Writing in InQueensland, press gallery veteran Dennis Atkins lays out the case for a November 27 election, observing that the imminent passage of technical electoral law legislation will “put the final duck in place for Morrison to call an election from the next weekend, with an announcement on either Saturday, October 23 or the following day”. With New South Wales’ super Saturday of state by-elections sure to be set for December 4, this would be the only feasible date for an election this year, at a time when “the balance of risk tilts further and further towards a poll in 2021” – at least in Atkins’ assessment.
Conversely, James Morrow of the Daily Telegraph reckons the by-elections have “dramatically shrank (sic) the chances of an early federal election”. Unspecified “insiders” point to the risks of “election fatigue”, together with the hope that the government’s stocks might be boosted by the opening of national borders early next year and summer weather keeping case numbers within acceptable limits.
• As noted in the post below, Andrew Constance will resign from his state seat of Bega to contest preselection for the corresponding federal seat of Gilmore, which Fiona Phillips gained for Labor in 2019 by a 2.6% margin after a 3.3% swing against the trend. Constance is particularly helpful for the Liberals in this seat due to the sympathetic media attention he received after nearly losing his Malua Bay house in the 2019/20 bushfires, which devolved into a public relations disaster for Scott Morrison. However, he will first have to face a local preselection ballot, which the state party is loath to deny its members after imposing Warren Mundine on them in 2019, only for him to lose the seat. He has a rival contender lined up in Paul Ell, an associate with law firm RMB Lawyers. The Guardian reports Ell has “strong support of moderates in the branch”, such that “some senior party sources say an intervention will be needed to ensure Constance is preselected”.
• There has been much speculation that Gladys Berejiklian could line up as the Liberal candidate for Warringah, which Tony Abbott lost to independent Zali Steggall in 2019. However, David Crowe of the Sydney Morning Herald reports a consensus that this will not be feasible until the Independent Commission Against Corruption brings down the findings of investigation into her, presumably under the assumption that such findings would be favourable, which it is not likely to do for several months. The Daily Telegraph reports the preselection front-runner is Jane Buncle, a Manly barrister and factional moderate who is “understood to believe climate change is real”, although a number of others are named as potentially competitive starters.
• The West Australian reports Liberal MP Melissa Price had no trouble seeing off a preselection challenge for her seat of Durack from Busselton councillor Jo Barrett-Lennard, winning the party ballot by 47 votes to three.
• Karen Grogan, national political coordinator with the United Workers Union and Left faction convener, has been officially confirmed to fill the South Australian Labor Senate vacancy caused by the death of Alex Gallacher on August 29.
• The Age/Herald have published Newspoll-style quarterly breakdowns of federal voting intention by state from their regular monthly Resolve Strategic polling. This might have been interesting if they had included results from the smaller states, but they are in fact only provided for New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, breakdowns for which are already provided in the regular monthly release.