Canadian election live; German election minus five days

Live commentary on today’s Canadian election. German polls remain relatively stable. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Live Commentary

1:08pm The Conservatives are now 0.1% ahead of the Liberals in vote shares.

1:07pm Despite the clear seat win for the Liberals, the Conservatives now only trail them by 0.1%, and are very likely to end up with more votes. So once again vote wastage in safe seats hurts the Conservatives.

12:48pm 150 Liberals, 119 Conservatives, 28 Bloc, 27 NDP, three Greens. The Conservatives actually have a 48-39 edge over the Liberals on those called “Elected”, owing to too much vote concentration in safe seats.

12:41pm Seat changes have swung to Liberals down eight, Conservatives up five, Bloc down three and NDP up six. Liberals led Conservatives by 157-121 seats in 2019.

12:32pm Seat changes are now NDP up five, Liberals and Bloc down one and Tories down three.

12:28pm CBC News is CALLING a Liberal government. That means they project Liberals will win the most seats, majority still in question.

12:25pm 131 Liberals, 71 Tories, 27 Bloc, 18 NDP. Liberals up four, Tories down six, NDP up four, Bloc down two.

12:17pm Liberals lead Conservatives by 122-56 with 24 Bloc and 18 NDP. Liberals making nine net gains, Conservatives nine net losses.

12:05pm Liberals leading Tories by 83-42, with 14 NDP, 14 Bloc and one Green. Liberals up six, Tories down five, Bloc down three, NDP up two.

12:01pm Liberal gains down to three, Tory losses at two, NDP up three and Bloc down four. The final polls have just closed Canada: British Columbia.

11:57am Liberals won 157 seats at the 2019 election. They’re currently showing as making a net eight seat gain. They could win a majority (170+ seats).

11:54am 55 Libs, 25 Tories, 6 Bloc, 6 NDP, 1 Green. Liberals making six net gains, Tories four losses

11:43am Liberals lead by 39-15 with 4 Bloc, 1 NDP and 1 Green.

11:35am Liberals lead by 31-11 with one Bloc.

11:16am Liberals leading by 26-8 with no seats for anybody else. There’ll be a deluge of results when the large majority of polls close at 11:30am.

11:03am Liberals leading by 24-9 with one Bloc. The Conservatives are making five gains, the Liberals four losses, and the NDP and Greens one loss each.

10:40am Liberals leading by 24-8 with one seat for the Quebec Bloc. The NDP seats have disappeared. Gains and losses are Conservatives up four, Liberals down three, Bloc up one, NDP and Greens both down one.

10:17am Liberals lead by 23-7 with 2 NDP. Gains and losses are Liberals down three, Conservatives up three, NDP up one and Greens down one.

10:03am Liberals now leading by 16-4 with one NDP; that’s two Conservative gains.

9:55am Liberals now leading by 12-2 with one NDP, as Conservative gains reduced to one. Atlantic Canada (where these early results are from) is a stronghold for the Liberals.

9:47am Tuesday Results are in from 10 of the 338 seats, and the Liberals lead the Conservatives by 6-3 with one NDP. If those results hold up, it’s three GAINS for the Conservatives. Canadian media list seats as “leading” and “elected”, with seats listed as “elected” when called for a party.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

Justin Trudeau called the Canadian election two years early, and the results will come in today. Canada uses first past the post to elect its 338 members of parliament.

The final CBC Poll Tracker has Trudeau’s centre-left Liberals on 31.5%, followed by the Conservatives on 31.0%, the left-wing NDP 19.1%, the right-wing populist People’s Party (PPC) 7.0%, the left-wing separatist Quebec Bloc 6.8% and the Greens 3.5%. Final polls range from Liberals by six (EKOS) to Conservatives by four (Forum).

Although the Liberals and Conservatives are nearly tied on vote shares, the Tracker gives the Liberals a large seat lead of 155-119 over the Conservatives, with 32 NDP and 31 Bloc. The Liberals are given a 17% chance to win a majority (170+ seats) and a 57% chance to win the most seats but not a majority.

The Liberals had an eight-point lead when the election was called, but lost ground quickly in the first two weeks to trail the Conservatives on vote share. But the rise of the PPC appears to have wrecked the Conservatives’ hopes.

Most of Canada uses staggered poll opening and closing times, in which polls in the trailing time zone open and close an hour earlier than those in the leading time zone. The exceptions are polls for seats in Atlantic Canada. Here are the Canadian poll closing times today AEST:

By 9:30am, polls in the four small provinces of Atlantic Canada (32 of the 338 seats) are closed. Newfoundland (seven seats) closes 30 minutes earlier. At 11:30am, the large majority of polls close. At 12pm, all polls are closed in Canada, with British Columbia (42 seats) closing.

Owing to COVID, there has been a surge in the number of postal vote applications, with over 1 million requests. Postal votes will not start being counted until tomorrow, delaying the results in close seats. According to an Ipsos poll, NDP and Liberal voters were more likely than Conservatives to say they would vote by mail.

German polls relatively stable five days before election

The German election will occur this Sunday, with polls closing at 2am Monday AEST. If my 2017 article for The Conversation on the German election is accurate at this election, final results will not be available until Monday afternoon AEST.

The Guardian’s German poll aggregate has the centre-left SPD on 25.6%, followed by the conservative CDU/CSU on 21.8%, the Greens 15.8%, the far-right AfD 11.1%, the pro-business FDP 11.1% and the far-left Left 6.3%. The overall vote for left parties leads the overall right vote by 47.7-44.0. I wrote last week that, for the likely formation of a left government, the Left party needs to exceed 5% or win at least three of the 299 FPTP seats.

Newspoll: 53-47 to Labor

Both federal leaders at low ebbs, but little change on voting intention from the latest Newspoll.

The Australian reports the latest Newspoll credits Labor with a two-party lead of 53-47, down from 54-46 in the last poll three weeks ago, from primary votes of Coalition 37% (up one), Labor 38% (down two), Greens 10% (steady) and One Nation 3% (steady). On personal ratings, Scott Morrison records his weakest results since his early pandemic bounce in March last year, with approval down three to 46% and disapproval up three to 50%, but Anthony Albanese also records his weakest net rating to date, with approval down three to 37% and disapproval up one to 48%. Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister has narrowed from 50-34 to 47-35. No hard details yet, but the poll will have been conducted Wednesday to Saturday from a sample of between 1500 and 1600.

UPDATE (21/9): As reported in The Australian today, it turns out the poll had a larger-than-usual sample of 2144, which was done to produce sufficient sub-samples from the three largest states for meaningful results on the performance of state leaders. On personal ratings, Daniel Andrews leads the field with 64% approval and 35% disapproval, with Gladys Berejiklian (56% approval and 40% approval) and Annastacia Palaszczuk (57% approval and 38% disapproval) similarly placed. Separate questions on handling of COVID-19 give Berejiklian (56% good, 41% bad) and Andrews (63% and 35%) results almost identical to their personal ratings, whereas Palaszczuk does quite a lot better at 67% well and 31% badly.

We also learn that Scott Morrison’s personal ratings are strong in Queensland (56% approval and 41% disapproval), neutral in New South Wales (46% and 49%) and weak in Victoria (41% and 57%). Morrison is deemed to have handled COVID-19 well by 48% out of the national sample and badly by 49%, reflecting no change since the question was last posted in August. This breaks down to 47% well and 49% badly in New South Wales, 40% and 58% in Victoria and 61% and 36% in Queensland. Fifty-three per cent express more concern with moving too fast on relaxing restrictions compared with 42% for too slow, compared with 62% and 34% when the question was last asked in late January.

Western Australian Legislative Council reform plan announced

Western Australia’s Legislative Council set to lose its system of six six-member regions under a new proposal for one-vote one-value.

The Western Australian government has declared its hand on reform for the state’s Legislative Council, with the release today of the report of the Ministerial Expert Committee on Electoral Reform. It recommends abolishing the state’s system of six six-member regions and having the entire chamber elected at large, similar to the situation that applies in the New South Wales and South Australia, but without their staggered eight-year terms.

Whereas the system currently allocates half the members to the metropolitan area and half to the non-metropolitan area, despite the former claiming roughly three-quarters of the state’s population, the proposed reform offers “one-vote one-value”. It naturally does so at the expense of existing regional representation, and is sure to alienate country voters who were repeatedly told by Mark McGowan before the March election that such reform was “not on our agenda”.

With the government apparently also planning to increase the number of members from 36 to 37 (it doesn’t say this in the report, but Attorney-General John Quigley said this was the plan at his press conference today), this means the quota for election will be a mere 2.63%, compared with the 14.28% quota that applies under the existing system, as well as at half-Senate elections; the 7.69% quota that applies for the Senate at double dissolutions; the 4.54% quota in New South Wales has when electing half its 42 members of the Legislative Council; and the 8.33% quota in South Australia when electing half its chamber of 22.

However, the report also predictably recommends the abolition of group voting tickets, so we may at least be assured that parties elected on small vote shares will be the most popular of their kind and not simply beneficiaries of preference harvesting, as was notoriously the case with Wilson Tucker of the Daylight Saving Party, who won a seat in the Mining and Pastoral region at the March state election from 98 votes.

As was done in the Senate, this will be complemented by optional preferential voting, so that abolishing the group voting ticket option does not oblige voters to number ever box on what threatens to be a very large statewide ballot paper. Whereas the Senate ballot paper advises voters to number a minimum of either six boxes above the line or twelve below it, while actually allowing as few as one or six respectively to constitute a formal vote, the recommendation is to direct voters to number any number of boxes above the line or at least 20 below it.

To mitigate against the dramatic expansion that looms in the size of the ballot paper, there are recommendations that the hurdles should be raised for parties wishing to seek election: a $500 registration fee; a requirement that parties be registered for more than six months before the election; tightening the requirement that parties have at least 500 members by requiring that none of them be members of other registered parties; hiking the nomination fee from $250 per candidate to $1000; requiring 200 electors to nominate independent candidates; and requiring at least three candidates for above-the-line groups.

This must all now go through parliament, and while it is more than possible the details will be refined during the process, Labor’s massive parliamentary majorities ensure that it is unlikely to amount to much.

Morgan: 52.5-47.5 to Labor

Some better numbers for the Morrison government, on voting intention from Roy Morgan and COVID-19 management from Essential Research.

Roy Morgan put out its now regular fortnightly poll of federal voting intention yesterday, which has Labor’s two-party lead at 52.5-47.5, down from 54.5-45.5 on a fortnight ago and its narrowest result in two months. On the primary vote, the Coalition is up one to 38.5% (I believe the Morgan release is incorrect when it puts it at 39.5%, which would be up by two and is different from the headline), Labor is down three-and-a-half to 35%, the Greens are up one-and-a-half to 13% and One Nation is steady on 3%.

The state two-party breakdowns have Labor leading 54-46 in New South Wales (out from 53-47 in the last poll, and a swing of around 6% compared with the 2019 election), 57-43 in Victoria (in from 59.5-40.5, a swing of around 4%) 51.5-48.5 in South Australia (in from 57.5-42.5, a swing of around 1%) and 55.5-44.5 in Tasmania (in from 63.5-36.5, a slight swing to the Liberals), while the Coalition leads 54-46 in Queensland (out from 53.5-46.5, a swing to Labor of around 4.5%) and 53-47 in Western Australia (out from 51-49, a swing of around 2.5% — and the Coalition’s best data point from this state all year). The poll was conducted online and by phone over the last two weekends from a sample of 2753.

Also out today was the regular Essential Research survey, containing neither voting intention nor leadership ratings on this occasion. The regular results on federal and state governments’ handling of COVID-19 is included as always, which record improvement for both the federal government and the governments of New South Wales and Victoria. The federal government’s good rating is up four to 43% and its poor rating is down one to 35%; the New South Wales government’s good rating is up six to 46%; and the Victorian government’s good rating is up six to 50%. For the other states with their small sample sizes, Queensland’s good rating is down two to 65%, Western Australia’s is up nine to 87% and South Australia’s is down nine to 67%.

Further questions from the survey suggest Western Australians and to a lesser extent Queenslanders are firmly of the view that states without outbreaks should be able to keep their borders closed for as long as they think necessary (67% and 55% respectively), but that only a minority of those in New South Wales and Victoria do so (28% and 31%). Interestingly though, only 26% of all respondents said they understood and had confidence in the plan specifically attributed to Scott Morrison, while 39% said they understood it and didn’t have confidence in it. The Essential Research poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1100.

Note also that today is the day of California’s gubernatorial recall election, on which Adrian Beaumont will provide live updates in the post below.

California recall live; Canadian and German elections minus six to 11 days

Democrat Newsom set to defeat Recall – live commentary today. Conservatives fall back in Canada, and polls stable in Germany. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Live commentary

12pm Thursday: With all election day votes counted, No to Recall leads by 63.9-36.1. Late mail and provisional votes will be counted over the next four weeks. When everything is counted, Newsom is likely to exceed his 61.9-38.1 margin in 2018, but fall a little short of Biden’s 29-point California margin in 2020.

4pm As the election day vote comes in, Newsom’s lead is dropping slightly. But No to Recall still leads by 65.7-34.3 with an estimated 66% in. Remember that counting will continue for about four weeks after today.

1:50pm CNN finally CALLS it for No to Recall. In 2018, Newsom won the governor’s race against a Republican by 62-38. Can he exceed that margin? Polls did not have him far enough ahead.

1:42pm No to Recall leading by a massive 67.5-32.5 with nearly 8 million votes in. Margin likely to decrease a bit as election day votes come in, but 17% of election day votes are already in.

1:25pm Dave Wasserman has CALLED it for Newsom and is off to bed (it’s 11:25pm on the US East Coast).

1:17pm No winning by almost 70-30 after over 5 million counted.

1:13pm No to Recall winning by 64-36 with over 2.2 million votes in already.

1:07pm No immediate call, but the exit poll has a wide margin for No. The first results from San Diego have No leading by 60.6-39.4 from over 800,000 votes.

12:52pm Wednesday Polls close in eight minutes. There is an exit poll. If that exit poll shows No to Recall winning by about the same0 margin as in pre-election polls, the recall is likely to be called as soon as polls close.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The final FiveThirtyEight aggregate for today’s California recall election shows Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom leading Recall by 15.8%, out from 10.1% last week and just 1.2% three weeks ago.

Newsom has been able to make this election a contest between him, and the likely winner of the replacement vote, radio shock jock Republican Larry Elder. With no prominent Democrats contesting the replacement vote, Newsom’s lead over Recall has rapidly increased in a Democratic stronghold.

Early mail votes will be released soon after polls close at 1pm AEST. Given the polling, it is likely that the election will be called for Newsom once we see these votes. Election day vote counting will go until the evening AEST. California keeps counting late mail and provisional votes for four weeks after election day.

The FiveThirtyEight aggregate of Joe Biden’s ratings has him at 49.2% disapprove, 45.9% approve (net -3.3); his net approval is up half a point since last week. Biden last week announced vaccine mandates to combat COVID. In a Morning Consult poll, voters supported requiring all employers with over 100 employees to mandate vaccination or weekly tests by a 58-36 margin.

People’s Party rise hurts Conservatives in Canada

The Canadian election is next Tuesday September 21 AEST. Canada uses first past the post to elect its 338 members of parliament.

In the CBC Poll Tracker, the Liberals have regained the lead with 31.9%, followed by the Conservatives on 31.3%, the NDP 19.4%, the Quebec Bloc 6.6%, the populist right People’s Party (PPC) 6.4%, and the Greens 3.3%. Last week, the Conservatives had 33.5% and the PPC 4.8%.

Under FPTP, small parties on the left and right spoil their better aligned major party’s chances. The Tracker has the Liberals seat lead over the Conservatives out to 151-122 from 140-133 last week, with 35 NDP and 29 Bloc.

Most of Canada uses staggered poll opening and closing times, in which polls in the trailing time zone open and close an hour earlier than those in the leading time zone. The exceptions are polls for seats in Atlantic Canada. Here are the Canadian poll closing times next Tuesday AEST:

By 9:30am, polls in the four small provinces of Atlantic Canada (32 of the 338 seats) are closed. Newfoundland (seven seats) closes 30 minutes earlier. At 11:30am, the large majority of polls close. At 12pm, all polls are closed in Canada, with British Columbia (42 seats) closing.

Polls relatively stable in Germany

The Politico poll aggregate for the September 26 German election has the centre-left SPD leading with 25%, followed by the conservative CDU/CSU on 21%, the Greens 16%, the pro-business FDP 12%, the far-right AfD 11% and the far-left Left 6%. The overall vote for left parties leads the overall right by 47-44 (48-44 last week).

I described the German electoral system in my previous article. Parties that either win at least 5% of the party vote or three of the 299 FPTP seats receive a proportional allocation of seats. The Left party is close to the 5% threshold in current polls, but won five FPTP seats in 2017. If they hold three of these seats, they will qualify for proportionality. It is unlikely that the SPD and the Greens will win enough seats on their own for a left majority, so this is crucial.

Conservative government ousted in Norway

At Monday’s Norwegian election, Labour won 48 of the 169 seats (down one since 2017), the Conservatives 36 (down nine), the agrarian Centre 28 (up nine), the right-wing Progress 21 (down six), the Socialist Left 13 (up two) and the Red eight (up seven). The Conservative PM conceded, and it is likely Labour will govern with support from the Centre and Socialists (89 seats for that combination exceeding the 85 needed for a majority).

Weekend developments

Joel Fitzgibbon calls it a day, and other federal preselection news.

The opinion poll schedule for the week is likely to consist of the fortnightly Essential Research, which is not due to include the monthly leadership numbers and should thus be of limited interest (unless it includes their occasional dump of fortnightly voting intention results), and presumably a Roy Morgan voting intention poll on Wednesday.

For the time being, there is the following:

The Australian reports that Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon will bow out at the election, creating a vacancy in his seat of Hunter, where his margin was slashed from 12.5% to 3.0% at last year’s election with One Nation polling 21.6%. There is no indication as to who might succeed him as Labor candidate, except that “NSW Right figures (are) concerned Hunter could be lost to the faction and go to someone from the left-aligned CFMEU or the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union”.

• There would seem to be no suggestion that the vacancy in Hunter might change the calculus behind Kristina Keneally’s controversial move to Fowler, which was criticised over the weekend by her federal Labor colleague Anne Aly, along with many others inside and outside the party. However, Michelle Grattan in The Conversation notes that the arrangement does not of itself deprive the local party membership of a preselection ballot, since a clause in the state party rules specific to Fowler enshrines the seat as the gift of the Right as a legacy of past branch-stacking controversies.

The West Australian reports on two further preselection challenges to sitting Liberals in Western Australia, on top of that facing Ian Goodenough in Moore from Vince Connelly after the abolition of his seat of Stirling. In Swan, where Steve Irons would appear to have his work cut out for him in defending a 3.2% margin, the challenger is Kristy McSweeney, a Sky News commentator, former adviser to Tony Abbott and daughter of former state MP Robyn McSweeney. McSweeney earlier contested preselection for the once safe but now Labor-held seat of Bateman ahead of the state election in March. In the much safer seat of Durack, Melissa Price will be challenged by Busselton councillor Jo Barrett-Lennard. For what it’s worth, The Age columnist Jon Faine today tells us to “watch out to see if former attorney-general Christian Porter opts for a spot on the Federal Court on the cusp of the election, rather than face probable defeat in his outer-suburban Perth electorate” – namely Pearce, where redistribution has cut the margin from 7.5% to 5.2%.

• As those who followed the post below will be aware, Labor recorded a strong result in the Northern Territory’s Daly by-election, with their candidate Dheran Young leading the count over Kris Civitarese of the Country Liberal Party by 1905 (55.8%) to 1506 (44.2%) with only a handful of votes left outstanding. This amounts to a 7.0% swing compared with the election last August, at which the CLP won the seat by 1.2%. It is the first time a government party has ever won a seat from the opposition at a by-election in the territory, and first time anywhere in Australia since the Benalla by-election in Victoria in May 2000.

Daly by-election live

Live coverage of the count for the Daly by-election in the Northern Territory.

7.51pm. Mobile Team Daly 3 is in, and Labor ends the night with an insurmountable lead of 1856 to 1424, a margin of 6.6% from a swing of 7.8%. CORRECTION: Mobile Team Daly 3 is not so much in, as removed from the NTEC’s list of booths. In any case, we’ve seen everything we’re going to see this evening.

7.31pm. 104 votes from pre-poll and election day centres in Darwin don’t change anything. Apart from declarations and postals, we’re still just waiting on Mobile Team Daly 3.

7.15pm. Now we’ve got Berry Springs EVC and all booths reporting so far in on the two-party, and all of a sudden it looks a great night for Labor. Jennings did better at Berry Springs EVC as expected, but it amounted to little — she’s still on only 15.1%. That reduces it to a traditional CLP-versus-Labor contest, on which Labor leads 56.4% to 43.6%. I’m only projecting that to narrow slightly, with Labor winning by 5.3% from a swing of 6.5%.

7.12pm. Another twist in the tale from two Mobile Team booths that have reported. They account between them for 1807 votes with one of three results still outstanding, whereas the two Mobile Team booths in 2020 totalled only 1651. So clearly these have had more use this time. The results are a body blow for Jennings, who now looks certain to finish third, and a giant fillip for Labor, who got fully 64.5% of the primary vote from the two between them. They have now bolted to a lead of 45.8% to 33.9% over the CLP. Still waiting on the two-party results from the two booths.

7.02pm. It’s pointed out in comments that Jennings’ home town is Berry Springs, where she got 39.1% compared with about 21% elsewhere. One of the outstanding booths is the Berry Springs pre-poll centre, but it should only account for about 20% of the outstanding total. That presumably shortens the odds for the CLP. If the 2020 results are any guide, the one we’re waiting for is Mobile Team Daly 1, which should account for nearly half the outstanding votes. This happened to be a strong booth in 2020 for the Territory Alliance, for which Jennings ran as a candidate in a different seat.

6.52pm. A much better result for the CLP from the Coolalinga early voting centre leaves them with 44.8% of the primary vote, and also narrows Jennings’ lead over Labor to just 12 votes. This is a particularly strong booth for the CLP: they got 56.9% last time and 52.9% this time. Since they remain down on the primary vote on a booth-matched basis, and their primary vote was only 35.8% last time, they remain in trouble if Jennings can stay ahead of Labor. Otherwise, it looks clear now the CLP will retain the seat, as they have a two-party swing of 5.9% against Labor.

6.50pm. The issue for Jennings is whether she stays ahead of Labor to take second place. She currently leads them by 156 votes to 128. The 22 votes of the other independent, Wayne Connop, would presumably widen that. But later reporting votes may be stronger for Labor. If Jennings does drop out, it seems likely the seat will stay with the CLP: they lead the two-party count 267 to 214. This amounts to a 1.4% swing to the CLP, from which a 3.2% winning margin can be projected. There are so many votes outstanding though that that could not be thought decisive. So at present, the only candidate who can be ruled out is Connop.

6.40pm. The CLP has pulled ahead on the primary vote with the other election day booth in the electorate, Wagait Beach, reporting. These are small numbers of votes though so presumably the pre-poll voting centres did very good business. As things currently stand, Jennings still looks well placed to win on Labor preferences.

6.35pm. The Berry Springs booth, one of only two operating on election day, has recorded a rather spectacular result for independent candidate Rebecca Jennings, who has 116 votes to the CLP’s 113 and Labor’s 50. The CLP is down 6.6% on the primary vote and Labor is down 10.4%. Unless this is a local peculiarity, it suggests Jennings will win comfortably on Labor preferences. Results from the NTEC here.

6pm. Polls have closed for the Northern Territory by-election for the seat of Daly, covering pastoral areas to the south of Darwin. The by-election is being held after Country Liberal Party member Ian Sloan, who won by a 1.2% margin at the election last year, retired due to ill health. The candidates are Kris Civitarese of the CLP, Dheran Young of Labor and two independents, Wayne Connop and Rebecca Jennings.

Crying Fowler

A plan to move Kristina Keneally from the Senate to the western Sydney seat of Fowler looks set to solve one problem for Labor while creating another. Also featured: a Senate vacancy and a state poll from South Australia.

Before we proceed, please note a) the post below on electoral developments in California, Canada and Germany courtesy of Adrian Beaumont, and b) the fact that tomorrow is the day of the by-election for the Northern Territory seat of Daly, where the Country Liberal Party is defending a margin of 1.2%.

Now to the week’s big item of federal election news, which is that Kristina Keneally is set to be parachuted from her current position in the Senate to the western Sydney seat of Fowler, which will be vacated with the retirement of Chris Hayes, who holds it on a 14.0% margin. The Australian reports this will be accomplished by fiat of head office, without a ballot of local party members.

Moving Keneally to the House of Representatives resolves a difficulty arising from the 2016 double dissolution, at which three of the four elected Labor Senators were allocated full terms of six years, which will expire in the middle of next year. This includes two members of the Right – Sam Dastyari, whom Kristina Keneally replaced after his resignation in February 2018, and Deborah O’Neill – and Jenny McAllister of the Left. Since factional arrangements reserve second position on the ticket for the Left, either O’Neill or Keneally faced delegation to third position, which has not been a winning proposition for Labor at a half-Senate election since 2007. As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, the power of O’Neill’s backers in the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association appears likely to secure her the top spot, although The Australian cites unidentified Keneally supporters saying she was confident of beating her.

The use of Fowler as a backstop for Keneally comes with the substantial difficulty that the electorate boasts the nation’s highest proportion of non-English speakers, in large part owing to the presence within it of the Vietnamese enclave of Cabramatta. As such, Labor appeared to have a promising successor lined up in Tu Le, a 30-year-old lawyer and daughter of Vietnamese refugees. By contrast, Keneally lives in a $1.8 million property in Sydney’s northern beaches. Le had the backing of Hayes and, according to another source cited by The Australian, would have won a rank-and-file ballot if one were held. The ABC reports senior front-bencher Tony Burke shares Hayes’ displeasure at the development, although it also notes that others in the Right felt Hayes “had no right to try to act as a kingmaker or name his replacement publicly”.

In other Labor preselection news, Tom Richardson of InDaily reports the South Australian Senate vacancy created by the death of Alex Gallacher last week is likely to be filled by Karen Grogan, national political coordinator with the United Workers Union and convenor of the state branch’s Left faction. According to the report, a Senate seat was set to pass from Right to Left in the factional deals arising from the abolition of the federal seat of Port Adelaide at the 2019 election. Gallacher’s death may have had the effect of preserving Steve Georganas’s position in the seat of Adelaide, which might otherwise have been used to create the requisite vacancy by providing a refuge for Right-aligned Senator Marielle Smith.

Also from South Australia, the Australia Institute has published a Dynata poll of state voting intention, although it was conducted back in July from a modest sample of 599. It suggests Steven Marshall’s Liberal government might struggle at the March election, recording 38% support to 34% for Labor, 10% for the Greens, 5% for SA Best and 12% for the rest.