Labor’s secret hit-list reveals NSW hot seats
SAMANTHA MAIDEN NATIONAL POLITICAL EDITOR
The Sunday Telegraph
February 17, 201312:00AM
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Labor’s hot seats
A LEAKED election battle plan has revealed Labor’s list of target seats across NSW for the 2013 poll and sparked accusations Julia Gillard is sugar-coating an electoral bloodbath.
Obtained by The Sunday Telegraph, the ALP’s list reveals the seats Labor will try to win from the Opposition or hold for Labor by throwing cash and manpower their way. Nationally, there are 25 ALP and Liberal seats regarded as the most marginal, must-hold or vulnerable to attack.
It confirms the Labor Party’s battle is holding the line in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania, with not a single Liberal-held seat on Labor’s target-seats list deemed as vulnerable to attack.
But Labor is hopeful of picking up Liberal-held seats in Queensland and Western Australia to balance the expected bloodbath in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.
The target-seats list confirms Craig Thomson’s seat of Dobell is regarded as high risk after the ongoing Health Services Union dramas despite a 5 per cent margin, with Greenway held by Michelle Rowland, Lindsay held by Labor frontbencher David Bradbury and the electorate of Banks held by Daryl Melham in the danger zone. In western Sydney, Labor MP John Murphy’s seat of Reid is regarded as high risk, as is Deb O’Neill’s seat of Robertson, Janelle Saffin’s electorate of Page and Mike Kelly’s Eden Monaro.
The Greens’ seat of Melbourne, held by Adam Bandt, is also in the ALP’s sights, despite the fact that his support was crucial to Ms Gillard forming government. But independents Andrew Wilkie, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor’s electorates are not on the target-seats list.
Some Labor strategists are despondent the target-seats list is more concerned with protecting the PM’s leadership, amid fears up to 20 Labor MPs could be thrown out of office.
“It’s all wrapped up in the leadership. They can’t have a frank discussion about what seats are at risk further up the pendulum,” a Labor strategist said. “They’re trapped. I understand why they’ve got the list they’ve got.”
Another senior strategist predicted a “reconciliation” would happen closer to the September 14 poll that reflected seats on much bigger margins that were clearly in play.
“The electorate is volatile and what’s in play is not the standard electoral pendulum,” the strategist said.