There probably won’t be any polls this week, with the fortnightly Essential Research and tri-weekly Newspoll having dropped last week. But there will of course be a Northern Territory election on Saturday, which is the subject of its own thread here.
• Sue Bailey of the Launceston Examiner reports that Eric Abetz is expected to retain the top position on the Tasmanian Liberals’ Senate ticket at the next election, contrary to earlier reports that Jonathan Duniam was planning to topple him, after the two “kissed and made up”. However, the report further says that “another senior Liberal” is doing the numbers for the third candidate who will be seeking re-election, Wendy Askew, who filled the Senate vacancy created last year when her brother, David Bushby, took up a diplomatic post in the United States. Also: “It is believed Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants the pre-selection delayed until next year so as not to be a distraction during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
• Michael Koziol of the Age/Herald has a story on the willing Liberal preselection contest in Warringah, which Tony Abbott lost to independent Zali Steggall at last year’s election. Abbott loyalists are said to be advancing the claim of Sacha Grebe, a former Scott Morrison staffer and employee of lobbying firm DPG Advisory, whose principal is David Gazard, a Morrison ally and candidate for Eden-Monaro in 2010. Grebe backer and local party activist Walter Villatora is engaged in a seemingly forlorn bid to have the preselection held as soon as possible. Others said to be in the hunt are “state MP Natalie Ward, state executive member Alex Dore and Menzies Research Centre manager Tim James”.
• There has been a change in the party balance of the Senate with Rex Patrick’s resignation from the Centre Alliance to sit as an independent. The Advertiser ($) has also reported the party’s two remaining members, Stirling Griff in the Senate and Mayo MP Rebekha Sharkie, are the subject of approaches from Liberals to defect to the party, although the notion is meeting bitter resistance from conservatives.
• The results of Tasmania’s recent upper house elections have been finalised, and as expected have resulted in the election of Labor’s Bastian Seidel in the seat of Huon south of Hobart, and of Liberal candidate Jo Palmer in Rosevears. The former was achieved over independent incumbent Robert Armstrong by the comfortable margin of 7.3% at the final count (12,284 votes to 9,152), but the latter proved a close run thing, with Jo Palmer landing 260 votes clear of independent candidate Janie Finlay, 11,492 votes (50.6%) or 11,232 (49.4%).