Congratulations to economist and blogger Andrew Leigh for winning the preselection for the ALP candidate for the ACT seat Fraser in the upcoming federal election (ABC analysis here, and Canberra Times reports here and here, and also via Club Troppo). Provided the ALP National Executive doesn’t overturn the result, Andrew is practically guaranteed to be the next federal MP for Fraser, succeeding Bob McMullan.
Andrew is a bright and talented guy who has been prolific as an economist at ANU, working on a very wide range of topics – and publicising them via his blog. His addition to Federal Parliament will be a positive for federal politics.
The preselection was a crowded field – I only knew two of the candidates – Andrew and George Williams, a UNSW constitutional lawyer seeking a federal seat. As Andrew was not aligned to any faction, I thought he probably wouldn’t win, and fortunately this was wrong.
As Andrew Norton writes, it’s hard to know whether the gains from Andrew being in politics will outweigh the loss from the research he would otherwise undertake. But I suspect that Andrew will attempt to find ways to contribute through politics at least equivalent to his contribution to date through research. Good luck to him – I expect parliamentary committees and/or a parliamentary secretaryship awaits Andrew in the near future.