Troeth faction splits

Senator Troeth, a former party vice-president who has been in Parliament for 14 years, told The Age the Costello-dominated committee’s decision to override Mr Baillieu’s bid to run a candidate in last month’s byelection for the state seat of Albert Park was “simply disgraceful”.

– Victorian Liberal Senator Judith Troeth, reported on page 1 of today’s Age.

Despite John Howard accepting responsibility for last weekend’s result, it cannot all be laid at his feet. Many of the problems the party faced were caused by a weak and subservient organisational wing that lacked the courage to stand up to the parliamentary wing.

– Victorian Liberal Senator Judith Troeth, in her opinion piece published in today’s Age.

Election 2007 celebrity politics

One upside of the 2007 election was the failure of celebrity politics. Big names and big dollars were after Malcolm Turnbull in Wentworth, yet there was a swing to him of 1.19%, against a NSW swing away from the government of 5.65%.

Across the harbour in Bennelong, Labor’s celebrity candidate Maxine McKew, though clearly with qualifications for the job beyond a long TV career, won with a swing of 5.38%, slightly below the NSW average. Perhaps a less-well-known Labor candidate wouldn’t have been able to get Labor over the line in Bennelong against a Prime Minister, but the celebrity factor isn’t obvious in the numbers.

Nor was a celebrity factor clearly showing for former TV weatherman Mike Bailey, running against Joe Hockey in North Sydney. His swing of 4.8% was also below the NSW state average.

In the South Australian seat of Boothby, Nicole Cornes probably did get a celebrity effect – far more publicity for her blunders than she might have received had she been more obscure. She did get a swing to Labor of 2.33%, but that was only just over a third of the overall South Australian swing.

Many voters probably do make their election decision for superficial reasons, but in 2007 their interest in celebrities did not seem to be among them.