City News

City Hub’s guide to the 2022 federal election

Election

Australians will go to the polls on May 21. Photo: AEC.

By DANIEL LO SURDO

After months of official and unofficial campaigning, gotcha questions, COVID infections and pithy one-liners, the 2022 federal election is now staring us right in the eye.

On May 21, Australians across the country (and indeed, overseas) will take to the polling booth to share who they wish to be represented by in Canberra for the next three years. This election, however, looms as a particularly significant event for voters across the inner west, inner-city and eastern suburbs, whose seats are home to key battlegrounds and the next potential prime minister.

Let’s start on that note, as history beckons in the inner west seat of Grayndler for longtime leader Anthony Albanese. While all but assured to keep his seat, Albanese will hope that Labor can secure the support of at least 75 more electorates across the country, which will allow his party to form a majority government and see him become the 31st Prime Minister of Australia, and the first-ever from Grayndler.

‘Never stop fighting’ for inner west: Albanese

Albanese affirmed his commitment to his seat while speaking to City Hub earlier this month, saying that he has “never taken the people of Grayndler for granted” and “will never stop fighting for it”, even if he does become prime minister.

Election

Labor leader Anthony Albanese (pictured) has been the member for Grayndler since 1996. Photo: Facebook.

While rival candidates are mounting serious challenges against Albanese behind the financial backing of their party rooms, none seem likely to put a dent in the status quo of the blue ribbon seat, which has been held by a Labor Party member since its inception in 1949.

While on the campaign trail this year, Albanese and his team haven’t strayed too far from home, making appearances at the Addison Road Community Organisation in Marrickville, the Orange Grove Public School markets in Lilyfield, and Henson Park, where he pledged $2.5 million to upgrade the precinct and its broadcasting capacities. He has also fielded many of his TV interviews from the inner west and observed his one-week quarantine period (after testing positive for COVID-19) from his Marrickville home, which has helped keep his electorate onside during a gruelling election campaign.

A similar state of play is found across the eastern border of Grayndler, where the safe inner-city Labor seat of Sydney looks to remain in the hands of longtime member Tanya Plibersek.

Election

Tanya Plibersek. Photo: Facebook.

Albanese and Plibersek appeared together for the first time in the election campaign earlier this month in the ultra-marginal Melbourne seat of Chisholm spruiking Labor’s education policy, where they dismissed any suggestions that she was been ‘benched’ by the party during campaigning.

As the Shadow Minister for Education and Women, Plibersek will more than likely occupy an important role in an Albanese government if Labor wins the election.

Despite a prolonged absence from the national spotlight, Plibersek’s future in Sydney looks steady heading into the election. About half of voters preferenced Labor on their ballot in 2019, maintaining a dominant lead over the Liberals and Greens which is predicted to continue later this month.

Allegra Spender inspired by success of independents at previous election 

A hard-fought campaign in Wentworth between incumbent Liberal Dave Sharma and independent Allegra Spender will come to a close on May 21 after months of heavy campaigning in the eastern suburbs seat.

Dave Sharma. Photo: Facebook.

Spender has looked to capitalise on the electorate’s unsettledness – and distaste for the Morrison government’s climate policy – during her campaign, while Sharma has promised voters stronger climate action, saying that collective, international action will allow climate challenges to be addressed.

Spender is backed by the Climate 200 fundraising body, which is supporting an array of climate-focused independents challenging blue ribbon, inner-city Liberal seats. These ‘teal’ independents have come under fire by Liberal candidates during the campaign, who have accused them of being ‘fake’ independents who won’t disclose who they would support in the event of a hung parliament, and for having no concrete plans for the economy.

Earlier in May, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that he wouldn’t do a deal “on policy” with independents to form a minority government, saying that a “vote for independents is a vote for Labor”.

Spender told City Hub last month that she was taking inspiration from the success of fellow Climate 200-backed candidate Zali Steggall in the 2019 election, where she took down former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott who had held the Sydney seat of Warringah for 25 years. Steggall is running for reelection this year, with Liberal seats including North Sydney, Mackellar and Kooyong also expecting strong challenges from independent candidates.

South of Wentworth is the electorate of Kingsford Smith, which has voted Labor for over 50 years and has been represented by former Senator Matt Thistlethwaite since 2013. To keep Kingsford Smith, Labor will have to fend off challenges from the Liberals and Greens, represented by Grace Tan and Stuart Davis respectively, who will hope to steal the blue ribbon seat away from Labor’s grasp.

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