Newspoll: 55-45

The Australian reports that the latest fortnightly Newspoll has Labor’s lead at 55-45, down from 57-43 at the previous two polls. Labor’s primary vote is down one point to 44 per cent and the Coalition’s is up one point to 38 per cent. Malcolm Turnbull’s approval rating is up four points to 30 per cent. More to follow. UPDATE: Graphic here. Turnbull’s approval is the only leadership measure that has moved noticeably.

The weekly Essential Research survey has Labor’s lead steady at 58-42. Also featured: support for an ETS-driven early election continues to fall; confidence in the economy continues to rise; there is no one widely held view on who should be our next US Ambassador; and two-thirds agree that “the Liberals are just not prepared at the moment to take on the difficult task of governing Australia”.


• The Gold Coast News reports that Peter Dutton faces “an ugly pre-election battle” if he wishes to move from notionally Labor Dickson to the safe Liberal Gold Coast seat of McPherson, to be vacated by the retirement of Margaret May. Rival candidates include federal divisional council chair Karen Andrews, a “close ally” of May; Dr Richard Stuckey, husband of Jann Stuckey, state front-bencher and member for the local seat of Currumbin; and Michael Hart, who unsuccessfully contested the state seat of Burleigh at the last two state elections.

• For the second election in a row, Dennis Jensen will represent the Liberals in their safe Perth seat of Tangney despite having lost the initial preselection vote. The West Australian reports that Jensen won a State Council vote over the initially successful candidate, Glenn Piggott, by no less a margin than 76 votes to five. This result was foreshadowed a month ago by a commenter on this site travelling under the name of Matt Brown’s Imaginary Friend (Matt Brown being the initial victor of the 2007 preselection), who wrote: “Council knows that if Jensen (is) dumped, the Libs’ chances of holding the marginals will dive because campaign funds will be so stretched, adverse publicity will have (a) ripple effect, and Tangney itself could be lost to Jensen if (he) stood as an independent, whether to him or even to the ALP if he did the obvious and swapped preferences with them”.

• Saturday’s Weekend Australian featured a post-redistribution proposal Mackerras pendulum, which you can see at Mumble. The accompanying article takes aim at the assertion of Peter van Onselen and others that the redistributions of New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia collectively constitute a “Ruddymander”.

Simon Benson of The Daily Telegraph reports that the tensions over the New South Wales Labor leadership could be coming to the boil:

With the various warring factions in the Labor party room unable to decide on who would be a replacement, Mr Rees was said to be considering acting before he gets chopped. Sources confirmed he was using threats of a reshuffle to axe “trouble-making” ministers, a veiled reference to Health Minister John Della Bosca, if sniping about his leadership continued. The internal malaise in the Government has become so bad that very few MPs believe the current situation can continue. Mr Rees is also reported to have told those closest to him that his position was untenable if the plotting against him could not be arrested. Another Labor source said Labor powerbrokers including national secretary Karl Bitar were considering tapping Mr Rees on the shoulder next week if they could convince Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt to take over. It is understood Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is also being drafted into the soap opera with sources claiming his Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese has directly lobbied Mr Rudd to support a move to install Ms Tebbutt, who is Mr Albanese’s wife.

John Della Bosca today added fuel to the fire by declaring it was “no state secret” that it was constitutionally possible for an upper house MP such as himself to be Premier. However, Andrew Clennell of the Sydney Morning Herald reports focus group research shows “many people still think (Rees) should be given time to make a go of the job”, and gives an insight into the public view of Della Bosca, Tebbutt and other sometimes-mentioned leadership prospects, Kristina Keneally, John Robertson and Frank Sartor.

• The ABC reports that the member for the Nationals member for the Victorian state seat of Murray Valley, Ken Jasper, will retire at the next election. Jasper is 71 years old and has held the seat since 1976. I must confess the seat does not loom large in my consciousness, but my election guide entry tells me the Nationals are “concerned at their ability to hold the seat without him”. Jasper nonetheless held the seat in 2006 with 50.9 per cent of the vote against the Liberal candidate’s 21.9 per cent.

• The Victorian Greens have preselected for the highly winnable state seat of Melbourne a barrister and former president of Liberty Victoria, Brian Walters, ahead of Moonee Valley councillor Rose Iser.

Lots more information on various Greens preselections from Ben Raue of The Tally Room:

• Raue appears to have the inside dope on the state upper house preselection in South Australia, declaring former Democrat and current state party convenor Tammy Jennings the “clear frontrunner” for the lucrative top spot (he earlier named SA Farmers Federation chief executive Carol Vincent, former convenor and unsuccessful 1997 lead candidate Paul Petit and unheralded Mark Andrew as the other candidates).

• Raue also names preselection candidates for the Queensland Senate: Larissa Waters (the 2007 candidate, who also ran for Mount Coot-tha at the March state election), “perennial candidates” Libby Connors and Jenny Stirling, and 2009 Sunnybank candidate Matthew Ryan-Sykes.

• Raue names Emma Henley and Peter Campbell as candidates for the Victorian upper house region of Eastern Metropolitan.

• In the Tasmanian state seat of Braddon, Paul O’Halloran has apparently been chosen to “lead the ticket”, to the extent that that means anything under Robson rotation. Braddon is the only one of the five divisions currently without a Greens member.

Antony Green corner:

• In comments on this site, Antony discusses the prospects of a Victorian redistribution before the next federal election:

A Victorian redistribution is due because the boundaries from the last redistribution were gazetted on 29 January 2003. A re-draw starts seven years later, the end of January 2010. A redistribution is not required in the last 12 months before the House expires. The current House first sat on 12 February 2008 so it expires 11 February 2011. This means there is an unfortunate two week gap that will force a redistribution. If the Victorian boundaries had been gazetted two weeks later in 2003, or if the Rudd government had re-called parliament in December 2007, the redistribution would be deferred. Unfortunately, the Electoral Act is very prescriptive on dates so it appears the redistribution will have to take place, unless the act is changed.

• Two posts on his blog relate to the slow decline of the Nationals, one directly, the other with reference to the relative decline of rural population.

Also featured is a post comparing the current position of the state Labor government in New South Wales with that of the Unsworth government as it drifted to the abyss in 1988.

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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