Morrison, Frydenberg and Hawke come to the rescue
The battle for Chisholm is hotting up. With a margin of just 1090 votes at the last election in 2019, Gladys Liu may be about to lose her berth in Canberra.
The 2019 election in Chisholm was between two Chinese Australians as far as major parties go.
The Labor Candidate – Jennifer Yang out-polled Gladys on the Ordinary Votes -36,543 to 36441, Absent – 2473 to 2110, Provisional – 114 to 91 and Declaration Pore-Poll votes 2286 to 2271. It was postal votes which saved Gladys Liu where she won by a big margin 7092 to Jennifer Yang’s 5499 –a margin of 1593.
In the end with two party preferred votes counted, Gladys managed to scrape home with 48,005 to Jennifer’s 46,915 a super slim margin of just 1090 votes.
That makes Chisholm the most achievable seat for Labor. It had been held by Labor for many years before its member Anna Burke retired from politics in 2016.
The seat was won for the Liberals by Julia Banks after a very strong campaign by the Liberals and former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in particular. The winning margin in 2016 was 2154.
It is not surprising the Labor strategists are targeting the seat in 2022. Labor had held Chisholm for 18 years (1998-2016) and the margin is wafer thin.
If Anthony Albanese has to win government, he needs to wrest back Chisholm from the Liberals. That should, in part explain the Chinese ‘links’ attacks on Gladys Liu in the new advertisement issued by the Labor party.
A male voice voiceover speaks in the attack ad saying:
“What do we know about Liberal Gladys Liu?”
“She spread fake news on Chinese messaging apps, she and the Liberal Party had to give back $300,000 because the donors were deemed a national security risk, and her campaign tried to trick voters with election day signage in the colours of the Australian Electoral Commission.
“We need someone who represents Chisholm with hard work and integrity, not tricks. You deserve better than Scott Morrison and Gladys Liu.”
In addition to this, there is a Facebook post image doing the rounds allegedly linking Gladys Liu again to Chinese spying operatives. The image is self-explanatory.
Visually, the whole attack is effective.
It gains potency coupled with the Chinese deal with the Solomon Islands and the talk of a potential Chinese military base at our doorstep.
The Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the Immigration Minister Alex Hawke and the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg – all have sprung to defend Gladys Liu.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has labelled the Labor attack on Gladys Liu as ‘sewer tactics’ and utterly ‘racist’.
“They go after Gladys Liu because she’s Chinese,” Scott Morrison said on Sunday. “They’re engaged in what I think is a sewer tactic here.”
But the Liberals may have some problems in Chisholm. It all depends how the Labor proceeds from here on.
The Liberals cannot deny or refute the fact that the security agencies did raise some concerns about Gladys Liu’s donors and the funds had to be returned.
Some Liberal voters may think their party had three years to come up with a replacement candidate, again perhaps of Chinese Australian heritage but did not choose to do so.
There is still a long way to go but Gladys Liu is not going to enjoy the Labor party focus on her.
The other seats which may be considered at play – looking at the margins in 2019 may be –
Corangamite – won by the Labor Party from the Liberals last election by only 2170 votes;
Indi – held by Independent Helen Haines, who succeeded Cathy McGowan (2013-2019). The seat had been a blue-ribbon Liberal seat since 1977 and held by the Liberals until 2013. The winning margin for Helen Haines was only 2816;
Dunkley – held by the Labor party with a margin of 5304;
Higgins – held by the Liberals by 7800 votes and is under attack by the Greens and the Labor party;
La Trobe – held by the Liberal Party’s Jason Wood with a margin of 8863 votes.
Two other seats – Casey and Deakin in Victoria had winning margin of less than 10,000 votes held by the retiring speaker of the House Tony Smith and Morrison government minister Michael Sukkar. It is highly unlikely that these seats will change party lines.
That may explain why poor Gladys Liu is in the firing line for the Australian Labor Party.