Roy Morgan has leapt in with last weekend’s face-to-face polling of 1050 respondents, showing Labor’s lead has actually nudged slightly upwards: from 60.5-39.5 to 61-39. Labor’s primary vote is down one point to 51 per cent, but the Coalition’s is also down two to 32.5 per cent. Contra Newspoll, the Greens are up two to 9.5 per cent.
• Imre Salusinszky of The Australian reports Julia Gillard hopes to save “soft Left” colleague Laurie Ferguson by moving him to Werriwa, whose member Chris Hayes would have to make do with Macarthur – in turn cutting loose Nick Bleasdale, the candidate from 2007 who appeared lined up for another shot. It appears Hayes will suffer that fate in any case, as it has been agreed Werriwa should go to the Left. However, Anthony Albanese’s “hard Left” wants it to go to Damien Ogden, an LHMU organiser who defeated incumbent Ken McDonnell for preselection in Sutherland Shire Council’s “E” ward before last year’s elections, but ultimately failed to win the seat. Hayes is understandably not keen, and is calling for the matter to be determined by the local branches – as Ferguson did last week when his ambition was to stay on in redrawn Reid at the expense of John Murphy. That appears to be off the table because the seat is reserved for the Right. Importantly, Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald reports the Prime Minister is also of a mind to throw Ferguson a lifeline.
• VexNews tells of a further brush fire in Macquarie, to be vacated at the election by Bob Debus. According to VexNews, Debus and the hard Left would have the national executive decide the issue in favour of Susan Templeman, principal of Templeman Consulting, who sells herself as “one of the country’s leading media trainers and coaches”. However, local branches favour Debus antagonist Adam Searle, a “soft Left” member whose designs on Debus’s old state seat of Blue Mountains were thwarted by Debus’s recruitment of Phil Koperberg. When Debus agreed to make life easier for the Prime Minister by relinquishing his position in the ministry in June, Glenn Milne in The Australian reported talk he had done so on the condition that he get to choose his successor in Macquarie.
• The Australian reports Warren Entsch will try to win Leichhardt back for the LNP at the next election. Entsch retired before the last election, and Labor demolished the 10.3 per cent margin he had built up with a 14.3 per cent swing. He floated the possibility of running for Cairns or Barron River at the March state election, but thought better of it. Teresa Gambaro, who lost Petrie at the election, plans to nominate for Brisbane, where the redistribution has cut Labor’s margin from 6.8 per cent to 3.8 per cent. UPDATE: AAP has reported Gambaro has indeed been preselected (thanks to LTEP in comments).