Kelly resignation opens up by-election in Eden-Monaro


The triggering of a federal by-election yesterday for the seat of Eden-Monaro will be a test for the major parties, but also will likely be the first test of how our voting will be affected after the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Australia.

Read my guide to the Eden-Monaro by-election.

Australia has been lucky to have the pandemic hit during a relatively quiet period for elections. It did coincide with council elections and state by-elections in Queensland, and it forced the delay of Tasmanian upper house elections originally scheduled for tomorrow. But apart from these there are no more elections scheduled until a rush of elections from August to October, which includes one state election and two territory elections.

It’s not clear how quickly the by-election will be held – the government has some discretion to delay – but when it is eventually held it seems likely that some things will change compared to past elections. We saw a massive surge in postal and pre-poll voting at the Queensland council elections. Eden-Monaro already had a high rate of pre-poll voting, with over 41% of all votes cast via pre-poll in 2019.

I will return to the theme of how Covid-19 may affect how we vote in a future post, but it is also worth pointing out that there isn’t actually much evidence of the disease in the community at the moment, and particularly in the council areas which make up Eden-Monaro.

This handy chart by Nick Casmirri organises NSW local government areas by region and colour-codes them by the recency of Covid-19 cases.

There have been no cases in the last three weeks throughout the Snowy Monaro, Snowy Valleys and Yass Valley council areas which make up the western end of the council. No cases have been reported for two weeks in Bega Valley. There have been more recent cases in the Queanbeyan area but even those are not of an unknown origin.

So unless we see a second wave of cases, it seems likely that there won’t actually be an immediate health crisis coinciding with a by-election, but I would still expect changes in how voters and campaigns behave out of an abundance of caution.

In addition to being a moment in the Covid-19 story, this by-election is a critical moment in federal politics.

You would have seen a lot of people talk about how no government has won a by-election from an opposition since 1920, but I don’t think that statistic really tells us much.

There just haven’t been that many by-elections overall, and they tend to be in relatively safe seats. Most by-elections are caused by the sitting member choosing to retire, and that doesn’t tend to happen in marginal seats.

Let’s look at the by-elections held over the terms of the current government and the last Labor government.

Labor faced five by-elections in Coalition seats in its first term in government. All were held by senior Howard government ministers and all took place in the first year of the government. They tended to be safe seats, with the most marginal being Gippsland, which was held by the Nationals by a margin of 5.9%. Labor contested Gippsland, suffered a negative swing, then sat out the other four. No by-elections were held for the remaining five years of the government, with MPs particularly avoiding resignations during the tight hung parliament after the 2010 election.

Three by-elections were held during the first term of the Coalition government, one of which was in the Labor-held seat of Griffith. There was a swing of 1.25% away from Labor with the departure of longstanding local member Kevin Rudd, leaving Labor with a 1.8% margin. The by-elections held in the last term were mostly held due to section 44 citizenship problems, which makes them quite different.

So in the last thirteen years we only have one case of a marginal opposition-held electorate being contested by the government, in Griffith, and in that case there was a swing to the government, one that would be big enough to win Eden-Monaro. It’s just not enough of a sample to say “this is a thing that doesn’t happen”.

As to Eden-Monaro: it’s obvious that Mike Kelly had a strong personal vote. It doesn’t seem worth the trouble to try and quantify it, but something in the area of 5% seems plausible. Remember that he only held Eden-Monaro by less than 1% in 2019.

So this seat really could go either way, and it would be silly to call this by-election one way or the other.

It’s worth noting that this is quite possibly the single electorate hit hardest by last summer’s bushfires. The south coast was hit hard, but so was the Snowy Mountains and areas to the west including Tumut. The electorate also includes the towns of Queanbeyan and Yass which surround Canberra. They were not directly threatened by fires, but Canberra experienced worse and longer-lasting bushfire smoke than any other major city. We could well see big shifts thanks to voters judging the performance of Scott Morrison during those fires.

This will also be the first political test for the federal government since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, so this could also play out in either direction.

Finally I should note that the choice of candidate for the Coalition parties could have a big impact. This electorate covers the state electorates of Monaro and Bega, which are held respectively by the Nationals leader (and deputy premier) and the deputy Liberal leader, arguably the two most important figures in the state government outside of Gladys Berejiklian.

It seems unlikely that Andrew Constance will run, but Monaro MP John Barilaro appears to be seriously considering a run. The Nationals came a distant fourth in Eden-Monaro in 2019, and have never held the electorate at a federal level, but that could change if such a prominent figure were to run.

If Barilaro runs (win or lose) that will trigger a state by-election in his state seat, which looked very marginal before a 9% swing to him at the 2019 state election.

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  1. Mick
    If E-M is a “true toss up” then the loss of Kelly’s 4% personal vote ought to settle it ?. Ben says 5%. This almost feels contradictory. Can both things be true ?. To be honest i truly just don’t know, but i guess we’ll find out. My guess is that Kelly’s personal vote is highly overstated. I have never believed that he was impressive enough to convince a normally coalition inclined voter to vote for him personally. To put a number on it, i’d suggest 1-2 %, at most.

    Two issues i think would count strongly against Kelly would have been his slavish adherence to climate alarmism, & the huge spending on subsidies, RET etc. This is a highly divisive ,& polarising issue. It is worth remembering that approximately 60% of voters are unwilling to incur any increased cost to them, & have repeatedly voted against these kind of proposals. Kelly’s devotion to Bill Shorten would also have damaged his credibility.These two issues alone would have severely retarded his personal vote. iF this line of thinking is correct, then the overall contest will be close.

    I agree with Ben & yourself that candidature is all important. Barilaro clearly has reservations about a 3 cornered contest. That is why he’s taking the weekend to think it over. Morrison has clearly failed to have a strategy, let alone a plan in place. The PM might be a fair tactician, however his strategic capacity is lacking. Howard, or Menzies would already have everything in place, with all contingencies covered. Few PM’s would have made the obvious error of stating that the Liberals would field a candidate, so recklessly, & hastily.

    This is Morrison’s greatest weakness. He so desperately needs to prove he is successful, all the time, & in every way. Any suggestion that he is not absolutely successful, provokes intemperate behaviour, & unwillingness to examine an issue in all it’s dimensions. These tendencies can lead to hasty, expedient, & incomplete decision making. It is disappointing that the PM lacks the awareness to govern himself with these behaviours, or to assign advisors to protect him from such dangers.

  2. Excerpt from todays OZ
    Meanwhile, Labor leader Anthony Albanese has announced Bega Valley Mayor Kristy McBain as his preferred candidate for the by-election in the federal seat of Eden-Monaro.

    Ms McBain has won the backing of Mr Albanese, putting her on course to win preselection after nominations close on Monday. Mr Albanese said Ms McBain was in a unique position because she understood the people of Eden-Monaro, who have suffered from drought, bushfires and now the coronavirus.

    “She is someone who has been on the ground when the people of Eden-Monaro have needed people to be present and to be around and representing them,” Mr Albanese said. “She is someone who will bring that passion, that capacity, the talent to advocate strongly for these regional communities.”

    Ms McBain thanked Dr Kelly for being a strong advocate for the electorate and said his shoes would be big ones to fill.

    “With the resignation of Mike Kelly, now is the time that Eden-Monaro is a reset button, a reset button and I think people want a change in politics,” Ms McBain said. “They want people to represent them at a local level and they want people they know, people they trust people they see every day.”

    “I want to be that voice of the people of Eden-Monaro because I don’t want my community to be left behind and at the moment, my community is being left behind.”

    She said after triple crises of drought, coronavirus and bushfires, the community wasn’t receiving the support they needed and she would fight to have their voices heard in Canberra.

  3. It’s a little cocky of the Nationals to demand the Liberals not stand in a seat where the Nationals got 7% of the vote and the Liberals got 37% at the last election. Why should the Liberals give up a seat that’s very winnable for them?

  4. Postal Voting for all enrolled voters is the only safe option plus cheaper and more convenient and democratic too.

  5. the logic of a personal vote of 4% which is lost and a 1% margin is of course with all things being equal a change in who wins the seat. but all things are not equal……..there are also issues of cross voting the same people who voted for Bailaro and Constance turned around and voted for Mike Kelly. this is a cross vote of about 8 to 9%……………… I just don’t know.

  6. Some Guy
    Mate you are so right. That is the thing with junior partners, there is always this point about being EQUAL PARTNERS ….!. Now if i were to make some equation with marriage ..!?. Well that would be terribly sexist wouldn’t it !!. Ah the long relationship of the Libs, & Nats……

    Back to your question. Well the Libs could, might actually do something UNCONDITIONALLY for someone else, Gee what would that look like !?. They might invest something positive into the relationship ?. Instead of pinching Nat sets at every opportunity, with Labor connivance, & support. There is history, & form….

    Barrilaro is the most capable candidate, for obvious reasons. However there is the issue of the Nat’s lack of presence in the East (coastal) part of E-M. How do they marshal the support from Lib branches, members, & voters without a Lib candidate actually standing?. This will be a challenge.
    cheers WD

  7. Mick
    Complicated isn’t it !!. A political “Gordian Knot” !?. An internal Nat poll of 1300 voters reveals 52-48 for Barilaro. However this is SUCH a Diverse seat. The demographics, & regionality just vary so much.

    Fundamentally i see this seat as being very much the “haves”, & have nots. The haves being those on the public teat. ie Public servants, & the retired ones especially, & most others as the have nots. Are there “inbetweeners “, & who are they ?. What are their priorities ?. Where do those affected by the fires fit in ?. Who are they pissed of with ?

  8. A lot of the “haves” in this electorate would be cashed-up tradies living in the exurbs/towns just outside the ACT (who I’d guess would tend to vote Liberal)

  9. Some guy
    There would be a few fleeing the tyranny of Territory land taxes, & so on. However checkout the booth results (AEC) for the villages around the ACT, & Queanbeyan. There is not a lot of love for the coalition there.
    OTH there are 10s of 1000s of retired PS bureaucrats & public sector workers on defined benefit super & so on. E-M has the highest public sector workforce outside the ACT -Fact.
    In a downturn (depression) a secure income means being a have WD junior was a tradie but makes a lot more now, as a deckhand on the ferries, & being a card carrying member of the CFMMEU. ie working for the govt.

  10. Labor hold, Governments VERY RARELY gain seats at by-elections even if the liberals stand ferrite for the nationals, Labor hold with a tiny swing against them, An unpopular goverment is not going to gain a seat on an off year. And it would be foolish for the deputy premier to stand aside Deputy premier is a very high job why would be want to give it up? Its very very unlikeky even if he does win that he would become leader because his seat would be marginal he would be likely to lose it next time Labor wins power. This seat is marginal but tilts labor (it bucked its bellwhether trend 2 times in a row) if the deputy premier wins he will likely be a low profile backbencher because ministers are rarely from marginal seats. He is no Peter Dutton. And why did Mike kelly even contest last year? Wasting tax payers money for a BY-ELECTIONS? The last years liberal nominee Fiona should be preselected again because she did quite well last year actually getting a swing to her, i see the deputy premier winning IF it was held today but it won’t be held today and i reckon once he is attacked over Climbing ladders and co setting his state electorates tax payer dollars, he will lose. REMEMBER this is a Labor held seat if the coalition held it then you could make the case that they would retain it but gaining a seat from opposition is very unusual, this is Longman all over again.

  11. Barilaro is a talking head who does nothing. Considering it was some of his electorate that was burning during the summer were was he. Constantine was there as was the Labor candidate. Barilaro reminds me of the former National Deputy Premier in WA Grylls – a lot of wasted money spent with little return or big financial burdens for regional areas / councils to manage, but always with his hand around the neck of the Liberal premier threatening to quick unless they get money to waste. Why does the Libs continue to play the game with the country hillbillies and hobos in the National Party. Barilaro is not the answer for EM.

  12. @Daniel
    People often tout this fact, but as AG has pointed out, by-elections are not usually held in marginal seats either. Indeed, evidence from the state level shows that governments have won seats from the Opposition on multiple occasions (Clarence in 1996 and Earlwood in 1978 in NSW alone).

    The only poll so far has the Lib+Nats above 50% of the primary vote. Usual warnings about seat polls (much less internal party polls) aside, this is not good news for Labor. Compared to a run-of-the-mill Coalition candidate, Labor have made a good choice. But they’re facing someone with enormous name recognition and a proven track record of performance at elections. Additionally, the ALP candidate’s profile will presumably only be relevant in the Bega area. Although this is the largest part of the seat, Labor already wins most of the booths there anyway.

  13. ^^ I might add also that Labor are already seriously outperforming their state vote in the Bega area too. I don’t know whether this is a function of Mike Kelly’s popularity at the Federal level, or Andrew Constance’s at the state. I suspect the former since Bega has always been a Liberal seat.

    We’ll know soon enough.

  14. Yes its true most By-election’s are not held in Marginal seats but 2 years ago they were in Braddon and Longman, Yes while it is true the Liberal’s didn’t choose the best candidates and Johnny is a much stronger candidate for EM, The government already has a majority so coalition voter’s can vote for another candidate if they were to not like the endorsed candidate without costing the government it’s majority. Constance would be stronger in my opinion because he would do better in Bega as he is from that area. And the Nationals have NEVER won this seat it has either been Labor or Liberal and it’s predecessor’s If both of Constance and Barl were to run then it would be more likely for the coalition to win because of strong preference flows, The coalition’s best bet is to run both candidates and since only 1 person can win only 1 would need to resign his seat and only resign in the event of a win. (Constance has ruled out running against his friend but things can change) Morrison said they will field a Liberal candidate so the previous candidate Fiona (Can’t spell her last name) From the last election would be the best liberal choice if Constance decides against a run. But it also must be noted Constance could be NSW’s next premier and if he runs for this seat he likely would have lost his opportunity and likely would almost guarantee Dominic Perrottet as the premiers successor. Against not impossible for a Liberal gain but i would prefer to trust history for now…

  15. Ben’s comment that Mike Kelly’s personal vote may have been as high as 5%. Dennis Shanahan in yesterday’s Weekend Australian put it at 2%
    . Regardless this personal vote will be a significant factor. Kelly’s Personal vote however does not automatically flow to Liberals.This vote just becomes an unknown quantity. Speaking from personal experience once a conservative has voted ( or preferenced) ALP they will find it easier to do so in future. I consistently preferences Liberals or Nationals from
    1969 to John Howard’s work choices election. At the Work Choices election My vote wavered and I changed my mind between the bottom of the steps at Montville School and the top. ALP needs to ensure that there is a minor middle of road candidate who will preference ALP and ensure that this candidate is sufficiently well funded to communicate this preference recommendation to electorate.Might even be better to run two Labor candidates. It certainly is in Coalitions advantage to run two candidates who can each appeal to different parts of this electorate.

    I am not game to call this one. Could go to aLP Liberals or even Nationals but the winner will be the one who collects preferences from friend and for not just the one who harvest preferences from friends.

    This is entering into territory which traditional ALP leaders members and voters are uncomfortable in. Covid 19 will change campaigning but it has already changed the electorate.

    Electorate are now extremely hostile to Liberal an an ALP support for neo- liberal policies. Red China ison the nose This is an ideal election for National Party or even Labour- DLP if they can get organised.

    Looking at map of Eden Monaro I was surprised that it surrounded Canberra. I hafdalways envisaged it being Queanbeyan to the Coast. all the way around
    Eden Monaro should be National Party

  16. Daniel the comparison to Longman misses point Longman in the By election went back to ALP because electorate resented the by election🔻. A few months later same voters went to Libs.
    To win ALP needs to convince voters that by election was unforseeable and therefore necessary.
    Any by election is an opportunity for the electorate to gain advantages over the rest of country. I am sure local leaders in Eden Monaro are thinking what do we need that we have not currently got. Do we need a new hospital in Eden?

  17. Wreathy of Sydney
    Many good points as always. Lot’s of facts to back up opinions.
    i agree completely with your assessments of the candidates, however you didn’t actually mention names !!.

    Bega is really a very odd place. FOR a start my sister in law, & her wingeing pommie boyfriend live there !!
    Typically hypocritical Greenies, who have rejected the family as money obsessed elitists snobs, but only after my in-laws sponsored the boyfriends immigration !!. Money is like a virus to socialism !!. More infectious than Covid 19 eh !?
    i digress. It is especially difficult to compare state results with fed ones because of OPV. however i think you are correct to focus on the large discrepancy with Bega. Your point that Labor effectively hold most booths in the South east is well made. Mc Swain can only win these once, or hold onto what Labor already has.

    Perhaps the bottom line is that if the Coalition fail to win, what changes ?. OTH if Labor fail does it inflame (internal) concerns about Albo’s leadership, & capability. ?. Who then challenges, & or replaces him ? Tricky Dicky (Marles), for one, would be loving this !!.
    cheers WD

  18. A Jacket
    You are so right. It will be facinating to see what pork ends up where. This is where it pays to BE the govt !. I posted last week on this very subject, so i’ll indulge with a copy
    & paste.

    winediamond April 30, 2020 at 1:07 pm
    So it is ON !!. E-M IS IN PLAY. If the voters were logical they would vote for the coalition. The only relevant question is really, who will engender MASSIVE Govt spending in E-M ? Any dill can work out the relativities between an opposition backbencher, & a govt MP holding the most marginal federal electorate.
    Keating famously said that “in the political race, back the horse named self interest”. However this is a by-election so i’d expect voters to behave altruistically. In this case St Paul might be Wrrrrrroooooooo (wrong)…!

    So here are the main issues
    1/ Kelly’s allegedly large personal vote. The ALP are about to find out whether this was a reality, or conflation.
    2/ Will Barilaro run ?
    3/ Will the Libs contest (against the Nats) as Scomo has decreed. A massive blunder if they do. One could argue that the Nats contesting E-M in 2019, sufficiently split the right vote to hand E-M to Kelly. A 12% preference leakage to Labor (900 prefs) was greater than the winning margin (800 votes) If Barilaro stands & the Libs oppose him by contesting, they are as good as guaranteeing a Labor win.
    4/ Labor supposedly got the “donkey vote” by heading the ticket in 2019
    5/ What will happen to the Green vote ?. Will bushfire victims blame Scomo, the govt (s), or the Greens for obstructing hazard reduction burns, & locking up National Parks ? Kelly was elected on 7000+ Green preferences.
    6/ Labor will put everything behind Kristy McBain, (Bega Mayor) the likely ALP candidate. If she fails to win Labor will redeploy her profile/gravitas, in the senate, or the state parliament.
    7/ Albanese will have his weaknesses further exposed (whilst campaigning) Under stress he (Albo) becomes glib, facile, & says weird stuff, that is supposed to sound funny, or ironic. Frequently it is also incomprehensible double speak, & gibberish. A fine example a low functioning, highly fixated (enneagram)Type 5. (investigator personality type)
    8/ PM Morrison would be well advised to be very very busy elsewhere for the whole by election !!. To avoid going anywhere near Cobargo at all costs !! The PM’s discomfort & inability to deal with any emotional situation was cruelly exposed during the fires. His propagandising, & posturing impressed no one, & will be still fresh in everyone’s memory. A fine example of a high functioning, but nevertheless highly fixated (enneagram) Type 3 (achiever personality type)

  19. WD and Ben
    Sorry about inaccurate spelling. I could blame Apple but carelessness has something to do with it.
    I doubt if bushfires have had any impact on Green vote. Like conspiracy theorists Greenvoters only heat what they want to hear.

    Where Bushfires will have an impact is
    (A) ALP or Coalition voters going Green because they believe that Climate change caused the bushfires
    (B) ALP voters going to Coalition because they believe that hazed reduction burning would have saved their house.

    I have never been able to understand how a Coalition voter can change to Greens rather than go to ALP.
    There seems to be the perception that Greens are moderate Labor rather than extreme Labor.

  20. Andrew Jackson

    You are absolutely correct. My Greenie cousin who works for Shoebridge (state green leader) was quick to tell me that the bushfires were caused by climate change !!. She then had a facebook war with WD junior referring him to Green policy ENDORSING hazard reduction burns. This frankly has all the conviction, legitimacy, & authenticity of a Nazi pacifist association, or a KKK equal opportunity support group !!
    An overwhelming majority of Green voters are under 30. A significant proportion of my friends, & acquaintances vote Green. What tends to typify their circumstances, & views, is ideology outweighing any concerns, of an economic nature. Commonly they are insulated from any significant impacts by secure employment, & income. IN short they often constitute a wealthy, entitled elite. The hypocrisy of sending their kids to elite private schools, frequent, & extensive overseas holidays, driving massive 4WDs, Inheriting strongly at a young age do not seem to trouble them much. Most are profoundly ignorant of the true consequences of policies like inheritance , wealth, turnover, & universal land taxes. Or where such policies have been enacted, & what the results are.
    So my answer to your question is fundamentally that a Coalition voter will go Green if money is no object ,& reality is whatever we believe it to be !! To be honest i’m finding the most evangelical of my christian acquaintances less offensive than my Green ones. At least we can agree on a higher power, or being….! It is a worry !

  21. WD I got the impression on my last visit to Queanbeyan that it was a strong Evangelical area.

    Greens are in fact similar to evangelicals. They just worship Gaia or Baal rather than God Almighty. 99% of Greens would not be aware that they come close to worshipping nature gods.
    Public Servants are a fertile compost rich recruiting ground for Greens.

    As an ex public servant retired on my defined benefits pension it is easy to find those that resent my pension. Not as many would have wanted my vagabond like lifestyle when traipsing from one posting to another. The fact is I paid for my defined benefits pension through a mixture of “buy back payments” very forthright for 33 years never seems to cut much ice.
    When I stood as a DLP Candidate in 1972 our policy was for a universal single nationwide super scheme with a defined benefits pension at retirement for all workers. This included free hospitals a true insurance pension for widows and disability pensions. The fact that the electorate rejected our policies isa istorical fact.
    The reason that Commonwealth Public Servants arestill dependent on the public purse is because unlike Queensland Government Commonwealth did not ”Pay as you Go” they put off paying till employes retired. I can remember sitting in mining towns where semi skilled labourers were on double my pay as a teacher. They paid $4 per rental for a full housebwhen I paid 8 times for a 3m X 3M room. Public Servants did not get it easy. They got a wage slightly below public sector wages normally but had permanent employment. The only substantial difference in awards was that sick leave was totally accumulative.

  22. Andrew Jackson
    My isolated friend in NYC ,Barbara, thought your reply was really very funny. You brightened up her day. Greens, compost, worship, & theology …..!
    Let me say straight up that i do not resent your Pension, or anyone else’s, as it is an outcome of the prevailing terms & conditions you worked under. Kudos to you for taking the prudent decisions to enable your accumulation. I had forgotten that there was a contribution component, though i’m quite ignorant of the intricacies. Having said that, judges, politicians, & the like have totally taken the piss…….!

    Perhaps some of the noise about pensions, is a consequence of the problems, risks, & losses with Superannuation, & the now low interest environment . Once the returns from pension would have looked modest, whereas now they seem generous, & of course secure. It is difficult to see how any ordinary person is well served with compulsory super. It is a great tragedy that your policy positions did not prevail. thanks for the very thought provoking & personal post
    cheers WD

  23. This is a seat that has been drifting away from the ALP due to demographics & the redistribution. It’s the Government’s to win & if they don’t it should set alarm bells ringing. Kelly was undoubtedly popular as a hard working local member. The difference between state and federal voting patterns and between Senate and How votes both point in that direction. the big uncertainty is what impact the bushfires have – the electorate as a whole was burnt all over. The problem is that progress in clean up and recovery has been very slow and with covid-19 taking the attention people are feeling pretty neglected – will that affect their vote in the by-election and if so to what degree? If the ALP go with the Bega Valley Mayor that will tell you what the campaign is going to be about & that is probably there only chance if they have won of retaining the seat.

  24. This was interesting from the comments section of Shanahans article in todays OZ :

    “”Mr Constance needs to clear up whether he still believes mega-bushfires are caused by global warming or decades of restricting locals from running their historical broad area fuel reduction burns in cooler weather, and whether he supports south coast green retirees from Canberra or local agricultural industries.

    I suspect the national party knows if Mr Barilaro doesn’t run in the state electorate of Monaro they could lose it to the shooters and fishers party.””

    Perhaps we will all have to wait some time to find out what all the backroom discussions were about ? The last sentence points to a live issue. The shooters, & Fishers appear to have momentum

  25. Bega and Monaro are marginal…. despite the results at the state level……….. they make up maybe 80% at the seat of Eden Monaro……… I suspect Constance will not stand either. He has promised not to recontest Bega I think largely for Health reasons why would he contest a seat Eden Monaro which will be a more difficult prospect and be more difficult for his stress levels. The seat will still be a toss up in this case….. but a normal contest

  26. Mick
    I have to say Constance leaves me cold. His performance as transport minister could only be described as “mixed”if you were feeling very charitable. His intemperate, hysterical, & hypocritical comments during the fires were divisive, & unhelpful. What would he achieve as a lib fed MP !?. Is the PM likely to fast track Andy boy for promotion ? iS his heart really in it, as you have alluded ? .McBain looks a far more convincing, & better candidate

    Normal contest ?. Maybe not. The minor parties might have a big crack here. By election turnouts can be significantly lower too

  27. By speaking out against Scott Morrison during the bushfires, Constance can potentially neutralise the issue that the ALP were almost certain to run on. Likewise, people might see him as a straightforward type of politician who tells it like it is. Being from Bega means he might be able to turn a lot of those booths blue as well. Provided the Nats don’t run and leak preferences (in Queanbeyan particularly), this is good news for the Government.

    Apparently Lib internal polling has Constance pushing 60% 2PP. Crucially, Morrison also has a net satisfaction in this bushfire ravaged seat too. Take it with a grain of salt but that certainly would have had an effect on Barilaro getting out for the Libs. On a related note, I’ve never seen AG so bullish about a government’s chances at a by-election. He certainly wasn’t like that for Super Saturday.

  28. Wreathy of Sydney
    AGAIN Many good points as always. Mate you really ought to BE IN politics. Your instincts & judgement have been vindicated almost immediately !.
    Here is a piece from Sky, & it is very similar to

    Andrew Constance Liberal’s best chance to capture Eden-Monaro: polling
    Andrew Constance has the best chance of capturing Eden-Monaro for the government, according to polling undertaken by the Liberal Party. It’s understood Andrew Constance polled “significantly higher” than other Liberal members but the actual figures are being closely guarded by the Liberal Party. Sky News understands the benchmark polling — meaning it was conducted in-depth over the phone rather than a robocall — revealed Jim Molan had a 50/50 chance of defeating Labor’s Kristy McBride while NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro had a two-party-preferred figure in the mid-50s. The Nationals were shown the polling on Sunday after which Mr Barilaro announced he would not contest the seat. It’s understood the polling also revealed Scott Morrison had a net favourability in the electorate, and in areas where he was not popular – in particular, bushfire ravaged regions – Mr Constance polled well. Sky News understands the NSW Transport Minister will confirm a tilt at Eden-Monaro later this week.

  29. Wreathy of Sydney
    Following on. You are probably correct, but i still don’t like it. I don’t like Constance one bit. Yes it is personal.
    Perhaps he will be a really annoying maverick, & stirrer ?. That might have some value …

  30. I agree that Constance is the best chance, Molan would lose not just because of his age, well he would be one of the oldest mps to be first elected to the lower house in history so that would become an issue but also the fact that he is a conservative climate sceptic tjat does not bold well with a bushfire heavy hit electorate. The polling showing it 50/50 is wrong because remember this is Coalition polling party polling tends to be biased towards the party just like it is in the US because they tend to target voters more willing to vote for the coalition in their polling (Labor internal polling is biased as well) never trust internal polling, Constance is Pro-Climate is a moderate and much like Turnbull that suits well for somewhere like this, If Molan wants to run then he should run in Farrer or Parkes at the next election he would be suited well there, But not in this diverse marginal seat. The Bega by-elections is likely to be a labor gain however looking at federal results in the state seat and Constance has a very HIGH personal vote idk how high but it will be a reasonable total he has held it for 17 years and he is likely to take that personal vote over with him to this federal seat. Question is will it be enough to overcome a potential swing to Labor in the Monaro part of this electorate if there is one?

  31. Daniel,

    Your characterisation of party polling is simplistic. Internal polling can be biased because we don’t know the methodology of the questions or the motive behind the commissioning. This is especially true when the polling is ‘leaked’ (in other words, deliberately released to prove a point). However, if such polling had no probative value, then I doubt political parties would use it at all. While you do get unpredictable and untrustworthy results, you can also get pretty accurate signals. For example, it’s well-known now that Coalition internal polling accurately predicted big swings to the LNP in Longman and Herbert in 2019. Indeed, Labor’s own internal polling was not that far off the final result. Unlike Newspoll which had it at 51.5, Labor’s internal polling was only level-pegging, which should have been a massive red flag (pun intended). Just goes to show you that these polls are not necessarily in and of themselves inaccurate or biased.

    How can you say it is likely to be a Labor gain without knowing who either candidate is first? For all this talk of a marginal seat, Bob Carr didn’t win Bega in either of his landslides. Furthermore, if polling is to be believed (let’s face it, it’s the only empirical metric we have) then approval of the NSW Government over the handling of Covid-19 should see the Coalition likely (though not certain) to retain the seat, especially when bushfire anger is not as pronounced (if it’s there at all) against the NSW State Government. There’s a reason why Gladys would rather Barilaro stay and Constance leave. That’s because despite the margin, Bega is much easier to defend that Monaro which would be under threat from SFF.


    That made me chuckle! I have no stomach for party politics anymore!

  32. Wreathy how is Monaro a chance for the SFF. You have to remember that Queanbeyan is an urban area – a suburb of Canberra, with a high number of Public Servants. I am always amazed that Monaro becomes a National v Labor not a Liberal v Labor. It is more likely to be a Liberal seat before a SFF. Take the Wagga Wagga 2019 state election SFF only got 8.73%. Wagga has a very similar feel to Queanbeyan – strong urban area with a regional area. Cannot see were SFF can get much of a vote in the urban area of Monaro

  33. Because Monaro is more than just Queanbeyan? Anyway, I probably should have been clearer. When I said under threat, I meant SFF eating into the Nat vote and spraying preferences all over the place. Of course they’re not going to win it outright for the very reasons you mention.

    This seems to be the feeling from inside the Government:

  34. slightly off topic…… but Maybe the state seat of Bega is the key…… Constance won approx 57% at the state election….. Mike Kelly’s vote would be 55 to 57% 2pp. this is around 14% cross voting…… Constance cannot recontest Bega if he loses. so maybe this state seat is line ball minus any personal votes……. remember in I think 1997 causley won the Federal seat of page and his state seat of clarence was lost.

  35. Mick,

    Your assumption that Constance can’t recontest Bega is not quite correct. In 1974, Ron Brewer resigned from his state seat of Goulburn to run for the 1974 Federal Election. Ironically, that was actually for Eden-Monaro. Though he narrowly lost in his run for the Federal seat, Brewer re-nominated and won the by-election for his old state seat.

    Now, whether Constance *will* recontest is a different matter. If he performs poorly, then of course no way the Libs will let him run again. More to the point, I doubt he’d want to recontest anyway.

    While I agree that Constance might have a small personal vote in Bega, Labor have already played their strongest hand in nominating the local mayor for Eden-Monaro. Do you really think they’ll have someone else as worthy to overturn a 7% margin?

  36. the timing effects his choices……legally he can re contest but he has promised not to stand again for Bega at the next election I found this on the abc website
    “Mr Constance will not resign from NSW Parliament and will return to be the state’s Transport Minister if he loses the by-election.”
    suspect he cannot do this and nominate with the aec for Eden Monaro

  37. I knew it !!.
    That weak prick McCormack. He is the best thing the SFF have going for them.

    ‘Hope you’re proud of yourself’: John Barilaro unloads on Michael McCormack over Eden-Monaro

    WAR OF WORDS: Barilaro vows to ‘never acknowledge’ McCormack as his leader
    EXCLUSIVE: NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has unleashed an extraordinary attack on Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack blaming him for his decision not to run for a fede…

    2:45PM MAY 5,
    NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has unleashed an extraordinary attack on Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack blaming him for his decision not to run for a federal seat in Eden-Monaro.

    Sky News political editor Andrew Clennell has obtained an explosive text exchange between the two men in which Mr Barilaro says McCormack was “threatened” by his plans to run.

    “Don’t hide behind the “members will choose the candidate’ rubbish, as you were the only one saying such lines,” Mr Barilaro wrote in the leaked messages.

    “Don’t you think my branches would have backed me in?

    “To feel threatened by me clearly shows you have failed your team and failed as a leader.

    “You will never be acknowledged by me as our leader. You aren’t. You never will be.

    “The Nats had a chance to create history, to change momentum, and you had a candidate that was prepared to risk everything to make it happen.

    “What did you risk? Nothing.

    “Hope you are proud of yourself.”

    The revelations will rock an already unstable McCormack Nationals leadership which was the subject of an unsuccessful challenge by former leader Barnaby Joyce.

    Mr McCormack told Sky News he had “never done anything but provide support” to Mr Barilaro.

    “I have never done anything but provide support for John Barilaro … he’s been great for regional NSW,” he said,

    “I gave him fulsome support. I still did say the local branches would have to endorse him. I have never given away the autonomy of local branches.”

  38. Rumour has it that McCormack’s office or allies were using a story related to a health issue in Barilaro’s family to smear him and that this backgrounding of journalists is what ultimately pushed Barilaro to not contest.

  39. journalist tweets that Constance to withdraw his bid to stand for Eden Monaro just a little while ago…?
    we will see

  40. What a laughing stock. After what’s happened, the Government shouldn’t put up a candidate at all if they had any respect.

  41. Mick
    We can only hope…. Constance has been a disaster as transport minister. Although to be fair he did succeed in 2 other ministries, & he got left with Glady’s light rail cluster. Only an average functioning TYPE 1 (REFORMER personality type). I would not vote for him, & he would be lower on my ballot than McBain. Strong stuff eh ?

  42. Wreathy of Sydney
    I agree wholeheartedly. If these clowns understood partnership, let alone relationship Barilaro would be standing unopposed for the Nats.

    McCormack is so pathetic that he gave everyone the ministries they demanded, & then refused Canavan, (& Barnaby ) any positions. If you are a leader, a captain you put your best team on the paddock. If there are problems you face them, & put the team first.

    If Morrison had resisted the NATS claiming E-M, a real leader puts the Coalition on the line. No ifs, or buts.

  43. No Press conference yet by Constance…… what was the real reason? liberal party internal matters…. he did not have the numbers to win a preselection? Did the liberals estimate/fear Bega would be lost?
    People from the NSW or Federal Government put pressure on him ? or Had he not thought it through properly
    ? This Change ion less than 24 hours makes him seem silly….. he should have done his home work prior to any announcements

  44. Jim Molan has denied that he is going to run – the previous Liberal candidate should now have a clear track for Liberal Party nomination

  45. Constance said the leaked tweets between Baliro and Mccormack where he was called …….. think it was
    C##t which meant he could not win the seat was the reason?


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