Amid all the chaos attendant to the leadership change, another round of major Labor preselections looms.
UPDATE (ReachTEL): ReachTEL, which had the Coalition ahead 58-42 in its last federal poll on May 3, has published an automated phone poll of 3018 respondents which has it down to 52-48, from primary votes of 38.3% for Labor, 44.1% for the Coalition and 8.7% for the Greens. As noted by Possum, extrapolation of state breakdowns produces a slight Labor majority on seats, thanks to the yield to be gained from a swing to Labor in Queensland. Kevin Rudd leads Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister 51.6-48.4, with Abbott leading Julia Gillard 59.4-40.6. Views on the leadership change are finely split, with 44.1% agreeing and 42.4% disagreeing. A clear majority (56.9% to 30.2%) still believe Labor cannot win the election.
Roy Morgan offers state breakdowns on the no doubt over-analysed SMS poll it conducted immediately after Wednesday evening’s leadership vote, showing Labor’s two-party vote at 47.5% in New South Wales, 49.5% in Victoria, 51.5% in Queensland, 41% in Western Australia, 50% in South Australia and 63% in Tasmania (off progressively less convincing samples). It also provides rare state breakdowns from the multi-mode poll published on Monday, which you can observe by following the link.
In addition to the turmoil evident at the macro level, the week’s upheaval has transformed a number of contests at the electorate level:
Lalor (Labor 22.2%): Julia Gillard’s exit from politics creates yet another Labor vacancy in a plum Melbourne seat, in this case the electorate covering Werribee and Melton in western Melbourne. The Australian reports that factional and affirmative action considerations mean the seat is very likely to go to a woman from the Right. According to a Fairfax report, a “highly likely” nominee is Kimberley Kitching, a former Melbourne City councillor currently tasked with restoring order to the Health Services Union No. 1 branch as its acting general manager. Kitching is also “wife of notorious blogger Andrew Landeryou and a close ally of Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten”, and an unsuccessful candidate for the preselection to replace Nicola Roxon in Gellibrand in April. Fairfax reports that while Shorten “may” back Kitching, Conroy “could back another candidate”, as he did in Gellibrand. That could be Peter Khalil, “a former policy adviser during Kevin Rudd’s first period as Prime Minister and now director of corporate affairs at SBS”. Others mentioned are Hobsons Bay deputy mayor Luba Grigorovitch, a possible starter from the Left, and Katie Hall, the unsuccessful Roxon-backed candidate in Gellibrand.
Perth (Labor 5.8%): Yesterday’s retirement announcement by Stephen Smith created a vacancy in the least unsafe of Labor’s three WA seats. Early talk of possible nominees has included Tim Hammond, a Slater & Gordon lawyer who ran unsuccessfully for Swan in 2010, and Matt Keogh, vice-president of the Law Society of WA. Perhaps more speculatively, there are suggestions the opening might be of interest to state Shadow Treasurer Ben Wyatt, whose uncle Ken Wyatt is the Liberal member for the neighbouring seat of Hasluck, and Alannah MacTiernan, the former senior state government minister and unsuccessful federal candidate for Canning in 2010. MacTiernan called on Julia Gillard to resign on the night of Labor’s heavy defeat at the state election in March.
Rankin (Labor 5.4%): Craig Emerson’s exit creates a rare opening for aspiring Labor hopefuls in Queensland, in this case for a southern Brisbane seat which the party will be a lot more optimistic about now the local favourite is back in The Lodge. Tony Moore of Fairfax reports the contenders are likely to include Jim Chalmers, executive director of the Chifley Research Centre and a former adviser to Wayne Swan, and Barbara Stone, who held the state seat of Springwood from 2001 until her defeat at the March 2012 state election. The Australian also mentions Linus Power, a former adviser to Kevin Rudd who ran unsuccessfully in what had appeared to be the safe seat of Logan at the state election.
Kingsford Smith (Labor 5.2%): Peter Garrett is bringing down the curtain on a three-term parliamentary career as member for the electorate centred around Maroubra in southern coastal Sydney. Ean Higgins of The Australian reports Senator Matt Thistlethwaite might see the vacancy as an opportunity to switch houses. Bob Carr and Kristina Keneally, whose old state electorates wholly or largely corresponded with the seat, quickly scotched any suggestions that they might be interested. Carr’s successor as member for Maroubra, Michael Daley, is being “touted” for a possible move to the federal seat, while Keneally’s husband, Botany mayor Ben Keneally, has ruled himself out.
New England (Independent 16.8%) and Lyne (Independent 12.4%): The morning of the leadership change began with the unrelated dramas of Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott announcing they would not seek re-election after a term spent contentiously propping up a minority government unpopular with their own constituents. That presumably clears the way for the respective Nationals candidates, Barnaby Joyce and David Gillespie, to straightforward victories at the coming election.