The latest weekly Morgan face-to-face poll has Labor shedding another two points on the primary vote – down over the last three surveys from 42 per cent to 40 per cent to 38 per cent – and the dividend again being picked up by the Greens, who have gone from 8.5 per cent to 11 per cent to 13 per cent. The Coalition is down half a point to 41 per cent. As a result there is only a slight change on the two-party vote, with Labor’s lead down from 52-48 to 51.5-48.5. There seems to be an anomaly with the “others” rating, which has supposedly jerked up from an anomalous 2 per cent to 6.5 per cent. The fact that last week’s figures only add up to 97 per cent probably has something to do with this.

Elsewhere:

• New South Wales Labor is bracing itself for tomorrow’s Penrith by-election, which you can discuss here. Tune into this site from 6pm tomorrow for live coverage.

• The Senate passed legislation yesterday that will allow pre-poll votes cast within the relevant electorate to be treated as ordinary rather than declaration votes, and thus to be admitted to the count on election night. This will account for about 4500 votes per electorate – roughly 5 per cent of the total. Nearly 20 per cent of the votes cast in 2007 were declaration votes of various kinds, slightly under half of which were pre-polls. The bill also allows changes to enrolment to be made online, and will prevent a repeat of the Christian Democratic Party’s effort from last year’s Bradfield by-election where it fielded nine candidates without having to go to the bother of obtaining the 50 supporting signatures required of independent candidates.

• Wyong councillor John McNamara has been chosen as the new Liberal candidate for Dobell. The nomination had been vacated by the withdrawal of original nominee Garry Lee, who seems to have been pushed because his establishment of a company to take advantage of the government’s insulation scheme threatened to muddy the election campaign waters. VexNews published a colourful account from a local Liberal who tipped the outcome earlier in the week, which suggested the party does not fancy its chances in the seat.

• The Queensland Times has published a list of eight starters for the June 27 Liberal National Party preselection in the new seat of Wright, to be held following the disendorsement of Hajnal Ban. Not included are the previously discussed Bill O’Chee and Ted Shepherd. Former Blair MP Cameron Thompson appears to be the front-runner, the others being Scott Buchholz, chief-of-staff to Senator Barnaby Joyce; Richard Hackett-Jones, “a long-term tax-review campaigner who helms the Revenue Review Foundation which advocates for a uniform rate of income tax”; Bob La Castra, Gold Coast councillor and perennial preselection bridesmaid; David Neuendorf, a Lockyer councillor; Scott White, an aircraft engineer; and the unheralded Erin Kerr and Jonathan Krause.

• Yet more trouble for the Liberal National Party, with the Courier-Mail reporting local members are calling for Forde candidate Bert van Manen to be disendorsed because “he had not kept his promise to fund his own election”. While van Manen was reckoned safe for the time being, “sources admitted there had been problems and his position might come under scrutiny if there were any further issues”.

• The Liberal National Party has preselected Logan councillor Luke Smith to run against Craig Emerson in the safe Labor southern Brisbane seat of Rankin.

• The Illawarra Mercury reports former rugby league player David Boyle will withdraw as Labor candidate for the winnable south coast New South Wales seat of Gilmore, after his installation by the national executive caused an uproar in local party branches.

• Following the withdrawal of original nominee Tania Murdock, the Nationals will preselect a new candidate tomorrow for the Labor-held north coast New South Wales seat of Richmond. The preselection has attracted four candidates, an interesting turnaround on the first round when Murdock was the only person interested. According to Alex Easton of The Northern Star, the nominees are “Richmond Nationals president Alan Hunter and lawyer Jim Fuggle from the south of the electorate; and businessman Phil Taylor and pharmacist Brian Curran from the seat’s north”. Oddly, Hunter was quoted on Wednesday saying “party members would not automatically appoint a candidate if there were no stand-out nominations”, with suggestions the one-time Anthony family stronghold should be left to the Liberals.

• The Tasmanian Liberals are hawking internal polling which it says shows Labor in trouble in as many three seats, although the only figure provided – a 37 per cent primary vote tie in Bass, which would translate to a comfortable win for Labor – doesn’t bear this out. The other two seats are Braddon and, it seems, Lyons. Barnaby Joyce has today been talking of a Queensland hit-list consisting of Leichhardt, Dawson, Flynn, Longman and Wright (a slightly creative inclusion given it’s a notionally LNP new seat), with Forde as a roughie.

• Left faction powerbroker and state party assistant secretary Luke Foley has taken the place of Ian Macdonald in the New South Wales Legislative Council, following the latter’s resignation after an adverse review finding into travel expenses.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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