By- election a tough test for Coalition
THE Abbott Government faces a popularity test after the shock death of Liberal backbencher Don Randall.
A by- election in his West Australian electorate, likely in September, will be the first caused by death since Victorian MP Peter Nugent died in 2001.
Insiders say the by- election may be challenging for the party because of the Federal Government’s falling popularity and Mr Randall’s strong personal vote.
The Coalition has trailed Labor in polls for 12 months and this week’s Newspoll showed the two- party preferred vote in WA was locked at 5050. Mr Randall, who won five elections in Canning, had increased his margin from 2 per cent to 10 per cent in 2013.