Stafford by-election: July 19
Update: July 18
Bumping this post to the top of the batting order ahead of the big day tomorrow. Developments:
• The main news story to emerge from the campaign has been the Courier-Mail’s revelation last Thursday that Labor candidate Anthony Lynham owed money to Queensland Health after it overpaid him amid a troubled rollout of its new payroll system. This led to Labor claims that the government had leaked private information against him, resulting in a fiery exchange between Campbell Newman and Annastacia Palaszczuk at en estimates committee hearing earlier this week.
• Tuesday’s estimates committee hearings also heard from acting Electoral Commissioner Yvette Zischke about the progress of the new voter identification regime at pre-polling. Zischke reported that few if any of the roughly 1200 voters who had cast pre-poll votes had failed to meet the requirement, remembering that any who do may still cast a declaration vote to be admitted to the count if the Electoral Commission deems the voter to be eligible.
• I had a paywalled article in Crikey yesterday reviewing the by-election, with a particular focus on its implications for Campbell Newman in his neighbouring electorate of Ashgrove.
• The normally reticent Antony Green told ABC Radio in Brisbane last week that he anticipated a decisive double-digit swing to Labor.
• Tune into Poll Bludger after 6pm tomorrow for live coverage of the results, and subscribe to Crikey for my post-match review on Monday.
Update: July 4
Palmer United has indeed declined a field of candidate, leaving a refreshingly straightforward field of four encompassing, in ballot paper order, Bob Andersen (Liberal National), Sally-Anne Vincent (Family First), Anne Boccabella (Greens) and Anthony Lynham (Labor). A ReachTEL automated phone poll of 632 respondents in the electorate, conducted on Tuesday night for the union-affiliated Workcover Protection Coalition, found strongly negative results for the government with respect to the Crime and Misconduct Commission, the appointment of Tim Carmody as the new Chief Justice and the performance of Jarrod Bleijie as Attorney-General, but unfortunately did not gauge voting intention.
With the final year of his term well under way, Campbell Newman’s Liberal National Party government faces a by-election in the inner northern suburbs seat of Stafford on July 19, now just under three weeks away. The election is of particular interest for two reasons – it will be the first test of the new voter identification laws that appear likely to be followed similar measures from the federal government, as I discussed in a paywalled article in Crikey yesterday; and it takes place in an electorate neighbouring Campbell Newman’s seat of Ashgrove, which I’ll have more to say about over the coming weeks. This is second by-election the government has faced this year, the first having been held on February 22 in the outer northern Brisbane seat of Redcliffe. This served the government with the unhappy precedent of a 17.2% swing to Labor and victory for its candidate Yvette D’Ath, who had herself been unseated as the member for the corresponding federal seat of Petrie the previous September.
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