Below this post is a live commentary thread on local and regional elections in the United Kingdom from regular guest contributor Adrian Beaumont; I myself am overdue for new posts on late counting in Tasmania and the looming Upper Hunter by-election on May 22, so stay tuned for those over the next few days. Other than that:
• A report by Max Maddison of The Australian suggests the pendulum may be swinging back to a federal election sooner rather than later, due to “the turmoil of the start of the year dissipating and the rate of vaccinations slowly increasing”. This is said to be reflected in the New South Wales Liberal Party’s commencement of preselection proceedings this week for 13 seats, for which nominations will close on May 21.
• The Age reports that Victoria’s Supreme Court will today consider a last-minute bid by ten unions to prevent the Labor national executive from choosing a candidate for the new federal seat of Hawke on Melbourne’s north-western fringe. The national executive had been expected to vote today to endorse former state secretary Sam Rae as part of a deal between elements of Rae’s Right faction, notably federal front-bencher Richard Marles, and the Socialist Left. This freezes out the rival Right forces associated with Bill Shorten and the Australian Workers Union, who favour the rival claim of state minister Natalie Hutchins, who is also invoking the cause of affirmative action. The legal action seeks to establish that the federal party organisation had acted improperly in taking over the state branch in response to the Adem Somyurek branch-stacking scandal.
• The Australian National University’s Centre for Social Research and Methods has published results from a survey of 3459 respondents on “attitudes towards and experiences of retirement and social security income during the COVID-recession and initial recovery”. Among other things, it finds 55.0% support for an increase in compulsory superannuation from 9.5% to 12% as per current legislation, with 20.8% thinking it should be lifted even higher. Only 20.4% said it should remain at the current level, and only 3.8% believed it should be lowered or eliminated altogether.