Queensland’s Liberal National Party will take a break from electioneering tomorrow to determine its candidate for Groom,who is all but assured of a quick passage to parliament after the by-election on November 24. This contest has been enlivened by reports that David van Gend, an unsuccessful past nominee with unorthodox views on social issues, has emerged as the front-runner. Van Gend reportedly enjoys well-organised backing from religious conservatives, and Crikey reports he bears endorsement Eric Abetz, Matt Canavan, Miranda Devine and Howard-era Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson. As The Guardian notes, this comes at a time when conservative state MPs are making life difficult for their leadership by conjuring controversies around abortion at the sharp end of an election campaign. The LNP’s deep state would evidently prefer it if locals favoured Toowoomba councillor Rebecca Vonhoff or Australian Lot Feeders president Bryce Camm.
Other preselection news:
• In other Queensland federal preselection news, a gossip column in the Cairns Post reports Cairns regional councillor Brett Olds will seek preselection to succeed Warren Entsch in the far north Queensland seat of Leichhardt, and suggests Olds has the support of Entsch. The 70-year-old Entsch said before the last election that this term would be his last.
• The Western Australian Greens have preselected Dorinda Cox, an anti-domestic violence campaigner and former police office of Yamatji Noongar background, to lead the party’s Senate ticket at the next election, in place of the retiring Rachel Siewert. It is often the practice in the Greens for outgoing Senators to retire before the election and allow their preselected successor to fill their vacancy, but it is unclear if this is the idea on this occasion.
• The Australian Capital Territory election would seem to have been decided with a result of Labor 10 (down two), Liberal nine (down two) and Greens six (up four), which you can read all about here.