Title aside, this post doesn’t actually have a huge amount to tell you about the budget, which is the reason for a polling drought this week — Newspoll, Resolve Strategic and Essential Research should all be conducting polling over the coming days to gauge response to the budget and its effect if any on voting intention, to arrive in a flood probably on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. All we have on the poll front is the usual light-on-detail weekly numbers from Roy Morgan, which have Labor’s two-party lead out to 54.5-44.5 after narrowing from 56.5-43.5 to 53.5-46.5 last week, from primary votes of 35.5% apiece for Labor (down half) and the Coalition (steady) and 12.5% (down half, so presumably the two-party movement comes off preference flows).
Other than that:
• The Australia Institute had a survey last week found 80% agreement that the budget should provide more spending on affordable housing, compared with 10% who disagreed, with only 25% considering the government’s proposed housing investment fund would provide enough of it, compared with 51% who disagreed. The survey was conducted from April 11 to 14 from a sample of 1002. Simon Welsh of RedBridge Group says the firm’s focus group research suggests the public has grown more empathetic following a pandemic that “broadened out our in-groups to include the vulnerable and the disadvantaged”, combined with “the rising influence of Millennial and Gen Z voters, with their high-levels of social progressiveness”. Together no doubt with the parlous state of conservative politics at present, this is feeding into “strong levels of support for policies/proposals like the Voice, NDIS funding, ‘raising the rate’ or restitution of single parent payments”.
• The Australian reports Fran Ward, founder of a charity supporting distressed farmers, has the support of Stuart Robert to succeed him as the Liberal National Party candidate at the imminent Fadden by-election, and is “seen as the front-runner”. Ward ran unsuccessfully to succeed Andrew Laming in Bowman at the last election and Steve Ciobo in Moncrieff in 2019. Also said to be considering a run is Gold Coast councillor Cameron Caldwell, whom Fran Ward unsuccessfully challenged at the council election in 2016. The Australian added another name to the list yesterday in Dinesh Palipana, “Queensland’s first quadriplegic medical graduate, works as an emergency doctor at the Gold Coast University Hospital”. After an initial flurry of speculation, Amanda Stoker, who failed to win re-election to the Senate from third position on the party’s ticket last year, has ruled herself out. Peter Dutton appeared to scotch the possibility of Stoker on the weekend when he said a local would be preselected, suggesting a failure to do so was the principal lesson to be learned from the defeat in Aston.
• Notwithstanding Amanda Stoker’s residence in Brisbane, The Australian’s Feeding the Chooks column related a fortnight ago that she was “sniffing around the Gold Coast” for a seat – the suggestion at the time being that she would seek to succeed Karen Andrews in McPherson when she retires at the next election. Others said to be in contention for McPherson were Ben Naday, a lawyer and rural fire brigade officer backed by Andrews, and Leon Rebello, solicitor for King & Wood Mallesons and former staffer to Julie Bishop as Foreign Minister.
• Also from Feeding the Chooks, a report that hard right Liberal National Party Senator Gerard Rennick has attracted a number of preselection challengers for his third position on the party’s Senate ticket, the most formidable of whom is said to be Nelson Savanh, a registered lobbyist who has support from James McGrath. Others in the field are “current Queensland LNP party treasurer and former Tattersall’s Club prez Stuart Fraser, serial candidate Fiona Ward (who has run for state and federal lower house seats before) and former Coalition adviser Sophie Li”, the latter of whom describes herself as “a technology entrepreneur, former banker and immigrant millennial woman”. The matter will determined by the party’s state conference on July 7.