PM targets Labor’s ‘lies’ on Super Saturday | Innovation Tech
VOTING for the Super Saturday by-elections is now under way, as a new poll shows Labor leader Bill Shorten could escape a leadership challenge with tight wins in two crucial seats.
Labor is battling to hold onto the Queensland seat of Longman and the Tasmanian seat of Braddon, with polls saying they are too close to call.
But the latest Newspoll published in Saturday’s Weekend Australian has Labor ahead 51-49 on a two-party-preferred count in both seats.
The Newspoll wasn’t all good news for Mr Shorten. It also revealed Labor’s primary vote would have been much stronger in both Braddon and Longman if Mr Albanese was leader rather than Mr Shorten.
The poll also indicated the Coalition could win Longman, but only if the LNP secured about 80 per cent of One Nation preferences which is considered unlikely.
No opposition has lost a by-election to the government in 98 years, and Labor has conceded Longman and Braddon will be tough to win.
But the party is likely to hold on in by-elections in Perth and Fremantle, while the Centre Alliance’s Rebekha Sharkie looks set to comfortably reclaim South Australia’s Mayo over Liberal candidate Georgina Downer.
It comes after he told ABC radio on Friday that if the government wins either Braddon or Longman — or both — it will give it an enormous boost ahead of the next general election due next year. Mr Turnbull on Friday again said he wouldn’t go early if Super Saturday goes the government’s way.
“The election will be next year. The election will be in the first half of next year,” he told the Seven Network on Friday.
If Labor loses the seats just months out from the next federal election, the party could look to change leaders.
Polls have shown Labor would be performing better if frontbencher Anthony Albanese was at the helm instead of Mr Shorten, but Mr Albanese “absolutely” guaranteed he wouldn’t challenge.
However, he refused to say whether he would turn down the opportunity to lead if colleagues asked him.
Mr Turnbull and Mr Shorten will be in the crucial Tasmanian seat of Braddon on Saturday as voting get under way. Both leaders will be in Braddon on Saturday in a last-minute attempt to woo over locals as they head into vote.
Polling booths opened at 8am and will close at 6pm when counting will start in the closely watched seat.
The latest Newspoll, published in Saturday’s Weekend Australian, has Labor ahead 51-49.
The electorate in Tasmania’s northwest is one of five by-elections across the country mostly sparked by dual-citizenship resignations.
Labor’s Justine Keay won the seat in 2016 but was forced to step down in May when it was revealed she had not renounced her British citizenship. The Liberals’ Brett Whiteley, who held Braddon before Ms Keay, is trying to stop her return.
“This is a community that I love. I was born and bred here,” Ms Keay said on Friday.
Labor has campaigned heavily on improving health, while the Liberals say only they can create jobs and boost business in the region.
Preferences from independent and outspoken fisherman Craig Garland and the Greens could push Labor across the line.
Mr Garland’s credentials were questioned by senior Liberals after it was revealed during the campaign he pleaded guilty to an assault charge more than two decades ago.
Mr Whiteley has urged voters to stay away from minor parties as only he can deliver from government.
The key issues are health, job creation, fishing.
Labor’s Susan Lamb, whose dual citizenship issues forced the by-election, is in a tight fight with former state Newman government MP Trevor “Big Trev” Ruthenberg.
One Nation preferences could prove crucial to the outcome, with the party capitalising on voter dissatisfaction with the major parties as well as general resentment over the citizenship crisis to push for a protest vote. The Newspoll published in Saturday’s Weekend Australian shows the LNP could only win if it secures 80 per cent of One Nation preferences.
According to the Newspoll, Ms Lamb leads Mr Ruthenberg 51-49 on a two-party preferred basis.
That’s the reverse of other polls this week that had Mr Ruthenberg slightly ahead of Ms Lamb around 51-49.
Before Ms Lamb was forced out of parliament, she held the seat on a razor-thin margin of 0.8 per cent.
The key issues are health, penalty rates, jobs.
Voters in the former-blue ribbon seat of Mayo will have the chance to return the electorate to the Liberal fold but candidate Georgina Downer would need to discredit consecutive polls to take the seat from Centre Alliance MP-turned-candidate Rebekha Sharkie.
Voting booths in the seat centred on the Adelaide Hills are now open, in one of the five Super Saturday by-elections mostly forced by the dual citizenship fiasco.
The by-election was triggered after Ms Sharkie — who won Mayo for the Nick Xenophon Team in 2016 — became caught up in the dual citizenship saga and was forced to resign.
She was the first non-Liberal to hold the seat since its 1984 creation and is hoping to repeat the result.
Her opponent, Ms Downer, is the daughter of Howard government foreign minister Alexander, who held the seat for the Liberal Party for 24 years. A recent poll in The Advertiser put her ahead 59-41 on a two-party basis while a ReachTEL poll of more than 700 voters returned a similar result on Wednesday night.
Despite the stark result, neither candidate has been willing to give weight to the poll.
“My intention is to be successful tomorrow and, of course, run next year for re- election as the member for Mayo,” Ms Downer said.
“I expected this would be a difficult campaign but it’s been a really fantastic time out here in Mayo and I’ve had a great reception in the community.” Ms Sharkie, the clear favourite, denied she was in a “unlosable position”. “I am so nervous here today,” she told reporters on Friday.
The key issues are health, ABC funding, education.
Fremantle’s by-election was triggered by the resignation of Labor’s Josh Wilson over his dual British citizenship in May. Wilson held it with a 7.5 per cent margin.
Fremantle is centred on the city, south of Perth, and Wilson is expected to win, with no Liberal candidate contesting the by-election.
Seven candidates have been nominated and the key issues are roads, health, WA’s GST share.
The Perth by-election was triggered by the resignation of Labor’s Tim Hammond who retired so that he could spend more time with his young family in May.
It was held by Hammond with a 3.3 per cent margin.
Perth is based on the central part of the West Australian capital.
Labor candidate Patrick Gorman, former Kevin Rudd staffer and WA Labor secretary, is expected to win.
There are 15 candidates nominated, but no Liberal candidate is standing.
The key issues are education, transport, health, WA’s GST share.