The big news at the moment is of course yesterday’s New South Wales state by-elections, where you can continue to follow the count here. On the polling front, there may be a Resolve Strategic result this week and presumably a Roy Morgan – Newspoll isn’t due, unless The Australian has decided to quicken the schedule with an election in view. That leaves the following preselection news:
• Alison Byrnes, staffer to Sharon Bird, will succeed Bird as Labor’s member for the safe Illawarra seat of Cunningham after the withdrawal of Misha Zelinsky, Australian Workers Union assistant national secretary and former criminal defence lawyer. Rob Harris of the Age/Herald reports it had “become clear in recent days he would not have enough support among branch members”, his prospects having been harmed by the emergence of past online activities in which he made comments denigrating women.
• Some new Labor candidates for unlikely-but-not-impossible seats: Amanda Hunt, chief executive of Uniting WA, will run against Andrew Hastie in the Perth fringe seat of Canning; Naomi Oakley, former police officer and owner of a private security firm, will run in the eastern Melbourne seat of Menzies, where Keith Wolahan will succeed Kevin Andrews as Liberal candidate; and Sonja Baram, a family therapist, will run against James Stevens in the eastern Adelaide seat of Sturt.
• Recently announced independents of note: Kate Chaney, Anglicare WA director of innovation and strategy and member of a family of local Liberal Party and business notables, will run against Celia Hammond in the blue-ribbon Perth seat of Curtin; and Craig Garland, a local fishing identity who made a minor splash in the seat at the by-election in 2018, will again run in the north-western Tasmanian seat of Braddon.
• It was reported this week that ASIO had rumbled an effort by Chinese spies to financially support “sympathetic and vulnerable” candidates for Labor preselection in New South Wales. Anthony Galloway of the Age/Herald reports the agency is satisfied no candidates of concern were endorsed, but that it remains concerned about the ongoing activities of “a wealthy businessman with deep ties in both Australia and China, who was known to ASIO as ‘the puppeteer’”.