Election Watch

IT’S A DATE

No real surprise, but the nation is off to the polls on Saturday, 18 May 2019. The trigger on the starter gun has been officially pulled, starting what will be a traditional 5-week campaign. Remember the 2016 campaign was 8 weeks long.

The 46th Parliament will be contested in 151 seats, up from 150 at the last election due to the Australian Electoral Commission adding an extra seat as a result of electoral redistributions in various states and population shifts.

In the Senate, 40 Senators will be facing the polls being 6 from each state and 2 each from the ACT and NT.

The Senate election is a half-Senate election and those Senators that were elected for 3-year terms in 2016 now face the polls again.

With retirements and alike, there will be quite a number of new faces in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Unlike the 2016 election, expect this election to be a bare-knuckle brawl between Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten.

Both are experienced politicians and campaigners.  Shorten is battle-hardened after 6 years as Opposition Leader and surviving the Royal Commission into Trade Unions, established by Tony Abbott early in his tenure.

Scott Morrison became the Liberals’ 3rd Prime Minister in as many years, and inherited a party torn by both ideological differences and personality conflicts – battles he has been fighting from day one.  A lesser leader might have already been destroyed by such challenges.

Morrison also brings his experience as a former NSW Liberal Party director to the fore. He knows how campaigns work and how they are run.

It is fair to say neither leader will leave any stone unturned in their pursuit of The Lodge.

WHERE WILL IT BE WON AND LOST

Queensland is the battleground state, followed by NSW and Victoria.

Of the Government’s 13 most marginal seats, 7 alone are in Queensland held by a margin of 3% or less and 3 are held in NSW on a margin of 1.3% or less.

With Labor needing to win 5 seats to form government, they could do so simply by winning key seats in Queensland, while making no gains in any other state.

For the LNP, they need a swing to them and net gain of 4 seats to retain government.  They cannot afford to lose even one seat.

Some Interesting Seats to Watch

Warringah held by Tony Abbott is under threat from former Olympic skier Zali Steggall.  If Tony Abbott’s primary vote falls below 45% on May 18, he will be in trouble.  In 2016 he polled 51%.

Wentworth is held by Kerryn Phelps.  Malcolm Turnbull’s former seat was lost with a near 20% swing. The Liberals’ Dave Sharma will be fighting hard to reclaim that seat. This will be a fascinating contest. Will Turnbull campaign for Sharma or continue to criticise from the sidelines?

Cowper is an open seat following the retirement of Nationals MP Luke Hartsuyker. What makes this seat interesting is former high-profile and independent MP, Rob Oakeshott, is attempting a political comeback, going head-to-head with the Nationals.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jody Fassina is the Managing Director of Insight Strategy and has served as a strategic adviser to MedTech and pharmaceutical stakeholders.

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