As the ‘Super Saturday’ round of by-elections on 28 July nears, pundits give their assessments of the key issues and major candidates’ chances in each of the five electorates up for grabs. TJ Ryan Foundation Research Associate, Chris Salisbury, writes in The Conversation (23.7.18) that, with a very fine margin to protect, Labor’s Susan Lamb will have the hardest fight to retain her seat of Longman, north of Brisbane.
‘Longman’s very marginal status, held by Labor’s Susan Lamb by a slim 0.8% prior to her High Court-enforced resignation, makes this race the most tightly contested on Saturday.
‘Seasoned observers expect this to go the way of most byelection contests – largely distanced from broader federal concerns. Local issues are at play, dominated by arguments over funding for the Caboolture hospital in the electorate north of Brisbane, as well as for local education and employment support services.
‘Yet, the race is also being touted by some as a judgement on the major parties’ signature economic policies, and significantly on the performances of both party leaders. Labor has campaigned hard on the merits of the Coalition’s proposed company tax cuts. The Liberals, meanwhile, have fanned fears among retirees about Labor’s proposed investment savings changes.
‘Longman is a typical marginal seat in the outer suburban fringe, home to what a dozen years ago would have been called “Howard’s battlers”. The electorate provides a platform for the major parties to road-test policy differentiation and campaign messages on “average voters” ahead of the next federal election.’