It’s been a long time coming but now we are at the business end of election 2016. Voters will descend on polling booths across Australia tomorrow to elect a new Federal Government.
Polls, punters and papers
Polling shows the parties neck and neck on a two-party-preferred basis, with little variance from the start of the campaign. Today’s Galaxy poll published in News Limited shows the Coalition leading 51%-49%, while the Ipsos poll in Fairfax shows the parties deadlocked at 50%-50%. The Weekend Australian will publish the final Newspoll tomorrow morning.
Labor supporters may take some heart from the polling, however the optimism should be tempered by the fact they need to hold all their current seats and win an extra 19 electorates to form Government.
While the polls are suggesting tomorrow’s outcome will be tight, the betting markets tell a different story. The Coalition is paying as little as $1.11 to return to Government, whilst Labor is out to $8.
Today’s newspapers aren’t particularly kind to Labor either, with all the major daily mastheads endorsing a return of the Turnbull Government.
An honourable defeat?
Despite an honourable defeat appearing the likely outcome for Bill Shorten and Labor, the Opposition Leader has remained bullish about his chances in the final week of the campaign.
History has proven that upsets do happen in federal politics (John Hewson’s ‘unloseable’ 1993 election springs to mind), but rarely do they happen from Opposition, particularly against a first time Government with a likeable leader.
Shorten is hoping to replicate the unlikely victories of his state colleagues Annastacia Palaszczuk in Queensland, Jay Weatherill in South Australia and even Steve Bracks in Victoria back in 1999. All led Labor to government in their respective states following focussed campaigns in the swing seats that ultimately decided the outcome.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Party have run a disciplined, if not safe campaign, relentlessly staying true to their jobs and growth mantra and keeping the spotlight firmly on the economy.
This week the PM has called on voters to return his Government in the interests of stability, particularly in light of the surprise Brexit result and subsequent instability in global markets.
Clearly, the PM will want a resounding victory that will allow him to govern with a solid majority. A strong result is needed for the Malcolm Turnbull to assert his authority as leader, and fend off the discontent from the right wing of his party.
Sub plots and sausages
Election night always presents a few unexpected outcomes, and there will no doubt be some surprises once polls close at 6pm tomorrow. Aside from the overall result, there are a number of sub plots that will be fascinating to watch.
No one seems to know what is going to happen in South Australia, with the Nick Xenophon Team challenging the orthodoxy of previous elections and possibly picking up a handful of lower house seats.
The Greens have been campaigning hard in a number of inner city Melbourne seats – will they knock off David Feeney in Batman, or claim the neighbouring Wills? Could they even steal Higgins, from the Liberals’ Kelly O’Dwyer? We’ll find out soon enough!
Happy voting for tomorrow if you’re not one of the millions of Australians who have already submitted their ballot. For those attending in person, and looking for a customary election day sausage sizzle, Snagvotes is a helpful resource to find a ‘Democracy Sausage’ near you.