Bill Shorten has reason to believe he could be PM, but Scott Morrison still has a chance


Shorten campaigned differently on Friday to mark the passing of Bob Hawke – an event that has clearly motivated Labor Party members to fight even harder for victory.

The change of plan meant Shorten did not fly north as he had intended, so he could campaign in the seat of Forde in the southern suburbs of Brisbane, a Liberal seat that Labor believes it can win. He travelled from Sydney to Melbourne instead.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has a beer (Hawke’s Patio Ale) in memory of former PM Bob Hawke at the John Curtin Hotel in Melbourne on Friday.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

The latest Ipsos analysis shows that Labor is ahead of the Coalition in each of the key states, but it also shows that the gap is not as great at the end of the campaign as it was in the past.

Morrison’s team believes the race is still incredibly tight in electorates like Corangamite in Victoria, Reid and Gilmore in NSW.

Shorten’s advisers are more confident the numbers are falling their way. They target 20 seats, aiming to win 16 from the Liberals and defend 4 of their own, and estimate they will win enough to hold government.

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Voters chose a hung Parliament after the Labor leadership coup of 2010 and gave the government a majority of one after the Liberal leadership coup of 2015, so history shows a narrow result is quite possible after the chaotic removal of Malcolm Turnbull last August.

Shorten has the advantage in most scenarios.

First, he has kept his lead in the polls for months before the election, much like Kevin Rudd did in 2007. No matter what Morrison has tried to do, he has not turned the tables.

David Crowe is Chief Political Correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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