This week’s Essential Research survey has Labor’s lead at 60-40, up from 59-41 last week. Also featured are interesting findings on development of nuclear power plants for electricity generation (43 per cent support, 35 per cent oppose) and whether Australia has an obligation to dispose of nuclear waste from countries it exports uranium to (26 per cent agree, 53 per cent disagree), along with perceptions of the Australian-US relationship and a quiz question on Australia Day (which makes me wonder how many answered without recourse to Google). Other news:

• The South Australian Liberals have suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of independent Geoff Brock in the Frome by-election following Saturday’s distribution of preferences. Crikey subscribers can read my post-mortem here, and a still lively discussion is raging on my live coverage post. The Advertiser reports that Brock’s success might give other potential independent candidates ideas, including “ALP stalwarts such as Rod Sawford and Murray Delaine”, who were respectively Labor members for the federal seat of Port Adelaide and the state seat of Cheltenham. Liberal leader Martin Hamilton-Smith says he is “ready to make deals with any independent candidate who ran next year in safe Labor seats such as Port Adelaide, Croydon, Lee and Colton”.

• Speculation about an early Queensland election continues to stop and start. Mark Bahnisch of Larvatus Prodeo says the Courier-Mail has damaged its credibility with its repeated wolf-crying on the subject, while The Australian’s D. D. McNicoll contends that “the whisper in Queensland political circles is Premier Anna Bligh will call the state election on February 28, a date that ensures bumper superannuation payouts for all the surviving members of the ALP’s ‘Class of 2001’ who were never expected to serve more than one term in parliament.” “Former Howard government senior adviser” David Moore surveys the landscape in The Australian.

• The NSW Nationals’ plans to select a candidate in a winnable seat for the 2011 state election by holding an open primary has caught the attention of blogger Tim Andrews, who is “unsure why this proposal hasn’t received more attention, as it has the potential to revolutionise Australian politics”. Ben Raue at The Tally Room reckons the idea is “at least a good gimmick”. The Nationals’ briefing paper on the subject can be read here.

• Western Australia’s daylight saving referendum will be held on May 16. Daylight saving was previously voted down in 1975 (53.66 per cent against), 1984 (54.35 per cent) and 1992 (53.14 per cent).

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