As the campaign enters its final week, I have given my Eden-Monaro by-election guide an overdue overhaul, such that it now offers a thorough account of the Coalition’s preselection tangles and full detail on the various reports of opinion polling that have emerged, along with the usual charts, results map and historical detail. Other news worth noting:
• The Australian ($) reports the Nationals are hawking internal polling showing a surge in their own support potentially great enough to push the Liberals over the line. Their candidate, Trevor Hicks, was said to have risen from 6% a fortnight ago to 11.5%, clipping Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs from 36% to 34.3% and Shooters Fishers and Farmers from 7% to 4.6%. Labor’s Kristy McBain was said to have slumped from 36% to 29.3%, with the Greens up slightly from 7% to 8.7%. The more recent poll was conducted on Thursday from a sample of 630; the sample for the earlier poll was said to be rather larger.
• A borderline comical spam email attacking Labor candidate Kristy McBain is the subject of an Australian Federal Police investigation. Purporting to be from McBain’s campaign manager, the email claimed she had withdrawn as a candidate after being hospitalised with COVID-19, before holding her largely responsible for fabricating the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. Complaints under the “misleading or deceptive publications” provision under the Electoral Act are ten a penny, and invariably fall foul of the limitation that the falsehood must be “in relation to the casting of a vote”, (which the Australian Electoral Commission contentiously determined did not apply to Chinese language Liberal Party advertising in Melbourne at last year’s election). In this case though, the material clearly crosses the line in asserting that votes for McBain will be invalid.
• The Australian Electoral Commission has so far processed 16,098 postal vote applications, compared with a total of 7426 at the 2019 election. The thirteen pre-poll voting centres now in operation have already received more than 21,000 votes; last time a total of 35,114 votes were cast at eight locations.