2018 Batman by-election
The Division of Batman (Vic) in the House of Representatives
The by-election was called as a result of the resignation on 1 February 2018 of David Feeney, the incumbent backbench Australian Labor Party MP. The ALP candidate, Ged Kearney, won the by-election.
On 6 December 2017, amidst the ongoing citizenship crisis engulfing several MPs, Labor MP David Feeney revealed that he was unable to produce documentation confirming he had renounced citizenship of either the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland. Consequently, Feeney voluntarily referred himself to the High Court of Australia, considering his likely breach of Section 44 of the Constitution of Australia. By 19 January 2018, Feeney remained unable to produce any documentary evidence from British or Irish authorities that he took steps to renounce his citizenship and entitlements, and the High Court granted him an extension to 1 February to allow his legal team to continue their search for the relevant documents. At a press conference on 1 February 2018, Feeney announced he would resign from the seat and from politics effective immediately, choosing not to stand as a candidate at the by-election. The date for the by-election was set at 17 March 2018, the same day as the South Australian state election.
The seat was fought by the incumbent Labor Party and the Greens, who received a 9.6% swing towards them in the previous election. Despite finishing first in the primary vote, Greens' candidate Alex Bhathal was defeated by Feeney on the two-candidate-preferred vote 51%-49% at the previous election. Feeney had held the seat for the Labor Party since 2013. It was the sixth time Bhathal had contested the seat, having previously run in 2001, 2004, 2010, 2013 and 2016. The Australian Electoral Commission confirmed that 111,857 people were enrolled to vote in the by-election.
Key dates in relation to the by-election are:
- Thursday, 1 February 2018 – Speaker acceptance of resignation
- Wednesday, 7 February 2018 – Issue of writ
- Wednesday, 14 February 2018 – Close of electoral rolls (8pm)
- Thursday, 22 February 2018 – Close of nominations (12 noon)
- Friday, 23 February 2018 – Declaration of nominations (12 noon)
- Tuesday, 27 February 2018 – Start of early voting
- Saturday, 17 March 2018 – Polling day (8am to 6pm)
- Friday, 30 March 2018 – Last day for receipt of postal votes
- Friday, 18 May 2018 – Last day for return of writs
|Candidates in ballot paper order|
|Rise Up||Yvonne Gentle||Gentle is the National Secretary of Rise Up Australia and was the party's federal candidate for Dunkley in 2013 and Flinders in 2016.|
|Labor||Ged Kearney||On 2 February 2018, Labor leader Bill Shorten formally announced that Ged Kearney, president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), was Labor's candidate at the by-election. Kearney had previously been pre-selected for the state seat of Brunswick at the 2018 state election, but resigned from the candidacy to contest Batman.|
|Greens||Alex Bhathal||Greens leader Richard Di Natale confirmed to Guardian Australia that Alex Bhathal would run for the seat as the Greens' candidate. Bhathal has been the Greens' candidate for the seat and lost 6 times and 5 times for nearby seats, and is a former social worker who has sat on the Darebin Ethnic Communities Council.|
|Conservatives||Kevin Bailey||Australian Conservatives director Lyle Shelton announced that Kevin Bailey, a businessman and former SAS soldier, was the party's candidate at the by-election.|
|People's||Tegan Burns||Burns is not believed to have run for office before and was described by the party as "highly passionate about youth and the criminal justice system".|
|Liberty Alliance||Debbie Robinson||Robinson is the president of the Australian Liberty Alliance and was the party's lead candidate for the Senate in Western Australia in 2016.|
|Independent||Teresa van Lieshout||Perennial candidate for eight state and federal elections, most recently the Canning by-election in 2015, Van Lieshout is a teacher and self-published author on social, theological and political issues.|
|Adrian Whitehead||Whitehead is an environmentalist and the founder of the unregistered Save the Planet Party. He previously contested Corangamite at the 2013 federal election.|
|#Sustainable||Mark McDonald||McDonald is an IT engineer and lives in Preston.|
|Animal Justice||Miranda Smith||Smith previously contested the seat of Melbourne at the 2016 federal election.|
|Animal Justice||Miranda Smith||2,528||2.96||+1.29|
|Rise Up Australia||Yvonne Gentle||2,217||2.60||+2.60|
|Independent||Teresa van Lieshout||1,245||1.46||+1.46|
|Liberty Alliance||Debbie Robinson||1,186||1.39||+1.39|
|Sustainable Australia||Mark McDonald||951||1.11||+1.11|
|People's Party||Tegan Burns||496||0.58||+0.58|
|Total formal votes||85,404||93.79||+1.57|
|Date||Firm||Sample||Primary vote||TPP vote|
|18–20 Feb 2018||Lonergan Research||693||40%||39%||16%||53%||47%|
- Carey, Adam; Towell, Noel (17 March 2018). "Batman votes: Labor holds seat in crucial byelection". The Age.
- Murphy, Katharine; Karp, Paul; Hutchens, Gareth (5 December 2017). "David Feeney says he may hold dual citizenship as more MPs' futures in balance". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
- "David Feeney first Labor MP referred to High Court over dual citizenship". ABC News Radio. 6 December 2017.
- "Labor MP David Feeney tells high court he cannot find citizenship papers". The Guardian. 19 January 2018.
- Yaxley, Louise (1 February 2018). "David Feeney resigns from Parliament over dual citizenship, prompting Batman by-election". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 1 February 2018.
- "St Patrick's Day byelection for Batman". The Age. 7 February 2018.
- Wahlquist, Calla (17 March 2018). "Batman byelection: Labor's Ged Kearney defeats Greens' Alex Bhathal". the Guardian.
- "A total of 111 857 people are enrolled to vote in the #Batman by-election to be held on Saturday, 17 March 2018". Australian Electoral Commission. 19 February 2018. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
- "Batman By-election". AEC Tally Room. Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
- "2018 Batman by-election". Australian Electoral Commission.
- Towell, Noel (16 February 2018). "Fresh blow to Labor as Liberals stay out of Batman". The Age.
- "Ten candidates to contest the 2018 Batman by-election". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
- "Batman by-election 2018". ABC Elections. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
- "Shorten shifts on Adani as Labor announces Ged Kearney to run for Batman". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 2 February 2018.
- "Ged Kearney last-minute replacement as Brunswick MP Jane Garrett seeks safe seat". The Age. Fairfax Media. 27 September 2017.
- "Ged Kearney to run for Labor in Batman as Shorten threatens Adani's licence". Guardian Australia. 2 February 2018.
Alex Bhathal, who Greens leader Richard Di Natale confirmed on Friday would recontest the seat, was 1.03%, or just 1,853 votes, shy of Labor in 2016.
- "Alex Bhathal". Australian Greens. 1 February 2018.
- "Former SAS soldier Kevin Bailey to contest Batman by-election for Cory Bernardi's Australian Conservatives". Herald Sun. 20 February 2018.
- "Australian People's Party; Batman by-election 2018". australianpeoplesparty.com. 7 March 2017. Archived from the original on 7 March 2018.
- "Wilted Greens? Labor edges ahead in Batman voter poll". The Sydney Morning Herald. 23 February 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2018.