Morgan: 58-42

The latest Roy Morgan survey of 1804 respondents has Labor’s two-party lead unchanged at 58-42, with their primary vote down 0.5 per cent to 49 per cent and the Coalition’s down 1.5 per cent to 36 per cent. The Greens are up a point to 9 per cent. Much else to report:

• On Monday, Galaxy published a survey of 1004 respondents showing federal Labor with a two-party lead of 55-45. The primary vote figures of 43 per cent for Labor and 40 per cent for the Coalition are similar to those from the 2007 election, suggesting the two-party result flatters Labor a little. Furthermore, 17 per cent nominate themselves less likely to vote Labor if an early election is called against 12 per cent more likely. Kevin Rudd was rated “arrogant” by 31 per cent against 47 per cent for Malcolm Turnbull, while their respective ratings for being “out of touch with ordinary Australians” were 29 per cent and 48 per cent. However, Rudd performed worse than Turnbull on the innovative measure of “someone who can turn nasty if he doesn’t get his own way”, scoring 43 per cent to Turnbull’s 31 per cent. Peter Brent at Mumble has tables.

• Tasmanian Electrical Trades Union secretary Kevin Harkins apparently plans to proceed with his bid for Senate preselection, despite having been told by Kevin Rudd his chances were “Buckley’s and none”. Harkins was endorsed as candidate for Franklin ahead of the 2007 election, but was compelled to step aside four months beforehand after his colourful activities as a union leader emerged as a political liability. It was reported at the time that the pill had been sugared with offers of “an elevated union position, increased salary and a future Senate seat”. Harkins is the favoured candidate of the Left faction for one of the two safe Senate seats, with incumbent Kerry O’Brien set to be dropped to loseable third. The Hobart Mercury reports that the Left’s position is now likely to go to Australian Manufacturing Workers Union secretary Anne Urquhart, who is seen as acceptable to the Right. The Right’s position at the top of the ticket will remain with the low-profile Helen Polley.

Michael Owen of The Australian reports on tension in the South Australian Liberal camp over Senate preselection, with Right faction colossus Nick Minchin “warning off” moderate state president Sean Edwards. Minchin says Edwards had undertaken not to seek preselection when he ran for the presidency in 2007 so he could focus on next year’s state election. A “party source” says the Right has secured the postponement of preselection until April next year so a newly elected state council can provide them with a more favourable result, potentially leaving the party unprepared for an early election. The Right’s chief concern is to secure a seat for David Fawcett, defeated in Wakefield at the 2007 election, at Edwards’ expense. Alan Ferguson, who is associated with the Right faction and the conservative Lyons Forum, is “expected to retire” rather than seek another term.

• After holding the seat since Malcolm Fraser’s departure after his 1983 election defeat, David Hawker has announced he will retire as member for Wannon at the next election. Andrew Landeryou at VexNews has a comprehensive form guide of potential preselection aspirants, including “complicated Costello loyalist” Georgie Crozier; Victorian Farmers Federation president Simon Ramsay, said to be facing a losing battle against former Howard government adviser Rod Nockles in his bid for the less appealing prospect of Corangamite; Institute of Public Affairs agriculture policy expert Louise Staley, who challenged Kevin Andrews for preselection in Menzies ahead of the 2001 election; former police sergeant and anti-corruption crusader Simon Illingworth; “farmer, vet and former local councillor” Katrina Rainsford; and the similarly credentialled Matt Makin.

• Left faction Victorian state MP Carlo Carli has announced he will not re-contest Brunswick at the next election, perhaps boosting the Greens’ vague chances of snaring the seat. Andrew Landeryou at VexNews once again offers a goldmine of detail on preselection contenders, describing the seat as an “area of conflict” between the competing Left faction camps associated with federal Bruce MP Alan Griffin and Senator Kim Carr. Griffin faction aspirants include former state secretary Eric Locke and Moreland councillor Alice Pryor, while the only identified contender from the Carr camp is 23-year-old Enver Erdogan, a staffer to House of Representatives Speaker Harry Jenkins. Apparently straddling the two camps is Danny Michel, an adviser to Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky. Moreland’s Right faction mayor Lambros Tapinos is also named as a “wild card”.

• Yet more from the House of Landeryou: preselection challenges apparently loom against two senior Victorian state Liberals, Shadow Police Minister Andrew McIntosh in Kew and Shadow Health Minister Helen Shardey in Caulfield. The story in Kew goes that a Josh Frydenberg federal preselection victory in Kooyong would unleash “irresistible pressure” for McIntosh to be dumped in favour of “Costello loyalist” Kelly O’Dwyer. In Caulfield, “local power-broker” Frank Greenstein proposes that Shardey make way for David Southwick, who previously contested the federal seat of Melbourne Ports in 2004 and was narrowly pipped by short-lived Labor member Evan Thornley for an upper house seat in Southern Metropolitan in 2006. Ted Baillieu is apparently very keen that none of this transpire, as both McIntosh and Shardey are loyal to him.

The Australian reports the June 30 deadline for Victorian Liberal federal preselection nominations has ratcheted up speculation about Peter Costello’s future plans, with the overwhelming expectation he will seek another term in Higgins. Kevin Andrews is expected to face a challenge in Menzies, but is “believed to have the numbers”.

UMR Research has published one of its occasional polls on attitudes to republicanism, showing little change since November. Support is up one point to 51 per cent, opposition is up two to 30 per cent. Support for direct election of the president is up a point to 81 per cent, with opposition stable on 12 per cent. Fifty-three per cent support a referendum during the next term of parliament.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

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