2019 Federal Election | How Labor leader Bill Shorten lost unloseable election

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten accompanied by Chloe Shorten, concedes defeat to Prime Minister Scott Morrison during his election night function at Hyatt Place, in Melbourne.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten accompanied by Chloe Shorten, concedes defeat to Prime Minister Scott Morrison during his election night function at Hyatt Place, in Melbourne.

You just have to ask how.

Bookmakers were so certain of a Labor win in Saturday's federal election they paid a cool million or so before the election was even held.

Clive Palmer sank about $60 million into advertising that annoyed everyone so much he did not win a seat, Pauline Hanson had a bus burnt in Tasmania and the drover's dog (to use Labor terminology) ended up winning the election.

UNE course coordinator International Studies and discipline convener Political & International Studies Dr Karin von Strokirch said it was always a close run race with only a couple of points between both parties.

We have this segment of the population called swinging voters. They're not rusted on to any of the major or minor parties.

Dr Karin von Strokirch

"Labor put out too many different policies that might have concerned too many diverse groups in the electorates," she said.

"It's difficult because bold policy announcements can be a positive thing and give a mandate for what they want to implement later, but Labor should have been a little more cautious and made themselves a smaller target.

"We have this segment of the population called swinging voters. They're not rusted on to any of the major or minor parties. But we just can't predict with confidence which way they are going to swing, especially when there is only a small percentage of people deciding between the two parties - according to the opinion polls."

ITS COMPLICATED: Dr Karin von Strokirch said it was always a close run race but this election result had many aspects to it. Photo by Terry Cooke

ITS COMPLICATED: Dr Karin von Strokirch said it was always a close run race but this election result had many aspects to it. Photo by Terry Cooke

Dr von Strokirch said the Coalition concentrated on their success at economic management, and there were new factors in play that were not allowed for.

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"It's surprising how effective it is to just keep saying the same thing over and over and people will be persuaded by it," she said.

"Clive Palmer splurged $60 million on an election advertising campaign, even though he has not acquired a single seat. He preferenced the Coalition and said his main objective was to keep the Labor Party out of government. I think he has single handedly made a major contribution to that outcome.

"And the Coalition was quite effective in rattling the retirees demographic, focusing on Labor's policy of removing the franking credit refund and removing the negative gearing tax deduction."

Dr von Strokirch was never sure Labor would win, but thought it was telling they did not.

"Evidently most Australians don't care enough about the climate emergency, drought, and extinction crisis, while older, wealthier people place greater priority on short term financial gain," she said.

This story Why the polls got it wrong: UNE political scientist explains how Labor lost unloseable election first appeared on The Armidale Express.

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