The latest Essential Research survey has Labor’s two-party lead at 59-41, up from 58-42 last week. Also featured are approval ratings for the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader (both up solidly from six weeks ago), respondents’ self-perceptions of their employment and salary outlooks, Kim Beazley’s appointment as ambassador to the United States (54 per cent approve, 18 per cent disapprove) and Brendan Nelson’s appointment as ambassador to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg (49 per cent approve, 22 per cent disapprove).
Newspoll has published its quarterly geographic and demographic analysis breakdown of federal polling results. Possum notes it shows up an intriguing divergence between city and country, which he says could well be explained by the Coalition line on the ETS. I might suggest that the largely forgotten Gippsland by-election of last June offered a premonition of this.
About 200 local Liberal National Party members will vote for a candidate to succeed the outgoing Margaret May in the Gold Coast seat of McPherson on Saturday. Noses have been put out of the joint by the fact that the position was advertised on Thursday, one day before the closure of nominations, which has been universally interpreted as an attempt to assist Peter Dutton in his bid to move to the seat from notionally Labor Dickson. Glenn Milne in The Australian reports that May urged Dutton to nominate for the seat, somewhat deflating the notion that federal divisional council chair Karen Andrews might benefit from being her reported ally. Another of Dutton’s three preselection rivals is Minna Knight, a former staffer to Joe Hockey and Julie Bishop. Milne says Knight has the backing of state Currumbin MP Jann Stuckey, whose husband Richard Stuckey withdrew from the race last week. Rounding out the field is Wayne Black, of whom nothing seems to be known. Despite earlier reports, twice-unsuccessful state Burleigh candidate Michael Hart has not nominated. Tanya Westthorp of the Gold Coast Bulletin reports local members are threatening to revolt if the state executive overturns the result of their ballot, as seems likely if Dutton doesn’t win. Andrew Fraser of The Australian notes the local party’s history of rebuffing imported candidates with reference to the 1998 preselection, when former Brisbane lord mayor Sallyanne Atkinson finished sixth in a field of 23.
The ABC reports that Queensland’s conservatives will soon reach a decision as to whether their federal election candidates will stand as Liberals and Nationals, Liberal Nationals, or the LNP.
AAP reports speculation that Jodie Campbell, federal Labor member for the ultra-marginal Tasmanian seat of Bass, might not contest the next election. Campbell has been in the news recently after her partner was charged with assaulting her, and two of her staff members abruptly and mysteriously resigned. The AAP report notes she has been moved from her much-televised seat in parliament behind the prime minister. Geoff Lyons, electorate officer to Senator Helen Polley and an unsuccessful state candidate from 2002, is mentioned as a possible replacement.
Michelle Grattan reports in The Age that former tennis star John Alexander, who made the final six in Saturday’s Bradfield preselection, is volunteering to take on Maxine McKew in Bennelong. Others who have been mentioned in the past are Melanie Howard and former state MPs Kerry Chikarovski and Andrew Tink, all of whom have been ruled out, and former rugby union international Brett Papworth.
Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald reports Pfizer executive David Miles will challenge Bill Heffernan for the second position on the New South Wales Liberal Senate ticket. Incumbent Connie Fierravanti-Wells is expected to hold the top position. The third will depend on whether the state Liberal and Nationals can smooth over tensions and reach their usual joint ticket arrangement, in which Nationals Senator Fiona Nash would take the third position.
Phillip Coorey also reports it is rumoured that Noel McCoy has nominated for preselection against Philip Ruddock in Berowra, despite announcing in late July that he would not do so.
Sue Neales of The Mercury reports Tony Mulder, police commander and Clarence council alderman, has emerged a surprise winner for Liberal preselection in the state division of Franklin. The Liberals are considered all but certain to increase their representation in the five-seat division from one seat to two at the election next March, with incumbent and party leader Will Hodgman assured of re-election. The party hierarchy is apparently keen that the second seat be won by Jacquie Petrusma, who was Family First’s Senate candidate in 2004 and 2007 and came close to winning a seat on the former occasion at the expense of Christine Milne of the Greens. Also on the ticket are Clarence City Council building inspector David Compton and Huon Valley small business owner Jillian Law. Vanessa Goodwin was earlier considered to be in the box seat, but she has since found a place in the upper house after winning the Pembroke by-election on August 1.
In a short but eventful article, Imre Salusinszky of The Australian reports that Mark Sheridan, neurosurgeon and director of surgical services at Liverpool Hospital, has nominated for Liberal preselection in the outer-southwest Sydney state seat of Menai, held by Labor’s Alison Megarrity on a margin of 2.6 per cent. It is also understood that National Rugby League chief operating officer Graham Annesley has again nominated for Miranda in southern Sydney, where he fell 0.8 per cent short of defeating Barry Collier in 2007; that Hawkesbury mayor Bart Bassett has again nominated for the north-west Sydney seat of Londonderry, where Labor’s Allan Shearan defeated him by 6.9 per cent in 2007; and Randwick mayor Bruce Notley-Smith has nominated for the inner eastern Sydney seat of Coogee, held for Labor by Paul Pearce on a margin of 7.3 per cent.
Ben Raue at The Tally Room is constructing what promises to be a superbly comprehensive guide to the federal election post by post.