The latest monthly ACNielsen survey of 1400 respondents (conducted from Thursday to Saturday) shows Labor’s two-party lead down slightly from 56-44 to 55-45. This seems a fairly conservative return on the changes in the primary vote: Labor down two points to 44 per cent, the Coalition up two to 40 per cent. Malcolm Turnbull also scores relatively well on personal ratings, his approval up four to 35 per cent and his disapproval down five to 55 per cent. However, Kevin Rudd’s approval is also up two points to 70 per cent, and his lead as preferred prime minister is up from 67-24 to 69-23. Rudd’s disapproval rating is up one point to 25 per cent.
Courtesy of comprehensive coverage at Andrew Landeryou’s VexNews we learn the Liberal preselection vote to succeed David Hawker in Wannon has been won by Daniel Tehan, deputy director of the Victorian Liberal Party and son of the late Kennett government minister Marie Tehan. The other candidate who made it through to the final round was Stephen Mitchell, founder of natural gas explorer Molopo Australia. David Clark, Elizabeth Matuschka, Hugh Koch and Katrina Rainsford were eliminated after the first round, followed by Simon Price and Rod Nockles, then Louise Staley, then Matt Makin.
Labor veteran Duncan Kerr has announced he will not contest his Hobart seat of Denison at the next federal election. Misha Schubert of The Age reports this has come as a surprise, such that when news broke yesterday, there was no obvious successor staking a public claim. It is widely noted that Kerr leaves his seat with a margin of 15.6 per cent after gaining it from the Liberals in 1987, though it probably wouldn’t do to put this entirely down to candidate factors. Early preselection contenders identified by Michael Stedman of The Mercury are George Williams, constitutional lawyer and Kerr associate, Jonathan Jackson, son of former state attorney-general Judy Jackson, and Rebecca White, staffer to Kerr and a state candidate for Lyons. However, state secretary John Dowling sounds confident none of the 27 state election candidates will be contesting preselection.
With Peter Dutton confirming his intention to jump ship from notionally Labor Dickson in northern Brisbane to safe Liberal McPherson on the Gold Coast, Labor’s narrowly unsuccessful candidate for Dickson in 2007, Fiona McNamara, has signalled her intention to again seek preselection.
Paige Taylor of The Australian reports former WA Premier Alan Carpenter is preparing to leave parliament, and could quit his seat of Willagee before the next state election, due in 2012. Although a neighbour of the seat of Fremantle which gave the Greens their breakthrough lower house win in May, Willagee is genuinely unloseable for Labor. The front-runner to succeed Carpenter would appear to be Dave Kelly, state secretary of the Left faction Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union, who wisely held back when Fremantle became available.
The bill for a referendum to amend South Australia’s Constitution discussed in the previous post passed the House of Assembly on the second try, after embarrassing failure on the first. However, Attorney-General Michael Atkinson openly admits he does not expect it to be passed in the upper house. The Liberals have spoken in favour of four-year Council terms and a double dissolution mechanism, but against cutting Council numbers, giving the Council President a deliberative vote, and in particular the plan to combine the measures into a single referendum question. The Legislative Council is also debating the Electoral (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill, which proposes to ban registered political parties using the name of a prominent public body (plainly aimed at the Save the Royal Adelaide Hospital Group), increase fines for electoral offences by as much as 400 per cent, require that redistributions commence 24 months after an election as opposed to the current three, increase the number of members required of a registered political party from 150 to 500 (in line with most other states), introduce compulsory enrolment (surprised they didn’t have this already) and ban third parties from producing how-to-vote cards.
Former NSW Rural Fire Services chief Phil Koperberg, who replaced Bob Debus as Labor member for Blue Mountains at the 2007 state election, is making noises which are generally being interpreted as meaning he will quit politics, either at or before the next election. According to the ABC, Koperberg says he is not cut out for the nature of partisan or party politics and I find myself doing and saying things I would rather not do, which my conscience would have me to otherwise, and that he is considering his future in the medium to long-term. Andrew Clennell of the Sydney Morning Herald reports Koperberg has told journalists, colleagues and even Coalition MPs several times in the past two years that he was thinking of quitting before the next election.
UPDATE: The weekly Essential Research has Labor down a little after last week’s spike, from 61-39 to 59-41. Not sure why, but the usual suite of further questions is not included this time.