Past time for a new thread, though inevitably given the time of year there is not a lot to report. Polling fans might care to take note of Mark the Ballot’s latest update of a poll aggregate that tracks a three-point increase in the “others” vote over the past six months of last year, which came cleanly at the expense of the Coalition, and a neat display of pollster house effects that calibrates what close observers will have already noticed: that Resolve Strategic is (relatively speaking) high for “others” and low for Labor, Essential Research is high for both major parties, and Roy Morgan is high for the Greens.
Then there’s the New South Wales state by-elections, which deserves a thread of its own but won’t get one until the date is formally announced. The Speaker, Jonathan O’Dea, has strongly indicated it will be February 12. A milestone was reached last week when four of the departing MPs finally lodged their formal resignations. Not among them was Holsworthy MP Melanie Gibbons holding out until she is confirmed as the federal candidate for Hughes, if indeed that occurs. That leaves:
Strathfield (Labor 5.0%): Both parties now have candidates in place for the seat being vacated by Jodi McKay. Labor’s is Jason Yat-Sen Li, a former lawyer who worked for a time for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and is now executive chairman of Vantage Asia Holdings. Yat-Sen Li was Labor’s candidate for Bennelong in 2013 third on the Senate ticket in 2019. The Liberal candidate is Bridget Sakr, who has gained prominence as a victims support advocate after her daughter and three of her cousins were killed in a car crash in Oatlands in February last year.
Bega (Liberal 6.9%): The Liberal candidate to succeed Andrew Constance is Fiona Kotvojs, a beef farmer who has twice been narrowly unsuccessful as the Liberal candidate for Eden-Monaro: in 2019, when she fell 0.8% short of unseating Mike Kelly, and at the by-election following Kelly’s retirement in July 2020, when Kristy McBain retained the seat for Labor by 0.4%. Labor’s candidate is Michael Holland, an obstetrician-gynaecologist at Moruya District Hospital and lecturer at the Australian National University medical school.
Monaro (Nationals 11.6%): The Nationals have had their candidate to succeed John Barilaro in place since October: Nichole Overall, a local historian, communications consultant and freelance writer. Conversely, Labor initially planned to forfeit before a rebellion by local party branches prompted a change of heart.
Willoughby (Liberal 21.0%): The Liberals are yet to conduct a preselection that has attracted three candidates: Willoughby mayor Gail Giles-Gidney, who is reportedly backed by Gladys Berejiklian, Paul Fletcher and Andrew Bragg; former television journalist Kellie Sloane, who is backed by Mike Baird; and Menzies Research Centre executive general manager Tim James, a factional conservative. Labor will not contest the seat, and in the absence of a strong independent emerging, of which I’ve seen no indication, the winner should have an easy time of it.