Mon, Jun 27, 4:02pm by Staff Writer
The extraordinary events in the United Kingdom last week demonstrated the folly of betting on behaviour at the ballot box, but after a long election campaign, it appears a near certainty that the Australian Coalition government will be returned to power this Saturday.
The Coalition, led by current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, have always been favourites throughout the eight-week campaign, but after being around the $1.32 mark a month ago, they have now firmed into $1.13 on William Hill after some positive polling data over the weekend.
The Brexit decision not only stunned the political world, it also left the bookies looking red-faced and having to admit they got the market horribly wrong. They had the Remain vote at $1.40 favourite, only for Leave to prevail 52 per cent to 48 per cent in a huge political upset.
Matthew Shiddicck, Head of political betting at Ladbrokes UK, defended the bookies odds.
“The truth is that bookies do not offer markets on political events to help people forecast the results. We do it to turn a profit,” he said.
It’s been an extraordinary 12 months for upset results. We’ve had Leicester City win the English Premier League after opening at a quote of 5000/1, while we saluted a 100/1 winner of the Melbourne Cup.
Bill Shorten and his Australian Labor Party will hoping for that theme to continue, with as much as $7 (with Sportsbet) available for Shorten to be sworn in as Australia’s next PM after the election.
On the positive side for Shorten, at eight of the past 13 federal, state and territory elections in Australia, the government has changed hands.
Shorten’s campaign has been roundly praised for its consistency and at one stage, polls suggested Labor was ahead on the two-party preferred vote.
But that certainly would not guarantee Labor government. In 1998, Labor secured nearly 51 per cent of the two-party preferred, yet did not win enough seats to form government.
Labor currently hold just 55 of the 150 House of Representatives seats. They need to win an additional 21 seats to form a majority government or they would need to rely on the crossbenches to get Shorten sworn-in.
The Coaltion, with 90 seats, would have to endure nothing short of an electoral disaster over the final days of the campaign to lose this majority.
The latest polling has suggested the Coalition have wrested back the two-party preferred vote, with Sportsbet putting a Coalition two-party preferred win of between 51% and 51.99% at $2.75 favourite and 50% to 50.99% at $3.00.
However, this is looming as the toughest Australian federal election to predict in years thanks to the rise of other parties. It’s predicted that over 25 per cent of Australians will vote for someone outside of the Coaltiion or Labor, with the influence of The Greens party rising as well as the emergence of Nick Xenophon’s Party as a power in the Lower House.
There are currently five crossbenches in the House of Reps, but the likelihood is that could increase on Saturday. The Greens are rated a $2.25 chance with William Hill to take a second seat and a $6 chance to hold three or more.
This is a double dissolution election, meaning the entire Senate is standing for re-election. Added to that, there are new laws being enacted for the first time around preferences, which should in theory advantage the major parties.
But Senate elections are known for the unpredictable, so betting on the result is considered perilous. An interesting market on Sportsbet is the size of the cross-bench.
The current cross bench is at 18, made up of 10 Greens, four independants, and one from each of Family First, Palmer United, AMEP and the Liberal Democrats.
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