Western front communiqué #4

An article in yesterday’s West Australian by Robert Taylor warrants quoting at length:

Latest Liberal polling has the coalition ahead in Kimberley, Bunbury, Joondalup and Albany, with Riverton close behind. The big surprise is Kimberley, which Liberal research is showing as a likely win for its candidate, Broome identity Sos Johnston, over Labor’s Carol Martin despite what would appear to be a comfortable 8.5 per cent margin. The Liberal polling is thought to mirror Labor research which puts three seats – Albany, Bunbury and Joondalup – in serious trouble, with Swan Hills, Riverton, Murray and Geraldton also in danger. Labor is also believed to be concerned about Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan’s electorate of Armadale, which she holds by 6.6 per cent but which voted strongly for John Howard in the October Federal election … As well as Armadale and Kimberley, North-West Coastal (5.4 per cent), Mandurah (7.7), Murchison-Eyre (7.7) and Yokine (8.8) would be vulnerable if the Labor primary vote did not improve. But while the Liberals are buoyed by latest polling, there is disappointment that the marginal seats of Swan Hills, Murray and Geraldton are not showing up as well as expected.

In one of the outer range seats nominated by Taylor, the vast electorate of Murchison-Eyre, the Liberal campaign has been thrown into confusion following media reports last week that candidate Colin Brand had withdrawn to make way for former MLC Greg Smith. This was allowed to stand unchallenged until the weekend when Brand emerged to tell the Kalgoorlie Miner that he merely "withdrew from the campaign because I could not continue with my own resources". The report quoted Liberal Party state director Paul Everingham confirming Brand’s versions of events, and saying the local party division had "misunderstood the agreement" – including the ambitious member for Kalgoorlie, Matt Birney, who had publicly announced his support for Smith’s preselection in place of Brand.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.