The latest weekly Essential Research survey shows Labor’s lead moderating slightly to 61-39 from 63-37 in the previous two surveys. In other findings, 54 per cent approve of the government’s national broadband network, while 62 per cent think Australia’s economy better than most countries in the current global financial crisis. For this, equal credit is given to the actions of the Rudd government including the stimulus packages and a well-regulated finance and banking sector. The Howard government’s handling of the economy ranks somewhat lower. Also featured are questions on potential budget measures, the role of human rights in international trade, and China’s human rights record.
George Megalogenis of The Australian charts the rise of the centre left with reference to long-term Newspoll trends.
Glenn Milne of The Australian has written a skeptically received article which speaks of plotting against Julie Bishop partly motivated by Senator Mathias Cormann’s designs on her blue-ribbon seat of Curtin. Andrew Bolt has published Cormann’s denial.
Electoral Commissioner Ed Killesteyn advises the government to get hip by allowing voters to enrol online.
Rick Wallace of The Australian notes the Victorian ALP is struggling to meet its affirmative action quota of 35 per cent female candidates in winnable seats, making it almost imperative that a woman replaces a retiring woman, and that at least one in two of all retiring men are replaced by women. While little action is expected ahead of the next federal election, speculation is said to surround the state seats of Craig Langdon (Ivanhoe), Peter Batchelor (Thomastown), Lynne Kosky (Altona) and John Pandazopoulos (Dandenong). More substantially, former speaker Judy Maddigan has confirmed she will retire and she is expected to support former Labor staffer Natalie Sykes-Hutchins to replace her in the seat of Essendon.
Adelaide’s Independent Weekly reports on Malcolm Mackerras’s tip for next year’s state election: Labor to be comfortably returned, with the loss of only Norwood, Mawson and Light. The report notes something I had neglected to relate previously: SA Murray Irrigators Association chair Tim Whetstone was preselected in November as the Liberal candidate for Nationals MP Karlene Maywald’s seat of Chaffey, ahead of Citrus Growers of SA president Mark Chown and businessman Brian Barnett. Mackerras tips Whetstone to win.
Ben Raue at The Tally Room has a post on whether the federal parliament should be enlarged, with reference to international practice.
Courtesy of the April edition of the invaluable Democratic Audit Update:
The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters will hold a roundtable public hearing on submissions to the green paper on campaign finance at Parliament House on Thursday, from 9.30am to 1pm.
The Greens’ parliamentary contract with Labor’s minority government in the Australian Capital Territory is reviewed by Jenny Stewart in the Canberra Times.
Brian Costar examines Electoral Commissioner Ed Killesteyn’s demolition of the spurious justifications for the Howard government’s 2005 electoral reforms at Inside Story.
The Australian Parliamentary Library has published a research paper on the electoral demise of the Australian Democrats by Cathy Madden.