Hinkler (Qld, Nationals 8.8%): Greg Roberts of The Australian reports that Labor’s candidate for this Bundaberg-based seat, Garry Parr, is suffering a campaigning boycott from members of the Left and Unity (Old Guard) factions. Parr is backed by the Labor Forum (AWU) faction, whose chieftain Bill Ludwig has evidently put a few noses out of joint. Former Labor Forum members Brian Courtice, who held the seat from 1987 to 1996, and Greg McMahon, a one-time branch secretary and candidate at the 1998 state election, have said they will not vote for Parr in protest at Ludwig’s bully boy approach. Courtice was expelled from the party in 2005 for leaking party documents to state Nationals MP Rob Messenger, which purportedly exposed the siphoning of $7,000 in branch funds. At around this time, Courtice’s wife Marcia was sacked from her job with state Bundaberg MP Nita Cunningham, which she claimed to be in revenge for her husband’s actions. Marcia Courtice reportedly had the backing of local branches for the Bundaberg preselection going into the 2006 election, but the party’s union-appointed electoral college instead imposed former nurse Sonja Cleary. McMahon ran against Cleary as an independent, and the seat fell by a narrow margin to Nationals candidate Jack Dempsey, who was assisted by the fallout over the Bundaberg Hospital Dr Death scandal.
Blair (Liberal 5.7%): The Courier-Mail reports that the largesse being heaped on this crucial electorate, which covers most of Ipswich and rural areas beyond, is starting to cause angst in Coalition ranks. Specifically, Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce has criticised the decision to spend $2.3 billion on the Goodna bypass as the government’s solution to congestion on the Ipswich Motorway. Blair was also the target of yesterday’s announcement by Mark Vaile of $700 million in Auslink funding for a second crossing of the Toowoomba Range, located in neighbouring Groom.
McEwen (Vic, Liberal 6.4%): The Age reports of yet more marginal seat road funding, this time in Fran Bailey’s traditionally precarious electorate beyond Melbourne’s north-eastern outskirts. Peter Costello appeared in the electorate yesterday announcing $80 million in AusLink funding for road bridges on a yet-to-be-built extension of the Epping rail line to South Morang.
Charlton (NSW, Labor 8.4%): Sitting member Kelly Hoare, who was first dumped by Labor in favour of former ACTU secretary Greg Combet and then humiliated with sexual harrassment claims, is considering following Gavan O’Connor’s footsteps and attempting to hold her Hunter Valley seat as an independent. She has until the closure of nominations next Thursday to make up her mind.
Wentworth (NSW, Liberal 2.6%): Danielle Ecuyer, investment banker and environmental activist, has confirmed she will run for Malcolm Turnbull’s seat as an independent. This prospect has attracted considerable attention as she is a former partner of the Labor candidate, George Newhouse.
Maranoa (Qld, Nationals 21.0%): Labor has dumped its candidate for this unwinnable rural Queensland seat, Shane Guley, after his reputation for robust behaviour as a union official emerged as a political liability. This didn’t seem to bother anybody when he ran at the 2004 election, at which time his colourful history was noted on this website.