POLITICS

Two Election Campaigns Have Kicked Off Today -- Here's What You Need To Know

Malcolm Turnbull's In Queensland but Bill Shorten's decided to campaign somewhere else...

19/11/2017 3:11 PM AEDT | Updated 19/11/2017 3:11 PM AEDT
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We've got a super summer of elections ahead of us.

Both the Queensland state election and the Bennelong by-election officially began today, and they're kicking off a super summer of voting.

Not only did we just have the Northcote by-election on Saturday, in which Greens' candidate Lidia Thorpe became the first indigenous woman elected to the Victorian parliament, but in the coming weeks we have the Bennelong by-election, New England by-election, and Queensland state election.

Here's what you need to know about the two election campaigns that officially launched today:

Bennelong By-Election

Labor got together an all-star cast for the official launch of Kristina Keneally's Bennelong by-election campaign, where the candidate was joined by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek.

Keneally emphasised issues like schools, the NBN, Medicare and renewable energy. But the event didn't just focus on policy -- all speakers took time to have a dig at Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Shorten criticised Turnbull for "diving straight into the gutter" after the PM linked Keneally to corrupt members of her former state government.

"After seven decades of taking Bennelong for granted, they are frightened," Shorten said.

"You only have to look at the diminishing spectacle of the Prime Minister to see that he is frightened. He's frightened of his own party, and who wouldn't be?"

"Kristina Keneally has more integrity in her little finger than that whole front bench of the Coalition," Shorten continued.

A spokesman for Shorten defended the fact that the Opposition Leader had missed out on Queensland Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk's simultaneous campaign launch, telling the AAP that the "contest in Bennelong is no ordinary by-election".

"Unlike Turnbull, Bill doesn't hide from voters. He's already campaigned on the ground in Queensland".

A swathe of recent polls show that the race between Keneally and former Liberal backbencher John Alexander is shaping up to be a tight one. A Galaxy poll published by the Sunday Telegraph had a 50-50 split between the two candidates on a two-party preferred basis, while a ReachTEL survey showed Alexander up 53-47.

Queensland State Election

Even with all eyes on the ALP and LNP as they launch today, One Nation is the talk of the town. With the party only contesting 61 of 93 electorates, they are not likely to replicate their 1998 performance which saw them claim 11 seats in state Parliament -- however, ABC election analyst Antony Green believes that the party might still be able to secure 10 seats.

"They are not going to get 18 per cent statewide because they are only contesting 61 seats. The question is how many seats are they going to get above 30 per cent?" Green said.

"You have to get one-third of the vote in a three-way vote or it's really tough to win," he continued, "Unless One Nation's vote is concentrated, it is just not going to be enough to win any seats".

Reuters Staff / Reuters
Pauline Hanson's One Nation may get around ten seats at the upcoming Queensland state election.

And while campaigns are launching today, efforts may have a muted impact -- there's been a record surge in early voting over the past few days. According to the AAP, 205,100 votes were cast in the first five days of pre-polling -- and that doesn't include anyone who went to pre-polling booths on Saturday. This figure is 80,000 more than the number of early votes in the last Queensland state election.

At the LNP campaign launch on Sunday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull criticised the "green-left ideology and incompetence" of the Labor Party.

Queensland Premier-hopeful Tim Nicholls focussed on infrastructure and jobs during the campaign launch.

"We will build the roads, the bridges, and the dams that Queensland needs," he said, "A vote for the LNP is a vote for jobs for Queenslanders".

Nicholls' said that the LNP would freeze family car registration, offer seniors free off-peak public transport, and dish out $150 vouchers for family's to pay for their children's swimming lessons.

At Labor's campaign launch, Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk said that voters are choosing between a party that "consults Queenslanders and one that confronts them".

Introduced by boxer Jeff Horn, Palaszczuk announced that Labor would create a new inner city school, create new hospitals, and extend the First Home Owner Grant.

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