The latest Morgan face-to-face poll has Labor’s two-party lead down to 52.5-47.5 after last week’s four point bounce up to 54.5-45.5. This seems a bit odd given that Labor’s primary vote is only down 0.5 per cent to 42 per cent while the Coalition is steady on 41 per cent. The effect comes from the non-major party vote figures, which are showing the same volatility as Newspoll’s without in any way replicating the surge to the Greens recorded on the weekend. Indeed, this poll – conducted at the same time – has the Greens down from 11 per cent to 8.5 per cent, with “others” doubling from 3.5 per cent to 7 per cent.

Besides which:

• The Liberals have announced candidates for two normally marginal seats in South Australia: Gawler councillor David Strauss will run against Nick Champion in Wakefield, and businesswoman Liz Davies will run against Tony Zappia in Makin. Both seats were gained by Labor at the 2007 election, with relative swings of 7.3 per cent and 8.6 per cent producing margins of 6.6 per cent and 7.7 per cent.

• The Liberals have announced candidates for the two Australian Capital Territory seats. Canberra will be contested by Giulia Jones, a former party staffer who was narrowly unsuccessfully in her run for Molonglo at the 2008 Australian Capital Territory, and sought Tasmanian Senate preselection for the 2007 federal election. Jones had been the only nominee at the time the party suspended the preselection process in late 2009 in the hopes of finding a higher profile, but it would appear none was forthcoming. In Fraser the Liberals have nominated James Milligan, a small business owner from Gungahlin.

• Amid claims from LNP member Michael Johnson that party president Bruce McIver threatened to refer him to police if he did not resign as member, the party is preparing to preselect a successor in his seat of Ryan next week. Brisbane councillor Jane Prentice is rated the front-runner, but other possible starters are said to include Seb Monsour, manager with catering and cleaning firm Spotless and brother-in-law or Brisbane lord mayor Campbell Newman, and Senator Russell Trood, who holds an unwinnable position on the party’s Senate ticket.

• The Daily Advertiser reports the paper’s former editor, Michael McCormack, has won preselection to succeed retiring Kay Hull as Nationals candidate for Riverina. Other nominees were Wesley Fang, a Child Flight helicopter pilot from Wagga Wagga, John Minogue, a farmer from Barmedman, Bill Maslin, a Gundagai councillor, and Mark Hoskinson, a farmer from Kikoira. The Liberal candidate is thought likely to be Charles Morton, described by a Poll Bludger commenter as “lawyer turned businessman/film financier/mate of Mel Gibson”.

• The Liberal candidate for the Melbourne seat of Isaacs, Peter Angelico, has withdrawn after his Dandenong metal fabrication business was fined $25,000 over a workplace accident that resulted in a 16-year-old losing part of three fingers.

• The Nationals have nominated Tamworth Chamber of Commerce president Tim Coates to run against independent Tony Windsor in New England.

• Farmborough Heights business consultant Michelle Blicavs has been unanimously endorsed by local members as Liberal candidate for the NSW state seat of Wollongong.

UMR Research has published results on attitudes towards banning wearing of the burkha, producing intuitively correct findings of generally high support that wanes among the younger and university educated.

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