Guest Post: Vikki Campion – Kristina: ticket to ride

In the pantheon of political heroes there are those who win new seats, removing an incumbent from their opposing side, and those who fight from the unwanted third spot on the Senate ticket and win against the odds.

Senator Ursula Stephens was one such Labor hero who won an election from the No.3 spot on the ballot paper.

LNP Senator Amanda Stoker is now polishing her shield for her fight to win from the third position.

It is challenging to win from the third polling position, but not impossible.

The Nationals’ Ron Boswell, with 34 years in the Senate, knew how to do it. He won from the third position on his last ticket because he had the guts to try.

Former senators believe ALP Senator Kristina Keneally, who this week announced she would move from the Senate to take on lower house seat because she would be No.3 on the ALP Senate ballot paper, could do the same.

She has a solid personal following, is a former NSW premier but the question would be if she has the guts to try or the grassroots work ethic it would take to harness the vote.

If she had fought and won her Senator spot from there, her statue would stand in the ALP Pantheon.

Instead, she is choosing to run in the safe Labor Sydney seat of Fowler — a move that kicks the local branch’s choice, Tu Le, to the kerb.

Branch members are the people sweating at polling booths, wearing ugly party T-shirts and trying to press how-to-vote flyers into the hands of harried voters who don’t want to be there at all.

They are the ones organising fundraisers to pay for elections, branch meetings to organise elections, pushing forward policy solutions and having the tough conversations at the pub in the belief the party cares for them.

How do sell the line when it won’t accept the candidate grassroots members chose to represent them?

Senators choose where their office sits when they are elected.

If Senator Keneally had been heart-set on serving western Sydney, her office would be on Hughes St, Cabramatta, not on the 14th floor of 25 Bligh St with waterfront views of Sydney Harbour. It doesn’t even face western Sydney.

Senator Keneally lives on Scotland Island, a secluded and exclusive community off the northern beaches, and the biggest issue for its residents right now is a carbon offsetting certificate for the exclusive ferry. Out in Cabramatta, they have struggled to work during Covid lockdowns. She could have gone to Cabramatta, not to stand for Fowler, but to hear the views of the Vietnamese community, which in her entire time in the Senate, she has mentioned in the House twice.

Her most regular view of western Sydney was flying over it on the way to Canberra. All this time, as a Senator for NSW, part of her constituency did include Fowler.

So why on Hansard, has she never mentioned it?

People who have won from the third Senate position say the trick is to listen to those everyone else hasn’t. For Mr Boswell, it meant timber workers, fishers, tobacco farmers, and, coincidentally, the Vietnamese community.

A senate quota is 14.3 per cent of the vote. The job is to start with the flow-over from the first and second positions and go out and fight for the remainder, starting with the ethnically diverse groups of western Sydney. You need to inspire them to hand out for you.

The Coalition’s experience in the seat of Gilmore in 2019 showed a drop-in candidate can split the vote and lose the seat completely.

Last night Labor’s National Executive met to endorse Senator Keneally for Fowler. The party should have asked itself if Senator Keneally was incapable of securing the top spot on the ALP ballot paper when she only had to convince fellow members she was worthy, how will she convince the good people of Fowler to choose her over other candidates, who will presumably be locals. It takes more than a star persona to win over an electorate in which the constituency is not as fascinated by theatrical examination of a witness in Senate Estimates as they are with a train station with a lift so they don’t need to carry a pram up two flights of stairs with the groceries. How do you relate to that when your experience is of a private ferry to the exclusive Scotland Island, which doesn’t even take the Opal card? Welcome to the lower house, where your constituency prefers to see you in yellow gloves with a bottle of Domestos scrubbing toilets than perfectly preened under studio lighting.

The MP job is less West Wing, and more Neighbours — but for Senator Keneally it’s been an episode of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Less swanning around polished media types over hors d’oeuvres, and more tea and scones in the local library, there are fewer microphones and cameras and more picking up complaints at the check out at Coles to follow up the next day. Your electorate may have passing interest in a particularly skewering assault on the opposing side, but conversation quickly moves to a new road to replace one marked with a string of memorials. Or a visa to keep the new doctor in town. Or the medicine their kids need on the PBS. At the same meeting tonight, Joel Fitzgibbon’s replacement for Hunter will be endorsed – an Olympian shooter, coal miner, working in mining services, whose portrait already sits in the Cessnock Hall of Fame.

Hunter, a marginal seat, gets a strong local and Fowler, a seat taken for granted, gets a potential new resident, apparently their local.

19 thoughts on “Guest Post: Vikki Campion – Kristina: ticket to ride”

  1. “LNP Senator Amanda Stoker is now polishing her shield for her fight to win from the third position.”

    I hope Stoker loses that third position to Campbell Newman. Stoker talks a lot but when it comes to standing up for principles…..such as free speech…..she chickens out.

    Karma baby…karma.


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  2. “She has a solid personal following, “

    Where? Maybe among a few ALP apparatchiks in Sussex Street but out in the real word, Keneally is rightly despised.


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  3. Will the Viet community learn from this? Fowler is 15% viet born (So you can imagine the % of 1st generation Aussies).

    Let’s hope so.

    What’s betting if K(K)K gets in, she’ll remain in Scotland Island, with a ‘principle place of residence’ somewhere in Fowler that she occasionally visits… or will it be an faux Italianette double brick with pebblecrete yard on the shores of Lake Chipping Norton?


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  4. I hope Stoker loses that third position to Campbell Newman. Stoker talks a lot but when it comes to standing up for principles…..such as free speech…..she chickens out.

    She’s still better value than the waste of space in the No. 2 position, who’s only there because of Peter Dutton’s patronage, but Campbell Newman in the senate would be a good result..


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  5. “She’s still better value than the waste of space in the No. 2 position,”

    Maybe…..maybe not….they’re both party hacks. Just remember that Stoker supported Keneally’s censure motion last year against an Australian citizen…….nobody in the senate coalition had the guts to stand up at the time and say that it was wrong.


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  6. I agree Roger.

    Vote below the line and give Stoker number two if you must vote for Newman.
    Or as I intend, Stoker one then Newman two to get it up the LNP machine. Use up your preferences until you don’t want to number anymore.

    Never, ever vote above the line and gift your preferences for slimy political deals.


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  7. Stoker deserves re election for no other reason than getting right up the luvvies’ noses by appointing a constitutionalist to their AHRC.

    Not as good as Rabzing the AHRC, but it will do for the time being.


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  8. AS someone who lives in FOWLER, Federally, (don’t know why as Fairfield is where I live, shop & vote State & Local) I, honestly, couldn’t care less who Labor parachutes in .. I can’t recall the bloke here now, I had to read his name in various to & fro-ing this week, to remember who he is .. FOWLER is a Labor fiefdom like it’s neighbour, McMAHON and NOTHING gets dun anytime because these picks are guaranteed winning, regardless .. All either of these two seats mean is a minimum $200 000 + freebies a year ….. CARE FACTOR … ZERO!


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  9. Candidates. Senate seats. Labour. LNP. The West Wing.
    Australian society burns to the ground, and again we have the obsession with politicking.
    Pointless.
    Stupid.
    FRIVOLOUS.
    I’ll say it again: What planet are you people living on?


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  10. Vikki’s role here is not to ‘put lipstick on a pig’ but place colourful tassels on the tusks of a feral boar, and keep repeating the assertion – using differing examples, but primarily relatable anecdotes – that yes, the Liberals/Nationals are feral boar-like in that their sole purpose is to survive, but at least they have colourful tassels, which the other half of the feral pig partnership does not have. If you have to choose between two wild pigs – which you do, because voting is compulsory, and few here (or at least not enough to be quantitatively relevant) advocate informal voting – why would you not choose the one with tassels? I mean, wook at da not-so-widdle thing!

    Whether you call it ‘catching the dribbles’ ‘sweeping the wood chips’ or something else, there is certainly a place for that type of role on the allegedly-right-of-centre side of the political spectrum.

    Vikki is obviously passionate about what she does, and good on her for that, even though I do not share her beliefs. My point is that I approach Vikki’s articles with an awareness of her intent.

    However, toward the political parties, their management, the feral media, large corporations and entities both private and public, I am taking all of this very, very personally. This self-proclaimed superhero class has chosen to make it personal. I feel both enraged, but also helpless, and I resent this state of mind more than I can express in words, or even random vocalisations.

    Good luck to you, Vikki. But for me, in a non-personal sense, you are a propaganda tool.


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  11. Phong Ngo anyone?
    The Turtle (Federal member, McMahon)along with other prominent Fairfield politicians used to attend Phong’s birthday & Chrissie parties in gaol .. media ignored it .. not sure if he still does ……..


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  12. Senator Keneally lives on Scotland Island, a secluded and exclusive community off the northern beaches, and the biggest issue for its residents right now is a carbon offsetting certificate for the exclusive ferry.

    No, the biggest issue is paternity tests and it’s no fun if we all own the same make of car.


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  13. I will be voting in Gilmore next election to make sure my vote counts for something. I think the preference details should be printed on the ballot or prepublished so we know where our preference ends up. I prefer my vote end’s with the one I vote for.


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  14. I hope Stoker loses that third position to Campbell Newman.

    Cassie, I’ll do what I can.

    She’s still better value than the waste of space in the No. 2 position, who’s only there because of Peter Dutton’s patronage

    Oi! That would be Matt Canavan.
    It’s considered lese majeste around my district to sling off at him.


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