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New Zealand politics

Feb 23, 2012

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.

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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.


Scringler et al

Come over to


[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.


It got linked earlier, but I think anyone backing Rudd here should listen to what John Mendoza has to say.

Pretty damning.

The Finnigans

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 –


[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


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

They hate Gillard too.


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.


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.

Player One

[ They have a problem with the keyboard. ]

They? How many people post under the same name? It would explain a few things, though 🙂


[ what about Spike Milligan ]

Dead set spot on, ruawake.

We need some sanity around here.


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?

Greensborough Growler
Greensborough Growler

Morgan shows swing to Labor. +1.5. Labor has election winning lead if preferences distributed as per previous election.


[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).


Rudd promised to not challenge Gillard again. If he does is he as bad as Gillard re “No carbon tax …” ?


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.


From Frank’s place:

#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]

This little black duck
This little black duck

They have a problem with the keyboard.

The least of their problems.


[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.