Latest news to relate from the by-election campaign trails, almost all of it relating to Longman:
• The Longman campaign has been hit by the bombshell of a Courier-Mail report that Trevor Ruthenberg, the Liberal National Party candidate, wrongly claimed to have received the Australian Service Medal in his state parliamentary biography. Ruthenberg claims to have innocently confused the award for distinguished service with his Australian Defence Medal, granted to those who serve for four years or more, as Ruthenberg had done with the Royal Australian Air Force. This offers an uncomfortable parallel with Barry Urban, the Western Australian state Labor MP whose false claims led to his resignation and the staging of the Darling Range by-election on June 30.
• The Liberal National Party and One Nation are denying a preference deal, but each has the other in seventh place on their how-to-vote card. Since both have Labor’s Susan Lamb placed lower, this is as good as second. One Nation has copped flak for placing Lamb behind Jim Saleam, Australia First candidate and former leader of neo-Nazi group National Action, in consequence of its decision to place Labor and the Greens last. Another distinction of the One Nation campaign has been the involvement of Mark Latham, who recorded a robocall message for the party in which he branded Bill Shorten a liar and urged a vote for minor parties.
• A report by Amy Remeikis of The Guardian relates the view of a Labor strategist that the One Nation how-to-vote card is unlikely to prevent Labor getting around 40% of their preferences, and that the party’s support is “overstated”. The report also reveals a straw poll of 100 people at a Caboolture shopping centre captured only about twenty who knew the by-election was happening, not a single one of whom could name either major party candidate.
• A ReachTEL poll of Braddon on July 6 recorded, after exclusion of the 6.2% undecided, a 38.7% primary vote for Labor and its Section 44 casualty, Justine Keay; 45.7% for Liberal candidate Brett Whiteley; 8.5% for independent Craig Garland; and 4.7% for the Greens. No two-party result was provided, but Kevin Bonham has applied 2016 preference flows to produce a result of 50.5-49.5 in favour of the Liberals. The poll was conducted for The Australian Institute from a sample of 700.