The by-election of the Longman district, found north of Brisbane, is proving to be a close race. Labor previously won the seat by a margin of only 0.8%…
And that was before the scandal that snaked its way through parliament.
What was the scandal that could cost Labor the by-election?
In 2016, Labor party member Susan Lamb was elected victor of the Longman electoral division (by the skin of her teeth). She was to be a member of the Australian House of Representatives.
It was discovered soon after that Lamb and a host of other politicians were of dual nationality. She held British citizenship through her father, and under Australian law dual citizens are ineligible to hold federal office. Her ‘allegiance’ to a foreign power prevented her from serving in Canberra.
She was forced to resign after she was unable renounce her British citizenship prior to the close of nominations.
How is the competition looking for the upcoming by-election?
There are currently 11 candidates on the roster for voters to choose from on Saturday, 28 July.
Other than Labor — which is running Susan Lamb again, as she is now eligible — and the LNP, numerous smaller parties are jostling for the seat. These include One Nation, The Greens and others.
One Nation is picking a particularly fierce fight by sending in former Labor Leader, Mark Latham to campaign against Labor itself.
He recorded a robocall encouraging voters to turn against his former party.
Mr Latham said of current opposition leader Bill Shorten:
‘He just lies and lies and lies.
‘The reason we’re having a Longman by-election is because Shorten lied about the citizenship of his Labor MPs.’
While Latham doesn’t support One Nation, he is vehemently against Labor:
‘Whatever you do, don’t reward Shorten’s dishonesty, don’t vote Labor.’
And as of now, it looks like it’s helping the Liberals; they have a real shot at taking the seat. The Liberal National Party’s candidate Trevor Ruthenberg is polling at 51% to Labor’s 49%.
And a majority of voters — 71% — who are likely to vote for a minority party would most likely preference the LNP over Labor.
Any way you look at it, this by-election is looking good for the Liberals. They have a second shot at the seat, and they aren’t going to let it pass.
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