From my paywalled contribution to Crikey yesterday:
Opinion polls have shown the major parties to be running neck and neck for most of the Palaszczuk government’s time in office, but a poll trend analysis points to a break in Labor’s favour in recent months, with all pollsters but ReachTEL crediting them with a slight lead. However, betting markets slightly favour the LNP, which presumably reflects a bullish assessment of One Nation’s chances of holding the balance of power.
Since then though, Sportsbet has gone from having the LNP as very slight favourites to having Labor on $1.75 and the LNP on $2. Ladbrokes’ odds moved around a bit yesterday, but consistently had the LNP just ahead, currently on $1.83 to $1.95 for Labor.
Some events of the past few days have required updates to my election guide:
Pumicestone (notional LNP 0.1%): Labor’s last-minute replacement for Rick Williams is Michael Hoogwaerts, a Bribie Island State High School teacher whose awkward showing at his media conference got air time on last night’s television news. Williams’ disendorsement on Friday was a large part of the rationale for the election being called. He had been a persistent source of bad news for his party since he gaining the seat for it in 2015, the most recent episode involving allegations he had threatened the owner of a local newspaper. This followed earlier allegations of past criminal activity, court action over his refusal to pay water and rates bills in 2013 and 2014, and a series of disputes with constituents. Nonetheless, he survived the party’s candidate suitability panel process and was not challenged for preselection, which some put down to fear he might imperil the government by moving to the cross bench. This fear has proved to be well founded, as Williams announced he would contest the seat as an independent.
Ipswich (Labor 16.0%): One Nation has a high-profile late entrant to its campaign in the shape of Malcolm Roberts, who followed up his Senate disqualification by announcing he would run for the party in Ipswich. The electorate looms large in party mythology as the original home of Pauline Hanson, though it is not in fact a particularly easy target. The party did not win the seat in 1998, and it recorded roughly 14% of the Senate vote locally last year, a solid but unspectacular result. Roberts’ targeting of the seat may partly have been informed by the fact that the party had yet to endorse a candidate.
Logan (Labor 16.0%) and Capalaba (Labor 6.5%): One Nation’s state leader, Steve Dickson, says the party will target the Labor-held seats of Logan and Capalaba. Logan’s expansion into Brisbane’s semi-rural outskirts indeed provide the party with a reasonable base of support there, but what the party sees in Capalaba is harder to fathom. Likewise, TheCourier-Mail‘s account of seats where the party stands to make its mark combine genuine prospects with a few head-scratchers, such as Pine Rivers, where its Senate vote last year barely topped 5%.