The final update of BludgerTrack for the year comes off the back of strong results for the Coalition from both Essential Research and Roy Morgan, resulting in a slight movement of 0.3% on the two-party preferred aggregate, and a seat gain for the Coalition in New South Wales. Nothing new this week on leadership ratings.


• Labor’s Anna Burke has announced she will bow out at the next election, creating a vacancy in the eastern Melbourne seat of Chisholm, which she retained in 2013 with a margin of 1.6%. Rick Wallace of The Australian reports that the seat is reserved for Burke’s Right faction, but that this still leaves room for a turf war between the National Union of Workers and the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, both of whom are credited with about 35% of the seat’s branch membership. Monash councillor Stefanie Perri is likely to be the candidate of the NUW, while the SDA is intriguingly linked with a possible candidacy for Dimity Paul, who has been central to Victorian Labor’s recent internal crises as the complainant in the bullying action against her then employer, Adem Somyurek. This led to the latter’s dismissal as Victorian Small Business Minister and a split within the SDA sub-faction. The NUW’s prospects may stand to be boosted by a rapprochement with the Shorten-Conroy forces of the Right, which would bring them back under the umbrella of its “stability pact” with the Socialist Left.

• The Liberal National Party’s state executive voted 14-12 on Monday to block Ian Macfarlane’s move from the Liberal to the Nationals, raising questions about his future in the Toowoomba-based seat of Groom. Macfarlane threatened to quit politics if the move was rejected, and there is some concern in the Coalition that he may do so in the new year. Given that the state executive vote followed a 102-35 vote in favour of the move from the party’s Groom divisional council, which would dominate any preselection ballot, there appears to be the potential for a turf war in the seat between the party’s Liberal and Nationals components. I had a piece in Crikey on the subject that was run shortly before the state executive vote on Monday.

• Labor’s preselection for the seat of Robertson on the New South Wales Central Coast has been won by Anne Charlton, the chief-of-staff to Deb O’Neill, who held the seat from 2010 until her defeat in 2013, and is now a Senator. Charlton, who has gained media attention for her admission that she was addicted to heroin at the age of 16, won a local preselection vote by 98 to 72 ahead of Belinda Neal, who had a rocky ride as the seat’s member from 2007 to 2010, when she lost preselection to O’Neill. The seat was won for the Liberals at the 2013 election by Lucy Wicks, who holds it on a margin of 3.0%, which the proposed redistribution would nudge up to 3.2%.

• Also preselected by Labor in New South Wales over the weekend were Emma Husar, a disability services advocate who ran in Penrith at the state election in March, to run against Fiona Scott in Lindsay; and Fiona Philips, a tutor at the University of Wollongong and TAFE who ran in South Coast, to run against Ann Sudmalis in Gilmore.

• Crikey has a Christmas offer of a discounted annual subscription for its daily email and subscriber content, at $180 rather than the usual $219, plus a bonus $125 in books, DVDs and a 30-day Inkl premium subscription providing access to the Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian, The Atlantic and more.

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