A whole bunch of preselection news, plus retrospective findings from an Australia Institute survey on the Rudd government’s handling of the global financial crisis.
Three bits of opinion polling news:
• As you can see in the post below this one, there is a poll of Queensland state voting intention in today’s Sunday Mail newspaper. This presumably means a result on federal voting intention from the same poll can be expected this evening.
• An in-house survey from The Australia Institute examines “public attitudes to the federal government’s handling of the global financial crisis, ten years on”. The Labor government of the time is remembered as having done a good job, with 57-24 breaking in favour of the proposition that “Australians should be proud of how its government handled the GFC”. Other findings are a 62-22 split in favour of the proposition that a recession would have unfolded without “large fiscal stimulus”; 48-31 considering borrowing to fund the stimulus was the right thing to do; 45-37 lining up against the proposition that it would have been better to go without stimulus to avoid further debt; and, more narrowly, 42-37 opposed to the notion that the fiscal stimulus policies were “poorly designed and excessive”.
• A ReachTEL poll for GetUp! on same-sex marriage, targeting six seats in Queensland and Western Australia with Coalition MPs with undeclared positions on the subject, finds support for same-sex marriage at over 50% in Hasluck, Moncrieff, Ryan, Swan and Tangney, and at 48% in Stirling with 42% opposed. Similar proportions of respondents favour a free vote being held in parliament “as soon as possible”.
And a whole bunch on preselection, where balls are already starting to roll ahead of a federal election still nearly two years away:
• Western Australia’s Liberal Party has confirmed Slade Brockman, former chief-of-staff to Mathias Cormann, to fill the casual Senate vacancy created by the retirement of Chris Back. Brockman won 89 votes out of 131 at a vote of the party’s state council held on July 22, from a field that also included former state MPs Michael Sutherland and Mark Lewis.
• The New South Wales ALP’s Left faction has endorsed Tim Ayres, state secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, to take a factionally reserved Senate position presently occupied by Doug Cameron, who will not contest the next election. The Australian reports the ballot was boycotted by the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union and the Maritime Union of Australia, who were apparently angered by the AMWU’s lock on a seat that stands to be filled consecutively by three of the union’s leaders (George Campbell, Doug Cameron and now Tim Ayres).
• Samantha Hutchison of The Australian reports that Michael Danby, Labor’s member for Melbourne Ports since 1998, is “facing pressure to bow out” at the next election. Labor has held the seat since 1906, but Danby was given a two-pronged scare at the last election, only narrowly edging the Greens by 24,340 votes to 23,387 to survive to the final count, and then emerging with a 1.4% margin over the Liberals, down from 2.2% in 2013. According to the report, Ari Suss, a Linfox executive and former staffer to Steve Bracks who shares Danby’s Jewish background (together with Malcolm Turnbull’s seat of Wentworth, Melbourne is one of two seats in the country where over 10% of the population identifies as Jewish). The Greens have already preselected their candidate from 2016, Steph Hodgins-May, whom Danby placed last on his how-to-vote card after she pulled out of a debate organised by Zionism Victoria.
• Katie Burgess of the Canberra Times reports preselection reforms in Labor’s Australian Capital Territory branch have been “criticised by the party’s right as a way for the left to gain control of a possible third federal seat”, which the territory stands to gain with the latest population-related entitlement determination. The changes have dispensed with requirements that members be branch members for at least 12 months and attend a certain number of meetings in a year to be eligible to vote in preselection ballots, which will reportedly triple the voter base. Kirsten Lawson of the Canberra Times earlier reported that the most commonly mentioned name for a new position secured by the Left was Angie Drake, staffer to Deputy Chief Minister Yvette Berry and unsuccessful candidate for Brindabella at last year’s territory election.
• Sky News reports that John Ruddick, a prominent proponent of reforms to democratise the party’s preselection process, as endorsed a fortnight ago at a special party convention, will challenge Trent Zimmerman for preselection in his seat of North Sydney. Zimmerman is a moderate factional operative, and one of the Liberals’ four openly gay federal MPs.
• State upper house MP Mehreen Faruqi has announced she will seek preselection to lead the party’s Senate ticket at the next election, setting up a contest with Lee Rhiannon should she choose to nominate again, which is yet to be determined.