Hon. Larry Anthony, Chairman
With the Federal Election only two weeks away, voting starts this Monday with pre-poll. Combine this with a record number of postal vote application received by the AEC (potentially up to 1.7 million), it could mean that up to 50 percent of eligible voters will have cast their ballot before Election Day.
The sales pitch and messaging from all the political parties will now hit real time as they seek your vote or your preferences.
Opinion polling can be misleading on who will form government. News poll has the two-party preferred vote at LNP 47% v 53% to ALP. This gap has been consistent for months suggesting a resounding victory to Anthony Albanese. But is this the case?
It’s the actual votes cast in the marginal seats and who can reach the magical 76 seats in the House of Reps that counts.
And this is where it gets complicated. City versus country, state versus state, inner urban versus outer suburbs; even before you factor in the policy issues, the political parties, or the personalities of the leaders.
With two weeks to go and voting starting on Monday, be prepared for a barrage of political advertising made up of political commitments geared to fear or to hope or to totally confuse.
Current trends and political wisdom suggest that the ALP should win with a comfortable majority.
But this is not reality. The Coalition’s sandbagging of regional seats in Queensland seems to be holding and the LNP is on an offensive strategy in outer metro capital city seats, the Northern Territory and traditional ALP blue collar seats in the Hunter Valley in NSW.
Conversely, the ALP needs to win 7 seats outright to form a majority Government. Fortuitously, the ALP has had a head start, picking up an additional seat created in Victoria at the expense of the Liberal Party losing a seat because of population redistribution in Western Australia.
Combine this with the probability of the ALP picking up two to three seats in the West off the WA Liberals and a pick-up of one of two seats in South Australia, Anthony Albanese is in striking distance but falls short of the magical 76 seats.
In Victoria and NSW, wins for the ALP may be offset by losses in the seats of Gilmore, Hunter and perhaps a western suburb seat in outer Melbourne and Sydney.
However, the pathway for Labor is more probable as Simon Holmes a Court’s Climate 200 candidates have the Liberal Party on the ropes in four to five seats in inner Melbourne Sydney and possibly Brisbane.
Climate 200’s mission is to take out the moderate Liberal male MPs, including Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, by running well-resourced female candidates on the single issue of climate change.
Recent polling indicates that the Coalition Government will lose two to three members to the Teal candidates who are most likely to support a minority ALP Government.
So, even if the ALP falls short on the merry-go-round of marginal seats, the pathway to the Treasury bench is much easier for Albanese.
The curve balls of this campaign, such as China’s interests in the Solomon Islands and the interest rate rise, has neutralised the Government’s natural advantage on national security and who is better to manage the economy.
By the same token, the ALP’s small target strategy and Albanese’s constant gaffs on the campaign trail have not enthused the Labor base.
What is true is that both major political parties are only polling a primary vote of around 34-36%, which is way short of the 41% primary vote reached by the Morrison miracle election in 2019. All political advertising is focused on the 30% of voters who are either undecided or disengaged as their ballot will determine the result. Preference flow will be key to victory!
Votes cast to minor parties such as the Greens, One Nation, UAP and Climate 200 and where their preferences end up, either ALP or LNP, will decide whether Scott Morrison or Anthony Albanese becomes Prime Minister.