The first Roy Morgan face-to-face poll to catch the full force of the OzCar aftermath shows Labor’s two-party lead up from 55-45 to 58-42. Conducted over the past two weekends from a sample of 1190 (smaller than usual from a poll covering two weeks), it has Labor up 0.5 per cent on the primary vote to 46.5 per cent and the Coalition down a sharp four points to 35 per cent. The slack has been taken up by the Greens, up 3.5 per cent to 11.5 per cent.

Here’s an incomplete sampling of the past week’s action. This site’s normal energy levels will resume in about a week or so.

• Monday’s weekly Essential Research survey had Labor’s two-party lead up from 58-42 to 59-41. Supplementary questions showed a spike in confidence in the economy, but a somewhat paradoxical increase in concern about employment; Joe Hockey favoured over Malcolm Turnbull as Liberal leader by 17 per cent to 13 per cent; and the Labor Party viewed more favourably than the Liberals on 11 separate measures.

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• The South Australian Liberals have a new leader in Heysen MP Isobel Redmond. Redmond succeeds Waite MP Martin Hamilton-Smith, who was mortally wounded after accusing the government of doing favours for an organisation linked to the Church of Scientology using what proved to be faked emails. Hamilton-Smith called an initial spill last Friday after Mackillop MP Mitch Williams quit the shadow ministry, which was universally interpreted as an attempt to undermine Hamilton-Smith ahead of a future pitch for his job. However, Williams declined to put his name forward at the ensuing spill, at which the sole rival nominee was deputy leader and Bragg MP Vickie Chapman. After inital expectations he would comfortably survive, Hamilton-Smith emerged from the vote without the support of a party room majority: while he won the vote 11 to 10, one member had abstained. Hamilton-Smith called another spill to clear the air, but when Redmond (who had been newly elected in place of Chapman as deputy) said she would put her name forward he announced he would stand aside. The result was a three-way tussle between Redmond, Chapman and Williams, in which Redmond defeated Chapman by 13 votes to nine after Williams was excluded in the first round. Goyder MP Steven Griffiths won the vote for deputy ahead of Williams by eight votes to six (since only lower house MPs get to vote for the deputy, whereas members from both houses have a vote for the leadership).

Antony Green crunches some electoral numbers to conclude that, contrary to widespread belief, Labor’s position in the Senate would be better if the next election were for half the chamber in the normal fashion, rather than a double dissolution.

• Against his better judgement, Peter Brent at Mumble enters the world of blogdom. He’s also written a piece on Inside Story which delivers on what I emptily promised a few weeks back, namely to review the report of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters report into the 2007 election.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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