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Seat of the week: Warringah

There are roughly as many seats in the House of Representatives as there are weeks until the next election. Time to get get cracking then on the 2016 election guide. Taking it from the top …

Tony Abbott’s electorate of Warringah covers Sydney’s affluent northern beaches from Manly north to Dee Why, extending inland to Balgowlah, Mosman, Middle Cove and Forestville. Out of the 150 federal electorates, it ranks fourth highest for median family income after Wentworth, North Sydney and Curtin. Warringah accommodated the entire northern beaches as far as the Hawkesbury River from its establishment in 1922 until 1949, when the creation of Mackellar caused it to be reoriented around Mosman and Seaforth. A relatively static population has since seen it expand back to the north over successive redistributions, recovering Manly in 1969 and being anchored on the north shore of Port Jackson thereafter.

Warringah has been never been held by Labor, and has only once slipped from Liberal control since the party’s foundation in 1944. That occasion was in March 1969 when one-term member and instant loose cannon Edward St John raised concerns in parliament over then Prime Minister John Gorton’s indiscreet behaviour with a female journalist, prompting him to resign from the party pending expulsion. St John contested as an independent at the election the following October, but was only able to poll 20.6% against 50.2% for Liberal candidate Michael Mackellar. Mackellar went on to serve in the Fraser government as minister first for immigration and then for health, resigning from the latter role in 1982 over a failure to declare to customs a television set he brought into the country.

The mid-term retirement of Mackellar in February 1994 initiated a by-election at which the seat safely passed to its present incumbent, Tony Abbott. Abbott had famously studied to become a priest after leaving school, but soon became set on a course for parliament via student politics, a stint as a journalist with The Bulletin, and the position of press secretary to Opposition Leader John Hewson. After securing a safe seat in parliament at the age of 36, Abbott became a parliamentary secretary with the election of the Howard government in 1996, winning promotion to cabinet as Employment Services Minister after the 1998 election and then to workplace relations in 2001 and health and ageing in 2003.

Abbott first publicly declared his leadership ambitions after the Howard government’s defeat in 2007, but he withdrew from the contest when it became clear he would not have the numbers. In late November 2009 he was one of a number of front-benchers who quit as part of a revolt against leader Malcolm Turnbull’s support for the government’s emissions trading scheme, which initiated a leadership spill. Presumed favourite Joe Hockey was unexpectedly defeated in the first round, and Abbott prevailed over Turnbull in the second 42 votes to 41. Abbott’s first year in the leadership saw Kevin Rudd deposed as prime minister in favour of Julia Gillard and Labor lose its majority at the August 2010 election, but he was unable to secure the necessary support of independents in order to form government.

Despite weak personal approval ratings attributed to his abrasive political style, Abbott’s hold on the party leadership was consolidated during Labor’s second term by crushing opinion poll leads on voting intention, which eventually wrought the downfall of a second Labor prime minister on Abbott’s watch in June 2013. Abbott became Australia’s twenty-eighth prime minister after the Coalition easily defeated Labor and its newly returned leader Kevin Rudd at the ensuing election on September 7, gaining a national two-party swing of 3.4% and securing what appears at the time of writing to be an absolute majority of 16 seats.

UPDATE (Essential Research): The new government’s first opinion poll is testament either to the absence of a honeymoon bounce, or the particular pollster’s tendency towards constancy in its results. The poll is from Essential Research and is the normal fortnightly rolling average, which it to say half of it was conducted over the weekend of the election itself. It has the Coalition on 44% (45.6% at the election on current figures), Labor on 36% (33.6%) and the Greens (9%). The published 53-47 two-party preferred (the current election result being 53.4-46.6) is weaker for Labor than the primary vote shifts suggest it should be, which may be because they are still using preference allocations from 2010.

Further questions finding 38% thinking the election of micro-parties to the Senate “good for democracy” against 25% for bad, although I’d like to see more specific questions in relation to this topic. Forty-four per cent believe the lack of a Coalition Senate majority will make for benefit against 30% for worse. Respondents were asked about various aspects they might expect to get better or worse under the new government, including the surprising finding that cost of living and interest rates are expected to be worse. Other questions relate to the country’s economic outlook, all of which you can see here.

  • 1001
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Stand by folks – today looks like being the day that Abbott announces his comedic line up for ministry and cabinet.

    Turnbull’s time bomb. The cost of the NBN is a variable feast depending on whether or not one uses a lifeltime cost basis amd what time horizon is used. True to form the Libs only use up front cost to establish and they ignore operating expense. And that’s without reference to capacaity and capability.
    So Abbott wants some dignity back in parliament. Sure, Tone, you and your mob have been shining exemplars this last four years.
    Alan Moir at the ALP post mortem.
    David Rowe on the task ahead for Shorten and/or Albo.
    And you’ve got to see this one from Cathy Wilcox again!

    It might be a bit too early for this today as there is precious little choice to select from.

  • 1002
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 6:10 am | Permalink


    Is it not marvelous that the MSM discover the copper problem AFTER the election ?

  • 1003
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    And from the Land of the Free –

    Some cartoons on the Repugs’ obstructionism.
    Bill Nye, the Science Guy, schools the Repugs on science on the Bill Maher Show.
    A very moving Thai commercial.
    Bill Maher on gun control.

  • 1004
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    I think the people expect a Parliament which is a genuine debating chamber and not just a chamber where the Government bludgeons the Opposition.”

    Oh sure Tony. Totally believable. Let’s see your story when the Senate takes its time debating your legislation.

  • 1005
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Also totally believable coming from Tony “I move that this snivelling grub be no longer heard” Abbott.

  • 1006
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Mick77’s comments last night about Indonesian attitudes might be fine in a world where everyone thinks and behaves like we do. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Indonesia’s very existence and being is built on a strong sense of national pride. It’s not a country with a strong culture of “kiss and makeup” as we have. People who have been offended may never forgive, let alone forget. Indeed our relationship with Indonesia has been compromised (yet again) by ill thought out words and messages from our incoming Government. No doubt about it, judging from FM Natalegawa’s very strong words. The neo-colonialist sentiments that our new leaders have been expressing are deeply offensive to Indonesia. The consequences? Who knows, but Abbott can expect no favors from the Indonesians. None at all. They are deeply offended, and the damage will take years to restore. What Australians fail to realize is that Indonesia is a country that simultaneously is One Country yet it is an amalgam of many countries with wide cultural and linguistic diversity. By offending Indonesia’s sense of sovereignty, we are actually threatening Indonesia’s sense of existence. Its Government will feel compelled to respond to this threat. Its responses will not seem logical to us. Its responses may be harmful to Indonesian interests in the short term. The responses will be subtle and their impact will not necessarily be readily apparent in the short term. But as a result of the threat that our new Government poses to Indonesia, and its sense of nationhood, it will respond. And if we think our relationship with our largest neighbour is not an issue, think again.

  • 1007
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 6:59 am | Permalink


    Hilarious stuff from the Blood Oaf who called for “a kinder gentler polity” in 2010.

  • 1008
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 6:59 am | Permalink


    A few weeks ago when TA said something similar which came up on the radio, I made a comment about not having strong memories of TA behaving civilised to JG. The guys at work either laughed or nodded in agreement.

  • 1009
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    In a nutshell, Indonesia as a country will feel it has lost face. How it responds will be unpredictable. But once an Indonesian has lost face, little will be logical viewed from our western perspective. Julie Bishop and Tony Abbott have a lot of work to do. A hell of a lot more than a civil cup of tea between PMTA and SBY. Our diplomats in Jakarta will be absolutely distraught at the moment. JB will have experienced the civil service equivalent of a thorough bollocking last week.

    It’s just as well the wet season is looming. Otherwise, the floodgates on new boat arrivals might just have opened. Very easy and quick revenge for Indonesia, with no domestic impact in Australia, and serious political impact on our new Government.

    All that hard bi-lateral work behind the scenes to stop the boats from the Indonesian end down the drain…..

  • 1010
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:02 am | Permalink


    I’m sorry we never seem to be here together. This pic you linked brought a tear of nostalgia to my eye.

    Here’s a photo we won’t see any time soon under the coalition..female PM cabinet ministers & ministers #auspol pic.twitter.com/CBAX1tG5Zu— Linda White (@LindaWhiteASU) September 15, 2013

  • 1011
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Could there be any greater spin around the facts when Abbott says Parliament should be better behaved? This is the arrogance that leads Libs supporters to nod sagely and talk of “the grown-ups are back in charge”. Unbelievable self-delusion.

  • 1012
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    No doubt Boerwar will have strong views about this, which he will express far better than I can. After many years living in Jakarta, I have only scratched the surface in trying to understand how Indonesians think.

    Natalegawa will have taken deep personal,offence. His ANU doctorate is a deep source of pride to him. He will have lost enormous face, personally, through TA and JB’s actions already.

  • 1013
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:08 am | Permalink


    I doubt it will take that long to repair, it hasn’t really been damaged yet. The Coalition need to make a decision as to whether it is worth implementing their “policy” or damaging our relationship.with Indonesia. Which is more important.

  • 1014
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    NSW senator Arthur Sinodinos, who ran John Howard’s office when he was prime minister, will not be appointed to cabinet but will be given a portfolio in the outer ministry.

    Instead, shadow assistant treasurer Mathias Cormann is expected to enter cabinet and become finance minister when Tony Abbott unveils his new ministry on Monday.

    Senior Coalition sources said there had been “question marks” raised internally over the last week about whether Senator Sinodinos may have to appear before a corruption inquiry related to a directorship he once held. Senator Sinodinos, a renowned figure inside the Coalition and former National Australia Bank executive, maintains he has done nothing wrong and his colleagues support him.

    While senior sources suggested this was the reason for his shock omission from cabinet, one official dismissed this, saying it had never been planned to promote Senator Sinodinos to cabinet straight away, even though it was widely expected.

    Instead, he will move from the ranks of parliamentary secretaries to the outer ministry.


  • 1015
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/politics/tony-abbott-and-our-new-murdochracy/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=IA+Newsletter%3A+The+new+regime&utm_source=YMLP&utm_term=SuppositoryOfWisdom.jpg think this article is true

  • 1016
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Ah, Bemused has returned to continue his hagiography of Rudd. When you ignored the headline grabbing outliers and looked at the average of polls, Labor were sitting on 46-54 with Gillard.

    Rudd, having leaked during the 2010 election (and cost Labor a majority) and then continued to leak and destabilize his own party for 3 YEARS ended up doing barely any better. Saved the furniture, indeed. :lol:

    If there was any uncertainty that Rudd wasn’t a loon, it was made absolutely clear when he made his ridiculously long concession speech.

  • 1017
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Not a new tweet, but good.

    “I’m against chemical weapons … using toxic chemicals on unsuspecting civilians is purely evil. But enough about Monsanto. About Syria…”

  • 1018
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Differences of philosophy aside, the inconsistency of bemused arguments really irritates me. So after getting a significant poll jump, which fell away quickly, like plenty of people, including myself, predicted would happen, bemused argues that the result is somehow due to residual “Gillard effect”. This is despite the ugly and public way Gillard and her strongest supporters went to the backbench and basically said nothing at all. It simply doesn’t make sense. It implies some kind of state where the public forgot who was actually PM.

  • 1019
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Not only is there only one woman in in a 30 man Cabinet, she has had her wings clipped, with Abbott adding a second senior foreign adviser to his staff, and Robb and Macfarlane being handed significant aspects of the trade portfolio.

    In the Abbott Cabinet Bishop has been given the mettaphorical jobs of washing and stacking the dishes.

    How humiliatement.

  • 1020
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:26 am | Permalink


    I looked up the pronunciation of hagiography as I have never heard it spoken, and was delighted to find this description:

    a biography that treats its subject with undue reverence
    . . .
    a hagiography which is designed to serve a political agenda

    You’ve made my day :lol:

  • 1021
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:27 am | Permalink


    I don’t know how many, but almost certainly millions of people would starve to death if all Monsanto chemical products were taken off the shelves tomorrow.

    In just one example, the absence of glyphosate would hand a significant proportion of crop productivity straight back to weeds.

    The world’s population is serioulsy chemicals-dependent. I am sure that the chemicals companies like it that way and encourage it.

    But humans do make choices.

  • 1022
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Suppose Bishop Senior has ordered the wig gown and all the reg

  • 1023
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Bugler @ 1018


  • 1024
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    gee that was fast never seen a comment posted so fast before, before I had even finished anyway guess you get the idea about Bishop Senior

  • 1025
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink


    You are welcome!

  • 1026
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink


    I understand the argument you always bring forward, but somewhere in the history of chemical use people have been blinded by the power of the companies to persuade us that the chemicals are harmless. It takes years before each one is found not to be so DDT is of course the obvious example). Somewhere in outer space, a genius is adding up the benefits and subtracting the harm done, and I’m not convinced the answer would be in favour of companies like Monsanto.

  • 1027
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:28 am | PERMALINK
    Suppose Bishop Senior has ordered the wig gown and all the reg

    I know of one going cheap, hardly used and should fit like a slipper.

  • 1028
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    good on Gillard for setting up the child abuse royal commission.

  • 1029
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:41 am | Permalink


    Speaking of weeds. I make occasional forets into edible weed identification, and have discovered that a recent little plant which has proliferated in dry parts of my garden is the Common Bittercress, whose young leaves taste exactly like watercress.

    Apparently it is a scourge of nurseries. I shall keep a patch of it as I have no suitable ground for the “real” watercress.

  • 1030
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:44 am | Permalink


    But he was a good Speaker. I personally am not going to miss his presence, a hypocritical conservative arsewipe, but I din’t think you can doubt his ability to control the House. Bishop Snr may well be reveared in conservative circles, bit within the general public, Labor and the Crossbenchers, not so much. I expect her to be of the same standard as the current Victorian Speaker. Dismal.

  • 1031
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Morning all

    Speaking of our relationship with Indonesia, i take it buying our way into better relations is not goimg to cut it??

  • 1032
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Bugler @ 1013. I’m sorry. You’re wrong. The damage HAS been done. It was palpable from Natalegawa’s comments last week. The point is: Indonesians take issues of national pride/nationalism/loss of face far far more seriously than we do as a country. We wear our nationalism lightly. Indonesians don’t. It’s the heart and soul of their sense of nationhood. That’s what Foreign Affairs is all about I guess. Understanding the differences between people’s and cultures, and working through respective positions and perspectives, and coming to an understanding. It’s called diplomacy. So far, I’m afraid, PMTA and FMJB have failed miserably in their interaction with Indonesia. Anyone who understands the nuances of Indonesian behaviour and language knows what I mean. Most Australians don’t, sadly. We still have the island continent mentality.

  • 1033
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    And I would be saying the same for Julia Gillard and Bob Carr if they had behaved in the same way towards Indonesia. The decision to suspend live cattle trade was a stupid one and did cause damage which has not been fully repaired. But nothing like the scale of Abbott’s chest beating about turning back boats, and buying boats, and intervening in Indonesia’s internal security. These are all direct insults that offend Indonesia’s sense of sovereignty. It’s why they are such serious matters.

  • 1034
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    @melanie_james: Tony Abbott Cartoon inThe Jakarta Post http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/09/10/tony-abbott.html … via @jakpost – missed this one pic.twitter.com/gQaKYUd2yp

  • 1035
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Morning all! What a beautiful day it is in paradise.

    Differences of philosophy aside, the inconsistency of bemused arguments really irritates me.

    I really don’t see the point of engaging with bemused about the ALP. Like Thomas Paine, Rudd’s defeat has caused him to detach from reality, such that he (and TP) are not exhibiting anything even remotely approaching rational thought.

    Everyone else knows the truth about Rudd’s behaviour, and what he did to his own party and his party’s leadership. If there are a very small minority who prefer to view things a prism of delusion, then I say let them be with their fantasies. Just scroll past.

  • 1036
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink


    I wholeheartedly agree with you re the conduct of Bishop/Abbott/Morrison. What is particularly disturbing were the claims made by them that they had secret talks with Indonesia re turning back the boats

  • 1037
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink


    I’m simply suggesting that the Indonesian government would be willing to forgive an Abbott government if they abandon their policies, perhaps in favour of the AS policy Labor took to the election or a variant of the Malaysian solution. Knowing the Coalition it isn’t certain they will accept this gesture from the Indonesians, and what you describe will occur.

  • 1038
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Where are the AUstralian media reports of this trashing of our relationship with Indonesia by a govt which hasn’t even been sworn in yet!

  • 1039
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink


    The asylum seeker issue is a very low order matter for Indonesia.

  • 1040
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Do we have a ministry list yet? I’m keen to see who gets to be parliamentary secretary for fish.

  • 1041
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink


    Our delicate relationship with Indonesia was reported extensively in years gone by. Such is the nature of our msm now, we get absolute crap,shit, whatever you want to call it. It is beyond pathetic

  • 1042
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Paul Sheehan unwittingly coins a new term for AUstralia under an Abbott govt: Abbottoir.


  • 1043
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink


    Yes, that was a bit of an emotional post. I was just annoyed he used one of my comments, removed its context and meaning and used it to fuel his bitterness.

  • 1044
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 8:13 am | Permalink


    It isn’t surprising that’s for sure.

  • 1045
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 8:14 am | Permalink


    That’s what he does. It’s why it’s best to just scroll past and ignore him.

  • 1046
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink


    But insulting their sovereignty is not.

  • 1047
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    The problem with asylum seekers, from an Indonesian perspective, is they simply don’t see it as their problem. None of the asylum seekers are there because they want to be. It is only a stepping stone to Australia. Once they’re gone, Indonesia sees it as none of its business. Because of past goodwill towards Australia, Indonesia has been trying to stem the flow, notwithstanding the insurmountable challenges it faces due to a combination of lack of resources (patrol boats etc), geography (a vast heavily populated island archipelago, poverty and corruption. Arrests have been made. Police officers and army officers have already been gaoled in Indonesia recently for people smuggling offences. I can’t imagine the Indonesians will feel much motivation now to continue those efforts.

  • 1048
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    I agree with you about chemicals and weeds. We’re hooked. We need them to survive and yet overall they are more harmful than good. And the trend is not our friend.

    Eating weeds is an interesting hobby. It is probably where it all started…

  • 1049
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    …it all started in the sense that weeds were what would have grown back when deserted or annual camps near water holes were revisited…

  • 1050
    Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    WA Liberal powerbroker Mathias Cormann will continue his stellar rise in Federal politics today when he is named in Tony Abbott’s first Cabinet.

    Senator Cormann, who replaced Ian Campbell as WA senator in 2007, is expected to be made finance minister.

    Mr Abbott will unveil a streamlined Cabinet that revives Howard government-era lines of ministerial responsibility and elevate international tourism to a national priority.

    The Prime Minister-elect has decided to dispense with the multi-pronged ministerial titles that blossomed under the Rudd-Gillard government and adopt a back-to-basics approach.

    Rather than having up to five ministers handling one portfolio – as Labor did with education – Mr Abbott will have a single minister each for education, defence, environment, health and communications.


    Reportedly coming into the outer ministry are the ghastly Senator Cash, Marise Payne, Sussan Ley and Jamie Briggs. Kelly O’Dwyer, Alan Tudge, Steve Ciobo and Josh Frydenberg. Barnaby to be given Agriculture it would seem.