Both local major parties will be keenly watching and ultimately picking over the bones of both the Northern Territory election tomorrow and Western Australian election on 6 September.
Whilst it is a (very) long bow to draw that elections at opposite ends of the country from the ACT could be predictors of the local outcomes, there are some interesting observations to be made:
- These will be the first Territory/State elections since the change of government at the federal level last year. Aside from the fact that local issues will have the greatest influence on voter sentiment and intention, this will be the first real indicator (excluding by-elections) of flow-on voter satisfaction/confidence of the Rudd ALP federal government.
- Will these elections reflect a general trend that state governments tend to reflect the reverse situtation of whomever is power federally. Obviously there have some been notable exceptions, however at the end of the Howard Liberal federal government, all state and territory governments were firmly in ALP control.
- Like the ACT, both the NT and WA currently have majority government.
- Like the ACT, both the NT and WA have had recent changes in their opposition leaders. The CLP (NT) has Terry Mills who has held the leadership position since 29 January 2008, after first being elected to parliament in a 1999 by-election, this is the second time he has been the opposition leader. In WA the newly appointed leader is Colin Barnett, appointed on the 6th of August 2008, first elected to parliament in 1990, previously he held the opposition leadership position between 2001-2005. The contrast with the ACT situation is that these are both mature politicians (both in age and experience as elected representatives) and both have previously held the senior role of Leader of the opposition.
For a more authoritive prediction of election outcomes I prefer to defer to experts such as Antony Green who on occasion himself graces these pages.