Recent electoral developments at the federal level:
• The population statistics that will be used next month to calculate state and territory House of Representation seat entitlements have been published, and as Antony Green reports, they establish that New South Wales and Victoria will each lose a seat, putting them at 46 and 38 respectively; Western Australia will gain one, putting it at 16; and the others will remain unchanged at Queensland 30, South Australia 10, Tasmania five, the ACT three and the Northern Territory two. The vagaries of rounding mean the total size of the House will be down one to 150. Redistributions will duly be required in three states – Antony Green has a further post looking at the specifics in Western Australia, where the new seat seems likely to be in the eastern suburbs of Perth.
• Matthew Killoran of the Courier-Mail reports a view that right-wing Liberal National Party Senator Gerard Rennick will “narrowly see off” challenges to his third position on the Queensland Senate ticket from Nelson Savanh, who works with strategic communications firm Michelson Alexander and appears to be an ideological moderate, and Stuart Fraser, director of a private investment fund.
• Jamie Walker of The Australian reports speculation that Pauline Hanson will shortly retire from politics, with her Senate vacancy to be filled by her chief-of-staff, James Ashby, who first came to public attention when he brought sexual harassment allegations against Peter Slipper, then the Speaker and Ashby’s boss, in 2012. Hanson spoke to The Australian of her frustration at being sidelined by a Labor government that prefers to negotiate with Jacqui Lambie and David Pocock to pass contested legislation through the Senate.
• Paul Sakkal of the Age/Herald reports the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters will shortly recommend donation and spending caps and bans on false information in political advertisements, which have the broad support of the government and the relevant minister, Special Minister of State Don Farrell. Labor’s new draft national platform says it will work towards reducing reliance on donations and move to an expanded public funding system, much of the impetus coming from Clive Palmer’s extravagant electoral spending. Donation caps are opposed by Climate 200 and the Australia Institute, which argue that donor-funded campaigns provide the only opportunity for new entrants to take on incumbents. Donation caps at state level of $6700 a year in New South Wales and $4000 in Victoria were seen as inhibiting teal independent efforts to replicate their successes at federal elections.
• This week’s federal voting intention numbers from Roy Morgan have Labor’s two-party lead out from 55.5-44.5 to 56-44, from primary votes of Labor 35%, Coalition 33.5% and Greens 13.0%.
State by-elections latest:
• The Victorian Liberals will choose their candidate for the Warrandyte by-election on Sunday. Rachel Baxendale of The Australian reports the outcome is “far from clear”, with 22-year-old law student Antonietta Di Cosmo di Cosmo reckoned as good a chance as any out of the field of nine candidates. Conservative allies of Deakin MP Michael Sukkar are reportedly split between former Institute of Public Affairs executive director John Roskam and former Pentecostal pastor Nicole Ta-Ei Werner, while the opposing factional claim is divided between KPMG director Sarah Overton, tech business founder Jason McClintock and former Matthew Guy staffer Jemma Townson. Meanwhile, The Age reports Labor MPs are pressing for the party to field a candidate. Confirmation of a date for the by-election is still a while off, with outgoing member Ryan Smith not to formally resign until July 7.
• In Western Australia, Josh Zimmerman of The West Australian reports Labor’s administrative committee has confirmed party staffer Magenta Marshall as its candidate to succeed Mark McGowan in Rockingham on July 29. Rather surprisingly, the Liberals have committed to field a candidate in a seat McGowan won in 2021 by 37.7%.