Momentum seized

Perth talk radio host and former West Australian editor Paul Murray tells erstwhile sparring partner Peter Brent of Mumble that he sees six seats as likely Liberal gains and six more as possibilities, with the most likely outcome being a minority Coalition government. Robert Wainwright of the Sydney Morning Herald thinks otherwise, reporting today that "the West Australian Labor government appears to have seized the momentum in the final days of a see-saw election campaign and is now a slight favourite to win on Saturday". The assessment is based on the Prime Minister’s refusal to lend substantial backing to the canal project and the Premier’s renewed interest in Albany, earlier reckoned to be a write-off. In light of the bucketing Colin Barnett is copping over his belated costings announcement and its $200 million hole, the Poll Bludger continues to favour the latter view.

Some recent updates to the election guide:

Albany (Labor 3.7%): The three-cornered contest for this seat has taken a confusing twist with Nationals candidate Beverley Ford dumping on the Coalition’s proposal to build a local hospital for $40 million, to the delight of endangered Labor member Peter Watson. Health Minister Jim McGinty had earlier described the hospital promise as "lunacy". Ford’s campaign manager has written to Peter Brent at Mumble talking up her chances; the Albany Advertiser reports that Professor David Black of Curtin University thinks her likely to finish third, but says she "can complicate the situation for the Liberal candidate". All five respondents in an Advertiser vox pop tipped Watson to win.

North West Coastal (Labor 5.4%): Rod Sweetman, the outgoing Liberal member for abolished Ningaloo who failed to win preselection elsewhere, continues to exasperate his former colleagues. The ABC reports that Sweetman has spoken highly of the Gallop government’s achievements in his electorate, saying it has been "a pretty good time of late for the Gascoyne region and particularly Carnarvon. We have been a very fortunate community over the last little while".

Kimberley (Labor 8.5%): Liberal candidate Ron Sos Johnston told a candidates’ debate on Wednesday it was "no secret that Barnett and myself are at loggerheads over the canal project and how he has gone about it". The Liberals appear not to have given up hope, unveiling late-campaign promises including a $500,000 birthing suite at Kimberley Hospital. Paul Murray thinks it more likely to fall than North West Coastal.

Central Kimberley-Pilbara (Independent 16.2% vs ALP): Independent candidate and former ATSIC WA chairman Barry Taylor has endorsed a boycott of the election by the community of Ngalingkadji in protest over lack of housing maintenance. Fifty-five votes were cast there at the federal election, 35 of them for the same Tom Stephens who will be Labor candidate at the state poll.

Collie-Wellington (Labor 2.6%): Liberals have been muttering darkly about the pace of an investigation into the leak of candidate Craig Carbone’s drink-driving record to the Sunday Times. It has been noted that Labor member Mick Murray’s wife works at Collie police station, though Murray denies her involvement.

Girrawheen (Labor 8.5%): Family First will direct preferences to Jon Kelly, Wanneroo mayor, Labor renegade and independent candidate, ahead of Labor member Margaret Quirk.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.