The latest fortnightly Newspoll the first in some time to be released on Sunday rather than Monday night has Labor’s primary vote down a point on last time to 30%, the Coalition’s up two to 46% and the Greens’ down two to 12%, with the two-party preferred out from 54-46 to 55-45. Julia Gillard has lost most of her lead as preferred prime minister, which narrows from 42-38 in her favour to 39-38, but the individual personal ratings are essentially unchanged, with Gillard down two points on approval to 30% and up one on disapproval to 59%, while Tony Abbott is down one on each to 31% and 58%.
UPDATE: Essential Research has voting intention unchanged on last week, with the Coalition leading 56-44 from primary votes of 33% for Labor, 49% for the Coalition and 10% for the Greens. The poll also gaugues opinion on the carbon tax for the first time since November last year, up to which point it had asked every month after the policy was first announced in late February 2011, and it finds support at a new low with 35% supportive and 54% opposed. Forty-five per cent believe it will increase the cost of living a lot, 26% a moderate amount, 20% a little and 2% that it will have no impact, while 44% think it likely and 40% unlikely that Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party would repeal it in government. More happily for the government, its marine reserves policy has 70% support with 13% opposed. The poll also finds 88% rating themselves not likely to pay for online newspaper content against only 9% likely.
UPDATE 2: The latest Morgan face-to-face poll, covering the last two weekends, has Labor down half a point to 32.5%, the Coalition up three to 45.5% and the Greens down 2.5% to 10%. The Coalition’s lead is up from 55-45 to 56.5-43.5 on respondent-allocated preferences and from 52-48 to 54.5-45.5 on previous election preferences.
ReachTEL last week published results of two automated phone polls from the electorates of Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, finding both to be headed for defeat. In New England, Nationals candidate-presumptive Richard Torbay was rated at 62% of the primary vote against 25% for Windsor (after distribution of the undecided), which on 2010 preference flows would put Torbay ahead 65.7-34.3. In Lyne, David Gillespie of the Nationals (UPDATE: Commenter Oakeshott Country notes I’m jumping the gun here: the Nationals are yet to confirm their candidate) led Oakeshott 52% to 31%, or 55.4-44.6. The electorates were polled in October last year by Newspoll, at which time no information on likely Nationals candidates was available, which showed Windsor trailing 41% to 33% and Oakeshott trailing 47% to 26%.
Ben Packham of The Australian reports a factional brawl looms in the South Australian Liberal Party over the Senate vacancy created by the retirement of Mary Jo Fisher, who suffers a depressive illness and was recently reported to police for shoplifting for the second time in 18 months. Packham reports that Ann Ruston, former National Wine Centre chief executive and owner of a Riverina wholesale flower-growing firm, might emerge as a moderate-backed candidate. However, the Right’s position contested by the moderates is that she would have to renounce her existing claim to the number three position on the Senate ticket for the next election if she wished to contest the preselection. Kate Raggatt, a former adviser to Nick Minchin, is seen as a possible right-wing contender for the vacancy. Brad Crouch of the Sunday Mail lists Cathy Webb, Andrew McLaughlin, Paul Salu, Chris Moriarty and Maria Kourtesis as other possibilities.
Kristina Keneally will quit politics to take up a position as chief executive of Basketball Australia, thereby initiating a by-election for her inner southern Sydney seat of Heffron, where her margin was cut from 23.7% to 7.1% at the March 2011 election. The Sydney Morning Herald reports Keneally’s favoured successor is Michael Comninos, a former Labor government staffer, but that party sources have also mentioned Ron Hoenig, a barrister and the mayor of Botany since 1981, and another Botany councillor, Stan Kondilios. The report also quotes Keneally saying she would never say never to a return to politics, but she rules out doing so at the next federal election.
Alex Cauchi of the Wentworth Courier reports the Greens have preselected Sydney councillor Chris Harris as their candidate for the state by-election which is expected to be required in the seat of Sydney as a result of a looming legislative ban on members of parliament serving in local government. The present member for the seat is independent Clover Moore, who will seek another term as Sydney’s lord mayor in September. A looming Liberal preselection will be contested by finance broker Adrian Bartels, who fell 3.1% short of victory as the candidate at the last election, and Sydney councillor Shayne Mallard, who ran in 2003.
Sixteen candidates have nominated for the July 21 by-election for the Victorian state seat of Melbourne, which is being followed at this dedicated post.