Voters are not “out with baseball bats” to give the Turnbull government a beating at this weekend’s election, a senior Liberal Party figure has told The New Daily.
With four days remaining in the federal election and some polls showing a late move towards the Coalition, Malcolm Turnbull may have struck it lucky with the shock Brexit vote, which sent shockwaves around the world.
The fallout included the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron, the rapid devaluation of the pound and a meltdown on global markets.
Significantly, when the Australian stock exchange opened on Monday, the losses were constrained to the relief of all domestic investors.
The Liberal figure told The New Daily that, while an incumbent government could expect to lose ground at each election, the old adage that “governments lose government” by their actions was not applicable in 2016.
“We don’t see any baseball bats being prepared for most of our MPs and candidates, particularly after Brexit,” he said.
He said the angry mood which could see the pendulum swing away from Mr Turnbull and produce a change of government was not evident.
While there would be a swing against the government and the probable loss of half a dozen Coalition seats, the government was set to be returned. After the recent redistribution, the Coalition has a notional 21-seat House of Representatives buffer.
Bookies punt on Coalition win: Labor long odds
The bookmakers, who set the odds based on luring hard cash from punters with minimal risk to themselves, were offering $1.13 for a Coalition win and $7 for a Labor win on Monday night.
However, the night before the Brexit vote they were offering $8 for a Leave victory and not much over $1.10 for a Remain win.
This puts the Coalition back in government with a clear majority. The extent of any majority of course will depend on marginal seat sentiment — the local factors.
Prime Minister Turnbull spent Monday in Adelaide on his defensive and disciplined marginal seat schedule in which he has been obliged by federal Liberal Party campaign director Tony Nutt to stick to his script.
He announced road programs, a multi-million-dollar contract to refurbish the Woomera rocket range and he ran a forum of defence industry technologists to emphasise the government’s $50 billion commitment to cutting edge manufacturing, mainly through the submarine contract.
On Tuesday it was Brisbane where more announcements were expected.
Do you have a conscience?
A Four Corners interview with both leaders on Monday night intercut their responses to questions covering self-assessment of their characters, their mistakes, the deficit and the unfunded future of health and education beyond 2020, climate change, parental influences and border protection.
Interviewer Sarah Ferguson asked each leader if he had a conscience after recounting the deaths by self immolation of asylum seekers on the offshore detention centre on Nauru.
“You would have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by that,” Mr Turnbull said. What it represented was a terrible “abandonment of hope”.
“That was a dreadful thing to happen,” said Mr Shorten.
But under sustained questioning both leaders maintained their now repetitive responses that any change to Australia’s offshore detention policy, including turning back refugee boats at sea, would send the wrong signal to people smugglers.
Quentin Dempster is a Walkley Award-winning journalist, author and broadcaster with decades of experience. He is a veteran of the ABC newsroom and has worked with a number of print titles including the Sydney Morning Herald. He was awarded an Order of Australia in 1992 for services to journalism.