• The Palaszczuk government faces what it may now think a fortuitously timed by-election tomorrow in the southern Brisbane seat of Stretton. The seat was vacated by the late Duncan Pegg, who retained it for Labor by a margin of 14.8% at the state election last October. The intimidating margin has not stopped Liberal National Party taking the field, together with the Greens, Animal Justice and the Informed Medical Options Party. My guide to the by-election can be found here; tune in tomorrow for live results, my page for which awaits the numbers here.
• Jack Morphet of the Sunday Mail reports Nick Xenophon is “seriously considering another tilt at federal politics”, ostensibly because the federal government has failed to protect the rights of Australian producers to market sheepskin boots as ugg boots, the name of which is trademarked by an American company.
• The Herald Sun reports Labor’s Victorian preselection process, which has been commandeered by the party’s national executive after a branch-stacking scandal, has confirmed candidates in four marginal Liberal seats. Gladys Liu will defend her negligible margin in Chisholm against Carina Garland, former assistant secretary at Victorian Trades Hall Council, who was chosen ahead of Monash mayor Rebecca Paterson. In Higgins, the once safe Liberal seat that is developing into a three-cornered contest between Liberal, Labor and the Greens, Katie Allen will face Michelle Ananda-Rajah, consultant physician in general medicine and infectious diseases at Alfred Health. In Casey, where the Liberals will defend a 4.6% margin in the absence of retiring incumbent Tony Smith, Labor has again chosen its candidate from 2019, engineer and small business owner Bill Brindle. In Deakin, which Michael Sukkar holds for the Liberals by 4.7%, the Labor candidate is Matthew Gregg, a teacher.
From the world of academia (Queensland chapter):
• In the Australian Journal of Politics and History, Paul Williams of Griffith University offers Queensland’s role in the 2019 Australian federal election: a case study of regional difference (paywalled, naturally). Williams argues the Coalition’s strong federal performance in Queensland can be understood in terms of its six diverse regions and five elements of its political culture. The former reflect the state’s decentralisation and reliance on primary industries, which show up demographically in low educational attainment, high religious observance and a paucity of migrants. The political culture elements are “a predilection for strong, masculine political leadership; a zealotry for state development; a disproportionate focus on regional and rural districts in budgetary allocations; a pragmatically flexible approach to policy-making” (the Humphrey Appleby-esque note struck by the latter would seem to be deliberate) and “a parochial chauvinism celebrating a Queensland difference, and drawing a moral superiority from it”.
• In the Australian Journal of Political Science, Graeme Orr of the University of Queensland and Tracey Arklay of Griffith University are rethinking voter identification: its rationale and impact. This includes an analysis of Queensland’s one-off experiment with a soft voter identification regime in 2015, which reaches the unsurprising conclusion that migrant and especially indigenous areas had the greatest number of voters needing to lodge provisional votes for want of acceptable identification on the day. For this reason, and despite the measure’s clearly modest impact on the voting returns, the paper concludes “there is no real case for voter ID in Australia”, which it deems “a solution in search of a problem”.
• In keeping with its code of conduct obligations as a member of the recently launched Australian Polling Council, YouGov has published methodology statements for the last four Newspoll surveys. Among other things, these fully detail the questionnaires that were presented to the respondents.
• David Barry has developed a tool for exploring Senate preference flows at the 2019 election using the ballot paper data files, which is immensely nifty if you can work out how to use it.
• A Tasmanian Electoral Commission report into the recent state election, which unusually coupled a statewide lower house election with one of the state’s periodic upper house elections for two of the chamber’s 15 seats, finds over 6% of those who ought to have lodged an upper house vote did not do so because they attended a booth in the wrong part of the electorate, and a further 1% were not issued with a ballot due to staff error. It argues against the contention that this should invalidate the election, since the errors in the former case were committed by the voters rather than the commission, and the latter were too few in number to affect the results.