Fulminating Formula 1 Friday

It has been rather wild and woolly in Victoria today:

Roofs have been ripped off houses, trees have crashed to the ground and trampolines have flown out of backyards as severe storms batter Victoria.

The State Emergency Service has received more than 520 calls for help since midnight on Friday with 73 calls coming from the Wyndham region in southwest Melbourne alone since 6.30am.

Some 100 calls have come from across Gippsland.

Thousands of Victorian homes were without power, but most have had it restored after the state was buffeted by high winds and heavy rain.

A woman from Wyndham Vale, one of the worst areas hit, rang radio 3AW to say a ‘mini tornado’ had ripped through her street.

In a dramatic call to the radio station, she claimed: “We’ve got people’s fences ripped down, there’s holes in roofs, ceilings have fallen down.

“Someone has lost their whole family-sized trampoline – they’ve got no idea where it’s gone, they are missing their back fence and they’ve gained someone else’s dog.”

A severe thunderstorm warning has been revoked but a severe weather warning for damaging winds and heavy rainfall remains in place for Victoria’s central, northeast and eastern regions, including Melbourne.

Much of Melbourne has recorded more than 12 millimetres since midnight, while Strathbogie in the state’s northeast was drenched by 44mm of rain in nine hours.

Aspendale resident Andrea Perry says her family of four was woken by “an almighty bang” as her neighbour’s roof was dumped onto her home in Melbourne’s southeast.

“The neighbour’s house next door, they are renovating, and the whole roof has completely landed on our house including all of our cars, boat and my husband’s work truck,” she told 3AW on Friday.

“It kind of felt like the world was ending in that moment.”

Victorians have reported gale-force winds tossing trampolines and other children’s play equipment over several fences.

Victoria SES spokeswoman Jacquie Quaine says most calls for help have been for damaged roofs but there’s also been reports of fallen trees.

Though no flash flooding has been reported, Ms Quaine expects SES crews – especially those in Wyndham, Melbourne’s southeast and the Gippsland region – to remain busy for the rest of Friday.

“With the high volume of calls in such concentrated areas, we’re asking for patience,” she told AAP.

Train commuters in many parts of Melbourne have also suffered delays and cancellations.

A tree across tracks in Ripponlea suspended services on the Sandringham line, while trains on other lines were forced to reduce their speed due to wet tracks.

There were also reports major delays on the Sunbury, Lilydale and Craigieburn lines.

The expected top temperature for the day of 21 degrees was achieved before 9am, with a cool change coming through meaning temperatures for the rest of the day were be in the mid to late teens.

The peak gust in Victoria was an eye-watering 96 km/h at Fawkner Beacon in the Bay, just off Brighton.

Just how this little drive in the park is being affected who knows?


However, let me reassure the petrolheads hanging out at The Pub – the forecast for Sunday is

so everything should be hunky-dory.

I think we might have another raffle this evening, but it will start a bit later than usual: 7pm to let those in the Wild West have a better chance of getting their numbers in on time. Please don’t ask for numbers before 7 – I have a few things to do, so just let your engines idle until that witching hour.


275 thoughts on “Fulminating Formula 1 Friday

  1. From yesterday, but I missed it. Note the crucial bit at the end (internal polling & why there may not be an early DD election). I’ve copied the lot so you don’t have to break the strike ban on Fairfax clicks yourself.


    Malcolm Turnbull uses Senate reforms to clear decks for July election
    March 19, 2016
    Darren Goodsir, Mark Hawthorne

    The Prime Minister has hailed the passage of electoral voting reforms on Friday as “a great day for democracy” – clearing another major obstacle to a possible July 2 federal election.

    The odds to an early poll shortened dramatically with the passage of the Senate changes, although the process is complex and far from assured as Malcolm Turnbull considers the party’s latest polling.

    The Coalition, with the support of the Greens and independent senator Nick Xenophon, pushed through the bill against Labor and crossbench opposition shortly after 1.30pm by 36 votes to 23.

    The marathon 40-hour debate contained much abuse and name-calling, with one continuous 28-hour sitting.

    Shortly after the Senate vote, the bill passed the House of Representatives by 81 votes to 31, with some Labor members, including Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, not present for the final count.

    Mr Turnbull said there was nothing more important than proper parliamentary representation that reflected “as far as possible the will of the Australian people”.

    “For too long, the Senate voting system has been disturbed by backroom deals, by preference whisperers, by the manipulation of micro parties – such that the will of the Australian people has been frustrated,” he told Parliament.

    But Labor’s Tony Burke mocked the Prime Minister’s claims, saying his greatest policy achievement so far had been the “rorting of the Senate vote”.

    The debate was one of the longest considerations of a single bill in the past 26 years.

    The Senate sat all through the night to approve the laws, which will allow voters to allocate their own preferences above the line on the Senate ballot paper.

    If they choose to vote below the line they won’t have to number every box.

    As well, group voting tickets have been abolished, a measure introduced to address the rise of micro-parties and preference whisperers that have seen senators elected with as little as 0.5 per cent of the primary vote.

    The government already has two triggers for an election of the full Senate and lower house, but could get a fresh trigger if the upper house rejects a bill to reinstate the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

    A number of scenarios have been plotted for a possible July election, which include bringing forward the May 10 budget to May 3 to allow time for the government supply bills to be passed prior to an election being requested on May 11.

    If a double dissolution were confirmed, all senators would be up for election – rather than half the upper house.

    With the new voting rules in place, it would be virtually impossible for so-called micro-party senators, including Ricky Muir from the Motoring Enthusiasts, and Family First’s Bob Day, to retain their places.

    A senior Liberal Party figure told Fairfax Media that Mr Turnbull had “effectively given himself a put option” with the passing of the Senate reforms, which take effect from July 1.

    A put option is an investment device used by share traders to hedge their position in a deal, and can help to limit losses.

    “Malcolm is a good businessman, and when he was in business he always liked to deal with a put option in place,” said the source. “Politically, he has effectively given himself a put option as this has allowed him to hedge his bets. It doesn’t mean he will go to a double dissolution immediately, but the option is now there for him.”

    Internal Liberal Party polling shows that Mr Turnbull’s voter support is on a downward trend – although the last Fairfax-Ipsos poll, published last Sunday showed Coalition two-party support up 1 percentage point at 53-47.

    Key Liberal Party pollster Crosby Textor has advised the government to avoid calling an election unless that trend is heading up.

    “The advice from Tex [Mark Textor] is to not go early,” Fairfax Media was told. “Malcolm may choose to ignore that advice, but I doubt very much if that will happen before the federal budget.”

    Crosby Textor will conduct polling in key Brisbane seats on budget night. If that polling shows the federal budget has been well received by voters, it could provide the impetus for Mr Turnbull to call an election.

    Crosby Textor refused to comment on the specifics of the polling work it will be conducting on behalf of the Liberal Party on budget night and in subsequent weeks.

    “CrosbyTextor does not comment on the work it does for specific clients,” said a company spokesperson. ” However, in all cases, Crosby Textor gives complex complex strategic advice based on in-depth research. Anyone who suggests that can be distilled to one line is misleading you and your readers.”

  2. The Libs wanted the president of the Senate to have the say-so on the Senate coming back early.

    Penny Wong had a vote passed saying that it would be decided by the majority on the floor. Not all members of a party have to be present for that vote because the leader or deputy-leader of that party in the Senate will have their proxy votes.

    • I’m not quite sure how they would organize such a vote before the Senate returns. 😀

      Teleconferencing, email, pigeon-post or whatever.

    • After what he’s done to stuff the NBN, I suppose an online effort is off the table, with the door closed.

    • It was done to stop Turnbull’s plans to bring the budget down a week early, giving the senate a whole week (!!!) to scrutinise it and pass it so he could call an early election on 12 May, the latest possible date for calling a DD.

      If he tries this on the senate will have to be recalled for the vote, and it’s now likely that vote would be a loss to the government.

      Top marks to Penny Wong for managing to spring this surprise on the government, right at the end of business on Friday, and for getting a division when a lot of the government senators had already left the building or were too busy to run in for a vote.

      Here’s how it began, with a motion from Mitch Fifield to adjorn.

      Senator FIFIELD (Victoria—Manager of Government Business in the Senate, Minister for Communications and Minister for the Arts) (14:09): I move:

      That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till Tuesday, 10 May 2016, at 12.30 pm, or such other time as may be fixed by the President or, in the event of the President being unavailable, by the Deputy President, and that the time of meeting so determined shall be notified to each senator

      And then Penny pounced.

      Read the rest here –

  3. There was a brilliant Trump cartoon on Twitter earlier today – his mouth had been stretched out and made into the shape of a trumpet, which he was playing, and out was coming hate music.

    I forgot to save a copy, and now can’t find it. If anyone can help . . .

  4. The senate does not vote by video conference or phone hook-up, senators have to be in the chamber in person. Also, there are no proxy votes accepted. If you can’t be there the other side is supposed to arrange a pair with one of their number abstaining from a vote.

    Same thing for the reps.

  5. Ok. I must have been dreaming

    The Senate president has been given the power to bring the upper house back for an early budget sitting.

    But a successful last-minute amendment from Labor means the president will have to either get approval of party leaders or an absolute majority of senators to change the next sitting day from May 10, the scheduled date for the federal budget.

    Read more at http://www.9news.com.au/national/2016/03/18/14/34/senate-could-come-back-for-early-budget#yWJxhzGvZ7WXWE9H.99

  6. I wasn’t dreaming

    Senator WONG (South Australia—Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:09): I move the following amendment to that motion:

    at the end of the motion add, “provided that the President or Deputy President may not fix a time under this order unless that time has the concurrence of an absolute majority of senators, where the leader or deputy leader of a party in the Senate can concur on behalf of every senator in that party”.


    Extra bit from Penny:

    If I may speak on the amendment, I note I have 20 minutes, and colleagues will be very pleased to know I will not take up that much time. Light-heartedness aside, we have had a game of national kabuki over these last weeks as this government tries to make a decision on whether or not it will go to a double dissolution or early election and whether or not this will require the bringing forward of the federal budget. The government, as has been its wont in relation to tax policy, has allowed this speculation to continue. Ministers have at various times used different variations of words such as, ‘We’re working towards,’ or, ‘The budget is scheduled on,’ and other such weasel words, and we have seen a great deal of speculation in the media about that possibility.

    I want to make it very clear, from the Labor Party’s perspective, that we will not be agreeing to a sitting of the Senate that is not currently scheduled simply to assist this government in an election timetable. If the government were minded to so do, then the government ought have moved a transparent motion to that effect, which it could have done this week. The amendment I have moved ensures that the discretion that the President and the Deputy President have to fix another, earlier time for the Senate is bounded by the requirement of a majority of senators concurring. The motion that the Manager of Government Business has moved is a normal part of what the Senate does in between sittings, but I note the circumstances in which we rise on this occasion are quite different. We have had a great deal of speculation, we have had ministers ducking and weaving and we have not had the government being clear about what its intentions are.

  7. Norty cat

    The cat, who lives on George St in Hamilton East, has brought home 11 pairs of underpants and more than 50 socks in the last two months………….”In our last house she’d bring home a bit of everything – she’d bring home men’s undies, women’s undies, togs, she even brought home a hockey shin pad and a jumper.

    “She was much less discerning – now she’s decided menswear is the thing..


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