By- elec­tion a tough test for Coali­tion

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

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.

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