In the midst of the Friday morning poll flurry, I somehow failed to take note of the Advertiser poll of 778 voters from Wakefield. Labor’s Nick Champion led Liberal MP David Fawcett 58-42 on two-party preferred, from 47 per cent to 33 per cent on the primary vote. Yesterday the Advertiser ran a front-page item complaining that South Australia was being overlooked because its three Liberal marginals all looked like foregone conclusions for Labor. One might protest that Sturt and Boothby are in play, but the article informs us that neither is expected to change hands unless the political stocks of the Government deteriorate even further in SA.
Speaking on Lateline on Friday night, Michael Kroger claimed people in the Liberal Party and around the traps generally were more and more confident that the two high profile seats in NSW of Bennelong and Malcolm Turnbull’s seat in Wentworth will be won by the Government although Rod Cameron wasn’t so sure. Kroger also rejected talk Labor might have its eyes on Casey and Aston in Melbourne, as their campaign focus was entirely on more marginal seats.
The Age economics reporter Josh Gordon on the targeting of recent election promises:
In the past week alone, the Coalition has announced a $15 million south coast sustainable regions program (for the NSW electorate of Eden-Monaro), $300,000 for a Beaconsfield Heritage Museum (for the Tasmanian seat of Lyons), $400,000 for palliative care in Geelong and Colac (for the Victorian seats Corio and Corangamite) and $16 million to extend the Tasmanian freight equalisation scheme to include King Island (for the Tasmanian seat of Braddon). Those states with more marginal electorates have generally faired best. Queensland has been the overwhelming winner. It has been promised $878.7 million by the Coalition, including hundreds of millions of dollars worth of road funding announcements. Western Australia has also been the next major beneficiary, with a $405 million plan announced to extensively upgrade Perth’s roads. Victoria, where there are no Coalition seats held by a margin of less than 4.9 per cent, has been promised $238 million by the Coalition, despite its 25 per cent share of Australia’s population and economy. Labor has been just as expedient with its spending plans. Its policy promises tally to about $47.6 billion. As with the Coalition, the vast bulk would be soaked delivering tax cuts. A significant chunk of the remaining cash – about $4.3 billion – would be used to fund spending decisions targeting specific states. Again, Queensland has been the major winner, with more than $2.6 billion on offer. Victoria, where there are eight Labor seats held by margins of less than 5 per cent, would fare relatively better under a Labor government, with about $724 million promised.
I don’t get too excited about ballot paper placement, but it’s nonetheless interesting to note that Maxine McKew is last out of 13 in Bennelong. Notable candidates elsewhere: long-standing Liberal preselection aspirant Michael Darby running for the CDP in Dobell; former Greens MPs Michael Organ in Cunningham and Robin Chapple in Kalgoorlie; former state Noosa MP Cate Molloy, running as an independent in Wide Bay; and perennial trouble-maker Stephen Mayne in Higgins. No sign of Kelly Hoare in Shortland. In the Senate, former Labor member for Kalgoorlie Graeme Campbell is on a ticket in Western Australia along with former state One Nation MP John Fischer. The fourth Labor New South Wales candidate I was wondering about the other day turns out to be Pierre Esber, a Right faction Parramatta councillor who had long coveted the Bennelong preselection. The all-important Senate preference tickets will be revealed this afternoon.
Sue Neales of The Mercury reports that internally, Labor remains confident about winning Bass back from the Liberals … but gloating about a Labor clean-sweep of all five Tasmanian electorates is gone. This is roundabout way of saying that Braddon is still in play, although the Liberals suffered a blow there this week when the government was forced to delay its much-touted Mersey Hospital takeover.
There has been a spike in chatter lately about the possibility of the Liberals losing their ACT Senate seat, following recent Morgan results showing the party’s vote at a parlous 24 per cent. With 33 per cent needed to secure a seat, that would turn the second seat into a contest between Labor and the Greens. As territory Senators’ terms are tied to the House, this would mean the Coalition would lose its Senate majority immediately, and not with the changeover of state Senators in the middle of next year.
Shame on me for not yet having linked to Peter Tucker’s self-explanatory Tasmanian Politics website. Go look.