A consensus has locked in over the past week behind the notion that the federal election will not be until May, with John Kehoe of the Financial Review reporting public servants have been told to cut short summer holiday plans to help prepare a pre-election budget in April. The government will then be able to “fight the poll on an expected economic bounce-back from COVID-19”.
• Liberal member John Alexander has announced he will not seek re-election in his Sydney seat of Bennelong, which he recovered for the Liberals in 2010 following John Howard’s historic defeat in 2007. The Sydney Morning Herald reports contenders for the preselection are likely to include Gisele Kapterian, a former chief-of-staff to Michaelia Cash and current executive at software company Salesforce, and City of Sydney councillor Craig Chung. Kapterian was mentioned as a possible challenger to Alexander’s preselection earlier in the year.
• The federal government seems to be struggling to get the numbers it will need to pass its voter identification bill through the Senate before the election. With One Nation for and Labor, the Greens and independent Senator Rex Patrick vehemently opposed, the swing votes in the Senate are Centre Alliance Senator Stirling Griff and independent Jacqui Lambie. While Griff supports the idea in principle, the Financial Review reports that Lambie and the Centre Alliance’s lower house member, Mayo MP Rebekha Sharkie, has criticised the short time frame and the government’s prioritisation of the matter over issues including the establishment a federal integrity commission. Independent MP Bob Katter added to the momentum against the measure when he declared it “blatantly racist” due to its disproportionate impact on indigenous voters.
• In the period between his drink driving misadventure a fortnight ago and announcement at the start of this week that he would bow out at the next election, Tim Smith’s Victorian state seat of Kew was the subject of a comprehensive poll by Redbridge Group which had Liberal on 39%, Labor on 31% and the Greens on 12%, suggesting a close contest between Liberal and Labor at the final count to be determined by the unknown quantity of independent and small party preferences. However, the poll also recorded a 40.2% “very unfavourable” rating for state Labor, along with 44.9% for Smith and 49.5% for one of his backers, Tony Abbott. The poll was conducted November 4 to 7 from a sample of 920.
• The Liberals have confirmed candidates for two Hunter region seats that swung heavily against Labor in 2019. In Paterson, where the margin was cut from 10.7% to 5.0% in 2019, the candidate will be Brooke Vitnell, a family law solicitor and former ministerial staffer to Paul Fletcher and Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. Shortland will again be contested by Nell McGill, a commercial litigator at Sparke Helmore Lawyers, who cut the margin from 9.9% to 4.4% in 2019.
• It has come to my attention that US pollster Morning Consult conducts a weekly tracking poll of approval and disapproval for 13 world leaders including Scott Morrison, who has lately fallen into net negative territory.