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Labor to win between 76 and 82 seats?

And so the last day of electioneering and voting has arrived. Thank the gods the 5 weeks of lies, rubbish, obfuscation and vagueness have finished.

Here is a list of seats to keep an eye on. It is based on the latest aggregated odds of 7 bookmakers fielding on the result and taken from information in the Australian Financial Review. Aaron Patrick in today’s Fin says:

‘Betting on seven commercial [betting] markets predicted Labor would win 83 and the Coalition 60 seats.’

It is not comprehensive in the sense that seats with seemingly safe majorities could swing wildly to the other sides or sides. But it at least gives us a guide as to what is likely to happen. Another note of caution. Betting in individual seats is perhaps not strong enough to ensure accurate predictions.

Finally, the Newspoll on Saturday morning in the Australian has it Labor on 51.5% two party preferred and the Coalition on 48.5%

We start off by assuming that because of re-distributions the current state of the House is notionally Labor 72 and the Coalition 73.

Let’s start with Queensland.


This is a seat won by Labor’s Cathy O’Toole by 37 votes two party preferred in 2016. It is too close to call. With odds of $1.26 for the LNP, compared to $3.30 for Labor, the bookies have the LNP in Queensland winning the seat. Why? Adani and the lies about jobs for the region. As a pessimist, let’s give the seat to the LNP, for the purposes of seeing who can/will form government.

That means Labor, on this assumption, will have 71 seats, the Coalition 74.


Forde is held by Liberal Bert Van Manen on a margin of 0.6% in 2016. The bookies have Labor at $1.30 compared to the LNP’s $3.20. Let’s give that to Labor.

So now we have Labor on 72 seats and the Coalition on 73.


Luke Howarth holds this for the LNP on a margin of 1.7% The bookies have it as close but favour Labor on $1.66 compared to $2.10 for the LNP. Let’s give that to Labor.

So now we have Labor on 73 seats and the Coalition on 72.


The Nationals Michelle Laundry holds Capricornia by a margin of 0.6%. The bookies have it even stevens at $1.85 each for her and the Labor candidate. Let’s err on the side of caution and give this to the Nationals. No change.

So we have Labor staying on 73 and the Coalition on 72.


In Peter Dutton’s seat of Dickson we find the Labor candidate, Ali France, on $1.60 and the incumbent on $2.10. Let’s continue being pessimistic and put this close seat into the Liberals basket.

Labor stays on 73 and the Coalition on 72.


Flynn is even closer than Dickson, at $.170 for the LNP and $2.00 for the ALP. Pessimism rules. Let’s keep that with the Nationals.

The status quo remains Labor on 73 and the Coalition on 72.

There are other seats like Leichardt, held by LNP member Warren Entsch on 4.0% and Bonner, held by the LNP’s Ross Vasta on 3.4%, which might also be in contention. Let’s assume they remain with the Coalition. So we are still stuck in status quo territory of Labor on 73 and the Coalition on 72.

Can WA help Labor?


Cowan is held by Labor’s Anne Aly on a 0.7% margin. This may fal to the Coalition. However the betting agencies have Aly on $1.16 and the Liberal candidate on $4.50. At those odds, let’s keep it in the Labor camp so our count remains 73 to Labor and 72 to the Coalition


Liberal Ken Wyatt holds Hasluck by a margin of 2.1%. This seat could change hands. The odds are $1.44 Labor and $2.90 the Libs. Let’s give this as a win to Labor.

Labor 74 Coalition 71.


The betting odds have this going to Labor’s Hanna Beazley, the daughter of former leader Kim Beazley. She is $1.50 to win it. The Liberals Steve Irons ($2.35) holds it by a margin of 3.6% so let’s play conservative and keep it in the Liberal camp.


Christian Porter, the current Attorney General and future leader of the Liberals, holds this by a margin of 3.6%. The betting ($1.50 for him and $2.40 for his Labor opponent Kim Travers) sees us keep it in the Liberal fold. It remains Labor 74 to Coalition 71.


Vince Connolly is contesting this for the Liberals after sitting member Micahel Keenan retired. Keenan held the seat for the Liberals by a margin of 6.1%. The betting agencies have Labor’s Melta Markey at $1.72 compared to $2.00 for Connolly. Let’s play safe, given the margin, and keep this in the Liberals’ camp. 74 Labor, 71 Coalition.

What about Tasmania?

There are five seats up for grabs in Tasmania. Four are held by Labor and one by independent Andrew Wilkie. Two of Labor’s seats are in contention.


This is close. Labor’s Justine Keay holds it but her odds at $1.90 are slightly behind the Liberal Party’s Gavin Pearce on $1.80. Let’s continue the pessimistic theme and give this to the Liberals. Labor 74, Coalition 72.


Bass is the other seat some commentators suggest might be up for grabs. Am I being too optimistic, given the margin in Labor’s favour is 5.4%, and Labor’s Ross Hart has odds of $1.36, compared to $2.75 for the Liberal’s Bridget Archer, to keep this in Labor’s camp? I do not think so. Labor 74, Coalition 72.

I am going to break the territorial approach and look at seats where Independents might win it, or lose it.


This is Malcolm Turnbull’s old seat which at the by-election in 2018 fell to independent Kerryn Phelps. Given the margin is just 1.2% and the fact Liberal voters vented their anger in the by-election last year at losing Turnbull as PM and local member, and with the odds for Phelps being $4.0 compared to the Liberals Dave Sharma on $1.22 I am giving this to the Liberals.

Labor 74, Coalition 73.


The Nationals’ Patrick Conaghan holds this seat with a margin of 4.5%. Independent Rob Oakeshott is mounting a strong challenge, and the bookies have him a slight favourite at $1.72 compared to Conaghan’s $1.93. Given the margin, and the odds, let’s play conservative and keep this in the Nationals’ grasp.

Labor 74 Coalition 73.


Former Liberals’ Health Minister Sussan Ley holds this traditionally safe seat by a massive 20.5%. It might be in play because of the Murray-Darling Basin disaster. The betting markets have Ley at $1.85 and the Independent Kevin Mack at $.180. This seems too close to call, and given the huge margin, let’s play safe and keep it with Ley and the Liberals.

Labor 74, Coalition 73.


Independent member Cathy McGowan won the seat in 2016 with a margin of 5.5%. She is retiring and has endorsed independent Helen Haines. Both the Liberals and the Nationals are running candidates in the seat. The betting markets have the Coalition odds at $1.60 and $2.20 for Haines. Let’s give that to the Coalition.

Labor 74, Coalition 74.

Time to turn to NSW. Let’s start with the independent challenge to Tony Abbott in Warringah.


Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott holds this seat with a margin of 11.6%. Independent Zeli Steggall is putting in a strong challenge. In betting markets she is $1.40 to win, while Abbott’s odds are $2.65. Given the big margin, name recognition, the nature of the elctorate, I am going to play safe and keep this with the Liberals.

Labor 74 Coalition 74.

Labor could also lose a seat or two in NSW. The obvious one is Lindsay.


Lindsay, won by Emma Husar for Labor at the 2016 election, could fall to the Liberals? Why? Husar is not recontesting and the internal Labor battles this highlighted might see some voters switch to the Liberals. Labor’s margin of 1.1% may disappear. The betting markets have the Liberals at $1.64 compared to Labor’s $2.02. It is too close to call, but let’s err on the side of conservatism and give it to the Liberals.

Labor 72 Coalition 75.

The other seats I look at in NSW could fall to Labor.


Former Labor Party president (yes!) Warren Mundine is standing for the Liberals. The angst surrounding the departure of former Liberal member and Turnbull supporter Ann Sudmalis, plus the pre-selected Liberal candidate being dumped by the PM for Mundine and now running as an independent, make this a potential Labor win. Labor is $1.30 and the Liberals $3.00. Those odds are too great, and given the turmoil among the Liberals, and the fact that Mundine is a Labor rat, I am going to risk this one as a win to Labor candidate Fiona Phillips.

Labor 73, Coalition 74.


The Liberals’ Fiona Martin holds the seat by a margin of 4.7%. The betting has it a toss up, with Labor’s Sam Crosby on $1.80 and Martin on $1.90. By my reasoning there is not enough there in these conservative calculations to give the seat to Labor. So my conservatism means the situation remains the same, with Labor on 73 and the Coalition on 74.

South Australia


The Liberals hold Boothby by 2.7%. There is some chatter that it could fall. The betting markets have the Liberals candidate Nicolle Flint on $1.30 and the Labor candidate Nadia Clancy on $3.00 For our election result purposes let’s keep this as a Liberal seat. So the status quo remains – Labor 73 to the Coalition 74.

Northern Territory


Again, there is some chatter that Labor’s Luke Gosling could lose Solomon. His margin is 6.1%. Betting markets have him on $1.35 compared to the Liberals’ Kathy Ganley on $2.85. Given the margin and the odds, let’s keep this with Labor.

Labor 73, coalition 74.

That leaves Victoria to decide.


Corangamite after a redistribution is notionally Labor. The Liberals’ Sarah Henderson holds it by a margin of 0.03%. Labor’s Libby Coker is favourite with the bookies at $1.32 compared to Henderson on $3.10. Given the small margin, the redistribution, the swing against the Liberals at the last State election, and the odds, let’s keep this in Labor’s seats. So the running tally remains the same at 73 Labor, 74 Liberal.


The Liberals’ Chris Crewther holds the seat with a margin on 1.0%. Labor’s Peta Murphy is on $1.10 in the betting markets, while Crewther can get you $5.75. This is a Labor win.

Labor 74, Liberals 73.


The Liberals held this seat at the 2016 election with a margin of 2.9%. With a new candidate, Gladys Liu, against Labor’s Jennifer Yang, and betting markets in favour of Lang over Liu by $1.35 to $3.00, I am giving this one to Labor too.

Labor 75, Liberals 72. .

La Trobe

La Trobe is held by Jason Wood for the Liberals on a margin of 3.2%. The betting markets have him at $3.00 and his Labor candidate Simon Curtis at $1.33. That makes it Labor 76, Liberals 71.

This is just enough for Labor to form government. Just. The cross bench – one Green and 3 independents on these figures, will make life very interesting.

Other doubtful seats in Victoria include Casey, Higgins and Kooyong. As part of my worst case scenario I am predicting, with my pessimissm/realism factor locked in, that they all remain with the Liberals.


Deakin, held by Michael Sukkar for the Liberals, might also be in play. His margin is 6.4% but his closeness to Peter Dutton calls this into doubt. The markets have him on $1.77 and the ALP candidate Shireen Morris on $2.00. This is close, but let’s leave it for our worst case analysis with the Liberals.

Labor with 76 to 82 seats?

So, according to my rough and ready worst case betting analysis Labor ends up with 76 seats, enough to provide the speaker and a majority on the floor in case of a tied vote. If they can convince an independent to be speaker, they will have an absolute majority.

If I am slightly less pessimistic Labor could end up winning Reid, Capricornia, Stirling, Flynn, Deakin and retain Braddon. This would give it a workable majority in the House of around 82.

The swing will not be uniform and will differ within States and Territories, and between States and Territories. And I may, simple man that I am, have missed a seat or two in contention. And of course there will be surprises across the nation. However, if I were a betting man, I’d put money on Labor winning about 81 or 82 seats, enough to form a workable majority.