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Outer suburban voters decisive in a 50:50 nation

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19.05.2019

Three of the last four Australian elections have been 50:50 propositions.

In 2010, Labor got 50.12 per cent of the national two-party preferred vote and fell short of an outright majority. In 2016, the Coalition won 50.36 per cent and retained government by a single seat. The 2019 result will be similar – on the latest figures the Coalition is set to get a little over 51 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.

Scott Morrison claims victory in Saturday's election.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

Complex political cross-currents have made it difficult for either major party to carve out a decisive lead and long-held electoral norms are shifting.

There were swings against the Liberals in a clutch of inner-urban seats once considered blue ribbon, but they did well in outer-metropolitan electorates.

In Warringah, in Sydney’s north, the seat with the highest median household income in the country, former prime minister Tony Abbott lost with a swing of almost 19 per cent, more than enough to install independent Zali Steggall as the new member.

In McMahon, held by shadow treasurer Chris Bowen, there was a 5 per cent swing against the ALP.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

But just 70 kilometres west of Warringah, in the electorate of Lindsay, which takes in Penrith, the Liberals won with a chunky 6 per cent swing. There was also a solid swing to the Liberals in the adjacent Labor seat........

© The Age