I had a paywalled article on the same-sex marriage issue in Crikey yesterday, which focused on the ways in which the proposed postal survey might skew the result to “no”. To that end, I obtained figures from Essential Research breaking down recent polling on the subject by age and gender, results of which are displayed below. This is based on 3061 responses obtained in June and July.
• The Seven Network reported yesterday that a poll of 700 respondents in Tony Abbott’s electorate of Warringah, which I presume was conducted by ReachTEL, found 69.7% in favour of same-sex marriage and 25.7% opposed.
• The Australian published further numbers from this week’s Newspoll on attitudes towards a republic, finding 51% in favour (steady since the last such exercise in January 2016) and 38% against (up one). Those number become 55% and 34% in the event that Prince Charles becomes king. As The Australian’s report notes, it’s actually the middle-aged cohort of 35 to 49 year olds that has the strongest net positive result, with the younger cohort on 45% and 37% and the older on 54% and 40%.
• South Australia’s parliament has settled on a new electoral system for its Legislative Council that will abolish group voting tickets, leaving the Victorian and Western Australian upper houses as the last hold-outs. The new system will resemble that for New South Wales in that voters will be able to number as few or as many boxes above the line as they like. Below-the-line voters will be directed to number at least 12 boxes, but a vote will be formal with as few as six. This compares with a minimum of 15 preferences for below-the-line voters in New South Wales. The Liberals had sought to introduce a Senate-style model in which above-the-line voters were to be directed to number six boxes, but with any number being sufficient for a formal vote. However, Labor’s model eventually prevailed in the upper house.
• Two state by-elections loom in New South Wales, with dates yet to be determined. Nationals MP Katrina Hodgkinson is retiring after a parliamentary career going back to 1999, creating a vacancy in the rural seat of Cootamundra. While Labor is not competitive in this seat, the last by-election in a Nationals held seat, in Orange in November last year, was won by Shooters Fishers and Farmers. In the western Sydney seat of Blacktown, former Labor leader John Robertson is retiring, and in this case there seems little reason to doubt that Labor will be seriously challenged. Stephen Bali, the local mayor and a former organiser with the Right faction Australian Workers Union, would appear to be the front-runner for preselection. Antony Green has guides up for both: Blacktown and Cootamundra.