No proper Roy Morgan poll this week, but they do provide results on preferred Labor and Liberal leaders. Kevin Rudd scores a surprisingly modest 51 per cent as Labor leader, weighed down by contrary Liberals and a telling preference for Julia Gillard among the small sample of Greens supporters. Among Labor supporters, his rating is 70 per cent. Joe Hockey leads a crowded Liberal field with 30 per cent (up five since July), while Malcolm Turnbull is second on 21 per cent. Possum weighs in with a post on the various Liberal leadership polls conducted since the 2007 election. A separate Morgan release puts Rudd and Turnbull head to head, finding little change since July.
Liberal MP Fran Bailey has announced she will not contest her Victorian federal seat of McEwen at the next election. Bailey retained the seat in 2007 by a court-determined margin of just 27 votes, but the Liberals would have hoped her local popularity in the wake of the February bushfires might help her hold on at the next election. As it stands, the Liberal preselection is unlikely to be keenly sought. Labor’s candidate from 2007, former state upper house MP Rob Mitchell, was said by Rick Wallace of The Australian to maintain strong local numbers. However, the Labor national executive’s suspension of the preselection process a fortnight ago has prompted talk its newly acquired powers might be used to install a candidate of its own choice. Rick Wallace subsequently reported that Andrew MacLeod, a former soldier and UN disaster expert, had also emerged as a contestant (UPDATE: Greensborough Growler informs me he was also Labor’s candidate in 2001).
Alex Easton of The Northern Star reports local Nationals are hoping Stuart George, Richmond Valley councillor and son of state Lismore MP Thomas George, will be the party’s candidate for the federal seat of Page. Labor’s Janelle Saffin won the seat in 2007 on the retirement of Nationals incumbent Ian Causley with a margin of 2.4 per cent, picking up a 7.8 per cent swing. The redistribution proposal shaves 0.2 per cent off the Labor margin.
Robert Ellicott, architect of the Coalition’s constitutional strategy in 1975, has written an article for The Australian in which he muses on the prospect of a Governor-General refusing a Prime Minister’s request for a double dissolution. This has prompted a most informative discussion in comments.
The Australian Electoral Commission has released approximate figures on the age breakdown of the 1.2 million Australians not on the electoral roll, which progressively falls from 30 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 to 4 per cent of those aged over 65.
The New South Wales Greens have listed nominees for state upper preselection and the vacancy to be created by Lee Rhiannon’s bid for the Senate. Both incumbents due for re-election, Ian Cohen and Sylvia Hale, are retiring. High-profile Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham is reportedly well-placed for a spot, being an ally of the locally based Cohen.
The Australian Democrats have lost their last remaining parliamentary member after South Australian upper house MP David Winderlich quit to sit as an independent. The party is now registered only in South Australia and New South Wales.