The Australian has published the latest cumulative Newspoll with state-by-state breakdowns. Most interesting of the state-level results is a correction following a mid-campaign Labor plunge in New South Wales.
One option for Turnbull to avoid a new election would be to argue that rather than go back to the ballot box there should be according to an ancient common law rule a recount that excludes the disqualified candidate. The High Court has not been willing to do this in other successful challenges but left the door slightly open in the (Jackie) Kelly case, and it has occurred in England before. For this to occur it would require Turnbull to put Wentworth voters on notice before the poll that Newhouse was ineligible.
Having raised genuine concerns about Newhouse, the Coalition broadened the attack to 12 other candidates who websites indicated were still on the public payroll (based on investigative public records searches, as Andrew Robb would have it): Sharon Thiel (Kalgoorlie), Mark Reynolds (Tangney), Tony Zappia (Makin), Belinda Neal (Robertson), Yvette D’Ath (Petrie), Ross Daniels (Ryan), Garry Parr (Hinkler) and Shayne Neumann (Blair), Rob Mitchell (McEwen), Alan Neilan (Kennedy), Mark Buttigieg (Cook) and Peter Conway (ACT Senate). Most seem to have had little trouble refuting the claims, Reynolds saying his piece in comments on this site.
More and worse late-campaign desperation from Lindsay, where Labor operatives have photographed outgoing member Jackie Kelly’s husband Gary Clark and party state executive member Jeff Egan distributing a bogus pamphlet, purportedly from Muslim extremists praising Labor’s support for the unjustly treated Bali bombers.
Meanwhile, Michael Bachelard of The Age reports being contacted by a Liberal campaign source spreading smears about Rodney Cocks, Labor’s candidate for the finely placed outer Melbourne seat of La Trobe.
Michael McKenna of The Australian reports that the Liberals are so alarmed about their outer Brisbane seat of Forde, which outgoing member Kay Elson won by 13.0 per cent in 2004, they have abandoned their candidate and told the local to get behind Nationals candidate Hajnal Ban, who has won traction with voters. At the end of October, Tony Wright of The Age wrote that Liberal polling from the seat was whispered to have sent a bolt of fear through the party.
A study of Australian voting patterns by the Australian National University’s Andrew Leigh and Oxford University’s Amy King finds that female candidates in major parties tend to get 1.5% fewer votes than their male colleagues, all other things being equal.
Nick Xenophon’s seemingly effortless journey to the Senate has been rudely interrupted by Ann Bressington, the unanticipated victor of a second No Pokies seat at last year’s state election. According to John Wiseman of The Australian, Bressington claims Xenophon guaranteed that her entry into politics would cost her nothing, only to tell her after she was elected he wanted $50,000. She has also criticised him for abandoning state parliament just after he became eligible for the pension granted upon 10 years’ service.