News Election 2019 The battle for Kooyong: A host of names challenge Frydenberg seat

The battle for Kooyong: A host of names challenge Frydenberg seat

budget 2019
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's Liberal seat of Kooyong in Melbourne could be closely contested. Photo: AAP
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Just how much trouble is the newest colt from Kooyong, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, in against high-profile independents and the Greens in his Victorian seat?

It depends on who you talk to.

After a Melbourne Cup field of candidates including independent Oliver Yates and the Greens’ Julian Burnside entered the race, there’s a close eye on preferences.

The Coalition remains confident that Mr Frydenberg can crack a 50 per cent primary vote, but the polling conducted for other candidates has him at less than that.

All sides seem to agree that Labor is on around 20 per cent and Mr Burnside is not far behind.

If, for example, the Greens pull ahead and secure Labor’s preferences and other independents, they could end up with more than 40 per cent of the two-party preferred vote.

Kooyong Greens candidate Julian Burnside.Photo: AAP

Running third is Mr Yates, whose preferences will be vital unless he can pull ahead of the Greens.

He’s been buoyed by the fact he’s being preferenced by Labor and the Greens.

The Liberals still believe the Treasurer will retain the seat. But it will be a little more uncomfortable than the blue-ribbon seat has been in the past.

Mr Yates is peeling votes off his old party, the Liberal Party, arguing it has lost its way.

“The Liberals’ position on climate change is immoral and economically reckless,” he told The New Daily.

“I am very pleased with the decision of the Greens and Labor to preference me higher than the Liberal Party, and each other, as it will give us the best chance to remove Mr Frydenberg and take meaningful action in addressing major integrity issues facing our country.

“Ultimately, voters will determine their own preferences. But the Greens and Labor both hold more responsible positions on the environment than the Liberal Party.”

Mr Yates added: “The Liberal Party have taken this electorate for granted. It’s time to kick them out and give Kooyong a voice in Canberra.”

On Tuesday, he came under fire from Liberal Senator Jane Hume over a Melbourne radio interview during which he complained the local council was cracking down on him handing out pamphlets and campaigning.

But there was a happy ending to that story, with the council contacting Mr Yates to say he was now free to pamphleteer without interference.

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