We’re in an off-week for federal opinion polling, although we may get geographic and demographic breakdowns from Newspoll – the leadership change had broken up their usual schedule of quarterly publication, and they have already published the results from the end of the Turnbull epoch. So here’s a summary of preselection news. Note the post below on the Wentworth by-election, and the one below that on the US mid-terms, courtesy of Adrian Beaumont.
• After successful lobbying from Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton and Mathias Cormann, Richard Colbeck will head the Tasmanian Liberal Senate ticket. Earlier reports indicated he would again be dumped, as he was in 2016 – initially costing him his seat, before he won it back on the countback that resulted from Stephen Parry’s Section 44-related disqualification. Claire Chandler, a conservative backed by Eric Abetz, is number two, with Hobart councillor Tanya Denison number three. The presence of two women on the ticket makes a change from the usual form of the state party, which last had a woman in federal parliament in 2002. Those who missed out included Brett Whiteley, who held Braddon from 2013 to 2016 and failed to win it back in the Super Saturday by-election, and Wendy Summers, political staffer and the sister of David Bushby.
• Tasmanian Labor, on the other hand, has persisted in dumping Senator Lisa Singh to number four, despite her historic success in having below-the-line voters overturn her demotion in 2016. This reflects the party’s persistence in favouring the claim of John Short, state secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, who will be number three. The top two positions go to incumbents of the Left and Right, Carol Brown and Catryna Bilyk.
• Ann Sudmalis’s retirement in the dicey New South Wales seat of Gilmore leaves in the field her prospective preselection challenger, Grant Schultz, a real estate agent and the son of former Hume MP Alby Schultz. However, Mark Kenny of Fairfax reports “the moderate faction of the Liberal Party believes it can retain its hold on the seat and find a replacement for Ms Sudmalis”.
• Chris O’Keefe of Nine News reports Hughes MP Craig Kelly has been approached to run in the marginal state seat of East Hills, to smooth over his likely preselection defeat in his existing seat at the hands of Kent Johns. Kelly appeared to scupper his chances when he suggested forgiving Russia for the MH17 disaster was “the price we have to pay” for “good relations going forward”.
• Perin Davey, a Riverina water policy specialist, has won preselection to succeed the retiring John “Wacka” Williams as the Nationals’ New South Wales Senate candidate. The existing coalition agreement gives the Nationals the difficult third position on the ticket, but Joe Kelly of The Australian reports the party is considering breaking away to run its own ticket. To this end it has chosen a full slate of four candidates, rounded out by “small business owner Sam Farraway, Gunnedah Mayor Jamie Chaffey and Wagga-based farmer Paul Cocking”.
• Skye Kakoschke-Moore has been confirmed as the lead South Australian Senate candidate for the Centre Alliance, confirming that Nick Xenophon will stand by the pledge he made at the time of his failed run for state parliament that he would not run at the federal election.