We are on record as calling this election for the Liberal-National Coalition about two years ago, and at no time, even in the briefest of honeymoons enjoyed by Kevin Rudd after his re-election as Labor leader, have we changed our mind.
Accordingly, it’s a bit boring for us to say “Whoo-hoo, Tony Abbott’s going to win.” Blind Freddie knows Tony Abbott’s going to win.
But how big, hmmm?
Well, we are also on record as saying that this could be the worst result for Labor in living memory.
Current radio talkback scuttlebutt is predicting a Lib-NP coalition win with roughly a thirty seat margin. Say 90 seats to 60.
We’re prepared to go further than that.
We think the swing from Labor to the Coalition nationally could be as high as 7% overall, rarely lower, and in some places higher, meaning the final Labor haul could be as low as 40 up to 50 seats, and the Liberal-NP haul could be in the 100-110 ten seat area.
A win, in other words, of truly historic proportions.
Both options are currently paying just over three bucks on Centrebet – in other words, the market agrees with me. (Betting prices are always a great indicator of likely results, because the party apparatchicks supplement their earnings by betting on what they know the likely results will be.)
Does the size of the win really matter? Well, no, not really. Except that faced with such an utter repudiation, it is possible that Kevin Rudd will resign the Labor leadership immediately, where with a closer result he might have hung on for a bit to see what happened. Who will take over? Surely Bill Shorten, but then again, who really knows with the Australian Labor Party any more? Their dearth of Front Bench talent is quite scary. Anthony Albanese would be another possibility, but, excellent performer that he is, is he really alternative Prime Minister material? I doubt it.
Why do we think the result will be even worse than currently predicted? Well, bluntly, we think, when polled, many voters who are actually intending to very begrudgingly support Tony Abbott are simply too embarrassed to say so, but they are nevertheless determined to wipe the Labor Party from power this time.
So for the record, these are the seats I think the Coalition will gain – and there could even be more than this – listed here with their new Coalition winning margins. There will possibly be some real huge shocks, even bigger than some on this list.
If you happen to live in any of these seats, clicking the seat name will take you to a detailed breakdown of that seat. (Courtesy of the ABC’s consistently excellent psephologist, Anthony Green.) Or you can just read our rationale.
Richmond NSW GainedNAT 0.01%
The local Labor MP is popular and may resist the trend, but this is traditionally a conservative seat and we pick it to return to the Nationals.
Barton NSW GainedLIB 0.1%
With well-known local MP Robert McClelland retiring and the less well-known Labor candidate up against a Greek-extraction local Mayor, Doc Evatt’s old seat will be one of the more painful losses of the night for the ALP.
Werriwa NSW GainedLIB 0.3%
Martin Ferguson’s elder brother Laurie should be a shoe-in for this seat held by former Labor leaders Gough Whitlam and Mark Latham but it is another pick by us for a shock result in Sydney’s western suburbs.
Bass TAS GainedLIB 0.3%
Geoff Lyons turned this into a safe seat for Labor at the last election, but continuing economic malaise in Tassie and coming up against a decorated war hero for the Libs will probably see him off.
Hindmarsh SA GainedLIB 0.9%
The precedent to look at here is the defeat of the Keating Labor Government in 1996. Redistribution has made it slightly safer for Labor recently, but it’s older population are even less inclined to vote ALP than everyone else. Opinion poll in late August had it at 50:50 two-party-preferred. Labor have gone backward since then: gone.
Perth WA GainedLIB 1.1%
Labor have parachuted in a popular ex State MP and Minister and this seat may buck the trend, but no one is sure how big Stephen Smith’s personal vote was. (Our guess, it will still go.)
Chisholm VIC GainedLIB 1.2%
Ex-speaker Anna Burke is popular locally but Victoria is falling back in line with the rest of the country after its pro-Gillard performance last time, and an excellent ethnic-Vietnamese Liberal candidate and a clutch of stalking horse minor right-wing parties all preferencing him will see her gone.
Oxley QLD GainedLNP 1.2%
Pauline Hanson’s old seat has more couples with babies than any other in the state: no doubt paid parental leave will resonate here. And both Katter and Palmer preferencing the Libs will make this just one more of the overall ugly picture in the Sunshine State for the ALP.
Fremantle WA GainedLIB 1.3%
Melissa Parke is attractive, popular and talented, with a very impressive CV: she may hang on: but we pick her to fall in Carmen Lawrence’s old seat, somewhat unfairly perhaps, to the country-wide Liberal/NP tsunami.
Rankin QLD GainedLNP 1.6%
Craig Emerson’s retiring, and this rock solid Labor seat falling will be one of the news stories of the night. It won’t help the new Labor candidate that he was a policy wonk and then Chief of Staff to Wayne Swan, a man now actively detested in Queensland, nor by both Katter and Palmer interfering.
Kingsford Smith NSW GainedLIB 1.8%
Another “shock horror” news story. Bye bye Peter Garrett. Bye bye seat.
Dobell NSW GainedLIB 1.9%
Craig Thomson’s seat. Need we say more?
Parramatta NSW GainedLIB 2.6%
Nearly went back to the Libs last time. Will this time.
Eden-Monaro NSW GainedLIB 2.8%
Australia’s most reliable “litmus test” seat, having been won by the party that formed government at every election since 1972. It will be again.
Blair QLD GainedLNP 2.8%
Labor’s Shayne Neumann is popular locally, but that won’t save him from the anti-Labor swing in Qld.
Page NSW GainedNAT 2.8%
Since 1990 the electorate has been another key bellwether seat, being won at every election by the party that formed government after the election. Sitting Labor MP Janelle Saffin is popular, but nothing will save Labor in NSW this time round.
Lingiari NT GainedCLP 3.3%
Combattive ALP member Warren Snowdon might buck the trend in the seat with the largest percentage of indigenous Australians in the country. But we doubt it. Then again, the NT is a long way from anywhere. CLP candidate confident.
Capricornia QLD GainedLNP 3.3%
Michelle Landry did well for the Libs last time in a seat with a large mining sector. With Labor MP Kirsten Livermore retiring, she’ll go one better this time.
Brand WA GainedLIB 3.7%
Kim Beazely’s old seat has been going slightly bad for the ALP for a while. The decline will be terminal for Minister Gary Gray on Saturday. Late icing on the Liberal cake.
Lilley QLD GainedLNP 3.8%
You really think Wayne Swan can win his seat again? Really?
Reid NSW GainedLIB 4.3%
John Murphy is an assiduously hard working local member in what should be rock-solid Labor territory. But we don’t think he can resist the swing … when it’s on, it’s on.
Petrie QLD GainedLNP 4.5%
One of the more re-electable ALP members, Yvette D’Ath still looks very likely to be swept away in the landslide.
La Trobe VIC GainedLIB 5.3%
Redistributions, demographic change, and the national swing will see this seat return to its former Liberal MP, Jason Wood
Banks NSW GainedLIB 5.6%
Only ever held by Labor since it’s establishment, the local state seats have already moved to the Libs, and Labor’s Daryl Melham cannot resist how badly the ALP are on the nose in NSW. Gone.
Moreton QLD GainedLNP 5.9%
Doesn’t matter how many times electorate redistributions nudge the seat back to the ALP, it’s gone in the Queensland bloodbath this time for sure.
Lindsay NSW GainedLIB 5.9%
Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury has no Liberal cock-ups to rely on this time. He will be one of the early high-profile Ministerial casualties of the night.
Robertson NSW GainedLIB 6.0%
Deborah O’Neill was one of the surprise winners for Labor at the last election, but there seems no realistic chance of her resisting the pro-Coalition swing this time.
Greenway NSW GainedLIB 6.1%
Despite Liberal candidate Jaymes Diaz stumbling early on, there seems no reason why this seat will not head back to the Liberals. His popularity with local branches will help him perform credibly on the ground. And it’s Western Sydney. Nuff said.
Deakin VIC GainedLIB 6.4%
Will be one of the early gains for the Coalition. Always a Liberal-leaning seat, it’s a certain gain this time.
Corangamite VIC GainedLIB 6.7%
Popular local TV presenter and activist Sarah Henderson will win this most marginal seat easily. Indeed, she could even win on first preferences.
Anyhow. Please do not telephone after about 9pm on Saturday evening. We will be drunkenly incoherent at the prospect of a Government with a massive majority (always a bad thing in our view) which will be much, much more right wing than people realise. Just think, it if it wasn’t for the machinations of the likes of Nick Minchin, most of us could be even quite looking forward to the erudition and moderation of “small l” liberal Malcom Turnbull being PM on Sunday. O! May you rot in hell, Minchin! Slowly.
What will happen in the Senate is anyone’s guess and won’t be clear for some weeks. It is not impossible that we will have three essentially conservative independents delivering a majority of one to Abbott in the Senate, (with either Katter’s Party or Palmer’s Party picking up a Senator in Queensland at least), so he will be able to repeal the carbon tax over the head of Labor and the Greens whatever happens elsewhere. Much celebration will be had on the right of politics. That is by no means certain, however.
If that’s the case, the country will be left with an abiding problem. Climate change is not going to go away. Sans the carbon tax/price on carbon, international pressure will be brought to bear to ensure that Australia lives up to the carbon rebatement schemes of its trading partners. If we don’t have a carbon tax, then what do we have? Especially as the Coalition’s extremely expensive ‘direct action’ plan is widely considered unworkable and ludicrously expensive.
So. Last prediction for today? Expect to see some form of free market carbon-trading scheme introduced by an Abbott government inside the next three years. The very issue on which Turnbull was toppled.
Who’d be a politician, eh?
As for Labor, cue the most awful period of pained introspection a political party could possibly imagine. Labor has a dreadful paucity of talent, a miniscule and shrinking supporter base, is completely lost as to what differentiates it from the Liberals and Nats, and appears ever more comprehensively irrelevant. I have watched politics long enough to know that parties can and do bounce back from shocking election defeats, and sometimes surprisingly rapidly. But really: where is Labor’s Messiah? Where, even, is its light on the hill? To where does it turn it’s eyes, to which wheel does it place its shoulder?
Grim times indeed.
(For overseas readers who are not obsessed with Australian politics, Minchin was the eminence grise and now retired Senator who was behind the party room coup that toppled popular Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull and replaced him with hard-right Tony Abbott by a single vote. If he’s on a TV panel on Saturday night I will throw a shoe at the screen or worse.)
- Election 2013: Key seats to watch on September 7 (sbs.com.au)
- Labor to lose four or five Qld seats: poll (sbs.com.au)
- Tony Abbott poised for victory in Australia elections (theguardian.com)
- Abbott set for election triumph over Rudd (smh.com.au)
- Kev’s popularity can get us home: Qld MPs (news.smh.com.au)