BludgerTrack has been updated this week with new results from Newspoll and Essential Research, both of which provided leadership ratings as well as voting intention, and a Queensland-only federal poll result from YouGov Galaxy. None of this has made any difference to the two-party preferred reading, although both parties are down on the primary vote and One Nation is up. On the seat projection, the Coalition gains a seat in Victoria and loses one in New South Wales, with no change anywhere else. However, conspicuously poor personal ratings for Malcolm Turnbull from Newspoll have knocked the edge off his surge in the BludgerTrack trend. Full results from the link below.
Now on to two areas of intense preselection activity this week, involving Labor in the Australian Capital Territory and Liberal in Tasmania.
The former produced an unexpected turn this week when Gai Brodtmann, who has held the seat of Canberra for Labor since 2010, announced she would not seek another term. This leaves the Territory’s vigorous Labor branch with three situations vacant: the lower house seats of Canberra and Bean, and the Senate seat that was vacated by Section 44 casualty Katy Gallagher in May and filled by David Smith.
Smith is now seeking preselection in Bean, which early appeared to be lined up for Brodtmann. Sally Whyte of Fairfax reports Smith has been formally endorsed by the Right, which appears to consider that the Right-aligned Brodtmann should be replaced with one of their own. However, the Left is throwing its weight behind Louise Crossman, manager at the Justice and Community Safety Directorate and former federal staffer and CFMEU industrial officer. Also in the field are Taimus Werner-Gibbings, factionally unaligned staffer to Lisa Singh (and formerly Andrew Leigh), and Gail Morgan, business management consultant and former campaign manager to Brodtmann.
Apparently in retaliation to the Left’s intrusion in Bean, the Right is sponsoring a challenge to Left-aligned Katy Gallagher for the Senate seat, in the person of Victoria Robertson, chief-of-staff to Gai Brodtmann. The race for the Canberra preselection was covered here last week; only the lower house seat of Fenner will be defended by a sitting member, in this case Andrew Leigh.
The news from Tasmania relates to Senate preselection for the Liberals, who are in the happy seat of having a likely Senate seat to spare thanks to the vagaries of the Section 44 affair. When the Senate was carved into short-term and long-term seats after the 2016 double dissolution, the Liberals originally got two seats with six-year terms and two with three-year terms, based on the order of election in which the twelve Senators were elected. However, in the recount after Jacqui Lambie’s disqualification, her party won its seat at a later point in the count, and the Liberals gained a third six-year term at their expense. Given the likelihood of their winning two seats, this means their four seats will likely become five after the election.
Eight candidates have nominated for Liberal preselection, with top position reportedly likely to go to Richard Colbeck, the only one out of the party’s four incumbents required to face the voters. Colbeck initially failed to win in 2016 from his fifth place on the Liberal ticket, to which he was demoted after heading the ticket in 2013. This resulted from a purge of Malcolm Turnbull loyalists led by conservative powerbroker Senator Eric Abetz, and inspired a surge of below-the-line votes for Colbeck, though not enough for him to overhaul the top four candidates. As fate would have it though, number five effectively became number four in the recount held after Section 44 prompted the resignation of Stephen Parry in November last year.
Assuming Colbeck takes top place, that will leave a further seven candidates chasing number two, plus the outside chance offered by number three. A newly confirmed starter is Brett Whiteley, who held a state seat for Braddon from 2002 until his defeat in 2010, gained the federal seat for the Liberals at the 2013 election, lost it at the 2016 election, and failed to win it back at last month’s by-election. But with the party under pressure to balance its all-male parliamentary contingent, he seems likely to struggle against Claire Chandler, risk advisory manager at Deloitte Australia and former electorate officer to David Bushby, who reportedly has the backing of Eric Abetz. Also in the field are Tanya Denison, a Hobart alderman; Wendy Summers, political staffer and the sister of David Bushby; Stacey Sheehan, Davenport Chamber of Commerce and Industry president; Kent Townsend, whom I take to be a developer from Launceston; and Craig Brakey, an Ulverstone businessman.
Finally, two other bits of polling I missed:
• Last week I noted Greenpeace had published a ReachTEL poll that included Victorian state voting intention numbers. I missed the more interesting fact that they also had one on federal voting intention from a sample of 3999. It’s getting on a bit now, having been conducted on July 30, but let it be noted that Labor led 52-48, from primary votes of Coalition 36.9%, Labor 35.0%, Greens 12.0% and One Nation 8.1% (after exclusion of 5.2% undecided.
• The Courier-Mail had further results from last week’s YouGov Galaxy poll which, despite the newspaper’s best efforts to give an impression to the contrary, found respondents strongly opposed to the company tax cuts. Only 16% registered support for tax cuts for businesses with more than $50 million turnover, which the government has tried and failed to pass through the Senate. Twelve per cent favoured a response that excluded banks from the cuts, and 56% were opposed altogether.