Bill Shorten with Justine Elliot on the Richmond campaign trail at Cudgen in May.
Bill Shorten with Justine Elliot on the Richmond campaign trail at Cudgen in May. Liana Turner

Labor tipped to hold seat but Nats say don’t count them out

LABOR'S Justine Elliot is likely to retain the marginal Federal seat of Richmond with a 1-2% increase in her two-party preferred vote, predicts Southern Cross University Australian Government lecturer Jo Coghlan.

That's if the Roy Morgan Research released on June 15, which had The Greens nearly doubling their support to 29% locally, was inaccurate as Ms Coghlan believes it was.

"It just doesn't ring true," she said.

But if the polling was correct, Ms Coghlan said Labor and The Greens would battle it out on a two-party preferred basis with about 1000 votes between them.

She said nationally, support for The Greens had remained steady.

"The Greens should be happy with 15% of the primary vote which would give Elliot a 1-2% increase in her two-party preferred vote," Ms Coghlan said.

She said this election was likely to see many previously rusted-on Labor voters across the country drift back after experiments with minor parties at previous elections, consolidating Labor-held seats like Richmond.

 

Nationals' leader Barnaby Joyce visiting the Tweed Coast with Richmond candidate Matthew Fraser during the campaign.
Nationals' leader Barnaby Joyce visiting the Tweed Coast with Richmond candidate Matthew Fraser during the campaign. Alina Rylko

Ms Coghlan said Nationals' candidate Matthew Fraser had largely pushed the Federal line of "jobs and growth" during the campaign, which lacked emotional punch and localisation.

"On the ground, what does jobs and growth mean if I live in Tweed Heads?" she said.

She said by contrast, families could relate to Labor's campaign against Medicare "privatisation".

"Fraser needed to localise his campaign a bit more," she said.

"He hasn't articulated well how the national policies are going to be very beneficial.

"Jobs and growth isn't emotional. People understand it on a theoretical level, they get it, but it doesn't resonate."

Mrs Elliot, who is backed by Sportsbet punters at $1.15, said she was not counting on a win.

"I honestly don't take anything for granted," she said this week.

She said threats to Medicare under the Coalition had been the main issue this election.

 

More than 12,000 Tweed Shire residents have already pre-polled for this federal election. David Nielsen/The Northern Star
More than 12,000 Tweed Shire residents have already pre-polled for this federal election. David Nielsen/The Northern Star DAVID NIELSEN

However, some voters were upset by "Medi-scare" with nasty feedback posted on Mrs Elliot's Facebook page.

Mr Fraser said limited on-the-ground campaigning by Mrs Elliot indicated she expected to win comfortably.

However, he said he was sensing a mood for change, even among previous Greens voters, who realised the Coalition was likely to be returned to office, so were supporting a candidate that would be in government.

Mr Fraser said at the Byron Bay pre-polling, a tough area for conservative candidates, he had sensed far more support than his 2013 tilt at the seat.

He said after Mrs Elliot's 12 years in office, some thought it was time to give another candidate a go.

"We think we're in contention to win," he said.

The battle for the seat, held by just a 1.6% margin, has attracted national and even international attention.

The Tweed has had visits from most of the major political players including Greens leader Richard Di Natale, One Nation's Pauline Hanson, Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce and Labor leader Bill Shorten.

On Wednesday, comedian Shaun Micalleff featured an amusing parody of Greens candidate Dawn Walker on his program, Mad As Hell, sending up her party's policy to pay artists in between jobs.

Animal Justice Party candidate Angela Pollard was interviewed by a Japanese media outlet this week, while Sky News and 7.30 Report have featured Richmond.

Mrs Elliot will be casting her ballot at Centaur Primary School on Saturday morning.

The Tweed Daily News will be posting updates online on the election results throughout Saturday. 



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