As the campaign enters a lull over the Easter extended weekend, there is at least the following to report:
• The first leaders’ debate of the campaign will be held on Wednesday, to be hosted in Brisbane by Kieran Gilbert of Sky News and with the leaders to face questions from 100 undecided voters.
• Stephen Lunn of The Australian reports the Australian Electoral Commission will be operating 550 pre-poll booths at this election, up from 515 in 2019. The period for pre-poll voting has been reduced since the last election from three weeks to two.
• Liberal Ben Small has had to resign from his Western Australian Senate seat after becoming aware he was a dual citizen of New Zealand, where his father was born, which somehow escaped the notice of all concerned when he filled Mathias Cormann’s vacancy in November 2020. His term was shortly to expire in any case, and he will return if elected from third on the party’s Senate ticket at the election.
• Paul Starick of The Advertiser reports that Liz Habermann, who came close to winning the regional seat of Flinders from the Liberals at last month’s South Australian state election, will shortly announce her candidacy for the corresponding federal seat of Grey, held for the Liberals by Rowan Ramsey.
• The Age reports Zoe Daniel, the former ABC journalist challenging Liberal MP Tim Wilson as an independent in Goldstein, has apologised over an article she wrote in 2017 in which she said then US President Donald Trump was “satisfying his wealthy Jewish donors” when he declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel. The electorate’s 6.8% Jewish population as of the 2016 census was the third highest in the country, behind Wentworth and neighbouring Macnamara.
• A spokesperson for the Law Society of New South Wales told the Daily Telegraph that Sarah Richards, the Liberal candidate for the marginal Labor seat of Macquarie in outer Sydney, may have broken the law in describing herself as a qualified solicitor on her LinkedIn profile. Richards holds a law degree, but ceased to be a practising solicitor in 2007.