Polls: Indigenous voice, leadership approval, skills shortages (open thread)

Strong support in principle for an Indigenous voice to parliament; a largely positive response to the Jobs Summit from those who noticed it; and no sign of the sheen coming off Anthony Albanese.

Time for a new open thread post, though I don’t have a whole lot to hang one off. There’s always US pollster Morning Consult’s tracking poll on approval of Anthony Albanese, which continues to record no significant change since June, with Albanese currently on 60% approval and 27% disapproval. This gives him the third best result of 22 international leaders being followed by the pollster, behind India’s Nahendra Modi and Mexico’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

There are also two new sets of supplemental results from last week’s Resolve Strategic poll in the Age/Herald:

• A series of questions on outcomes from the Jobs Summit published on Saturday had favourable results for multi-employer bargaining, more TAFE places and allowing older Australians to earn more before losing the aged pension, but only 34% in favour of the increased migration intake, with 33% opposed. Only 24% rated themselves “definitely aware” of the recent Jobs Summit, compared with 38% for “vaguely aware” and 38% for unaware. Thirty-six per cent agreed it had achieved its (non-political) objectives compared with 19% who disagreed and 46% who were either undecided or neutral.

• The Age/Herald had a further result yesterday showing a 64-36 break in favour of a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous voice, evidently based on a forced response. Clear majorities were recorded in all states, and while there is no reason to be dubious about this, the Tasmanian sample especially would obviously have been exceedingly small.

Newspoll: 54-46 to Labor in New South Wales

Six months out from the election, polls from Newspoll and Resolve Strategic find Labor opening up an election-winning lead in New South Wales.

The Australian today brings a state Newspoll result from New South Wales that suggests big trouble for Dominic Perrotett’s Coalition government, crediting Labor with a two-party lead of 54-46 from primary votes of Coalition 35% (compared with 41.6% at the 2018 election), Labor 40% (33.3%) and the Greens 12% (9.6%). Perrottet nonetheless has reasonable personal ratings of 47% approval and 41% approval, although Labor leader Chris Minns does better in net terms with 42% approval and 27% approval, while Perrottet has a 39-35 edge as preferred premier. The poll was conducted Monday to Thursday from a sample of 1006.

UPDATE: And now the Sydney Morning Herald has come through with a Resolve Strategic result drawn, like the earlier Victorian poll, from the samples for its last two federal polls. The results in this case are quite a bit worse for the Coalition than Newspoll’s, putting Labor ahead 43% to 30% on the primary vote, with the Greens on 10% and Shooters Fishers and Farmers on 2%. By my loose reckoning, this would pan out to a Labor lead of around 60-40 on two-party preferred. Dominic Perrottet and Chris Minns are tied on 28% for preferred premier, leaving fully 44% uncommitted. The polling was conducted “in August and September” from a sample of 1170.

Other recent news from the state relevant to the March 25 election:

• If I correctly understand a complicated situation, Right faction candidates on the Legislative Council ticket will include incumbent Courtney Houssos in top spot, along with the following newcomers: Emily Suvaal, a Cessnock nurse who was in contention for the federal Hunter preselection, in a position described by one report as “unbeatable”; Stephen Lawrence, Dubbo-based barrister and former mayor; Sarah Kaine, an honorary professor at the University of Technology Sydney; Nick McIntosh, deputy national secretary at the Transport Workers Union; and Canterbury-Bankstown mayor Khal Asfour. The Left has endorsed incumbents Rose Jackson, John Graham and Mick Veitch. All of which remains to be confirmed at next month’s state conference. However …

Brad Norington of The Australian reports that Cameron Murphy will defy his defeat in the Left faction by nominating for a position on the ticket at state conference. The results of Left ballot were 81 for Rose Jackson, 74 for John Graham and 73 for Mick Veitch, with Murphy on 64. Murphy and his “soft Left” backers (once identified as the Ferguson Left) are crying foul at the exclusion of 23 CFMEU delegates of the vote, a ruling made by George Simon, assistant state secretary and member of the rival hard Left.

• Labor’s member for Bankstown, Tania Mihailuk, was dumped from the shadow ministry yesterday after using parliamentary privilege on Tuesday to accuse the aforementioned Khal Asfour of “unprincipled actions in furthering the interests of developers and identities, in particular Eddie Obeid”. Max Maddison of The Australian reported yesterday that a letter from ICAC from 2013 referred to circulation of such claims by Mihailuk as “baseless” and “undesireable”. Mihailuk is at the centre of a preselection impasse that looks likely to shunt her to the seat of Fairfield, where local mayor Frank Carbone appears to be preparing an independent run after serving as a prime mover behind Dai Le’s successful campaign in the corresponding federal seat of Fowler, with Fairfield MP Guy Zangari moving to Cabramatta, which is being vacated with the retirement of Nick Lalich, and Jihad Dib moving to Bankstown from his abolished seat of Lakemba. The mooted possibility of an escape hatch for Mihailuk into the Legislative Council has not transpired.

• Following Jonathan O’Dea’s recent retirement announcement, Alexandra Smith of the Sydney Morning Herald reports suggestions Roads Minister Natalie Ward, a moderate-aligned member of the Legislative Council, will nominate to succeed him in his safe Liberal seat of Davidson. Another candidate is Matt Cross, who has worked for Barry O’Farrell and Mike Baird and as an electorate officer to Gladys Berejiklian.

• Alexandra Smith further reports that nominees to succeed retiring Liberal member Gabrielle Upton in blue-ribbon Vaucluse will be “journalist-turned-executive Kellie Sloane, Woollahra mayor Susan Wynne, former NSW Liberal Women’s Council president Mary-Lou Jarvis and businesswoman Roanne McGinley Knox”.

Resolve Strategic: Labor 42, Coalition 28, Greens 12 in Victoria

More evidence to suggest Daniel Andrews’ government is set to match or even exceed its 2018 landslide.

After two monthly federal polls, the Age/Herald Resolve Strategic series has followed its pre-federal election practice of combining two polling samples to produce a state voting intention result for Victoria, which hopefully indicates a return to regular monthly federal and bi-monthly New South Wales and Victorian state polling. Consistent with the recent Newspoll, these numbers suggest another emphatic win for Daniel Andrews’ Labor government, which is up five points since the last such poll back in April to 42% and down only one point on its 2018 result. The Coalition has slumped five points since the last poll to 28%, down seven on the election result, while the Greens are up two to 12%, up more than a point on 2018. Of the remainder, 12% opted for an unspecificied independent and 8% went for minor parties.

Resolve Strategic does not provide two-party preferred results, but the primary vote numbers suggest a Labor lead of as much as 60-40, compared with 57.3-42.7 in the 2018 landslide. Approval and disapproval are not featured, but Daniel Andrews holds a 46-28 lead over Matthew Guy as preferred premier, out from 48-31. The poll was conducted, I presume, both last week and around a month previously from a total sample of 1107.

In other Victorian poll news, The Guardian reported last week on a RedBridge Group poll of the Mornington electorate for Climate 200, which is supporting independent candidate Kate Lardner. The seat will be left vacated after Liberal incumbent David Morris lost preselection to Chris Crewther, former federal member for Dunkley. The headline voting intention result suggested a win for Crewther with 43.2% of the primary vote, with Labor on 28.9% for Labor, 11.4% for a generic independent and 5.9% for the Greens, which much or all of the remainder uncommitted.

When it was put to respondents that the field would include an “independent candidate like Monique Ryan”, 20.3% said they would support that candidate compared with 39.3% for the Liberals, 19.2% for Labor and 6.5% for the Greens, which pollster Kos Samaras projects to a 53-47 win for the independent. The poll was conducted from a sample of 797 shortly after Lardner’s campaign was announced in August.

Resolve Strategic: Labor 39, Coalition 32, Greens 10 (open thread)

A dent to Labor’s still commanding lead from Resolve Strategic, as it and Essential Research disagree on the trajectory of Anthony Albanese’s personal ratings.

The Age/Herald has published the second of what hopefully looks like being a regular monthly federal polling series, showing Labor down three points on the primary vote 39%, the Coalition up four to 32%, the Greens down two to 10%, One Nation up one to 6% and the United Australia Party steady on 2%. Based on preferences from the May election, this suggests a Labor two-party lead of 57-43, in from 61-39 last time. Anthony Albanese’s combined good plus very good rating is up one to 62% and his poor plus very poor rating is up two to 24%. Peter Dutton is respectively down two to 28% and up three to 40%, and his deficit on preferred prime minister has narrowed from 55-17 to 53-19.

The poll also finds 54-46 support for retaining the monarchy over becoming a republic in the event of a referendum, reversing a result from January. The late Queen’s “time as Australia’s head of state” was rated as good by 75% and poor by 5%, while David Hurley’s tenure as Governor-General was rated good by 30% and poor by 13%, with the remainder unsure or neutral. Forty-five per cent expect that King Charles III will perform well compared with 14% for badly. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1607.

Also out yesterday was the regular fortnightly release from Essential Research, which features the pollster’s monthly leadership ratings, though still nothing on voting intention. Its new method for gauging leadership invites respondents introduced last month is to rate the leaders on a scale from zero to ten, categorising scores of seven to ten as positive, zero to three as negative and four to six as neutral. Contra Resolve Strategic, this has Albanese’s positive rating up three to 46%, his negative rating down six to 17% and his neutral rating up three to 31%. Dutton’s is down three on positive to 23%, steady on negative at 34% and up four on negative to 34%.

The poll also gauged support for a republic, and its specification of an “Australian head of state” elicited a more positive response than for Resolve Strategic or Roy Morgan, with support at 43% and opposition at 37%, although this is the narrowest result from the pollster out of seven going back to January 2017, with support down one since June and opposition up three. When asked if King Charles III should be Australia’s head of state, the sample came down exactly 50-50. The late Queen posthumously records a positive rating of 71% and a negative rating of 8% and Prince William comes in at 64% and 10%, but the King’s ratings of 44% and 21% are only slightly better than those of Prince Harry at 42% and 22%. The September 22 public holiday has the support of 61%, but 48% consider the media coverage excessive, compared with 42% for about right and 10% for insufficient. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Monday from a sample of 1075.

The weekly Roy Morgan federal voting intention result, as related in threadbare form in its weekly update videos, gives Labor a lead of 54.5-45.5, out from 53.5-46.5 and the pollster’s strongest result for Labor since the election.

Finally, some resolution to recent by-election coverage:

• Saturday’s by-election for the Western Australian state seat of North West Central produced a comfortable win for Nationals candidate Merome Beard in the absence of a candidate from Labor, who polled 40.2% in the March 2021 landslide and fell 1.7% short after preferences. Beard leads Liberal candidate Will Baston with a 9.7% margin on the two-candidate preferred count, although the Nationals primary vote was scarcely changed despite the absence of Labor, while the Liberals were up from an abysmal 7.9% to 26.7%. The by-elections other remarkable feature was turnout – low in this electorate at the best of times, it currently stands at 42.2% of the enrolment with a mere 4490 formal votes cast, down from 73.8% and 7741 formal votes in 2021, with likely only a few hundred postals yet to come. Results have not been updated since Sunday, but continue to be tracked on my results page.

• A provisional distribution of preferences recorded Labor candidate Luke Edmunds winning the Tasmanian Legislative Council seat of Pembroke by a margin of 13.3%, out from 8.7% when the electorate last went to polls in May 2019. Labor’s primary vote was down from 45.2% to 39.5% in the face of competition from the Greens, who polled a solid 19.3% after declining to contest last time, while the Liberals were up to 28.8% from 25.3% last time, when a conservative independent polled 18.4%.

North West Central by-election live

Preview and live commentary of today’s North West Central state by-election in Western Australia.

Click here for full North West Central by-election results updated live.

Live commentary
8pm. All the booths are in on the primary vote and now, in one great flood, on two-party preferred as well, and we also have 413 postals and 381 pre-polls (the latter on primary vote only as I type). Raw figures are as good as projections at this stage, and they show the Nationals winning by a margin of 8% to 9%. However, their primary vote has not improved, which you might say is despite the absence of a Labor candidate or because of the absence of Vince Catania. The Liberals can take a certain amount of heart from the fact that their primary vote is up from 7.9% to 25.8%, but again, that may just reflect the fact that a lot of conservative support was hitherto locked up with Catania. Similarly, the Greens are up from 4.1% to 14.3%, but with a 40.2% Labor vote last time up for grabs, that’s not necessarily a particularly outstanding result.

7.21pm. The veil has now been lifted on two-party numbers, for which we have results from four booths. They suggest a roughly 60-40 split in preferences between the Nationals and the Liberals, which is similar to what happened when they finished first and second in 2013. This means the Liberals have no chance of winning from second on the primary vote in a context where they have no chance of finishing first, hence the probability dial hitting 100% for the Nationals.

7.05pm. Now the Kalbarri booth is in, with an above-par result for the Nationals. My probability gauge keeps getting stuck for some reason — it’s still on 98.0% when it should be at pretty much 100%.

7.02pm. The Exmouth booth and, to a lesser extent, Carnarvon Woolshed have almost doubled the vote count, giving the Greens a boost at the expense of the Nationals. In two-party terms though the picture is as it was in that the Nationals are well ahead of the Liberals and I expect them to do better on preferences.

6.53pm. I think that problem will fix with the next update, so consider me just about calling it for the Nationals. I’d forgotten that the WAEC has a peculiarity of not reporting two-party numbers until it’s confident it’s picked the right candidates, which is why we’re not seeking any action yet on that score.

6.46pm. My probability reading is stuck on 72.5% for the Nationals when it should be 98.0%. Looking into it.

6.41pm. We’ve got a relatively big booth in Onslow Primary School — all of 151 votes. The big picture is that the Nationals are down a little on the primary vote while the Liberals are up around 20% on their single figure result; that the Nationals retain a handy primary vote lead in a context where they’re likely to do better than the Liberals on preferences; and that we still don’t have any two-party numbers.

6.40pm. There’s an issue in the WAEC’s data feed for the Coral Bay booth, which is missing the line that’s supposed to record the Liberal result.

6.35pm. A sixth booth in now — probably Meekatharra Shire Hall, because that’s the best one for the Nationals and the dial just moved in their favour.

6.32pm. Problem fixed. Five booths in now, one of them small and four of them tiny, and while my speculative preference estimates point to a Nationals winning margin of 5% to 6%, there are far too few votes for me to call it.

6.23pm. Now we’ve got two booths in, the follow-up being 102 votes from Carnarvon Community College. The Nationals are well down on last time, but still with just over 50% of the primary vote. There is a problem with my two-party projection though, which I’ll look into.

6.22pm. In any case, I can tentatively say that my results facility is working, and that it’s coming through with the goods quicker than the WAEC site.

6.20pm. We’ve got 11 votes in from Wiluna Remote Community School. Presumably the fact that none of them are for the Liberals explains why my projection is sticking with 50-50.

6pm. Polls have closed. Now to see if my live results page is going to work. Results should come in reasonably shortly given there are some very small booths involved, although twelve candidates on the ballot paper should slow things up a bit. The WAEC will provide updates at leisurely five minute intervals.

Today is the day of Western Australia’s state by-election for North West Central, resulting from the retirement of Nationals MP Vince Catania, which likely looms as a contest between the Nationals and Liberals in the absence of a Labor candidate, albeit that there are twelve candidates in all. My own perspective on the matter is laid out in my by-election guide. Note that a mere 7741 formal votes were cast in 2021: not only does the seat have markedly below average enrolment due to the “large district allowance” that applies to seats of more than 100,000 square kilometres, it also records unusually low turnout, which is sure to be lower still at a by-election.

My live results page can be found here, awaiting numbers that will start to come through from 6pm. Given that Antony Green has “tickets to the Swans versus Collingwood AFL match … so won’t be able to publish any results until I get home from the match”, I think I can get away with saying that my results facility and accompanying commentary will be the best available.

My results display will feature two-party swing figures working off a rather artificial set of Nationals-versus-Liberal numbers from last year based on the assumption that Labor and minor party preferences would, if distributed, have split between the two in the same proportion as in 2013, when Labor obligingly finished third. On this basis, the Liberals need a 20.5% swing to poach the swing from the Nationals, having polled but 7.9% at the March 2021 election compared with 39.7% for the Nationals (and 40.2% for Labor).

My guess would be that that’s not going to happen: homeless Labor voters are probably more likely to swing behind the Nationals candidate Merome Beard, proprietor of the Port Hotel, which is by some distance the best pub in Carnarvon (the one that was infamouly run by Wilson Tuckey back in the day). Should Liberal candidate Will Baston pull off an upset, the Nationals and Liberals will be deadlocked at three seats apiece in the Legislative Assembly, raising the question of whether Nationals leader Mia Davies will retain the status of Opposition Leader.

Morgan polls, SEC Newgate poll, JSCEM submissions (open thread)

A burst of enthusiasm for the monarchy, steady support for federal Labor, and some other stuff.

Two contributions from Roy Morgan: its weekly report video tells us this week’s federal polling has Labor’s lead unchanged at 53.5-46.5, without offering any information on primary votes, and it has an SMS poll of 1012 respondents conducted on Sunday that found a 60-40 split in favour of retaining the monarchy over becoming a republic, albeit it might be faulted for having been conducted at an uncommonly opportune moment for monarchist sentiment.

The Australian also reported yesterday that SEC Newgate polling found 57% of Victorians were optimistic about the direction of the state; cost of living, health care and employment as the top priorities; “nearly half” trusting Daniel Andrews to lead the state through pandemic challenges compared with 16% for Matthew Guy; and 57% holding the view that the state was headed in the right direction, the highest of any state. Conversely, 53% of New South Wales respondents felt the state was heading in the wrong direction and only 35% believed the Perrottet government was doing a good job, the worst results for any state, although sample sizes in some cases would have been very small. The polling was conducted from August 31 to September 5 from a sample of 1502, 600 of whom were in Victoria.

Finally, the first batch of submissions – 212 of them – have been published from the Joint Standing Committe on Electoral Matters’ inquiry into the federal election. I haven’t had time to read any of them myself, but there are a good many notable names featured, though nothing yet from the parties.

New South Wales election minus six months

A new poll suggests a tight race in New South Wales, as retirement announcements and preselection contests proliferate.

The Guardian reported on Monday that an Essential Research poll for New South Wales, released in tandem with one reported here yesterday for Victoria, had the Coalition on 36.4%, Labor on 32%, the Greens on 8.5% and 13% unallocated by virtue of being undecided. My best guess is that this would result in a fairly even split on two-party preferred, although the poll’s modest sample of 661 together with its high undecided component implies an error margin of around 4%.

I also have a large accumulation of preselection news since my previous New South Wales state post on July 8 to unload, so strap yourselves in:

Max Maddison of The Australian last week reported that an impasse over factional “branch allocations” threatens Transport Minister David Elliott’s plans to contest the safe seat of Castle Hill. The redistribution will transform Elliott’s current seat of Baulkham Hills into the new seat of Kellyville, which will be contested by Elliott’s centre right colleague Ray Williams, the current member for Castle Hill. Branches in Castle Hill are presently dominated by conservatives, meaning a party ballot would likely be won by insolvency lawyer Noel McCoy.

Brad Norington of The Australian reports a meeting of Labor’s Right tonight to determine its Legislative Council nominees is likely to result in incumbents Adam Searle and Shaoquett Moselmane being dropped in favour of Stephen Lawrence, Dubbo-based barrister and former mayor; Sarah Kaine, an honorary professor at the University of Technology Sydney; and Nick McIntosh, deputy national secretary at the Transport Workers Union. Kaine is also linked with the TWU, being the sister of national secretary Michael Kaine and ex-wife of the latter’s predecessor, Senator Tony Sheldon, although Norington’s sources say her preselection is in fact being pushed by the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association. For their part, Searle is lacking union support (although he has some from YouTube celebrity Jordan Shanks), while Moselmane has faced criticism over links to figures connected with the Chinese Communist Party. Right faction incumbent Courtney Houssos will head the party’s ticket, while another faction member, Walt Secord, will bow out after losing his position in the shadow ministry last month over bullying allegations.

• Brad Norington’s report further suggests that the abolition of Jihad Dib’s lower house seat of Lakemba could variously result in Bankstown MP Tania Mihailuk facing a preselection challenge from Dib; seeking preselection in Cabramatta, where she would run into Guy Zangari’s plan to move from his existing seat of Fairfield; or moving to the upper house with the support of Chris Minns. It was earlier reported that a plan to accommodate Mihailuk in Fairfield had been complicated by suggestions that Frank Carbone, local mayor and a key backer of Dai Le’s successful independent campaign in Fowler at the federal election, was considering running there as an independent.

Alexandra Smith of the Sydney Morning Herald reports the Left has endorsed Legislative Council incumbents Rose Jackson, John Graham and Mick Veitch. This leaves the hard Left with a lock on the faction’s upper house positions, and presumably means the CFMEU and its soft Left allied failed in their efforts to have Veitch deposed in favour of Cameron Murphy, barrister, son of the late High Court justice Lionel Murphy and twice narrowly unsuccessful candidate for the lower house seat of East Hills. Michael McGowan of The Guardian reported last month that CFMEU delegates had been blocked from the Left faction conference after the union’s withdrawal from the state conference after its father-and-son state secretary and assistant secretary, Darren and Michael Greenfield, were suspended from the party at the urging of Chris Minns after being charged with accepting bribes, which remains before the courts.

• Parliamentary speaker Jonathan O’Dea announced last week that he will not seek re-election in his blue-ribbon seat of Davidson, which makes life easier for the Liberals as they seeks to manage the fallout from the redistribution in their northern Sydney strongholds. James O’Doherty of the Daily Telegraph earlier reported Treasurer Matt Kean might move from Hornsby to Wahroonga, the successor to abolished Ku-ring-gai, whose member Alistair Henskens could then move to Davidson if O’Dea were so obliging as to retire. Linda Silmalis of the Sunday Telegraph further offered that such an arrangement would make Hornsby available to Maria Kovacic, newly elected state party president and unsuccessful candidate for Parramatta at the federal election, and thwart designs on Davidson held by Matt Cross, former electorate officer to Gladys Berejiklian, which were deemed undesirable for reasons unclear.

• Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello announced in mid-August that he would not seek re-election in Ryde. NCA Newswire reports likely nominees for preselection to succeed him included Ryde mayor Jordan Lane and former Sydney councillor Craig Chung. Other recent retirement announcements include Geoff Lee, the Liberal member for Parramatta, and Nationals Melinda Pavey and Stephen Bromhead, members for Oxley and Myall Lakes.

• Guyra farmer Aileen MacDonald was yesterday sworn in to the Legislative Council after winning Liberal preselection to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Catherine Cusack. Her husband, Scot MacDonald, was earlier a member of the chamber from 2011 to 2019. An unidentified “senior Liberal” complained to the Daily Telegraph that the state executive had conspired to produce a preselection panel consisting of “party warlords and a handful of other people controlled by factions”, with prospective nominee Yvonne Kean, former mayor of Hills Shire, withdrawing due to concerns over the process.

Victorian state polls: Morgan and Essential Research

Two more polls suggesting Victorian Labor is headed towards another comfortable-to-emphatic victory in November, plus further news of pre-election developments.

Two Victorian state polls have come down the pipe over the past few days, from Roy Morgan and Essential Research. The latter also came through with a New South Wales result, which I’ll cover when I do a big post on pre-election developments in that state in a day or two. The Victorian results ran as follows:

• The Roy Morgan poll has Labor leading 58-42, with both major parties notably low on the primary vote — Labor on 36.5%, the Coalition on 29% and the Greens on 14%, with 20.5% scattered among a wide array of response options. Respondents were also asked to explain why they had chosen the way they did, with the accompanying release offering a wide selection of highlights. However, the poll is not as fresh as it might be, having been conducted from a sample of 1407 in “mid-August”. Like Morgan’s federal polling, it was conducted online and by telephone, whereas its earlier Victorian state polling — the most recent of which was conducted from August 11 to 13, seemingly only a few days before this one, and had Labor leading 60.5-39.5 — was conducted by SMS.

• An Essential Research online poll for The Guardian had Labor on 35.3%, the Coalition on 32.2% and the Greens on 10.2%, without distributing an undecided component of 11.9%. I would make that out to be a Labor lead of around 56-44. This poll was conducted online from August 31 to September 7 from a modest sample of 536. The poll also found 44% supportive and 25% opposed to construction of stage one of the Suburban Rail Loop, on which the Liberals will halt production to redirect funding to health.

Further state election news:

John Ferguson of The Australian reported on September 3 that Liberal research showed more than a quarter of Victorian voters were “’hard’ undecideds”; that Daniel Andrews has a negative 15 per cent approval rating in “key seats”; and that the Liberals had gained traction with its message that it will prioritise fixing problems in the health system.

• The Herald Sun reports the United Firefighters Union will spend $1 million campaigning on behalf of candidates “who support firefighters” and against Labor candidates who it deems not to represent the party’s values. It is unclear who the former might be, but the inclusion of Richmond and Northcote on the list of likely seats suggests Greens, while Melton and Werribee suggests independents. However, it’s less clear how anyone other than the Liberals might benefit in Ashwood, Box Hill, Ringwood and Jacinta Allan’s seat of Bendigo East, or what might be accomplished in Thomastown or Tarneit. Also on the agenda are the upper house regions of Western Metropolitan, Northern Metropolitan and Northern Victoria.

Independent candidates latest:

• Melissa Lowe, manager of student equity at Swinburne University, was formally announced on September 1 as a candidate for Hawthorn, where former Liberal member John Pesutto will attempt to recover the seat he lost to Labor’s John Kennedy in 2018. The launch was attended by Climate 200 convenor Simon Holmes a Court, and her campaign will be managed by Brett Hodgson, who performed the same role for Monique Ryan in Kooyong.

• Sophie Torney, described in The Age as a “project manager with a background in computer science”, will run in Kew with the support of Kew Independents, an “offshoot of the Voices of Kooyong movement” that provided support for Monique Ryan.

• Carol Altmann, a former journalist for The Australian, will run against Liberal member Roma Britnell in South-West Coast. The Age reports Altmann has “built a following after raising integrity issues in Warrnambool institutions through her website The Terrier”, and “many local observers” believe she was instrumental in all seven Warrnambool councillors being voted out in 2020, including her Labor opponent Kylie Gaston.

• South Melbourne Market stallholder Georgie Dragwidge will run in Albert Park, which is being vacated by the retirement of Labor’s Martin Foley, and Daniel Andrews will face independent competition in Mulgrave from Ian Cook, who is pursuing legal action over the forced closure of his catering business due to what he claims was a slug being planted by a council health inspector.