Malcolm Mackerras has told the Heidelberg and Diamond Valley Weekly he expects the Federal Court to order a by-election when it hears the McEwen appeal on March 20 (hat tip to commenter Unicorn). Mackerras states: The ALP does not need to prove fraud, just that enough voters were disenfranchised by no fault of their own. The court is unlikely to simply kick Fran Bailey out though. A byelection is much more likely. Which to my mind at least raises the question: if there has to be one by-election, why not several?
The Rudd government has earned itself some Poll Bludger brownie points with its move to cut the threshold for public disclosure of political donations to $1000. The 2005 increase in this threshold from $1500 to $10,000 was as good a demonstration as any that the Howard government had run its course. The Prime Minister has also floated the possibility of a cap on donations, although I suspect he might lose his enthusiasm for this one in the fullness of time. I have been too busy to give these matters the attention they deserve, but Michelle Grattan provided an excellent overview in Saturday’s Age.
A Galaxy poll in Sunday’s News Limited tabloids painted a depressingly familiar picture for Brendan Nelson, who was favoured as Liberal leader by just 9 per cent of the 400 respondents, against 24 per cent for Malcolm Turnbull, 19 per cent for Peter Costello, 11 per cent for Julie Bishop and 9 per cent for Joe Hockey.