Josh Butler of the New Daily reports Barnaby Joyce has “dropped hints to an election being called in January, to be held in the first quarter of next year”, while Scott Morrison apparently told the Liberal party room the election would “come around sooner than we think”. However, it appears to have been made clear that this doesn’t mean the election will be this year, consistent with Joyce’s prognosis.
Here’s what we do know, specifically regarding the parties’ recent candidate preselection efforts:
• The West Australian reports Vince Connelly, the Liberal member for the soon-to-be-abolished northern Perth seat of Stirling, will challenge fellow incumbent Ian Goodenough in the neighbouring seat of Moore, rather than pursue Labor-held Cowan as previously indicated. Goodenough is noted for his successes in recruiting members of Pentecostal churches to local party branches and featured heavily in the machinations of the factional grouping known as “The Clan”, whose extensive WhatsApp discussions have now been published in full by The West Australian. The Sunday Times reported yesterday that Connelly’s move had angered unidentified “senior” Liberals, who must be privy to polling remarkably different from any available to the public, since they appear to believe he should be able to win Cowan from Labor.
• A Liberal National Party preselection held last weekend for Dawson, which will be vacated with the retirement of George Christensen, was won by Andrew Willcox, former tomato farmer and mayor of Whitsunday. Willcox won a local party ballot ahead of Chris Bonanno, a Mackay councillor and unsuccessful candidate for the state seat of Mackay last year, and Charles Pasquale, a Burdekin farmer. Meanwhile, the Courier-Mail reports Henry Pike has been endorsed by the LNP state executive to succeed Andrew Laming as candidate for Bowman, which would appear to put to rest suggestions he might be elbowed aside despite having won the local party ballot.
• Labor has finalised candidates in several of the theoretically winnable Queensland seats currently held by the Liberal National Party: Rebecca Fanning, a Queensland government health policy adviser, in Longman (margin 3.3%); Elida Faith, local president of the Queensland Council of Unions and unsuccessful candidate in 2019, in Leichhardt (4.2%); Madonna Jarrett, a director at Deloitte Australia, in Brisbane (4.9%); Mike Denton, Australian Workers Union delegate and Caltex Lytton oil refinery worker, in Petrie (8.4%); and Rowan Holzberger, electorate officer to Senator Murray Watt, in Forde (8.6%).
• Labor also has candidates in place for the two Liberal-held seats in Tasmania, both of which it held before 2019. Bass will again be contested by Ross Hart, who held it from 2016 to 2019 and has since been the principal of a Launceston law firm, while Braddon will be contested by Chris Lynch, Burnie councillor and project co-ordinator at the St Giles Society, a charity assisting the disabled.
• Tracey Roberts, who has spent 10 years as the mayor of Wanneroo, has been endorsed as Labor’s candidate in Christian Porter’s northern Perth seat of Pearce.
• Tom Richardson of InDaily reports Louise Miller-Frost, state chief executive of the St Vincent de Paul Society, is “set to receive cross-factional support” to become Labor’s candidate for the marginal Adelaide seat of Boothby, which will be vacated with the retirement of Liberal member Nicolle Flint.
Finally, as we head into what will likely be a quiet-to-silent week on the opinion poll front, a fair and balanced selection of privately conducted polling:
• Polling on the importance of climate change as an election issue and the future use of fossil fuels, conducted for the Australian Conservation Foundation by YouGov from a sample of 15,000, has been published in the form of interactive maps by the Age/Herald. These show results at electorate level, presumably from around 100 respondents each.
• The Centre for Independent Studies has published a survey it commissioned from YouGov concerning “attitudes to a post-Covid Australia”, conducted in early August from a sample of 1029. The libertarian think tank’s take on the results, which are in line with those of a similar exercise conducted by the same pollster for The Australian last week, is that “we are a nation of ‘Karens’ tut-tutting over people not following ‘the rules’”. While it took fine parsing of small sub-samples to get there, the report observes that Coalition voters were the most likely to support “government restrictions on civil liberties because of the pandemic” in New South Wales, whereas Labor voters were markedly more so in Victoria.