According to a voting intention list compiled today by a leading Left numbers man, Shorten is currently sitting on 49 votes of the 86 member caucus (or 57%) going in to the ballot at 4pm, with Albanese on 36 (42%). One MP, the successor to retiring Bendigo MP Steve Gibbons, Socialist Left faction member Lisa Chesters, is considered undecided.
Under Labor leadership rules put in by former ALP leader Kevin Rudd, 50% of the ballot is decided by caucus and 50% by Labor’s rank-and-file members, meaning Albo will have to produce a mirror image of Shorten’s caucus victory among grassroots members to ascend to the leadership.
The analysis shows that most of the caucus will split on national factional lines (Right votes will go to Shorten, Left for Albo), with some strange exceptions such as Socialist Left MP Maria Vamvakinou in Calwell, NSW soft-left MP Laurie Ferguson in Werriwa and Warren Snowdon in Lingiari who are stumping for Shorten.
There were serious questions asked overnight on the intentions of Chesters — and also, in some circles, Senator Kim Carr — with powerbrokers scrambling to secure iron-clad commitments. Right-aligned Richmond MP Justine Elliot will stump for Albo meaning that just five, and possibly six, MPs (about 7%) will put factional discipline to the wind in the secret ballot. The analysis confirms that despite lofty proclamations of a “free vote”, both factions have, for the most part, successfully “locked down” caucus members.
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The rank-and-file ballot papers are due back with Labor’s national returning officer Tony Lang by 5pm tomorrow (overnight post is the only reliable option at this point for the approximately 18,000 ballots still outstanding). Albanese is expected to do very well but perhaps not quite well enough to stave off Shorten’s Rightist forces. Stay tuned …
Click through for the complete voting intention in the House of Reps and the Senate