Tony Abbott has emerged victorious from this morning’s Liberal leadership showdown after defeating Malcolm Turnbull 42 votes to 41, with Joe Hockey unexpectedly knocked out in the first round. The result joins 1971’s tied no-confidence motion against John Gorton and Mark Latham’s 47-45 win over Kim Beazley in 2003 in the pantheon of leadership ballot cliffhangers. Whether this episode is likely to end more happily than the other two, I leave to others to judge (UPDATE: Tim Blair identifies a more auspicious example). Two factors of immediate electoral significance: a secret ballot held immediately after the leadership vote decisively determined that the Coalition would oppose the emissions trading scheme, confirming the government will receive its double dissolution trigger; and Malcolm Turnbull has announced he will not resign from parliament, thus depriving us of a by-election in Wentworth.
If anyone’s interested, here are some more mundane electoral developments of the past week or so:
The NSW Greens have chosen Nature Conservation Council executive director Cate Faehrmann to fill the state upper house vacancy that will be created when Lee Rhiannon runs for the Senate at the next federal election. Andrew Clennell of the Sydney Morning Herald notes that Faehrmann ran unsuccessfully for Senate preselection against Rhiannon with the backing of Bob Brown. The party has also finalised its upper house ticket for the next state election: David Shoebridge, barrister and Woollahra councillor, will take the unloseable first position; Byron Bay mayor Jan Barham will take the highly winnable second position; and Orange City councillor Jeremy Buckingham will get the rather more difficult third position. Clennell reports this as a defeat for the harder left tendency assoociated with Rhiannon, which backed Rockdale councillor Lesa de Leau. Faehrmann will not be required to run at the next election due to the chamber’s staggered eight-year terms.
Michael Stedman of The Mercury reports that the Left has endorsed Jonathan Jackson, chartered accountant and son of former state attorney-general Judy Jackson, to replace retiring factional colleague Duncan Kerr in the Hobart-based federal seat of Denison. Stedman also names as a possible starter Australian Manufacturing Workers Union secretary Anne Urquhart, previously mentioned as the Left’s nominee for a Senate position after Kevin Rudd vetoed Electrical Trades Union secretary Kevin Harkins. Apparently still in contention are constitutional lawyer George Williams, Kerr staffer and state Lyons candidate Rebecca White, and local state member Lisa Singh.
Speaking to reporter James Carleton on Radio National Breakfast with Fran Kelly yesterday, local branch president and Wran government minister Rodney Cavalier complained Stephen Jones was to be given the Throsby preselection as reward for affiliating his Community and Public Sector Union with the ALP. Jones has been the only nominee for a position the national executive will rubber-stamp on Friday, having decided to deny local branches a ballot. Sources cited by Carleton also say outgoing member Jennie George was pushed into retirement under threat of disendorsement, although George denies this.
Nigel Adlam of the Northern Territory News reports three candidates are believed to be interested in the Country Liberal Party preselection for the ultra-marginal Darwin-based seat of Solomon, where Labor’s Damian Hale narrowly defeated sitting member David Tollner (now in the Territory parliament) in 2007. The three are Darwin City Council alderman Garry Lambert, Palmerston Deputy Mayor Natasha Griggs and Tourism Top End head Tony Clementson. Tennant Creek businessman Tony Civitarese is mentioned as the likely candidate to run against Warren Snowdon in the Territory’s other electorate, Lingiari.
Shannon Crane of the Border Mail reports the Victorian Nationals have preselected Moira deputy mayor Tim McCurdy to replace the retiring Ken Jasper in the state seat of Murray Valley. McMurdy reportedly saw off eight rival candidates, although the only one I can put a name to is former Olympic cyclist Dean Woods.