I have naughtily neglected yesterday’s Roy Morgan poll of 778 voters conducted over the weekend ("for Channel Nine"), showing Labor leading the Coalition 44 per cent to 38 per cent on the primary vote and 55-45 on two-party preferred. Much is being made of a spike in the Greens’ vote from the 7-8 per cent range to 12 per cent, not least because it is borne out by yesterday’s ACNielsen poll in The Age. Morgan has followed this up today with further figures from the same survey regarding upper house voting intention, which I wouldn’t read much into and will discuss tomorrow after further consideration (in other poll news, McNair Ingenuity Group principal Matt Balogh has responded to this site’s skepticism regarding his group’s Sunday Herald-Sun survey in comments). In the meantime, here are some more Campaign Updates for the election guide:
South-West Coast (Liberal 0.8%): On the weekend, Liberal member and former leader Denis Napthine described Labor’s promise to create a new national park in his electorate at Cobboboonee as "an outrageously bare-faced grab for votes among the latte-swilling, chardonnay socialist, crystal-gazing, new-age tree-huggers of inner-suburban Melbourne", whose company the Poll Bludger is presently keeping in Richmond. The comment appeared to go against the party’s support for the proposal as outlined on the Liberal website; however, Baillieu told The Age there was in fact no difference of opinion, and that Napthine was "indicating what I indicated, which is that we want to know there is local support for those proposals" (though there is nothing about this in the party’s policy statement). Duncan Hughes of the Australian Financial Review reports that Napthine has also been at odds with Baillieu over the prospect of a coalition government after the election and the status of the party’s plan for a dam on the Maribyrnong River.
Benalla (Nationals 2.0%): The government’s ban on cattle grazing at the Alpine National Park was publicised during Monday’s protest by farmers and graziers at Parliament House, which was headed by 200 aggrieved mountain cattlemen on horseback. Ted Baillieu by all accounts received a warm reception at the protest, which was not attended by any Labor representatives. The issue also emerged during the 2004 election campaign when it was revealed the federal Department of Environment had made a submission supporting the ban, despite Nationals member for Gippsland Peter McGauran assuring the cattlemen they had the federal government’s support.
Shepparton (Nationals 4.3% versus Liberal): The ABC reports that "the Labor Party is considering changing its preferencing five days out from the state election, to preference the National member over the Liberal candidate". The report quotes the Labor candidate, James Taylor, saying his cards will indeed put Nationals member Jeanette Powell ahead of Liberal challenger Stephen Merrylees, in reaction to the Liberals’ decision to direct preferences to the Greens in key inner-city seats. It also quotes a "senior ALP source" who describes the new-look ticket as "the party’s interim position".
Morwell (Labor 4.9%): The Age has a received a copy of the letter sent to Labor’s state secretary by Derek Amos, the party’s Traralgon branch president and member for Morwell from 1970 to 1981, in which he quit the party in protest against current member Brendan Jenkins and his factional backers in the Left. The letter complains of "our local member and his surrounding Left clique", which has "ignored, criticised or punished" those who "have a different view of the world". Amos’s resignation was part of a joint action with three other local party members including Traralgon branch secretary Lisa Proctor, who is running as an independent and directing preferences against Jenkins.
Frankston (Labor 5.8%): Frankston has been heavily targeted by the Liberals with election promises, starting with a pre-campaign commitment to spend $250 million building a bypass around the Frankston town centre, which is expected to suffer traffic congestion when the EastLink project is completed. The Frankston Standard reports that other promises for the electorate include "a technical college … $1 million towards development of a new park … a beach vehicle for authorities, removal of a Moorooduc Highway crossing, lower fares or free travel on public transport (a reference to the scrapping of zone three fares, of benefit to a large swathe of the eastern suburbs), school maintenance, more hospital beds and medical staff, and $730 a child in funding for pre-schoolers".
Mildura (Independent 18.5% versus Nationals): The Victorian Electoral Commission has dismissed a complaint by independent member Russell Savage about National Party flyers and advertisements which accused him of failing to criticise the Bracks government. Savage has threatened to take the matter to the Court of Disputed Returns if he loses his seat.