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Let The Games Begin!

2019 as you would know is the year of the Pig. Similarly, I only learnt recently that 2007 and 1983 were also the year of the Pig and both were years when Federal Labor won Government.

So, is 2019 the year that Bill Shorten brings the bacon home for Federal Labor?

If the polls are to be believed, then Labor is the front runner to win the election which will most probably be held on 18 May 2019.

With the Federal Budget due to be handed down on 2 April this will see the Federal election called on either the weekend of 6/7 April or the 13/14 April.

Here are some key facts to keep in mind heading into the election:

  • There are 151 seats up for grabs in the election
  • With electoral redistributions and defections to the crossbench, the Government currently hold 72 seats, the ALP 71 and the crossbench has 8
  • Labor need to win a net 5 seats to form Government, on a uniform swing of 1% or 50.6% of the two-party preferred vote
  • The Morrison Government need a swing to them of around 1% or 51.5% of the two-party preferred vote and a net 4 seats to regain majority Government
  • Current polling has Labor leading 53% to 47%

The key issue for the Government is the strength of its primary vote.  It is currently around 36% which is 6 points below where it was in 2016.  Labors primary vote is up 4 points to around 37-38%.

For the Government, they cannot win without a primary vote of around 42-43%.  Labor can win with a vote around 39% or higher.  This is due to Labor traditionally doing better on preferences than the LNP.

The Government will be hoping to use the budget on 2 April as a platform to springboard off and leverage its natural political advantage, that being superior economic management.

With the budget coming back into surplus earlier than anticipated, this budget will be an election manifesto more than a traditional budget.  No doubt the Government will be looking to shower the electorate with some election goodies.

The Government continues to go in hard on Labor’s proposed tax changes to negative gearing, franking credits and capital gains.  This is the prism through which the Government will seek to frame Labor as economic saboteurs and not to be trusted to manage the economy.

For Labor their basic campaign theme is one of fairness with their ‘plan for a fair go’.  Expect Bill Shorten and Labor to use the word ‘fair’ as often as possible between now and the election.

Fairness will be broadly defined, but policies like reinstating weekend penalty rates will be an example of wage fairness, tax cuts for low to middle income earners is about a ‘fair economy’.

Over arching the ‘fair go’ agenda will be the message of unity and stability.  Labor will contrast an Opposition led by Bill Shorten for six years against a divided Government that has had 3 Prime Ministers in 3 years.

Added to the mix will be Labor constantly reminding the electorate that Scott Morrison voted against the Banking Royal Commission 26 times.  Labor will be keen to highlight that only they can be trusted to implement the Royal Commission recommendations in full, whereas Scott Morrison is still a friend of the banks.

As they say, let the games begin!!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jody Fassina is the Managing Director of Insight Strategy and has been an strategic adviser to MedTech and pharmaceutical stakeholders.

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