In just 15 weeks Australia will hold a federal election. Polling has universally condemned the incumbent Labor minority government (left leaning major party) to a landslide defeat at the hands of the Coalition (permanent coalition of right leaning Liberal and National parties).
Despite Australia having one of the strongest economies in the developed world the Labor government has developed an aura of fiscal mismanagement and much of the electorate feels betrayed by the implementation a carbon tax that they feel wasn't explicitly campaigned for at the last federal election in 2010.
I have developed a model that aims to establish the base partisan lean of each electorate and attempt to accurately predict which electoral division will send a member of each party to parliament.
Australia's House of Representatives (based on the American model) currently (thought not constitutionally) has 150 seats apportioned to each state and territory based, more or less, on population.
Australia uses mandatory preferential voting, which means voters must rank all candidates by the order of their preference. This means the in certain seats the way parties direct their supporters to allocate their preferences will be crucial.
Tables in this diary are colour coded. Shades of red reflect Labor held seats and predictions, shades of blue represent Liberal held seats and predictions (the occasionally different party names and abbreviations are courtesy of local party branches having inconsistent names), independents are grey, Greens are light green (shocker), and Nationals are dark green.
New South Wales
Labor holds a lot of seats in New South Wales by narrow margins (10 by less than 6%). Indeed it was Labor's ability to hang on in seat after seat in New South Wales that gave them the chance to form government in 2010. However now that it is 2013 even a minor swing against the government in NSW could lead to a massive loss of seats.
I've listed independent MP Craig Thomson's seat of Dobell as Labor held as that was the party he was elected as a member of and he only resigned for technical (parliamentary pension related) reasons. Thomson is a 0% chance of reelection.
Two rural seats in Northern NSW are held by independents who controversially chose to install the Labor government instead of a potential Liberal-National government despite the conservative lean of their electorates. Popular opinion says they will both be swept out of parliament but polling has been inconclusive and I'm leaving them as tossups until closer to the election.
Victoria voted rather strongly for Labor at the 2010 election, more strongly than at any other time since World War II, so Labor wouldn't have hoped to pick up many more seats here.
Melbourne is the sole house seat held by the Greens and predictions will depend on which party the Liberals choose to preference. I currently regard Melbourne as lean Greens but if the Liberals preference the Greens it will move to safe Greens. Conversely if the Liberals decide to preference Labor Melbourne will become a tossup.
Queensland is an interesting state at this election. Two new minor parties have been established on the right that seek to shake up the established order.
Katter's Australian Party currently holds the seat of Kennedy (which they will retain) and may be a threat throughout rural Queensland with their locally popular brand of Agrarian Socialism.
Palmer's United Party (or whatever it is called this week) has been established by mining billionaire Clive Palmer to... do something. I'm not inclined to think that it will matter much.
We really need to wait and see how Katter's Australian Party plans on allocating it's preferences to know what effect it might have in seats where it gets a significant vote but doesn't win. For now I've assumed it will preference the LNP (Coalition local name) in every seat and win nowhere except Kennedy, pending press releases or public polling.
The seat of Fisher is listed as currently held by the LNP as Peter Slipper, its turncoat MP, was elected as a member of that party.
South Australia was a very strong state for Labor at the 2010 election but is polling as if it will swing very hard against the government this year.
Western Australia voted strongly for the Coalition at the 2010 election and currently hold 12 of the states 15 seats so you might think that this would be one state the the coalition would be mainly playing defence. However the Labor government's tax on unusually large mining profits continues to be received less than well by Western Australian voters and it is Labor's three remaining seats (all urban seats near inner city Perth) that are under threat.
The seat of O'Connor is listed at safe for the Western Australian Nationals but it absolutely is not. The incumbent member, Tony Crook, is retiring and the Liberals will make a strong push to recover the seat. For local reasons the Western Australian Nationals and the Liberals are not in a coalition at the federal level (though they are at the state level). However, Labor are absolutely no chance at winning the seat so it is most accurately listed as safe.
With a population of only around half a million Tasmania should be entitled to only 3 seats based on population. However constitutional stipulations guarantee Tasmania five seats. All five seats voted heavily to the left in 2010 and Labor now hold four of the five seats with margins of at least 13.4%. The remaining seat of Denison is actually the most left leaning of all the Tasmanian seats and in 2010 elected independent (and former Green) Andrew Wilkie, with 21% of the primary vote.
However a recession stricken Tasmania has moved against Labor and the Greens (who jointly govern Tasmania at the state level, albeit hampered by a frequently hostile state senate) and what polling exists uniformly suggests that there will be a strong swing toward the Liberals at the election.
I have Wilkie as likely to win Denison once again based on the assumption that both the Greens and the Liberals will preference him once again and that he will beat the Greens on primary vote. Should either party announce that they will be preferencing Labor instead then Denison's rating will move to safe Labor.
The Australian Capital Territory consists of two completely safe Labor seats, whilst the Northern Territory has two very marginal seats.
Solomon makes up the city of Darwin and will probably be retained by the Country Liberal Party (The local Liberal branch) but patchy and poor quality polling makes this a seat one that I don't feel as comfortable with as my model does.
The rest of the territory lies within the Labor held division of Lingiari. The model considers it a tossup and that seems about right to me.
Clearly Labor have a long way to go to even keep it close.