The latest Morgan survey combines two weekends of face-to-face polling, and it confirms the message elsewhere that Labor has opened up a lead to rival its honeymoon period early last year. Labor’s primary vote is up 2.5 per cent on the last survey to 51.5 per cent, while the Coalition is down 3.5 per cent to 33 per cent: its worst result since May 2008, and 1.5 per cent below the previous worst result on Malcolm Turnbull’s watch. The two-party split of 61.5-38.5 compares with 59.5-40.5 last time. Furthermore:

• Talk of Attorney-General Robert McClelland abandoning parliament for a diplomatic post had escaped my notice, but the St George and Sutherland Shire Leader has reported on the implications for his seat of Barton should it come to pass:

The reports said he would make room for NSW Senator Mark Arbib who wants to be a minister in the Rudd cabinet and had set his sights on Mr McClelland’s seat. If Mr McClelland was “white-anted” he would take a diplomatic post and Rockdale councillor Shaoquett Moselmane would be called in as a potential powerbroker to help Senator Arbib take Barton in any preselection fightthat might arise for the next federal election.

The story is denied by all concerned.

Paul Austin of The Age gets a bit over-excited about the Victorian Electoral Commission’s ruling on independent candidate Les Twentyman’s complaint of misleading electoral material during last year’s Kororoit by-election campaign. Twentyman argued that a Labor pamphlet stating that “a vote for Les Twentyman is a vote for the Liberals” constituted material “likely to mislead or deceive an elector in relation to the casting of the vote” under the meaning of section 84 of the Electoral Act, an offence potentially punishable by six months’ imprisonment. Those familiar with complaints of this kind will not be surprised to learn that it was rejected, on the grounds that the section is narrowly concerned with matters such as how-to-vote cards that deceive voters into backing the wrong candidate. The VEC’s report on the by-election states that “legal opinion is that the pamphlet is misleading in its suggestion of an affiliation or agreement between Mr Twentyman and the Liberal Party”, but since this is neither here nor there as far as the Electoral Act is concerned, I can’t help wondering if it’s the commission’s place to say so.

• The Derwent Valley Gazette reports that the Tasmanian Liberals have named six candidate for Lyons at next year’s state election: incumbent Rene Hidding, “Brighton councillor Leigh Gray, vascular surgeon Philip Lamont, transport operator Geoff Page, business consultant Jim Playsted and Meander Valley Mayor Mark Shelton”.

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