… with some God-fearing Good Friday news nuggets to tide you over until the pubs re-open.

• Senate polls have consistently proved themselves to be pointless endeavours, but let the record note that Roy Morgan has produced one from their last three months of surveys. This might be of at least some use if Morgan gave South Australian respondents a chance to indicate support for Nick Xenophon, but they presumably don’t because he is not up for re-election next time (unless there’s a double dissolution of course). Nonetheless, South Australia shows an “others” result of 19.5 per cent compared with 8 per cent nationally.

• The Tasmanian Liberals have preselected three candidates for the Hobart electorate of Denison for next year’s state election, after earlier delaying the process due to concerns about a “lack of high-profile talent”. The nominees are 70-year-old incumbent Michael Hodgman; lawyer Elise Archer, who polled a solid 3.2 per cent at the 2006 election; and Matt Stevenson, state president of the Young Liberals. No sign of contentious Hobart alderman Marti Zucco, but two positions remain to be filled.

• Yesterday’s Crikey Daily Mail had a piece by Malcolm Mackerras noting the looming by-election in New Zealand for Helen Clark’s seat of Mount Albert, and the absurdity of such a thing in a supposedly proportional representation system. If it loses, Labour will be deprived of one of the seats entitled to it by its national vote share at last November’s election. New Zealand’s mixed-member proportional system is modelled on Germany’s, but departs from it in that vacated constituency seats in Germany are filled by unelected candidates from the party’s national lists – which New Zealand was obviously loath to do as it would randomly match members to electorates with which they had no connection.

• Mackerras also notes that the May 12 election in the Canadian province of British Columbia will be held in conjunction with a second referendum seeking to replace its first-past-the-post single-member constituency system with “BC-STV” (British Columbia-Single Transferable Vote). I take this to be identical in every respect to Hare-Clark as it operates in Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory (complete with Robson rotation and optional preferential voting), except the number of members per region will range from two to seven. A referendum was also held at the previous election in 2005, but it received 57.7 per cent support while requiring 60 per cent to be binding. Get funky with the official website of British Columbians for BC-STV.

UPDATE (11/4/09): The West Australian carries a second Westpoll survey of 400 respondents on the May 16 daylight saving referendum, showing 47 per cent supporting and 51 per cent opposed compared with 42 per cent and 57 per cent at the poll last month. The West’s report says this means “community support for daylight saving has climbed steadily over the last month”, but I don’t need to tell you all what a load of bollocks that is. Taken together, the surveys suggest the proposal is most likely headed for defeat by the same narrow-ish margins as in 1975, 1984 and 1992.

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