OPINION: We knew it would be close, here's why

NOTE: At the time of writing, the final results of the 2016 Federal Election were not yet known.

IN THE lead up to the 2016 election the opinion polls were consistently predicting a close election.

The major issues in the election have been economic management, health funding, particularly the funding and future of Medicare, and education funding.

Other issues such as the National broadband Network, marriage equality and superannuation have also made an appearance. The political disarray in the United Kingdom after the Brexit vote reinforced the Prime Minister's call to support the Coalition in the interests of stability.

Coalition proposals to cut the costs of Medicare clearly resonated with a proportion of the electorate despite the ALP undermining its own claims by overplaying the issue by claiming that the Government planned to privatise Medicare.

The ALP's opposition to a plebiscite on marriage equality has not resonated with voters who are indicating that they support marriage quality and want to have a vote on it.

It seemed as if there would be a swing to the ALP but not necessarily enough in to cause a change in government. A substantial vote to minor parties and independents made predicting the outcome difficult. 

At this time on Saturday night these predictions appear to have been confirmed but there are still a lot of votes to count and pre-poll votes are yet to be counted. 

There has been a swing against the government and to the ALP but it is not consistent. The swing is much stronger in Tasmania than expected and notable in NSW but not significant in Victoria.

There appears to be a small swing to the ALP in Queensland. The Xenophon team is polling well in South Australia with large swings against the government and slightly smaller swings against the ALP.

State issues appear to be having an influence. The damaging dispute with the voluntary firefighters in Victoria and the forced council amalgamations in NSW appear to be having local effects.

Doubts about the ALP state government in Queensland and the state Liberal Government in Tasmania appear to affecting state result with swings against the governing party. The major parties have both been held responsible for decline of the manufacturing industry in South Australia

In Queensland One Nation is gaining a substantial vote particularly in rural, regional and Coalition seats. This size of this vote indicates One Nation will do well in the Senate.

On the Sunshine Coast the PUP voters appear to be returning to the Coalitions with Wide Bay, Fisher and Fairfax safe for the government. These partly rural and traditionally conservative seats have heeded the call for stability.

The experiment with One Nation in Fairfax was not a success and voters have returned to their traditional roots. But further south there has been a substantial swing against the incumbent Wyatt Roy.

The Sunshine Coast seats appear to have gone with the Government but in the past this has not given them the benefits showered on marginal seats.

While party leaders have visited the coast the promises made have been modest so the electoral outcome for the coast appears to be business as usual.


Bronwyn Stevens is a political lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.