Put aside the opinion polls for a moment, for the major parties to win power outright in 2022 it is ruthlessly about the number of seats in the House of Representatives.
It is simple maths, but bear in mind there has been an electoral redistribution since the 2019 election to stir things up - a seat (Stirling, WA) held by the Liberals was abolished and a seat (Hawke, VIC) notionally held by Labor was created.
So here's the path to victory: In the 151-seat House of Representatives, a minimum 76 seats are needed to win government. With recent seat changes, the Coalition currently has 76 seats and Labor has 69. There are six cross-benchers.
There are various permutations that could lead to a minority government supported by cross-benchers - indeed it's quite a possibility this time around - but majority government is what the major parties are targeting.
Though national polls talk about national swings, in reality swings are rarely uniform. So where are these seats in play? Pre-selection dramas and last minute candidates have not helped, but the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader are zeroing in on the seats they need and have been upfront about what they are targeting. So this is where, under COVID rules, they have been travelling and where we will likely see them as polling day closes in.
In NSW, the Coalition is defending a handful of its own seats. It's also hoping to pick up a series of seats, starting with Fiona Phillips in the south coast seat Gilmore, with former NSW transport minister Andrew Constance standing. Hopes are also high they can displace Meryl Swanson in the Hunter seat of Paterson, where she is facing lawyer Brooke Vitnell. Labor's most marginal seat of Macquarie is vulnerable and incumbent Susan Templeman is again up against local councillor Sarah Richards
The Liberals will need to strongly defend the Sydney seats of Bennelong and Reid from Labor and Wentworth and North Sydney from strong independent candidates.
The Coalition is expecting to take back Hughes from former Liberal and now independent Craig Kelly and is said to be keen on taking the Central Coast seat Dobell from Labor's Emma McBride.
Labor must hold onto Parramatta despite the retirement of popular local member Julie Owens and must keep Kirsty McBain in the tight but no longer bellwether seat of Eden-Monaro. The ALP is clearly putting a lot of effort into taking Reid and Banks from the Liberals with many leader visits and credible Asian-Australian candidates.
A handful of Melbourne seats are regarded as a serious prospect of flipping to Labor, while a few independents are challenging prominent government members.
The northern Melbourne seat of Chisholm has a paper thin margin of 0.5 per cent, which means Gladys Liu is under serious challenge from former Trades Hall official Carina Garland. In inner-city Higgins (3.7 per cent), the Liberals Katie Allen, who recently crossed the floor over religious discrimination, is under threat. The paediatrician is up against Labor's Michelle Ananda-Rajah and the Greens' Sonya Semmens.
Labor has to defend Peta Murphy in the marginal seat of Dunkley (2.7 per cent). Criminal barrister and reality show contestant Sharn Coombes will take her on for the Liberals. The Coalition would like to take the marginal surf coast seat of Corangamite from Labor's Libby Coker. The Liberal candidate in 2022 is Geelong Mayor Libby Asher.
The seats of Goldstein and Kooyong will test the strength of new Liberal leaning, climate friendly independents. Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is being taken on in the blue ribbon seat of Kooyong by paediatric neurologist Monique Ryan, while in Goldstein former foreign correspondent Zoe Daniel is seeking to unseat Assistant Minister Tim Wilson, despite a safe margin of 7.8 per cent.
There is a big focus in Queensland as Labor lost heavily there in 2019 and has performed poorly in the state since the 2007 Ruddslide. It holds only six of the state's 30 seats. The ALP is eyeing off the swing seat of Longman to Brisbane's north. Held by the LNP's Terry Young, the ALP is running health policy expert Rebecca Fanning.
The most fiercely fought battleground is expected to be in the central Queensland electorate of Flynn. Labor won the seat when it was created in 2007, the last time it won office from opposition. Being vacated by Nationals MP Ken O'Dowd, the LNP wants Queensland state MP Colin Boyce elected, while Labor is running popular Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett. The LNP has a margin of 8.7 per cent but it is likely to be closer than the margin suggests - and don't forget, when Queensland swings, it swings big.
Labor is also in with a chance to take back Herbert around the military-heavy Townsville. John Ring, a former RAAF serviceman is running for Labor against the one term LNP incumbent and fellow veteran Phillip Thompson.
Popular long time LNP member for Warren Entsch is running again in the far north QLD seat of Leichhardt. His margin is just 4.7 per cent. Former Centrelink worker and union organiser Elida Faith is having another go for Labor at unseating him, but Entsch is popular and likely to retain the seat.
The seat of Brisbane held by LNP member Trevor Evans could be in play with a margin of 4.9 percent and a strong Greens and Labor vote in this inner city seat, but Evans is a moderate and seen as a rising star in the party. He'll likely retain it.
Labor needs to defend the Brisbane seat of Lilley, one of its most marginal, however the LNP candidate Ryan Shaw has pulled out of the race citing mental health concerns. Anika Wells holds the seat on a margin of just 0.64 per cent but in reality, the Labor vote has probably bottomed out and her margin will rise.
One of the most marginal seats in Australia is the seat of Boothby in Adelaide's inner-south. The Liberal member Nicolle Flint is retiring after facing vile sexist and misogynistic abuse. The new Liberal candidate Rachel Swift is up against Labor's Louise Miller-Frost. Further complicating the picture, high-profile "voices of" candidate Jo Dyer, a former director of the Adelaide Writer's festival, is also running.
The Liberals want Mayo back from Centre Alliance's Rebekha Sharkie. Finance professional and former public servant Allison Bluck has the job of trying to unseat Ms Sharkie, but Ms Buck has a mountain to climb. Few if any other seats are expected to change hands.
It is all about Bass and Braddon in the north of Tasmania, but there is great interest in Lyons as well.
Bass, held by moderate Liberal backbencher Bridget Archer, is the most marginal seat in Australia. It is no surprise that the leaders are making a bee-line for Launceston. Ms Archer's stand against her own party on issues such as religious discrimination and a federal ICAC might just mean she becomes the first MP since 2004 to hold the seat for two terms consecutively. She is up against Ross Hart who lost the seat for Labor in 2019
The north west marginal seat of Braddon is also in play. Liberal MP Gavin Pearce is being challenged by Labor's Chris Lynch.
Lyons, held by Labor Brian Mitchell, is not as tight, but the Liberals think they are in with a chance. Mr Mitchell is up against Liberal councillor Susie Bower.
The west fight zeroes in on Swan, Pearce, Hasluck and Cowan. There are retiring members, scandal and a still quite overwhelmingly popular state Labor government. Labor has struggled in the state for more than a decade and holds just five of 16 seats.
After his fall from grace, former attorney-general Christian Porter is not contesting the northern Perth seat of Pearce, but the seat log held by the Liberals remains at great risk. Liberal candidate Linda Aitken is hoping to hold out Wanneroo mayor Tracey Roberts.
Swan is the most marginal WA seat, held by the Liberals' Steve Irons, who is retiring. Irons is regarded as an excellent on the ground campaigner and his exit means the contest between the Liberals' Kristy McSweeney and Labor's Zaneta Mascarenhas will be close.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt, the first Aboriginal person to be elected to the House of Representatives, is at risk in Hasluck. He is being challenged by Labor's Tania Lawrence, a small businesswoman.
In Cowan, Labor's Anne Aly will have to hold off the Liberals' Vince Connelly, who is running here as his seat of Stirling is disappearing. The margin is just 0.9 per cent for the Labor MP but the trend in the resources state is running ALP's way - at least if Mark McGowan's extraordinary election victory is any guide.
Most interest will be on the contest in the seat of Canberra between Labor sitting member Alicia Payne and high profile Greens candidate, the executive director of the Green Institute, Tim Hollo. The Greens' votes markedly increased at last ACT election and there are some expectations this may translate to the federal vote, however Ms Payne is a rising Labor figure and popular local member.
The other seats of Bean and Fenner, held by David Smith and Andrew Leigh respectively, are expected to stay in Labor hands.
The Top End seat of Lingiari has been made interesting because Labor's Warren Snowden is retiring from federal politics after 35 years, 21 representing Lingiari. Labor wants to hold the seat with former deputy NT chief minister Marion Scrymgour while the Country Liberal Party has selected former Alice Springs mayor Damien Ryan. The seat, which has a margin of 5.5 per cent, takes in most of the Northern Territory apart from Darwin and its surrounds.
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