A phoney war, black holes and Labor’s struggles in the battleground state of Queensland are prominent in the latest observations of Professor Anne Tiernan, after more than three weeks of the Federal Election campaign.

In her latest Machinery of Government article, the Director of Griffith University’s Policy Innovation Hub says the Coalition’s support is holding in Queensland ‘where Labor needs to gain up to ten seats to be competitive’.

“This perhaps explains why Julie Bishop was campaigning in Labor-held marginals, as well as in those the Coalition needs to retain,” Professor Tiernan says.

“It may be bravado, but the government doesn’t look to be sand-bagging as some had predicted at the start of the campaign.

“The polls suggested that while Labor’s vote is improving, it is failing to get traction in the battleground state of Queensland.”

Professor Tiernan is monitoring ten Queensland seats identified at the start of the campaign as crucial the election outcome. These are the seats of Bonner,Brisbane, Capricornia,Dawson,Dickson,Forde,Lilley,Longman,MoretonandPetrie.

Professor Tiernan reflects on what she calls the ‘phoney war’ that has waged since Malcolm Turnbull’s plans for a double-dissolution election started to take shape.

“The major parties and the leadership contenders have faced off, but only a few shots have been fired.”

Professor Tiernan also asks a key question about the voters’ attention to detail, at the end of a week when a Coalition claimed a $67 billion ‘black hole’ in Labor’s expenditure plans existed.

After the government’s senior economic ministers, Scott Morrison and Mathias Cormann, were forced to concede the actual figure could be closer to $21 billion, Professor Tiernan asked who noticed.

“We’ll soon see whether voters were listening to the finer details, or whether – as the Government no doubt hopes, they heard only the headline message – cementing the trend consistently reflected in the opinion polls, that voters regard theCoalition as the better economic managers.”