Trad’s resignation sparks Senate speculation

WITHIN 48 hours of being turfed out by the boss of the Left, the chatter had started: ousted treasurer Jackie Trad will run for the Senate - and the Right's Anthony Chisholm would be collateral damage.

Possibly Jim Chalmers, too.

And Anthony Albanese, too.

If Trad wanted to throw a political bomb on her way out of state parliament and warn the federal mob she was on her way (get ready for an almighty factional brawl), this would be it.


Jackie Trad announces she is standing aside from her ministerial role on Saturday. Picture: 7 News Brisbane
Jackie Trad announces she is standing aside from her ministerial role on Saturday. Picture: 7 News Brisbane

The Left would be "really flexing its muscle", one insider said, who initially claimed they were unaware of the suggestion, only to ring back later to say the calls had started.

Another said it was all "piss and wind", with some hoping to stir trouble for interstate colleagues.

And those close to Trad - who could not be reached yesterday - have different views. Some say she is done with state politics, and her ego is too big not to want to take her political mongrel to Canberra. Regardless of how polarising Trad is, she is a warrior, with wins on the board. Political adversaries don't go after the seat warmer and the LNP in Queensland are sorry to see her go, unlike many of her Labor state colleagues do want her to go and hoping she will jump on the Senate idea and not parachute herself into Toohey, where there is speculation Labor's Peter Russo will pull the pin.


Toohey MP Peter Russo. Picture: AAP/Jono Searle
Toohey MP Peter Russo. Picture: AAP/Jono Searle

Trad was a gift that kept on giving for Team Frecklington. Trad will still feature in their campaign leading up to the election in October, but this is not what Coalition powerbrokers wanted. They wanted her to go by losing her seat.

Others say Trad is done with politics all together. That she is bruised and it was her decision to step down as Treasurer - and not forced upon her by Left heavyweight Gary Bullock. There was also a suggestion that she would not recontest her seat in October.

But interpreting this political exploit - and given those sprouting it - has as many twists and turns as the love-lives of some committed, married politicians - for clarity, a jillion.

Those inside the ALP claim the speculation could mean one of many things - finding the "what's next?" for a big political player, who is still young and has courted the Senate before.

In 2000, Trad looked like she had the numbers for one of Labor's winnable Senate spots. Ambitious and hardworking, Trad should have had the numbers stitched up.

Queensland Senator Brenda Gibbs was relegated to the "good luck" third position on the Senate ticket after the Unity faction put their numbers behind Claire Moore.


Then Senator Brenda Gibbs. Picture: Barry Pascoe
Then Senator Brenda Gibbs. Picture: Barry Pascoe

Moore was a political nobody, and because the Left had formally split - and supporting anyone but the Metallies, Trad's union - the woman, who would one day be Treasurer, lost.

However, Trad making a move to Canberra is dependent on the Crime and Corruption Commission clearing her over allegations she inappropriately involved herself in the appointment of a school principal.

Sources claim the scuttlebutt about a Senate tilt is a shot across the bow of Federal Labor's shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers.

Chalmers, from the Queensland Right, is being - rightly or wrongly - accused of rocking the boat with Albanese.

But there is a growing sense in elements of Federal Labor that Albanese is stuffing it up and not chasing, or placing the right emphasis, on some COVID-19 issues, and losing the battle against Morrison.

Chisholm - not even through his first full term - is also from the Right and best buddies with Chalmers.



Senator Anthony Chisholm. Picture: Kym Smith
Senator Anthony Chisholm. Picture: Kym Smith

Chisholm is a nice bloke and unkindly referred to Chalmers's PA - takes the dinner bookings, does the paperwork etc. It is code for Chisholm not being seen or heard enough.

As one insider put it, "in politics, not being loathed or loved is really dangerous. And Chis' falls in that category".

If Chisholm got rolled, that would leave the Queensland Right with just four votes in Canberra because Labor believes it would be too hard to pick up two Senate spots. That would be bad for Chalmers. Up-and-comer Murray Watt would retain the number 1 spot, followed by Chisholm and Nita Green.

When it comes to politics, the mechanics and the calculations matter.

Some claim the Left would never pounce on a sitting Right Senator without the fear of reprisal from the Right.


Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers (left) and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese. Picture: AAP/Darren England
Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers (left) and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese. Picture: AAP/Darren England

They say the National Right would lose the plot and demand Albanese step in to stop the instability or face the mother of all wars.

However, others say Albanese, from the Left, would relish more numbers. And if an early election is called - what many are predicting - Labor's central, national executive, controlled by Albanese, would preselect candidates, perhaps paving the way for another Left member on the ticket. Albanese, who doesn't need a war with the Right, has shown in the past that he is himself, a Left warrior at heart.

In politics, one person's fairytale is another's nightmare.





Originally published as Trad's resignation sparks Senate speculation