Will the Coalition lose after all?

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Cartoon by Mark David/@mdavidcartoons

With so many rightwing candidates in Queensland, do Labor and the Greens stand a chance to booting out the Coalition Government on 18 May, asks Noely Neate.

YOU MIGHT HAVE been busy Anzac Day and not gotten around to reading who the candidates are in your electorate for the looming Federal Election on the 18th of May. The feeling you might have when you get around to checking them is astonishment.

My father used to have a saying “from the Penthouse to the Shithouse”.

Just a few days ago Independent Australia noted Queensland was looking good with the top six leadership positions in the state being held by women, you know, conservative Queensland, maybe growing up, becoming more progressive type vibe. 

Looking at the candidates in Queensland, it is wall to wall rightwing minor and micro parties, many of whom are far-right extremists. 

For some reason, the more progressive types are missing.

With the Labor Party winning so many polls, it seemed the Liberals and Nationals would be out on their butts come 19 May. 

Now, it's not so clear.

Labor needs to do well in Queensland to even have a chance of punting out the LNP. After looking at the candidates, it's not so clear that Scott Morrison will be removed from office on 18 May.

I’m in Wide Bay; it is rusted on Liberal-National Party. The MP is of the Nationals flavour on a margin of 8.3%, meaning it may seem unlikely that he will be booted out. However, a decade ago that margin was 18% and has been chipped away at over the years.

No longer being untouchable, it was conceivable that Labor would expend more effort on their candidate – a good bloke called Jason Scanes, by the way – and with the help of the Greens, and maybe a few sensible Independents with good preference flows, there was a chance at least to make it a marginal and no longer ignored.

The candidate list doesn't convey that level of optimism.

The Wide Bay candidates are:

  • Daniel Bryar (Greens)
  • Jason Scanes (ALP)
  • Andrew Schebella (United Australia Party)
  • Llew O’Brien (LNP)
  • Tim Jerome (Independent)
  • Jasmine Smith (Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party)
  • Aaron Vico (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation)

The only rightwing party we are missing to get the full deck of odious is the horrible Love Australia or Leave Party. This left pretty much only Daniel and Jason as non-right-wing candidates.

Preferences do not look good.

You get the sort of person who votes for One Nation because they think “politicians are all a bunch of mongrels down there in Canberra, may as well shake things up”. Quite a few will vote for Palmer's United Australia Party for that reason too.

If a person is going to vote for a right-wing party, it's unlikely they'd preference Labor or the Greens very highly, all but consigning the Wide Bay Electorate to the incumbent LNP member.

But is that true for the entire state of Queensland? Probably not, seeing as people are dirty with the LNP up here. This disillusionment could tip many marginal seats, including the following.

  • Herbert (margin of 0.1% for Labor's Cathy O'Toole). Candidates: Amy Lohse (PHON), Greg Dowling (UAP), Nanette Radeck (KAP), Sam Blackadder (Greens), Phillip Thompson (LNP), Tamara Durant (FACNP), Mackenzie Severns (AJP), Cathy O’Toole (ALP).
  • Capricornia (margin of 0.6% for LNP's Michelle Landry). Candidates: Paul Bambrick (Greens), George Birkbeck (KAP), Richard Templer (DLP), Ken Murray (Ind), Michelle Landry (LNP), Russell Robertson (ALP), Wade Rothery (PHON), Lindsay Sturgeon (UAP), Grant Pratt (FACNP).
  • Forde (margin of 0.7% for LNP's Bert Van Manen). Candidates: Ian Bowron (PHON), Kirsty Petersen (Greens), Paul Creighton (UAP), Bert Van Manen (LNP), Des Hardman (ALP), Les Innes (FACNP).
  • Flynn (margin of 1.1% for LNP's Ken O’Dowd). Candidates: Zac Beers (ALP), Nathan David Harris (UAP), Jaiben Baker (Greens), Murray Peterson (Ind), Sharon Lohse (PHON), Duncan George Scott (Ind), Marcus John Hiesler (FACNP), Ken O’Dowd (LNP).
  • Griffith (margin of 1.5% for Labor's Terri Butler). Candidates: Olivia Roberts (LNP), Terri Butler (ALP), Max Chandler-Mather (Greens), Christian John Julius (UAP), Julie Darlington (PHON), Tony Murray (FACNP)
  • Petrie (margin of 1.7% for LNP's Luke Howarth). Candidates: Troy Hopkins (UAP), Luke Howarth (LNP), Nikhil Aai Reddy (PHON), Corinne Mulholland (ALP), Neville John Fowler (FACNP), Jason Kennedy (Greens).
  • Dickson (margin of 1.8% for LNP's Peter Dutton). Candidates: Benedict Coyne (Greens), Peter Dutton (LNP), Ali France (ALP), Thor Prohaska (Ind), Steve Austin (UAP), Carrol Halliwell (PHON), Richelle Simpson (FACNP), Maureen Brohman (AJP).
  • Dawson (margin of 3.4% for LNP's George Christensen). Candidates: Ann-Maree Ware (DLP), Michael Wayne Turner (FACNP), Debra Lawson (PHON), George Christensen (LNP), Belinda Hassan (ALP), Brendan Bunyan (KAP), Imogen Lindenberg (Greens), Lachlan Queenan (Ind), Colin Richard Thompson (UAP).

Looking at the above, it is full of right-wing candidates.

There are a few independents, yet many of them are conservative, and the rare Animal Justice Party (AJP) candidate. But the rest, other than Labor and the Greens, are conservative or far right — which looks really ominous for preference flows and could even eventuate in Labor losing or not gaining any seats in Queensland.

This means the Liberal-Nationals could lose the primary vote but retain Government on preferences — some really odious extremist-type preferences.

Let's hope these predictions stem from a place of anxiety or nervousness rather than from a place of legitimacy. I hope my electoral predicative powers peaked in April 2013 when I called it for Clive in Fairfax. Yet there is only one way to avoid this outcome: for voters to elect a progressive government.

Read more from Noely Neate on her blog YaThink?, or follow her on Twitter @YaThinkN.

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