The latest Roy Morgan survey (two fortnights of face-to-face polling with a sample of 1129) has Labor’s two-party lead down from 62-38 to 59.5-40.5. Labor’s primary vote is down half a point to 51 per cent, the Coalition are up a solid three to 35.5 per cent and the Greens are down two to 7.5 per cent.
Geoff Chambers of The Gold Coast Bulletin reports senior party figures have told Julie Bishop to withdraw her apparent endorsement for Minna Knight in tomorrow’s Liberal National Party preselection for McPherson, where Peter Dutton faces the prospect of an embarrassing failure in his bid to seek refuge from endangered Dickson. Bishop has told the paper her reference for Knight was not intended to be used as preselection material, but she has nonetheless stopped short of endorsing Mr Dutton. The report says Knight and rival candidate Karen Andrews have between them locked in crucial votes from the Currumbin and Burleigh branches. In a bid to smooth the path for Dutton, Knight has reportedly been offered a free run in the new neighbouring seat of Wright, while Andrews has been promised a Senate seat.
Matthew Denholm of The Australian reports last month’s assault charge against the partner of Bass MP Jodie Campbell halted a gathering momentum that would have cost her preselection. Campbell reportedly remains under pressure to lift her performance. Perhaps more importantly, Denholm reports that while Ms Campbell is from Labor’s Left faction, many in the Right see Bass as their seat. The preselection ahead of the last election was initially won by the Right-backed Steve Reissig, although this was achieved because state executive backing for Reissig outweighed support for Campbell in the branches. Reissig later withdrew amid rumours of a smear campaign, and a complicated factional deal helped Campbell win the re-match. Geoff Lyons, a staffer to Right faction Senator Helen Polley, has been mentioned as a possible successor.
Crikey’s Tips and Rumours section suggests Kerry Bartlett, who lost Macquarie to Bob Debus at the federal election, has determined to contest preselection for Debus’s old state seat of Blue Mountains, after failing to re-nominate for Macquarie. Both Debus and his successor in Blue Mountains, Phil Koperberg, are set to retire, with some talk that Koperberg might do so before the election. Labor is said to have two possible candidates in mind for Macquarie: former netballer Liz Ellis and St Vincent DePaul Society chief executive John Falzon, who apparently shares Debus’s and Koperberg’s links with the Socialist Left faction (of which he used to be a member). Also said to be interested is Blue Mountains mayor Adam Searle, who was part of the jockeying to succeed Debus ahead of the 2007 election, but is said to lack factional support.
Further from the above, it is suggested that David Bradbury, who won Lindsay on the third attempt in 2007, is seeking the numbers to make a move to neighbouring Chifley if government Whip Roger Price decides to retire. Bradbury is reportedly concerned hostility towards the state government might cost him his seat. He has even canvassed the idea of a move to Greenway considering it is now a very safe prospect post-redistribution. Liberal MP Louise Markus is apparently looking good in her bid to move to Macquaire from Greenway, which has a notional Labor margin of 5.6 per cent on the draft redistribution boundaries.
Late news: Kathleen Maltzahn, whose human rights activism included authorship of a book on the trafficking of women for prostitution in Australia, was announced as Greens candidate for the winnable Victorian state seat of Richmond a month ago. It was also confirmed Adam Bandt, who in 2007 became the party’s first candidate to make the final count at a general federal election, will again run in the federal seat of Melbourne.
Malcolm Mackerras in Crikey predicts a double dissolution election will be held on August 21, 2010, that presumably being the latest date allowable under the provision which states double dissolutions cannot be held later than six months before the expiry of the House of Representatives (UPDATE: Turns out it’s not the last date not sure why Mackerras picked this one exactly). He also discusses the method that will be used to decide which of the elected Senators will be long term, and which will be chosen to face the people at the next half-Senate election. The Constitution leaves this to the Senate to decide, and it was traditionally done on the basis of the order of election. However, a peculiar result in Tasmania in 1951 meant four out of five Liberal Senators came to be deemed long term, which eventually prompted the Hawke government to require that the Electoral Commission calculate a hypothetical half-Senate election result for purposes of directing a fair outcome. This however remained non-binding, and at the first and so far only opportunity since (the 1987 double dissolution) the Senate chose not to be bound, instead conducting the division in a manner advantageous to the Australian Democrats. Mackerras notes Labor felt guilty about its failure to observe its own reform and promised that in future it would support a Senate resolution to give effect to the half-Senate count before the election took place, which Mackerras expects to be put and carried before his August election.
The latest Reuters Poll Trend aggregate of Newspoll, Morgan and Nielsen has Labor’s lead at 58.0-42.0.