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Crucial Super Saturday Labor victories a major fillip for Shorten

Michelle Grattan writes in The Conversation (28.7.18) that the 'Super Saturday' by-election results are a deep disappointment for the Turnbull government, which had hoped it might snatch at least one of Braddon or Longman, with its performance in the latter a cause of deep concern for the LNP in Queensland.

'Bill Shorten has received a major boost from the Super Saturday byelections, retaining the crucial seats of Braddon and Longman and putting his hold on the Labor leadership beyond any doubt.

'A triumphant Shorten, appearing on Saturday night with a victorious Susan Lamb in Longman, declared: “What a great night for the Labor party! What a great night for Labor women candidates!” Labor had won “four from four” of its seats in the Super Saturday contests.

'Late Saturday night, on counting so far, Lamb led the Liberal National Party’s Trevor Ruthenberg by 55-45% on the two-party vote – a swing to Labor of about 4%.

'The Liberal National Party primary vote plunged in the Queensland seat by around 10 percentage points, to about 28%, a big concern for the government in what will be a vital state at next year’s election. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation polled 15% - six percentage points higher than at the last election.'

Lessons from Longman for Queensland and the federal election

TJ Ryan Foundation Research Associate, Chris Salisbury, writes in The Conversation (31.7.18) that there were lessons for both major parties in Longman - more worrying for the Coalition than Labor, though, the by-election showed voter volatility and that One Nation remains a potent magnet for the disenchanted.

'As expected, the Longman by-election was the contest to watch on “Super Saturday”. But, as it turned out, it was for reasons that weren’t all anticipated.

'Observers had predicted a tight race in the marginally-held seat north of Brisbane, with high poll support for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation adding to the unpredictability. Yet, Labor’s Susan Lamb defied the naysayers and secured a reassuring swing, regaining the seat she’d vacated owing to her former dual citizenship status.

'For opposition leader Bill Shorten, the weekend’s byelection results provide a confidence boost and should dampen the leadership speculation that has animated sections of the media.

'For Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, however, the Longman result especially (and South Australia’s Mayo to a similar extent) will prompt soul-searching in Coalition ranks ahead of the next federal election.

'... the Longman campaign offered a preview to the likely dimensions and key party messaging of the coming federal election campaign, expected in the first half of next year. Given the number of marginal federal seats in Queensland, this positions the state as the “battleground” where that election can be won and lost.'

 

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