6 January 2021

Dennis Altman: “It is a myth, assiduously pushed by Joel Fitzgibbon and his supporters, that Labor needs to calibrate its climate and energy policies to attract voters dependent on coal and gas production. This might be true in half a dozen federal electorates, including Fitzgibbon’s own seat of Hunter. But an examination of election results from last year suggests a quite different picture. Of the 20 most marginal government seats all but four are essentially metropolitan, spread across all mainland capital cities. The most marginal of the lot, Bass, is centred on the city of Launceston; the only regional Queensland seat now in play is Leichhardt, centred on Cairns, where there was a slight swing to Labor unlike the rest of coastal Queensland. Because Morrison has been so effective a politician, we forget that he holds government with a majority of three, although this includes the five from minor parties and independents. The emphasis on Labor’s appalling performance in Queensland disguises the reality that had Labor performed as well in other capital cities as it did in Melbourne it would have won a comfortable majority. Even in Queensland there are more marginal seats to be captured in Brisbane than in the regions.” Sadly, the dim bulbs in the Otis Group are impervious to reality.