Friday, December 4
LATE: Michelle Grattan of The Age reports Liberal sources believe the situation in Higgins to be lineball.
EARLY: Apologies for lack of updates. Malcolm Mackerras is tipping a Greens boilover: he says the Liberal vote will sink to 44 per cent, and presumably expects something like 70 per cent of preferences to go to the Greens. That would entail a 10 per cent drop on the primary vote, which is not dissimilar to what happened in somewhat similar circumstances in Mayo last year. However, Higgins is notable for its lack of volatility, so Mackerras is taking a bold punt on the force of the Abbott/ETS backlash. I can’t help recalling Mackerras’s prediction of a John Kerry landslide in 2004, which appeared to be rooted in a conviction that voters would prove as angered by the Iraq war as he was his talk of resentment at climate change denialists strikes me as being cut from the same cloth. I’m tipping an uncomfortable night for Kelly O’Dwyer, but expect she will get up. At this point, Greens supporters with long memories will be recalling I said much the same thing before the Fremantle by-election.
Word on the ground is that the Liberal campaign has focused on O’Dwyer’s positives, rather than attack Hamilton as an extremist as might have been expected if they were really worried. However, it seems the party has embarked on a significant change of tack in the past week, with O’Dwyer issuing a last-minute mail-out to voters to assert her views on climate change.
As always, tune in tomorrow night for live coverage.
Tuesday, November 17
Blogger and former Liberal Party activist Tim Andrews offers a colourful take on the Greens preselection process, alleging widespread discontent in local branches over the imposition of Clive Hamilton.
Friday, November 13
The ballot paper draw has been conducted, and the order of candidates can be viewed here. Candidates I hadn’t known about: independent Peter Brohier (lawyer), Isaac Roberts of the Liberal Democratic Party (accountant) and Democratic Labor Party regular John Mulholland (psychologist).
Friday, November 6
Wednesday, November 4
From Friedrich in comments we learn that Joseph Toscano, Anarchist Media Institute director and prolific writer of letters to the editor, is seeking the local residents’ signatures required to lodge a nomination.
Tuesday, November 3
LATE: The Australian Democrats have announced their candidate will be David Collyer, who contributes regular posts to the blog of the party’s Victorian division.
EARLY: Climate Sceptics announces that Stephen Murphy, a Melbourne computer programmer who speaks five languages, will run as an Independent Climate Sceptic.
Thursday, October 29
Antony Green weighs in on the by-election, adding further voice to the consensus that the Greens’ nomination of Clive Hamilton is tactically unsound. Danielle Crowe of the Manningham Leader reports Crikey empire founder, Manningham councillor and perennial deposit non-recoverer Stephen Mayne has not ruled out running as an independent. Nominations close November 12, with the ballot draw to follow the next day.
Monday, October 26
Speaker Harry Jenkins has confirmed that the Higgins and Bradfield by-elections will be held on December 5.
Saturday, October 24
A wide-ranging chorus of critics has chimed in to argue Hamilton’s decidedly non-liberal political and economic philosophies are a poor fit for the electorate he has chosen to contest. As Carlton’s lone classical liberal Andrew Norton puts it: It’s not often that Pollytics, Andrew Bolt and Catallaxy blogs all reach the same conclusion. Christian Kerr of The Australian reports similar sentiments from RMIT University economist and Institute of Public Affairs senior fellow Sinclair Davidson, who argues voters in Higgins (which as Kerr notes includes Chapel Street, Toorak Road and the High Street strip) are unlikely to respond to the ascetic and spartan lifestyle Hamilton demands to ward off ecological apocalypse, to be achieved if need be by the suspension of democratic processes. On top of which, his views on internet filtering could potentially alienate parts of the Greens’ core constituency, particularly if they have an alternative candidate to turn to.
Friday, October 23
The Greens have unveiled a high-profile candidate in Clive Hamilton, founder and former executive director of left-wing think tank the Australia Institute and current professor of public ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics.
Thursday, October 22
Labor has slightly surprisingly decided it won’t be entering the fray. Andrew Landeryou at VexNews reports: Labor insiders who spoke on condition of anonymity explained that the widespread presumption of demographic change in Higgins, and a big swing more generally, was not substantiated by the party’s secret polling, presented on Powerpoint to the Prime Minister recently, which showed a likely Liberal victory even in the tough circumstances in Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberals find themselves.
Monday, October 19
Peter Costello formally tendered his resignation today to Speaker Harry Jenkins, who is expected to announce an election date of November 28 or December 5 in the coming days.
Saturday, October 10
Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald reports Peter Costello will officially resign when parliament resumes on October 19. Given a campaign of average length, this will mean a polling date of November 28 or December 5: after the final two-week parliamentary sitting in which the Coalition if it doesn’t filibuster will have to vote on Labor’s emissions trading scheme. Antony Green at the ABC and Ben Raue at The Tally Room have guides to the by-election posted.
Wednesday, October 7
Samantha Maiden of The Australian reports Peter Costello is set to resign from Parliament today, which will most likely result in a by-election for his seat of Higgins on the same yet-to-be-announced date as the one for Bradfield. Costello holds the eastern suburbs Melbourne seat with a margin of 7.0 per cent, having suffered a swing of 1.7 per cent at the 2007 election. The preselection to replace him at the next election was held a fortnight ago and won by his former staffer Kelly O’Dwyer.