John Adams: Hanson and Bernardi face a looming Senate showdown

With speculation rampant that the Coalition will take Australians to an early federal election in September 2018 to avoid a spate of state election campaigns, political manoeuvrings have already begun in the race for New South Wales’ sixth senate spot – the last to be decided at the expected traditional half-Senate vote.

At the 2016 federal election, a combined 12 minor conservative orientated parties obtained over 566,000 votes or 12.6 per cent of the Senate vote in NSW.

This result demonstrates that a pathway exists for a non-Coalition conservative senator to be elected in NSW if this disaffected voting block can be unified.

Since the election, an open revolt against the Coalition-ALP established order has broken out across the state resulting from visionless leadership, adverse economic conditions, collapsing social cohesion and suffocating political correctness, especially in regional NSW where support for the Nationals appears to have collapsed.

As many voters now seek out alternative political representation, NSW is likely to become the nation’s first real battleground contest between Pauline Hanson and Cory Bernardi as One Nation and the Australian Conservatives enjoy surging political momentum among conservative and anti-establishment working-class voters.

The Senate seat race will be a multi-dimensional contest fought on several fronts including policy, personality, candidate selection, tactics, organisation and preference negotiations.

As both parties register with the NSW Electoral Commission, supporter groups have been meeting across the state as they build their political base and begin to plan and coordinate for the coming contest.

Based on last year’s election results, Hanson’s existing political base largely stems from northern and western rural NSW, Newcastle, the Central Coast and Western Sydney.

Bernardi, who only launched his party earlier this year, has accumulated over 4,000 financial members in NSW to date and is expected to have a natural advantage in traditional liberal strongholds of the Lower North Shore, the Northern Beaches the Southern Highlands and in Sydney’s Inner West such as Parramatta.

While both are railing against the current political and policy orthodoxy, pressure is on both parties to move beyond a purely reactionary posture and provide sufficient policy detail and ‘cut-through’ messaging which convinces voters of their credentials to address their policy concerns in Parliament.

Many give Bernardi a natural policy advantage on the economy, education and on key social institutions such as marriage, and yet others give Hanson an advantage on addressing matters relating to nationalism, immigration, energy, social cohesion and political correctness.

Hanson’s higher name identification, media exposure and strident policy statements on areas such as Islam, means that the policy and messaging challenge squarely rests with Bernardi who needs to achieve sufficient differentiation from Hanson but also equivalent bluntness and ‘cut-through’ appeal.

Both parties require a robust political campaign organisation underpinned with physical and modern digital campaign infrastructure that can maximise the distribution and exposure of their policy messages, campaign material and especially how‑to‑vote cards on election day.

One Nation are embracing a traditional state-based approach to campaign organisation, whereas Australian Conservatives are leveraging modern digital campaign infrastructure to help solicit and analyse data which can help inform policy, messaging and the direction of campaign resources.

A key organisational test for both will be their ability to target particular geographical areas or selected communities across the state in order to maximise their vote.

Given the ethnic composition of Sydney, both parties will need to move beyond the traditional white conservative and working-class constituency and engage ethnic communities where common values or policy concerns exist.

Middle-Eastern Christian communities, who have first-hand experience of the horrors of radical Islam, provide Hanson with an opportunity to garner support with an anti-Islam message.

East Asian Australians, predominately ethnic Chinese, who hold deeply held convictions on issues such as same-sex marriage and the safe schools program provide Bernardi with an opportunity, if they resent Hanson’s 1996 comments regarding Asians.

Another key test will be the ability to strike advantageous preference deals, given the prominent role that how-to-vote cards still play in the voting process.

Neither Hanson nor Bernardi have any unique advantage and deals are likely to be determined weeks out from the election.

Preference negotiations with the Christian Democrats will be critical, given that the CDP are likely to obtain a three per cent primary senate vote. Hanson or Bernardi must persuade Fred Nile, who approves all CDP preference deals, to break with the NSW Liberals whom he has given CDP’s number two preference for over 25 years.

Hanson and Bernardi will also need to prepare for potential black swan events, which may disrupt the race including the removal of Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister or enactment of democratic reform inside the NSW Liberals. Both events are likely to draw potential voters away and make the contest more difficult.

The winner of this race is likely to assume the mantle of Australian leader of the Trump-Brexit western nationalistic uprising movement.

This race will have wide-ranging national implications.

John Adams is a former Coalition advisor. This op-ed first appeared in The Spectator

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47 Responses to John Adams: Hanson and Bernardi face a looming Senate showdown

  1. jupes

    Hanson and Bernardi will also need to prepare for potential black swan events, which may disrupt the race including the removal of Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister …

    Sacking Turnbull will not be a ‘black swan event’.

  2. Mike of Marion

    In SA, the March 17 2018 Sate Election is set to be held.

    Bernardi hasn’t yet shown his hand on this election contest.

    I believe he should because he has to test his acceptance as a conservative before he steps onto the national scene. People have to know what they are getting.

  3. cui bono

    “Cut immigration and ditch emission targets” and a clear ‘How to vote for us on the Senate ballot’.
    Forget preference deals. Keep it simple.

  4. PoliticoNT

    Written like a consultant. Not enough meat on the bone for me. A ‘former Coalition adviser’ makes sense. The Coalition is full of guys like this. Well meant, write with style – zero instinct for what it really takes.

  5. Graeme Weber

    How do I get to post an article. Have tried to get information for an hour!

  6. Nelson Kidd-Players

    Graeme, email the Editor-in-Chief using the clues provided in the About tab.

  7. Baldrick

    One things for certain, the Nationals are going to get absolutely smashed at the next federal election.

  8. harry buttle

    I can’t see the Coalition going early, they know they are screwed, so they will hold on as long as they can hoping for a miracle (spoiler alert, they won’t get one).

    and yes, the Nats will get gutted because they have thrown their base under the bus, just like the Libs did.

    Expect a painful 8 years or so of Shorten outspending and screwing up the power grid even worse than Turnbull, so plan your investments accordingly.

  9. Tim Neilson

    black swan events, which may disrupt the race including the removal of Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister or enactment of democratic reform inside the NSW Liberals.

    Or Elvis might come out of hiding to play Yum Yum in a revival of the Mikado.

    Or a monster might start towing water skiiers up and down Loch Ness.

    Or a Melbourne cyclist may obey a road rule.

  10. Suburban Boy

    In an otherwise reasonable post, the author has overlooked the Liberal Democrats. Senator Leyonhjelm’s term expires on 30 June 2019, so he will need to recontest his seat at a September 2018 election.

    That means there are three minor-party right-wing contenders for the last Senate seat in NSW, not just AC and PHON.

  11. That means there are three minor-party right-wing contenders for the last Senate seat in NSW, not just AC and PHON.

    No just two CONSERVATIVE right wing party’s. PHON & AC. Let’s hope the vote for the others collapses.

  12. Crossie

    Given the ethnic composition of Sydney, both parties will need to move beyond the traditional white conservative and working-class constituency and engage ethnic communities where common values or policy concerns exist.

    Pre-70s migrants have pretty much assimilated into the Australian society and most of them don’t even see themselves as ethnic any more. The current ethnic composition of Sydney is mostly Muslims of any colour, Islanders and people from the Sub-continent.

  13. herodotus

    ” … pressure is on both parties to move beyond a purely reactionary posture and provide sufficient policy detail and ‘cut-through’ messaging which convinces voters of their credentials to address their policy concerns in Parliament.”

    Easy. Just articulate all the conservative policies which Trumble & Co. have ditched.

  14. Crossie

    One things for certain, the Nationals are going to get absolutely smashed at the next federal election.

    Good!

    For generations Pitt Street Farmers were a byword in the Bush and yet the Nationals leadership cosied up to the worst of the breed and a Mr Harbourside Mansion to boot who handed the country over to Greens. Labor on the other hand sold off farmland and mines to the Chinese. Voters in the Bush have nowhere to go except PHON.

  15. Diogenes

    . The current ethnic composition of Sydney is mostly Muslims of any colour, Islanders and people from the Sub-continent.

    You have forgotten the Golden Crescent centered on E-Ping which runs from Olympic Park through Dee Why

  16. Crossie

    Easy. Just articulate all the conservative policies which Trumble & Co. have ditched.

    No need. As cui bono already stated, there are only two life and death issues: immigration and emission targets.

    Both Cory Bernadi and PHON have listened to the people and taken notice.

    As for David Leyonhjelm, his time has probably passed.

  17. Crossie

    You have forgotten the Golden Crescent centered on E-Ping which runs from Olympic Park through Dee Why

    No I haven’t, they are not Malcolm’s people or Labor’s people. The constituency of these two are squarely on the left.

    “Ethnic” and “Diversity” seems to only refer to the social security clients.

  18. Roger

    East Asian Australians, predominately ethnic Chinese, who hold deeply held convictions on issues such as same-sex marriage and the safe schools program provide Bernardi with an opportunity, if they resent Hanson’s 1996 comments regarding Asians.

    ABC RN recently featured an ethnic Chinese shopkeeper in Brisbane – emigrated 30 years ago so he was around for Hanson’s first iteration – who has jumped from LNP to PHON.

    Reasons?

    Electricity prices eating into his already meagre profits and immigration out of control.

  19. Crossie

    “Ethnic” and “Diversity” seems to only refer to the social security clients.

    Further to this: recently I had had to pay a visit to the Fairfield Centrelink with an aged relative. Close to 95% of the clients were Middle Eastern. The triage Centrelink staff all communicated with those clients in Arabic.

    Fifty years ago my European in-laws lived in the area and the only interpreters they needed (for a short time) were at the Commonwealth Bank branch so they could deposit savings from their wages.

  20. Tel

    The three minor parties are representing different constituents.

    Bernardi represents genuine conservative, conservatives.

    Leyonhjelm represents libertarians.

    PHON represents working class ALP supporters, who finally woke up that the rogering feeling they had been wondering about came from the Greens and the new generation of coffee shop “Progressives” who think the working class are a bunch of moronic Far Quits.

  21. Crossie

    PHON represents working class ALP supporters, who finally woke up that the rogering feeling they had been wondering about came from the Greens and the new generation of coffee shop “Progressives” who think the working class are a bunch of moronic Far Quits.

    That is true though where conservatives don’t have a conservative candidate they will go for PHON. I saw some of that at the last election, in a safe Labor electorate.

  22. a reader

    i’m glad nobody has suggested the bloody ALA as a viable alternative. AusCon will probably benefit from the 53,000 NSW voters who put them as number 1 last time out meanwhile I’m not sure Hanson has done anything to boost her standing. Brian Burston is invisible.

  23. Why would Turnbull go for an early election? Would the turkey prefer an early Christmas Dinner?

  24. Why would Turnbull go for an early election? Would the turkey prefer an early Christmas Dinner?

    Agreed.
    However, please post a link, or copy & paste, just one example of a situation where Turnbull displays sound political judgement……………….

  25. stackja

    Serena at the Pub
    #2534150, posted on October 27, 2017 at 5:41 am
    Why would Turnbull go for an early election? Would the turkey prefer an early Christmas Dinner?

    Agreed.
    However, please post a link, or copy & paste, just one example of a situation where Turnbull displays sound political judgement……………….

    MT displayed sound political judgement in accepting TA offer of NBN ministry. TA displayed poor political judgement. TA has probably learnt his lesson. MT has not.

  26. stackja

    Hanson has a high profile. Cory does not.

  27. Mark A

    stackja
    #2534159, posted on October 27, 2017 at 6:35 am

    MT displayed sound political judgement in accepting TA offer of NBN ministry. TA displayed poor political judgement. TA has probably learnt his lesson. MT has not.

    I doubt it, one can’t get out of one’s skin.
    He may have learned not to trust his colleagues and the press but his emotions will override his reason.

  28. Mark A

    stackja
    #2534160, posted on October 27, 2017 at 6:36 am

    Hanson has a high profile. Cory does not.

    I’ve kept pointing it out for a long time but his supporters disagreed without providing any good reason, so I gave up.

    You cannot be a successful politician hiding behind a mail-out.

    Be out there, be noticed, be somebody that everybody recognises.
    He is not that person.

  29. stackja

    Hanson on 2GB. Media tip offs. Happen a lot.

  30. Tel

    That is true though where conservatives don’t have a conservative candidate they will go for PHON.

    Perfectly legitimate protest vote. Your representatives are unlikely to listen if you whisper softly.

  31. stackja

    Tel
    #2534199, posted on October 27, 2017 at 7:34 am
    That is true though where conservatives don’t have a conservative candidate they will go for PHON.

    Perfectly legitimate protest vote. Your representatives are unlikely to listen if you whisper softly.

    Big stick ideology, big stick diplomacy, or big stick policy refers to U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policy: “speak softly, and carry a big stick.

  32. Diogenes

    I hate to say it but around here (Central Coast – so according the above Hanson territory) Bernardi & the AC are almost totally unknown and many seem to think he, not Canavan, was the was the one caught up in the dual citizenship mess.

    hereas Australian Conservatives are leveraging modern digital campaign infrastructure to help solicit and analyse data which can help inform policy, messaging and the direction of campaign resources.

    So did Shillary, so did the Remain camp. If this was actually stated by the AC, rather than an Adams paraphrase – they may as well pack up shop now ! They are trying to be rational, but ultimately when it comes to elections people are irrational (eg I know people who voted against the ALP because they could not stand Gillard’s voice) , and will be stampeded by a well crafted election ‘stunt’ or tragic event (eg people taking the trouble to vote against Brexit after that Remainer MP was murdered) .

    If the AC are serious, knowing an election is due sometime next year, preselect locally known candidates NOW* Get them out door knocking and leafleting NOW. If you can’t get the media to interview you on our policies – buy TV time and run ads NOW Every time there is a federal issue that affects the locals, get them talking to the local media – let people know that there is an alternative to the ALibP. AND keep the candidates for the next election – doing exactly the same things, plugging away at it**

    * The closest the libs ever came to winning Shortland was when they preselected a local ex newsman, and his mug was seen on TV & on posters. At the last election nobody I spoke to even knew who the libs candidate was until they saw her name on the ballot paper, and the only reason I knew was because I had taken the trouble to look it up .

    ** my inlaws were involved in the ALP on the mid north coast and over 5 elections, the candidate chipped away at the country party/nats lead, and got it into marginal territory (at which point Sussex St parachuted someone else in – nasty word were said to Boob Carr who came up to deliver the bad news, and when he was made premier they moved to Qld and when Pauline rose the 1st time became huge supporters.)

  33. Eyrie

    I’ve concluded that in politics brand recognition is everything. Before the last election the ALA should have been organising demos outside mosques so the media could have branded them Islamophobes and racists. It is all publicity. The media buried them last election but wouldn’t have been able to help themselves if they demonstrated. See Donald J Trump.

  34. Rabz

    With speculation rampant that the Coalition will take Australians to an early federal election in September 2018

    At the very least those monumental f*ckwits could have had the decency to go a full term to spare this country any early advent of a Teats Peanuthead goat rodeo.

    Vandals to the last.

  35. Entropy

    Rabz, I think it must a plan. You can’t earn a minimum $200k a year plus perks if you are incompetent.

  36. stackja

    Steve Price speaks to Pauline Hanson about the Michaelia Cash AWU affair

    Download this podcast here

  37. True Aussie

    Given the ethnic composition of Sydney, both parties will need to move beyond the traditional white conservative and working-class constituency and engage ethnic communities where common values or policy concerns exist.

    It didn’t take Adams long to reveal what a cuck he is. People are voting for Hanson and Bernardi because they are sick of ethnics. Trying to engage ethnics will only alienate the majority of Hanson’s and Bernardi’s supporters. Fuck the ethnic communities, they have to go back.

  38. Driftforge

    Given the ethnic composition of Sydney, both parties will need to move beyond the traditional white conservative and working-class constituency and engage ethnic communities where common values or policy concerns exist.

    And you were doing so well.

  39. Driftforge

    What odds on PHON and ACP merging prior to the election?

  40. struth

    Hanson has a high profile. Cory does not.

    This is the Core…y problem.

    Cory is not the boy for the job.

    Never will be.

    The times we live in call for more aggression and in your face action.

    It calls for ridicule, and the playing of the media and all the Trump way of doing things that Cory went and studied, yet can’t bring himself to do.

    And he needed to start last week.
    Last year, if he wanted to win enough to be influential.

    Compared to some of the garbage John has written before, this isn’t so bad, however, you can see his little mind boxing voters into demographic prisons based on race etc.
    Highly leftist and naïve and due to the lack of understanding in the true nature of the individualist conservative mind. An elitist view that his nuanced grouping of them is intrinsically correct.

    I had aboriginal groups flying the stupid abo flag, join the convoy of no confidence, and protest the Gillard government with us.
    Grouping and boxing of right wing voters is ridiculous.
    I believe you actually lose votes doing it.
    Playing up to perceived interests of certain sections of voters is very stupid on the right side of politics, due to the type of voter you are dealing with.
    Like herding cats, in a way.
    Stop insulting right wing voters in this way and worry about selling good policy.
    They are not brainwashed 18 year old uni students.
    Our side of politics has the best, happiest message, and people love freedom and democracy over what is looming over the horizon, yet we have no salesman with the skill to sell the product through a challenging , hostile medium.
    And yet Trump showed them how.

    If you all got together and helped pay for my expenses, I’d have a crack.

    It’d be the best fun a man could have with his clothes on.

    This is what stuns me.

    People like Cory are paid by the electorate to fight already, they should be enthusiastically going out and kicking lefty heads for the pure fun of it.

  41. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    If the AC are serious, knowing an election is due sometime next year, preselect locally known candidates NOW* Get them out door knocking and leafleting NOW. If you can’t get the media to interview you on our policies – buy TV time and run ads NOW Every time there is a federal issue that affects the locals, get them talking to the local media – let people know that there is an alternative to the ALibP. AND keep the candidates for the next election – doing exactly the same things, plugging away at it**

    Very sage advice. Do it now, Cory. All the wittering around with democratic ‘return emails with your thoughts please’ to get the minutae of policy right is wasting time. Just about every ordinary person I know, i.e. outside of much political interest, and I know a few, hasn’t heard of the Australian Conservatives and Cory Bernardi. Raise the profile now, to maintain momentum when the Libs finally decide to ditch Malcolm and attempt to claw back the base. Be out there pointing out to voters what they are still going to get with the current Libs, regardless of leader, as well as dishing it out now to Labor (because the Libs certainly aren’t). A friendly voice to Pauline (i.e. we’re on the same side) as well as a little dig re her about better policy coming from the organized New Conservatives, wouldn’t go astray either.

  42. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Our side of politics has the best, happiest message, and people love freedom and democracy over what is looming over the horizon, yet we have no salesman with the skill to sell the product through a challenging , hostile medium.
    And yet Trump showed them how.

    Struth, your best bet is to join the Aust Cons and get a profile with them.
    They need a few headkickers.

  43. Tim Neilson

    What odds on PHON and ACP merging prior to the election?

    Pretty low. PHON’s general economic policy settings are nearer the Greens than ACP.

  44. Neenee

    How many of you who are disparaging the Nationals above base your expertise on residing in a Nationals electorate? I do, New England. If you observe closely on December 2 you will see that regional voters are true conservatives who do not change their representative for an unproven new face sprung on them at the last minute by an unproven new party.

  45. notafan

    Cory is not the boy for the job.

    Never will be.

    There is no one in Australia that meets your exacting standards.

  46. John Adams

    Does the decision by the High Court change the upcoming Hanson vs Bernardi contest in NSW?

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