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Path to victory: the seats that will decide the 2022 federal election | Australian election 2022

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Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese are preparing for the final sprint to the 21 May election finish line when Australia will decide who forms government.

Labor can sniff victory, but the Liberals are not giving up, hoping the final fortnight may yet see the undecided voters stick with the devil they know.

While national polls show Labor clearly ahead of the Coalition and in line for a comfortable victory, both sides suggest the contest could still be close, with the low primary vote of each of the major parties making the result difficult to pick.

In key seats the preferences of minor parties may also prove crucial, with Jacqui Lambie, Pauline Hanson and Clive Palmer all potential kingmakers.

Scarred by bold predictions of victory at the 2019 poll, caution now abounds on the Labor side, despite most still believing a Labor government – majority or minority – is the most likely outcome.

The electorate is volatile, and there are unknowns that could yet manifest peculiar results – for example, could the United Australia vote cause an upset in certain seats previously not in play? Who would “teal” independents back in the event of a hung parliament?

Labor holds a notional 69 seats in the 151-seat House of Representatives, so needs a net gain of seven seats to form majority government, but only five to be confident of minority government.

The Coalition holds 75 seats and will need to offset any losses with gains elsewhere.

With voting at pre-poll centres to open across the country on Monday, here is a look at the path to victory.

Western Australia

Labor is hoping to win at least two seats in the west, with Swan and Pearce the most likely gains. If the swing is on, there is also hope that Hasluck (5.9%) could be in play, despite the popularity of the local MP, Ken Wyatt.

Swan (3.2%) is held by the outgoing Steve Irons, while Pearce (5.2%) is being vacated by the former attorney general Christian Porter.

Cost of living is a key concern in both of these seats, particularly in the mortgage belt seat of Pearce in Perth’s far northern suburbs where petrol prices, inflation and interest rate hikes will bite.

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Winning both seats is key for Labor to reach its seven seat target for majority government.

The Liberal MP Celia Hammond is also fending off a challenge from independent Kate Chaney in the blue-ribbon seat of Curtin that is worrying the party in the west.

South Australia

In South Australia, the marginal seat of Boothby is the only electorate likely to change hands, with Labor extremely confident of picking up the seat held by the Liberals, but being vacated by the incumbent MP Nicolle Flint.

It is held on only a 1.4% margin and so Labor believes the swing in the state will be sufficient to ensure it changes hands.

Scott Morrison on the campaign trail at Glenelg in Adelaide
Scott Morrison on the campaign trail at Glenelg in the Adelaide seat of Boothby. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Victoria

Both Labor and the Liberal party have marginal seats in Victoria, and are hoping to flip them.

Labor’s best hopes are Chisholm, held by Gladys Liu on a 0.5% margin, and Higgins, held by Katie Allen on a 3.7% margin.

The Coalition, however, has been targeting Labor-held Corangamite, held by Libby Coker on a 1% margin, and Dunkley, held by Peta Murphy on a 2.7% margin.

Corangamite is seen as a possible Coalition gain, given its preselection of the Geelong mayor, Stephanie Asher.

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There is also some nervousness on the Labor side about outer metropolitan seats such as McEwen and the new seat of Hawke, where there is concern about how preferences from the UAP vote could play out.

For the Liberals, two blue-ribbon seats are also in the firing line of teal independents, with Josh Frydenberg in Kooyong (6.4%) and Tim Wilson in Goldstein (7.8%) both at risk.

The Coalition is also trying to unseat independent Helen Haines from the regional Victorian seat of Indi, which she holds on a 1.4% margin.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Kooyong independent candidate Monique Ryan during a televised debate
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and independent candidate Monique Ryan at the Kooyong debate. Photograph: Andrew Henshaw/AAP

Tasmania

Three seats in Tasmania will be fiercely contested, with Liberal-held Bass and Braddon being targeted by Labor, and Lyons being an outside chance to flip to the Liberals.

Bridget Archer in Bass has carved out a reputation for being a fiercely independent local member and is expected to hang on to the seat despite its slim 0.4% margin, boosted by preferences from Jacqui Lambie.

Braddon (3.1%) is seen as a more likely Labor gain, where the incumbent, Gavin Pearce, is facing a challenge from the Burnie city councillor Chris Lynch.

In Lyons, Labor’s Brian Mitchell is being targeted by the Liberals, and while its 5.2% margin is overinflated after the Liberals disendorsed its candidate during the 2019 campaign, Labor remains confident it can keep the seat.

New South Wales

Labor has more marginal seats than the Liberals in NSW, with both sides confident of picking up seats.

Reid in western Sydney, held by Fiona Martin on a 3.2% margin, is seen as a likely gain to the Labor party.

After that, NSW becomes more challenging for Labor, but it is also targeting Robertson (4.2%) and sees Bennelong (6.9%) as a strong chance given the retirement of John Alexander and a backlash against the Coalition within the Chinese community.

The Coalition is hoping former state MP Andrew Constance can win Gilmore for the Liberal party, but Labor, which holds the seat on a 2.6% margin, believes there may be enough anti-Morrison sentiment there to hang on.

The Coalition also has its sights on Labor-held Hunter ( 3%) and Parramatta (3.5%), which it believes are in “striking distance”, but these are unlikely wins.

The Liberal party also expects to win back Hughes, held by Craig Kelly who defected to the UAP.

Other Labor marginal seats in the state, including Macquarie, Eden-Monaro and Dobell, are not seen by either side as likely to flip.

For the Liberals, it is also at risk of losing up to three “teal” seats, with Trent Zimmerman in North Sydney, Dave Sharma in Wentworth and Jason Falinski in Mackellar all under threat.

Anthony Albanese speaks to a pharmacist in Wadalba on the NSW Central Coast
Anthony Albanese speaks to a pharmacist in Wadalba on the NSW Central Coast. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Queensland

After big swings to the Coalition in Queensland in 2019, a margin correction is expected at this election, but a question mark remains over how many seats Labor can pick up.

Labor is eyeing off Brisbane, held by Liberal Trevor Evans on a 4.9% margin, and Ryan, held by Julian Simmonds on a 6% margin, which it is hoping to clinch with the help of Green preferences.

It also thinks it is in with a chance in Leichhardt, but is up against popular incumbent Warren Entsch, and Longman, held by Terry Young on a 3.3% margin.

Labor is also making a play for the seat of Flynn, but its 8.7% margin makes the task challenging, despite the preselection of the popular Gladstone mayor, Matt Burnett.

Northern Territory

In the NT, the seat of Lingiari, held by the Labor party on a 5.5% margin, is one the Coalition is targeting with the retirement of the long-serving Labor MP Warren Snowdon.

The Nationals have preselected the former Alice Springs mayor Damien Ryan to run for the seat, but Labor believes the former NT deputy chief minister Marion Scrymgour will fend off the challenge.

This article was amended on 6 May 2022 to clarify that it is the “the Coalition” that holds 75 seats, rather than the Liberals as an earlier version said; the Liberal party has 60 of the Coalition’s seats.



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