Newspoll’s latest cumulative results from the last fortnight with state-by-state breakdowns can be viewed at The Australian. Roy Morgan has performed the same exercise with its data from October, providing both Senate polling and state-by-state lower house figures. Of note are ACT Senate figures suggesting Greens candidate Kerrie Tucker should easily win a seat at the expense of Liberal incumbent Gary Humphries.
Malcolm Turnbull has been thrown a lifeline in Wentworth with the emergence of doubts about the validity of Labor candidate George Newhouse’s nomination. Newhouse’s resignation from the New South Wales Consumer Trader and Tenancy Disputes Tribunal an office of profit under the Crown was not received until the day of the formal declaration of nominations, when it appeared to be required by noon the day before. However, Imre Salusinszky of The Australian today reports on legal advice Newhouse has received from John McCarthy QC that the date of his resignation is irrelevant, because NSW legislation stipulates that the office of any member of the tribunal becomes automatically vacant if he or she nominates for a federal seat. Emma Alberici of the ABC says that if history is any guide, Mr Newhouse won’t have too much to worry about if his election is declared void, citing the electorate’s confirmation of Jackie Kelly in Lindsay and Phil Cleary in Wills. However, these episodes involved oversights that came to light after they were elected, with the voters in Lindsay taking revenge on a sore-loser opposition that had dragged them back to the polls. The Liberals would surely have the sense to take caution from this precedent, although they are currently talking tough to keep the threat of a by-election in the air. Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett sees the controversy as a reminder of the need to reform outdated provisions in our constitution.
Kevin Rudd’s campaigning this week has provided a clear pointer to very strong Labor polling in Queensland. Yesterday he campaigned in the Brisbane seat of Bowman and will today head north to Dawson, respectively held by the Liberals and Nationals on margins of 8.9 per cent and 10.2 per cent. The Dawson venture should give Kevin Rudd the opportunity to take advantage of member De-Anne Kelly’s discomfort over the Auditor-General’s damning report into the Regional Partnerships program.
Former Labor member for Hinkler, Brian Courtice, has appeared in Coalition television commercials attacking Labor’s union influence. Quoth Courtice: Kevin Rudd couldn’t go three rounds with Winnie the Pooh, so there’s no way he can stand up to the union bosses. They’ve thrown $30 million at this campaign to buy the election. This is about a brutal grab for power. It’s too big a risk to risk Rudd. Courtice first made his displeasure felt a fortnight ago when he appeared at a press conference with Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey,
John Wiseman of The Australian points to a $20,000 press advertising campaign as evidence that Labor is still hopeful of winning Boothby, in spite of everything. Nicole Cornes is the only Labor candidate to have expensive press advertisements running in Adelaide’s daily newspaper, The Advertiser.
Labor’s candidate for Eden-Monaro, Mike Kelly, received unwelcome late-campaign publicity on Wednesday after he described as ridiculous the private school funding formula which Labor decided to retain when it ditched Mark Latham’s private schools hit list.
In an overview of the campaign for Bass, Sue Neales of The Mercury reports that Liberal Party strategists concede that Labor candidate and former Launceston deputy mayor Jodie Campbell has already got Bass ‘in the bag’.
Ewin Hannan of The Australian writes that Labor’s candidate in Deakin, Mike Symon, has failed to persuade his party to commit to fixing a contentious local road project. This refers to the loathed bottleneck at Springvale and Whitehorse roads in Nunawading, to which the Coalition has promised to commit $80 million. In other Coalition road promise news, Mark Vaile has announced that funding for completion of the dual carriageway upgrade to the Hume Highway, variously costed at $752 million and $992 million.
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