Could the Wild West topple the government? 216



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In two weeks’ time the people of Canning, an electorate adjacent to Perth, will take to the polls to vote in a new federal member. The result of the byelection should be about Canning and Canning only, but it is being weighted down with far greater importance, with some saying the outcome could even topple the Prime Minster.

Julie Bishop told the ABC in certain terms: “The by-election will not change the Government”.

So is this a media beat-up, or is there something in it?

The first thing to understand about Canning is that is it composed of two quite distinct urban areas: one with a high retiree population, the other home to many first-home owners.

The second consideration is that Canning has been a safe Liberal seat for 15 years thanks to Don Randall, who passed away suddenly in July. The question is, will Labor step into that empty seat – and will it be due to the policies of the candidate, Matt Keogh (who Julie Bishop described as a “hipster lawyer”), or a reaction to the policies of the national government?

The Prime Minister yesterday made an appearance with Liberal candidate Andrew Hastie, who is a former SAS captain and served in Afghanistan and dismissed suggestions the by-election had anything to do with his leadership.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the people of Canning,” he said, as reported by The Australian. “This … is about who can best represent the people of ­Canning in Canberra.”

Elections expert William Bowe, speaking to The Conversation says, “We’re seeing a lot of headlines about polls showing [the by-election] at 50-50, but if you look at them carefully, they’re more favourable for the Liberals than that.

Two polls from ReachTEL have shown the Liberal Party with a primary vote of 47 per cent, and if that’s right they’re going to bolt home. However, ReachTEL has 80 per cent of preferences from minor parties flowing to Labor, which is not believable. If Liberal candidate Andrew Hastie gets 47 per cent of the primary vote, he’s going to win by about 55-45.”

Mr Bowe says the Liberal candidate, despite being relatively unknown and having to match the enormous popularity left by his predecessor, is a good choice.

“He is a good fit for the electorate. Given the Liberal Party’s focus on national security, his background as an SAS officer is a great sell…. Why do we want a former SAS tough guy? Because he stood up to the Taliban and he’ll stand up to criminals.”

This doesn’t mean a Liberal victory is a shoe-in, adds Mr Bowe. “My feeling is that the Abbott government has narrowed itself to very few lines of attack – national security and union corruption – and it has overreached on both of them. So, using these issues becomes counter-productive, and it has too narrow a front to attack on. It can’t draw on a broader narrative that includes the economy and voters’ hip-pockets.

“The Liberals are obviously aware of this, and they’ve launched a discussion on reducing income tax rates. But how can they sell tax cuts without dismantling the rest of their argument about restoring the budget?

“Western Australia generally has Labor starting from a long way behind. Polling is showing a swing to Labor a couple of percent higher than the national average. The Liberals are at such a high watermark after the last federal election, and they’ve also been in power at the state level for a long time.

“But there’s a critical mass of people wanting to take a swing at the Liberal Party, either at the federal or state level. And if there is any anti-politician sentiment it’s less likely to be taken out on Labor.

“There are an awful lot of factors at play here, which makes it really messy to analyse,” says Mr Bowe.

Meanwhile, Liberal candidate Mr Hastie also dismissed the talk about a leadership crisis at a national level.

“I’m very busy on the ground — I don’t have time to take counsel from the east coast Twitterati,” he said. “There’s a significant disconnect between what people are saying over east and what’s happening here in Canning.”


Are you following the Canning by-election? Do you think it deserves the attention it’s getting, or is it a matter for the  electorate?

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  1. I don’t want Abbott to lose Canning, I want him right where he is at the next election and I suspect the ALP , The Green and Independents want him leading in the next Federal election. If The LNP loses Canning Abbott may lose his Prime Ministership,his Cabinet leaks say he will be ousted

    1 REPLY
  2. Its a matter for the electorate only. Let the people vote for the best choice to represent them.

  3. A slick imported candidate over a local who has lived in the electorate. I am over slick, useless politicians it seems the Libs are presenting the electorate with another one. It is time the party machines on both sides selected hardworking locals as candidates. Anyone who is described in flowing terms by Tony Abbott has got to be suspect, look at his record on Captains picks.

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    • I remember a few candidates brought in by Labor to fill places, M Thistlewaite for one and dopey , Noddy ,Noddy D. O” Neil, wasn’t wanted in Dobell, so quick smart got her to Sydney.

  4. Let’s hope the people of Canning understand that just like Howard these bunch of champaign sippers will sell them out , WA workers of all people should remember how Howard gave the mining company’s a tax cut and made the workers pay more

    4 REPLY
    • A bit like Wayne Swans and Labors Mining Rent Resources Tax, the big 5 mining companies paid ZERO tax and got back refunds whilst screwing their workers at the same time Phill Lamprey. Both sides of politics are just as bad as each other, criticise both of them not just the one you don’t like.

    • I will say what I want Craig and yes they all have faults but letting the Chinese bring in workers is weak as piss , have a look a PYNE and his education debacle , there is over a million visa workers here , 800000 people out of work the deficit has blown out with the CAPTAIN we have at the moment we don’t stand a chance , he’s like a bad whisky he leaves a bad tast in your mouth

    • phil lamrey nice try just over 100000 .many doctors dentists and nurses working where our doctors refuse to go

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      • there are a large number of people from mining and construction who are unemployed who are not listed as unemployed as they have savings.

    • Get your facts right my daughter is a nurse , I’ve worked on the gas lines in qld it is rampart there I’ve seen it first hand were company’s from other countries use there workers and when a cull in workers comes it’s always the Ausies that go first there is more than 100000 just in the construction , are u a doctor

  5. I personally would not vote for Andrew Hastie , even if he was ALP. All that talk of chopping off hands to identify people , made me feel sick. That is what terrorists do, they mutilate

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    • That was a smear campaign. He was not on the ground when this happened. He was up in a helicopter. Once he found out what happened he reported it to his superior officers and appropriate action has been taken. Furthermore, they were dead when they had their hands chopped off, unlike the people who were executed by having their heads chopped off while they were alive.

    • You have your opinion Helen Joan Harmon I have mine and I have stated it.. the whole thing made me feel sick and I feel ashamed that incident was associated with Australia.

    • Mutilating the dead is not acceptable by our societies standards Helen Joan Harmon, because they could not spare a few minutes to get their finger prints is sickening

    • But, David James, it is okay to decapitate someone while they are alive. That is even more sickening to me. But, yes, you are right, Leanna, we are all entitled to our opinions. Furthermore, decapitating someone while they are alive should not be acceptable by any country’s standards. It is barbaric.

    • Helen Joan Harmon wake up and smell the roses, it is not ok to mutliate anyone full stop !!

    • David James, I assume you have NO combat experience. I have and when you’re under fire or facing potential attack you don’t have time for “nice” things like fingerprinting. Its quicker and easier to cut the hands off for identifying them back at base. I’d sooner cut off their hands for id and get to hell out of dodge than saying wait fellas gotta fingerprint these guys. Do you actually think the Taliban give a flying toss about the hands being cut off, no they don’t and they do it quite a bit over there. That’s the problem with people who have never served in the ADF, first to criticise but the first to scream when the shit hits the fan.

    • It’s very difficult to know if he did or didn’t chop anybody’s bits off Helen Joan Harmon after all the lies coming from the current government!! Can’t believe were discussing whether it’s appropriate are not to chop off people’s hands or heads alive or dead!!! I think if you’re capable of doing either the word I would use is psychopath !!!

    • I agree with Deborah Davers it is not appropriate to even contemplate if mutilating anyone alive or dead is acceptable, the asylums and jails are full of people who chopped other people up

    • In war if they are under fire and in a hurry I can’t see why they can’t cut off the hand of the dead terrorist if they need to prove. It’s bloody deadly war. & the man is dead.

    • it is barbaric Darell Warrinngton and it only takes a few minute to get finger prints, and it i is against the law

  6. If the people of Canning have any acess to the news , I can’t see why they would vote Liberal

  7. I have been following this young man and I really like him and hope that he does win the Canning by-election.

    16 REPLY
    • Helen if he does win and win well I will be very disappointed in the voters of Canning , can’t u see that all the wealth that has come out of WA has been waisted and left our shores can u imagine if the mining company’s were taxed fairly WA would be the envy of the world , do u agree that visa workers which there is over a million of them , and Chinese workers , Indian workers should be aloud to come in and take our kids jobs

    • My understanding is that if Australians have the necessary qualifications they will get the job over visa workers. If not, then visa workers will be brought in.

    • Ask any guys that have worked in the mining industry if the visa workers are taking jobs from Australian workers , I’ve seen it first hand in qld gas fields and when it’s time for a cull of workers it’s the Ausies that go first , you only have to have a look at what’s going on in there country they won’t our jobs , farms and what ever else they can get and u won’t to trust them to tell us that they have to bring in there workers because we haven’t got the qualified workers REALLY , Helen do yourself and your grand kids a favour don’t trust ABBOTT

      1 REPLY
      • I worked in the QLD gas fields and the Pilbara and have worked in Mining and Construction for 15 yrs and only seen one site where there were foreign workers. And they were not taking work of Australians. it doesn’t matter if the Govt is Labour or Liberal – they think of themselves! There should be no parties – just people elected to work for the benefit of the country as a whole and the electorate in particular. There is large unemployment in this country but people cannot list as unemployed while they have savings.

    • Not a local! Brought in by libs.
      You are wrong Helen Joan HarmonHelen. Nurses were brought in from overseas and can barely speak English & are poor substitutes when it comes to care.
      Our nurse grads can’t get jobs.

    • BS. My daughter-in-law had no problems getting a job. Yes, they do bring a lot in from overseas. I actually found them better when I went to hospital and had my knee replacement than some of our Aussies. And what do you mean, not a local? I live in Perth.

    • I see he is being careful not to declare what church he belongs to? But if it is the one his father started.. They don’t even believe in evolution!

    • And Helen, can you please point us to the area of the agreement that says Australians will get preference? All I have is section 10a of the agreement which doesn’t say that at all.

    • Marlene, I said my understanding is; however I do stand to be corrected. I will look into it though, and get back to you on that one.

    • Marlene, I said my understanding is; however I do stand to be corrected. I will look into it though, and get back to you on that one.

    • Helen because your family have been lucky and been able to get jobs don’t think this is universal. In lots of areas overseas workers have come in putting Australians out of work. Mining, nursing, truck drivers, abattoir workers the list is getting longer. Lots of Australians can’t get jobs because of this. Theoretically a company has to test the labour market before they bring in workers but they use all sorts of tricks to minimise applicants. They advertise the jobs vacant in an obscure newspaper unlikely to be read by likely applicants, they do not list with employment agencies, they advertise away from the locality where the jobs are located so the local unemployed are unlikely to hear about them. Some of the overseas nurses have a poor grasp of English and endanger patients by not being able to understand drug dosage and other medical directives. The Labor Party’s hang up with the China Free Trade Agreement is the existence of a clause in the agreement that permits workers to be brought in on projects over a certain amount without any labour market testing at all no matter how feeble. I am beginning to think there is nothing quite so blind as a Liberal voter.

    • Barbara, I do understand that there are some people who are working in the nursing field who do not have, shall we say, the greatest grasp of the English language. But let me tell you, when I was in hospital in 2013 for a big operation, I found the girls from overseas, who in this case were mainly Irish, were far better than the majority of Aussies. On the other hand, my mum when she was dying was in a hospital with a lot of Asians who she found spoke too softly and she could not hear them well. But I do believe they gave her very good care. I feel the same about Labor voters as you do Liberal voters.

    • Quite frankly when graduate nurses come into the hospitals, they’re short on how to care for patients! When I graduated back in the old system of hospital trained nurses, I and my fellow nurses were well adapted to running wards and doing all cares. We were taught how to care for a patient holistically. Sadly now when you go into hospital there is very little nursing care carried out. I know I’ve experienced it. Pressure area care is non existent, but very important for bed bound patients. We would send an elderly patient to hospital with a fractured femur after a fall. They always came back with a sore on the sacrum. Walk into a hospital any hour of the day. Nursing staff sitting at desks on computers! Have worked with some overseas nurses, they had quite a good grasp of the English language and I found them mostly very caring!

    • Molly, I wholly and totally agree with you. The old days of nursing, sadly, have gone. You lot were the best. The majority of Aussie nurses that graduate these days are in it for the money, and that is it. The care just is not there. However, like I said, I found the nurses who had come from overseas were very good. Yes, there was the odd Aussie nurse who was also good. The nurses of today are text book trained unlike in your day

    • Well in my experience certain Asian nurses will not wash a person. Beneath them.
      Obviously good and bad in every job.
      Just saying.
      I also saw first hand an OT from India who was very lazy, not observing clients but rather attending to his own stretches!

    • You are quite right Darrell, good and bad in every job. However, I do know the nurses years ago were far better than the text book nurses these days.

  8. The never while the lying , cheating , ALP Is the opposition . They could not lie straight in bed. With the leader they have, who accepts bribes, takes orders from the Unions and really has no idea how to manage an economy, a business or a political party.

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