Before proceeding with the latest preselection news, I have a still-active post with daily updates on the progress of Tasmanian state election count; a live results feature that I can’t promote often enough, since it remains by some distance the most detailed source of results data available; and a lengthy plea for cash from Friday from which I’m still vaguely hopeful of squeezing another donation or two.
On with the show:
• The long-awaited Liberal National Party Senate preselection has allocated top position on the Queensland ticket to James McGrath while relegating Amanda Stoker to third, maintaining an impressive bipartisan run of preselectors never getting anything right. Michael McKenna of The Australian relates that McGrath secured a sweeping 212-101 win from the “biggest ever turnout for a State Council Senate vote”. The second position is designated to the Nationals, and is duly a lock for Matt Canavan.
• Paul Starick of The Advertiser reports that Leah Blyth, who has the backing of the South Australian Liberal Party’s conservative faction to replace the retiring Nicolle Flint in the Adelaide seat of Boothby, may be poleaxed by the Section 44 of the Constitution. Blyth’s efforts to renounce a dual British citizenship even this far out from the election could fall foul of extended processing times arising from COVID-19, although others quoted in the report express doubt that it will really be a problem. Rival contenders include Rachel Swift, moderate-aligned proprietor of a health consultancy firm, and Shaun Osborn, a police officer who ran in the seat of Adelaide in 2019. However, Osborn is hampered by the optics of putting a man forward to replace Flint, whose experiences have been a key element in Liberal efforts to parry suggestions that disrespect for women is particularly a problem on their own side of politics.
• John Ferguson of The Australian reports dissension within Victorian Labor over the likelihood that former state secretary Sam Rae will secure preselection for the new seat of Hawke on Melbourne’s north-western fringe. The report says a draft preselection agreement reserves the seat for the Right faction Transport Workers Union, which remains associated with party powerbroker and former Senator Stephen Conroy. While Conroy evidently backs Rae, “other parts” of the Right are said to favour the position going to a woman, specifically Natalie Hutchins, the Andrews government Corrections Minister and member for the seat of Sydenham.
• Matthew Denholm of The Australian reported last week that “wholesale ALP federal intervention” loomed for the party’s Tasmanian branch, “barring a shock win for the party” at Saturday’s state election – which, for those of you who have just joined us, didn’t happen. The concern is that Left unions use their excessive weight within the branch’s affairs to do foolish things like deny preselection to Dean Winter, who was able to achieve his thumping win in Franklin on Saturday only because the national executive intervened to give him a place on the ticket. This would appear to be relevant to Labor’s preselections for the federal seat of Bass and Braddon, which it lost at the 2019 election, and also to the fate of twice-defeated state leader Rebecca White. The aforesaid Left unions are apparently keen on replacing her with David O’Byrne, who was outpolled in Franklin on Saturday by the aforesaid Dean Winter.
• The Liberal Party has done tellingly extensive research for its submission opposing the registration of a party under the name New Liberals, which included CT Group polling indicating that 69% of respondents believed a party thus named sounded like it had a connection with the other Liberal Party.