One more sleep until polling day ... and I’m yet to be robocalled or pestered by a pollster.
I’m guessing I’m not alone - like many voters I don’t bother with a landline (having succumbed to the temptation of naked broadband years ago) and spend much of my time sipping lattes away from home anyway.
That’s why I don’t have much faith in opinion polls as a reliable indicator of outcomes under Hare-Clark, nor do I share Barry Prismall’s optimism about a crushing Liberal victory.
In fact since Black Saturday last September, I can’t find many individuals happy to ‘fess up to voting Liberal. So why the universal assumption that a triumphant Will Hodgman will appear tomorrow night - hair slicked sideways - to claim victory?
In the North West, it’s easy to pick a result. Having promised the locals a return to traditional pursuits in World Heritage areas (shooting wombats, creating new and interesting ways to damage Aboriginal relics), the Liberals will be rewarded with three seats. Brooksie will top the poll, with straw man Rockliff also winning a quota. Of the remaining Liberals, former Cradle Coast Authority chief Roger Jaensch should be elected, bringing some badly needed talent to Parliament. Whatever hope Joan Rylah had disappeared when PUP decided to contest the poll, and Howell was only ever on the ticket to complete the numbers.
It’s difficult to envisage Basil O’Halloran hanging on to his office given the hatred of all things Green on the Coast, and if we assume PUP is just a long joke without a punchline, Labor should defy the odds and return both Bryan Green and Brenton Best.
Denison couldn’t be more different (or differenter as PUP’s Jacquie Lambie said on-air recently). Fickle they are, those southerners, and Denison has long been a difficult hunting ground for political aspirants (does anybody remember Jonathon Jackson)?
The only certainty is a high personal vote for Cassie O’Connor, which combined with the absence of a strong independent like last election’s Andrew Wilkie, creates the intriguing potential for a second Green seat, probably Bill Harvey. Name recognition will see Groom and Bacon top their respective tickets, but in reality, anything could happen. PUP’s Barbara Etter could benefit from a protest vote at the expense of sitting member Elise Archer. Labor is offering a diverse range of candidates with something for everyone - those with a yearning for the conflict and fiscal incompetence of the Robin Gray era have Julian Amos, whereas more progressive voters will lean towards Ogilvie and Alphonse Mulumba. Whatever the outcome, Liberal can only win two seats, with a chance of just one.
The Liberal picture is brighter in Bass, with incumbents Michael Ferguson and Peter Gutwein to be easily returned. Beyond that, the outcome depends on how much voters have cooled on the party since the Federal poll which was a resounding success for fly-in Andrew Nikolic. Nikolic (known by some as everywhere Andy prior to September 2013) is now Nowhere Nikolic - his office and time are now devoted to supporting Sarah Courtney’s campaign rather than electoral work. All that time and money aside, Courtney hasn’t a chance - the only real prospect for a third seat is Barry Jarvis, who isn’t well known outside the North East.
Kim Booth is an easy pick, as is Michelle O’Byrne, with Labor powerbrokers hoping Brian Wightman can hold his seat (picking future leaders must be difficult when the better options are likely to be kicked out by voters). I’m backing no change in Bass.
We need more gentlemen in Parliament and those enrolled in Franklin finally have that option, with PUP’s Michael Figg stating his vocation as ‘retired gentleman.’ Sadly for the well-mannered candidate, he’s up against the big guns in Franklin.
Liberal polled well here four years ago thanks to Will Hodgman’s massive personal vote and,this time I expect ever higher support for the conservatives. That’s bad news for the Premier but with the possibility of a silver lining - Lara is more likely to keep her seat than leadership rival David O’Byrne. But the only obvious winners in Franklin are Hodgman and the Greens’ Nick McKim. Jacquie Petrusma will need to head off a challenge from Paul Harriss for the second Liberal over the line, although unless there’s a last-minute change of sentiment in the community, both should be safe. That leaves Labor with just one seat in Franklin, and creating a leadership vacuum post-election.
Then we have the sprawling electorate of Lyons, where the internal competition between Labor and Liberal candidates means Tim Morris should easily pick up a quota and top the poll. Beyond that, nobody is safe.
Three candidates with mayoral experience, a sitting member and a former Senator make up the Liberal offering, which means none will pick up a quota in their own right. Bertrand Cadart offers a contrast to the more stolid Mark Shelton, but as they say in the movie Highlander, there can be only two. Guy Barnett will be back in politics at the expense of Shelton, with Rene Hidding just hanging on in a close finish.
The Liberals fancy the idea of winning a third seat in Lyons, but they’d need a massive increase in support first. That leaves two Labor seats, with one going to Rebecca White, the other to 71-year-old David Llewellyn.
Overall, that’s 12:8:5, but I wouldn’t discount the possibility of a rogue result like 11:9:5 or even 12:6:6:1
It just won’t be a Liberal majority.
THE PAPERS’ OPINION: • Mercury: Mandate but no industry • Examiner: Nothing posted, but what odds pro-Liberal? • Advocate: Nothing posted