Roy Morgan has again rained on Julia Gillard’s poll parade, with a poll of 800 voters in four Queensland marginals showing Labor no better placed than they were said to be before Kevin Rudd’s demise. The four seats targeted are outer suburban Longman and regional Flynn, Dawson and Leichhardt, and if by some coincidence the figures for each are accurate which is unlikely, as the margin of error on each 200-sample poll is about 7 per cent Labor stands to lose all except the latter with respective swings of 7.3 per cent, 8.2 per cent and 3.4 per cent, with no change recorded in Longman. However, it would be more instructive to combine the results and think in terms of a collective swing of a bit below 5 per cent and a margin of error of 3.5 per cent. If consistent across Queensland, this would cost Labor eight seats held actually and two held notionally. Helpfully, three of these seats were covered in Newspoll’s marginal seat survey of Tuesday before last, conducted during Kevin Rudd’s last weekend as Prime Minister, the exception being Leichhardt. This showed a 6 per cent swing from a margin of error of 4 per cent. Presumably Morgan will offer a face-to-face poll from last weekend tomorrow, the first such poll conducted on Gillard’s watch.
There is better news for Labor from The Advertiser, which has Labor leading 56-44 in the Adelaide seat of Hindmarsh, held for Labor on a margin of 5.1 per cent. The survey involved 633 respondents and would have a margin of error of a little below 4 per cent, although this presumes a random sample which The Advertiser probably lacks the expertise to obtain.
Federal preselection news:
The Socialist Left faction of the Victorian ALP, which dominates the local branches, has chosen ACTU industrial officer Cath Bowtell as its candidate for the federal preselection for Melbourne, to be vacated on the retirement of Lindsay Tanner. The faction’s secretary, Andrew Giles, had been favoured by some for the position, but agreed to stand aside in favour of Bowtell, whose endorsement is now considered a fait accompli. The preselection will be conducted locally on Sunday and finalised by the party’s public office selection committee on Tuesday.
Queensland’s troubled Liberal National Party has picked a new candidate for the Brisbane seat of Moreton, which Labor’s Graham Perrett won from sitting Liberal Gary Hardgrave in 2007, after the original nominee, Michael Palmer (20-year-old son of mining magnate Clive), withdrew citing health concerns. The winner was Malcolm Cole, former Courier-Mail journalist and staffer to former Senator Santo Santoro, who defeated local businessman Steve Smith.
It’s been noted lately that the New South Wales Liberals are dragging their heels getting candidates in place in important electorates: Lindsay, Parramatta and Greenway. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, these will be resolved over the next fortnight. The Penrith Press reports two candidates have nominated in Lindsay: marketing manager Fiona Scott and casual teacher Margaret Grand.
State preselection news from New South Wales:
The Nationals’ ground-breaking open primary preselection for Tamworth was conducted last weekend, delivering victory to local businessman Kevin Anderson. The ballot was open to anyone registered in the electorate, attracting 4293 voters. Anderson won 2110 vote (49.4 per cent) to 1100 (25.7 per cent) for James Treloar, 648 (15.2 per cent) for Russell Webb and 414 (9.7 per cent) for Mark Rodda, with the distribution of Rodda’s preferences electing Anderson. A similar effort by the Victorian ALP in the Liberal-held state seat of Kilsyth in April only attracted 170, although the only procedural difference was a requirement that participants register online. The winner on that occasion was former electorate officer Vicky Setches with 75 per cent of the vote.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the Liberal preselection for the safe Liberal NSW state seat of Baulkham Hills, to be vacated at the election by retiring Wayne Merton, has been postponed after originally being scheduled for tomorrow. The preselection is the latest front in the war between state upper house MP David Clarke and federal Mitchell MP Alex Hawke, former allies in the Right. At issue is the validity of the membership of 14 Clarke supporters who attempted to join at an infamous Baulkham Hills Young Liberals meeting in Hawke’s electorate office last year, which ended with Hawke calling the police. The Hawke forces are backing state Civil Contractors Federation chief executive David Elliott, who unsuccessfully challenged Clarke for his upper house preselection earlier this year. Clarke supports Damien Tudehope, solicitor and Australian Family Association spokesman Damien Tudehope. Also in the field is Hills Shire deputy mayor Mike Thomas. It appears the preselection will be postponed until the federal election is out of the way, in the likely event that it is called shortly.
Greens state upper house MP Sylvia Hale, who earlier made what most presumed to be a retirement announcement when she said she would not seek re-election, has announced she will seek to run in the highly winnable lower house seat of Marrickville. She must first win next week’s preselection vote against Marrickville deputy mayor Fiona Byrne, the candidate from 2007.
Crikey’s Tips and Rumours reports Peter Fraser, former chief-of-staff to John Brogden, might emerge as a starter in the endlessly confusing preselection to choose a successor to Peter Debnam in Vaucluse. The remainder of the field is summarised as Left numbers woman Gabrielle Upton, independent restaurateur Peter Doyle, Woollahra mayor Andrew Petrie, Turnbull branch fixture Mary Lou Jarvis and Sydney gymnasium tycoon and right-winger Peter Cavanagh.