Some tidbits to tide you over through the middle of an agonising week-long federal poll drought.
Chris Back, who narrowly failed to unseat independent Alfred Cove MP Janet Woollard at the September 6 state election, has been nicely compensated with the Western Australian Senate vacancy created by the retirement of Chris Ellison. It was initially expected that the position would go to Deidre Willmott, who stood aside as candidate for Cottesloe so Colin Barnett could cancel his retirement plans and lead his previously demoralised party to victory. However, Willmott withdrew from the race a few weeks ago when it became apparent she wouldn’t win, thereby continuing the state party’s sorry recent record on female representation. The West Australian reports that Back won the preselection vote on preferences from party treasurer Dean Smith and the pre-contest favourite, senior vice-president Anthony Jarvis. It also informs us that Back was the veterinarian who controversially did not swab champion racehorse Rocket Racer after he won the 1987 Perth Cup by 10 lengths. Back has more recently been group managing executive of oil and gas company Equinox Energy, but it’s his role in the Rocket Racer affair which attracts the most attention. Curious then that the paper didn’t say a single word about it prior to the state election.
In case you missed it, George Megalogenis’s analysis of the grey vote in The Australian last week was essential reading like only Megalogenis number crunching can be.
The recent Newspoll on issue perceptions inspired me to knock together the following chart based on its surveys going back to 1989. The chart averages the results for each year, in which time Newspoll usually publishes about three such surveys. Some issues are featured more frequently than others: immigration for instance is usually included once a year, so the spike to Labor in 2005 might not be all that meaningful. Note that economy wasn’t featured as a distinct category between 1991 and 2004.