A big but not necessarily good weekend for former and current Nationals leaders:
• Moves to topple Michael McCormack as Nationals leader could come to a boil at today’s party room meeting, which The Australian reports could see a spill or no-confidence motion being moved against him. Barnaby Joyce, David Littleproud and Keith Pitt are all identified as potential successors, though presumably the latter is a long shot. The Australian reports Littleproud will not challenge McCormack directly, meaning he will only nominate if the motion passed is one of no confidence, which would exclude McCormack from contention. Samantha Maiden of News Corp says she “can count to ten votes” for Joyce, which is one fewer than he needs. A spill motion moved by Joyce’s backers in February last year was unsuccessful.
• Andrew Clennell of Sky News reports former Nationals leader John Anderson has failed in his bid to return to politics, having lost a preselection vote for the New South Wales Senate ticket to former state party director Ross Cadell by a margin of 42 to 39.
On the other side of the fence:
• Labor’s national executive has endorsed former state party secretary Sam Rae as its candidate for the new seat of Hawke on Melbourne’s north-western fringe, after a process which had been delayed by a Supreme Court injunction and may yet be overruled should the court strike down the national executive takeover of the state party’s preselection process. The Herald-Sun reports that Rae won 18 votes against three for rival candidate Sarah Carter, a former mayor of Maribyrnong.
• Labor’s leadership selection process in Tasmania, which was determined half by party members and half by state conference delegates, has been won by David O’Byrne, a powerful figure in the Left faction. Adam Langenberg of the ABC reports O’Byrne easily defeated rival candidate Shane Broad with 72% of the votes from the ballot of more than 1200 party members and 75% of the state conference votes. A similar process in New South Wales did not proceed after Michael Daley withdrew from contention, leaving Chris Minns to be elected unopposed.