Patricia Karvelas in The Australian:

Liberal strategists believe they are in line to easily win at least seven Labor seats and retain their own most marginal ones – but concede they are still falling short of being able to take Government. A senior Liberal strategist said the Queensland seats of Leichhardt and Longman are as “good as gone” to Labor and that Health spokesman Peter Dutton would easily retain the seat of Dickson – which has become notionally Labor because of a redistribution. The Liberals also believe they are in line to take Dawson on a 2.4 per cent margin from Labor. In NSW they say they will easily keep their seats of Gilmore, and Macarthur, but are not as confident about the battleground seat of Lindsay in western Sydney. But they believe they can pick up Robertson and Macquarie. In WA, the Liberals believe they could pick up Hasluck and keep Swan.

Mark Simpkin on ABC Television:

Labor MPs are calling Mark Latham all sorts of things, of which the most polite is “unwelcome distraction”. One minister told the ABC the government would have lost if the election had been held in the second or third weeks of the campaign, but it’s slowly clawing its way back, making a distraction-free final week crucial.

Simon Canning in The Australian:

THE Australian Labor Party has spent nearly $5 million advertising on metropolitan television and radio, and in newspapers in the first three weeks of the election campaign, outspending the Liberals by more than $1.3m. In the first concrete ad spending figures for the election compiled by the Nielsen Company, the ALP spent $4.86m on ads until August 7, as it worked to gain an early advantage over the Liberals. The ACTU, running a campaign against the possibility of a Liberal government reintroducing Work Choices, has emerged as the third biggest spender during the first three weeks, investing $2.13m. Spending by all three groups is believed to be significantly higher than Nielsen reports with subscription TV, regional radio and regional newspapers not yet accounted for … Labor looks unlikely to match the massive spend of the Liberals during the 2007 campaign, when they invested $14.4m during the course of the campaign.

Further to the last item, Wednesday’s Gruen Nation aired results from market research company Xtreme on the volume of party television advertising. They found that from the day the election was called until last weekend, the Liberals aired 736 ads to Labor’s 635. Over half of the deficit was accounted for by Perth, where a Liberal Party engorged by mining donations has been able to blitz Labor by 151 ads to 83. The market hardest hit by both parties was Brisbane with 197 ads for Labor and 188 Coalition ads. In Sydney the score was 188 Labor and 153 Liberal; in Melbourne, 128 Coalition and 83 Labor; in Adelaide, 116 Coalition and 84 Labor.

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