The Australian Labor Party has a commanding lead Federally and in all the States, according to the latest polling data released by the Morgan polls.
All the polls were taken in November-December or early January and indicate a developing swing to the ALP across the country. The Federal Opposition has a commanding lead over the Howard government and is well ahead in the eastern states of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
Western Australia is the only State due to hold an election this year and Morgan puts the ALP’s two-party-preferred vote at 54.5%. In South Australia, the minority Liberal government of John Olsen is well behind the Labor Opposition. In Victoria, the honeymoon continues for the Bracks administration with 57%.
A Federal election is not due until late 2001, so the Howard government is in no immediate danger, although the continuing controversy about the implementation of the GST will further erode its support in the coming months.
Whereas the 1980s was a decade of Labor governments federally and in most of the States, the mid-1990s was dominated by the coalition parties. This began to change in 1995 when Bob Carr led the ALP to a narrow win in NSW and Peter Beattie scraped into office in Queensland. A clear election win for Jim Bacon in Tasmania in 1998 was followed by a two-party-preferred win for Kim Beazley in the Federal election and the re-election of the Carr government in 1999. A minority Labor government was formed in Victoria 3 months ago.
Whilst implementation of the GST will be the major political hurdle for the federal government this year, the Opposition is also coming under attack from various quarters over its perceived reluctance to provide new policy directions. Some criticism of Kim Beazley’s leadership has occurred in recent times, but he is not in any immediate danger of being toppled.