird, Grierson, Plibersek, Burke (NSW); Shorten, O’Connor, King, Feeney, Macklin, Gillard, Dreyfus, Danby, Roxon, Marles (Vic); Ripoll, Emerson, Perrett, Ludwig, Hogg, Neumann, Swan, D’Ath (Qld); Evans, Gray, Sterle, Smith (WA); McEwen, Farrell, Ellis, Butler, Georganas (SA); Julie Collins, Sidebottom (Tas); Leigh, Brodtmann, Lundy (ACT); Snowdon (NT).

Oz says Gillard lean, SMH says firm for Gillard: Rowland (NSW), Livermore (Qld), Gallacher (SA).

Oz says undecided, SMH says firm for Gillard: Hayes (NSW), Jenkins, Jacinta Collins, Kelvin Thomson (Vic).

Oz says Rudd lean, SMH says firm for Gillard: Craig Thomson (NSW), McLucas (Qld), Rishworth (SA).

Gillard leaners: Craig Thomson, Bradbury (NSW); Bilyk, Polley (Tas).

Oz says undecided, SMH says Gillard lean: Symon (Vic), Singh (Tas).

Oz says Rudd lean, SMH says Gillard lean: Laurie Ferguson (NSW), Champion (SA).

Oz says firm Rudd, SMH says firm Gillard: Melham (NSW).

Rudd leaners: Murphy (NSW); Pratt (WA); Adams, Lyons (Tas).

Rudd supporters: Bowen, Cameron, Husic, Saffin, Hall, Faulkner, Elliott, Kelly, McClelland, Jones, Stephens (NSW); Griffin, Burke, Byrne, Cheeseman, Marshall, Carr, Smyth, Vamvakinou, Ferguson (Vic); Moore, Rudd, Furner (Qld); Bishop, Parke (WA); Zappia (SA); Urquhart, Brown, Sherry (Tas); Crossin (NT).

If you’re in the mood for diversion, as many have been lately, here is a review of some recent preselection action, in keeping with this site’s brief (together with an even more diverting diversion to New Zealand).

• The Liberals are mulling over whether to proceed with the endorsement of Garry Whitaker to run against Craig Thomson in Dobell, following allegations he has lived for years without council permission in an “ensuite shed” on his Wyong Creek property while awaiting approval to build a house there. Whitaker won a preselection vote in December, but there is talk the state executive might overturn the result and install the candidate he defeated, the Right-backed WorkCover public servant Karen McNamara. As for Labor, Imre Salusinszky of The Australian reports there is “no chance” Thomson will be preselected again, “with party strategists favouring the nomination fo a young woman to create maximum differentiation from the tainted MP”. One possibility is local councillor Emma McBride, whose father Grant McBride bowed out as state member for The Entrance at last year’s state election.

• Joanna Gash, who has held the south coast NSW seat of Gilmore for the Liberals since 1996, announced last month that she would not seek another term. She plans to move her political career down a notch by running in the direct election for mayor of Shoalhaven in September, which will not require her to resign her seat in parliament (UPDATE: A reader points out that the O’Farrell government is planning to change this, and that there is a strong chance it will do so before September.) Imre Salusinszky of The Australian reports the front-runner to succeed her as Liberal candidate is local deputy mayor Andrew Guile, a former staffer to Gash who has since fallen out with her. Salusinszky reports Guile is an ally of state Kiama MP Gareth Ward, “a member of the party’s Left faction who is influential in local branches”. Clive Brooks, owner of South Nowra business Great Southern Motorcycles and reportedly an ally of Gash, has also been mentioned as a possible contender, as have “conservative pastor Peter Pilt and former 2007 state election candidate Ann Sudmalis” (by Mario Christodoulou of the Illawarra Mercury).

• A Liberal Party preselection vote on Saturday will see incumbent Louise Markus challenged by aged-care lobbyist Charles Wurf in Macquarie. According to Imre Salusinszky in The Australian, local observers consider the contest too close to call: “A defeat of Ms Markus would be a stick in the eye to federal leader Tony Abbott, who backs sitting MPs, and to the state party machine, which does not wish to devote precious campaign resources to marketing an unknown in the ultra-marginal seat.”

• In Eden-Monaro, former Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Hendy is reckoned likely to win Liberal endorsement.

• Andrew Southcott, the Liberal member for the Adelaide seat of Boothby, is being challenged for preselection by Chris Moriarty, former state party president and operator of an export manufacturing firm. Daniel Wills of The Advertiser reports Moriarty is a close ally of former state Opposition Leader Martin Hamilton-Smith. Also challenging is Mark Nankivell, whom Wills rates as “little known” but rumoured to be supported by another former state leader, Iain Evans. Southcott’s lax fund-raising efforts are said to have angered many in the party.

• Also under challenge is Patrick Secker in the rural South Australian seat of Barker. He faces rivals in the shape of Mount Gambier lawyer Tony Pasin and Millicent real estate agent and Wattle Range councillor Ben Treloar, but Daniel Wills reports he is expected to prevail.

• New Zealand is conducting a review into its mixed member proportional electoral system, which received a strong endorsement from voters at a referendum held in conjunction with the November election. The main concern to have emerged is that candidates can run both in constituencies and as part of the party lists which are used to top up parties’ representation so that their parliamentary numbers are proportional to the votes cast. The most frequently cited anomaly here relates to the Auckland electorate of Epsom, which has been held since 2005 by Rodney Hine of the free-market Act New Zealand party. The National Party has an interest in the seat remaining in the Act New Zealand fold, as the party is its natural coalition partner and success in a constituency seat entitles it to a share of seats proportional to its vote (a failure to do so would require them to clear a 5 per cent national vote threshold). To this end it has formed the habit of running a candidate in the seat who is also given an unloseable position on the party list, so supporters can be reassured that he will have a seat even if he loses in Epsom. One possibility is that the problem might be lessened by lowering the threshold to 4 per cent, which is what the original royal commission into the electoral system recommended before MMP was introduced in 1996.

William Bowe — Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe

Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, is one of the most heavily trafficked forums for online discussion of Australian politics, and joined the Crikey stable in 2008.

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3095 comments

3,095 thoughts on “Gillard vs Rudd – the re-match

  1. [A sitting Prime Minister that didn’t have the courage to face up to his ‘greatest moral challenge’.

    I wouldn’t be talking about this too much any more now that we know Gillard had no intention of doing anything until Tony Abbott did! Which makes her worse than Howard on this issue. So luckily the Greens got the balance of power, otherwise you would still be waiting.]

    A sitting Foreign Minister that didn’t have the courage to hand his demission to his Prime Minister in person and say that he would challenge for the Prime Ministership but had to do it from 15,000 kms away.

  2. [work in the real world? Legislation would have to be amended – how is that going to be possible? Seriously? The Greens were the ones who insisted on the extended fixed price period. With the current Senate, they aren’t going to agree to any such amendments.]
    No this is a re-writing of history.

    The only reason there is a fixed period is because Labor and the Greens couldn\’t agree on what the upper and lower bounds of the ETS should be. The three year fixed period was something the multi party climate committee agreed to to resolve a deadlock where the Greens and Labor couldn\’t agree on a price.

    The Greens would be more than happy to go to a floating price earlier, it was what they wanted in the first place.

  3. Well, an American internet friend of mine described Rudd as refined and educated but wishy washy.

    The first was wrong the second two observations very correct. Wishy washy when it came to making decisions. Like sitting on the Henry Review for 12 months then announcing a 40% tax weeks before an election. Stupid!

  4. And the ALP WA Senate vote was 2.0797 quotas. Looks like either the National Party or the CDP will pick off the second ALP Senator there as well, if Gillard is still ALP leader by then.

  5. [The ALP Senate vote in QLD at the last election was 2.0585 quotas. If Gillard is at the helm of the ALP we can expect 3 LNP, 1Katter, 1 Green and 1 ALP next time.]
    Whereas with Rudd as leader Labor at least has a fighting chance of getting a swing to them in QLD.

    A 3.8% swing to Labor in QLD at the next election would bag them 6 seats.

    There is no way in hell Gillard would get any positive swing in QLD.

  6. The Greens would be more than happy to go to a floating price earlier, it was what they wanted in the first place.

    Er, no. The Greens were strongly advocating a carbon tax, and have for a long time. Specifically they argued that it was a simpler system, and wouldn’t be subject to financial engineering like a new market for the ETS would be.

    And at the moment, due to recessionary conditions in Europe, the existing trading systems have a carbon price significantly lower than the introductory price of the legislation. The Greens are not going to be keen on having that price fall, they want it as high as possible as quickly as possible.

    If the floor is set higher than any reasonable traded carbon price on the market today, then it is the same as a fixed price anyway, and will provide no “relief” for those poor industries who will be hardly affected by the carbon price anyway.

  7. Greentard, the caucus has heard everything you’re staying and still don’t want to touch Rudd. Why do you think that is? Or are you one of these ‘faceless men’ conspiracy theorists?

  8. Here is Oscar’s analysis

    If Rudd gets

    103 Rudd rooted
    102 Rudd rooted
    101 Rudd rooted
    less than 20 Rudd rooted

    If Gillard gets
    1 win
    2 win
    3 win
    less than 1, Rudd still rooted.

  9. @Greentard/3037,

    So instead of fighting in QLD, and maybe eventually being premier of QLD, he has the dumbest thing in the world by challenging PM.

    So it’s own fault really.

  10. [Current Fairfax count Gillard 68 Rudd 29 undecided 6 , 3 lean Gillard 3 lean Rudd.]

    All over red rover.

    Rudd should have STFU during the 2010 election – could help himself – blabbed to Oakes and coached O on how best to use the material

    Rudd should have worked cooperatively with the team when he returned to the front bench – decided instead to white ant the PM and party and consequently hurt Labor voters

    The sooner he is gone from parliament the better.

  11. Centrebet show Coalition at $1.30 and ALP at $3.42 for next election.

    Coalition at $1.20 for Lynne. Oakeshott $4.25.

    Coalition at $1.32 for New England, Windsor at $3.40.

  12. Green coprolite,

    The / has a legitimate use in the English language. Its misuse is extremely irritating.

    Kindly proceed in the general direction of … away.

  13. Ozymandias – my guess is that Greentard is here because he/she is an anthropologist who has stumbled on a lost tribe and is doing some field work. But I could be wrong.

  14. Well the reality will be that after this Gillard’s personal support levels will dive further as will Labor’s primary. And it will last for a while. This is my guess since she isn’t popular already.

    Rudd’s support levels may fall some too, but Abbott’s will probably rise.

    At the end of the day it will become very clear over months that Labor is absolutely and totally rooted under Gillard, and probably any third party candidate they later try.

  15. [Greentard, the caucus has heard everything you’re staying and still don’t want to touch Rudd. Why do you think that is? Or are you one of these ‘faceless men’ conspiracy theorists?]
    No I am not a conspiracy theorist, but it is clear to me that Rudd is a threat to the standard factional power base.

    Why else are all the Right factional leaders like Shorten, Arbib, Feeney, Conroy lining up behind Gillard? It is because Rudd\’s popularity amongst the general public is a threat to their power whereas Gillard\’s position in the leadership is completely reliant on the Right wing factional power base.

    I asked before if people here, even Gillard supporters, think that a completely secret ballot would be the fairest way of selecting the ministry?

    Well, if that is the case, shouldn\’t the same process apply to selecting the leader, instead of people showing each other their ballots?

    If Gillard\’s support is so inherently strong, and not part of the factional power, then she should be able to win a completely secret ballot.

  16. Greens on 24 right now saying they want the current scheme to go ahead – no tinkering.

    Rudd would the support of (giggle!) Abbott.

  17. [Centrebet show Coalition at $1.30 and ALP at $3.42 for next election.

    Coalition at $1.20 for Lynne. Oakeshott $4.25.

    Coalition at $1.32 for New England, Windsor at $3.40.]
    18 months out. Means bugger all.

  18. From Frank’s place:

    [gordongraham
    #Morgan F2F: Respondent Allocated Prefs: ALP 48 (+1.5), L/NP 52 (-1.5), 2010 Election Prefs: ALP 51.5 (+7), L/NP 48.5 (-7) …
    24/02/12 4:52 PM]

  19. Someone needs to tell Gillard that she ought to have chosen a more relevant cultural reference than Celebrity Big Brother, which only ever ran for 1 season on Australian television.

  20. [At the end of the day it will become very clear over months that Labor is absolutely and totally rooted under Gillard, and probably any third party candidate they later try.]
    The only options are sticking with Gillard and inevitably losing a 1996 style landslide, or switching to Rudd and winning a narrow majority (I don\’t mean another hung parliament).

  21. I have done no work today- how about some figures that this all has on productivity

    Go team Rudd!! To the back bench Arbib, conroy and Shorten…Crean i expected better from you….. Swan really is this a joke I don’t get?

  22. TOM – 29 votes makes Rudd VERY viable right now. And don’t forget it’ll probably be a secret ballot. Rudd has real supporters. We’ve still got to see what Julia has.

  23. Abbott has ruled out any deal with the Indies if Rudd gets in. Presumably he knows there isn’t a lot of love on the cross-benches for him.

  24. [Rudd promised to not challenge Gillard again. If he does is he as bad as Gillard re “No carbon tax …” ?]
    Yes I think so. Rudd won\’t need to challenge Gillard because she will inevitably resign, so the next leadership spill will be Rudd V Someone else.

    Of course Keating said he would only challenge Hawke once before the first ballott

  25. TheFinnigans天地有道人无道 ‏ @Thefinnigans Reply Delete Favorite · Open
    Latest: Julie Collins of Franklin, Tasmania supports PM Gillard – Gillard 61 Rudd 16 – bit.ly/zIqBQp

  26. [Greentard, you should really be posting over at Larvatus Prodeo.

    They hate Gillard too.]
    I don\’t \”hate\” Gillard.

    I simply don\’t think she can win the next election. To me that should be the ultimate test of who should be the party leader. Who has the best chance of winning the next election.

    For various reasons, some reasonable and some completely unfair, Gillard simply is not liked in the community. She is not considered trustworthy or believable by many Australians and the feeling is strong enough that some regular Labor supporters have no problem supporting the coalition even though it is lead by a very extreme leader.

    That should give you some clues about the level of dislike of Gillard in the community.

    I think Gillard has been a good administrator and legislator. But she simply is dragging the Labor brand down becuase people on a personal level don\’t like her.

  27. Hey Finns, what do you reckon his chances are of making it to 21?

    That also happens to be the world record number of people ever fitted into a mini. Mind you, they were Malaysian students, not Ruddistas.