Surging Labor annoys radio Liberal? Could Campbell Newman win government for the Liberal-National Party in Queensland but remain locked outside parliament? That prospect is gathering momentum with new polling out of the crucial seat of Ashgrove, where the former Brisbane mayor is taking on Labor’s Kate Jones for a seat in Parliament. ReachTEL has been running regular polling since September — championed by Liberal-turned-4BC shock jock Gary Hardgrave — which has shown Jones trailing Newman. But a new survey of 615 residents released last night has Newman’s primary vote dipping under 50% for the first time and Jones surging 3.4 points to 41%.

One insider tried to tell us Hardgrave, a minister in the Howard government, got hold of the numbers and refused to air them. In fact, the figures were dispatched last night after Hardgrave’s drive-time show and a producer assured us they’ll get a run on his program later today. Hardgrave was getting the drop on the poll numbers but ReachTEL is now dispatching them far and wide given the intense interest in the contest.

Young LNP members back Ron Paul. A bunch of Young Liberal-National Party acolytes like the look of US Republican candidate Ron Paul. An anonymous reader noted this new Facebook group — admittedly with only 10 supporters — and reckons its all part of a rightward Tea Party-like charge by the junior members. “This is part of a big internal push,” they say.

Mystery anti-tax letterbox drop. Who’s stirring up trouble in Anna Bligh’s electorate ahead of the Queensland poll? A Crikey reader found this flier in their letterbox on Wednesday. “I was under the impression that political stuff needed to indicate who had distributed/produced it,” they write. Indeed.

The casualisation of ABC ranks. An ABC insider couldn’t help but point out the irony in the broadcaster reporting on an “alarming” rise in casual jobs while using casual workers extensively in its own newsroom. And staff are not happy, they tell us: “Casuals are shuffled around, given one shift some weeks, six other weeks and then left off the roster entirely with no discussion or warning for weeks on end. We’re not talking about blow-ins — these are workers who have been kept on casual contracts for years.”

Swat! Sky News on the offensive. Sky News remains under attack today, with fruit flies still swarming the newsroom and dive-bombing unsuspecting presenters, as Crikey exclusively revealed yesterday. Australian News Channel CEO Angelos Frangopoulos writes from an undisclosed location: “I can confirm (swat) we have some (swat) unwanted guests (swat) in the newsroom (swat). We’re planning an offensive on them.” A newsroom insider reckons it’s not all that bad and some staffer “has a bee in their bonnet about it” (the pun was intended). Regardless, you can’t be too careful. Keep your heads down and your mouths closed, folks.

Peter Fray

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