Shorten unable to say when Bullock will step down

Bill Shorten can’t say when Senator Joe Bullock will formally resign
Labor leader highlights candidates for forthcoming election
Newspoll shows opposition ahead of the government

Bill SHorten_1

Labor leader Bill Shorten faced the media this morning but was unable to say when Western Australian senator Joe Bullock will formally step down.

Mr Shorten said he was confident that the former union boss was still leaving.

Senator Bullock told parliament that he could no longer continue as a senator because he strongly disagreed with Labor’s support for marriage equality. Five weeks after making the announcement, Senator Bullock has yet to formally deliver his resignation to the president of the senate.

As Senator Bullock has not formally resigned, Patrick Dodson, the Labor party’s nominee as his replacement, has been left in limbo.

Speaking to the media in Perth this morning Shorten said he was more than confident that Senator Bullock would still be giving up his job and Patrick Dodson would be heading to Canberra.

“Pat Dodson’s a great quality candidate for the Labor Party. It shows we are engaging in real regeneration in West Australia Labor. I’m more than confident that Joe Bullock is resigning and he’s tidying up his matters.’ Shorten said.

Shorten promotes new candidates for upcoming election

Shorten acknowledged that a number of experienced politicians were retiring before the federal election but argued that the Labor team had fresh talent waiting in the wings.

Labor MP’s Gary Gray, Alannah MacTiernan and Melissa Parke have all announced their retirement. The trio were the only Labor members from Western Australia in the lower house.

“People said we had people stepping down like Alannah and Melissa and Gary but I knew at that time the Labor Party is given a clean slate of candidates.” Shorten said.

This morning the Labor leader was flanked by lawyer Tim Hammond, who hopes to replace MacTiernan in the seat of Perth. Western Australian Labor leader Mark McGowan also joined the media conference.

Yesterday Shorten appeared at a local high school alongside counter-terrorism expert Anne Aly, Labor’s candidate for the division of Cowan.

Election 2016 OIP slim

The fact that Senator Bullock hasn’t resigned could potentially create some challenges for the party. Once a senator formally resigns their replacement’s nomination needs to be signed off on by both houses of the state parliament.

The Western Australian parliament will rise this week for a four week break. If Dodson is not confirmed by the Western Australian parliament this week it is unlikely he would be able to join the senate before it convenes it’s recalled session on April 18th.

Yesterday Dodson spoke to the ABC and said that while he didn’t know when he’d be heading to Canberra he still believed that Senator Bullock was resigning.

“I expect when people say they’re going to do something, it’s going to be done.” Dodson said.

Labor overtake government in opinion polls

The confusion over the timing of Senator Bullock’s departure comes as the opposition overtake the government in the latest opinion poll.

The latest Newspoll, published in The Australian newspaper, shows the opposition lead the government 51-49. The figures are a reversal of a poll published a fortnight ago that had the government in the lead.

It’s the first time since Malcolm Turbull toppled Tony Abbott as the Prime Minister that the opposition have been more popular than the government.

The Prime Minister also saw his personal approval rating drop one point to 38 percent. Since the beginning of the year the PM’s approval rating has dropped 15 points.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten saw his approval rating jump four points to 32 percent.

This morning Shorten said he was focused on spreading the news of Labor’s policies, and was not going to be carried away by poll results, while the PM was also reluctant to discuss the latest numbers.

“The polls remind me that pride comes before a fall. I am not about to get too excited about the polls,” Shorten said during his Perth media conference.

The Prime Minister, speaking to reporters in Sydney this morning, declined to comment on the latest poll results.

OIP Staff

Senator Bullock’s office was contacted for comment.

Update: 10th April 2016: Senator Bullock has told the ABC that he plans to formally resign on April 13th. 


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