The latest Essential Research survey was conducted during the worst period for Labor of the “utegate” saga, from June 17 to 21, but it shows Labor’s two-party lead steady on 57-43. Further questions: would respondents support tax increases to improve spending on services and infrastructure (mostly not); which taxes would you most and least care to have increased (alcohol and cigarettes okay, GST and petrol big no); whether the government’s emissions trading scheme is tough enough (leaning towards no, but with a high don’t know response); who should or will be Labor’s next prime minister (big win for Julia Gillard on both counts); whether Peter Costello’s departure will be good or bad for the Liberal Party (split decision).

UPDATE: Essential Research have been in touch to point out that their results are composites of two weeks’ polling, and each survey is mostly completed by the weekend, so the impact of the OzCar issue should not be overstated.

Two news nuggets to go:

• State upper house member Lee Rhiannon has been confirmed as the Greens’ lead Senate candidate for New South Wales. The Greens have only previously won a Senate seat in the state in 2001, when they benefited from the one-off of One Nation preferences, but it’s conceivable that a rise in the Labor vote at the next election (assuming it’s a half-Senate rather than a double dissolution) could deliver them enough preferences to secure a seat at the expense of the Liberals. Rhiannon will quit her state seat when the election is called, at which point the Greens will choose her replacement.

• The Australian Parliamentary Library has published a newly updated elections timetable, laying out what might happen and when at federal, state and territory level.

Finally, a reminder that I’m on semi-holiday so apologies if comment moderation isn’t being dealt with promptly.