Newspoll’s surprise this week has caused a minor landslip in the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, which moves 0.8% to Labor on two-party preferred, while delivering only a modest gain of three on the seat projection (one each in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia). The leadership results from the poll have also caused Malcolm Turnbull’s net approval rating to continue its downward trajectory, and given a very slight impression of Bill Shorten pulling out of his slump. Also in the mix this week were results from Roy Morgan and Essential Research, neither of which recorded much movement, although the former found Labor hanging on to a big gain the previous fortnight.
In other news, the big story at the moment is obviously the introduction this week of Senate reform legislation to the Senate, for which there is a dedicated thread here for you to comment on, together with my paywalled contribution to Crikey on Tuesday. Then there’s preselection news:
• Nominations for the hotly contested Liberal preselection in Mackellar closed on Friday, with seven challengers coming forward to take on Bronwyn Bishop. Joe Kelly of The Australian reports the field includes the widely touted Walter Villatora and Jason Falinksi (see this earlier post for further detail), along with Bill Calcraft, a former Wallabies player described by the Sydney Morning Herald as having “returned to Australia after a long career in business in Europe”. For what it may be worth in well-heeled Mackellar, Calcraft has the support of talk radio broadcaster Alan Jones, who coached him when he played for Manly in the 1980s. The other candidates are Campbell Welsh, a stockbroker; Vicky McGahey, a school teacher; and Alan Clarke, founder of Street Mission.
• Sarah Martin of The Australian reports that while Craig Kelly no longer faces opposition from Sutherland Shire mayor Kent Johns in the Liberal preselection for Hughes, two other local party members have nominated against him: Jeffrey Clarke, a barrister, and Michael Medway, noted only as the candidate for Werriwa in 2004.
• The Liberal preselection to replace Andrew Robb in Goldstein, which was covered here in detail last week, looms as a contest between Georgina Downer and Tim Wilson, after another highly rated candidate, local software entrepreneur Marcus Bastiaan, ruled himself out. Christian Kerr of The Australian reports on a move by locals to throw their weight behind Denis Dragovic, a “former hostage negotiator, academic and global development worker”. Also expected to nominate by Kerr’s Liberal sources are Jeremy Samuel, chairman of the party’s Caulfield electorate committee, and John Osborn, director of economics and industry policy for the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
• The Liberal preselection to replace Bruce Billson in the outer south-eastern Melbourne seat of Dunkley has been won by Chris Crewther, a Frankston-based business consultant. Steve Lillebuen of Fairfax reports that Crewther won in the final round over Donna Bauer, who held the state seat of Carrum for the Liberals from 2010 to 2014. Crewther unsuccessfully attempted to win the rural seat of Mallee for the Liberals when Nationals member John Forrest retired in 2013, but was defeated by Nationals candidate Andrew Broad.
• The retirement of Warren Truss creates a preselection vacancy in the Nationals stronghold of Wide Bay in central Queensland. Among those to express interest are Jeff Seeney, who entered state politics in 1998 and served as Opposition Leader from March 2011 to March 2012, and as Deputy Premier through the period of Campbell Newman’s government from March 2012 to February 2015. Also said to be in the mix is Tim Langmead, a former adviser to Truss.
• Also vacant is Ian Macfarlane’s Toowoomba-based seat of Groom, where the state member for Toowoomba South, John McVeigh, has confirmed he will seek Liberal National Party preselection.
• Sally Cripps of the North Queensland Register reports four candidates have nominated for Liberal National Party preselection in Bob Katter’s seat of Kennedy: Michael Trout, who held the state seat of Barron River from 2012 to 2015; Shane Meteyard, grazier and owner of Milray Contracting; Jonathan Pavetto, economic advisor for the Alliance of Electricity Consumers; and Karina Samperi, a Cairns management consultant. The narrowly unsuccessful candidate from 2013, Noeline Ikin, has withdrawn after being diagnosed with cancer.