Sportingbet PM Watch
Howard $1.30 (was $1.40)
Costello $3.75 ( $3.75)
Abbott $31.00 ($26.00)
Turnbull $31.00 ( $26.00)
Nelson $11.00 ($8.00)
Any Others $51. 00 ($26.00)
(Odds on PM before next election)
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With a year and a bit until the next Federal election Labor is travelling far better than at the corresponding stage before the last poll.
Drive through Salisbury in South Australia and you are amazed that it is actually held by the Liberal Party. With the sitting member retiring it is unlikely to remain so.
Labor Doing Better
With this Parliament now well past the half way stage, Kim Beazley should be happy enough with how his Party is faring. Labor is comfortably ahead of where it was at the same stage of the last electoral cycle.
On the measurements of Newspoll, Labor is four percentage points in front of the Coalition. The graph above shows it is also doing four points better than in 2003.
And this advantage comes after 18 months of basically good economic news for the Howard Government. Now that interest rates seem likely to rise again, Beazley can expect to maintain his lead.
A South Australian Seat of Interest
The retirement of Mrs Trish Draper as the member for Makin in the House of Representatives is bad news for the Liberals. This South Australian seat, which takes in much of Salisbury on the northern fringes of Adelaide , certainly looks like the home of Howard's battlers. For Mrs Draper to win it in 1996 and the hold it at the next three elections was a mighty effort.
Makin is now one of the most marginal Liberal seat in the country and would fall with a swing of less than 1%. On most measures the loss of an incumbent member is worth almost that much.
Almost as intriguing a battle will be in the adjoining seat of Wakefield which David Fawcett holds for the Liberals with an even smaller majority. The electorate takes in the outer fringes of the Barossa as well as the Clare Valley where the wine industry is going through very troubled times.