We should be due for the monthly Resolve Strategic poll next week, followed shortly by a New South Wales state result, and there’s no telling when something might pop up on the Indigenous Voice front. For the time being, there is the following news to relate:
• Two reports on RedBridge Group polls in the News Corp papers today, one showing the Indigenous Voice headed for a 61-39 defeat nationally after the exclusion of 15% persistently undecided, the other putting the LNP ahead 55-45 on state voting intention in Queensland. Primary votes in the latter case were LNP 41%, Labor 26% and Greens 14% (UPDATE: Further detail from the ABC). The former poll was conducted at some point following Anthony Albanese’s announcement of the October 14 date the Thursday before last, the latter was conducted August 26 to September 6 from a sample of 2012.
• New South Wales Liberal Senator Marise Payne has announced she will retire from parliament on September 30. Two names are dominating speculation about the vacancy: Nyunggai Warren Mundine, presently enjoying an elevated profile as a public face of the Indigenous Voice no campaign, and Andrew Constance, former state government minister and narrowly unsuccessful candidate for Gilmore at the May 2022 election. Liberal sources said Mundine would enjoy strong support from conservatives and Alex Hawke’s centre right, and would “even peel off moderate voices”. The Australian further reports Catholic Schools NSW chief executive Dallas McInerney could again be in a preselection mix, although some doubted he was “a realistic candidate, particularly given his affiliation to the ‘imploded’ Perrottet/Tudehope right faction”. Further possibilities named by the Sydney Morning Herald are “former RSL head James Brown and Jess Collins”.
• Liberal sources cited by Alexi Demetriadi of The Australian say it is now considered unlikely that Scott Morrison will vacate his seat of Cook before the next election. Cook is a notable exclusion from the list of seats where the New South Wales Liberals are proceeding to preselection, together with Mackellar, where it is speculated that the way is being left open for an attempted comeback by Jason Falinski. An imminent preselection would present an obstacle to Falinksi given his present role as state party president.
• Matthew Denholm of The Australian reports Clarence mayor Brendan Blomeley and Hobart alderman Simon Behrakis will seek preselection for the two winnable positions on the Tasmanian Liberal Senate ticket. This involves challenging incumbents Richard Colbeck and Claire Chandler, though Behrakis “is understood to be content with the No. 3 spot, should party preselectors prefer to favour the two incumbents”. Both prospective challengers are conservatives, but Behrakis is associated with Senator Jonathan Duniam and Blomeley with rival powerbroker Eric Abetz. The issue will be decided by the party’s 67-member preselection committee on November 25.
• Shane Wright of the Age/Herald made the case last week for an enlarged parliament, a subject that appears likely to be addressed when the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters completes its two-stage inquiry into the 2022 election. A motion carried at Labor’s recent national conference calling for the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory to go from two Senators to six prompted opposition Senate leader Simon Birmingham to call for the government to rule out changes to the parliament or electoral system before the next election.