This week’s Roy Morgan face-to-face poll has Labor with a two-party lead of 52-48, down from 52.5-47.5 last week. Labor’s primary vote is down two points to 40 per cent, with the Coalition up 0.5 per cent to 41.5 per cent. The Greens are up 2.5 per cent to 11 per cent.
Problems for the Coalition at ground level dominate the latest round of federal preselection news.
The Queensland Liberal National Party has dumped its candidate for the new Gold Coast hinterland seat of Wright, Logan councillor Hajnal Ban, for failing to disclose she was facing Civil and Administrative Tribunal action over the finances of an elderly former council colleague over whom she had power of attorney (a story broken on Sunday by the ubiquitous VexNews). The decision was reportedly made at the direction of Liberal federal director Brian Loughnane. Ban may technically nominate for the re-match, but has been told by the party not to bother. Widely mentioned in connection with the new preselection are Cameron Thompson, who lost his seat of Blair in 2007 and ran against Ban in the initial preselection, and Scott Driscoll of small business lobby group the United Retail Federation, described by Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald as a controversial and opinionated character.
Brisbane councillor Jane Prentice has won the Liberal National Party preselection for the Brisbane seat of Ryan, which was held after incumbent Michael Johnson was expelled from the party. Marissa Calligeros of Fairfax reports Prentice received 158 votes against 39 for Christian Rowan and 23 for Wayne Black. Johnson complained on Twitter that the party had chosen an opportunistic politician in Prentice over a talent in Rowan, a Brisbane medical practitioner who ran for the Nationals in Gympie at the 2004 state election.
The Northern Star reports the Nationals candidate for the north coast NSW seat of Richmond, Tania Murdock, has pulled out citing personal attacks on her and issues with parts of the local party. Labor’s Justine Elliott won the seat from Nationals member Larry Anthony in 2004, but ongoing urbanisation is strengthening the Liberals (whose candidate is Tweed councillor Joan van Lieshout) in the area relative to the Nationals. Elliott currently holds the seat with a margin of 8.7 per cent.
Yet another on the Coalition casualty list is Liberal candidate for Dobell Garry Lee, a Wyong businessman who interestingly set up a company last year to take advantage of the government’s insulation scheme. Lee announced this week he was withdrawing for personal reasons. It is thought likely the runner-up from the May 14 preselection vote, school teacher Kristy Knox, will put her name forward again.
The Liberals have preselected Luke Westley, marketing manager for Adelaide Produce Market and candidate for Enfield in the March state election, as candidate for Adelaide. Among the also-rans was Houssam Abiad, whose failure despite backing from factional enemies Alexander Downer and Christopher Pyne may have had something to do with anti-Israel comments publicised by perennial career-wrecker VexNews. Others in the field of eight were factional conservative and former Young Liberals president Sam Duluk, recruitment consultant David Maerschel and real estate agent Vivienne Twelftree.
ABC Riverina reports the Liberals have preselected Cargill Beef marketing manager Andrew Negline in Riverina, ahead of Julie Elphick, John Larter, Paul McCormack and Charles Morton. The Nationals last week preselected former Daily Advertiser Michael McCormack to replace retiring member Kay Hull.
The latest Reuters Poll Trend figure, a weighted average of various pollsters’ results over the past month, has Labor leading 50.2-49.8. Reuters has published the result as part of an Australian 2010 Pre-Election Package compiled for the benefit of foreign media.
State matters from New South Wales:
Roy Morgan has published NSW state voting intention figures derived from its two most recent national phone polls, producing a small sample of 360. This shows Labor’s primary vote crashing six points since February to 28.5 per cent, with the Liberals up three to 44 per cent, the Nationals down one to 1 per cent and the Greens up five to 16 per cent.
Simultaneous with announcing his departure from NSW cabinet last week, Labor’s member for Campbelltown announced he would not contest the next election, creating a vacancy in one of the depressingly small number of seats Labor can be reasonably sure of winning (margin 18.5 per cent). The Macarthur Advertiser reports Campbelltown’s Labor mayor Aaron Rule has denied being interested, saying he would support fellow councillor Anoulack Chanthivong. Another possibility is Paul Nunnari, a policy adviser to West who unsuccessfully contested preselection for the federal seat of Macarthur. Wollondilly MP Phil Costa denies he will seek refuge from his own highly marginal seat.
Imre Salusinszky of The Australian writes that the Right faction forces associated with state upper house MP David Clarke have warned Barry O’Farrell against a repeat of his unsuccessful attempt to sway the Riverstone preselection in favour of Nick Tyrrell, who had the backing of Alex Hawke’s rival Right sub-faction, against Clarke-backed winner Kevin Connolly. Further turf wars between the rival groups loom in Baulkham Hills, Castle Hill and Hornsby, the latter of which is to be vacated by the recently announced retirement of sitting member Judy Hopwood.
State matters from Victoria:
The Monash Journal reports the Victorian Liberals have endorsed Theo Zographos, a 21-year-old has worked part-time as an electorate officer, as its candidate for the eastern Melbourne suburbs state seat of Oakleigh.
The Ballarat Courier reports the Victorian Liberals’ administration committee has installed Ballarat councillor Ben Taylor as candidate for
Ballarat East, cutting short the normal preselection process. Labor’s Geoff Howard holds the seat with a margin of 6.7 per cent.