BludgerTrack: 50.4-49.6 to Labor

It’s now been four weeks since the last poll showing the Coalition in the lead, and Labor has now poked its nose in front on the BludgerTrack aggregate’s two-party preferred measure.

The only new poll this week was the weekly Essential Research, owing to the poll glut last week and the Anzac Day public holiday on Monday. The Essential result was an eye-opener, with the normally sedate series lurching two points in favour of Labor, who have opened up a 52-48 lead. The primary votes are Coalition 40% (down two), Labor 39% (up three) and Greens 10% (down one). Other questions found 40% approving of a double dissolution election, up one from two weeks ago, with opposition up four to 28%; 42% expecting the Coalition to win compared with 28% for Labor; 35% saying Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership has made them more likely to vote Coalition, compared with 23% for less likely; and 67% saying they would view their vote as one in favour of the party they supported, compared with 21% saying it would be against the party they opposed. On next week’s budget, respondents anticipated it would be good for business and the well off, bad for everyone else, and neutral for the economy overall. The poll also found that 45% would sooner see Helen Clark as secretary-general of the United Nations compared with 21% for Kevin Rudd.

Single Essential Research results tend not to knock the BludgerTrack poll aggregate off its axis, but this result was forceful enough to drive a half-point shift on two-party preferred, which tips the balance in favour of Labor. However, the gains from last week to this have tended to be concentrated in states where they are of little use to Labor on the seat projection, which only ticks one point in their favour through a gain in New South Wales, leaving the Coalition with the barest possible absolute majority. That would be a little less bare if I started crediting Clive Palmer’s seat of Fairfax as a Liberal National Party gain, which I really should have been doing since a Galaxy poll of the seat in January credited Palmer with 2% of the vote. I’ll implement that one next week. Nothing new this week on the leadership ratings.


Other news:

• The WA Liberal Party’s state council has endorsed Matt O’Sullivan as the party’s candidate for the new seat of Burt in the southern suburbs of Perth, formalising its overturning of a local party ballot three weeks ago. O’Sullivan is closely identified with mining magnate Andrew Forrest, as the chief operating officer of his GenerationOne indigenous youth employment scheme. The earlier ballot was won by Liz Storer, a Gosnells councillor who had backing from the Christian Right. Storer defeated O’Sullivan with 13 votes out of an eligible 25, but the state council ruled three weeks ago that the number of preselectors was insufficient, and that it would take matters into its own hands.

• The Central Western Daily lists four candidates for Saturday’s Nationals preselection in the rural New South Wales seat of Calare, to be vacated at the election by John Cobb: Andrew Gee, the state member for Orange; Alison Conn, a Wellington councillor; Sam Farraway, owner of the Hertz franchise in Bathurst; and Scott Munro, a butcher and Orange councillor.

• The Blue Mountains Gazette last week reported that a ReachTEL poll conducted on April 19 for the NSW Teachers Federation had Liberal and Labor tied in the Blue Mountains seat of Macquarie, which Louise Markus holds for the Liberals on a margin of 4.5%. Markus has secured the Liberal preselection for the seat after the withdrawal of a challenge by Sarah Richards, a local party branch president.

• It escaped my notice four weeks ago that The Australian had ReachTEL results commissioned by the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union from the Liberal-held Adelaide seats of Hindmarsh and Sturt. Results in the report are incomplete, but they appear to credit Christopher Pyne with a 5% margin in Sturt, down from 10.1% at the 2013 election, and also have the Liberals leading in the difficult seat of Hindmarsh. Only modest support was recorded for the Nick Xenophon Team, at 14.5% and 11% before exclusion of the undecided. A good deal has happened in the month since the poll was conducted, with Coalition support continuing to plummet nationally, and the government this week seeking to staunch the flow in South Australia specifically by committing to have the $52 billion submarine construction project built in the state. I have also obtained ReachTEL polling conducted early last month for The Australia Institute, which has the Nick Xenophon Team’s support in South Australia at 16.1% in the House of Representatives and 24.8% in the Senate – keeping in mind that polls like this have form in overstating the distinctions between House and Senate results (or at least, they did before the Senate vote went haywire in 2013). There are also Queensland results inclusive of the parties of Clive Palmer, Glen Lazarus, Nick Xenophon and Jacqui Lambie, which have their Senate support ranging from 1.6% (Lambie) to 3.4% (Xenophon).

BludgerTrack: 50.1-49.9 to Coalition

It’s close but no cigar for Labor in the latest reading of the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, which projects the Turnbull government grimly hanging on to a parliamentary majority.

As the many polls published before this week’s parliamentary sitting showed no let-up in the Coalition’s deteriorating standing in the polls, the BludgerTrack poll aggregate has come as close as close can be to tipping over in Labor’s favour. However, it continues to credit them with a bare parliamentary majority (which can probably be bumped up another notch with the near certainty that Clive Palmer’s seat of Fairfax will revert to type), owing to the advantage it attributes to sitting members. The boost to Labor adds five to their projected seat total, including three gains in Queensland, two in Western Australia and one in New South Wales, balanced by the loss of one in Tasmania. Note that the Nick Xenophon Team now gets its own entry on the vote totals (although not yet on the graphs), since its primary vote is now being tracked by ReachTEL as well as Roy Morgan. ReachTEL is no longer recording the Palmer United Party, whose support is now statistically insignificant.

Newspoll and Ipsos both provided new numbers on leadership ratings this week, the effect of which has been to throw things a little out of whack, owing to the gaping difference in the numbers for Malcolm Turnbull. Where Ipsos recorded Turnbull with a diminishing but still positive net approval rating of 13%, Newspoll recorded the reverse (i.e. minus 13%), despite their similar results on voting intention. Since BludgerTrack uses bias adjustments based on each pollsters’ performance relative to all the others, this result alone has shaken up the entire model. With all that said though, all the movements on the leadership ratings were fairly modest.

The familiar BludgerTrack graphs on the sidebar are a casualty of the Crikey redesign that was launched this week, but stay tuned, because there will soon be a module to accommodate them. Here’s a make-do for the time being, below which you can find the latest round of preselection news and what have you.


• The Greens are hawking a ReachTEL poll of 800 respondents in the seat of Melbourne Ports which finds 60% of Labor voters oppose the party directing preferences to the Liberals ahead of the Greens, as Labor member Michael Danby has threatened to do (albeit that he exceeded his brief in doing so). Danby’s threat came amid an increasingly complex situation with respect to preferences in Victoria, as Liberal Party state president Michael Kroger says the party is open to a “loose arrangement” with the Greens, who are “not the nutters they used to be”, which he puts down to the leadership of Victorian Senator Richard di Natale. Kroger’s hope is presumably to lure the Greens into running open tickets in Victorian marginal seats, in return for the Liberals directing preferences to the Greens ahead of Labor in the inner-city seats of Melbourne, Wills and Batman, contrary to their position in 2013.

• After 22 years as local member, and 29 in parliament altogether when her time as a Senator is taken into account, former Speaker Bronwyn Bishop was defeated in Saturday’s preselection vote in her northern beaches Sydney electorate of Mackellar. The seat will now be contested for the Liberal Party by factional moderate Jason Falinski, owner of a health care equipment business, former adviser to John Hewson and Barry O’Farrell and campaign manager to Malcolm Turnbull in Wentworth in 2004. Falinski prevailed over Bishop in the final round by 51 votes to 39, following the exclusion of Walter Villatora – a party activist who has spearheaded a campaign for preselection reforms that are principally favoured by the hard Right, and a close ally of Tony Abbott’s as the president of the Liberal Party’s Warringah branch. The score in the previous round had been Falinski 40, Bishop 37 and Villatora 12, with Villatora’s supporters breaking overwhelmingly in favour of Falinksi in the final round. This reflected the hostility of conservatives towards Bishop over her support for Malcolm Turnbull in the September leadership challenge vote. The currently unpaywalled Crikey has a thorough account of Saturday’s proceedings from a source familiar with the matter.

• Another safe seat Liberal preselection on the weekend, in Philip Ruddock’s seat of Berowra, resulted in an easy victory for Julian Leeser, a former executive director of Liberal-aligned think tank the Menzies Research Centre, and current director of government policy and strategy at the Australian Catholic University. Leeser is of Jewish background, and is said to be aligned with the Centre Right. He won 97 votes in the ballot against 10 for Robert Armitage, a local barrister; four for John Bathgate, a staffer to Christoper Pyne; and three for Nick McGowan, a one-time adviser to former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett.

• Bob Baldwin, the Liberal member for the regional New South Wales seat of Paterson, has announced he will not contest the next election. Baldwin suffered a heavy blow in the redistribution as the seat exchanged conservative rural territory for more populous areas of the Hunter region, turning Baldwin’s 9.8% margin from 2013 into a notional Labor margin of 1.3%. The Michael McGowan of the Maitland Mercury reports preselection nominees are likely to include Newcastle businesswoman Karen Howard and Port Stephens councillor Ken Jordan. Howard performed well as an independent candidate in the Newcastle state by-election of October 2015, and ran for the Liberals in the seat at the state election the following March. However, her tone-deaf attack on a local high school student over his geography project in November might cause some to doubt her judgement.

• After a bumpy ride, Liberal MP Craig Kelly has been confirmed in his preselection for the southern Sydney seat of Macarthur. The conservative Tony Abbott backer had earlier appeared to be under threat from Kent Johns, a powerbroker of the increasingly dominant moderate faction, but Malcolm Turnbull persuaded him to withdraw in February. He remained under challenge from Michael Medway, who ran in Werriwa in 2004 and appears to work in financial services, but Murray Trembath of the St George & Sutherland Shire Leader reports he has now withdrawn.

• The article mentioned in the previous item also relates that Nick Varvaris, who won Barton for the Liberals in 2013 but has now been poleaxed by the redistribution, was “still in discussions with the Liberal Party” as to whether he will recontest the seat, after earlier indications he would spare himself the effort.

• Barrister Andrew Wallace has won the Liberal National Party preselection to succeed Mal Brough in the Sunshine Coast seat of Fisher. As the ABC reports it, Wallace “won the preselection ballot convincingly in the first round of voting ahead of five other candidates”.

• The West Australian reports on the headache facing the WA Liberals as they prepare to defend six Senate seats at a double dissolution election that is likely to net them fewer than that, with none of the incumbents intending to retire. It had been hoped that David Johnston, who was dumped as Defence Minister in December 2014, might lighten the load by accepting a diplomatic posting, but he has now confirmed he will run again. The report says the state branch’s protocol should see ministers Mathias Cormann and Michaelia Cash take the top two positions and Johnston take third owing to “seniority”, but that Johnston might be bumped to fourth to make way for Dean Smith, with Linda Reynolds and Chris Back in fourth and fifth.

• The West’s report likewise says that Louise Pratt, who lost her seat from the second position at the state’s 2014 Senate election re-run, is well placed to take the fourth position on the Labor ticket with help from affirmative action, and is even hopeful of bumping Glenn Sterle for a place in the top three. Earlier indications had been that the order of the top end of the ticket would run Sue Lines, Glenn Sterle and Pat Dodson, with the fourth up in the air.

• Duncan McGauchie, a former policy adviser to the then Victorian premier, Ted Baillieu, has prevailed in a field of five to win Liberals preselection to succeed Sharman Stone as the Liberal candidate in the rural Victorian seat of Murray. He faces significant opposition at the election from Damian Drum, Nationals candidate and state upper house member.

• Labor’s candidate for Christopher Pyne’s loseable Adelaide seat of Sturt is Matt Loader, a gay rights activist and (I think) manager at South Australia’s Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure. Hat tip to Chinda in comments.

Essential Research: 50-50

Another sedate result on voting intention from Essential Research, which finds more evidence of strong support for a royal commission into the banking sector.

This week’s fortnightly rolling average from Essential Research is once again at 50-50, with the Coalition steady on the primary vote at 42%, Labor up a point to 36%, and the Greens steady at 11%. Other findings:

• Essential conducted one of its occasional experiments where separate halves of the sample are offered different versions of the same question, in this case relating to a royal commission into the banking and financial services industry. The more straightforward version recorded 59% supportive and 15% opposed. The more elaborate version attributed the notion to Bill Shorten and noted the resistance of Malcolm Turnbull, and got 54% supportive and 21% opposed, with the partisan effect particularly pronounced in the case of Coalition voters.

• From five options on school funding, the most favoured involved a greater involvement for the federal government, with 49% in favour of it becoming the main funder of all schools and 27% opposed.

• Thirty-six per cent said kids these days have more opportunities than back in the day, against 30% for less opportunities and 21% for the same.

• Fifty-six per cent said retirees received too little support, versus 7% for too much and 24% for about right.

• Seventy-six per cent thought it harder for young people to buy a house than for their parents’ generation, and 55% thought it harder for them to find a job. The respective figures for easier were 7% and 17%.

Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor; Fairfax-Ipsos: 50-50

Now Ipsos joins the 50-50 club, while Newspoll dispenses with the notion that Labor’s lead a fortnight ago was a one-off.

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Hot on the heels of ReachTEL, and ahead of the regular results over the next two days from Roy Morgan and Essential Research, the two biggest media-commissioned polls have been added to the glut that marks today’s resumption of parliament. The three polls so far have sung from very much the same song sheet:

• Courtesy of The Australian, Newspoll’s latest voting intention result is exactly identical to last time, with Labor leading 51-49 on two-party preferred from primary votes of Coalition 41%, Labor 36% and Greens 11%. Malcolm Turnbull is down two points on approval to 36% and up one point on disapproval to 49%, while Bill Shorten is down one on both measures to 31% and 52%. Turnbull’s lead as preferred prime minister is little changed, narrowing from 48-27 to 47-28. The poll also records 45% saying “the Turnbull led Coalition” would be “most likely to spend responsibly and manage government debt”, compared with 31% for “the Shorten led Labor Party”. Presented with three options for what the priority of the next government should be, 39% opted for “reduce spending to pay down debt”, 26% for “reduce spending to cut taxes” and 23% for “increase spending on government programs”. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday by automated phone polling and online surveying, from a sample of 1628.

• The latest monthly Ipsos poll for the Fairfax papers concurs with ReachTEL in having a two-party result of 50-50, after the last poll had the Coalition leading 53-47. Primary votes are Coalition 42% (down three), Labor 33% (up two), Greens 14% (steady). The poll was conducted Thursday to Saturday from a sample of 1402. Malcolm Turnbull is down four on approval to 51% and up six on disapproval to 38%, while Bill Shorten is steady on 33% and up three on disapproval to 55%. Turnbull’s lead as preferred prime minister has narrowed from 61-22 to 54-27. Other findings are that 67% support a royal commission into the banks, with 21% opposed. Also featured are extensive results on the qualities of the two leaders, which are neatly displayed in an interactive graphic at the Financial Review. The live interview phone poll was conducted Thursday to Saturday from a sample of 1402.

UPDATE (Roy Morgan): The latest fortnightly poll for Roy Morgan, conducted face-to-face and by SMS over the past two weekends from a sample of, is another 50-50, after the Coalition opened up a short-lived 52.5-47.5 lead last time. This is based on respondent-allocated preferences – using 2013 election preferences, Labor holds a lead of 51-49, after trailing 51.5-48.5 a fortnight ago. On the primary vote, the Coalition is down 1.5% to 40.5%, Labor is up a point to 32%, the Greens are up one to 14%, and the Nick Xenophon Team is steady on 4.5%.

ReachTEL: 50-50

ReachTEL has become the latest poll from which Malcolm Turnbull’s honeymoon lead of late last year has vanished altogether.

The latest ReachTEL poll for the Seven Network has the two parties level on two-party preferred, after the Coalition led 52-48 in last month’s poll, and 54-46 in the poll before that. Full results should be up on the ReachTEL site shortly.

UPDATE: And here they are. On the primary vote, the Coalition is down from 46.6% to 43.5%, Labor is up from 34.4% to 35.8%, the Greens are down from 10.5% to 9.8%, and the Nick Xenophon Team supplants Palmer United as the poll’s fifth option, registering 3.8%. Malcolm Turnbull’s lead over Bill Shorten as preferred prime minister is down only slightly, from 60-40 to 58.4-41.6, but his combined very good and good rating is down from 29.6% to 25.5%, with poor plus very poor up from 34.1% to 36.6%. Shorten’s ratings are respectively up from 21.1% to 23.4%, and down from 47.3% to 42.4%. Respondents were asked to rate Scott Morrison’s performance as Treasurer, recording 21.5% very good plus good and 37.2% very poor plus poor, with 37.0% opting for average, and to indicate whether they thought Turnbull was a better (53.0%) or worse (18.3%) prime minister than Tony Abbott. A question on a royal commission into the banking sector found 54.1% supportive and 18.3% opposed. The automated phone poll was conducted last night from a sample of 2415, which is a bit smaller than the ReachTEL norm.

BludgerTrack: 50.7-49.3 to Coalition

A quiet week for federal polling produces little change in the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, but there’s no shortage of news to report on the preselection front.

There’s been only the routine Essential Research result to feed the BludgerTrack poll aggregate this week, which has the two-party preferred vote effectively unchanged, although a recent drop in the Greens primary vote seems to have worked its way out of the system. The Coalition gains one on the seat projection thanks to a nudge in its favour in the marginal seat-heavy state of Queensland. Essential Research has provided its monthly leadership ratings, and while the shifts since the previous Essential leadership results a month ago were large, they had already been priced in by the aggregates, so the only change worth mentioning is a further narrowing in Malcolm Turnbull’s preferred prime minister rating.

Before we proceed to preselection news: do take advantage of the discounted Crikey subscriptions offer you can read all about at the post above this one.

Now on with the action:

• The Tasmanian Liberal Party determined the order of its Senate ticket in the event of a double dissolution on Saturday, and it dropped a bombshell in relegating the only Tasmanian MP of ministerial rank, Richard Colbeck, from his number one position at the 2013 election to loseable number five. Colbeck is the only Tasmanian Liberal who is so much as suspected of having voted for Malcolm Turnbull in the September leadership challenge, and he subsequently won promotion to the junior ministry as Tourism and International Education Minister, which partly compensated Tasmania for Eric Abetz’s dumping from cabinet. The top two positions on the ticket are occupied by Abetz and the Senate President, Stephen Parry, who will also be one and two in the event of a half-Senate election, as they were in 2010. In third position is Jonathon Duniam, 32-year-old deputy chief-of-staff to Premier Will Hodgman and a former staffer to Abetz, to whom he is said to be close ideologically. Number four is David Bushby, who was behind Colbeck on the ticket at the 2013 election, and is best known for having miaowed at Labor’s Penny Wong during a committee hearing. Behind Colbeck in sixth place is Break O’Day councillor John Tucker, who completes an all-male ticket to match the Tasmanian Liberals’ all-male complement of three members of the House of Representatives.

• Queensland’s Liberal National Party conducted preselections on the weekend to choose successors to Warren Truss in Wide Bay and Ian MacFarlane in Groom. The first of these was won by Llew O’Brien, a police officer, ahead of Damien Massingham, chief executive of Tourism Noosa, and Tim Langmead, director of external relations at Fortescue Metals. O’Brien had been endorsed by Truss and reportedly won on the first round, despite a finding from 2014 that he had inappropriately accessed police information on two LNP preselection candidates (although no adverse finding was made). Massingham had backing from Attorney-General George Brandis, while Langmead boasted endorsement from a Western Australian contingent including Matthias Cormann and his boss, Andrew Forrest. Former state Opposition Leader Jeff Seeney initially declared his interest in the seat, but decided not to run.

• The Groom preselection was won by John McVeigh, who has held the state seat of Toowoomba South since 2012 and served as Agriculture Minister through the period of the Newman government. McVeigh is the son of Tom McVeigh, who held Groom and its predecessor electorate of Darling Downs for the Nationals from 1972 to 1988. McVeigh reportedly won the local party ballot by a margin of around 40 votes over David van Gend, a prominent social conservative and founder of the Australian Marriage Forum. McVeigh had been endorsed by Ian MacFarlane, while van Gend’s backers included former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson, Senator Joanna Lindgren and former Senator Ron Boswell. The result will necessitate a state by-election in Toowoomba South, to be initiated when McVeigh resigns from state parliament, which he says he will do when the federal election is called.

• The South Coast Register reports Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis is under serious preselection pressure in her southern New South Wales seat of Gilmore, having put noses out of joint locally by publicising her opposition to the Baird government’s council amalgamation plans. But while Sudmalis still faces a local ballot to ratify her preselection, she has to this point had nobody nominate against her. The Sydney Morning Herald reports Sudmalis is likely to be safe due to the proximity of the election, and the fact that Gareth Ward and Andrew Constance, who respectively hold the state seats of Kiama and Bega, want her in place for another term so they can succeed her in 2019.

• Victorian state upper house MP and former Fremantle Dockers AFL coach Damian Drum has been preselected unopposed to represent the Nationals in Murray, where Liberal member Sharman Stone is retiring in a seat she won from the Nationals in 1996.

• Ahead of Saturday’s Mackellar preselection, Sarah Martin of The Australian reports Alex Hawke’s Centre Right faction is continuing to support Bronwyn Bishop, as there is “no alternative suitable candidate”. This is despite the urgings of Treasurer Scott Morrison, purportedly on behalf of “the leadership team”, despite the Prime Minister’s insistence that he staying above the fray. The view seems to be that a win for Bishop is “assured” if she can get backing from moderates on state executive, which apparently might happen for some reason, and that she will at least be competitive even if they don’t, thanks to her local numbers. However, the vote will be determined by a secret ballot, so a lot of inside sources could end up being surprised. Meanwhile, businessman Dick Smith, who threatens to run as an independent if Bishop wins, has run newspaper advertisements warning of a threat to the Mackellar way of life if preselectors fail to choose wisely. I’d be interested to know if media advertising to influence a preselection vote is an Australian first.

Dennis Shanahan of The Australian reports that Hollie Hughes, who contentiously won top spot on the ticket in the New South Wales Liberal Party’s preselection for a half-Senate election, is likely to drop all the way to the all-but-unwinnable sixth place in the event of a double dissolution. This is because two of the higher positions are reserved for the Nationals, and the Liberal Senators who faced election in 2013 include two of cabinet rank, in Defence Minister Marise Payne and Cabinet Secretary Arthur Sinodinos.

Essential Research: 50-50

The two parties are once again locked together in the latest reading of the Essential Research rolling average, which find further evidence for a rapid deterioration in Malcolm Turnbull’s public standing, and a steady recovery in Bill Shorten’s.

Our only new federal poll for the week is the regular Essential Research rolling fortnightly average, which is once again at 50-50 on two-party preferred, despite Labor taking a two-point hit on the primary vote to 35%. The Coalition is steady on 42%, while the Greens are up a point to 11%. Monthly leadership ratings find Malcolm Turnbull down six on approval to 39% and up four on disapproval to 39%; Bill Shorten up three to 30% and down three to 44%; and Turnbull’s lead as preferred prime minister narrowing from 48-19 to 44-22. Also:

• Thirty-nine per cent said they would support a double dissolution if the Senate failed to pass the Australian Building and Construction Commission bill, up five since last month, with 24% opposed, up two. Thirty-five per cent expressed support for the bill itself, following a question that emphasised the extent of the ABCC’s proposed powers, with 16% opposed and 23% opting for neither. The issue was rated important by 34%, and not important by 41%.

• The tax system was rated fair by 36% and not fair by 55%. Of particular interest was a breakdown by income, suggesting a strong negative correlation between income and belief in the system’s unfairness. Typically, a question outlining various potential tax reforms found strong support for anything targeting the wealthy, and weak support for increasing or broadening the GST. Opinion was evenly divided on removing negative gearing and replacing stamp duty with land tax.

The poll was conducted online Wednesday to Sunday from a sample of 1010, with the voting intention result also including the results from the previous week’s survey.

Double dissolution (maybe) minus 12 weeks

Weekend preselections have delivered a series of disappointments for religious conservatives in Western Australia and Queensland.

As best as I can tell, we have a lean weak ahead for opinion polling (at federal level, at least), as media outlets hold their fire ahead of the resumption of parliament next week. In lieu of that then, here’s a fresh new post-about-nothing – except perhaps for the following preselection news of the past 24 hours:

• The WA Liberals’ state council has overturned the result of last weekend’s local preselection vote in the new seat of Burt, at which Liz Storer, a Gosnells councillor linked to a rising religious conservative faction centred around state upper house MP Nick Goiran, defeated Matt O’Sullivan, who runs mining magnate Andrew Forrest’s GenerationOne indigenous employment scheme. Gareth Parker of The West Australian reports that state council will now determine the matter for itself, on the basis that the 25 branch delegates that determined the vote were insufficient in number. State council otherwise confirmed last week’s locally selected candidates, including Ben Morton who has deposed Dennis Jensen in Tangney. Also decided was a fiercely contested preselection for the state seat of Bateman, in which members of neighbouring seats sought the safer of two berths as set by the redistribution. This resulted in a victory for Dean Nalder, Transport Minister and member for abolished Alfred Cove, over the existing member for Bateman, Matt Taylor. Like the decision in Burt, this represented a defeat for the Goiran faction.

• The Toowoomba-based seat of Groom will be contested for the Liberal National Party by state MP John McVeigh, who won a preselection vote yesterday ahead of David van Gend, a local general practitioner noted for socially conservative views. This will necessitate a by-election in McVeigh’s state seat of Toowoomba South, which McVeigh held on a margin of 8.9%.

• Another important Liberal National Party preselection will be held today in Wide Bay, the seat of retiring former Nationals leader Warren Truss. The candidates are Damien Massingham, chief executive of Tourism Noosa; Tim Langmead, director of external relations at Fortescue Metals; and Llew O’Brien, a police officer. Steven Scott of the Courier-Mail reports Massingham is supported mostly by Liberals, and in particular by Attorney-General George Brandis; Langmead’s backers include Matthias Cormann, along with Fortescue Metals boss Andrew Forrest; and O’Brien is (ahem) supported by Truss.