Canberra/Fraser pre-selection: revolution with a dash of pro-choice pap

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After a bit of awkward abortion analytics the Canberra Times called up revolution and the clock is ticking on Labor pre-selection for the ACT Federal seats of Canberra and Fraser, with the candidates to be announced tomorrow.

Factional party politics are rarely interesting to those on the outside, but when the seat in question is safe as houses for Labor, it’s a fair to say whoever wins preselection will enjoy a clean run to the hill.

Normally the candidates are nominated and deals done in advance so the voting process is all a bit of a sham, but yesterday Canberra Times reporter Chris Johnson warned of a rank and file uprising against the capital’s would be king-makers.

Johnson quoted a Labor source as saying, “This is the stuff of legend… Ironically, and against all tradition, the best candidate in each set might actually get up.”

While Labor staffer Mary Wood has been firmly cast for Canberra, a crew of hopefuls are dialling their last minute party digits to swing numbers their way for Fraser.

According to some dude I met in a bar who seemed to know some stuff about stuff, the final four Fraser favourites are (drum roll please)…

Nick Martin, Assistant National Secretary to the Labor Party of Australia. ANU alumni, Martin’s got a couple of degrees under his belt and apparently knows a bit of this and that about constitutional law. Everyone says he’s going to win, but if the Canberra Times are right about the revolution he might not stand up after all.

Michael Pilbrow, unaligned candidate and Canberra Christian Life Centre attendee has already got the goat of factional heavy weight Wayne Berry over religious conviction and a woman’s right to choose. Pilbrow is the community organiser type like Barack Obama – and there aren’t too many with that kind of skill set in Australia.

George Williams, constitutional lawyer and 666 Canberra’s resident legal expert is an academic on sabbatical from the University of New South Wales. In 2007 he sought preselection for Keating’s old seat Blaxland but was beaten to the punch by ex-Bob Carr advisor Jason Clare.

Andrew Leigh, ANU economist and lawyer, with public speaking skills to die for. Leigh reckons his best asset is a solid mix of politics and policy experience and looks to be a second favourite in the party machine.

May the best man win?

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