Anthony Albanese v Scott Morrison: Labor supporters fear PM will win at the 2022 election

Labor is CRUISING to victory – but even the true believers have three burning questions that give Scott Morrison hope of another ‘miracle’ win, writes CHARLIE MOORE

  • Labor is 10 points ahead of Coalition according to Newspoll on February 13 
  • But Scott Morrison came from behind in his shock defeat of Bill Shorten in 2019 
  • Labor has to gain eight seats for a majority and gruelling campaign will be hard   


Labor is a massive 10 points ahead in the polls but even the party’s truest believers are deeply nervous that Scott Morrison will pull off another against-the-odds election win.

Politicians and staffers desperate to kick out the Coalition still bear the scars of Bill Shorten’s shock defeat after he led the polls for two years ahead of May 2019.

Needing at least eight more seats for a majority, they know the path to victory is hard. 

As Anthony Albanese said earlier this month: ‘This is a mountain to climb.’

Will Australians pick Anthony Albanese as their next Prime Minister? Labor supporters hope so but there is a fear that Scott Morrison is a better campaigner

The three questions Labor is wondering 

What mud will the Prime Minister sling at them with the help of major dirt-digging by his ruthless spin doctors? 

What generous cash handouts and vote-buying schemes will be unveiled in the Budget on March 29?  

And how will Mr Albanese – who turns 59 in March – perform on the gruelling five-week campaign?

With three months to go until the election, Labor’s strategy is clear: remain light on policy to avoid attacks and make this poll a referendum on Mr Morrison’s leadership and character.

This is the man who went to Hawaii when the nation burned and failed to manage Covid with major mistakes on the vaccine rollout and rapid tests, Labor will say.

But while the PM’s popularity has dropped to its lowest level since the start of the pandemic, voters don’t dislike him enough for this strategy to work on its own. 

Labor will also run a positive campaign on its policies to reduce the cost of living for squeezed Aussie families including cheaper childcare and free TAFE places.

With the Government adopting a net-zero target and Labor wary of upsetting resources sector workers, climate change will feature less than in previous campaigns. 

The strategy is sound but there are three big unknowns bugging Labor operatives. 

What mud will the Prime Minister sling at them with the help of major dirt-digging by his ruthless spin doctors? 

What generous cash handouts and vote-buying schemes will be unveiled in the Budget on March 29?  

And how will Mr Albanese – who turns 59 in March – perform on the gruelling five-week campaign?

Over the past fortnight in Parliament we have caught a glimpse of how hard the Coalition will fight to retain power. 

Poll

Will Anthony Albanese be the next Prime Minister?

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has repeatedly accused Mr Albanese of favouring a raft of taxes even though Labor does not have a single new tax policy in play.   

At the same time, Mr Morrison and Peter Dutton have controversially blasted Labor as being weak on China despite the lack of any tangible foreign policy differences. 

The scare campaign – which Labor branded ‘Trumpian’ – was assisted by Mr Morrison’s spinners who trawled the archives to dig up photos, videos and speeches to portray Labor frontbenchers as close to China. 

We can only expect the PM’s media spinning and dirt-digging to ramp up when the campaign is in full swing. It remains to be seen whether the mud will stick.

The March 29 Budget is a major asset to the Coalition and will come just before Mr Morrison calls the election.

The Government will be able to hand out all sorts of election sweeteners such as tax cuts, infrastructure projects and car parks in marginal seats. 

Mr Morrison sees his number one strength as economic management and will talk every day about Australia’s historically low unemployment level brought about by his Covid stimulus packages. 

Mr Morrison's wife Jenny and two daughters are the PM's secret weapons in connecting with middle Australia

Mr Morrison’s wife Jenny and two daughters are the PM’s secret weapons in connecting with middle Australia

Critics say Mr Albanese (left in Brisbane last year) lacks charisma and is a poor orator who may struggle to inspire the nation on the campaign trail

Critics say Mr Albanese (left in Brisbane last year) lacks charisma and is a poor orator who may struggle to inspire the nation on the campaign trail

Debt is expected to reach a record $1.2 trillion by 2024-25 but he will say that Labor wanted to spend even more.

The Prime Minister’s allies believe that if voters walk into the polling booths thinking about the economy and national security then he secures another three years in The Lodge. 

Perhaps the biggest unknown for Labor is what the punters will make of Mr Albanese, who is relatively unheard of and facing his first campaign as leader. 

The father of one, who grew up in housing commission in Sydney, has lost 15kg in a bid to ‘get fit’ and smartened his image with sharp new suits and designer glasses (despite savaging John Howard’s makeover as ‘same stuff different bucket’ in 1998).

But critics say he lacks charisma and is a poor orator who may struggle to inspire the nation on the campaign trail.

This map shows some of the key marginal seats held by Labor (in red) and the Coalition (in blue) with the percentage margin. There are other seats in contention too

This map shows some of the key marginal seats held by Labor (in red) and the Coalition (in blue) with the percentage margin. There are other seats in contention too

Faced with an unknown leader from the socialist Left of the Labor Party, undecided voters may decide that change is too risky.  

Mr Morrison, on the other hand, is a great campaigner – as he proved before his ‘miracle’ victory in 2019 – and Labor knows this. 

It’s also not clear how much of a role Mr Albanese’s girlfriend Jodie and son Nathan will play, whereas Mr Morrison’s wife Jenny and two daughters have been dubbed the PM’s ‘secret weapons’ in connecting with middle Australia. 

Which seats is Labor targeting at the election? 

Which seats is the Coalition targeting at the election? 

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk