2013 Federal Election: How Many Seats Will Labor Lose?

An election defeat of historic proportions seems to be looming for the Gillard Labor government.

As a rule, I’m more interested in trying to explain an election result after we know the outcome. However, let’s take a stab at predicting the result.

I don’t regard these predictions as particularly startling or original. They are based on the published opinion polls, assorted news items and anecdotal reports. In some cases, I have local knowledge. In others, I’m influenced by historical results. Often, I’m just guessing. Don’t take it too seriously.

Some assumptions and explanations:

  • I believe the Gillard government is going to lose and lose badly. I believe this outcome has been certain for the past two years.
  • All of the published opinion polls (Newspoll, Nielsen, Essential, Galaxy, Morgan) have been showing a 4-6% swing against the ALP for most of the past two years. Seats in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia are particularly at risk and the swing is expected to be much greater in Labor areas. Rural and regional areas have turned decisively against Labor. During this year, an emerging view has Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria joining the trend, after having swung toward the ALP in 2010. On this basis, I expect the ALP’s result to be worse than 1996, probably closer to 1975. It could be worse than 1975. I expect the ALP to lose a minimum of 25 seats. CLICK HERE for tables showing the ALP’s federal election record.
  • I don’t expect any members of the Coalition parties to lose their seats. My starting point for the Coalition is 73 seats, including Peter Slipper in Fisher and Tony Crook in O’Connor. Both of these men will be replaced by new members.
  • The ALP goes into the election with 72 seats, including Craig Thomson’s seat of Dobell. Thomson currently sits as an independent. The tables below deal only with those 72 seats.
  • In addition to the 145 seats held by the ALP and the Coalition, another 4 are held by independents and 1 by the Greens. There are 150 seats up for election.
  • The electorate of Melbourne is the only seat I think it is possible for the ALP to pick up. If the Greens member, Adam Bandt, can improve his primary vote, he may win, even if the Liberals preference Labor. This will be one to watch on the night.
  • CLICK HERE to see a colour-coded table of election outcomes in each seat for the past 10 elections.

ALP SEATS MOST LIKELY TO BE LOST (28)

These seats are the ALP’s most marginal. However, it includes some seats once regarded as safe Labor, particularly in NSW. It seems to be generally accepted that the ALP is doing especially badly in NSW, so I have given away all of its rural seats and made a call on others that don’t seem marginal on the swing.

A.L.P. SEATS MOST LIKELY TO BE LOST (28)
No. SEAT STATE MEMBER MARGIN %
1.
Banks
NSW
Daryl Melham
1.5
2.
Barton
NSW
Robert McClelland (retiring)
6.9
3.
Dobell
NSW
Craig Thomson (suspended)
5.1
4.
Eden-Monaro
NSW
Mike Kelly
4.2
5.
Greenway
NSW
Michelle Rowland
0.9
6.
Kingsford-Smith
NSW
Peter Garrett
5.2
7.
Lindsay
NSW
David Bradbury
1.1
8.
Page
NSW
Janelle Saffin
4.2
9.
Parramatta
NSW
Julie Owens
4.4
10.
Reid
NSW
John Murphy
2.7
11.
Richmond
NSW
Justine Elliot
7.0
12.
Robertson
NSW
Deb O’Neill
1.0
13.
Chisholm
VIC
Anna Burke
5.8
14.
Corangamite
VIC
Darren Cheeseman
0.3
15.
Deakin
VIC
Mike Symon
0.6
16.
La Trobe
VIC
Laura Smyth
1.7
17.
Blair
QLD
Shayne Neumann
4.2
18.
Capricornia
QLD
Kirsten Livermore (retiring)
3.7
19.
Lilley
QLD
Wayne Swan
3.2
20.
Moreton
QLD
Graham Perrett
1.1
21.
Petrie
QLD
Yvette D’Ath
2.5
22.
Brand
WA
Gary Gray
3.3
23.
Perth
WA
Stephen Smith
5.9
24.
Adelaide
SA
Kate Ellis
7.5
25.
Hindmarsh
SA
Steve Georganas
6.1
26.
Bass
TAS
Geoff Lyons
6.7
27.
Braddon
TAS
Sid Sidebottom
7.5
28.
Lingiari
NT
Warren Snowdon
3.7

 

ALP SEATS AT SERIOUS RISK (9)

Some of these seats have been marginal and switched parties at various times in recent years, especially when government has changed hands. Whether they are at serious risk or merely at risk is open to debate. Electoral boundaries have altered over time, so historical comparisons are fraught.

The NSW seats of McMahon and Werriwa are traditionally safe Labor seats. They are in this table because they have slimmer margins than Chifley and Blaxland which appear in the next table.

Whilst Oxley and Rankin have been held by the ALP for many years, they are placed in this table because an ALP rout is expected in Queensland.

Similarly, I have put the two remaining seats in Tasmania in this table because various reports suggest the ALP is in deep trouble in the island state.

A.L.P. SEATS AT SERIOUS RISK (9)
No. SEAT STATE MEMBER MARGIN %
1.
McMahon
NSW
Chris Bowen
7.8
2.
Werriwa
NSW
Laurie Ferguson
6.8
3.
Bendigo
VIC
Steve Gibbons (retiring)
9.4
4.
Bruce
VIC
Alan Griffin
7.7
5.
McEwen
VIC
Rob Mitchell
9.2
6.
Oxley
QLD
Bernie Ripoll
5.8
7.
Rankin
QLD
Craig Emerson
5.4
8.
Franklin
TAS
Julie Collins
10.8
9.
Lyons
TAS
Dick Adams
12.3

 

ALP SEATS AT RISK (10)

Some of these seats have never been held by the Liberal Party. Others have switched between the parties on occasion. For Labor to lose a significant number of these seats would be a sign of a catastrophic defeat.

The NSW seats are of particular interest. The ALP was walloped in these areas at the 2011 state election and it is widely believed that many traditionally safe Labor seats are at risk. My classification of these seats is somewhat arbitrary.

Many people think Kevin Rudd is the only member capable of holding a seat in Queensland. I’m not so convinced. Since he is no longer a viable contender for the leadership, I can’t see any reason why his electorate will not follow the rest of the state. Nevertheless, he is probably at less risk than the other Queensland Labor members.

A.L.P. SEATS AT RISK (10)
No. SEAT STATE MEMBER MARGIN %
1.
Blaxland
NSW
Jason Clare
12.2
2.
Chifley
NSW
Ed Husic
12.3
3.
Ballarat
VIC
Catherine King
11.7
4.
Corio
VIC
Richard Marles
13.5
5.
Holt
VIC
Anthony Byrne
14.0
6.
Isaacs
VIC
Mark Dreyfus
10.4
7.
Jagajaga
VIC
Jenny Macklin
11.1
8.
Melbourne Ports
VIC
Michael Danby
7.9
9.
Griffith
QLD
Kevin Rudd
8.5
10.
Kingston
SA
Amanda Rishworth
14.5

 

BEDROCK: ALP SEATS MOST LIKELY TO BE RETAINED (25)

These seats are the ALP’s safest. Most of them have never been held by the Liberal Party. If these seats start to fall, it will be a very unpleasant election night for the ALP. I have made a couple of judgment calls with the NSW seats and assumed that the anti-Labor vote in South Australia won’t be as severe as elsewhere.

A.L.P. SEATS MOST LIKELY TO BE RETAINED (25)
No. SEAT STATE MEMBER MARGIN %
1.
Charlton
NSW
Greg Combet
12.7
2.
Cunningham
NSW
Sharon Bird
13.2
3.
Fowler
NSW
Chris Hayes
8.8
4.
Grayndler
NSW
Anthony Albanese
20.6
5.
Hunter
NSW
Joel Fitzgibbon
12.5
6.
Newcastle
NSW
Sharon Grierson (retiring)
12.5
7.
Shortland
NSW
Jill Hall
12.9
8.
Sydney
NSW
Tanya Plibersek
17.1
9.
Throsby
NSW
Stephen Jones
12.1
10.
Watson
NSW
Tony Burke
9.1
11.
Batman
VIC
Martin Ferguson (retiring)
24.8
12.
Calwell
VIC
Maria Vamvakinou
20.0
13.
Gellibrand
VIC
Nicola Roxon (retiring)
24.1
14.
Gorton
VIC
Brendan O’Connor
23.6
15.
Hotham
VIC
Simon Crean
14.0
16.
Lalor
VIC
Julia Gillard
22.1
17.
Maribyrnong
VIC
Bill Shorten
17.5
18.
Scullin
VIC
Harry Jenkins (retiring)
20.6
19.
Wills
VIC
Kelvin Thomson
23.5
20.
Fremantle
WA
Melissa Parke
5.7
21.
Makin
SA
Tony Zappia
12.0
22.
Port Adelaide
SA
Mark Butler
21.0
23.
Wakefield
SA
Nick Champion
10.5
24.
Canberra
ACT
Gai Brodtmann
9.2
25.
Fraser
ACT
Andrew Leigh
14.2

 

 

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