Election wild cards to watch

02 July 2016 12:58 pm

For those watching the election tonight, here are some issues to monitor.
1. Will Tony Windsor beat Barnaby Joyce in New England? We don't know. The seat looks safe for the Nationals but Windsor held it for 12 years. There's no official margin. Watch this space.Election wild cards to watch

2. Will Kelly O'Dwyer hang on Higgins? This has always been a safe Liberal seat but the demography has changed and the Greens have out-campaigned the Libs. They're also getting preferences.

3. Is Labor gone in Batman? The Greens are very confident of picking this up and Labor insiders are privately writing it off.

4. Can Michael Danby hang on to Melbourne Ports? Danby and Greens candidate Steph Hodgins-May have had a heated battle. The Greens have preferenced Labor but Danby has produced two how-to-vote cards against ALP wishes of his party. One encourages voters in Jewish neighbourhoods to direct their preferences to the Liberal Party, and the other one gives preferences to the Greens. This means the seat could go to the Liberal Party's Owen Guest. It has to be the only seat in the country where there are three viable candidates. If Danby loses, it will be a huge story because Melbourne Ports, which was held by people like Frank Crean and Clyde Holding, had always been the safest of Labor seats.

5. How will the former PUPs Glenn Lazarus and Jacqui Lambie go? Lazarus is running for the Glenn Lazarus Team and Jacqui Lambie heads the Jacqui Lambie Network.

6. What about the X factor? Watch for the impact of the right-leaning Nick Xenephon team. The polling shows they're on track to win at least two upper house seats and at least one House of Reps seat with Mayo, the one held by former Liberal Minister Jamie Briggs, set to lose office. The Libs I speak to have all but written that one off. The more interesting question is whether Xenephon can pick up Christopher Pyne's seat.

7. Will Pauline Hanson make a come-back? You would have to say that the elimination of group voting tickets under changes brought through Parliament shortly before the election was called would strengthen Hanson's chances. Previously, the preference deals had kept her out of parliament. They're gone now.
8. What about Ricky Muir? Changes to the Senate voting laws would make it difficult for Muir because of his low primary vote in 2013 but since then, he has built a strong public profile.

9. Can television personality James Mathison, the guy on The $20 Challenge, and later Channel Ten's Australian Idol, beat Tony Abbott in the seat of Waringah? Don't hold your breath, Tony Abbott has won that seat comfortably every time. But it will be interesting to watch,

10. Can the Greens beat Albo? The Greens are putting up a strong challenge here and Anthony Albanese has lost ground in a redistribution after the 2013 election. Then again, his seat of Grayndler is on an 18.8 per cent margin. It's hard to see the Greens winning that.

11. What about those bellwether seats. These are the seats that generally fall to whomever ends up winning the election. Personally, I think that rule is bullshit and more likely to be a matter of coincidence. Still, the seat to watch tonight is Eden-Monaro which takes in enormous territory stretching from Yass to Cooma, Eden and Merimbula to Queanbeyan. Labor's Mike Kelly is challenging to win the seat back from the Liberals' sitting member, Peter Hendy who pissed off a lot of people in the party when he supported Malcolm Turnbull's coup.