Federal election: all eyes on Curtin as poll puts independent party in the lead

A shock investigation shows momentum in Curtin is on Kate Chaney’s side as all eyes are on the blue ribbon chair that could decide who forms the government.

With the independent still refusing to say who she would support in a hung parliament, a West Australian poll shows Ms. Chaney taking charge of Liberal MHR Celia Hammond 52-48 on a two-party count.

The Utting Research poll polled 514 voters on Monday, with Ms. Hammond getting 38 percent of the vote, ahead of Ms. Chaney with 32 percent, Ladeisha Verhoeff of Ladeisha Verhoeff of Ladeisha Verhoeff of Labor with 13 percent.


Curtin has a 13.9 percent margin, which normally translates into a fairly unremarkable race.

But Ms. Chaney’s campaign for more action to tackle climate change and return integrity to politics is resonating with voters in the western suburbs.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has not actively campaigned in Curtin, having only visited it once to lay a wreath with Mrs. Hammond.

In the West’s latest poll, Ms. Chaney had a 52 percent approval rating, compared to Ms. Hammond’s 44 percent.

Only 22 percent disapproved of Ms. Chaney, compared to 32 percent of Ms. Hammond.

The poll suggests support for Ms. Chaney has increased as the campaign has progressed. A survey published on April 4 put her primary vote at just 24 percent and Ms. Hammond’s at 42 percent. That gave the Liberals a narrow 51-49 two-party lead.

Labor has fallen 7 points between the two polls, from 20 to 13.

Federal election

Mrs. Chaney, 47, is the granddaughter of former Minister of Menzies, Sir Fred Chaney. Ms. Chaney is hard at work on two topics – climate change and a national anti-corruption commission – that have voters’ concerns.

A total of 77 percent of voters in Curtin supported immediate action on climate change, and 78 percent wanted a federal anti-corruption commission established.

Camera icon Curtin MHR Celia Hammond hands out voting cards. Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper/The West Australian

The turnaround in Ms. Chaney’s favor comes despite relentless attacks from high-profile Liberals at her refusal to say whether she would support Labor if neither side achieves a majority.

A few days before the election, the independent told PerthNow that her stance on what she would do in a hung parliament “hasn’t changed”.

“I launched my campaign in late January, and since then, I’ve been focused on letting people in Curtin know who I am and what I stand for,” Ms. Chaney said.

“We started with just a handful of people, and the campaign has since grown to more than 800 volunteers knocking on the street and handing out flyers.

“I have had no contact with either side, and my position has not changed; if called upon to lend my support to forming a minority government, I will negotiate with both sides on my key climate action issues and a federal ICAC.”

Ms. Chaney said she believed there were far more important issues facing the country “than trying to get me to anticipate any hypothetical future negotiations”.

She also insisted that she would still be effective if one of the parties formed a majority.

“An independent MP can do anything a member of a political party can do without the restrictions of following the party line,” Ms. Chaney said.

“Independents are free to put their voters first, rather than what their party factions or coalition partners want.

“Independents can legislate, collaborate across party lines, hold the major parties accountable, and change the agenda.”

Both candidates spend their time on the remaining days of the campaign in early voting centers.

As of Wednesday, the betting markets had yet to reckon with the result of the poll, with Ms. Hammond still the favorite on Sportsbet.

The incumbent returns $1.50 per dollar, compared to Ms. Chaney at $2.45 and Mr. Spencer at $12.

John D.Mayne
I love to write. When I wasn’t writing for my school newspaper or college blog, I was writing personal essays and journal entries. Then I discovered I loved to write. In college, I wrote for my school paper and my campus radio show. I started doing freelance writing for the Huffington Post in 2009. Then, I joined the team at Newsmyth as a writer/editor. Now, I spend most of my time writing for Newsmyth and as a guest blogger on a handful of other blogs. When I’m not writing, I like to read, travel, cook, and spend time with friends.