I hesitate to read federal implications into yesterday’s Tasmanian Legislative Council elections, but it may at very least be a sign of the times that Labor and Liberal candidates couldn’t muster half of the vote between them in the by-election for Huon, which encompasses about a third of the federal seat of Franklin. For those of you who are interested (not many, it seems), I will continue to follow the count in the dedicated post in the days to come, in which either Labor or the independent will win the seat depending on how preferences flows. Two other seats, Elwick and McIntyre, were comfortably retained by their respective Labor and independent incumbents.
More directly of relevance:
• The Guardian reports a uComms poll for Climate 200 shows independent Sophie Scamps with a 60-40 lead over Liberal member Jason Falinksi in Mackellar. The primary votes are Falinski 32.0%, Scamps 31.2%, Labor 15.5% and Greens 8.6% with 7% undecided, and a respondent-allocated preference flow of 81-19 in favour of Scamps. The automated phone poll was conducted last week from a sample of 834.
• Countering much of the recent horse race narrative, The Australian reports strategists on both sides say support for the Coalition has fallen away in Queensland. While Brisbane is “the most vulnerable”, Leichhardt, Longman and perhaps also Flynn are “in play”. Ryan is “in danger” from the Greens, and while the same might also be held of Labor-held Griffith, “a Labor strategist said he believed Griffith would hold”. However, a Liberal National Party source’s claim that Labor “has been claiming for the last three elections that they were going to pick up another eight to ten seats and it doesn’t eventuate” is only slightly exaggerated.
• John Ferguson of The Australian adds to a recent chorus of reportage to the effect that Victoria’s lockdowns “will hit hard in pockets across Melbourne’s outer suburbs”, endangering Labor’s hold on McEwen and Corangamite. This time may well be different, but I can’t help noting that the news media doesn’t have a good record of reading Melbourne’s pulse in recent years. After similar suggestions of a threat to Labor in McEwen in 2016 due to a controversy over the Andrews government’s handling of the Country Fire Authority, the seat swung to Labor by 7.7%. Efforts by the Liberal Party and the Herald Sun to promote African gang crime as the defining issue of the 2018 state election fell on the deafest of ears, and after much talk that the “Skyrail” issue would weaken the Andrews goverment’s hold on the crucial sandbelt seats of Melbourne’s south-east, every single one of them recorded a double-digit swing to Labor.
• A report in today’s Age/Herald papers says Liberal MPs are being told not to encourage people to vote early, as they expect, or at least hope, for a late break in their favour. The report also says Labor now is “more hopeful” that Bennelong and Leichhardt are trending its way, but that both sides now expect Dunkley, Lilley, Hunter and Paterson to remain with Labor, and Hasluck, Flynn and Longman to remain with the Coalition.