The latest weekly Morgan face-to-face survey of 883 voters shows Labor’s two-party lead down from 60.5-39.5 to 57-43. Labor’s primary vote is down two points to 48.5 per cent, the Coalition’s is up substantially from 34.5 per cent to 39 per cent, and the Greens are down two to 6 per cent. Between Morgan, Newspoll and Essential Research, there is now significant evidence that some of the gloss has come off the extraordinary spike Labor enjoyed from its response to the global financial crisis.
The Geelong Advertiser reports on the federal Liberal preselection for Corangamite. Prospective nominees: former Kennett government minister Ian Smith, considering his position; Graham Harris, head of the party’s Corangamite electorate council; Victorian Farmers Federation president Simon Ramsay; Moriac district resident Rod Nockles; Simon Price, unsuccessful Colac Otway Shire Council candidate and former electorate officer Stewart McArthur who lost the seat in 2007.
Mark Kenny of The Advertiser reports that pressure is mounting inside the Liberal Party to dump its candidate for the state seat of Newland, Trish Draper. Draper was federal member for Makin from 1996 to 2007, when she forestalled what seemed to be very likely defeat by retiring. Draper is seen to have been damaged by reports an ex-boyfriend has been identified as a suspect in a murder investigation, which is currently the subject of a defamation case. A Liberal source quoted by Kenny says Right faction powerbroker Senator Nick Minchin has told Opposition Leader Martin Hamilton-Smith to dump her.
The ABC reports speculation that Premier David Bartlett is planning to visit Tasmania’s Governor on Monday and send Tasmania to the polls as early as April 18, resulting from the government’s failure to table long-promised legislation to enact fixed four-year terms. Bartlett denies this, and he would have to be pretty silly to ignore the still-accumulating evidence that unnecessary early elections are a bad idea.
An interim report by the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters recommends an end to trials of electronic voting for the vision-impaired and overseas defence personnel on the grounds it is too expensive. The report said the 850 votes cast electronically in 2007 cost $2597 each, compared with $8.36 for each non-electronic vote. A dissenting report by Bob Brown argues the government should pursue electronic voting to assist disadvantaged voters, and investigate its use in the Australian Capital Territory and overseas.