Aside from developments in the Indigenous Voice referendum, covered in the post above, there are two developments to relate on the federal preselection front:
• Samantha Maiden at news.com.au reports Liberal deputy leader Sussan Ley will be spared a preselection challenge in her seat of Farrer after her challenger, Jean Haynes, was rejected by the party’s nomination review committee and suspended from the party for 90 days. The reasons behind this are unclear, but it comes after “a tit for tat round of expulsion motions in the Deniliquin branch of the party” that “included attempts to expel a group of party veterans who are loyal supporters of Sussan Ley, some of whom are women in the 70s and 80s who have given up to 50 years of service to the party”. Christian Ellis, who sought to challenge Ley’s preselection before the last election, has been expelled for bringing the party into disrepute shortly after pleading guilty to a firearm charge, with no conviction recorded. Contrary to other reports, Maiden relates that Ley “was expected to trounce challenger Haynes with over 70 per cent of the vote”.
• Rachel Baxendale of The Australian reports that Victorian Liberal Senator Jane Hume has abandoned a short-lived bid to elevate herself from second to first place on the Coalition ticket at the next election, amid conservative threats of retaliation by backing Greg Mirabella to take second position, potentially reducing Hume to third. Mirabella has recently relinquished his position as the party’s state president to pursue the third position, from which he unsuccessfully sought re-election last year. As Paul Sakkal of The Age described it, Hume’s move “pits her moderate wing against the Victorian Right faction led by figures including Paterson and lower house MP Michael Sukkar”. Hume owed her second position at the 2019 election to intervention by Scott Morrison that saw off conservative-backed challenger Karina Okotel.