Altona by-election: February 13

Monday, February 8

The Sunday Herald Sun (report available at VexNews) reports that Labor internal polling conducted by Auspoll has Labor “bracing for a similar sized swing to the 2008 Kororoit by-election where its vote dropped by almost 17 per cent on a two-party preferred basis” – although this meaninglessly compares the Labor-versus-Liberal result in Kororoit at the 2006 election with the Labor-versus-independent result at the by-election. It has been widely noted that new developments around Point Cook and Sanctuary Lakes will have brought an infusion of high-income new voters to the electorate.

Monday, February 1

Background on the candidates from Antony Green.

Friday, January 29

Ballot paper order here.

Thursday, January 28

The Age reports Jill Hennessy, “a 37-year-old lawyer who lives in West Footscray and sits on the board of Western Health”, has won formidable backing in her preselection bid from Steve Bracks, Joan Kirner, Lynne Kosky and Gellibrand MP Nicola Roxon. However, she appears to be facing a serious challenge from 24-year-old Hobsons Bay councillor Luba Grigorovitch, who is determinedly playing the true-local-versus-head-office-outsider card. VexNews reports Grigorovitch is a “rebel Left” candidate running in defiance of an arrangement which reserved the seat for the Right, and in doing so has won support from the NUW and SDA forces which had been frozen out in the Left-Right unity deal (CORRECTION: Andrew Crook points out in comments that I’ve got this wrong: both candidates are from the Left, for whom the seat is reserved). The issue will be decided by a vote split evenly between branch members and the state party’s Public Office Selection Committee.

UPDATE: The ABC reports Hennessy has won; much, much more from VexNews.

Monday, January 25

The Greens’ candidate is David Strangward, a management consultant from Altona North, who managed to get a soundbite on the Channel Ten news this evening. Comments thread chat informs us Margarita Windisch will run for the Socialist Alliance.

Friday, January 22

I am pleasantly surprised to discover, via VexNews, that the Liberals look set to turn the by-election into a two-party contest by endorsing Mark Rose, a Wyndham councillor and police officer who ran in Tarneit at the 2006 election. Meanwhile, The Age reports Labor Left figureheads wish to preselect former state party president Jill Hennessy, but she may face opposition from an as yet undetermined candidate sponsored by the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, which last night announced it was walking out on the faction.

Thursday, January 21

The Age reports:

The contest for Labor preselection for the seat has already drawn a wide field, including the daughter of the late trade union leader John Halfpenny and a former Victorian Labor president. Party insiders say six women have expressed interest in nominating for the seat. Lori Faraone, a former ministerial adviser to Lynne Kosky, is believed to be the current front-runner, with strong support also for former ALP state president Jill Hennessy. Catherine Van Vliet, a research officer at Melbourne University, and Ingrid Stitt, an officer with the Australian Services Union, have also expressed interest. Other names in the mix are Luba Grigorovitch, a former electorate officer to Ms Kosky and current Hobsons Bay councillor, and Bronwyn Halfpenny, who works for the Victorian Trades Hall Council. The ALP administrative committee will meet on Thursday night to open nominations. Meanwhile, the Liberal Party is yet to decide whether to contest the safe Labor seat, but insiders say there is a strong expectation among members that the party should run. The Greens are planning to pre-select a candidate this weekend.

Tuesday, January 19

Victorian Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky has announced she is quitting politics immediately, citing “significant” but unspecified health problems in her family. This will initiate a by-election in her safe western suburbs seat of Altona, which she won by a margin of 20.2 per cent in 2006. VexNews‘s sources relate that the government is keen to get the by-election out of the way as soon as possible, and that Kosky’s Socialist Left will determine her successor under the terms of the cross-factional unity deal – and will be meeting “as early as today” to decide who gets the nod.

UPDATE: Peter Young in comments relates that writs have been issued in what might be world record time, for a by-election on February 13.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

111 comments on “Altona by-election: February 13”

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  1. Here’s the particular brand of insanity Brian Shaw preaches: One Nation.

    Didn’t even know they were still around in WA after their brief moment in the sun in 2001, but apparently our man in Altona was in sunny Carlisle with them about this time last year, letting us all know “What the Government does not want you to know” on Archer St. I remember that street well… I may even have been on a 38 Cloverdale-city bus rumbling past that day, and I never knew. 😛

  2. #101

    I think it’ll be more like 1-2% to Libs, 1-2% to Greens, and the remainder splintering among the various Independents.

    I’ve seen talk that Liz Mumby might do quite well…possibly she might get most of the anti-Labor swing herself.

  3. Oh wtf? It’s today? By golly, from quitting to issuing of writs to election day, this has got to be the quickest fly-by-election in a long time…

  4. #104

    Meh, maybe, although in safe seat by-elections it’s common for the swing to splinter among minor parties and Indies than go to the opposing major party.

  5. Ben Raue at Tally Room says:

    [ I will be participating in a liveblog at independent news site tonight as the results come in. You can expect coverage elsewhere from Antony Green at ABC Elections and William Bowe at the Poll Bludger. You can read more about the by-election at ABC Elections, The Angle and Poll Bludger. ]

  6. I don’t know who ‘The Angle’ are but their commentary left a lot to be desired. Whether they’re laughably biased or just didn’t know what was going on, you’d think Labor had had an outstanding result judging by their commentary: “Liberals getting a small swing”, “much less than expected”, “Labor doing really well here”.


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