Another bad Newspoll this week has kept the pressure on Tony Abbott, but the latest reading of the BludgerTrack poll aggregate has taken some of the edge off the formidable lead Labor opened up last week, thanks to softer results from Roy Morgan and Essential Research. The 0.7% shift on two-party preferred results in five seats changing hands on the seat projection, including one in every state except Western Australia. Despite that, the leadership ratings record further improvement for Bill Shorten, since Newspoll is the only one of the three to have provided a new result. Shorten has now opened up a small but clear lead over Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister, and there has been a solid uptick in his net approval rating while Tony Abbott continues to flounder.


• Keep an eye on this post for all your Canning by-election news needs, including a fresh batch of snippets posted just now, and a fairly intensive account of yesterday’s slightly perplexing ReachTEL result.

• Tasmanian Labor Senator Lisa Singh has been dumped to a theoretically unwinnable fourth position on the party’s Senate ticket, behind incumbents Anne Urquhart of the Left and Helen Polley of the Right, and – most contentiously – non-incumbent John Short, state secretary of the Left faction Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, who is set to take third place. The elevation of Short ahead of a factionally unaligned woman front-bencher (Singh is shadow parliamentary secretary for the environment, climate change and water) has not been well-received, but Bill Shorten says he will not seek to have the decision overturned by the party’s national executive. It’s worth noting, albeit just barely, that Tasmania is the state where it is least implausible that below-the-line voters might trump the order of the party-mandated Senate ticket, owing to the smaller number of candidates and voters’ familiarity with choosing between party candidates under the Hare-Clark system in state elections. This was known to happen in Tasmania in the decade after the present Senate electoral system was introduced in 1949, but it hasn’t come anywhere near occurring since the above-the-line voting option was introduced in 1984. The below-the-line voting rate was 10.34% in Tasmania at the 2013 election, compared with 3.51% nationally.

• The Greens in South Australia have suffered the embarrassment of having candidate interview reports for its Senate preselection leaked to the media. The contents suggest that the front-runner for a preselection to be determined on September 6 is Robert Simms, an Adelaide City councillor who was rated as “highly recommended” owing to a “combination of experience, vision and political skills”. Bension Siebert of InDaily reports that the remaining contenders were ranked into two categories, the more flattering of which was headed “competent”. This included “former Greens state parliamentary candidate Matthew Carey, state Hindmarsh Greens branch convenor Rebecca Galdies, and former federal Greens candidate and environmental lawyer Ruth Beach”. Then came “needs further development”, which applied to Sam Taylor, media adviser to state upper house MP Mark Parnell, and Adelaide Hills councillor Lynton Vonow. The report was the work of a panel including Mark Parnell and three other figures in the state party.

Tom Richardson of InDaily reports that Jo Chapley, in-house legal counsel for Foodland supermarkets, has “firmed as a Labor frontrunner to take on Christopher Pyne in Sturt”. However, the report also says that “other party figures are reluctant to push her for the Sturt pre-selection unless they can guarantee a lavish warchest from Labor’s national head office to run a genuine ‘marginal-seat-style’ campaign”.

• Steve Georganas has been confirmed as Labor candidate for the Adelaide seat of Hindmarsh, which he held from 2004 until his defeat at the hands of current Liberal member Matt Williams in 2013, after the withdrawal of his sole preselection rival, Delia Brennan.

• My recent paywalled contributions to Crikey offer an account of the recent recovery in Bill Shorten’s personal ratings, and early impressions of the Western Australian federal redistribution (despite what the headline says).

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