Community Health Reform

Health Minister Challenged

As the country prepares for a possible May Federal Election (and a March State Election if you live in NSW), Australia’s political class has been preparing their retirement speeches and planning their political manoeuvres in what looks to be shaping up to be a campaign for the ages.

You may have heard that former Liberal-turned independent MP Julia Banks confirmed, this week, her intention to challenge Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt for his Mornington Peninsula electorate of Flinders.

  • Here’s what you mightn’t have heard: Former ABC journalist Tracee Hutchinson has flagged her interest in also challenging Minister Hunt for his seat, as the Labor Party’s candidate. The Age has reported that the ALP is sharpening its focus on “snatching a slew of formerly safe Liberal seats from the Morrison Government” at the next election – including Minister Hunt’s seat.

Minister Hunt’s electoral margin has changed from a high of 11 per cent to its current margin of 7 per cent (on a two-party preferred basis) leading into the 2019 election. While still considered a “safe” seat, left-wing activist group GetUp has been mobilising its supporters in a coordinated effort to unseat Minister Hunt and cause a headache for the current government.

  • Son of a Turnbull! It was also revealed in The Australian newspaper that the son of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull will be involved in helping Ms Banks with her campaign to unseat Minister Hunt. “I’m involved, I’ll leave it at that,” Alex Turnbull told Nine newspapers.

The challenge to Minister Hunt may see the Morrison Government direct valuable resources and funding to protect the seat, that would have otherwise gone to sandbagging more marginal seats in Victoria and Queensland.

KEY INSIGHTS: The Age reported that the Labor Party had held the seat for just three of the past 80 years (2 years in the 1950’s and 1 year in 1983).

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