OPINION

The seats to watch on Saturday

With the campaign speeches out of the way, and a Newspoll still giving Labor the edge, it is clear that results in this election will vary from state to state, and within states, as is usually the case.

But this election year is different. The election will be won or lost in Queensland and Victoria.

If the Liberal Nationals can retain most of their seats in Queensland, the Liberals win back Indi in Victoria, and Turnbull's old seat of Wentworth, and pick up a seat in Tasmania, it is in with a chance to retain government, albeit very narrowly or in minority government.

On the other hand, if Labor wins some of the extremely marginal government held seats in Queensland, wins seats in Victoria and retains Herbert and Lindsay, it will win.

The Nationals are also under pressure in Cowper where former MP, Rob Oakeshott, has a good chance of getting back into parliament, and it may lose Page to Labor.

If we start with the pre-redistribution position of both parties, Labor has 69 seats and the Liberals 74. For Labor to win outright it needs 77 seats, after appointing a speaker.

In Victoria it would expect to win Corangamite, Dunkley, Chisholm and Latrobe. In Queensland it will be hopeful of winning at least five seats, including Peter Dutton's seat of Dickson.

Labor has a good chance of winning Grey in South Australia and perhaps Boothby, Hasluck and Swan in WA. Labor is banking on winning these seats, and on present polling they could achieve this.

For the Liberals though, the task of retaining government is difficult. Realistically they should win back Indi and Wentworth, and they have good chance to win Herbert on UAP preferences. They also expect to win Lindsay in Sydney.

They would also hope to win a seat in Tasmania. If they win in Bass or Braddon, or perhaps both, they may hold on, as long as they hold all of their other marginals.

The clear problem for the coalition, though, is to stem the leakage of seats in Queensland and Victoria.

Campaign speeches rarely change voters' minds, and the undecided rarely watch them. This is also the case with advertising. Research shows that political advertising merely reinforces voters pre-existing views.

The only voters who are persuaded by advertising are those that have little or no interest in politics. This is the reason that Clive Palmer is spending tens of millions on his UAP campaign, because he is targeting these undecided voters. This is a waste of money. He will fail to win one seat in the House.

The last week of the campaign is about re-emphasising the key messages, visiting the crucial marginal seats and staying positive.

More than three million voters will have pre-polled before election day - a record. It is difficult to say whether this indicates a general voting trend, although it certainly did so in the Victorian election last year.

Large number of voters first enrolled during the same-sex marriage plebiscite, most of these were younger voters.

It is these voters and their already enrolled cohort, plus a new women's vote, turned off by the Liberals male-dominated hierarchy and lack of concern for gender-based issues, that could well determine the result of this election.

Ian Tulloch, Honorary Associate (Politics), La Trobe University, Bendigo.