Retiring MPS and their seats profiles for the next federal election

It’s been a busy week on the Federal Politics front even with Federal Parliament in its long Winter break. On the Covid front, half of the states of the Commonwealth have lockdown now as NSW continues to have large daily case numbers, due to a lethargic rollout of the lockdown and a pitiful vaccine rollout. In Victoria, cases are staying stubbornly in the double-digit range and the lockdown there has had to be extended. Meanwhile, SA has gone into at least a week lockdown and we now have 12 cases in the state. Meanwhile, on a poll front Labor have increased their leads in multiple polls as the Liberal NSW lockdown is starting to bite in the community. Newspoll has the poll at 53-47 to Labor while 2 separate polls from Essential and ReachTel had the polling numbers at 52-48 and 51.5-48.5. Where is the improvement from Labor coming from? Well, the big improvement is in WA where Labor has improved by 9% or 10% depending on the poll. That would put 4 MPS in WA from the Liberal Party at threat of losing their seats including Cabinet Ministers Ken Wyatt and Christian Porter. In this blog, however, I thought I’d mix things up and look at the retiring MPS announced so far for the next election and do a seat profile for their seats.

So, Labor has three retiring members of Parliament at this upcoming election thus far. The first and most prolific is Warren Snowden who was the member for Lingiari for the entirety of its existence since 2001 and was also the member for Northern Territory for 12 years while the seat was the Territories only seat. The seat of Lingiari is very sparse and diverse as it covers the entirety of the Northern Territory aside from the Electorate of Solomon which covers the city of Darwin. As such it is a highly Indigenous populated seat which adds extra complexity to the seat. Over the years it has been fairly safe Labor although it has become more marginal over the last few elections. With the retirement of Warren Snowden, it is still probably a Labor hold but the Country Liberals will be chasing a win in the seat. The Labor Party have preselected a very popular former member of Arafura and former Deputy Chief Minister in Marion Scrymgour while the Liberal Party have preselected the current mayor of Alice Springs in Damien Ryan. Next, we move onto the seat of Fowler which has been held by Labor in the entirety of its history and has been held by retiring member Chris Hayes since 2010 after he served as a member for Werriwa for five years. Chris Hayes was never a Minister but he did hold the procedural role of chief government whip in the Rudd and Gillard governments. The Electorate of Fowler is in the outer metropolitan areas of Sydney and is rated as the most disadvantaged electorate economically in the country. As I said earlier Fowler has always been Labor held and I would expect another comfortable win for Labor in this seat at the next election. The last Labor electorate I will touch on of retiring Labor MPs is the seat of Spence which is held currently by the member evicted under 94a the most Nick Champion. Nick Champion announced his retirement from Federal Politics early this year after winning preselection for the safe state seat of Taylor. Nick Champion has held Spence since its creation in 2019 and before that held the seat of Wakefield since 2007. Interestingly Wakefield used to be a safe as nails Liberal seat being most famously held by the likes of former speaker Neil Andrew and former ministers under Hughes, Lyons, Menzies, Holt, Gorton and McEwen. Spence is located in the Northern Outer Metropolitan area of Adelaide and is as such a largely working-class seat, it, therefore, comes as not a huge surprise that it is a safe Labor seat, indeed the safest Labor seat in the state. The Labor and Liberal parties are yet to preselect anyone for the seat and indeed there has been some kerfuffle from the Labor Party about who they will preselect as the former daughter of Treasurer John Dawkins has wanted to run for the seat and has been blocked by a male factional stitch-up. Spence will be a safe Labor hold at the next election.

Now onto the Liberal Party and there have been 3 retirements so far from the lower house to go along with the retirement of Scott Ryan in the Senate. What makes the Liberal Party retirements more interesting is I think there’s a real chance of Labor winning all 3 seats at the next election. We will start with the most high profile of the retirees and that’s Tony Smith the current speaker of the House who I talked about in my last political blog. The Electorate of Casey has existed since 1969 and in recent times has been a Liberal seat albeit a more marginal one. The seat of Casey is located outer suburbs of Eastern Metropolitan Melbourne. The seat has been held by a few ministers as well as two speakers, one being Tony Smith and the other being Bob Halverson. Labor and the Greens have gone with their candidates from 2019 and Preferences may well end up deciding this seat, I would favour the Liberals to just hold on however but it is a big personal vote to lose. Boothby is the seat currently held by Nicole Flint who has bravely held the seat since 2016. She is a not at all shy Conservative and as such faced harsh and at times crossed the line attacks from the Labor Party and Getup. Boothby has been Liberal-held since 1949 and although it is a marginal seat, is one that Labor always are keen to target but for a myriad of reasons never seem to be able to get the job done of winning the seat. It is currently Liberal-held by a shade under 1.4% so is in real danger of being lost to Labor however there has been no preselection by Labor in the area yet and the Liberal Candidate Rachel Swift has been able to get out on the ground and run a strong campaign already. The most famous member for Boothby was Steele Hall who was Premier of South Australia. This is an interesting seat to call in so far as Labor should be favourites to win the seat, however with no candidate announced yet in the seat the Liberals might just hang on here again. The seat covers the southern outer metropolitan areas of Adelaide. The last Liberal Seat I am going to touch is the seat of Bowman in Queensland. The seat has been held by Andrew Laming since 2004 and probably would have been held by him for the foreseeable future until some alleged naughty behaviour out of parliament caught up with him and saw him first retire from the seat and then be disendorsed by the Liberals when he tried to renominate for the seat. Con Sciacca is the most famous member of Bowman has served as a Minister under Paul Keating. Bowman is located in the Eastern Metropolitan areas of Brisbane. Labor has preselected Indigenous health advocate Donisha Duff while the Liberals have gone with Henry Pike. Henry Pike has been in some controversy for fat-shaming a woman which is not a good look given the history of the last member for Bowman. this seat is held by over 10% which puts it in the safe column and yet I have an inkling it might be in the most danger of being lost by the Liberals given the reason the former member has lost the seat.

Lastly, we have the retiring Nationals members, and there are two of them, both of whom were Barnaby Joyce supporters of which you can take from that what you will. The most high profile is the member for Dawson George Christensen. Now his seat has often been quite marginal in his term of office but ballooned out at the last election with a plus 11% swing to Christensen thanks to some favourable votes for One Nation and United Australia Party. The most famous members of Dawson are all former Ministers, two being Nats members and one being a Whitlam Minister in one of the rare times the seat hasn’t been held by the Nats. Now George Christensen at one stage was famously referred to as the member for Manilla for his frequent overseas trips to the region during one of his terms in office. Dawson is a Rural seat in Queensland taking in the towns of Mackay and parts of South Eastern Townsville. Barnaby Joyce does not want to see George go using an answer in question time to publicly plea for him to stay on as a member. This is due to a large personal following in the area and despite the safe margin of the seat, Queensland can swing wildly from one election to the next so while I would favour the Coalition to hold this seat it could be closer than some may expect Labor has preselected Shane Hamilton to run in Dawson, he is a coal mine worker. Flynn is the other seat I will touch on in this profile and it is held currently by the Nats member Ken O’Dowd who is a huge fan of Coal. Flynn is another of the marginal Liberal/National seats going into 2019 that saw a large swing to the Nats at the election again due to favourable vote pickups by United Australia and One Nation. Flynn is a Rural Queensland seat and it extends from the far reaches of Gladstone to as far west as the rural city of Emerald. Both major parties have preselected candidates for Flynn with Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett running for Labor while the former member for Callide is running for the Coalition. This is another relatively safe Liberal/National seat that will be one to watch on election night although I’d favour the Nats hanging on here.

Thanks for reading my weekly blog, stay tuned next week for another blog on politics.

Week in Politics – NDIS, Tony Smith Retires and other mishmash

It’s been a busy week in Federal Politics despite the Parliament being in its long Winter Break. Covid-19 continues to run rampant over Australian Politics as Sydney continues in its soon to be a 4-week lockdown, Victoria is about to enter another lockdown and SA have posted restrictions. Meanwhile elsewhere there’s been a win for NDIS Participants as Independent Assessments have been quashed by state governments. In sad news for the integrity of the Parliament Tony Smith has announced he will retire from Federal Politics at the next election which is a shame because he has been a great speaker after a shocking few years under Partisan Bronwyn Bishop. Then in UK Politics, the debate over cuts to foreign aid in the budget has reached a fever pitch as the impact of what those cuts mean for the UK on a local and international level takes place. In this blog, I will cover all these topics in-depth as well as other issues.

So, on the Covid-19 scenario, it is clear that NSW acted too slowly to rollout the lockdown and now they are paying the price by having to implement a harsher lockdown, that being said if the Federal Government had rolled out the vaccine better it would have also been a different can of worms. Then Covid-19 came back to Victoria and SA with a few cases and in this case, the two states have been proactively rolling out a lockdown and also increased restrictions. On the NDIS, the participants and advocates for a better NDIS had a win last week when the states and territory ministers banded together to block Independent assessments. To put into perspective why it’s a good thing, Independent Assessments were a code to try and cut NDIS funding to participants and would also involve asking invasive questions of participants such as questions about their sex life. It’s an interesting one because the government are trying to say the NDIS Spend is out of control and needs to be brought into line but the reality is that at the moment there has been an underspend in the NDIS to what has been budgeted as it has been so woefully rolled out. I wouldn’t breathe easy just yet as a Disability advocate because the government still want to do something to make the scheme more cost functional so watch this space to see what draconian measure the government try next on the NDIS. As I said above Tony Smith has announced he is retiring from Federal Politics effective at the next election. It’s a loss for the Liberal Party as his seat of Casey is a marginal one, but it’s more of a loss for the Parliament as Tony Smith was a fair and just speaker who was trying to work on the integrity of parliament especially question time which has long been a screamathon. He replaced Bronwyn Bishop in the dying days of the Abbott Government and was famously one of the few speakers to be nominated by the Opposition at the start of this Parliament. His retirement joins that of President Scott Ryan who has battled ill health off and on during the last few years and was a fairly good President of the Senate being fair and balanced in what has increasingly been a hostile Senate over the last few years. In the UK there was a three-hour debate that ended in the Conservative government locking in a cut to foreign aid of nearly 4 billion dollars. Such a move was controversial and it had all former PM’s speak out against a move and indeed saw many Conservatives cross the floor to try and defeat the bill. Boris Johnson spoke in favour of the cut obviously and said that it was a necessary move to avoid debt increasing too high of a rate in the pandemic. That’s all well and good but the last election manifesto had the government lock-in too foreign aid at 0.7% of the GDP. It’s an interesting one when the nations’ economies go into the toilet foreign aid is often the first target to cut particularly by Conservative governments and it is often popular with the base who believe we should look after our own first before looking after others. That’s all well and good but when you are a rich nation which the UK very well is, you have a responsibility to look after those less well off too. Lastly, two backbench MP’s for the Liberal Party has stepped out from Party lines in Australia to speak in favour of supporting net-zero emissions by 2050. Those MP’s were Bridget Archer from Tasmania who has spoken out against government policy a few times now and Trent Zimmerman the member for North Sydney who has long been a moderate Liberal. Again Scott Morrison is walking a fine tightrope between taking slow gradual steps on Climate Change so that he’s not been seen to be doing anything with doing too much and scaring the climate sceptics on the backbench. Zali Steggall the Independent for Warringah has urged even stronger action on climate and wants to debate a motion to back in the UK like action on Climate Change, that’s no surprise as she was elected on a mandate to take action on climate change.

Thanks for reading my blog, stay tuned next week for my next weekly Politics blog.

Batley and Spen By-Election Analysis

It’s been a busy week in Australian Federal Politics even though Parliament is now in the long winter break. Most states spent the last week in lockdown or with some form of restrictions to fight the new more contagious Delta strain of Covid-19. Some people were whinging and whining that the restrictions in some states were knee jerk and unnecessary but they ignore just how much damage the Delta Strain has done in other countries. This blog however is on the Batley and Spen By-Election which was widely expected to be lost by Labour but ended up being held by a thin margin of 300 odd votes by Labour.

So as I said above Labour held the seat of Batley and Spen at the By-Election by 223 votes. A narrow win for sure that saw the Labour vote in the seat go backwards by over 7 percent but a win is a win and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer can point to this as a possible turning point in his leadership. In the end, it was a 1.5 percent swing away from the Conservatives which cost them winning the seat and given the hype around Matt Hancock’s indiscretions with a senior aide it’s hard to not see that as the factor that lost them the by-election. Interestingly enough the swing away from Labour is probably worse than the 7% recorded in the by-election as I believe most of the Tories lost vote went to the Labour candidate and not to a third party. That lost vote for Labour would have largely gone to the third party Workers Party which stands to the left of the Labour Party and picked up close to 22% of the vote. The candidate choice for Labour I think would have helped as they went with the sister of slain MP Jo Cox who was a very popular former member of Batley and Spen. Onto Matt Hancock again for a few minutes and his resignation led to a four-point drop in the national lead for the Tories over the Labour Party taking the lead from 11 to 7%, the spin by Labour is that the election wasn’t about national issues but it is hard to not put 1 and 1 together in this case. Interestingly this result probably cools the jets on Angela Rayner taking over the Labour leadership from Sir Keir Starmer at this point although she does come from outside a London seat residing in a heavy vote leave area of Greater Manchester. For me that is still Labour’s greatest issue, they keep electing London based members at a time when they are bleeding votes to the Conservatives outside of London and bleeding votes to the Liberal Democrats it appears now in London so they are losing everywhere. I’m not saying a switch to a non-London member will fix all of the Labour Parties ails, but it couldn’t hurt at present.

Thanks for reading my blog, stay tuned next week as I do another Political blog on a yet to be determined topic.

The week in Federal Politics – Covid strikes back and the Nats go rogue

Its’ been a busy week in Federal Politics. For what happened on Monday go back to my blog from last week in which I detailed the return of Barnaby Joyce to the Nationals leadership. That turned out to be the tip of the iceberg with Labor moving multiple suspension of standing orders in one question time, it didn’t work but it did get them the highlight package on the nighttime news program. So from there, the Nationals decided to go rogue as new leader Barnaby Joyce watched on as first the Senate and then the lower house moved an amendment to try and strip the Murray Darling Basin of the water in the South. Asked why they would do such a thing they explained that it was because Climate Change is happening the South Australian’s would not need flow from the river anymore, I can’t even begin to unpick the levels of stupid in that statement. Then there was posturing by the Nats over Climate Policy to say that they would do a deal on reaching net zero by 2050 if the Nats got a tickle from the government in the new Coalition agreement. At the same time, another Nats member said there was no way the government would phase out coal and that reaching net-zero by 2050 was suicide for the government. That of course got pushback from some of the moderate Liberals who said that the PM had pledged to reach net-zero by 2050 and he ought to stick to that. The only bit of good news for the Coalition on climate policy over the week was the Labor Party teamed up with the Greens in the Senate to stop ARENA being expanded to fund clean coal and gas projects as well as other clean renewables. Now, at face value, it may look like a loss for the government as it’s a failed policy push but it does allow the Government to push the whole Labor teaming up with the Greens which wasn’t helped by Adam Bandt the Greens leader saying the only way Labor could govern after the next election was to form a formal coalition with the Greens. The other thing that Labor blocking the ARENA deal did was formalise the tensions within Labor about their Climate policy with Labor backbencher Joel Fitzgibbon saying the decision was ideology madness. Meanwhile, the Government continues to be on the back-foot over their vaccine rollout and Hotel Quarantine facility rollout. As we end the last week NSW had entered a lockdown for two weeks over the school holidays as there were 30 new cases in Sydney and many other states were flagging lockdowns or harsher restrictions on the public. Again the Labor Party wanted to nail Morrison for saying that the vaccine rollout wasn’t a race when Gladys Berejiklian the NSW Premier said that the vaccine rollout was urgent. Again the fact that Hotel Quarantine had failed was also a point Labor wanted to grill the government over. The government for their part are now pushing the line that the Labor Party are politicising the issue and that they are succeeding at running a smooth economy and avoiding people dying. In this blog, I will detail the week in Federal Politics before I comment on where things stand from a Federal Politics point of view.

Tuesday saw 10 new cases of Covid-19 in NSW. UNESCO recommended the Great Barrier Reef was placed in the “In danger” due to a lack of action on Climate Change. Marise Payne the Foreign Affairs Minister and Sussan Ley the Environment Minister both said they will strongly fight this charge. Barnaby Joyce was officially installed as Deputy PM on Tuesday and there were calls that the Nats might be willing to negotiate on Net Zero by 2050 if they got a tickle by the government. That takes us to question time and Labor started by asking about the timing of the leadership challenges by Barnaby Joyce. The next question was also addressed to Joyce and asked about the statement of him wanting the government out of his life. Labor then asked about Joyce’s thoughts on women in Agriculture. Labor then asked a few questions that were ruled out of order before asking a question about the Farmers Federation talking about reaching net zero by 2050. Labor then asked another question that was ruled out of order before Labor then moved a suspension of standing orders that were defeated.

There were 16 new cases of Covid-19 in Sydney on Wednesday. The government under increasing internal and external pressure granted a temporary bridging visa for the Biloela family. The Coalition made a blunder on childcare and caused female Liberal and Labor MPS to fire up on comments that Childcare was outsourcing the parenting of families. Pauline Hanson went AWOL in the Senate and that allowed the Labor and Greens to block the use of ARENA to use fossil fuel technology. That move led Joel Fitzgibbon to say that Labor was engaging in Idealogical madness. In the Senate, the Nats tried to go wild on the Murray Darling Basin Plan. Moving onto question time and Labor started with a question on the NSW Coronavirus crisis. There was then another general question about the national vaccine rollout and quarantine system. Labor then moved to again suspend standing orders on how terrible the government was doing on the vaccine rollout. Labor then asked a question about allowing debates in question time in Suspension of standing orders. There was then a question about the Nats plan to blow up the Murray Darling Basin Plan in the Senate. There was then a question to Barnaby Joyce about the Nats comments on childcare. Labor then asked another question of Joyce about his relationship with women. Chris Bowen then asked Joyce a question about Electric Vehicles.

Thursday saw 11 new Cases of Covid-19 in NSW and 3 in Queensland. China launched another dispute with Australia on tariffs to do with several trade items. Trade Minister Dan Tehan said Australia would vigorously defend itself from this new escalation to the trade war. Meanwhile, the Nats continued their war against the Murray Darling Basin this time in the Lower House, at one stage things became so farcical that Nats were gagged from speaking from the Leader of the House Peter Dutton. Onto Question Time and the final sitting before the long Winter break. The first question from Labor was as it was yesterday about the NSW Covid-19 crisis. Then there was a question about if Scott Morrison took responsibility for the NSW Coronavirus outbreak. The next question was on the management of the quarantine system. There was then a question about the vaccine rollout. Joyce was then asked about regional quarantine facilities. The Joyce show continued with a question about his relationship with regional women. Labor then asked about the Murray Darling Basin show and would the PM remove Water from the Nats at the next cabinet reshuffle. There was then another question on the Murray Darling Basin Plan to finish Labor’s question time assault.

On Friday there were 22 new cases of Covid-19 as NSW entered into a lockdown for two weeks covering the entirety of the School Holidays. Unions called for an anti-slavery push to stop people profiting from slavery, such a call was backed by the government MPs.

That takes us to the weekend, Saturday saw 29 cases of Covid-19 in Sydney. Around 80 Afghani interpreters were handed visas following pressure on the government to do something. On Environment news the Coalition was targeted for failing to meet the targets on limiting wildlife and plant decline. Sunday saw 30 new cases of Coronavirus in Sydney. Sunday saw the Nats shuffle the decks in a reshuffle and Barnaby targeted his foes for punishment and rewarded his loyalists by promoting them to the cabinet. Keith Pitt was removed to the outer ministry, while Darren Chester, Michael McCormack and Mark Coulton were removed altogether. Meanwhile, Chris Bowen was the special guest on Insiders and he was happy to slam the government on its Covid-19 mismanagement but he struggled on the Climate Policy especially on whether Labor would tax its’ way to net zero.

So where do we stand at the end of a gruelling week in Politics? Well, Newspoll came out Sunday Night showing Labor retaking the lead on a 2PP measure 51-49 despite little movement on Primary numbers. There are several seats both sides are targeting, Queensland looks like the battleground again where Labor will be desperately trying to improve on Shorten’s dreadful performance there in 2019 while NSW is shaping to be an interesting battleground where Labor are defending seats from the Libs/Nats in the Hunter region. Then there are the usual unknowns across the country in Tasmania where seats are hard to hold onto, while WA will be interesting because of the Labor’s stronghold on that state now at a state level. Climate is proving to be an interesting issue both sides are divided on the issue and Barnaby Joyce’s elevation to Nats leader makes things tougher to predict on that side. Meanwhile, Labor is still divided on Climate and have to straddle the line between fighting the Greens in inner-city seats and fighting the Liberals in the Hunter area and the regional areas. Then the other big issue is Covid-19 as it has been for the last 18 months. A lot of people come election time focus on two big issues, Health and the Economy, if the focus is more on the Economy at the next election then the Libs will be returned for a fourth term but if the focus is more on Health then the Labor Party are a show due to the bungled nature of the vaccine rollout and the mismanagement of the hotel quarantine system.

Thanks for reading my blog, stay tuned next week as I cover the fallout of the UK By-Election in Batley and Spen where the Labour Party are predicted to have another bad night.

Nats do a spill again – It’s Back to the Future with Barnaby Joyce

This blog was originally going to be a summary of the week in Federal Politics but over the weekend things started rumbling, the sheep were unsettled and the leadership rumblings started again with talk that either Barnaby Joyce or David Littleproud would have the numbers to topple Michael McCormack. Now, I was always sceptical of David Littleproud becoming the Nats leader at this time because he has not long been in politics. That left a choice between the current leader who is a safe pair of hands but is seen as charismatic and inspiring as Ned Flanders with his Bible Belt social policies to boot, while the alternative is Barnaby Joyce the screaming larrikin who wants to attack the Carp and has little regard for being a team player having white anted Michael McCormack for his entire tenure as leader. Meanwhile, the numbers going into the weekend were always going to be tight, the rumours that Barnaby Joyce had 10 of the 11 numbers at least to spill the leadership and it was all down to if he could get a late vote to swing to him to retake the lead. As it turns out it appears to me that he gathered two more votes, one from a Nats MP who was thoroughly unimpressed with Michael McCormack as the leader and convinced a switch to Barnaby Joyce would save the furniture at the next election that to my knowledge wasn’t in any real danger anyway. The other switched vote from my read of the land was from a Nat Senator who was promised a Ministerial position should they switch their vote and in Politics always back self-interest. So with those two votes switched it came as a surprise still but not as surprising that on Monday morning Barnaby Joyce retook the leadership having got prominent backer Matt Canavan to move a spill motion into the leadership. David Littleproud stays on as a Deputy leader and he is surely the next Nats leader now. Other than the obvious loser of Michael McCormack from the leadership spill, the other loser will be Darren Chester who is not a friend of Barnaby Joyce and who some had rumoured might switch to the Liberal Party if Barnaby returned, that was rebuffed by Chester and he was taking the move with good humour. In terms of reactions to the move by the Nationals Anthony Albanese was quick on his feet to respond and say that rather than rolling out the vaccine the Nationals were focused on rolling each other, a good line but generally you stay quiet as the opposition when the government is tearing itself apart. To quote Patricia Karveles Liberals were freaking out about the move and were not a fan of the move as they are worried that Barnaby Joyce re exposes the Liberals women problems from the start of the year. Mia Davies the WA Nationals leader reiterated her disapproval of the leadership change which is unsurprising given she called for Barnaby to step aside 3 years ago. Two Nationals members before the leadership change said there would be women in the country who would not be happy with a return to the leadership of Barnaby Joyce. So what does Barnaby Joyce’s return do electorally? Well, it probably doesn’t help the Liberals in inner metropolitan seats and it doesn’t help in some country areas where women have a bitter taste in their mouth to the possibility of a Barnaby Joyce return, that being said rural areas do like an outsider as the country and rural support for Pauline Hanson, Shooters and Fishers and Bob Katter and Barnaby Joyce is certainly an outsider. Indeed a few Liberal seat voters said they were polled about the electoral prospects of the Libs with Barnaby Joyce back as Nats leader.

Thanks for reading my blog, stay tuned next week when I hopefully do a summary of the second week of the Parliament Sitting Fortnight assuming there are no more leadership spills.

US Politics and UK Politics update plus an update on South Australian Politics

It’s been a busy week in politics last week despite the lack of Federal Politics sitting. In US Politics Donald Trump has been back in the limelight with a public appearance where a senior Republican introduced him as the current president of the US which there’s an obvious issue with. Then in UK Politics former strategist Dominic Cummings angry revenge tour against the PM has continued with him leaking alleged texts hurling abuse at the current Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Lastly, in SA Politics, the Christian Right is planning a takeover of the party with an Evangelical church drive aimed at infiltrating the Liberal branch and taking over the party from the moderates. In this blog, I will touch on all 3 topics as well as give my thoughts on where things stand electorally in all 3 locations.

So as I said above Donald Trump gave a speech to Republican supporters in North Carolina where he repeated the oft mentioned myth that he won the election. He gave another strong hint that he may be running in 2024 which should send shivers down Republican establishment faces but it’s not because they don’t want to lose the Trump base of voters. In the speech, he also said China should pay a fine to the US for its alleged role in starting the Covid-19 Pandemic and those other nations should cancel their debt to China which would please the Anti China base of the Republican Party. Lastly, Trump also said that the GOP was doing a good job in Arizona launching a Partisan investigation into voter fraud and that GOP lawmakers should do the same in Georgia and Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court which has now lurched to the right thanks to the appointments made to the bench by Trump has made some announcements that have overturned LGBTI rights which have given the Christian Right some wins, now that’s important as a reason several Republican’s held their nose and voted for Trump was that he offered them hope on legislation reform by stacking the Supreme Court. Now electorally I think Trump or a Trump surrogate is going to run in 2024 and if the Democrats are overconfident or go with the wrong candidate then the Republican’s could win back the house. Joe Biden’s approval ratings have taken a hit recently which suggests the honeymoon period that Biden has had is starting to wane, I think that’s a result of Biden not doing as much with his electoral mandate as some people would have hoped.

Onto UK Politics and Dominic Cummings continued his war of words against the UK PM and Health Secretary revealing a text message that showed Boris Johnson repeatedly calling Matt Hancock helpless. He also said that Boris Johnson had shown shocking judgment in handling the pandemic and that Dominic Raab had been a far better manager of the Covid-19 pandemic. For me this is the typical actions of a disgruntled former worker with the added benefit that in this case, the former employer was the chief of staff to the PM, with that being said it’s an embarrassment for sure but probably one that would be more costly if the Labour Party weren’t so far behind in the polls, indeed being close to 20 points down in the latest published poll. On the polling front, there are two upcoming by-elections in a Conservative-held seat and a Labour-held seat. On current polling I would say the Conservatives are favoured to hold their seat although it is in a remaining area and win the other seat which is a heavy vote leave seat, if those things happen I think Sir Keir Starmer can kiss his job as Opposition Leader behind. Lastly in UK Politics, the Conservatives have gone to the old chequebook of cutting foreign aid to improve the dollar books of the Economy. Now, the opposition parties have screamed blue murder over the moves but unfortunately, the general public seems to have a look after your own first and bugger everyone else, Now if you ask me that’s wrong, I think advanced Economies have a right to look after everyone but that’s just my read of the general population.

My last bit for this blog is on South Australian Politics. As I said earlier the divine right of the Liberal Party have planned infiltration of the Liberal Party with a recruitment drive of members from the Evangelical churches. The move has resulted in the heads of the Liberal Party moving to suspend the memberships of 100 recent members and give show cause notices to 400 Liberal members. Now, this has gone down like a lead balloon with the right of the Party with MPs like Nicole Flint and Tony Pasin voicing their disgust at the moves by the Liberal Head office. For me I can understand what the heads of the Party are trying to do, they are trying a stop a Victorian-style kamikaze mission by the right of the Party who come in and challenge sitting members and destroy their electoral chances in the process which is what happened to the Victorian Liberal branch. Unfortunately by their actions they’ve turned the right of the Liberal Party into martyr’s which is what they were hoping to achieve in the first place. Unfortunately for the Labor Party most of this is occurring behind closed doors and the public are too focused on the pandemic handling of the SA Government, which has for the most part been good. So at this point, I think the Libs will hold on at the next election despite the presence of Bob Day and the kamikaze efforts of the right of the Liberal Party.

Thanks for reading my blog, stay tuned next week for my summary of the week in Australian Federal Politics as Parliament returns this week for a fortnight of sitting.

The Week in Federal Politics

It’s been a quietish week in Federal Politics this week despite parliament being in the second week of its sitting fortnight. That’s because we are now in a holding pattern where Labor is attacking the government continuously on the vaccine rollout and the running of hotel quarantine while the government want to spruik a growing economy and an upward tick in jobs. Labor know to win government they need to straddle the line between not being too attacking, in so far as looking bipartisan on the key economic measures while still being attacking enough that they are calling out the government on issues that are popping up such as the issues I rose before. On vaccination rollout, indeed, the rollout hasn’t been as quick as some would like but I would say particularly at the start that there was hesitancy on the part of some Australian’s of getting the vaccine so it’s not a race to roll out the vaccine as Labor would like to paint it. The only sectors I’d think should be rushing to get the vaccine is Aged Care and Disability support sector which is where the particularly vulnerable society are placed. Now, there has been an argument over whether the vaccine should be mandatory amongst age care sectors but then the union has said that would push people out of the industry which you don’t want. On the Economy, the GDP is growing strongly and at a rate that is, even more, stronger than most economists predicted and for that, the government should be commended. Debt is rising continuously though and at some point, we’ll need to rein in spending to get debt under control. That being said interest rates are at a record low so now is the time to borrow and that’s the thoughts of leading economists. Now onto the week in Politics, before I discuss where we stand in the political spectrum.

Victoria recorded 11 new cases of Covid-19 on Monday including 3 more in an aged care facility. Christian Porter dropped his case against the ABC on defamation and claimed victory despite it not looking much like a victory, Labor immediately renewed its call for an independent inquiry to occur on the matter. Malcolm Turnbull has contributed to politics again saying that China will not be returning our calls anytime soon. On a positive note, Covid has caused emissions to drop to 30 year levels low as a result of fewer vehicles travelling around and more low emissions technology being invested in.

Tuesday saw three new cases of Covid-19 in Victoria. Richard Colbeck was back in the limelight in Senate Estimates saying he was comfortable with the pace of the rollout of the vaccine rollout and that he didn’t know how many people in the aged care sector have been vaccinated. That takes us to question time and Labor started with a question about whether the vaccine rollout was a race. There was then another question about the vaccine rollout this time in the aged care sector. Labor then asked a question to the Treasurer about Covid support for those in the lockdown. Labor then asked another question about the vaccine rollout in the aged care sector. Labor then asked about the vaccine rollout for the aged care workers. Labor then asked if the vaccine rollout in aged care was purely a Federal Government responsibility. Labor finished question time with a question about if the PM was comfortable with the rollout of the vaccine in the aged care sector.

There were another 6 cases of Covid-19 in Victoria on Wednesday, as a result of these higher numbers Victoria extended its lockdown by another week as the state government looked to the Federal Government for federal support. Labor wrote to the PM on Wednesday to say they did not feel comfortable having Andrew Laming stay as chair of the Parliamentary committee. Anthony Albanese has an upcoming speech to the Minerals Council and he will use the speech to say we like fossil fuels and renewable energy showing just how muddled Labor is on energy policy. In good news to the Disability sector Linda Reynolds has acknowledged that in its current form the NDIS Independent assessments do not have Parliamentary support, in less good news she still wants to carry on her crusade to introduce the Independent assessments. That takes us to question time and again the first question was about whether the vaccine rollout is a race. There was then a question about the vaccine rollout to aged care residents. There was then another question about the rollout of Aged care rollouts before a question on the rollout of vaccines to the Disability sector. There was then a question about the rollout of a National Quarantine centre. Labor then asked a question about the Victorian Lockdown and then after question time ended Labor moved a motion summing up all their questions in question time, the Labor speakers were predictably gagged and the motion was defeated.

Thursday saw three new cases of Covid-19 in Victoria as restrictions in regional Victoria were lifted. UK Embassy to Australia announced that as the G7 were about to meet next week, Australia needed to do more on Climate Policy. Alan Tudge made a weird speech saying that the impact to universities by Covid on international students was not that bad, Labor responded by saying they planned to fix Liberal’s mess to universities. The AEC announced it would not block the new party name New Liberals despite the protestations of Liberal’s that voters would confuse that party with it. The government got a policy win in the House with its superannuation policy passing the House but not before it had to tinker with the policy as a result of objections by Craig Kelly and Barnaby Joyce. That takes us to question time and the first question was on the vaccine support for Victorians. Then there was a question about the quarantine hotels. Then Labor asked a question about the rollout of vaccines in the aged care sector. After a few more questions on that Labor asked a question about the National Vaccine Covid Safe APP. Labor then asked a question about the rollout of a manufacturing centre to administer vaccines. Labor then went back to ask if the vaccine rollout was a race. Labor finished question time with another motion that was gagged and defeated.

Friday saw four new cases of Covid-19 in Victoria. The PM announced a deal with the Victorian Government to build a purpose fit facility to house Covid-19 returned travellers from overseas. Chris Minns was announced as the new Labor Opposition leader in NSW as he stated the obvious in saying the next poll will be difficult for Labor, this came as Michael Daley stood aside as a leading candidate. Scott Morrison announced a ramping up of the Vaccine rollout by allowing 40-year-olds to start having the vaccine.

That takes us to the weekend. There were 8 new cases of Covid-19 in Victoria on Saturday. Saturday also saw Craig Kelly advisor be arrested for several alleged charges. Anthony Albanese used a speech on Saturday at the Queensland Labor conference to say Labor needed to work hard to convert state Labor success to Federal Labor success. Sunday saw a further 11 cases of Covid-19 in Victoria. Sunday saw Greg Hunt release 330000 extra vaccines to Victoria. Sunday saw Insiders occur and Labor deputy leader Richard Marles was the guest and he used his appearance to attack the government on the vaccine rollout, the hotel quarantine program, and the relationship between China and Australia that has been on the deep freeze in recent months.

So where do we stand politically at the end of another political sitting fortnight? Well, there was another Newspoll out on Sunday which showed the 2 parties level at 50-50 but quite frankly I think the behaviour of both parties at the moment shows that it is the Liberal Party with their noses in front. The Labor Party are trying to make the PM take responsibility for the failures of the rollout of the vaccine and the hotel quarantine failures but the PM as he is accustomed to doing is shapeshifting again saying yes he does take responsibility for the rollouts of these programs but hey look we are doing better than country xyz so we have that going for us. I think at the end of the day a lot of voters are self-centred and if the economy is doing great they will hold their noses on a lot of the other things going on and vote the government back in. What I would say about Scott Morrison is he is not afraid to shift his policy position if he sees weakness on an issue and he did that again this week with his policy moves to give economic support to Victorians and to states who lockdown for more than 7 days and his announcement this week to do more on hotel quarantine is also a good one although there is a fair criticism that the government should be more proactive than reactive.

Thanks for reading my blog, stay tuned next week for my next political blog, probably on American Politics.

The week in Federal Politics

It’s been a busy week in Federal Politics as Parliament returned for the first of two sitting weeks. It’s been a week where the Federal Government has been under pressure on a few fronts. Firstly on the vaccination roll out with new figures showing that Australia is one of the worst countries at vaccinating people particularly in the aged care sector and disability sector. Another issue that crept up for the Government was Hotel Quarantine as a bungle in the SA Hotel Quarantine led to another lockdown in Victoria. Lastly, a report landed on the desk of the PM Cabinet about Brittany Higgins alleged sexual assault and that was a weak report that led to the government being back under pressure on the treatment of women. So why is the Federal Government not in serious trouble? Well, the opposition continues to tear itself apart particularly on Energy Policy and Taxation reform with two groups now forming that appear in no way reflects on the performance of Anthony Albanese as the leader but looks entirely like a reflection on Anthony Albanese as Opposition Leader. The mood of the Opposition is grim, to say the least, and it’s going to take a lot to avoid as one Labor shadow frontbencher said the Opposition sleepwalking to another election loss. Lastly, Question Time continued to be rowdy this week and Tony Smith finally got sick and tired of the behaviour kicking out members left, right and centre and sitting the Minister for Health and PM when they defied his rulings. In this blog, I will talk about what happened in Politics this week before moving onto analysing where we stand currently in Federal Politics.

Monday saw four Victorians contract Covid-19, 3 of which were close contacts of the original case, despite that the acting Premier said there were no plans for a lockdown at this stage. Grace Tame said the PM reacted to her Australian of the Year acceptance speech with the comment “gee, I bet you felt great getting that out of you” and lastly a federal colleague of Joel Fitzgibbon told him to shut up and stop complaining about Labor’s policy direction. That takes us to question time and Labor went straight to the Grace Tame comments. Labor then asked about the Jobs numbers and wages before Labor then went back to Brittany Higgins. After that Labor asked several questions about the assumptions of the budget of wages cuts before Bill Shorten was called from his slumber to ask a question about the slow rollout of vaccines in the disability sector. Lastly, there was another question about the vaccination take-up of over 50’s.

Tuesday saw another four cases of Coronavirus in Victoria. As a result of this Victoria announced new restrictions would come into place affecting residents of Victoria. In Preselection news 5 Liberals are facing serious battles to retaining their candidacy in NSW with the right of the Party staging something of a coup on sitting members to try and uproot several sitting members. Staying in NSW for a minute the Labor State Party are having troubles post the diabolical Upper Hunter by-election result. Jodi McKay said she was not going anywhere despite the leadership war drums starting to beat louder. Onto question time, and Labor started their question time attack on Ms Higgins and the report that came out today that both did and didn’t clear the PM’s staff of backgrounding the family of Ms Higgins. The Labor Party asked more questions on that topic before moving on to the issue of hotel quarantine. Labor then asked a question about the government’s energy policy which is ironic given the issues around Energy in the Labor Party currently. There was then another question about hotel quarantine and whether it was a federal responsibility before Labor then switched its attention to the vaccination of the disability sector. Question time ended with another question on wages.

There were six new cases of Covid-19 in Victoria on Wednesday. SA has decided to shut its borders to Victoria and NSW Premier has advised residents to reconsider travel to Bendigo and Greater Melbourne. The Uluru Statement of the Heart speech won a peace prize in Sydney putting constitutional recognition of Indigenous people back on the map. Question time started on Hotel Quarantine and then moved swiftly onto how many Victorians were vaccinated out of the ones who had contracted Covid-19. Labor then moved back onto Vaccines and Hotel Quarantine. Labor then asked a question about the Ms Higgins report, showing that Labor is desperately trying to keep this issue in the public’s mind. Labor finished Question Time asking several questions about wages for workers.

Thursday saw 12 new cases of Covid-19 in Victoria, as a result of this Victorian’s entered a week-long lockdown starting from Thursday at midnight. The Disability Discrimination Boss said that his NDIS Independent assessment was inadequate. On Disability it was found that the Coalition’s job program for the Disabled had ballooned out to 40k per job placement. ASIC has launched action against AMP for charging fees to dead people. That takes us to Question Time and Labor went straight to Quarantine and Vaccination roll out. Labor then asked about the vaccination rollout to Victorians in Aged Care. Labor then asked a question about what constitutes the full vaccination of the population before the Greens leader Adam Bandt asked a question with the killer line of what will the PM do to stop his lockdown from being repeated. Labor then went back to vaccinations in specific aged care facilities and also in the disability sector. Then the Health Minister was asked how many people who contracted Covid-19 had been vaccinated. Labor jumped back and forwards in this question time asking about Vaccination and the Hotel Quarantine.

Friday saw the state of Victoria record four new cases of Covid-19 as they entered the first day of the seven-day lockdown. In a teary speech, Jodi McKay resigned as Opposition Leader of NSW. Scott Morrison flew to NZ to have a face-face meeting with Jacinda Ardern. China and the deportation of NZ criminals were set to be the big talking points in the meeting.

That takes us to the weekend. Saturday saw 6 new cases of Covid-19 in Victoria. Kabul embassy guards said they were being threatened by the Taliban for doing that work and said they would need more protection. Anthony Albanese marked two years in the top job this week and there are mixed messages as to whether Labor is closer to government now than they were two years ago in the aftermath of losing the unlosable election. Sunday saw another 5 cases of Covid-19 in Victoria including a concerning case in Aged Care. Dan Tehan the Trade Minister was the guest on Insiders and he had a shocker of an interview stumbling when it came to what supports were available to casual workers in the current Victorian Lockdown. In NSW Politics Michael Daley announced he wanted another tilt at the top job after being the leader who lost the last State Election and he will take on up and coming member and twice failed candidate Chris Minns.

So, where do we stand politically right now? Well, both sides are clear on a warpath now for an election coming soon although reports say that the election won’t happen until next year although an election in the second half of the year is still not out of the question. Right now the Coalition are the favourites I feel which is a miracle given twice now first with the bushfires and then with Miss Higgins alleged incident it looked like the tide had irreversibly turned against the government. For me, there’s a clear general positivity about the way the Government has handled the Pandemic notwithstanding issues with Hotel Quarantine which the government have tried to share the blame with the states and vaccination rollouts which is an intriguing one because there are mixed views in the community about the urgency to have vaccines. On the Economy, it’s a mixed bag the recovery has gone a lot better than most expected post the JobKeeper ending although wages going down is a problem and there are sectors of the economy that have been left behind in the last budget. Despite this Labor can’t stop arguing with itself on Energy which is silly given the government have lost several leaders on the issue and Taxation which to me is a clear ideological battle between those who want the problem to go away and those in Labor who believe in taxing the wealthy a higher amount.

Thanks for reading my blog, stay tuned next week for my next blog on the week in Federal Politics.

Upper Hunter By-Election Analysis and latest from US Politics

It was a quiet week in Australian Federal Politics as Federal Parliament wasn’t sitting and the budget had left everyone feeling all politicked out. That’s not to say Politics hasn’t been active elsewhere. In NSW there was a by-election in the Hunter region to determine if the Liberal Party could regain their majority in Parliament which had been lost due to some naughty behaviour of some of their members. In the USA the Republican’s continue to refuse to learn from their election loss in 2020 and if anything is hardening their line behind being pro-Trump still. In this blog, I will start with analysing the Upper Hunter by-election before moving onto USA Politics.

So in the Upper Hunter by-election, the Nationals will hold onto the seat despite suffering a primary vote swing against them. That being said the takeaway from the election was the Labor vote which plummeted at the by-election despite the candidate saying that he was in favour of Coal and Gas Mining. Now Labor are trying to spin the result as a pox on both houses and a status quo result in a seat Labor hasn’t held for over 90 years but that’s only spin because the pressure has already gone on Jodi McKay’s already tenuous hold on the job as opposition leader. The problem for NSW Labor is that the main candidates for the OL job are either flawed already in the case of the previous leader and unelectable and too far to the left in the case of Chris Minns. It’s tempting to look at the Federal implications of the Upper Hunter by-election result too and even though both sides are trying to avoid doing that at a public level, the constant harping by Joel Fitzgibbon on coal and gas is a clear sign he’s worried about losing his corresponding seat of Hunter at the next Federal Election.

Now onto US Politics and the Republicans this week voted to remove Rep Liz Cheney from her position as House Conference chair. This is after many candidates have emerged to replace Ms Cheney at the next House Election and Donald Trump has publicly said he would endorse someone else in her race. This is a wider symptom of a Republican Party that has not moved on from 2020 and is still a Donald Trump party. This is surprising to me as usual, an election loss is enough for a party to move on and in their self-interest look to better themselves to win future elections. It seems to me that the Republicans don’t know how to balance appealing to their new voter base who came on board for the Trump experience and trying to broaden their base to an increasing minority group of voters such as Asian’s, African American’s and college-educated voters. They seem to think Donald Trump is still the style of candidate they want to endorse with a calmer personality but still his style of politics. That’s a dangerous gamble to me as it risks throwing off traditional Republicans and Independents although in an increasingly partisan society that’s a shrinking group of people. Meanwhile, the Republican’s are doing all they can to make voting in elections harder as they have moved 25 motions to restrict voting across the country. As someone who comes from a country of compulsory voting I find this hard to stomach as in my opinion, everyone deserves a say on democracy.

Thank you for reading my blog, stay tuned next week as I return to my weekly Federal Politics in review.

2021 Budget in Reply Speech Analysis and analysing the UK election results

It’s been a busy week in Federal Politics and also international politics. In Australian politics, you had the budget which I covered in the last blog as well as the Budget in Reply speech which I plan on covering in this blog. Overseas you had the fallout of Wales, Scotland, UK Council and UK By-election which I will cover in this blog and Israel and Palestine are going at it again which I don’t plan to cover in this blog as taking a side in that conflict is cause for being incited with hate mail from the other side.

So, we will start with the UK Elections and we will work from the Hartlepool by-election to the UK Council Elections to the Scottish and Wales elections. In Hartlepool, the Conservatives pulled off the rare feat of picking up a Labour seat at a by-election despite the party being in power nationally. Labour as a result of the disastrous by-election results and the Council results which I will touch upon in a minute saw the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer have a messy reshuffle in which he was going to move his deputy to a new portfolio then the deputy refused before the leader finally got his way. It doesn’t help that the leader’s deputy is from the left-wing of the party and is, therefore, a popular choice to replace Starmer as the leader with the base of the party. Back to the by-election result yes it was bad for Labour but it should be noted that the Brexit Party did not stand this time and their vote seems to be going to the Conservatives in a lot of cases. Now that might seem natural and of not too much concern to Labour except for the fact that not all Brexit voters were old Conservative party voters going back home to roost, there are a number of Labour voters who parked their vote with the Brexit Party and they have now switched to the Tories rather than returning home to the Labour Party and that is a concern to Labour. What doesn’t help Labour if you ask me is that they have again gone with an inner-city London candidate when they desperately need to appeal to outer city workers. Now to the Council elections and it was a very good night for the Conservatives picking up 13 councils and over 230 councillors. It was a terrible night for Labour who lost control of 8 Councils and lost nearly 330 councillors. It was also a good night for the Greens who picked up 88 councillors and of course had the left of the party screaming for Labour to lurch back to the left of the party. That’s an argument that could be made except for the obvious point of just how many votes were bled to the right in the Tories. It was not all doom and gloom for the left in the UK though. In the Scotland election, the SNP continued their dominance of politics winning another term of Parliament finishing just one seat shy of the 65 seats needed for a majority in its own right. They will rule with the Greens who also had a good night picking up an extra 2 seats and pro-independence parties now have a clear majority in Holyrood. The calls for a second independence vote have only grown louder in recent months and Scotland Nationalists will say this result is a clear mandate for a second vote. Boris Johnson for his part will continue to refuse a second Indyref vote on the guise of the SNP’s own words at the time that this was a once in a generation vote but Brexit has clearly muddied the waters. In Wales Labour won 30 seats, exactly half that of the 60 seats in play and one short of an overall majority. They will continue in a minority government with the support of the Liberal Democrats. Wales has traditionally been a left-of-centre working-class country so a Labour win here is of no real surprise.

Now onto the budget in reply speech and given this was seen as an election budget by many pundits the attention was naturally on Anthony Albanese and his budget in reply speech, on that basis I think his speech was underwhelming in that it did not outline a lot of new policy directions despite the two lines at the beginning of the speech of this being a once in a century opportunity to shape the nation’s economy and this was tonight an opportunity for Anthony Albanese to appeal to the voters as the nations next Prime Minister. That being said in some ways I can understand the brevity of promises from Albanese in these budget in reply speeches because one of the main reasons Bill Shorten lost the last election was by promising too much and scaring the average voter. Labor’s main initiatives in the Budget in reply speech was a Housing Policy which is a stronghold of the Labour Party and their initiatives to make $20 billion in social housing is applaudable although probably mainly appeals to the voter base that they already have. They are planning to differentiate themselves on climate change policymaking their climate policy all about creating new jobs to try and appease Joel Fitzgibbon. The last main initiative in the budget in reply speech was on criminalising wage theft which is part of the Labor’s grander plans on increasing wages. Now the government’s response to the speech was that the details were light on in the budget in reply speech and that’s fair but scare campaigns work and Labor are definitely trying to shape the next election about how the Coalition has governed in the last 8 years as opposed to how Labor has performed in the last 8 years which is different to the approach that Bill Shorten took in his 6 years as leader. I must admit I don’t like when Politics get nasty and I appreciated the last year where things were a lot more bipartisan, on that though I can also see that the results for that bipartisanship have been governments being returned handsomely so oppositions have to try something.

Thanks for reading my blog, stay tuned next week for me to do a blog on a political topic I am yet to decide yet.