Imre Salusinszky of The Australian reports that Liberal polling conducted last month has the Prime Minister staring at defeat in his marginal northern Sydney seat of Bennelong, with two-party support for Labor’s Maxine McKew said to be in the low 50s.
Ewin Hannan and Rick Wallace of The Australian talk of Labor hopes of winning five seats in Victoria, where hostility to WorkChoices is said to be driven by the state’s egalitarian nature, strong unions and left-wing political roots. The five seats are Deakin, La Trobe, Corangamite, McMillan and McEwen.
Labor yesterday made an announcement on Queensland roads funding that focused on Brisbane, committing $500 million to the Northern Link tunnel joining the Western Freeway at Toowong in Ryan to a bypass at Kelvin Grove in Brisbane, and $70 million to connecting the Gateway Motorway to the Pacific Motorway in Bonner and Moreton. The former commitment has won applause from Brisbane’s Liberal lord mayor, Campbell Newman.
Roads are also looming as a key battleground elsewhere: Ben Packham of the Herald-Sun reports that Labor will today unveil a $600 million plan to upgrade the Western Highway in the first election pledge aimed squarely at Victoria. The promise does not seem too finely targeted as far as marginal seats are concerned, although a big ticket upgrade between Melton and Bacchus Marsh is not far north of Corangamite.
Local news site the Geographe Gazette reports that former Liberal candidate for the state seat of Collie-Wellington, Craig Carbone, has informed Nola Marino that she is within ‘inches’ of being dropped as the candidate for Forrest. There has been much talk that Marino might be threatened by independent candidate Noel Brunning, much of it coming from disgruntled Liberals.
Rogue candidate corner. In Leichhardt, Ian Crossland of the Nationals has been rapped on the knuckles by party leader Mark Vaile for saying the Cape York Peninsula seat was not an electorate for a woman, referring to Liberal candidate Charlie McKillop. In Mallee, Labor’s perennial candidate John Zigouras has told local paper the Wimmera Mail-Times that the area is redneck country surrounded by neo-Nazis. In Corio, Liberal candidate Angelo Kakouros has told the Geelong Advertiser that union bosses dictate similar to the way Hitler did during the world war about how we should live our life (though he claims he was misquoted).
Speaking of Leichhardt, a Cairns Post poll of 310 respondents from September 22 had previously escaped my attention. It had Labor candidate Jim Turnour on 44 per cent of the primary vote, with Charlie McKillop on 37 per cent and Ian Crossland on 5 per cent. With the Greens on 10 per cent, this would suggest a comfortable win for Labor.
Bob Brown has told the National Press Club the Greens will run fewer open tickets at this election than in 2004, meaning more preference recommendations to Labor.
The always unmissable George Megalogenis unpacks the electoral significance of the oft-mentioned working families in The Australian.