The Coalition’s potential paths back to power


Since the election, there have been numerous arguments from right-wing Liberal Party figures that the party should give up on winning back the inner city seats they have lost, and instead look elsewhere to rebuild their numbers.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott published an op-ed in the Telegraph urging the party to look to the suburbs and the regions to replace the seats lost in the inner cities. Yet the Coalition are increasingly dominant in rural Australia, so the alternatives to the inner cities are slim pickings.

So what are the seats that have the smallest margins for the Coalition after this election, and how would this path to victory change if the Coalition gave up on the inner city seats they lost?

For this blog post, I’m assuming that Labor wins Macnamara and the Liberal Party wins Deakin and Gilmore. In this scenario, the Coalition would’ve lost ten seats I’m defining as “inner city”, including the six teal gains, two Greens gains, and the Labor gains in Higgins and Swan. This made up more than half of the Liberal Party’s eighteen losses. The Coalition also lost four seats I would define as being “multicultural middle” seats: Bennelong, Chisholm, Reid and arguably Tangney. Labor won two other seats in the Perth area (Hasluck and Pearce), as well as Boothby in the Adelaide area and Robertson on the NSW central coast.

Assuming the current seats stay with the current leading party, the Coalition will be left with 59 seats, and thus will need seventeen more seats for a majority.

This first table shows the eighteen seats with the slimmest majority against the Coalition. I have assumed a 2.0% margin for the Greens seat of Brisbane, since we don’t yet have a proper Greens vs Liberal 2CP margin there. I’ve added one extra since the election is never about trying to achieve the slimmest possible majority.

Lyons (TAS)ALP 0.50%Rural
Bennelong (NSW)ALP 0.98%Middle suburbia
Curtin (WA)IND 1.04%Inner City
Lingiari (NT)ALP 1.28%Rural
Ryan (QLD)GRN 1.71%Inner City
Tangney (WA)ALP 1.73%Middle suburbia
Higgins (VIC)ALP 1.87%Inner City
Brisbane (QLD)GRN 2.00%Inner City
Robertson (NSW)ALP 2.19%Outer suburbia
Mackellar (NSW)IND 2.24%Inner City
Boothby (SA)ALP 2.41%Middle suburbia
Goldstein (VIC)IND 2.74%Inner City
Paterson (NSW)ALP 3.17%Rural
Kooyong (VIC)IND 3.25%Inner City
North Sydney (NSW)IND 3.25%Inner City
McEwen (VIC)ALP 3.30%Rural
Hunter (NSW)ALP 3.81%Rural
Wentworth (NSW)IND 3.90%Inner City

This list includes nine inner city seats (all of the Coalition losses except Swan), three “middle suburban” seats, five rural seats (including two that border Newcastle) and just one outer suburban seat: Robertson. The seventeenth seat on the list, Hunter, has a margin of 3.8%.

This list is mostly a mix of conventional marginal seats and the shock losses from 2022.

So what does the path look like if you exclude those nine inner city seats? This table shows the top eighteen seats excluding inner city prospects.

Lyons (TAS)ALP 0.50%Rural
Bennelong (NSW)ALP 0.98%Middle suburbia
Lingiari (NT)ALP 1.28%Rural
Tangney (WA)ALP 1.73%Middle suburbia
Robertson (NSW)ALP 2.19%Outer suburbia
Boothby (SA)ALP 2.41%Middle suburbia
Paterson (NSW)ALP 3.17%Rural
McEwen (VIC)ALP 3.30%Rural
Hunter (NSW)ALP 3.81%Rural
Parramatta (NSW)ALP 4.22%Middle suburbia
Hasluck (WA)ALP 5.14%Outer suburbia
Werriwa (NSW)ALP 5.17%Outer suburbia
Reid (NSW)ALP 5.22%Middle suburbia
Blair (QLD)ALP 5.25%Outer suburbia
Shortland (NSW)ALP 5.37%Provincial suburbia
Dobell (NSW)ALP 6.49%Outer suburbia
Isaacs (VIC)ALP 6.5%Middle suburbia
Chisholm (VIC)ALP 6.57%Middle suburbia
    The seats added to the list are pretty much entirely suburban seats, mostly in the capital cities but also including Shortland, which is basically a suburb of Newcastle.
    The various seat categories now include:
    5 seats in the Hunter-Central Coast region of New South Wales (every seat except Newcastle itself).5 seats in multicultural middle suburbia in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth5 rural seats (with Hunter overlapping between categories).4 other middle-outer suburban seats: Boothby, Isaacs, Blair and Werriwa.

Some of these seats are conventional marginals and have often been in play, but others have always been in Labor’s camp, such as Shortland, Blair and Werriwa. The seventeenth seat, Isaacs, has a 6.5% margin, which is quite a stretch.

So is there a theoretical path to victory without the inner cities? Yes, there is, but it won’t be easy. There is some evidence that Labor is slipping in places like Werriwa, but the Coalition would need a lot of things to go their way, and significantly shift demographics that have traditionally not voted for the Liberal Party to gain some of these seats.

I’d also note that the Coalition didn’t only lose seats thanks to alienating inner-city voters. They also alienated Chinese-Australian voters, and there are five multicultural seats with large Chinese-Australian populations on this list of targets.

Finally, what are Labor’s prospects for increasing their numbers beyond the likely 76 seats they seem likely to win? There are a bunch of conventional marginal seats where they didn’t break through in 2022 that remain on the table as prospects for Labor to increase its majority in 2025. While Labor has the potential to take some of the seats won by the Greens in inner Brisbane, it seems unlikely they will have any room to grow with the independent seats, thus limiting prospects for growth in the inner cities.

This list shows the most marginal fifteen seats where Labor came second. A majority of these seats are either in Victoria or Queensland. It’s worth noting Griffith and Brisbane don’t appear on this list, since Labor won’t make the two-candidate-preferred, but they will end up being quite close.

Gilmore (NSW)LIB 0.12%Rural
Deakin (VIC)LIB 0.36%Middle suburbia
Menzies (VIC)LIB 1.00%Middle suburbia
Sturt (SA)LIB 1.16%Inner city
Moore (WA)LIB 1.25%Outer suburbia
Casey (VIC)LIB 1.59%Outer suburbia
Bass (TAS)LIB 1.88%Provincial
Dickson (QLD)LNP 1.93%Outer suburbia
Fowler (NSW)IND 2.45%Middle suburbia
Flynn (QLD)LNP 2.57%Rural
Monash (VIC)LIB 3.07%Rural
Bonner (QLD)LNP 3.14%Middle suburbia
Aston (VIC)LIB 3.18%Middle suburbia
Leichhardt (QLD)LNP 3.35%Provincial
Longman (QLD)LNP 3.37%Outer suburbia

This list only includes one inner city seat – Sturt, in Adelaide.

The list also includes five middle suburban seats: Aston, Deakin and Menzies in Melbourne; Fowler in Sydney and Bonner in Brisbane. Another four are on the outskirts: Dickson and Longman in northern Brisbane, Casey in outer Melbourne and Moore in Perth. That’s ten out of fifteen seats in the big cities.

The other five seats are in the regions. They include Bass and Leichhardt (both of which are dominated by a single regional city) and more rural Gilmore, Flynn and Monash. Monash is an interesting inclusion: the seat under its former name of McMillan had been held by Labor as recently as the 2001 election, but had since ceased to be a key seat.

So while this has election has been focused on the inner suburbs, Labor’s prospects for growth lay elsewhere: mostly in the middle and outer suburbs, but it also includes some regional seats. It does include one seat in central Queensland, but the other central Queensland seats are much safer, with Dawson and Herbert having margins over 10%. But it also includes a number of other seats that have not been serious marginal seats in recent years: Aston, Menzies and Casey in eastern Melbourne particularly come to mind.

There certainly are plausible gains for the Coalition if they decide to eschew the inner cities, but they won’t be that easy, and Labor will have the advantage of not having to defend a slew of inner city seats. The alternative path to victory for the Coalition isn’t as easy as some Liberal members make it out to be.

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  1. If the Libs decide to abandon the inner cities and focus on rural, regional and urban fringe electorates, then two immediate issues arise for them – the increased chance they will lose their remaining inner & middle city seats and increased friction with the Nationals outside of Queensland since they will need to target regional & rural electorates, the heartland of the Nationals. They may well pick up a few seats, but in order to do so they’ll likely lose a few as well. The problem with a “broad church” is that you end up leaving everyone at least somewhat dissatisfied.

  2. I find it hard to see how the libs can get back to majority government if they just abandon the inner city seats they’ve lost to teals. They could win some seats sure, but 18 suburban seats?

  3. The other factor is demographic change – the cites are growing and the regions are shrinking. The ratio of urban seats to rural seats is only going to increase – deciding the forgo the former is a recipe for irrelevance.

  4. First term crossbenchers hardly ever lose or quit after just one term. If there’s a huge nationwide swing to the LNP at the next election coupled with a local dissatisfaction or a retiring Greens or independent, then they could regain their lost inner-city seats.

    Another way the LNP could win is if the Greens beat Labor in inner Melbourne or in the NSW seat of Richmond whilst the LNP makes gains in middle suburbia. The number of Labor seats could fall below the number of LNP seats.

    If Peter Dutton is still the OL next election, he’ll have the home state advantage in QLD and be better able to defend his own marginal seat. Unfortunately for the LNP, there are no marginal Labor seats in QLD and all seats outside of metropolitan Brisbane (except for Kennedy) are already LNP-held.

  5. The Libs might be able to win some seats lost back if the Libs promise to further lower taxes, deregulate the economy etc. and Labor refuses it or brings increased taxes into the next election. This election was remarkable in the sense that there was no real difference for the economic policies between the two parties. Both support the same lowering of taxes and both opposed changes to negative gearing etc. The point of contention in this election is more about social issues and national security which is why inner city electorates and seats with large Chinese Australian populations swung viciously against the Libs but not the traditionally Labor working class ones.

  6. Votante raises an important point that crossbenchers (I would add, particularly those elected at a general election) rarely lose their seats in the following election. Granted, the sheer number of new crossbenchers elected at this election is already bucking the historical trend, so this may not necessarily hold for the future, but on this basis I can (surprisingly) see some wisdom in calls for the Liberal Party to write off those seats they lost to the crossbench or at least to treat them as not so marginal as the raw numbers suggest.

    Regarding the hypothetical of a Coalition plurality over Labor, I think Greens gains at Labor’s expense will only be a cold comfort to the Liberals unless their own gains put them in a commanding minority in their own right. Labor would not be happy about being forced into minority by the Greens, but there would have to be some pretty big shifts in the interpartisan political landscape before that by itself would hand government to the Coalition. And even if this scenario did involve Labor+Greens lacking an outright majority, a Coalition minority supported by independents would not be clear sailing for the Liberal leadership by any means.

  7. I’ll posit a different theory.

    Perhaps privately, the Coalition aren’t banking on returning to majority.

    At this election, the Teals have been seen as in opposition to the Coalition – but they are called Teal, and not Green, for a reason.

    If this parliament sorts out ICAC and Climate Policy, what next for the Teals that would really differentiate themselves from the Coalition? The culture wars can continue on the right flank, but if Dutton is really the pragmatist that the Coalition party room and News Corp is seeking to make him (and personally, I think he will be even worse than Scott Morrison on the human factors) then he might find a way to align himself with the Teals in minority, certainly to secure the PM-ship, and push right sided economic policy through.

    I’ll acknowledge I’m reaching a little bit, but maybe this is the play being made. The Coalition in all its iterations has always existed to be in opposition to the Labor Party, rather than having a single driving ideology, despite what they say. The Teals or some successor group, could simply become another wing.

  8. I don’t think JM is stretching things too far. I’d already come to the same conclusion and further that it is likely the only likely way the Coalition will have to getting back in power. I’d extend it to suggest that after a few terms of a three way coalition, it may well become more formalised. After all, the Teals really are Liberals in all but name.

  9. Probably agree with you JM – the teal independents are equivalent to soft/small ‘l’ Liberals who are moderate and don’t share the more conservative and right wing views of the Nationals and other Libs. They may be like the Australian Democrats and its predecessors such as Liberal Movement in SA, thus being a centrist group that could be open to backing either major party in the event of a hung parliament/minority government.

  10. I cant personally see the LNP win many more seats other than the ones they already already with a more right wing focus maybe only Lyons, Blair, Hunter, Paterson and Outside chance in Shortland. I see many more potential losses such as Sturt, Bradfield, Deakin and maybe even Menzies and Aston with this approach. The swing to the Libs in North-West Melbourne in 2PP terms was due to increase in UAP and ONP and the Lib primary actually went down including in McEwen in these seats. I dont see what other seats they can gain.

  11. @Bob that certainly is what the Libs need to do in order to win in the future but there won’t likely be enough of such seats in play to compensate for the massive losses in the inner city to the Teals. Dutton has declared he won’t back down on the rhetoric towards China so seats like Bennelong, Reid and Chisholm won’t be regained for quite some time and Menzies could very well fall in 2025. Banks could fall as well if the next NSW redistribution pushes it further into Hurstville and Kogarah and sheds some of the western half of the seat. The only way I can see Dutton becoming PM while ignoring the inner city and areas with large Chinese communities is if the Teals become dissatisfied with Albanese and form a political party that is socially progressive and economically conservative which provides confidence and supply to the Libs, allowing them to occupy the socially conservative position on the political spectrum, basically how the Greens are to Labor.

  12. We are in extremely uncharted territory if the Coalition attempt to run a campaign to win back seats from the Greens and independents. It has been almost 30 years since a major party successfully won a seat from a re-contesting 3rd party incumbent that won in a general election.

    I assume a lot of that is down to not trying though. Traditionally to win major parties keep message discipline for years attacking the other major party, but this time they may have to dilute that to win seats off both Labor, the Greens, and independents to have a realistic chance of governing in 2025.

    Perhaps the Coalition will aim their sights lower and simply campaign to force Labor in minority and then hope the 2025-28 parliament is viewed as unstable? Ie- the 2007, 2010, 2013 story.

  13. Of course there’s a risk for Dutton that if he doubles down on lurching the party to the right to appeal to the outer suburbs and regions that he would lose seats that the Libs have just held on this time like Bradfield, Sturt, Deakin, Menzies and maybe even Aston and Banks so they end up in an even worse position than now.

  14. One thing to take into account is that multiple redistributions are likely before the next election.

    New South Wales and the Northern Territory are due to have them during the term.

    Tasmania is due to commence its redistribution only about 6 months before the final possible date for the next half-Senate election, so the timeline for that could be a bit tight considering a later House-only election is unlikely (and even then the timeline would likely be tight).

    Victoria and WA also look likely to have redistributions, as they are likely to swap a seat due to border closures cutting migration and work from home/lockdown related internal migration.

  15. It’s still early to tell but I still think seats that had swung this election e.g. Reid, Bennelong, Chisholm, Robertson will still be swing seats and not be permanently lost. Usually parties want to regain exactly what they lost at the previous election.

    The LNP, just like the US Republicans, will attract lower, working-class and outer suburban and rural voters whilst upper-class, university-educated voters flock to their opponents. However, I don’t think affluent ‘old money’, socially conservative seats like Berowra, Bradfield and Mitchell in Sydney would fall to Labor any time soon. Maybe Sturt will as it is next to a capital city CBD seat and has a high Greens vote in certain parts.

    For the LNP, WA’s seats, especially Tangney and Hasluck, and Lyons in Tas, will be low hanging fruit. The LNP will probably target socially conservative and working class areas like Werriwa. Shortland and Hunter may also become marginal thanks to deindustrialisation and an aging population, similar to rust belt states like Michigan.

  16. After seeing Peter Dutton’s presser today, I’m pretty sure their chances of winning 17 seats next election are very slim.
    Good work on sorting by electorate type though Ben! I’m keeping it for future reference. 😊

  17. In Sydney there was no great outer suburban swing to the Libs, but the swing to the ALP was either non-existent or rather muted in outer west and southwest Sydney, but to the northwest the swing to the ALP was off the charts. What demographi differences are there between Campbelltown and Riverstone? Why is the ALP suddenly winning Windsor, but losing Weatherill Park? Is the large number of new residents in places like Gregory Hills and The Gables having an impact?

    Let’s look at what happened across outer Sydney (these are not final swings, but ten days in they are pretty indicative). Geographically from the south moviing clockwise to the north:

    Cunningham (ALP) ALP +1.1%
    Hughes (LIB) ALP +2.9%
    Macarfur (ALP) ALP +0.1%
    Werriwa (ALP) LIB +0.2%
    Fowler (IND) ALP -16.4%
    McMahon (ALP) ALP +2.7%
    Chifley (ALP) ALP +1.8%
    Lindsey (LIB) LIB +1.3%
    Macquarie (ALP) ALP +7.5%
    Mitchell (LIB) ALP + 7.5%
    Berowra (LIB) ALP +5.9%

    What I’m going to humbly suggest is that it’s not demographics, but rather candidates that make the difference. Our elections are increasingly less presidential and more local, a process that is aided by Social Media and the internets generally. Lazy party factional hacks sitting on bloated margins are being found out – while hard working and engaged local candidates gain support. For the former I think we can example Hawke (Mitchell) and Stanley (Werriwa), while I support the latter with Templeman (Macquarie) and Le (Werriwa). It’s worth noting that Angus Taylor (Hume – not included bc it has a chunk of regional vote) who became a celebrity of sorts during the last parliament suffered double digit swings around the outer Sydney suburbs east of Camden.

    The ALP is very vulnerable across western Sydney, but not to the Liberal Party, but rather to community based independents. Albanese’s greatest domestic worry may not be the BCA or the ACTU, but the P&C.

    The Liberal Party has saturated the boofhead vote since Your Rights At Work borrowed it for the ALP. To continue to pursue that delusion won’t end well. We saw the biggest loser of all in this campaign: the Murdoch Media, who threw everything at Albanese, who won. You can add 2GB to the exploding heads at Holt Street. Their not irrelevant, but they’re heading there. The idea that you can win elections with culture wars is an american idea based on voluntary voting and motivating people to actually get out and vote. With cumpolsory voting you have to give people a reason to vote for you, something that’s going to be of benefit to the voter’s life.

    What has happened to the Liberal Party is that it has been captured by the DLP. Anyone who is old enough is struck by how similar the programs of Abbott. Dutton and coy. conform with the austere catholicism of B.A. Santamaria and his merry men. But is there an ideology – for it is an ideology – that is more dissonant in modern Australia than beating up on homos, bulldozing koalas, preparing for the yellow peril and turning our backs on victims of fire and flood.

    I don’t think even Glenmore Park has the stomach for that.

  18. Teals:

    I don’t think the campaigns in Wannon and Bradfield will stop and if Dutton is the LNP leader at the next election they are real chances for gains. They may also have a chance in the Sunshine coast (to replicate Sandy Bolton’s success in Noosa). Likely by-elections like Cook, Monash or wherever Frydenberg tries to come back to parliament will also be impacted by Teals.


    Macnamara and Richmond are the obvious ones. Moreton has been the “4th musketeer” in Queensland for a long time and Greens are in with a chance. The seats where Greens came 2nd to Labor are winnable with Liberal preferences (except Sydney and Grayndler, barring extraordinary changes in ALP leadership), so Cooper, Wills, Canberra. I think Greens can also slip into 2nd in Newcastle, Cunningham and Fraser. Federal Liberals may pull out of ACT entirely in which case Greens should try in Bean and Fenner too. Perth and Adelaide (especially the former) should be considered if there’s a statewide swing against Labor.

    Those are all ALP held. LNP held seats with Green potential include Casey and Sturt. If Constance takes Gilmore, Greens (Findley) are potentially better placed than a term battered Labor to win the seat back.

    Berowra has teal potential, and Greens are also strong locally. I don’t think Labor will make the runoff there next time. Julian Leeser has leadership potential but has kept very quiet so far. If Dutton is leader at the next election, a seat to watch.

    If Teals get a unique identity, they may target Labor held Higgins. Greens also a chance there. Biggest obstacle is a sophomore surge for the new Labor MP.

  19. Also i dont feel that the current Werriwa is working class rather than it is socially mixed with more affluent suburbs such as Middleton Grange, West Hoxton etc. This area is ethnically diverse so i dont think we can compare it to a White working class seat such as Longman where Dutton could appeal to. There are large South Asian (Indian/Bangladeshi), Lebanese, Italian, Vietnamese Assyrian and Slavic communities. The future of Werriwa is determined by redistributions. It may for example take some Camden Council suburbs and Abbotsbury which will make it more affluent.

  20. I made a comment in another thread about the differences between Lindsay and Greenway, which can apply basically to the south West and North west.

    Greenway and parts of Macquarie around Windsor are full of the adult children of traditional Liberal voters of Mitchell. These kids are in well paying upper middle class jobs, exposed to an education system that leans left and are socially liberal or libertarian. It’s basically the same targets as the teal seats. Thus the swing away from the Libs. You can see some of the same pattern in Mitchell as that generation takes up more of the voter base – just there is an element of their parents’ generation in that seat still.

    Lindsay and Werriwa include the kids of the West. Traditionally blue collar seats that vote Labor. These young adults though have better houses now, are tradies and small business owners etc, and aspirational type voters which are the swing voters that the Libs targeted.

  21. If history is any guide, then the Coalition won’t win the next election. Australians tend to give governments at least 2 terms in government.

    The election of Dutton as OL is probably a (bold) experiment and the success (winning back a bag of seats) or otherwise (losing more seats) in 2025 will go part of the way to determining when and how they get back into government. I will put my money on Dutton not being PM. His speech yesterday didn’t sound like a warm cuddly bear type approach to opposition leader to me and he may even set some cats amongst the pigeons by backing the Helen Haines Bill, which may throw Labor into a tizz, given I don’t think it is the exact model that Labor want.

    As for the Teals, they will evolve and they will have a new list of issues on which to campaign on. My guess is they will be focusing on governance and democracy issues in 2025 and there is a lot of rich picking to pick up possibly more disaffected voters. So depending on who sees the mood in the electorate and how nimble the respective leaders are in responding to these issues, this will likely determine the winner of the 2025 elections.

    For me, the Greens are the current King Makers and they are likely to exploit it hard whilst they have the power. Expect Labor to have to make a lot of smaller concessions to the Greens on a range of matters, probably related to governance and democracy issues, if Labor want a clean run in the Senate.

  22. Greenway (my home electorate) is a bit more complicated that that. It has a high ethnic population, with a lot of people of Indian and Chinese background (the shift away from the Libs amongst the Chinese community has been well commented on already). And whilst it does contain areas of “adult children of traditional Liberal voters”, particularly the newer developments around Schofields, it also contains large chunks of traditional ALP voting working class areas. It tends to elect ALP representatives (although the equivalent state seat is solid Liberal), but there are two distinct voting districts, the strongly Liberal leaning north and the strong ALP leaning south. I’ve not seen the booth breakdown for the whole electorate yet, but I suspect the former swung to the Greens and ALP (the indies were right wingers) whilst there was a swing to the Libs in some of the booths in the south.

  23. I wonder if age will affect voting patterns long term. Younger millennials and Gen Z (currently aged 18 to early 30s) were born during or grew up during the John Howard era. They may be conscious of climate change, struggling with home ownership and have student debt. I wonder if they will resent the LNP (as they grow older) for policies they think ruined their future. The LNP supported the coal industry, negative gearing and capital gains tax discounts for the vast majority of their lives and even won an “unwinnable” election on the promise to retain them.

    Of course, conservatism correlates with age but I wonder if the 30-somethings of the 2020s will be less likely to vote LNP than baby boomers in the 1980s when they were 30-something.

  24. @Votante

    I am in my mid-20s and I am hugely resentful of the LNP for the reasons you have just mentioned, as are many of my friends around the same age.

    As for the point in your last paragraph, one of the ABC panellists on election night said this quite eloquently – “You can’t make conservatives if you’ve got nothing to conserve.” Given how long it’s taking those in my generation to buy their first home (among other things), the “window” for which it is in one’s self-interest to vote for left-of-centre parties is enlargening.

  25. And I should point out – I am much more fortunate than many in my generation. My industry is very secure and pays well. I work two jobs by choice. I work in a start-up by choice. I save and invest. I should be one of these so-called “aspirational” Liberal voters, but I am not.

  26. I also wonder if housing prices in Sydney and potentially WFH post COVID may affect demographics of these outer suburbs.
    For example, well educated professionals that may have previously lived in the inner ring may move further out than they would due to both price (even those far flung places are not cheap) and flexibility and add more alp/green/teal voting potential to those areas

  27. LNP Insider:

    As someone who has watched politics in Penrith since the seventies I can tell you Penrith was a Liberal town, and will always be a Liberal town. Mulock held it at a state level for two two decades by being a better Liberal than Eileen Cammack There was an aberration in the 80s/90s that was largely due to Penrith’s growth as a commuter town and the ALP targetting transport under Wran got Pete Anderson over the line, but Federally, Ross Free was always a do-nothing hack, so Kelly’s win was no surprise. It’s not held by people who changed their vote, but rather by a demographic that suits the Liberal party, conservative families with mortgages. It’s a DLP dream, especially with the Catholic mafia in the Penrith establishment.

    What you say about Windsor is true for Bligh Park, Pitt Town, Wilberforce, Glossadia, Freemans Reach and McGrath’s Hill; but less so for Windsor proper, Richmond and North Richmond, which are increasingly populated by refugees from the higher rents closer in to Parramatta and people trying to get on the housing ladder with something vaguely affordable. Templeman won North Richmond, Richmond, Windsor, Yarramundi, Hobartville, Bligh Park East, Kurrajong and Grose Vale. I can never recall any of those booths voting ALP going back to the 70’s (although I think Deame won Kurrajong in ’94).

    And in regard to your thesis about Mitchell, the whole northern end swung by double digit margins towards Rowland – a hard working candidate I should have included in my previous epistle. Riverstone voted ALP for the first time since the meatworks closed.

    Hawkesbury (state) is very vulnerable over roads alone. Robyn Preston did nothing during the pandemic and doesn’t return emails, let alone phone calls. But any challenger would already need to be in the field, and there’s no one.

    Sorry, a bit off topic, tl:dr Well connected and resourced community candidates either with a party or as an independent will trump anything the parties dish up from here on in. The Liberals path to victory is to go outside their gene pool and recruit good candidates.

  28. @ LNP insider, i would caution against comparing Werriwa to Lindsay as Weriwa is much more ethnically diverse. I would say suburbs such as West Hoxton, Middleton Grange, Cecil Hills and even Abbotsbury (in Fowler) but demographically similar shows upward mobility of ethnic communities such as Vietnamese and Assyrians who came from war torn countries. It reminds me of decades earlier how Greeks and Italians left the inner city for the suburbs such as Templestowe, Keilor, Bentleigh, Essendon in Melbourne or Earlwood, St George District and Canada Bay LGA in Sydney.

  29. I tend to think people are focusing on the Libs and on what they have to do and not looking at the ALP.

    – Very low Primary vote
    – Bare majority
    – Vote squeezed between tertiary educated inner city ‘elites’ and old fashioned working class suburbs, at least as much if not more than the libs.

    I suspect the Libs need to do little more than lean into the realignment. Unless the ALP has a very good 3 years (unlikely with rising inflation necessitating rising interest rates, any action on climate change causing rising electricity costs etc), and with the Greens looking to drag them left on social issues, the Libs may be looking at some seats on big margins suddenly in their sights.

    Remember, there are a lot of ‘old labor’ voters for whom the Greens/Teals are toxic, and a Liberal party shorn of the toffs suddenly looks much more electable.

    Also most of us on the ‘left’ thought Tony Abbott was unelectable, so be wary of Dutton.

  30. the policy status quo could also break down in ways these scenarios dont take account of…it isnt impossible to imagine an Aussie Corbyn or Bernie in control of the ALP, or an Aussie Trump in control of the LNP and that might see more profound shifts and realignements…

  31. Liberals will need to gain seats they have never held or haven’t held in a very long time. Not impossible, but they will need to overcome generational/tribal votes.

    Dai-Le style “anti teals” (scarlets?) may be better placed to gain seats.

    I agree with the above assessment though. Liberals can turn losing inner city old money and toff seats into an advantage and double down on the kind of inner city resentment campaigning usually used against Greens. Dutton can prosecute that strategy but he may also motivate too much volunteering from the left. Angus Taylor is more “dodgy” than “dangerous” and could lead LNP to victory if he survives ICAC. But LNP will likely want to secure more talent than their current ranks for the next election, then win the one after (with Labor likely in minority). Their next PM may not even be in parliament.

  32. The Liberals might actually lose *more* seats if they lean into the 2022 realignment considering they only narrowly held seats like Sturt, Casey, Menzies, Deakin, and even Dutton’s own seat of Dickson.

    Also worth keeping in mind that the Liberals faced big swings against them in some outer suburban and regional seats like Macquarie, Eden-Monaro, Dobell, and Corangamite. So I don’t think their problems are confined to the inner-cities.

    Certainly possible that they get elected by default in 2025, but also seems possible that they get too rightwing and lose appeal (especially with an increasingly powerful Nationals Party, which doesn’t even run in most electorates let alone represent them).

  33. @MostlyLaborVoter, I think this election marks the demise of the ‘old labor voter’ or old liberal voter for that matter as a political influence (and soon to be literally). This cohort, which have played a significant role in the recent past, is my parents generation and retirement is on my agenda. I suggest of more concern to the major parties should be the radically different voting patterns of the 18 – 35 year olds. For example I cannot see young inner city ‘progressive liberals’ ever returning to a party that even has a sniff of old style Queensland conservatism in their ranks.

  34. @John, you missed a couple of potential Greens targets in Queensland that might be viable post future redistributions.

    My strongest case is McPherson, on the Gold Coast – right on the QLD-NSW border. Firstly there is already somewhat of a crossover between McPherson and neighbouring Richmond in terms of community of interest and socio-political attitudes. There are a few booths today in McPherson which have higher first-preference votes to the Greens than ALP. Future redistributions might have parts of the Gold Coast Hinterland like Springbrook (currently in Wright), which have strong first-preferences for the Greens, redistributed back to McPherson.

    Similarly to their campaign in Brisbane regarding flight path noise, the Greens could tap into similar local over-development concerns strongly expressed by residents of Palm Beach and Tugun (ie. TRAMS OUTTA PALMY). I’m sure there will be future concerns over emerging proposed developments which will also animate constituents of McPherson. While today, it is a strong seat for the LNP, it might end up as a similar 3CP contest to a seat like Ryan.

    Another division I would also more tentatively suggest is Leichhardt, given Kuranda is a strong enclave of Greens support (along with support for an abundance of all the microparties) in North Queensland.

    Final suggestion is Moncrieff. Not for the Greens, but as a ripe target for a potential “teal” or independent challenge.

    As a side-note, looking at a lot of the booths on the edges of the Gold Coast and Brisbane it’s striking how little first-preferences the ALP received again this election – hovering in the low 20s. While ALP’s election win has forced the Coalition to go and take a long and hard look in the mirror, it might have also masked how precarious the future viability of ALP is.

  35. Speaking of Kuranda – 11% swing against the Greens, 11% swing towards the Informed Medical Options Party, 8% swing towards the Socialist Alliance! Strange place.

  36. Coalition=48.2% 2PP in 2022.
    If they need a 6.6% swing for a majority, that’s 54.8%.
    They’ve only ever got that high in 1931, 1966 and 1975. So for them to get that high they’d need the conditions for a once in a generation vote and a dysfunctional Labor Party.
    Will be fascinating to see if ALP is squeezed as much as the Libs, wrt to urban/ suburban interests.

  37. Dutton’s frontbench is stacked with similarly-minded hard right ministers in prominent positions so he’s essentially doubling down on the 2022 realignment and banking on winning over blue collar workers and the One Nation/UAP voter to offset decreasing support among the traditional affluent inner city base and middle suburban areas. Problem is there aren’t that many seats he can viably win in 2022 from Labor and it would make it easier for Labor to gain the seats they’ve just missed out on this time like Deakin, Menzies and Sturt.

  38. How are Mackellar & Goldstein “inner city” electorates? Narrabeen is 30km from the GPO, Sandringham is 20km. Need to be careful not to accept the premise of the Coalition’s tarring of the teals with the “inner city elites” brush here. Let’s stick to geographical definitions of what inner city and outer suburbs, rather than the tories’ inner city elites bad, outer suburbs aspirational good.

  39. You can argue Mackellar but Goldstein is more inner than outer. The AEC defines it as inner metro. Anyway, they are demographically and politically similar to a cluster of seats which are all relatively close to the city. It doesn’t mean the suburbs right next to the CBD. Even in the case of Mackellar (the least central of these seats) it’s much closer to the city than plenty of other urban seats.

  40. Goldstein is very much an inner city seat, especially with suburbs like Elwood in it. Seats like Ryan are considered inner city Brisbane but have suburbs further from Brisbane CBD than Sandringham is from Melbourne, but I guess that’s a result of Brisbane being a much smaller city.

    Always found it strange calling Mackellar inner city, even Dee Why isn’t considered inner city, and the seat goes as far as Palm Beach which is further from central Sydney than Blacktown is. Affluent, yes, inner city, no.

  41. “Inner city” is less a geographical label than a description of the sort of people to be found in the said area. People in Mackellar tend to see themselves as “city folk” rather than being “from the ‘burbs”. Of course, like any statement, that is not true for all residents, but it is for many and, I suspect, it is true for those who voted for independents & the Greens. The mindset of your average resident of Palm Beach is far more likely to match the stereotype “inner city” than the typical resident of my LGA, Blacktown. And from the POV of Blacktown, anything east of parramatta is geographically “inner city”. It’s all matter of perspective. 🙂 A few years ago the population centre of Sydney was around Toongabbie. It’s likely shifted a bit south since then. Maybe Greystanes?


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