Recent developments relevant to the looming federal election, mostly involving the Liberals in Victoria:
• House of Representatives Speaker Tony Smith announced this week he would retire from politics at the election, after holding the seat of Casey on Melbourne’s eastern fringe since 2001. Phillip Coorey of the Financial Review reports “leading contenders” for the Liberal preselection are David Lau, a manager with medical supplies company Ebos Group, and Aaron Violi, a manager with a company that provides online ordering services to restaurants. Both have form as political staffers, Lau with Senator Sarah Henderson and Violi with Senator James Patterson. The “controversial comments on Facebook related to abortion” that caused Lau to quit his job with Henderson appear not to have done him any harm with the party membership. Smith retained Casey by a margin of 4.6% in 2019, which has not changed with the redistribution.
• The Victorian Liberals have preselected former Geelong mayor Stephanie Asher for Corangamite, where Labor’s Libby Coker unseated Sarah Henderson in 2019, and lawyer and one-time Survivor contestant Sharn Coombes for Dunkley in Melbourne’s south-east, which Labor gained after a favourable redistribution in 2019. Brodie Cowburn of Bayside News reports other candidates for Dunkley included Chris Crewther, who held the seat for the Liberals from 2016 until his defeat in 2019, and Donna Hope, who as Donna Bauer held the marginal local state seat of Carrum for a term from 2010 to 2014.
• Queensland’s Liberal National party has preselected Colin Boyce, who has held the state seat of Callide since 2017, as its new candidate for the central Queensland seat of Flynn, held for the party on a margin of 8.7% and to be vacated at the election with the retirement of Ken O’Dowd. Matthew Killoran of the Courier-Mail reports Boyce “convincingly” won a local party ballot over Mitchell Brownlie, Ron English and Tracie Newitt.