Two privately conducted ReachTEL polls from the past week to relate, followed by enough federal preselection news to choke on. Also note immediately below this the post on a new YouGov Galaxy state poll from Queensland. I should also observe that September 8 has been set as the date for the Wagga Wagga state by-election in New South Wales, to be held after Liberal member Daryl Maguire fell foul of the Independent Commission Against Corruption. It presumably won’t be contested by Labor and will probably be of interest only to locals, but Antony Green naturally has a guide up.
On with the show:
• The Guardian reports a poll conducted for the ACTU has Labor leading 51-49 on two-party preferred. Other findings of the poll relate to wage rises, or the lack thereof: 47.6% reported not having received one in the past year, 32.9% said such as they had received did not cover the cost of living, and only 19.5% said their pay had improved in real terms. The poll was conducted on August 2 from a sample of 2453.
• Greenpeace has a Victoria only poll which, after exclusion of the 6.7% undecided, has the Coalition on 35.4% (compared with 41.8% at the 2016 election), Labor on 34.9% (35.6%), the Greens on an unlikely 18.6% (13.1%) and One Nation on 5.1%. Labor leads 57-43 on two-party preferred, compared with 51.8-48.2 at the election. The poll was conducted July 30 from a sample of 1118.
The preselection news bonanza starts in Victoria, where internal party democracy has been having a rough time of it lately, with Labor’s national executive and the Liberal Party’s state administrative committee both taking over federal preselections to protect sitting members amid factional unrest.
• The Labor vacancy created by the retirement of Michael Danby in Macnamara, as Melbourne Ports will now be known, is set to be filled by one of his former staffers, Josh Burns. The seat is reserved to the Right under factional arrangements, and Burns prevailed in a factional ballot with 61 votes to 49 for Nick Dyrefurth, executive director of the John Curtin Research Centre, and 16 for Mary Delahunty, a Glen Eira councillor (numbers related by Emma-Jayne Schenk of the Caulfield Glen Eira Leader). Delahunty called on the national executive to disregard the result, accusing Danby of hand-picking the attendees to the meeting and seeing that others were locked out, and complaining that 85% of those present were male.
• United Voice state secretary Jess Walsh will take second position on Labor’s Victorian Senate ticket after winning Socialist Left endorsement at the expense of incumbent Gavin Marshall. Marshall has been demoted to what is being described as an unwinnable position – number three according to the Herald Sun, though reports vary. The result is a defeat for Socialist Left powerbroker and Marshall ally Kim Carr, whose influence has diminished in the face of a new alliance between the Industrial Left and Right forces associated with state MP Adem Somyurek. It also contradicts the justification for referring preselections to the national executive, which was to protect sitting members.
• The Herald Sun reports a factional deal has set up state upper house member Daniel Mulino to run in the new safe Labor seat of Fraser in western Melbourne, making his existing seat in Eastern Victoria available for Jane Garrett. This was supported by Bill Shorten, and bitterly opposed by Garrett’s foes in the United Firefighters Union. Garrett is backed by the Industrial Left, which has been determined to find her a new seat after she abandoned her existing berth of Brunswick, where she is under growing pressure from the Greens. Mulino is aligned with the Right faction Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (although the internal politics of that union is a story unto itself), which was at first unhappy at losing influence within the state government, but has been mollified with the promise of an extra state seat.
• Jenny Macklin’s successor in Jagajaga, which is reserved to the Socialist Left, will be Kate Thwaites, a former staffer to Macklin, ABC journalist and, most recently, communications director at Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services. Thwaites won factional backing ahead of Sonja Terpstra, a local teacher and community activist.
• The Victorian Liberal Party’s administrative committee has rubber-stamped the preselections of all sitting federal MPs, ostensibly to prevent the party from being distracted in the lead-up to the November 29 state election. However, the real story by all accounts is that the dominant conservative faction wishes to protect Kevin Andrews in Menzies, who faced a challenge from Keith Wolahan, a former Blake Dawson lawyer who earlier served overseas with the Australian Defence Force.
• Matthew Killoran of The Courier-Mail reports five candidates are seeking preselection for a Queensland Senate position reserved to the Left, which is being vacated with the retirement of Claire Moore. The front runner by all accounts is Nita Green, a former staffer to Senator Murray Watt, who is backed by the CFMMEU. This is despite Green being based in Brisbane, and party rules reserving the spot for central or north Queensland (Green says she will move there if successful). Others in the field are Leanne Donaldson, who held the state seat of Bundaberg from 2015 until her defeat in 2017, and lost her position in cabinet when it emerged she had failed to pay nearly $8000 in council rates; Julie McGlone, Tourism Australia marketing executive; Tania Major, Cairns-based indigenous youth advocate; and Karin Campbell, an occupational health and safety consultant.
• Paul Starick of The Advertiser reports that Georgina Downer, who for some reason wants to run in Mayo again, will face opposition from Reagan Garner, human resources manager for ReturnToWorkSA. However, Starick reports Downer is the “overwhelming favourite”.
• Sally Whyte of the Canberra Times reports there are five nominees for Labor preselection in Canberra, where a vacancy is available as a result of the Australian Capital Territory’s House of Representatives seat entitlement increasing from two to three. They are John Falzon, chief executive of St Vincent de Paul; Kel Watt, a lobbyist for the greyhound racing industry; Jacob Ingram, a staffer to Chief Minister Andrew Barr; Simon Banks, managing director for lobbyists Hawker Britton; and Alicia Payne, who has worked as a staffer to Jenny Macklin, Bill Shorten and Lindsay Tanner. Falzon has been endorsed by the Left, Watt and Ingram are seeking endorsement from the Right, and Banks and Payne are unaligned. Falzon has been in the news lately after a picture emerged of him wearing a t-shirt with Lenin emblazoned on it, while Watt has been the target of a dirt sheet being circulated within the local party. The preselection process will be completed early next month.
• In South Australia, Labor will deal with the abolition of Port Adelaide by having the homeless Mark Butler run in Hindmarsh, and moving Hindmarsh MP Steve Georganas to neighbouring Adelaide. The latter is being vacated by Kate Ellis, and has turned from a marginal to a fairly safe Labor seat as a result of the redistribution changes. Paul Karp of The Guardian reports the deal involves a Senate seat being forfeited by the Left, of which Butler is a member, with the top two positions on the Senate ticket to be taken by the Right.
• Nathan Hondros of Fairfax reports Labor’s likely new candidate for the marginal Liberal seat of Hasluck in eastern Perth is James Martin, Mundaring Shire councillor and director of Marketech Ltd, a firm that develops stock market trading software. The position became vacant after the withdrawal of Lauren Palmer, an official with the Maritime Union of Australia, who cited health reasons. Andrew Burrell of The Australian reports Martin is a member of the Progressive Left faction, which combines forces of the Right (the SDA, TWU and AWU) and Left (the MUA and CFMMEU).
• Luke Hartsuyker announced this week he will not seek another term in the mid north coast New South Wales seat of Cowper, which he has held for the Nationals since 2001. No word yet on who might succeed him as Nationals candidate, but Rob Oakeshott, who ran unsuccessfully against Hartsuyker in 2016, is not ruling out running again.