Lib­eral leader fights on ALP turf

The Weekend Australian - - THE NATION - RACHEL BAXENDALE

Lib­eral leader Matthew Guy has been on the of­fen­sive, vis­it­ing La­bor-held mar­ginal seats 18 times dur­ing the first 13 days of the Vic­to­rian elec­tion cam­paign, com­pared with just three vis­its to Coali­tion-held mar­ginal seats by Premier Daniel An­drews.

The Aus­tralian’s anal­y­sis of the first half of the cam­paign also shows that, sur­pris­ingly for a La­bor premier, Mr An­drews has spent 61.5 per cent of his time out­side Mel­bourne, com­pared with Mr Guy, who has spent 63.5 per cent of his time in the cap­i­tal.

While Mr An­drews has also spent 61.5 per cent of his time shoring up La­bor seats, the Op­po­si­tion Leader has been in Coali­tion-held seats just 26.9 per cent of the time.

The Lib­eral leader has spent two-thirds of this time in La­bor and in­de­pen­dent-held marginals.

Mel­bourne’s south­east­ern sub­urbs — home to La­bor’s five most mar­ginal seats in which the Lib­eral Party is the main op­po­si­tion — have been the most com­monly vis­ited part of the state for both lead­ers.

Mr An­drews has spent 30.8 per cent of his time in Mel­bourne’s south­east, while Mr Guy has been there 49.4 per cent of the time.

The south­east­ern sub­urbs in­clude the bell­wether bay­side seats of the sand­belt: Bentleigh, Mor­dial­loc, Car­rum and Frankston, as well as rapidly grow­ing outer sub­ur­ban mar­ginal seats such as Bass and Cran­bourne.

In the re­gions, both lead­ers have spent con­sid­er­able time in Gipp­s­land, in the state’s east, with Mr An­drews vis­it­ing the area 23.1 per cent of the time, and Mr Guy 12.2 per cent.

The area is home to the mar­ginal La Trobe Val­ley seat of Mor­well, where for­mer Na­tion­als MP Rus­sell Northe is run­ning as an in­de­pen­dent, hav­ing se­cured a mar­gin of just 1.8 per cent against La­bor in 2014.

Bendigo and Bal­larat, clas­si­fied in the anal­y­sis as “north­west­ern Vic­to­ria”, have also at­tracted sev­eral vis­its, with Mr An­drews spend­ing 28.2 per cent of his time there, com­pared with Mr Guy’s 10.2 per cent.

La­bor holds Bendigo West by 12.18 per cent and Bendigo East by 5.05 per cent, while Ripon, north­west of Bal­larat, is one of the most mar­ginal seats in the state, held by the Lib­er­als by just 0.75 per cent.

Wen­douree, which takes in the city of Bal­larat, is La­bor-held by 5.79 per cent, while Buniny­ong, south­east of Bal­larat, is La­bor ter­ri­tory by a 6.39 per cent mar­gin.

Nei­ther leader has vis­ited any of the five in­ner-city seat be­ing tar­geted by the Greens, which in­clude La­bor-held Rich­mond, where the Lib­er­als are not run­ning, Greens-held North­cote and Mel­bourne, La­bor-held Brunswick, and Greens-held Prahran, which is a three-way con­test.

There are 14 days of cam­paign­ing left be­fore Vic­to­ri­ans go to the polls on No­vem­ber 24.

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