The Coalition loses a coat of paint or two in this week’s reading of the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, as last week’s strong result from ReachTEL washes out of the system and only relatively modest results from Newspoll and Essential Research emerge to take its place. The two-party trendline shown on the sidebar is now pointing downwards for the first time on Malcolm Turnbull’s watch. However, this has only made one point of difference to the seat projection, with Labor making a gain in New South Wales. There are new results on leadership ratings this week from both Newspoll and Essential, the former of which was fairly soft for Malcolm Turnbull by his standards. That causes a slight dip in his net satisfaction reading, although there’s no movement on preferred prime minister.
• The Fairfax papers report that Bronwyn Bishop remains determined to seek another term as member for the blue-ribbon Sydney seat of Mackellar, despite her 73 years and downward career trajectory. The report says that the party’s hard Right faction has “abandoned Mrs Bishop over her perceived treachery against Mr Abbott, but it has little sway in Mackellar and it remains to be seen whether the left and centre right factions will use their numbers to protect her from challenge at preselection”. She appears likely to face a challenge from Jason Falinksi, chief executive of a health care supplier and a former Warringah councillor, whose party activities included the then-important job of campaign manager to Malcolm Turnbull when he first ran in Wentworth in 2004. Others mentioned are Jim Longley, who held the state seat of Pittwater from 1986 to 1996, and whose name comes up intermittently in relation to a possible comeback; Paul Nettelbeck, marketing director at Southern Cross College; and the one confirmed starter, Bill Calcraft, a businessman and former national rugby union player.
• The ABC reports the Nick Xenophon Team has unveiled its first tranche of five candidates for the next election, and taken the advantage of the opportunity to emphasise the national scale of its ambitions. Only two of the five are seats in South Australia, the only state where it stands to be seriously competitive. Matthew Wright, an emergency physician at the Flinders Medical Centre, will run against Christopher Pyne in Sturt, while Mayo MP Jamie Briggs will have to face one of his former staffers – Rebekha Sharkie, who has also worked for state Liberal MPs Isobel Redmond and Rachel Sanderson. The other three are Marie Rowland, a psychologist and counsellor, who will run in Tony Abbott’s Sydney seat of Warringah; Nancy Bassett, a consultant to Challenge Mining, who will run against Kelly O’Dwyer in the Melbourne seat of Higgins; and Josie Townsend, a “former publicist who now runs a marketing business specialising in start-up businesses”, who will run in the Toowoomba-based Queensland seat of Groom against Ian Macfarlane, who recently defected from the Liberal Party to the Nationals, although both are under the Liberal National Party umbrella in Queensland for electoral purposes.
• Rick Wallace of The Australian reports seven candidates have emerged for the Labor preselection to succeed Kelvin Thomson in the inner northern Melbourne seat of Wills: Mehmet Tillem, who held a Senate seat in 2013 and 2014 and now works for Victorian Small Business Minister Philip Dalilakis; Josh Funder, a funds manager and former Yarra councillor; Anna-Maria Arabia, policy director to Bill Shorten; Peter Khalil, a former SBS executive; a funds manager and former Yarra councillor; and two Moreland councillors, Lambros Tapinos and Meghan Hopper. I had a good deal more to say about the situation in Wills in a piece for Crikey last week.
• Also from me in Crikey: a post-match report on the North Sydney by-election.