- Braddon, Tasmania - Currently ALP
- Freemantle, Western Australia - Currently ALP
- Longman, Queensland - Currently ALP
- Mayo, South Australia - Currently Centre Alliance
- Perth, Western Australia - Currently ALP
Obviously, with four of the five being ALP-held and all being non-coalition seats the Turnbull government is very keen to boost its majority from the one-seat margin it currently holds.
Formulation of a prediction for each seat will come in the following weeks when more timely polling is available but with the candidates well and truly finalised this by-election bonanza allows us to not only look at the parties running but the individuals too--something that is simply impractical in a general election...
Which is exactly what I was going to do this week until I realised the ever-vigilant ABC elections team had beat me to it. You can find the bios for most candidates in the following links for Braddon, Fremantle, Longman, Mayo and Perth.
The ABC coverage does have a couple of gaps worth noting, though. Longman vetenarian Jackie Perkins was not found by the ABC, but her own bio can be found on a popular professional networking site here. [EDIT: The ABC now provides a link to Dr Perkins' new website.]
Mayo's Christian Democratic Party candidate, Tracey-Lee Cane, is much harder to track down. The AEC lists her profession as 'pastor', and the second google-search result for her name is the Mount Barker Uniting Church, although there is no pastor listed in the chruch leadership team and the minister is the Reverend Juleen Villis. The only other lead I could find--apart from a possible goolwa-based business with no address, contact details or obvious actual purpose called A Touch of TLC (Recreation and Research Consulting) (Interantional Pty Ltd)--was this private facebook page, which may not even be the same person and from which I was not able to discern any details at all except that she liked the Australian Christian Lobby and the Prime Minister of Israel. [EDIT: The Victor Harbor News has since tracked down Ms Cane and produced this profile.]
That does not leave much to discuss in terms of the candidate themselves, but we can at least try to pin down some policies the candidates hold as priorities...
There is always a risk of bias and selective reporting in any attempt to reduce complex and diverse party platforms to a simple summary, but that has never stopped me trying. My previous attempt at impartially reporting on each party was to roughly three key policy areas that each party cares about more than others, often by considering the layout of their website or party slogans and summarising these policies. A similar approach has been adopted here, drawing from the candidate websites linked to in the ABC links. Interestingly the candidates' positions can deviate from the core planks of the party policy where the candidate and party websites differ. For the general platforms of federal parties, the summaries from the last election can be found on this blog for June 2016. Obviously, there are more details and other policy subjects on the websites I have linked to as well, and I encourage all voters to inform themselves thoroughly before voting.