May 25, 2018

Poll Bludger: explaining the AEC’s byelection decision that has Labor furious

Few were prepared for the announcement yesterday that five upcoming byelections would be held on the day of Labor's national conference.

William Bowe — Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe

Editor of The Poll Bludger

Electoral administration in Australia is usually spared the partisan rancour that blights its every aspect in the United States, but Labor was happy to make an exception yesterday after being presented with a nine-week campaign for the “Super Saturday” byelections in Braddon, Longman, Perth, Fremantle and Mayo.

Down four votes on the floor of the House of Representatives, Labor had already been kicking up a fuss over the government's reluctance to have the whole thing wrapped up by mid-June -- a little audaciously, given the circumstances that have brought the byelections about.

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24 thoughts on “Poll Bludger: explaining the AEC’s byelection decision that has Labor furious

  1. Sleuth

    This is political ball tampering, aka cheating. The coalition’s yellow sandpaper signifies it’s coarse objectives, abrasive delivery, and attempting to gain advantage by unfair means. As per usual political commentators are prepared to let these very undemocratic abuses go through to the keeper and unfortunately the judge, jury, and executioner is also the perpetrator.

    1. shea mcduff

      A word perfect description.

  2. The Curmudgeon

    I don’t think that the Electoral Commissioner will be voting for a change of government.

  3. Itsarort

    The High Court’s recent ‘misunderstanding’ or removal of the word ‘reasonable’ also reeks to high heaven of ‘partisanship’; so what’s bloody new?

    1. CML

      How can the High Court just decide to remove the word ‘reasonable’ from the constitution? I thought a referendum was required to change/remove words from, the constitution.
      Further…isn’t the HC supposed to hand down decisions based on what the constitution says, not what they would like it to say????
      I’m confused! No wonder the ALP is as well!!

      1. The Curmudgeon

        I don’t think “reasonable” is in S 44 of the constitution. I think it was in a previous High Court judgement.

        1. CML

          You are quite right TC…I should have read Section 44 of the constitution before commenting!
          The term ‘reasonable steps’ must have been included in the judgement handed down in the Sykes v Cleary case in 1992, and has been the standard since that time. That being the case, the advice given to Labor by its constitutional experts was correct, and they should have been able to rely on that advice.
          The HC just changed its mind, so I guess ‘reasonable steps’ is now out!!

        2. Itsarort

          Yep, I understand that but maybe I’ve been watching too many American law dramas. I just thought that a precedent was law? And so it would seem for many lawyers who actually get paid to ‘know’ these things.

  4. Marcus Hicks

    Oh leave it *OUT*!!!!! The AEC gave a *range* of dates, & the Libs have deliberately gone with a date that would most grossly inconvenience the Labor Party, but which also leaves these 5 seats without proper representation for the longest possible time. I think it is this latter issue that is going to backfire on the Librorts Party in Mayo, Longman & Braddon (as they’re too cowardly to even contest the seats in WA).

    1. JimmyNecktie

      If the boot was on the other foot, they would have pulled the same stunt. You’re forgetting the fiasco Gough caused back in ’75. No ALP member was calling foul with how GW nearly bought the country to it’s knees, with capricious stupidity with monetary and fiscal issues. But Aussies can’t bear to see reason in politics, only their “party” loyalty. (Not that I’ve ever seen reason in politics! Hahahahahaha…)

      1. Marcus Hicks

        The only “fouls” committed back in 1975 was when Joh Bjelke-Petersen (a Nat) decided to abandon precedent & replace a Labor Senator with a Conservative, when a casual vacancy arose; & when Fraser (a Lib) decided to block supply in the senate (again, an unprecedented move) & then chum up with the Governor General to secretly organize the sacking of a democratically elected sitting government…..largely at the behest of Rupert Murdoch.
        Nah, as much as you choose to deny it, almost all the truly dirty tricks committed in Australian politics have been committed by your employers, the Liberal Party. Still, your little rant does make your final comment seem terribly ironic, given that your obvious party loyalty has made you blind to reason or facts.

      2. Zeke

        Nice rewriting of history there. If I recall correctly it was Malcolm Fraser’s blocking of supply that brought on the crisis, not Gough Whitlam’s actions.

  5. Marcus Hicks

    I don’t think Labor was being audacious at all. For about 2 decades, a fairly good legal definition of “all reasonable steps” had been established as a precedent. By the definition set by that precedent, 4 out of the 5 MP’s re-contesting their seats should have been in the clear, unlike the Liberal/National MP’s who never even *bothered* to ascertain their citizenship status. The High Court has behaved in what I currently consider to be a partisan fashion. One can only hope that they can prove otherwise by making similar judgements against Liberal & National MP’s.

  6. Robert Smith

    The Liberals don’t have a good record recently for how their brilliant strategies turn out. This may be another case of “be careful what you wish for”.

    1. Andrea

      Yes Malcolm’s dirty deeds always backfire. This is the libs not the aec, the latter are too prim.

  7. AR

    In a perfect world this arrangement would be fine as everyone is reasonable.
    Remove that concept and all else is weakened, trust, dependability, empathy.

  8. brian crooks

    When Bill gets the keys to the lodge I hope he remembers that old saying, “REVENGE IS A DISH BEST SERVED COLD” and serves up a large serving to all the conservative hacks currently planted all over the government authorities and doing their bidding, a good clean out of the federal police will also be a good idea, they also say all things come to those who wait, but I cant wait for those self serving bastards to get what`s surely coming to them.

    1. Sleuth

      Starting with all those IPA freeloaders.

  9. klewso

    I thought ‘Roy’ Rogers was the cowboy.

    1. klewso

      “School holidays”????? Does that include the Pony Express?

  10. MJM

    Was not the double dissolution election, held on 2 July 2016, conducted during school holidays?

    1. klewso

      Only in NSW, Vic; Qld; ACT, NT, WA and Tas.

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