Speaker Tony Smith today surprised all comers by indicating the Super Saturday by-elections will not be held until July 28. The Australian Electoral Commission has reportedly asked for a delay to allow it to introduce a new system for candidates to prove they are not dual citizens – the substance of which is being facilitated by new regulations, which can be viewed here. However, it is not clear the delay needs to be quite that long, with school holidays invoked as another reason. Labor believes the government wants this date because it clashes with Labor’s national conference that weekend. In a committee hearing earlier today, Senator Penny Wong suggested to Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers that the commission’s advice “looks partisan”. Links to my newly updated guides for each of the by-elections can be found on the sidebar.
Other relevant developments:
• The decision by the WA Liberal Party’s state executive to sit out the Perth by-election will be challenged by Senator Dean Smith at a meeting of the party’s state council on Saturday. Jim Grayden, whose father Bill Grayden was a veteran member for South Perth (state) and Swan (federal) as both a Liberal and an independent, will run as an independent liberal.
• The Liberal National Party’s candidate in Longman will be Trevor Ruthenberg, who held the state seat of Kallangur from 2012 to 2015 and is now chief executive of the Mosaic Property Group’s philanthropic foundation. Ruthenberg reportedly had a convincing win in the preselection vote over Jason Snow, disability support worker and candidate for Morayfield at the state election, and a local businessman.
• Ladbrokes has shortened the odds on a Liberal win in Mayo, bringing Georgina Downer in from $1.57 to $1.36, while Rebekha Sharkie is out from $2.37 to $2.75.
Then there’s the state by-election for Darling Range on June 23, my thread for which the other day found few takers. Labor’s newly anointed candidate, Colleen Yates, is off to a bad start, with claims she exaggerated her educational qualifications on her LinkedIn page reminding voters of the circumstances that brought the by-election about.