ANU EXPERTS: Wentworth by-election

On Saturday 20 October Australians will vote in the 2018 Wentworth by-election.

The Australian National University (ANU) has experts available to speak about the by-election as well as all areas of policy and its implications for Australia.

They can be contacted directly, or through the media hotline on 02 6125 7979.


Professor John Hewson
ANU Tax and Transfer Policy Institute
ANU Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU
T: 0412 261 463
Expertise: Taxation policy, Australian politics

“In the last week or so, out of fear of losing the Wentworth by-election, necessitated by the sudden exit of Turnbull, our immediately ex-PM, Morrison has been all over the shop attempting to consolidate populist sentiment among various constituent groups in Wentworth.

“For example, on whether religious schools should be able to discriminate against gay and lesbian students, or teachers, he has held positions ranging from, it’s OK because they already have that power, to yes we will legislate against such a power, at least as far as students are concerned. Whatever answer was required in the circumstances of the day. But, certainly, not unrelated to the fact that Wentworth has the largest LGTBI community of any electorate.”


Emeritus Professor John Warhurst
School of Politics & International Relations
Research School of Social Sciences
ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences
T: 02 6125 3882
Expertise: Australian politics, elections, lobbying

“It will be a disaster for the Government if they lose Wentworth, and if Kerryn Phelps wins she will be a very interesting addition to the Parliament.

“It will destabilise the Coalition because it raises a whole lot of policy issues, from religious freedom to recognition of Jerusalem.

“In the short term they will get through to the election without any trouble, but in terms of the policy knock-ons and image of the Government from a loss, it would be a serious blow.”


Dr Andrew Hughes
Research School of Management
College of Business & Economics
M: 0413 130 129
Twitter: @marketingandrew
Expertise: Political campaigns, Australian government & politics, campaign marketing

“Wentworth will be the end of majority government for the Coalition, and the start of the next election campaign in ernest.”


Professor John Wanna
Sir John Bunting Chair of Public Administration
The Australia and New Zealand School of Government
Research School of Social Sciences
T: 0410966719
Expertise: Australian public policy and administration


Associate Professor Frank Bongiorno
ANU School of History
T: 02 6125 0318
Expertise: Australian political history



Professor Mary Lou Rasmussen 
ANU School of Sociology
T: 02 6125 2659
M: 0400 902 752
Expertise: Religious difference in education, gender, sexuality and education.

“The focus on religious freedom is one that is very important and should not be framed only by the Wentworth by-election. However, it is great that it has had a lot of attention because of this issue.

“A vote for Kerryn Phelps is a vote to help end discrimination against LGBT teachers – voters in Wentworth have a powerful opportunity to sustain the momentum for change regarding religious exemptions. The ground has shifted on LGBT students; help it to shift for LGBT teachers.”



Professor Ken Baldwin
Director, ANU Energy Change Institute
T: 02 6125 4702
M: 0432 987 251
Expertise: Energy, national science policy

“Usually academics feel constrained in backing one political party over another when it comes to different election policies. 

“However, in the case of Wentworth, there is currently no policy from the Coalition that aligns energy and climate, with the Coalition party room having rejected at least four policy options in recent years. 

“Labor, on the other hand, is saying it is still willing to consider reviving the National Energy Guarantee if there is bipartisan support.

“So when it comes to a choice between policy and no policy for what science has shown to be the most crucial existential threat to the modern world – then the choice between the major parties in Wentworth is obvious.”


For media assistance, call the ANU media hotline 02 6125 7979

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