Make-or-break state: Victoria the key to triumph on Saturday

 smh.com.au  05/17/2019 06:32:39 

The knife-edge marginal seat of Corangamite, stretching west from Geelong along the Great Ocean Road and into its farming hinterland, has emerged as emblematic of the struggle for the states lower house seats.

Incumbent Liberal MP Sarah Henderson must come from behind to win, after a boundary redistribution made her electorate notionally Labor territory.

Election watchers around the nation will be keeping a close eye on Corangamite as the votes are counted Saturday night after Labor deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek, campaigning in the seat this week, conceded that the ALP could not win government if they could not win Corangamite.

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National attention will also be on two traditional Liberal heartland seats in Melbournes affluent inner-east: Higgins, once held by prime ministers Harold Holt and John Gorton, and Kooyong, Sir Robert Menzies old seat.

Higgins faces a determined challenge from the Greens and Labor, emboldened by the retirement of cabinet minister Kelly ODwyer, while Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is having to work hard and spend more than $1 million campaigning against Greens celebrity candidate Julian Burnside and independent Oliver Yates.

Another contest set to make national headlines is in the seat of Flinders on the Mornington Peninsula where Health Minister Greg Hunt is facing his former colleague and now independent Julia Banks, who resigned from the Liberal Party in the wake of Malcolm Tunrbulls ousting last year.

The regional seat of Indi, in the states north, is the Coalitions best chance of picking up a Victorian seat, but Liberal hopeful Steve Martin will have to overcome independent Helen Haines, anointed successor to the popular Cathy McGowan, who shot to political celebrity in 2013 by defeating cabinet minister Sophie Mirabella.

The other seats where Labor is looking to topple government members are Dunkley in the south-east of Melbourne, where sitting MP Chris Crewther is not expected to survive the Labor challenge, and Chisholm in the citys east, abandoned in controversial circumstances by Ms Banks.

In La Trobe, also in the outer south-east, Liberal member Jason Wood is neck-and-neck with his Labor challenger Simon Curtis, according to the latest polls.

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