News State Victoria News Vic election to go down to wire: poll

Vic election to go down to wire: poll

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Labor’s lead over the coalition has narrowed in the latest opinion poll before Saturday’s Victorian election, with the Greens possibly emerging with the balance of power in the upper house.

The SMS Morgan poll released on Monday predicts the result will go down to the wire, with Labor ahead of the coalition 52-48 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.

Pollster Gary Morgan said it was the tightest result yet for his polling during the campaign, which has shown the ALP leading throughout.

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He said the government’s improved showing came on the back of Premier Denis Napthine’s vow to campaign intensely in the final week.

A Herald Sun/Galaxy poll released on Friday predicted the same 52-48 per cent lead for Labor on a two-party preferred basis, while the same day’s Morgan poll had 55-45 in Labor’s favour.

One political expert predicts Victoria is headed for an upper house like the federal Senate, with a mixed bag of minor parties represented, though with one important difference – the Greens may hold the balance of power.

“It looks as though we could have a situation that is similar to the Senate – where all of those minor parties from the right-of-centre have emerged … and will obviously be swapping preferences with each other as well,” Monash University politics lecturer Dr Zareh Ghazarian told AAP.

“I would not be surprised if one of those minor parties gets in, but I think the Greens will hold the balance of power anyway.”

Dr Napthine believes his government can be returned with a clear majority, despite opinion polls showing the coalition lagging behind Labor.

“What people would be concerned about is waking up on a Sunday morning and finding themselves with a Green, Labor, CFMEU-dominated government,” he told reporters.

“What we are seeking is a clear majority, a clear mandate.”

When it was put that this was unlikely, Dr Napthine pointed to the 2010 election when the same was said but the coalition won a majority in both houses.

Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said he would scrap the government’s East West Link project, and put money into removing 50 level crossings, improving public transport and TAFE.

The merits of road over rail in Victoria also hit federal parliament.

Liberal Sarah Henderson, whose electorate takes in part of Geelong, sparked the debate with a motion praising the federal government’s support for the link and slamming Victorian Labor’s threat to abandon it.

Labor’s infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese said the money for the link had been taken from the originally proposed rail project Melbourne Metro.

This was despite Melbourne Metro being given a higher priority by Infrastructure Australia and a cost-benefit analysis of East West Link never having been published.

Mr Albanese said Prime Minister Tony Abbott was backing East West Link because his ideas about public transport were “loopy” and he wanted to help the Victorian Liberals who were in terrible trouble.

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