Swing to La­bor in the bag

HOW BIG A SWING IS THE REAL QUES­TION

Melville Times - - News - OPIN­ION

ALL the polls show a swing to­wards WA La­bor ahead of the State Elec­tion – the only ques­tion is how big that swing is go­ing to be.

It is all about 10s. La­bor needs a 10 per cent swing to win the 10 seats it needs to form gov­ern­ment.

That is ex­actly the no­tional mar­gin by which the Lib­er­als hold Bicton and, as­sum­ing the pre­dicted swing oc­curs across all elec­torates, Bicton will be the last seat that La­bor needs to gain of­fice.

The lat­est ReachTEL poll has La­bor gain­ing a 9 per cent swing in Bicton. If that swing were uni­form across WA, then the Lib­er­als would hold the seat and win the elec­tion.

All eyes will be on Bicton to see if Matt Tay­lor can hold it for the Lib­er­als against a strong chal­lenge from La­bor’s Lisa O’Mal­ley.

Name recog­ni­tion is of­ten im­por­tant in vot­ing and will be an im­por­tant fac­tor in Bate­man.

Vot­ers like to feel that they know the can­di­date they are vot­ing for and know­ing their name is a good start.

Un­like his op­po­nent, La­bor’s rel­a­tive un­known To­mas Fitzger­ald, Dean Nalder has the high­est pro­file among the can­di­dates in the three seats of Bicton, Wil­lagee and Bate­man and with a 23 per cent mar­gin he is in good shape.

He will suf­fer a swing against him but the idea that it would be over 23 per cent is close to un­think­able.

We have seen quite a bit of volatil­ity in elec­tions at the State level – who can for­get the 2015 Queens­land State Elec­tion – but the New­man Gov­ern­ment was much more on the nose than the Bar­nett Gov­ern­ment.

Nalder’s pro­file and the size of the swing re­quired to un­seat him means that I just can­not see him los­ing.

The fur­ther you get from Roe 8 and 9, the more likely vot­ers will be to ei­ther sup­port the project or not care too much ei­ther way.

For that rea­son, I think Bicton and Bate­man will not be nearly as af­fected by the Perth Freight Link as Wil­lagee, which is bi­sected by Roe 8.

It is a big is­sue there and a neg­a­tive for the Lib­er­als. While Peter Tin­ley holds the seat with only a 2.5 per cent mar­gin, he was al­ways go­ing to do bet­ter than that in 2017 and Roe 8 has pretty much handed the seat to him.

I doubt any­body in the Lib­eral Party, apart from Re­becca Aubrey and her sup­port­ers, would be ex­pect­ing to win Wil­lagee.

So, La­bor will win Wil­lagee, the Lib­er­als will win Bate­man and Bicton is up for grabs.

It is hard to win third terms, partly be­cause the Gov­ern­ment ac­cu­mu­lates bag­gage by not al­ways de­liv­er­ing on prom­ises made dur­ing elec­tions and partly be­cause of the in­evitable mis­steps by min­is­ters and even Pre­miers.

The Gov­ern­ment is also try­ing to sell the same prod­uct for a third time and that is al­ways a dif­fi­cult prospect.

I have con­sis­tently said that I would be sur­prised if La­bor does not win on March 11 – but I’ve been sur­prised by quite a few elec­tion re­sults lately. ■

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