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.