View from The Hill: Kristina Keneally’s house switch stops one row, starts another


Michelle Grattan, University of CanberraWhen Tanya Plibersek – who many believe would give Labor its best chance if she were leader now – was asked about the party parachuting Kristina Keneally into the safe seat of Fowler, she slid all around the place to avoid giving a direct answer to an awkward question.

What might be called the Keneally “Fowler solution” is the outcome of Labor’s dilemma over its Senate ticket. Its two NSW senators from the right faction, Keneally and Deb O’Neill, were battling over who would get the ticket’s number one spot. With the left in the second spot, the loser would be relegated to the third place, considered unwinnable.

Anthony Albanese claims Keneally, as Labor’s deputy leader in the Senate, would have been on the top of the ticket if she’d nominated. But O’Neill had strong union support.

Regardless, Keneally’s endorsement by the right faction for Fowler – being vacated at the election by the retirement of the popular Labor whip Chris Hayes – stopped a row. But it started another one.

When he announced he was retiring Hayes strongly promoted a young lawyer, Tu Le, daughter of Vietnamese refugees, to succeed him. She ticked boxes on gender, diversity and local grounds.

Keneally’s pushing her aside has caused outrage in some Labor circles.

Labor MP and Muslim Anne Aly told the ABC: “Diversity and equality and multiculturalism can’t just be a trope that Labor pulls out and parades while wearing a sari and eating some kung pao chicken to make ourselves look good”. She added, “I’m one of the few people of culturally, linguistically diverse backgrounds in the parliament – this matters to me”.

Appearing on the ABC on Sunday Plibersek was pressed about where she stood on the matter.

She tried a bluff: “I’m a glass half-full person. Aren’t we lucky in the Labor Party to have three fantastic women, all who want to be in parliament representing the Labor Party”.

Several follow ups, and several dodges, later, Plibersek was where she started: “I think Kristina is a fantastic candidate who’s made a great contribution. I also think Deb O’Neill has made a wonderful contribution in the Senate, and Tu Le has got a big future.”

While Keneally’s installation may be a snub to some locals, it should be noted it doesn’t deprive ALP branch members of a rank and file ballot they would otherwise have had.

Through a peculiar arrangement that goes back decades and has its origins in branch stacking, the preselection process for Fowler, a seat designated for the right, is very top down. The right faction selects its candidate, who is then rubber stamped by the party.

Keneally’s facilitated passage into Fowler is the latest break for the one-time NSW premier who lost the 2011 state election. She was a favourite of Bill Shorten and the candidate chosen to contest the 2017 Bennelong byelection. Then after Sam Dastyari quit the Senate as a result of revelations he’d promoted Chinese interests, Keneally took the casual vacancy.

After the 2019 election Keneally became the opposition’s deputy Senate leader, elbowing out right numbers man Don Farrell. This put her number four in Labor’s hierarchy. As home affairs spokeswoman she aggressively took the fight up to then home affairs minister Peter Dutton. They were well matched.

At Friday’s right faction meeting which endorsed her, Keneally described herself as the “accidental senator” and thought her “brawler” style better suited to the lower house.

Given her quick rise and her take-no-prisoners political approach, the question inevitably is: how high can Keneally hope to fly?

Those close to her say her move isn’t driven by leadership ambitions. Maybe not, but if her career up to now is any guide, it would be strange if she didn’t harbour them.

However she is not universally popular in the party and if Labor loses, it would be too early for her. The favourite to become opposition leader would probably be Plibersek who, while on the left, would overwhelmingly win a ballot among the rank and file, which gets a 50% say, with caucus having the other 50%.

UPDATE: JOEL FITZGIBBON TO QUIT PARLIAMENT AT THE ELECTION

Labor maverick Joel Fitzgibbon has announced he will not run at the next election.

Fitzgibbon, who holds the NSW coal seat of Hunter where there was a big swing against the ALP in 2019, quit the shadow cabinet last November, declaring himself on a mission to push Labor towards the centre on issue such as climate and coal, and put “the labour” back into the Labor party.

He said on Monday: “I feel I can now leave the parliament knowing Labor can win the next election under the leadership of Anthony Albanese”.

He said Labor would win “if it sells itself as a party of strong economic management and one with strong national security credentials. A party which encourages economic aspiration.

“A party committed to improving job security and lifting real wages. A party prepared to back our major export industries. A party committed to equality of opportunity for all, particularly our children”.

Fitzgibbon said climate change was an important issue for most Australians too but “should not be the subject of constant and shrill political debate”.

“Australia’s major political parties have a responsibility to build a community consensus on climate change policy,” he said, urging an end to the “climate wars”.

The Fitzgibbon announcement is not a surprise – Albanese had not expected him to stand again.

The Nationals have aspirations in Hunter, although polling done by the Australian Institute in June suggested Labor was in a reasonable position to hold the seat.The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

FactCheck: has Pauline Hanson voted ‘effectively 100% of the time with the Turnbull government’ in 2018?


Adrian Beaumont, University of Melbourne

This year [Pauline Hanson] has voted effectively 100% of the time with the Turnbull government. Honestly you may as well vote LNP if you are voting One Nation because there is no difference.

– Deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek, doorstop interview, Caboolture, Queensland, July 10, 2018

In recent weeks, senior Labor Party figures have sought to draw attention to the voting patterns of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party, arguing that a vote for the minor party is a vote for the Coalition.

At the Labor campaign launch in the Queensland seat of Longman ahead of Saturday’s crucial byelections, opposition leader Bill Shorten said it’s “a fact that if you vote One Nation, you are voting [Liberal National Party]. You are not protesting, you are being used to send a vote to the LNP.”

On the same day, shadow finance minister Jim Chalmers described One Nation as “the wholly-owned subsidiary of Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberal Party”.

Earlier this month, deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek said that in 2018, Pauline Hanson had “voted effectively 100% of the time with the Turnbull Government”.

Let’s look at the records.

Checking the source

In response to The Conversation’s request for sources and comment, Tanya Plibersek said:

Pauline Hanson voted with the Liberals to cut school funding and voted to cut family benefits while she voted herself a massive $7,000 a year tax cut. Australian voters deserve to know the truth about Hanson’s voting record in Canberra.

Plibersek’s comment related to votes on second and third reading votes (including amendments) on legislation.

Plibersek’s office highlighted 20 such votes in 2018 in which Labor and the Coalition disagreed. Of those, Hanson abstained from one vote, and voted 18 times with the government. (The equivalent of 95% of the time, with the abstention excluded.)

A spokesperson told The Conversation Plibersek used the qualifier “effectively” in her original comment to indicate that Hanson voted with the Coalition almost all of the time.


Verdict

Deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek said Pauline Hanson has “voted effectively 100% of the time with the Turnbull Government” in 2018.

Parliamentary records show the figure to be between 83-86%, depending on the measure used.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party has cast 169 formal votes in the Senate to date in 2018. Of those, it was in agreement with the government 83% of the time.

If we look at the 99 occasions where the government and opposition were in disagreement, and One Nation cast an influential vote, we see that the minor party voted with the government 86% of the time.


Voting in the Senate

Votes in the Senate can be determined “on the voices” or “by division”.

For a vote to pass on the voices, a majority of senators must call “aye” in response to the question posed by the chair.

If two or more senators challenge the chair’s conclusion about whether the “ayes” or “noes” are in the majority, a division is called.

Bells are then rung for four minutes to call senators to the chamber. The question is posed again, and senators vote by taking their place on the right or left hand side of the chair, before the votes are counted by tellers.

Voting records are only published for votes passed by division.

How has One Nation voted in 2018?

We can look to parliamentary records to test Plibersek’s claim.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party is represented in the parliament by party leader and Queensland senator Pauline Hanson, and West Australian senator Peter Georgiou. New South Wales senator Brian Burston was a One Nation senator until June 2018.

Plibersek’s comment referred to votes on the second and third readings of legislation in the full Senate, excluding procedural votes, motions and votes in Senate committees.

But votes that take place in Senate committees, after the second reading, but before the third, are also important. Much of the legislative process is done “in committee”, where various parties propose amendments to legislation, and these are voted on.

So counting only the full Senate votes on legislation as being significant, as Plibersek did, does not give the full picture.

Stages of consideration of bills in the Australian Senate.
Parliament of Australia, Brief Guides to Senate Procedure

In this FactCheck, I will consider all the divisions, from a number of different angles.

There have been 187 divisions in the Senate so far this year. Of those, One Nation:

  • voted with the Coalition on 141 occasions (or 75% of the time)
  • voted against the Coalition on 28 occasions (or 15% of the time), and
  • abstained from voting on 18 occasions (or 10% of the time).

Of the 169 divisions where One Nation voted, it was in agreement with the government 83% of the time.

But it’s important to consider the balance of power.

When the Coalition and Labor vote the same way, minor party votes do not affect the outcome. When the Coalition and Labor are in disagreement, minor party votes are all important.

There have been 110 such divisions between the Coalition and Labor in the Senate in 2018 to date.

In these 110 divisions, One Nation:

  • voted with the Coalition on 85 occasions (or 77% of the time)
  • voted against the Coalition on 14 occasions (or 13% of the time), and
  • abstained from voting on 11 occasions (10% of the time).

If we look at the 99 divisions where the Coalition and Labor were in disagreement, and One Nation cast an influential vote, we see that the party voted with the Coalition 86% of the time.

By comparison, in the 110 divisions where Labor opposed the government, the Australian Greens supported the Coalition 5% of the time, and the Centre Alliance (formerly Nick Xenophon Team) did so 56% of the time.

The calculations for the Greens and Centre Alliance above do not include abstentions and cases where the party vote was split. – Adrian Beaumont

Blind review

The author’s points and statistics appear to be all in order.

As the FactCheck shows, while One Nation has not voted with the government 100% of the time, it has supported the Coalition in a large majority of cases. – Zareh Ghazarian


The Conversation FactCheck is accredited by the International Fact-Checking Network.

The Conversation’s FactCheck unit was the first fact-checking team in Australia and one of the first worldwide to be accredited by the International Fact-Checking Network, an alliance of fact-checkers hosted at the Poynter Institute in the US. Read more here.

The ConversationHave you seen a “fact” worth checking? The Conversation’s FactCheck asks academic experts to test claims and see how true they are. We then ask a second academic to review an anonymous copy of the article. You can request a check at checkit@theconversation.edu.au. Please include the statement you would like us to check, the date it was made, and a link if possible.

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Australian Politics: 13 November 2013 – A Former Prime Minister Retires