First up, note two posts below this one dealing with ongoing electoral events: the resolution to the Tasmanian election count and the New South Wales state by-election for Upper Hunter on Saturday week.
The Guardian today reports on the latest fortnightly Essential Research poll, which includes the monthly leadership ratings. As was the case with Newspoll, this finds Scott Morrison pulling out of the slump that followed the Brittany Higgins and Christian Porter episodes, with his approval up four to 58% and disapproval to five to 32%, without quite restoring him to the respective 62% and 29% he recorded in the March poll. The recovery has been particularly pronounced with women, among whom he is up nine points on approval to 55% and down eight on disapproval to 34%. Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister has widened from 47-28 to 50-24; Anthony Albanese’s ratings are said to be “constant compared to his standing last month”, when he had 39% approval and 34% disapproval.
The poll also finds 48% support and 27% opposition for the India travel ban, with 41% supporting jail time and fines and 33% opposed. However, 56% said they would support allowing citizens to return “provided they complete the necessary quarantine procedures when they arrive”, with 22% opposed. There was also a suite of questions on budget priorities that are probably better saved for the full poll release, which should be along later today.
UPDATE: Full report here. Albanese turns out to be steady on 39% approval and up one on disapproval to 35%. The poll was conducted Wednesday to Monday from a sample of 1092.
Some notable preselection action to report:
• The Tasmanian Liberal Senate preselection has seen Eric Abetz, long the dominant figure in the state branch, dumped to the loseable number three position behind fellow incumbents Jonathon Duniam and Wendy Askew. A source quoted by Sue Bailey of The Mercury said Abetz won the first round of the ballot for top position with 29 votes to Duniam’s 26 and Askew’s 12, before Duniam prevailed on the second round with 36 votes to Abetz’s 31. Askew then defeated Abetz in the ballot for second position by 37 votes to 30.
• Labor’s preselection for the new seat of Hawke on Melbourne’s north-western fringe is in limbo after the Victorian Supreme Court ruled a challenge by ten unions against the federal party organisation’s takeover of the process should proceed to a trial on May 26. This complicates former state secretary Sam Rae’s bid for the seat, which was set to be signed off on by the national executive under the terms of a deal reached between elements of the Left and Right, with Rae being a member of the latter. The Age reports Rae “will be challenged by Maribyrnong councillor Sarah Carter and former Melton council candidate Deepti Alurkar” – I’m not sure where this leaves state government minister Natalie Hutchins, earlier identified as Rae’s chief rival. Hutchins is an ally of Bill Shorten and the Australian Workers Union, who have been frozen out of the aforesaid factional deal.
• Barnaby Joyce has easily seen off a challenge for the Nationals preselection in New England from Tenterfield army officer Alex Rubin, whom he defeated in the local members’ ballot by 112 votes to 12.