The first SA state Newspoll published since Steven Marshall deposed Isobel Redmond as Liberal leader has the party gaining three points on two-party preferred. Also featured: a review of preselection action since October.
James J in comments relates Newspoll’s first quarterly South Australian state voting intention result since Steven Marshall assumed the Liberal leadership shows the Liberal lead increasing from 51-49 to 54-46, from primary votes of 33% for Labor (down four), 44% for the Coalition (up three) and 10% for the Greens (up one). Jay Weatherill’s personal ratings show his approval down three to 46% and disapproval up two to 34%. Steven Marshall’s debut figures are 37% approve and 19% disapprove. Weatherill leads as preferred premier 42-27. The sample was an unusually small 586, for an unusually high margin of error of around 4%, presumably because only polling conducted since Marshall became leader on February 4 has been included.
The Liberals have been busy with preselections over the past few months, selecting the following candidates:
• Stephan Knoll, manager of Barossa Fine Foods, in the safe Liberal Barossa Valley seat of Schubert, to be vacated by the retirement of Ivan Venning. It was earlier reported the preselection was being delayed to keep an option open for Alexander Downer, but such talk has faded since Steven Marshall assumed the leadership.
• Joe Barry, a police officer aligned with Christopher Pyne’s moderate faction, for the western suburbs seat of Colton, held by Labor’s Paul Caica on a margin of 3.9%. Barry was chosen at the expense of Jassmine Wood, who ran for the federal seat of Hindmarsh in 2010 and was initially rated as the front-runner. Her fortunes changed in November when a motion moved by Pyne at state executive resolved to reopen nominations to allow Barry to run. Wood lodged an appeal against her eventual defeat, complaining she had earlier lobbied Barry confidentially without knowing she would be facing him as an opponent.
• Carolyn Habib, a 32-year-old Marion councillor, for the inner southern Adelaide seat of Elder. The seat is held for Labor on a margin of 1.7% by former senior minister Patrick Conlon, who quit cabinet in January and will bow out at the election. Conlon has attracted considerable criticism of late for taking up a three-day-a-week position with law firm Minter Ellison while continuing to serve in parliament. Labor is yet to choose his successor, but government adviser Mary-Lou Corcoran and lawyer Adrian Tisato have been mentioned as possible contenders.
• Corey Wingard, former presenter of a football program on Channel Ten, for the southern suburbs seat of Mitchell, where Labor’s Alan Sibbons unseated Labor-turned-Greens-turned-independent member Kris Hanna at the 2010 election, and holds a post-redistribution two-party preferred margin of 2.4%. Earlier reports suggested the nomination might again go to the candidate from 2010, chartered accountant Peta McCance.
• Kendall Jackson, former ABC rural reporter who left last year to manage the Flinders Rest Hotel in Warnertown, to run against independent Geoff Brock in the Port Pirie and Clare Valley seat of Frome.
• Local earth-moving business owner Cosie Costa to again run in the Gawler area seat of Light, despite a disappointing showing in 2010 when Labor member Tony Piccolo added 3.2% to his margin. The Labor margin after the redistribution is 4.2%.
• Norwood, Payneham and St Peters councillor Vincent Tarzia to run in the eastern Adelaide seat of Hartley, held for Labor by Grace Portolesi on a diminished post-redistribution margin of 0.5%. Associated with Christopher Pyne and the moderate faction, Tarzia easily won an October preselection with 79 votes against 11 for Campbelltown councillor Marijka Ryan and 10 for Joe Scalzi, who held the seat from 1993 until his defeat in 2006 and again ran unsuccessfully in 2010.
• Marion deputy mayor David Speirs for Bright, after winning an October preselection vote at the expense of Maria Kourtesis, the narrowly unsuccessful candidate in 2010, by 38 votes to 34. Bright covers coastal suburbs immediately south of Glenelg and is held for Labor by Chloe Fox. The redistribution has turned Fox’s 0.4% margin into a notional Liberal margin of 0.1%.
• Scott Roberts, a 32-year-old banker and Prospect councillor, for the inner northern Adelaide seat of Enfield, held for Labor by John Rau on a margin of 10.2%.
Labor preselection news:
• Stephen Mullighan, deputy chief-of-staff to the Premier and member of the Right, has been chosen to replace the retiring Michael Wright in the northern Adelaide seat of Lee, where the margin is 7.9%.
• Australian Services Union state secretary Katrine Hildyard has been preselected to succeed the retiring Gay Thompson in Reynell, a southern suburbs seat with a margin of 10.6%.
• Daniel Wills of The Advertiser reports the activities of Frances Bedford, which included joining a protest rally against the government’s awarding of stationery contracts to multinational rather than local companies, have resulted in pressure to have her dumped in her north-eastern Adelaide seat of Florey. Her mooted replacement is Justin Hanson, an industrial officer for the Australian Workers Union and the son of the union’s state secretary Wayne Hanson. However, “many Labor insiders are fearful Ms Bedford would run as an independent”.