GhostWhoVotes reports that a Galaxy poll, conducted from a sample of 995 from Friday to Sunday, has the Coalition leading 56-44 on two-party preferred, from primary votes of 31% for Labor, 49% for the Coalition and 12% for the Greens. Supplementary questions find 64% believing the government is worse off now than it was under Kevin Rudd, against 20% who think it better off; 59% believing the Prime Minister has failed to deliver an effective policy to reduce carbon emissions, against 59% who believe she has; and 57% saying she has failed in sharing the benefits of the mining boom, against 29% who say she has succeeded. There is also a frankly silly question as to whether the government has succeeded in stopping asylum seeker boats, to which 9% (presumably Labor partisans irritated by the question) wrongly said yes, and 80% offered the obvious response.
UPDATE: Essential Research records two-party preferred steady at 56-44, from primary votes of 33% for Labor (up one), 49% for the Coalition (steady) and 10% for the Greens (steady). Other questions cover most trusted party to handle various issues (Greens environment and climate change, Labor industrial relations, Liberal everything else); whether the economy is heading in the right or wrong direction (43-32 in favour, compared with 36-41 against in March); trust in people and organisations (Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull do better than Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott, who do better than Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart; and bias in media reporting in favour or against various groups (Liberals and business seen to do better than Labor and unions).
In other news, some state, territory and local government matters of note:
• Roy Morgan has published three phone polls of state voting intention for New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland on Friday, from a small combined sample of 811. While the margins of error are about 5.5%, the results are roughly in line with other polling in showing little change on the most recent elections, with the conservative incumbents leading 52-48 in Victoria and 62-38 in both New South Wales and Queensland. Personal ratings show a strikingly poor result for Ted Baillieu, at 29% approval and 53.5% disapproval. The polls were conducted on the Tuesdays and Wednesdays of the previous two weeks.
• I have lazily neglected to cover the publication of draft boundaries for the state redistribution in South Australia, but as always Antony Green has been well and truly on the job. The proposals have been uncommonly controversial in that they have essentially ignored the legislative injunction that the commissioners must, “as far as practicable”, draw boundaries which on the basis of the previous election results would have achieved “fairness” with respect to the major parties’ shares of seats and two-party preferred votes. Given Labor’s success in winning 26 out of 47 seats at the 2010 election from 48.4% of the two-party vote, this would have demanded tremendous creativity on the part of the redistribution commissioners, and presumably some very contorted electoral boundaries designed to slash Labor members’ margins.
• Refugee advocate Linda Scott has won the “community preselection” to determine Labor’s candidate to take on Clover Moore in the Sydney lord mayoral election in September. Half of the vote was determined by a ballot open to any of the 90,000 voters in the municipality (albeit that they were required to pledge that they were not members of a rival party), with the other half determined by party members. It attracted 400 party members and 3900 non-members. Labor will now trial the procedure in five yet-to-be-decided seats for the next 2015 state election. However, Andrew Crook of Crikey has reported the party’s various state branches are backing away from the idea of conducting primaries for the federal election, which they had been encouraged to pursue by the December national conference and the Bracks-Carr-Faulkner post-election review.
• Antony Green has published his guide to the Northern Territory election on August 25.
Federal preselection news:
• WA Treasurer Christian Porter’s bombshell announcement that he will seek to enter federal politics at the next election has transformed the Liberal preselection contest for the Perth hinterland seat of Pearce, where incumbent of 19 years Judi Moylan will retire at the next election. Porter entered state parliament at a February 2008 by-election and assumed the role of Attorney-General when the Barnett government came to power seven months later, winning promotion to Treasurer in December 2010. Marcus Priest of the Australian Financial Review says Porter is “often seen as part of the right of the WA Liberals”, being “an economic dry and law and order hard-liner”, but “can be socially liberal on issues such as native title”. Prior to entering politics he had been a public prosecutor, adviser to Howard government Justice Minister and WA Senator Chris Ellison and law lecturer at the University of Western Australia. The front-runner for the preselection was previously thought to have been 24-year-old trademark lawyer Alex Butterworth, who is planning to fight on. The West Australian reports the field also includes “two locals, Bill Crabtree and Rod Henderson”. Another contender, high-profile financial adviser Nick Bruining, has conceded Porter’s entry has left him with no chance and withdrawn.
• Richard Torbay, state independent member for Northern Tablelands, has all but been confirmed as the Nationals candidate to take on Tony Windsor in New England, with Imre Salusinszky of The Australian reporting the party has guaranteed him “freedom to speak with an independent voice on local issues”. Nationals internal polling reportedly found Torbay rated more highly in the electorate than both Windor and the other mooted Nationals contender for New England, Barnaby Joyce. Labor’s NSW state secretary, Sam Dastyari, has accused Torbay of offering to join the ALP in November 2009 if it agreed to make him Premier, shortly before Nathan Rees was dumped in favour of Kristina Keneally. The claim has been vigorously denied by Torbay, who was a member of the ALP during his days as mayor of Armidale in the 1990s. This is consistent with reporting at the time from the Daily Telegraph and Barrie Cassidy on Insiders, which indicated that approaches to Torbay were at Labor’s initiative rather than his own. (UPDATE: Fairfax further reports that John Della Bosca, who was involved in the talks with Torbay, has said Dastyari’s account is inconsistent with his own recollection).
• Sarah Henderson, former state 7:30 Report presenter and unsuccessful candidate in 2010, has easily won a fiercely contested struggle for Liberal preselection in Corangamite, polling an absolute majority in the first round. Her main rival was Rod Nockles, an internet security expert and former Peter Costello staffer who also sought preselection last time. Henderson’s backers were said to include Tony Abbott and Michael Kroger, while Nockles reportedly had support from Peter Costello, Andrew Robb, Senators Arthur Sinodinos and Scott Ryan and Higgins MP Kelly O’Dwyer.
• Michael Sukkar, a 30-year-old tax laywer for the firm Ashurt, has emerged a surprise winner in the Liberal preselection for the marginal eastern Melbourne seat of Deakin. The presumed front-runner had been John Pesutto, a lawyer and Victorian government adviser said to be closely associated with Ted Baillieu. In third place was Michelle Frazer, state government media and communications adviser. (UPDATE: VexNews relates that also-ran candidates Phillip Fusco, Terry Barnes, Andrew Munroe were eliminated in that order, at which point Sukkar and former Melbourne candidate Simon Olsen were tied for third. After winning a run-off against Olsen, Sukkar crucially managed to get his nose ahead of Frazer, who unlike Sukkar would not have succeeded in getting ahead of Pesutto in the final round due to a view among Sukkar’s backers that she “wasn’t up to it”.)
• Cate Faehrmann, who filled the vacancy in the New South Wales Legislative Council when Lee Rhiannon was elected to the Senate at the 2010 election, has won preselection to lead the party’s Senate ticket at the next election.
• Jodie Stephens of the Launceston Examiner reports the Tasmanian Liberals have selected trade and investment adviser Sally Chandler and vineyard owner Sarah Courtney as the third and fourth candidates for their Senate ticket, behind incumbents Richard Colbeck and David Bushby. Others in the preselection field were “Launceston Chamber of Commerce office manager Kristen Finnigan, Hobart Alderman Sue Hickey, previous Liberal candidate Jane Howlett, former Bass MHA David Fry and former senior Liberal adviser Don Morris”.
• The Port Macquarie News reports the candidates for the Nationals preselection to take on Rob Oakeshott in Lyne are local gastroenterologist David Gillespie, who was the candidate in 2010, and Brett Sprague, a former chiropractor and current officer in the Royal Australian Artillery. The ballot will be held on July 1. UPDATE: Another Port Macquarie News report says other starters are Port Macquarie Panthers general manager Russell Cooper, former councillor and business owner Jamie Harrison, 26-year-old IT systems engineer Aaron Mendham and Paladin Panels Wauchope owner Reg Pierce).
• Steven Scott of the Courier-Mail reports that the LNP candidate for the Brisbane seat of Moreton in 2010, Malcolm Cole, is likely to be given the chance for another crack at the seat. Cole’s CV includes spells as a Courier-Mail journalist and a staffer to former Senator and factional warlord Santo Santoro.
• Terry Deefholts of the Daily Examiner reports the NSW Nationals will preselect a candidate to run against Labor member Janelle Saffin in the marginal north coast seat of Page on June 30. The candidate from 2010, Clunes businessman and farmer Kevin Hogan, has confirmed he will nominate, with Clarence Valley mayor Richie Williamson and Alumy Creek farmer Fiona Leviny also named as possible starters.
• The West Australian reports Geoff Hourn, a former lieutenant-colonel in the Australian Intelligence Corps, and Darryl Moore, an engineer, have nominated for Liberal preselection to take on Stephen Smith in Perth (UPDATE: Nikki Savva of The Australian reports this was decided on Thursday night in Moore’s favour).