The number of seats in play may make it challenging for either party to claim victory on Saturday night. The YouGov/Galaxy poll released on Friday showed Labor slightly in front with a 51 to 49 result against the Coalition, but of interest to last minute voters is the fact that the Coalition has increased its primary vote in this poll by 2 percentage points, leading Labor 39 to 37.
While a result may not be certain on Saturday night, we have compiled a list of critical seats to keep an eye on, wherever you’re watching the outcome.
WE’RE WATCHING… THE ODDS
The final poll of the campaign, from YouGov Galaxy, has kept the margin relatively close, positioning Labor with a lead of 51-49.
TAB has recorded a number of large bets for Labor in the last day, seeing it firm to $1.18 and although TAB is seeing money come in for the Coalition, it has pushed the Coalition out to $5.50. Around the country, TAB has betting markets in a range of marginal seats, some of which are changing rapidly. Over the last few days, these have seen the Coalition firm in a number of seats, while a few unexpected seats are now falling to Labor in terms of the money flow.
WE’RE WATCHING…THE SEATS THAT WILL LIKELY DECIDE THE GOVERNMENT
We have prepared a bit of a form guide for you on a State by State basis as a guide of what seats to watch on election night.
We have identified two seats in each State or Territory that we will be watching to get a quick snapshot of how the election has gone for the major parties.
While either party could form government without winning the listed seats, the party winning the majority of the seats which are listed below is likely to form Government.
Australian Capital Territory
With all seats predicted to be held on notionally large Labor margins, there is a general consensus that there are no seats in play in the ACT, with Canberra, Fenner and the new seat of Bean all expected to go to Labor on election night.
New South Wales
As the most populated State, New South Wales has a number of seats which are in play for both major parties on election night.
Reid (LP – 4.7%, sitting member has retired)
Labor has spent considerable time in the inner western Sydney seat of Reid. Labor may feel they have the upper hand, with their candidate campaigning hard for more than a year. If Labor can claim victory in Reid, it could signal a strong showing for Labor throughout NSW.
Lindsay (ALP – 1.1%, sitting member has retired)
If the Liberal Party hopes to form government, the former bellwether seat of Lindsay will be a necessary gain. Encouraging for the Liberal Party, a recent opinion poll has them holding a predicted 52% – 48% lead in Lindsay. A tight contest will surely be on the cards in the western Sydney seat.
With the two NT seats being held by Labor, a win for the Coalition in either of these seats would be a key gain for them.
It is worth noting that as Solomon and Lingiari have less voters than standard-sized electorates, the margins can be misleading, as only approximately 3,500 people’s votes would need to be change in either seat for the seats to change hands. This, coupled with a general discontent with the NT Labor Territory Government, has resulted in both seats being considered as ‘in play’.
Queensland has been considered one of the key battlegrounds in this election. Both major parties have visited the ‘Sunshine State’ on a number of occasions with the goal of winning a number of in-play seats.
Flynn (LNP – 1%, Mr Ken O’Dowd MP)
Labor will be looking to claim victory in the regional Queensland seat of Flynn, as a win in Flynn would indicate Labor is likely to pick up a number of seats in Queensland. With the seat’s location between Bundaberg and Rockhampton, Adani has been an issue in this tightly held LNP seat.
Herbert (ALP – 0.02%, Ms Cathy O’Toole MP)
The Coalition has Herbert in its sights, with the seat held on the smallest margin in the country. A seat that will likely be influenced by the conservative minor party vote, the Coalition will be hoping that its deal with the United Australia Party will deliver them a win in Herbert.
As a small state by population, South Australia does not have many seats which are considered to be in play. However, both parties will likely have the following seats in their sights in their quest to form a majority government.
Boothby (LP – 2.7%, Ms Nicole Flint MP)
Early in the campaign, Labor identified the southern suburbs seat of Boothby as its most likely gain in South Australia. If Labor can claim victory in this traditionally Coalition held seat, it will be an important gain in the quest to form government.
Mayo (CA – 2.9%, Ms Rebekha Sharkie MP)
A former Liberal stronghold, Mayo is currently held by the Centre Alliance. With a strong victory at the ‘Super Saturday’ by-election, the Centre Alliance firmed their hold on the seat. If the Liberal Party can reclaim Mayo, it will be a big win in their fight to retain government.
As the smallest state by population, seats in Tasmania often change hands against the nationwide trend. Currently the Coalition does not hold any of the lower house seats in Tasmania.
If Labor is to form government, they will need to retain all their Tasmanian seats. If the Coalition manages to win any of the Tasmanian seats, this will add to their chances of retaining government at a nationwide level.
Victoria is considered one of the other key battleground states this election, with Labor hoping to replicate the results of the state election in November 2018, which saw a large swing from the Coalition to Labor. Significant gains in this state will likely see a majority Labor government.
La Trobe (LP – 3.2%, Mr Jason Wood MP)
La Trobe is a seat that has only ever been held by Labor when it forms government. Labor will be hoping its strong performance at the 2018 Victorian election will translate to La Trobe, where there were significant swings towards the Labor Party.
Corangamite (LP – 0.03%, the Hon Sarah Henderson MP)
Currently held by the Liberals, Corangamite is now notionally considered Labor due to the recent electoral redistribution. The Liberal Party has spent significant time in the ultra-marginal electorate, which it will need to hold if it is to retain government.
With a number of seats arguably in play this election, Western Australia has received quite a bit of attention from the major parties. Labor will be aiming to unseat two current Cabinet Ministers who currently hold marginal seats in WA.
Hasluck (LP – 2.1%, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP)
Located in the north of Perth, Hasluck is held by the current Minister for Indigenous Health and Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care. Labor has identified Hasluck as winnable, and would be keen to win the seat to support its chances of forming a majority government.
Cowan (ALP – 0.7%, Dr Anne Aly MP)
Held on a small margin, Cowan looks to be the Liberal Party’s most likely gain in WA. Held by the Liberal Party for nearly a decade prior to the 2016 election, a redistribution narrowly gave the seat to the Labor Party. This seat could go either way come election night.
Other Seats to Watch on Election Night
Cowper – Mr Rob Oakeshott is aiming to return to Parliament as an independent with the sitting Nationals member, and former minister Hon Luke Hartsukyer, retiring at this election.
Wentworth – Elected only seven months ago, independent member Dr Kerryn Phelps AM, MP will be contesting the seat once again. It is unclear whether the momentum that brought her in the first time will be replicated on election day, having regard to the Liberal candidate, Dave Sharma, campaigning hard since the by-election.
Warringah – Former prime minister, the Hon Tony Abbott MP, is in the fight of his political life as he tries to retain the seat that he has held for 25 years against former Olympic skier and barrister, Ms Zali Steggall OAM.
Dobell – The Coalition will be trying to win this seat back off Labor, with rumours circulating that this contest will be tighter than expected.
Farrer – With the Coalition suffering poor results at the NSW state election in rural seats, the Hon Susan Ley MP’s traditionally safe seat is at risk to an independent candidate, Mr Kevin Mack.
Dickson – Held by the Minister for Home Affairs, Labor will be looking to unseat the Hon Peter Dutton MP, who has been in Parliament since 2001.
Flinders – A three-way contest between Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, Labor and Independent candidate, Ms Julia Banks MP, will see the minister facing a challenge to his position through preference deals in the seat.
Higgins – The seat of retiring member, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, this will be a contest between the Liberal Party and the Greens, with Labor preferences likely to play a key role.
Indi – With independent member, Ms Cathy McGowan AO, MP retiring, the Coalition will be hoping to regain this traditional Liberal seat, and with the Liberals and Nationals contesting the seat, preference flows should help the Coalition over the line.
Lyons – Despite being disendorsed, Ms Jessica Whelan has continued to campaign strongly and with a Nationals candidate running, conservative voters in Lyons may still have a voice in Parliament.
Sturt – The seat of the retiring Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, the seat could come into play depending on how strong the typical ‘retirement swing’ is against the Liberal Party.