Still very quiet on the polling front, but speculation of a federal election later this year has given scribes plenty to work with over the quiet season:
• A report in the Age/Herald concludes the most likely months are October and November, with Liberal Party officials being told to have their act together at least by August. However, it is noted that “the pandemic could derail any possible plan for an early poll”.
• The above report also relates that the Queensland Liberal National Party’s Senate ticket is to be decided by May 1. This presents the Coalition with a difficulty, in that second position is reserved for the Nationals and duly assured for Matt Canavan, leaving Liberal up-and-comers James McGrath and Amanda Stoker in a high-stakes battle for first and third. The loser will at least be able to console themselves with the knowledge that the Coalition has won at least three Senate seats in Queensland at each of the seven elections since 2001.
• Also noted in the report is a fact that escaped my notice amid the excitement of events in the United States — namely, that the Western Australian Liberals finalised their Senate ticket in early November. This occurred at the same time that Ben Small, a logistics manager at Woodside Energy and owner of a bar and restaurant in Bunbury, was chosen to fill the vacancy created by Mathias Cormmann’s retirement. Small will take third position on the ticket behind Michaelia Cash and Dean Smith, both of whom have gone up a notch in Cormann’s absence. Smith had to overcome a bid by religious conservatives to dump him in favour of Albert Jacob, mayor of Joondalup and former state member for Ocean Reef. Peter Law of The West Australian reported the move was “perceived by some within the party as retribution for the eight-year Senator’s very public campaign for marriage equality in 2017”.
• There are a whole bunch of redistribution processes in train at the moment. At federal level, draft boundaries for Victoria and Western Australia are due to be published by the end of March, respectively to be finalised on July 26 and August 2. The redistributions will increase Victoria’s representation from 38 seats to 39, and reduce Western Australia’s from 16 to 15. A state redistribution process also began in Victoria last month, with draft boundaries due at the end of June and final boundaries to be published on October 14. In New South Wales, submissions are being weighed up to draft boundaries that were published in November, and while no date is set for their finalisation, it could roughly be guessed that it will happen in March or April.