Developments, and further reading:
• Matthew Denholm of The Australian reports a Liberal tracking poll sample of 500 voters has Brett Whiteley edging to a 51-49 lead over Labor’s Justine Keay in Braddon. Party sources credit this to their targeting of independent Craig Garland, who is said to be down from 9% last week to 5% this week. Garland is a crusty local fisherman who polled 3.1% at the state election on a campaign against fish farming, but Michael Koziol of Fairfax reports he is “building a brand beyond that niche, connecting with disaffected working class voters and even some Liberals”. With Garland directing preferences to Labor, the Liberals fear a repeat of the 2016 election, when the Recreational Fishers Party polled 5.7% in Braddon and 4.9% in Bass, respectively producing preference flows of 63.1% and 67.0% to Labor. The Liberals have been duly keen to portray Garland as an “extreme green”, and to exploit an assault conviction recorded against him in 1993 over an altercation involving a group of his friends and two off-duty police officers. This extended to the Prime Minister telling reporters that “violence against women, violence against police, can never be accepted, must always be condemned”.
• Pauline Hanson has taken an oddly timed break from politics to go on a cruise off Ireland and Scotland, citing exhaustion. Meanwhile, the party’s candidate in Longman, Matthew Stephen, has faced a series of claims of unpaid debts and wages from subcontactors and workers for his tiling business. However, Renee Viellaris of the Courier-Mail reports One Nation’s campaign has been more professional than recent form: its how-to-vote cards, thought previously to have been “too wordy and hard to understand”, have been made visually punchier and clearer in their recommended preference order (in this putting the LNP ahead of Labor), and the party promises an organised polling booth presence and tighter scrutineering.
• Acres of psephological goodness on offer in Kevin Bonham’s review of the Longman by-election.