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As Australians prepare to head to the polls, these are the seats that could decide the federal election

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When Australians around the country tune into the election on Saturday night, there will be a handful of seats being watched more closely than others.
Whether you’re glued to the count on polling night or just keeping passing attention you’ll hear plenty of talk from commentators about these key seats to watch.

With 151 seats up for grabs in the House of Representatives, a party or a coalition of parties needs to gain 76 of them in this chamber or face a hung parliament.

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This means Labor would need a net gain of seven seats as the Coalition seeks to retain or increase its own haul at the upcoming poll.

But with some electorates steadfast in their political leanings, attention will be centred on those considered an open contest that could decide the outcome.

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NSW:

Parramatta

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Let’s start in Western Sydney, where the multicultural seat of Parramatta is among those both sides have their sights set on.

Retiring Labor MP Julie Owens has held the seat since 2004. But Prime Minister Scott Morrison, seeing this opening, has made a series of appearances here alongside Liberal candidate Maria Kovacic.
Ms Kovacic is a local businesswoman who he has dubbed “the real eel” because of her support for the local rugby league club. The pitch is an attempt to exploit as its candidate, who before this had lived in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

The neighbouring seat of Reid held by Liberal MP Fiona Martin on a 3.2 per cent margin is also expected to be a close battle between the incumbent and Labor’s Sally Sitou.

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Hunter

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Moving to regional NSW, the electorate of Hunter — where coal mining is king — covers the Singleton, Muswellbrook and Cessnock local government areas.

Here, Labor is facing another retirement — , who has held the seat since 1996.
A key challenge in the seat — where Mr Fitzgibbon suffered a swing of almost 10 per cent against him at the last election — is navigating advocating for without losing support from communities relying on jobs in the industrial heartland.
Labor has chosen Commonwealth Games medallist and shooter Daniel Repacholi as its candidate. The Nationals hope community relations manager James Thomson can turn around the Coalition’s fortunes here.

Gilmore

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Heading to the south coast of NSW, the seat of Gilmore is one the Coalition is eyeing to boost its electoral prospects.

The electorate covers Kiama, Shoalhaven, and northern parts of Eurobodalla, as well as areas around Jervis Bay and Batemans Bay, which were heavily hit by .
Labor’s win in the 2019 election was just the second time it had won the seat since 1984. The man tasked with trying to return it into Liberal hands is Andrew Constance, .
The Coalition hopes his personal popularity in the electorate can gain enough support to turn the seat blue. Mr Morrison has visited twice in the campaign, making major defence and manufacturing announcements.

Another seat to watch in NSW is Macquarie, which is held by Labor on a margin of just 0.2 per cent — the tightest in the country. It’s located on the outer north-western fringe of Sydney, taking in the Blue Mountains.

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Victoria:

Chisholm

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In Victoria, all eyes will be on the marginal seat of Chisholm. Located in Melbourne’s southeast, it takes in Box Hill, Blackburn, Burwood, Ashwood, Chadstone, Mount Waverley, Glen Waverley, and Wheelers Hill.

The seat will see face Labor’s candidate Carina Garland — a union official of Italian heritage who also has a PhD in gender and cultural studies.
The Hong Kong-born Ms Liu became the first female member of the lower house with Chinese heritage when she won in 2019. The Chinese community could again have a big say in who wins Chisholm, with almost one in five people in the electorate having this ancestry. The seat has been visited multiple times by both leaders during the campaign, signalling its importance.

The seat of Corangamite, which takes in Geelong and Torquay, will be another closely watched seat in the state. It is currently held by Labor on a 1.1 per cent margin and has previously been considered a safe Liberal seat.

Tasmania:

Bass

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The second-most marginal seat in the country, Bass, covers the northeast of Tasmania and includes the city of Launceston.

It is currently held by the Liberal party on a razor-thin margin of 0.4 per cent and has gained a reputation as an “ejector seat” in recent history, with just one sitting member re-elected since 1993.
The former local mayor, Liberal MP Bridget Archer, has recently gained a name for herself by and pushing for stronger protections for LGBTIQ+ students .
Ms Archer will face the MP she defeated at the 2019 poll, Labor’s Ross Hart — a Launceston based lawyer who won Bass at the 2016 election.

The neighbouring seat of Braddon, held by the Liberals on a 3.1 per cent margin, and the seat of Lyons, held by Labor on a 5.2 per cent margin, will also be closely watched.

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South Australia:

Boothby

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Boothby is South Australia’s only marginal seat, and covers the southern suburbs of Adelaide, extending from the coast inland into the Adelaide Hills.

The Liberals have held Boothby since 1949, and it is currently held by outgoing MP Nicolle Flint on a slim 1.4 per cent margin.
It will now be contested by Liberal candidate Dr Rachel Swift, who has experience in medical research and as a management consultant. She will be facing Labor’s Louise Miller-Frost — who has been chief of the local St Vincent De Paul Society, as well as working in health and local government.

Independent candidate Jo Dyer will also contest the seat.

Western Australia:

Pearce

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Labor has made Western Australia a focus this election, with leader .

The Opposition has a keen eye on Pearce, which takes in areas encompassing Perth’s northern suburbs. The electorate has been held by the Liberal party since its inception in 1990, but a redistribution has seen its boundaries redrawn. The change has replaced rural areas to the north and east of the city with more suburban areas.
The seat is also facing .
Labor’s candidate local mayor Tracey Roberts will be seeking to harness her local recognition to turn the seat red. The Liberal candidate opposing this effort is Linda Aitken —a clinical nurse specialist who has served as a City of Wanneroo Councillor.

The seat of Hasluck, covering Perth’s northeast and held by Liberal Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt on a 5.9 per cent margin, will also be closely watched on election night, as will the seat of Swan, which is held by the Liberals on a 3.2 per cent margin.

Northern Territory:

Lingiari

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The seat of Lingiari covers more than 99 per cent of the Northern Territory, encompassing some 1.3 million square kilometres.

The vast electorate covers population centres Alice Springs and Katherine, as well as remote communities throughout the NT.
The Labour-held seat is facing the retirement of long-serving member Warren Snowdon, who has represented the seat for more than two decades.
Labor’s new candidate is former Deputy Chief Minister Marion Scrymgour — the first Indigenous woman elected to the NT parliament.
She’ll be up against Damien Ryan, who served as mayor of Alice Springs for 13 years.

Labor also holds the other NT seat of Solomon on a tight 3.1 per cent margin.

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Queensland:

Flynn

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The seat of Flynn takes in the regional centre of Gladstone, as well as the mining regions of Mount Morgan, Monto, Biloela, Moura, Blackwater, and Emerald.

The seat is currently held by Liberal National Party MP Ken O’Dowd, who announced his retirement earlier this year. It will now be contested by Colin Boyce, a former LNP state MP.
Labor has selected Matt Burnett, the current Gladstone Mayor.
Both major parties have tried to sell their climate change policies in the seat as chances for job creation in an attempt to ease concerns over the prospect of a shift to net zero emissions by 2050.

Brisbane

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The seat of Brisbane, which covers the city’s inner-city suburbs on the northern side of the Brisbane River to its western suburbs, could be one of the most unpredictable and faces a three-horse race.

Liberal National Party MP Trevor Evans is up against Labor’s candidate Madonna Jarrett, who has experience as a policy advisor in state politics as well as working in public affairs and crisis management.
But Greens candidate Stephen Bates will also be contesting the seat, with the party hopeful its increasing vote in Queensland could result in a win in Brisbane.
The Greens are seeking to secure a second seat in the House of Representatives to improve its chances of holding the balance of power in the event of a hung parliament.

The inner Brisbane seat of Griffith, held by Labor on a 2.9 per cent margin, is also being targeted by the Greens.

Challenges from ‘teal’ independents

A number of Liberal MPs are also facing credible challenges from so-called teal independents across the country.
Several female candidates are seeking to capitalise on voter sentiment on issues such as climate change and concerns around integrity in politics.

Some independent candidates have united in adopting the teal colour, made famous by former Olympic medallist Zali Steggall’s campaign to unseat Tony Abbott in the Sydney seat of Warringah at the last election.

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Liberal-held seats, including Kooyong in Melbourne’s inner-east held by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg; Goldstein, south of Melbourne, and North Sydney, Mackellar and Wentworth taking in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, are all facing challenges.

But the independents still face a significant task trying to lure support away from the major parties.

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