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Malcolm And Herbert – An Interesting Coupling …

By now, if you’re interested in politics, you’ll have heard that the Labor candidate has been declared the winner of Herbert by 37 votes. And you’ll have also heard that the Liberals are considering a challenge on the grounds that some people didn’t get ballot papers and that some soldiers were on exercises on election day.

Now, I don’t know if the former will be considered grounds for ruling that an another election in Herbert is the only fair thing, but I would have thought that if you were in a job where you could possibly be called out and not given the chance to vote, then it’d be incumbent on you to put in a postal vote. I mean, if a boss called in some unionists for a twelve hour day on election day, I can’t see the Liberals agreeing that this was unfair and that it would lead to a re-election in a seat that they’d won.

Whether or not a Liberal challenge would be successful in the courts I don’t know, but I think there’s two other things that Malcolm should consider before he goes down that path.

The first is that there’s a strong chance that the electorate of Herbert would consider it annoying to be forced back to the polls. The question is would you have more people deciding that it’s better that the government have an extra seat in the interests of stability or more people saying why are these sore losers spitting the dummy and interrupting my day when I only voted just a few months ago in July? And, of course, there is a chance that between now and the new polling day the government may have made some “clarifications” to their pre-election promises. Sometimes people misunderstand things. Take, for example, Abbott and when he suggested that there’d be no cuts to various things. People took that to me that there’d be no cuts to funding in the future, whereas Abbott meant that he wasn’t going to cut the money they’d already received. And such misunderstandings can lead to a backlash. If there were a swing against the Liberals in Herbert, because of a similar misunderstanding on some policy or other, Turnbull could be in big trouble, and we’d have Abbott or Dutton challenging for the leadership within the week.

But let’s just presume for a moment that everything goes to plan for the Liberals: New election, their candidate wins, they have a spare seat before their majority is lost. Suddenly, the dynamic changes. At the moment, they can’t dump Turnbull because there’s a danger that he might go rogue. Ok, it may not be a realistic danger, given he’s been “tamed” as Andrew Bolt told us last year. (Literally, he said that Turnbull had been tamed!) However, there’s always the possibility that Turnbull could threaten to become an independent or quit his seat. With a one seat majority, the Liberals wouldn’t be game to call his bluff, but with a two seat majority, they might be prepared to take their chances.

So one wonders whether Malcolm will think it out, or whether he’ll just do as he’s told. He’s become very good at doing that.

Ok, Malcolm this one’s for you:


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  1. paulwalter

    Thanks Ross Leigh. Why should the entire country have to suffer for the government’s stuff ups? If they lost thirty or forty conservative votes, their fault for running a cheapskate voting system on the smell of an oily rag.

  2. Miriam English

    Am I wrong in thinking that Herbert is Georgie porgie puddin’ and pie Christensen’s seat?

  3. paulwalter


    Same state, though Herbert is centred around Townsville.

    But don’t worry. The guy chucked out, Ewan Hannon, is a typical Abbottist also and won’t be missed by decent thinking folk.

  4. Matters Not

    Miriam, George’s electorate is Dawson. It adjoins Herbert to the south. It’s really all about ‘sugar’ in that neck of the woods. Indeed, George is known in some circles as the ‘sugar plum fairy’. Not sure why. Religion is Greek Orthodox but not widely advertised.

    Herbert was represented by Ewen Jones who isn’t as ‘mad’ as George, in the sense he isn’t the complete nutter. That’s possibly why he lost his seat.

  5. Miriam English

    Ah. Thanks. What a pity Christensen didn’t get booted out.

  6. paulwalter

    Thanks for correction, MN.

  7. Möbius Ecko

    Looks like the legal challenge to Herbert won’t go ahead, at least not on military personnel not voting that is.

    Defence have come back and stated that all military personnel were given adequate and detailed instructions on what to do if they could not make voting booths because of operational commitments on election day.

  8. Carol Taylor

    Mobius, I believe that it may have been nothing more that pure speculation that personnel on maneuvers may have missed out with no one yet coming forward complaining that they weren’t able to vote.

  9. Kaye Lee

    Likewise, police will not be pursuing the Mediscare texts that had Malcolm all a lather because “no Commonwealth offences were identified.” Meanwhile, the police still have not come to any conclusion about the theft of Peter Slipper’s diary and handing over to the press. Nor has Kathy Jackson faced criminal charges. And I assume Michael Lawler won’t be paying back the sickness benefits he fraudulently claimed. Peter Hendy has been employed by Turnbull as his “economic adviser”. I suppose having Martin Parkinson as secretary of Prime Minister and Cabinet, along with whole departments at his disposal, was not enough. Gotta find a job for his boy.

    And Peter Dutton apparently has until tomorrow to resettle everyone from Manus.

  10. Michael Taylor

    That’s not good enough for George Brandis, Kaye. I read somewhere that he wants some law introduced to make it illegal to send out those nasty texts in future.

  11. townsvilleblog

    Brandis oversaw the second count or at least most of it. We in Herbert (Townsville) are happy that at last we have overcome the handicap of having thousands of conservative voting ADF staff which is probably why a past tory government decided to put Lavarack Barracks here in the first place. To achieve a safe tory seat.

  12. helvityni

    I always thought that George C’s good looks could be traced back to his Danish cane-cutter ancestors, tall and handsome, Christensen of same ilk as Bjelke Pietersen, maybe the largeness is a result of fondness to sugary stuff…

  13. Terry2

    Senator Ian MacDonald who has been stirring the possum on this bi-election has conceded that the information about people not being able to vote is largely anecdotal and no individual has so far come forward and said that they were denied a vote in Herbert.

  14. Geoff Andrews

    George C. fits C.J Dennis’ descrption of 100 years ago of one of his characters, Sir Stoogein “The Glugs of Gosh”: “wise to profundity, stout to rotundity”

  15. helvityni

    Geoff Andrews, brilliant, “wise to profundity, stout to rotundity”

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  16. paulwalter

    The sort of politician who represents the abortions of candidates that comes of big party preselection processes, if slugs made for Viking heroes, George would be Odin himself.

  17. Geoff Andrews


    This is a link to “The Glugs of Gosh” a political satire written in 1917

    In one of the poems, “The Swanks of Gosh”, is the perfect description of George C:

    His brain is dull, and his mind is dense,
    And his lack of saving wit complete;
    But most amazingly immense
    Is his inane self-confidence
    And his innate conceit.

    One of the poems, “The Stones of Gosh” is more relevant today than 100 years ago.

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