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Telephone Town Halls

Transform Phone Calls into Engaging, Educational and Interactive Events

The town hall meeting has been a political home run for candidates on both sides of the political landscape for hundreds of years. However, the use of telephone marketing within a political campaign has also shown to be effective as well by creating telephone town hall meetings.

As such, it stands to reason that infusing both the personal connection of a town hall meeting with the advanced communications technology that exists with telephone voter marketing would provide a campaign a powerful weapon in which to truly engage, educate and interact with potential voters.

With Gravis Insights Australia's Telephone Town Halls, you will experience live interaction with thousands, potentially millions of people while receiving instant feedback. Our telephone town halls are designed to help you reinforce your message by integrating a telephone town hall with your direct mail, phone list, and other media. The more media channels your message is communicated through, the higher your chances of making your point.

The Benefits of the Gravis Telephone Town Hall:

  • Pre-screen your audience
  • Field last-minute questions from undecided voters – even the night before an election.
  • Real-time polling and real-time participant data reporting
  • Customized phone messages to your target audience, allowing them to join your live conference
  • Question screening, live polling and real-time reporting with data that is saved to your account.
  • It saves you overhead costs and time – you don’t have to find a location and prepare for a large number of people.
  • You can have millions participants listening in to your message without distractions.
  • …and much more.

Gravis Provides Moderators and Screeners for your Telephone Town Hall

Gravis Insights Australia works with political consultants, campaigns and public affairs organisations. Telephone town halls are used by campaigns ranging from school board to president. Telephone town halls are being used by campaigns and public affairs organisations throughout the world.

Members of Parliament have used telephone town halls for years to connect with constituents. Now the strategy is rapidly gaining traction with a wide variety of other groups.

  • Labor unions and consumer advocate groups use them to connect with the membership.
  • Non-Profit Organisations use them to connect with donors, volunteers, staffers, partners and like-minded organisations.
  • Local political campaigns use them to connect with their local voting segment to streamline costs and save their voters time.
  • Local Councils use them to inform tax payers, residents and local business owners of events occurring within the cities they live and work.
  • Sport teams use them to connect with season ticket holders.

Email and Text Messaging Services

Did you know that it is estimated that nearly 75% of all registered voters now consider smart phones and tablets as their primary sources of communication. As such, many of today’s most successful campaigns are actively searching for affordable ways to integrate this fact into sharing their political message with potential voters.

This is where the digital marketing experts at Gravis Insights Australia take over to provide an affordable and highly customize solution for political email services and text messaging services.

The political email marketing services and text message services powered by Gravis Marketing are easy to use and affordable tools that any political campaign can use to reach their targeted voting segment. However, what is not commonly known is that political email marketing and text messaging services allow you to expand your political marketing dollar by connecting with a younger, non-traditional voter.

It has been argued that President Barack Obama won the 2008 & 2012 General Election through his campaigns activation of this type of political campaign marketing – which brought younger, non-traditional votes to the table.

With the political text messaging and email messaging programs offered by Gravis Insights Australia, your campaign can accomplish several key marketing goals including:

  1. Broadcast your outreach to a wider voting audience and perform valuable polling and market research.
  2. Send simple automated polls through Smartphone texts, which voters can respond to with a quick push of a button.
  3. Keep voters updated on campaign events, initiatives and results.
  4. Connect with votes on a personal basis and capture technically savvy voters that never pay attention to printed materials.

Today’s voter is savvy – and the campaigns that roll with technology and infuse all aspects of communication into their voter targeting efforts are the ones that often achieve success. Contact our team today to learn about our email marketing and text messaging services.


GIA rules for robocalls (updated)

As tech advances in politics come into the mainstream, there are more and more debates about what works and what doesn't. At GIA, we believe that despite what some campaigns see as 'push back' on robocalls, robocalls are a part of the campaign repertoire when used properly and in the context of a good overall campaign plan. 

We have seen this work to devastating effects in terms of positive campaigning to boost a candidates name ID and/or promotion of an issue. We have also seen these used to devastating effect in a negative context going back to elections as early as 2009. 

In 2017 in Queensland, we saw robocalls from movements such as Cherish Life, people get their first ever robocall from Pauline Hanson and their first ever robocall from Bob Katter. After this, we have gone through our original 'robocall' rules concept and updated them with what we have learned. 

Therefore, here are our GIA top 10 tips for robocalls:

1. Verify legality. Check to make sure the area(s) you will be targeting allow automated calls. Find out about any rules and regulations you’ll need to follow. This means making sure that the calls are authorised. 

2. Inspire and inform. Be inspiring and fact-based in your message.

3. Be concise. Keep messages relatively brief — between 30 and 45 seconds is ideal.

4. Thank your constituents. Be upbeat, positive and express gratitude for voter support in your message.

5. Call early in the cycle. Dont wait until the final run in to start robocalling. Call through out the cycle in order to maximise impact.  (The exception to this would be if you need to respond to recent direct attacks or must address an issue immediately.

6. Call selectively. Use focused, deliberate and selective calling — do not bombard constituents with multiple similar messages in a short period of time. For parties planning the seats to robocall into, be judicious as to which seats get which format of robocall (leader, candidate, outside notable or combination).

7. Call during weekdays. Send robocall messages during the day. Strive to leave the messages on voicemail; about 70% residents are not home during the day, and you’ll be able to deliver your complete message. You’ll avoid interrupting the voter and they can listen to your message at their convenience. Furthermore, we need to remember that ACMA and the Do Not Call Register has specific times that calls are allowed in.

8. Real phone numbers. Use a real phone number associated with your campaign for your calls; caller ID numbers that look false will likely not be taken seriously. Remember that if the candidates phone number is going to be used, don't answer the phone back during the calls being run - those calls will be the 'kick back' mentioned above. Use virtual numbers to house robocalls where possible. It also means that the 'kick back' can be more easily screened and any supportive responses can be more easily followed up by the candidate.

9. Plan ahead. Don’t wait until the last minute; plan and strategize your call scripts carefully. The ideal planning cycle for a robo call is about a week to 10 days, so set aside at least that amount of time for each message. Planning also means that you can decide whether or not to use the voice of the candidate, the voice of the leader of the party or the voice of an 'outside notable'

10. Pace yourself. When you start your calls, use a pace that is steady and also compliant with the local capacity for the area.

Queensland Election 2017: The Recap

This is the wrap up where we analyse what went right, what went wrong, what’s still in doubt and where to from here. We are open and honest about in our methodologies and assessments.

Of the predictions we have missed, they all come back to where our teams have allocated Pauline Hanson’s One Nation to either win the seat in their own right or to push a party over on preferences. 

Our team identified the final week drop in the PHON vote as we revealed in the initial election report. However, this fall in their vote was not proportional, such as the similar drop they suffered in the middle of the year amongst the saga of donations, disclosures and who owned the plane.

The drop from 20% statewide to 12% statewide can all be linked to collapses in their primary votes in safe Labor seats. The soft Labor vote got spooked and “came home”. 

In these seats they have collapsed between 15%-23% and this has not only prevented them from winning, but prevented them from pushing over the second candidate in the count to win the seat.

Example: In Capalaba PHON between February and November had never polled below 29% and in all bar one of those samples, the LNP came third. However, in the final week, Labor defecting PHON voters went back to the party after they were scared by the ALP Campaign (very well) that voting for PHON would deliver a Nicholls Government with PHON.

The big lessons for the LNP out of this has to be that PHON voters don’t follow HTVs and the pain will be felt in the South East if PHON is going to continue to be seen as a genuine alternative rather than a minor party.

For us, the big winners out of this campaign are Katter’s Australia Party (KAP). Despite being completely ignored during the campaign they potentially can increase their seat count from two to three (Hinchinbrook) and give themselves a 33% win rate of seats contested.

The KAP has shown that they are a party that can gain voters from PHON that are uneasy about the ramifications of voting for PHON (see every seat KAP stood in that they didn’t hold). The only seat KAP did poorly in, was the seat of Whitsunday where in our view, KAP should stop trying to run in (in the region, they should be in Mirani and Burdekin). This is the only seat they have not polled in the double digits in.

If KAP expanded and ran proper campaigns in Central Queensland and Western Queensland, we would not rule them out for being competitive at the next Queensland election in two years, ten months from now. We would also not rule them out of contention federally for a Senate seat either.

In the view of our team, this incessant ‘calling’ of seats from media outlets and bookmakers is futile, particularly in close election contests. This week will start to see some real preference distributions which will determine where seats fall, not just where media commentators want to call seats as won or lost and premature payouts from bookmakers.

Queensland Election Analysis and Predictions

Our GravisPolitics and GravisResearch teams have again plugged the numbers, analysing the aggregates of all polling to date combined with our own quantitative, qualitative and touch-point research to shine a light on one of the most unpredictable elections in Queensland’s history.

Overall, we believe that Labor started the campaign terribly and the LNP started OK. However, as the election has come together, the Labor campaign in the final week has found some rigour. The campaign has stopped wandering off into places such as Condamine and Nanango and has come home the better of the two parties.

Either major party faces a long wait to 47 seats; if they make 47 at all.

These are our key landmarks over-riding guidelines we see for this election:

  • All of the parties involved have the biggest 'battlefield' of seats ever as PHON force the major parties to defend seats they would not normally need to defend from each other. 
  • As PHON are taking votes from both Labor and the LNP; the net effect of this means that this election is practically more like 93 byelections.
  • Labor nominally start on 48 seats, the LNP on 42, with Traeger, Hill and Nicklin with Independents.
  • From this; Labor needs to win back Cook and Cairns from Labor MPs that now sit as Independents, LNP need to win back Buderim from Steve Dickson and Nicklin has a retiring Independent MP.
  • The lack of candidates from KAP is a strategic blunder on their part.
  • PHON not standing in McAllister and Springwood are strategic blunders on their part (understandable considering they are essentially a new party, but still a blunder)
  • The length of time it has taken the LNP to find a candidate for the new seat of Jordan has cost them a real shot at that seat.
  • The LNP decision to preference Trad in South Brisbane over the Greens will be one of the most hotly debated points in this election.
  • The seats where there are 4 or more parties in the double digits on the primary vote won't have a result on the night.

Note: PHON has put at risk some of their socially conservative, religious voters with controversies about masturbation, sex toys and sex shops in relation to Safe Schools and their Candidate for Thuringowa. Qualitative case study: There’s ‘a 35-55 year old, female voter in regional Queensland’ that has dropped support for PHON in the last week. They needed to solidify these voters back in the final week to poll well in the places they can win. Final week research has shown PHON have lost support in this regard.

Preference Equation

Predicting seat-to-seat results has been a nightmare for researchers. In this analysis, we include qualitative assessments rather than only adopting the concept of 'preference flow modelling' as many pollsters will do. We have real-time touchpoint panels of voters whereby we track qualitative sentiment in addition to our quantitative track polling.

During this final week we have increasingly seen a dynamically changing system of preferencing outcomes. This makes the concept of modelling PHON preferences in any given seat absolute folly in our opinion. Our research has reflected that this election is somewhat akin to treating this election like 93 byelections.

From our research summaries we can provide insight on preferencing from all aggregate polling assessments, our own quantitative polling and our touch research panels as follows:

  • Maximum 10% region-to-region difference in flows between PHON voters following a HTV versus not following a HTV in any given seat in any given region. However, the biggest dissent is in the regions (Toowoomba North, Glass House and Whitsunday top the list) where upwards of 25% of voters for PHON have said in research they will consider rebelling against PHON over the card; whether that be by not voting PHON or by not following the HTV and preferencing the LNP over Labor.
  • The ‘RiteON’ concept of handing out Independent branded cards encouraging voters to preference the LNP if they are voting Pauline Hansons One Nation (PHON) will be largely effective. However, it was organised far too late to achieve the maximum effect it possibly could have.
    • The LNP flows will distribute at approximately 65-70% to PHON. We don’t see a lot of difference as to whether the LNP card says to preference PHON or not. The argument about LNP preferences is essentially a red herring.
    • Where PHON preferences flow will vary wildly. This will largely depend on who suffers in the primary swing (from the major parties) to construct that PHON primary vote. Look for an element of proportionality in the preference distribution back where PHON votes exhaust.
  • Labor will wind up saving LNP MPs with their strategy of making PHON last on every HTV. The proportion of flows will be very interesting and shock many in Labor, in our GravisPolitics team’s view. In some seats, the flow to PHON has been tested as high as 62%. Though that has reduced to a high of 52% in the final week.

The road home to victory

The above research into preference flow modelling and the rapidly changing dynamics of this election present several pathways for possible victory for both major parties.

The LNP are preferencing the Greens last and allocating 2nd preferences to PHON in 50 seats. Labor are putting PHON last in every seat. These play key roles in determining the pathways to voctory as summarised below.

In order for the LNP to win they need to:

  • Win back the nominally Labor seats of Mansfield, Mount Ommaney and Burdekin.
  • Win the new seats of Ninderry and Bonney.
  • Win back Nicklin after the retirement of Peter Wellington and win back Buderim from the new leader of PHON, Steve Dickson. 
  • Hold the nominally LNP seat of Pumicestone and defend the nominally LNP seat of Lockyer v PHON.
  • Defend Redlands, Everton, Glass House, Whitsunday, Bonney, Maiwar, Aspley and Gaven from the obvious attacks from Labor.
  • Defend Scenic Rim, Hinchinbrook, Nanango, Condamine and Callide from PHON.

If all of these happened perfectly, the LNP would find itself with 48 seats and government in its own right. However, the LNP still has a battleground of seats it needs to win from Labor to comfortably form a margin. This includes winning from Labor a combination of Bundaberg, Springwood, Barron River, Mundingburra, Mirani and Keppel. We would also throw into the mix that the LNP stands a chance of winning Cairns, Pine Rivers, Pumicestone and Miller.

In order for Labor win they need to:

  • Hold the nominally Labor, non-ALP MP seats of Burdekin, Mansfield and Mount Ommaney. 
  • Win back the seats of Cook, Cairns and win the new seats of Jordan and Bancroft. 
  • Successfully win the new Murrumba with the current MP for Mt Coot-tha, Steven Miles.
  • Prevent the seats of Logan, Ipswich, Ipswich West, Capalaba, Kurwongbah, Maryborough, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Mackay, Burdekin, Mirani, Keppel, Thuringowa and Mulgrave go to PHON. 
  • Win a combination of Redlands, Everton, Glass House, Whitsunday, Toowoomba North and Gaven from the LNP. 

Make no mistake, if Labor is to form a comfortable majority they will have the Gold Coast to thank with seats like Bonney and Gaven combined with a regional seat such as Toowoomba North. Such seats have flown under many analysts’ radar and even largely overlooked by both parties.

This will also mean that Labor opened up a new front on the LNP in Maiwar, Aspley and Everton and took the seats out.

In assessing the following “target seats” we first break the races down into three categories:

  • Competitive: LNP v ALP
  • Competitive: ALP v PHON
  • Competitive: LNP v PHON

LNP v ALP Competitive Races


This seat will go down to the wire. We have seen polling at the 29% primary vote for both the LNP and ALP, with PHON and KAP combined scoring between 27-30% of the vote between them. This makes the seat a real three-way contest.

Our GravisPolitics team concludes this to be one of the most odd looking seats in Queensland and one of the most complex to assess on the entire map.

This was a nail-biter in 2015 and Labor’s Bronwyn Taha is lining up for a rematch against LNP incumbent Jason Costigan.

The extra screwball in this equation (aside from the fact this is a former PHON seat) is that former Mayor of Whitsunday, Jenny Whitney, is the KAP Candidate for Whitsunday in addition to a former One Nation MP endorsing current LNP MP, Jason Costigan.

Prediction: Too close to call but we will - LNP win in one of the tightest counts in the election



If Whitsunday is the strangest seat in Queensland to try and work out, McAllister is the second most weird seat to work out.

This is because PHON is not running here however BraveHearts CEO Hetty Johnston is running as an Independent.

This is a new seat. The Labor Candidate here is Melissa McMahon who ran for Albert in 2015 against the LNP MP Mark Boothman, who is now contesting the seat of Theodore.

The LNP Candidate for this seat is Beenleigh local and wife of LNP MP for Forde, Bert van Manen.

This one will come down to Hetty Johnston preferences.

The decision of PHON not to stand here is sheer insanity from the position of our team.

Prediction: Labor Gain


This has been a target seat for the LNP ever since they lost it in a close race in 2015. This is a seat based ostensibly on the Livingstone Shire Council boundaries. The LNP Candidate for the seat is Peter Blundell who is the brother of famous musician, James Blundell. Blundell has been attacked locally for being a 'blow in' from Stanthorpe and for starting his campaign by attacking the popular Mayor of Livingstone, Bill Ludwig. 

The incumbent here is Brittany Lauga who won the seat in 2015. Lauga is considered one of the better campaigners that Labor has in the regions and has had to step in to fix the campaign of Labor's in Rocky. 

However, this seat is a genuine three-way. PHON has put up Matthew Loth for the seat who has run a good grassroots campaign with lots of support from Pauline Hanson herself with her frequent visits. This is a seat that PHON hopes to upset the apple cart in.

This will be difficult though as PHON will find it hard to get space in seats like this where both the major parties are making a serious play for the seat. Our teams believe that Rockhampton is a better chance then Keppel for PHON.

Prediction: LNP gain


This outer Brisbane based seat was won by Tim Mander in 2012 and 2015. Since then Mander has run in (and lost) two leadership elections for the LNP leadership. Mander is against David Greene from the MUA. The MUA is loading up the seat from activists from all over the place to get one of their own into Parliament. 

This will be a tight seat under CPV. 

Prediction: Too Close to Call


This seat on the south side of Brisbane is one of the key seats to watch in the spectrum of the entire election. This seat was a marginal seat after the 2015 election when now Shadow Attorney General, Ian Walker held on to the seat for the LNP.  This is shown by the number of funding commitments both sides of politics have made in the seat (and surrounding seats to benefit the seat).

However, with the redistribution sending the seat into parts of Mt Gravatt from Greenslopes the seat has been turned into a nominally Labor seat.

Labor has run a solid on the ground campaign with their local candidate, Corinne McMillan who is a local High School Principal.

The wildcard here, is former deli-boy and one time LNP MP Neil Symes who is running for the seat for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (PHON). The LNP defector left the LNP after realising he would not win a preselection in a safer LNP seat. Instead he is running in Mansfield (where he has not much of a chance of winning) and is preferencing against the LNP as a part of the ‘sitting members last’ policy announced by PHON.

This will be the major test for the LNP to see whether they can court the 60%+ of PHON preferences that some in the LNP circles think that they can get from PHON voters. They will need this sort of preference flow to have a hope of holding on here.

Prediction: Probable Labor Gain (watch the PHON preferences) - almost too close to call

Mt Ommaney

This is traditionally a bellwether seat which was won by Bob Harper for the Liberal Party (RIP Bob) in 1995, lost in 1998 and then regained for the LNP in 2012 by Tarnya Smith. For many it was a surprise that Tarnya Smith held on after the routing in 2015.

However, with the redistribution sending the seat into Darra from Inala, this has also made the seat a nominally Labor seat.

In this seat though, the LNP ground game is far superior to Labor’s and the Labor candidate is far weaker here then in a seat like Mansfield (Jessica Pugh is running again).

The other thing to note in this seat is that the Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Candidate (PHON) is Ian Eugarde. His on the ground campaign is non-existent. Therefore, he will get what the proverbial ‘drovers dog’ would get on a PHON corflute.

In our view on about 55% of PHON preferences, Tarnya is re-elected. On anything less, it is nerve wracking.

This is a seat where Labor’s CPV voting changes could cut both ways for Labor.

Prediction: Too Close to Call


Many people would ask why on earth has the GravisPolitics team got Maiwar in the list of competitive seats? Well the answer is simple. Under Optional Preferential Voting (OPV), this seat would never be a part of the equation.

However, under CPV the Labor + Greens equation puts this seat clearly in the picture as a possible gain for Labor.

This seat is a combination of suburbs from the former electorate of Mt Coot-tha (currently held by the fleeing Steve Miles) and current Shadow Treasurer, Scott Emerson (currently in Indooroopilly). This has cut the LNPs nominal margin to 3%. 

The new LNP margin of 3.0% compares to 6.7% for Indooroopilly and a Labor margin of 2.6% for Mount Coot-tha. The first preference results based on the 2015 election are LNP 47.7%, Labor 29.1% and Greens 20.4%.

We can’t see a situation where Emerson holds this seat unless he pulls his primary up to atleast 46%. Otherwise the Labor + Green vote would defeat him with an 85% preference flow rate.

Prediction: Possible Labor Gain


We have this in the LNP v ALP section but it is really a three-way race between the LNP, ALP and PHON in the seat.

The seat is currently held by LNP Shadow Agriculture Minister, Dale Last who won the seat in 2015 after Rosemary Menekens retired and he survived the 2015 routing.

Labor is fielding former Mayor of the Bowen Shire and current Whitsunday Councillor Mike ‘Moscow’ Brunker and PHON is standing in this seat, their Deputy Queensland Leader and former LNP MP for Thuringowa, Sam Cox.

This seat is on paper, nominally a Labor seat with a margin of around 1.5% (without PHON in it).

Wulguru and the outer suburbs of Townsville have been transferred to Mundingburra. The seat then gains Moranbah from the abolished seat of Dalrymple, Clermont from Gregory and areas around Dysart from Mirani. These changes increase the mining vote in the district and overturn the LNP's majority.

This therefore makes Burdekin the ‘mining and sugar’ seat and takes all the mining voters out of the seat of Mirani which is also a marginal seat in this section (which we will deal with later).

In the polling we have seen and completed in the seat, it has been a statistical three way dead heat. However, in every sample, the PHON Candidate is third in the samples (by less then any margin of error). In that equation, with a 50% preference flow, Dale Last would survive. In three way splits though, predicting things is sheer madness.

We note that this seat will come down to a handful of votes to determine who’s preferences distribute. If the LNP distribute, PHON win. If ALP distribute, LNP win, If PHON distribute, its anyones to win.

In relation to PHON preferences in the seat, we note two things. One, there is a large percentage of the PHON vote coming from disaffected blue-collar unionised voters in places such as Bowen, Collinsville, Dysart and Moranbah. In all of the GravisPolitics touch preference models, Labor voters defecting the PHON are 85% likely to give Labor their second preference to the LNP. The other factor which flows into that is that PHON are preferencing Labor ahead of the LNP (which is weird on policy grounds but tactically a part of the PHON plan).

Prediction: Too Close to Call


If the LNP don’t win this, the LNP campaign team deserve a bullet. After three years of scandal against the now former ALP sitting member (Rick Williams), a massive ‘flick rick’ campaign and on the eve of the election having Labor disendorse the sitting member which triggered the election, this is the LNP’s to lose.

Rick Williams only got elected on 41% of the primary vote in 2015, making him one of the worst performing MPs to enter the Parliament in 2015.

However, to the shock of many, popular former LNP MP Lisa France did not recontest the seat. Instead the LNP is standing newbie, Simone Wilson.

Historical fact, this seat forms a part of the former seat of Caboolture which was a PHON seat in 1998 and the home of former leader of One Nation, Bill Feldman. We therefore see a situation where the PHON preference flows from the booths on Bribie Island too the LNP should see Simone Wilson elected.

Prediction: LNP gain

Glass House

This is a seat that after the 2015 election, the margin was as such that Labor was always going to have a go to win this seat in 2017. The Labor Party are running Brent Hampstead again for the seat who contested the seat in 2015. However, being a candidate not funded by a major union, his campaign is not as well put together and funded as other Labor campaigns in target marginal seats.

The seat has been held by Shadow Transport and Main Roads Minister Andrew Powell who won the seat in 2009 (after former Labor Member Carolyn Male fled after a bad redistribution).

Our GravisPolitics team believes that this seat is probably a step too far for Labor to pick up in this electoral cycle. Published polling has the LNP leading in Glass House with a decent margin. 

However, the margins on the primary vote in this mean that the PHON decision to preference Labor ahead of the LNP in the seat means that there has been some retaliatory action in the seat to try and protect it for Andrew Powell.

The PHON Candidate here is Tracey Bell-Henselin. Her campaign got off to a bad start after her social media was revealed to be heavily homophobic.

On the day, expect to see people from the group RiteOn handing out how to vote cards urging PHON voters to ignore the PHON How to Vote (HTV) and to preference the LNP over Labor. This is largely as a result of conservative voters backlash against the PHON decision to preference their local sitting MP (who is a conservative) behind a Labor candidate.

In combination with this, the seat has been hit with robocalls from Cherish Life and Sunshine Coast Safe Communities urging voters to put Labor last on the back of issues such as power prices, unemployment and abortion. 

Fundamentally, we see a situation where the 25%+ that PHON is polling coming largely from the LNP. This will mean that if PHON preferences flow at anything around 50% or more would see the LNP retain the seat.

Prediction: LNP retain

Source: Sharable from  Brent Hampstead  Facebook page

Source: Sharable from Brent Hampstead Facebook page

Pine Rivers

This is a seat that the LNP needs to be winning in order to get to 47 seats in their own right, The sitting MP here is Nikki Boyd who won the seat in 2015 from Seath Holswich (contesting this as an Independent).

The whole of the Moreton Bay region seats have seen a major redistribution as a ripple from the introduction of the new seat of Bancroft. This has seen Pine Rivers go regional and take in Dayboro and the broader Samford Valley into the seat which has cut the nominal Labor margin (and making Ferny Grove safer).

The LNP Candidate here is Chris Thompson who is a newbie to the political game.

Despite the troubles Nikki Boyd has had internally in her branches and some of her relationships with the left, her polling is still around the 35% mark.

With CPV, she should be able to narrowly get home in this equation.

Prediction: Labor retain


This is a must watch seat in this election. This seat was won by Mick de Brenni (Housing Minister) on a slender margin in 2015 from former Logan City Councillor John Grant. However, with the redistribution sending the seat into Mount Cotton and Sheldon in Redland City, the Labor margin has been slashed. De Brenni is lucky Cornubia has gone into McAllister or he would be in even more trouble.

The LNP are standing Cr. Julie Talty who is the Division 6 Councillor on Redland City Council. Our GravisPolitics team predicted she would be looking for higher honours in this term of Council and we were right. On Council, Talty represents on Redland City Council all of the Redland voters that are now in the seat of Springwood and has done since her first win to Council in 2012.

Talty’s father John Burns was a long-term Councillor in Redland City.

With no PHON Candidate standing in the seat, Talty realistically needs greater than 45% primary to have a chance of winning. Our GravisPolitics team has conducted polling and has seen other samples taken in the seat to suggest that this is possible. However, it will be very close with Green + Labor preference flows possibly cruelling her chances to win.

This has been a dirty seat with a Labor volunteer being charged with threatening Talty's husband and massive sign losses becoming an issue.

Prediction: LNP gain on the back of a strong local campaign



This is another one of the new seats that have been created by the ECQ in order to expand the Parliament to 93 seats. This seat has been formed at the northern end of the Gold Coast formed from parts of Broadwater and Southport. This is a nominally safe LNP seat with the LNP running Sam O'Connor for the seat. He stands strong favourites to win the seat. 

However, our GravisPolitics team knows that Labor are going to target Bonney and Gaven as they know that they need to pierce the 'blue walls' on the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast to produce stable Labor Governments. 

Labor are running Rowan Holzberger for the seat this time. Rowan stood for Labor in the neighbouring seat of Southport in 2015. 

This is another seat where the CPV change could prove to come up trumps for Labor by gaining a seat they would not otherwise be able to get.

Prediction: Tight LNP pick-up


This is the second Gold Coast seat Labor are after in this election campaign. This seat has seen Sid Cramp (incumbent – LNP) since 2015 after he beat Labor for the LNP after Alex Douglas defected from the LNP to Palmer United Party (PUP).

PHON is not running in this seat.

In this three way on the Gold Coast we just don’t see the Labor Party getting what they need.

Prediction: LNP retain


This is one of the battleground seats from the LNP column. This is another ‘change of government’ seat that didn’t move when the government changed in 2015. Matt McEachan is the local MP who won the seat in 2015 after the ‘plonker’ scandal forced Peter Dowling out of the LNP and out of office.

The redistribution here is the epitomy of the concept that someone always has to ‘pay the piper’. The redistribution that has made Springwood stronger for the LNP has made Redlands weaker for the LNP.

The Labor Candidate here is Kim Richards from the United Voice Union and Don Brown’s faction. She was the Labor Candidate for Bowman federally and has run a reasonable on the ground campaign. However, in the course of the campaign McEachan’s on the ground game has out done Richards.

However, we would be concerned from the disclosures on the ECQ website about the cash in the LNP warchest here when run against what Labor has been able to get into the seat cash wise. McEachan though benefits from Labor having to contest in almost a third of the pendulum thanks to PHON pressing them in seats that Labor would never have to normally contest.

The curveball here is Jason Quick, the PHON Candidate here who is campaigning against Labor while preferencing them over the LNP and the return of Peter Dowling to the stage as an Independent. While we believe Dowling will be outpolled by PHON (and possibly the Greens), where that leaves PHON v LNP v ALP becomes interesting and makes this a three way.

This seat is demographically something PHON can do well in. It is not as good for them though as something like Capalaba in the region.

Prediction: Too close to call

Source: Photo off  Matt McEachan  with his recently passed Campaign Manager (and a mentor and friend to some of us here at Gravis) Bob Harper.

Source: Photo off Matt McEachan with his recently passed Campaign Manager (and a mentor and friend to some of us here at Gravis) Bob Harper.


This seat has gone under the radar from commentators but not from our team. The seat is held by Mark Bailey (Energy Minister) who has been in trouble this term for the use of private email servers and allegation of corruption. He has also held the blame for skyrocketing power prices which have now become a thorn in their side during the campaign from both Labor and PHON.

The seat is based on the former seat of Yeerongpilly which Bailey won in 2015 from the LNP.  

The LNP Candidate here is midwife and nurse, Belinda Kippen. After losing the LNP preselection for the seat of Moreton, she has impressed many in the LNP with her campaign for the seat of Miller. In a short campaign she has bought together an excellent on the ground campaign with some good fundraising to really shake Bailey up.

It was always going to take something special from the LNP to shake Miller from the Labor – Green preference flow loose. However, the campaign for the LNP here has gone well targeted and focussed in on local issues well and kept the issue of Bailey's problems alive locally.

Prediction: Too close to call

Toowoomba North

This is one of the dejavu electorates. This is the third time that the seat of Toowoomba North has seen the LNP’s Trevor Watts square off against Labor stalwart Kerry Shine for the seat. Watts lost the seat to Shine in 2009. Shine lost the seat to Watts in 2012 and 2015. This has always been the marginal seat in the region and both leaders have visited it many times.

However, the impact of PHON is being felt hard in this race. PHON wont win here. However, the decision to preference against Watts helps Shine in his campaign to win the seat back for Labor.

What will be interesting to see if any semblance of a RiteOn campaign up here gets going to neutralise the PHON HTV impact on the differential split of the preferences.

Prediction: LNP retain

LNP v PHON Competitive Races

In these seats we see a situation where PHON are competitive in LNP held seats. However, in most (if not all) of them, there is a large capacity for Labor preferences to save LNP MPs due to the policy of ‘every PHON candidate goes last’. This means that there is potential for LNP preferences to oust ALP sitting members but ALP preferences save LNP sitting members under challenge from PHON.


This is Ground Zero for the LNP v PHON fights in Queensland. In order for the LNP to have any chance of winning 47 seats in its own right. The LNP has preselected Brent Mickelberg to win the seat back from LNP defector and now State Leader of Pauline Hanson's One Nation, Steve Dickson who is the incumbent. 

The LNP are pouring a lot of resources into the seat to win it back.

PHON are banking on the 'Im Sticking With Steve' campaign locally and hoping that enough LNP-leaning voters in the seat will want to punish Dickson for his defection. 

Despite a massive run on Dickson in the betting stakes, we foresee a situation where Dickson's Primary just isn't high enough.

Prediction: LNP gain

Source: Facebook page of Steve Dickson MP


This is a must win seat for PHON in this cycle. This is the seat in 2015 Pauline Hanson herself almost took out as an Independent before reuniting with the One Nation Party brand.

The PHON Candidate in the seat is long term party stalwart and former party senior official Jim Savage.

He has run a grassroots, local campaign and has been one of the better campaigners on the ground despite his apparent fallings in and out with the centre of power inside One Nation.

With a primary vote through this cycle at around the 36%+ mark. He can go on to win the seat. However, he will need a break of the Labor preferences to get him home.

This is one of those seats where the LNP primary and PHON primary aren’t specifically important. What our GravisPolitics team is looking for is the gap between first and second and whether there are enough Labor primaries to distribute to get the party coming second over whoever is coming first. In this case, it would be, can Labor get enough and can the LNP get close enough to get over the Jim Savage primary for PHON.

Prediction: PHON gain

Scenic Rim

This is a seat that PHON would see as a must win seat for them as well. This is a seat that Pauline Hanson herself contested in 2009 after the retirement of long term MP Kevin Lingard. However, her campaign self combusted when (what turned out to be fake) nude pics of her turned up on the front page of newspapers.

After the LNP MP Aidan McLindon who won the seat in 2009, defected to KAP and then lost the seat in 2012 to Jon Krause; Krause has kept his head down and run a good localised ground game to survive the 2015 carnage and then make his way into the Shadow Cabinet under Tim Nicholls.

In polling that is public and that our GravisPolitics team has done, the Labor vote has been at around the 20% mark in the seat. We would suggest that (providing Labor hand the HTVs out) the LNP should be able to survive on the distribution of Labor preferences to them.

This becomes then the quintessential seat of Labor’s HTV strategy saving an LNP MP (potentially).

Prediction: LNP retain


In this seat, we also throw into the mix the KAP Candidate for the seat John Hill. While PHON have been very late to the game here in preselecting Frank Ashman, it appears PHON have sacrificed the seat in order to raise the profile of the anti-Acland mine movement and secure the endorsement of the radio personality, Alan Jones.

John Hill has campaigned across the electorate on a range of issues where are PHON are only campaigning against the Acland Mine, which a large portion of the seat has no idea about.

Pat Weir is the sitting member for the seat for the LNP. He won the seat in 2015 after Ray Hopper defected to KAP and then switched seats to Nanango in the 2015 election and left his son to contest the Condamine seat for KAP.

KAP are handing out how to vote cards to try and attract Labor preferences to it, in spite of their preference deal with PHON.

Our GravisPolitics team simply raises the possibility of a boilover here with the CPV effect of PHON, KAP and Labor all coming together potentially against Pat Weir.

Prediction: Too Close to Call



This is the seat that has been held by Deputy LNP leader Deb Frecklington since 2012 after former PHON MP for the seat, Dolly Pratt retired after seeing off John Bjelke-Petersen a number of times for the seat.

In this seat, PHON have polled between 30-35% across this campaign cycle here. However, this is a situation where we note that we have not seen a poll where Frecklington is not behind PHON on the primary vote in any piece of public or private polling we have seen.

Prediction: LNP retain on Labor preferences


This is a seat that is fertile ground for minor parties such as KAP and PHON. Our GravisPolitics team believes it is a strategic blunder that KAP is not standing in this seat.

In 2015, the Palmer United Party (PUP) and Katters Australian Party (KAP) took 27% of the vote between them. In 2012, KAP took 21.8% of the vote.

Our GravisPolitics team would be very surprised if the seat didn’t see PHON poll a 30% primary vote.

This will be a seat where, if Tony Perrett is to be returned to Parliament he will need Labor preferences.

Prediction: LNP retain


This is a seat that has been a PHON seat before, nearly was a KAP seat in 2012 and both are running here in 2017 with a preference deal between each other.

Andrew Cripps has been the member here for over a decade after having seen a number of major challenges off in recent history.

The redistribution sees the seat lose areas north of Tully to the new seat of Hill and in return gain some northern suburbs of Townsville from Thuringowa. This has seen the nominal margin (against Labor) go from 7.1% to 3.4%.

The key to the LNP strategy for retention here is to ensure that they can attract Labor and KAP preferences to ensure they stay ahead of PHON in the preference distribution to hold the seat (despite the KAP-PHON preference deal).

Prediction: LNP retain

ALP v PHON Competitive Races

There are more races in this column than in the LNP v PHON column. This is because while the ALP has put PHON last everywhere and the PHON HTVs have every sitting MP last, the LNP has chosen a seat to seat approach.

This means that there are many more opportunities for PHON to take ALP seats on LNP preference distribution. Furthermore, this is backed up from our touch preference research. This research has clearly shown that when you ask LNP voters to chose between PHON and the ALP, between 65-85% chose PHON whereas only 35-50% of ALP voters chose PHON.


This seat and Mulgrave are in our view the two biggest sleepers in the pack for PHON to take from PHON. Firstly, it should be noted that Tabelands (some of which is now in Cook) was a PHON seat and the Mayor of Mareeba Tom Gilmore lost his seat to Rosa Lee Long the last time PHON rose to prominence. Secondly, after Labor’s Billy Gordon has had all of the scandals around him and the LNP’s Penny Johnson has run a particularly lacklustre campaign; we see that there is more then enough space for PHON’s Jen Sackley to get in between the two majors and get one of them to distribute. This is also on the back of the preference deal PHON has with the KAP’s Gordon Rasmussen.

Jen Sackley is someone who has shortened in the betting with the momentum she has picked up with her well targetted Mareeba based campaign. If she can come second, she will win.

This is in essence a three-way and our GravisPolitics team will be watching this one like a hawk to see how it breaks.

Prediction: Too Close to Call

Source:  Jen Sackley  Pauline Hanson's One Nation, Candidate for Mareeba

Source: Jen Sackley Pauline Hanson's One Nation, Candidate for Mareeba


If betting agencies offered combos, we expect that the combination bet of the Treasurer and Shadow Treasurer losing their seats in the same election would be at long odds. However, Mulgrave has been a PHON seat before. Sue Bertuch who is the PHON Candidate is running a strong campaign for a six week run and from our on the ground reports, is doing very well. The LNP has preselected Karina Samperi who is doing OK for an LNP Candidate in Mulgrave without any major financial backing for her campaign.

This is the sort of seat where if Curtis Pitt doesn’t get 48% primary (which GravisPolitics sees as unlikely) he is in trouble.

Prediction: Possible PHON gain (on LNP preferences)


No one can ignore a seat where polls showed Pauline Hanson’s One Nation at 37% of the primary vote before they even had a candidate in the field. This seat was won for Labor by Aaron Harper in 2015 from Sam Cox who is now the Deputy Leader of PHON and their Canddiate for Burdekin.

The nominal margin here is 6.6% to the Labor Party v the LNP.

PHON have had trouble here with the revelations that their candidate’s wife owns a sex shop that condoned domestic violence in a post.

Prediction: PHON gain


This is a seat that Labor has never lost since the formation of Queensland as a state. The seat has always existed and our team was at the celebrations for Labor’s 100th year anniversary of holding the seat of Mackay.

After the sudden retirement of Tim Mulherin during the 2015 election, Labor chose Julieanne Gilbert (Wife of former Councillor Frank Gilbert) to be the Candidate for Mackay. She is now the incumbent on a nominally 10.2% margin after picking up suburbs such as Glenella in the northern beaches of Mackay from the seat of Whitsunday.

However, like much of regional Queensland, Labor is in trouble to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. Our GravisPolitics team has been privy to polls where the PHON vote has been between 25-35% of the primary vote through out the course of the election cycle.

The PHON Candidate for the seat has only been a candidate since the election was called. However, if the move is on to PHON, this seat is gone on LNP preferences to PHON.

Prediction: PHON gain


This is another of the crown jewels in the Labor crown which is precisely why the city has had so much Labor infighting over the years which has now seen the party split locally and Mayor Margaret Strelow running as an Independent.

Before the split and furore over who would replace Bill Byrne in the seat, PHON had been polling here in excess of 30%, almost all of which had come from the Labor primary. However, with Strelow in the race, PHON’s vote has been split 20% to 14% (according to Galaxy).

The Labor campaign here has been an absolute calamity. Regular media mis-steps, getting policy wrong in public and the war between Schwarten and Strelow overshadowing the whole thing has meant that publicly, Brittany Lauga has had to take over the media for Rockhampton and is also likely to lose her seat of Keppel as a result.

Prediction: Too close to call


On paper this is a seat that is a marginal LNP v ALP seat that was taken by Bruce Saunders in 2015. However, this is misleading as it has PUP and former Independent Member, Chris Foley in the mix.

This is a seat that has gone to PHON before and is victim of Labor’s bad polling north of the Sunshine Coast.

This is another one of the places where the combination of the PHON preference strategy of placing every sitting member last and the LNP preferencing PHON in the seat.

The ALP incumbent in Maryborough is Bruce Saunders who won the seat in 2015 from Anne Madden who was the one term LNP MP for the seat.

Prediction: PHON gain

Ipswich West

This is another of the former seats that were in the PHON column after the 1998 election. However, with the advent of former Senator Malcolm Roberts as the PHON Candidate for Ipswich means that this seat has gone under the radar for many commentators.

The polls have seen Labor neck and neck in the seat over the last few weeks.

This means the volume and distribution of Green and LNP Preferences will determine the winner of the seat.

The sitting MP is Jim Madden who was a Somerset Councillor before defeating Sean Choat for the seat in 2015, who in 2016 then became a Somerset Councillor.

Prediction: If any PHON gains are to be in Ipswich, it will be here.


This seat is going to be an old fashioned grudge match between former Senator Malcolm Roberts and Labor stalwart Jennifer Howard. Howard won the seat in 2015 from the LNP in the route of the LNP in that election.

Howard was a staffer for former MP for Ipswich and former Transport Minister Rachel Nolan. Howard is seen as a much better performer locally then Nolan was and she has ramped up her campaign to deal with the Roberts threat in a major way.

However, the Premier has not helped the campaign with her promise to move rail jobs from Wulkuraka to Maryborough to sure up Maryborough against PHON.

Roberts, however, has been dogged with stories around his relationship with former staffer Sean Black and the criminal charges he is facing.

Prediction: Labor retain


This is a key seat for Labor to test whether they can rebel PHON threats in the South East. Linus Power won this seat in 2015 on the second attempt after defeating Michael Pucci who is now the PHON State Director and the PHON Candidate for the new seat of Jordan.

However, the redistribution has weakened the seat for Labor structurally. Starting the redistribution process with a 10% margin, the redistribution sees the nominal margin reduced to 5.4% against the LNP. This is because the seat has lost the urban parts of Logan City to Algester and Woodridge while it has headed west into the western Logan City Council border with Scenic Rim which brings Jimboomba into the seat.

The PHON Candidate is Scott Bannan.  Bannan has defending himself against charges of being a Hell’s Angel in the past with aplomb. This has made the Power campaign anxious as he seems bullet proof.

Power will be helped by the LNP decision to preference Labor ahead of PHON. This means that if Labor can get a primary vote gap on PHON of any substance, there will be a lower percentage of LNP preferences that PHON can receive.

Prediction: Too close to call and amazingly firming to PHON in final week

Source: Original file image of the Scott Bannan Coaster printed by our team.

Source: Original file image of the Scott Bannan Coaster printed by our team.


This is a seat that no one has focussed on in this campaign because it is a traditionally Labor seat. This is a seat that has only been held by the LNP in 2012. For the rest of its life it has been a Labor seat. The seat was won by Don Brown in 2015 from the LNP after the 2015 election loss.

Don has had a major campaign put against him by the LNP, Andrew Laming and PHON in this seat.

Ever since our first poll in the seat in February, the polling has been tight here with the seat consistently polling from all of our sources at around the 30-30-30 split.

This will all come down to the order of the primary vote on the night as to who wins here.

If the LNP come third, PHON wins. If ALP comes third, LNP wins. If PHON comes third, its anyone’s race. The majority of PHON’s primary here is coming from the Labor Party but there is a preference swap neatly between the LNP and PHON in the seat.

Our team believes that Labor will lose this seat but are unsure as to who will pick it up considering the overall structure of the polling between all three parties being so close.

Prediction: Too Close to Call

Seat to Seat Prediction List 

While not everyone will agree with this list (there have been some disagreements in the team) there are many people who will think we are being too bullish, too aggressive and possibly with a bit of wishful thinking. However, this is our best lay of the land as we believe it will wind up.

  • Algester - Labor
  • Aspley - LNP 
  • Bancroft - Labor
  • Barron River - LNP gain 
  • Bonney - Too Close to Call 
  • Broadwater - LNP gain 
  • Buderim - LNP gain (from PHON)
  • Bulimba - Labor retain 
  • Bundaberg - LNP gain 
  • Bundamba - Labor retain 
  • Burdekin - Too Close to Call
  • Burleigh - LNP retain 
  • Burnett - LNP retain 
  • Cairns - Labor Gain (from IND)
  • Callide - LNP retain
  • Caloundra - LNP retain
  • Capalaba - Too Close to Call (Unsure who Labor lose this too)
  • Chatsworth - LNP retain 
  • Clayfield - LNP retain 
  • Condamine - Too Close to Call 
  • Cook - Too Close to Call
  • Coomera - LNP retain 
  • Cooper - Labor retain 
  • Currumbin - LNP retain 
  • Everton - Too Close to Call
  • Ferny Grove - Labor retain 
  • Gaven - Too Close to Call 
  • Gladstone - PHON gain 
  • Glass House - LNP retain 
  • Greenslopes - Labor retain 
  • Gregory - LNP retain 
  • Gympie - LNP retain 
  • Hervey Bay - Should be LNP retain 
  • Hill - KAP gain (new seat)
  • Hinchinbrook - Too Close to Call
  • Inala - Labor retain 
  • Ipswich - Labor retain 
  • Ipswich West - PHON gain 
  • Jordan - Labor gain 
  • Kawana - LNP retain 
  • Keppel - LNP gain
  • Kurwongbah - Labor retain 
  • Lockyer - PHON gain
  • Logan - Too Close to Call
  • Lytton - ALP retain 
  • Macalister - Probably Labor Gain 
  • McConnel - Labor retain 
  • Mackay - PHON gain 
  • Maiwar - Labor gain
  • Mansfield - Labor gain 
  • Maroochydore - LNP retain 
  • Maryborough - PHON gain 
  • Mermaid Beach - LNP retain
  • Miller - Too Close to Call 
  • Mirani - LNP gain 
  • Moggill - LNP retain 
  • Morayfield - ALP retain
  • Mt Ommaney - Too Close to Call
  • Mudgeeraba - LNP retain
  • Mulgrave - Too Close to Call 
  • Mundingburra - LNP gain 
  • Murrumba - ALP retain 
  • Nanango - LNP retain 
  • Nicklin - LNP gain (LNP v PHON 2PP)
  • Ninderry - LNP gain (LNP v PHON 2PP)
  • Noosa - Too Close to Call (LNP v Ind)
  • Nudgee - ALP retain
  • Oodgeroo - LNP retain 
  • Pine Rivers - ALP retain
  • Pumicestone - LNP gain 
  • Redcliffe - ALP retain 
  • Redlands - Too Close to Call 
  • Rockhampton - Too Close to Call
  • Sandgate - ALP retain
  • Scenic Rim - LNP retain 
  • Sth Brisbane - Green gain 
  • Southern Downs - LNP retain 
  • Southport - LNP retain
  • Springwood - LNP gain 
  • Stafford - ALP retain
  • Stretton - ALP retain
  • Surfers Paradise - LNP retain 
  • Theodore - LNP retain 
  • Thuringowa - PHON gain 
  • Toohey - ALP gain 
  • Toowoomba North - Too Close to Call
  • Toowoomba South - LNP retain
  • Townsville - LNP gain 
  • Traeger - KAP retain
  • Warrego - LNP retain 
  • Waterford - ALP retain 
  • Whitsunday - Too Close to Call
  • Woodridge - ALP retain

The anti-politician is now mainstream and politics has an authentic deficit disorder

With Teresa May heading to the Queen to form a government with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) it follows one of the worst election campaigns ever seen from the UK Conservatives.  

This was a campaign where the Conservatives blew a 20% lead at the start of the campaign and wound up losing their majority. 

It has been another example illustrating that without the influences of run-off voting systems or proportional voting systems (aka France and Holland); yet another leading campaign has run into a cocktail for political disaster, complacency, expectation management failure and authenticity deficit disorder.

The fundamental premise of this campaign, from the framing right through to execution, was that the Conservatives couldn’t lose. When they realised they could lose, the scare campaign was ramped up. Yet this was far too little and late to stem the bleeding.

However, whilst Corbyn has picked up a bit over 30 seats, he is still well short of a majority in the House of Commons. Despite increasing Labour’s vote share and adding millions of extra votes to the Labour tally, there is still a fundamental weakness in the Labour vote; a fundamental inability to take out marginal tory seats and to capitalise on the poor campaign of the Scottish Nationalists. In summary, the Labour vote was coming off a low base.

This election saw a pitch for a 'strong and stable' government fall flat.

The anti-establishment nature of the referendum campaign has scrambled the foundations of British politics. May was intitially a ‘remainer’ now advocating for a tough line on Brexit (or ‘hard brexit’ as many describe it). Jeremy Corbyn is an acolyte of Tony Benn, the leader of the hard left-wing of the Labour Party through the 1970s and 1980s and Michael Foot, the author of the manifesto which became known as the ‘Longest Suicide Note in History’. Corbyn was an early supporter of a Brexit, then campaigned in the referendum for ‘remain’ and now supports a Brexit once again.

On the backdrop of this scrambling was a Conservative campaign that refused to engage in TV debates, ran a campaign that wasn’t based on connecting with the mainstream and often appeared aloof. This was followed by a manifesto which attacked the Conservative base voters (see social care funding, ending the pension ‘triple lock’ and the famous ‘dementia tax’) that was never going to be rewarded.

Labour’s gains are also even more interesting, considering that the Corbyn campaign was often attacked for not doing enough to win back marginal seats.

Britain has seen a referendum campaign end their membership of the European Union and effectively seen the end of ‘New Labour’ all in the space of two years. Yet, what is again being missed in the majority of post-mortem conversations is that the trend is global and there are lessons for the future. But what is 'the trend'?

There is a global trend (and there has been for at least seven years) amongst western electorates, which don’t have proportional election systems, to now back to the ‘anti-politician’ politician regardless of political philosophical divides. The 'anti-politician' often taps into a resentment of existing institutions. Also known as 'anti-establishment' politics. In electorates where authenticity has been a perceived problem, the ‘standard’ campaign based on presentation, photo opportunities and three word clichés are not working (note ‘Strong and Stable’ and ‘Jobs and Growth’)

This is also prefaced on the fact that the ‘anti-establishment’ politician needs to rise inside the framework of establishment parties. This can be seen most recently with a Donald Trump Republican presidency. This is not as easy nor as random as it may seem.

For example, Jill Stein can’t mobilise a Sanders-style movement in the American left. Likewise, Hanson and Bernardi won’t be able to lead parties of government in the Australian mainstream system and the best that New Zealand First and Winston Peters can hope for is a role as a ‘support party’ (again) to a National Party government.

It is very important to also note that there is a difference between ‘anti-establishment’ and ‘populism’. The concept of politicians using budget measures to ‘buy’ support well and truly pre-dates the rise of the ‘anti-establishment’ concept.

In the United States, we witnessed Hilary Clinton be attacked on two flanks - one from the philosophical left and one from the philosophical right. In the Democratic Primaries she lost 22 states to Bernie Sanders; a Corbyn-esque, dedicated Socialist independent Senator from Vermont who energised a base and built an engaged movement. Not unlike the ‘momentum’ movement behind Corbyn.

Despite Clinton surviving the challenge on her left, she failed to stave off Trump, perceived to be on her right, who perfected the anti-politician image, turned out his voters; but more importantly her campaign failed to bring out the voters mobilised by first Obama, then Sanders; Millennials, Latinos and African-Americans. Her turnout fell dramatically which allowed Trump to win.

In this new political reality, however, Clinton was a career political professional attempting to fend off two anti-politician campaigns that were always going to cannibalise her vote regardless of which traditional philosophical divide they may have been perceived to represent. 

In Australia, Barnaby Joyce will get some enjoyment to see that the electorate has finally caught up with him. He has been prosecuting this argument well before the rise of the ‘anti-establishment’ politician around the world. Australia is full of politicians trying to bring this together; between Pauline Hanson, Cory Bernardi, Bob Katter and Derryn Hinch; they all don’t get anywhere near the standard of Barnaby Joyce and his ability to do this, despite being the junior Coalition partner in an unpopular government.

However, if Anthony Albanese wins the leadership of the Labor Party in Australia, Malcolm Turnbull would almost be electorally unable to win. Albanese has figured out how to master this on the left in the Australian context, without the status of trying to do this from inside a minor party.

If the Coalition doesn't recognise and get across this anti-politician trend with effective strategies, they won’t win in 2019. If the Nationals in New Zealand don’t see the events of the UK and US as something that can manifest itself in New Zealand too, they will see a much larger New Zealand First and a more powerful Winston Peters.

Welcome to the mainstream where the anti-politician rules. 

Campaign planning

Before you ask yourself whether you need a political campaign plan, you should ask yourself if you are serious about winning your election. If you are serious about winning your campaign, whether it is running for Local, State or Federal Government, you need a winning political campaign strategy.

The campaigns that fail to plan are planning to fail.

Your campaign plan is more than just a blueprint on how to run a political campaign or to describe what the role of a political campaign manager is.  Your campaign plan details every aspect of your path to electoral victory – from your budget and timeline to your target audience and message.

Planning is essential to winning.  You cannot get a business loan without a business plan.  You cannot build a bridge without an architect and engineer.  Winning campaigns require strategies that are developed by campaign managers and consultants.

Here are many facets to consider when developing a plan to run a successful campaign.  They include (but are not limited to):

  • Campaign budget
  • Campaign timeline
  • Opposition research
  • Assessment of each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Evaluation of issues that matter in a political campaign
  • Voter identification and targeting
  • Grassroots organization and tactics
  • Media relations
  • Social media
  • Broadcast media
  • Digital media
  • Direct mail

Before you start planning your political campaign, or learn how to run for office, your first question to answer is “why am I running for office?”

Answering this question is central to building a winning political strategy.  The answer may change or evolve over time, but a candidate for office should always understand the reason for seeking election.

Most candidates for elected office begin by searching for answers to questions in the Internet such as “how to run a political campaign,” or “how to win a campaign.”  

Contacting the local electoral commission is the first step in determining what actions must be taken to appear on the ballot.

Running for office is more than figuring out how to become a candidate or putting up yard signs. The way to win a campaign is to plan every step of the way before you even begin.  

Once this has been accomplished, the campaign manager can develop the campaign organizational chart and determine what campaign staff jobs are required. Also, you may be asking yourself questions such as “What is a political consultant,” or “What are the duties of a campaign manager?”

Experienced consultants can guide you along the way when you decide to seek elected office.

Campaign consultants, and campaign managers, can develop a budget that maximizes the effect of every dollar spent.  Consultants are also skilled at developing target audiences and using data to help win your race.  Consultants also must stay on the cutting edge of campaign and election technology so that you have every opportunity to reach voters in whatever medium makes the most sense according to the plan.

A plan is not developed overnight.  Creating your campaign plan requires careful preparation and examination of your resources, issues, effective tactics, and identifying likely voters.

Gravis Insights Australia has many years of experience in helping candidates win votes and successfully win on election night.  The Gravis team can develop robust campaign plans for your race at any level from city council and school board to state legislature, countywide, statewide and federal campaigns.  Gravis Insights Australia can take your campaign to the next level and help you achieve victory.

Emails in political campaigns

Email Marketing: A Modern Communication Vehicle That Saves Your Campaign Time and Money

In the not-so-long-ago days, telephone calls and postal mail were the only means of mass communication with your voter base. But email marketing has dramatically changed that landscape.

Now – in a fraction of the time it takes a volunteer to place a single phone call – you can email your message to hundreds of thousands, even millions of voters. For less than the cost of a single postage stamp you could send untold millions of email messages. The savings of both money and man hours saved through utilizing the technology of email are almost incalculable.

No one can dispute the benefits bestowed by the technology. But what exactly is meant by the term: Email marketing?

Several Ways to Use Email in Political Campaigns…

Every political campaign has the need to reach out to its voter base, and for multiple reasons. Some of the most frequent include:

  • Fundraising: Using email in your fundraising efforts can pay dividends beyond just simply reducing costs. In your fundraising emails you can include simple one-click payment options for donors. Making the donation process quick and easy for donors helps boost the success of a fundraising campaign.
  • Get out the vote: The day you’ve worked so hard for is here – voting day! And with just a click of a mouse, you can instantly send a ‘get out and vote’ reminder to everyone on your list, whether thousands or millions. Don't forget to attach a how to vote card as well!
  • Advertising. Your email communications don’t have to be limited to people already in your voter base. You can also use email to recruit converts to your cause through advertising messages. It’s a far more targeted form of advertising than through broadcast mediums.

Ignore the Benefits of Email Marketing At Your Peril

The advantages offered by utilizing the benefits of email are truly astounding – particularly when compared to the old standbys of direct mail and telephone.

The old standbys still have their place. But any modern campaigns that seek to get by with just the old standbys are flirting with disaster – and making easy prey of themselves for the competition.