The Victorian state election is close, and the campaign is heating up. Labor are riding high: they enjoy a dominant position in the polls, and have a large buffer after the 2018 ‘Danslide’ against the Liberals. It is a make-or-break election for Opposition Leader Matthew Guy, who is campaigning heavily on repairing and revamping the health system — a strategy that recently delivered victory for other Oppositions around the country — in South Australia and Federally. But can it work for a Liberal Opposition? If not, why not? Why does Labor ‘own’ health?
This talk will use November's state election to explore the nature of contemporary campaign communication and debate. Which issues get chosen by parties contesting elections, and why? How do some parties come to ‘own’ certain issues? Can that ownership be contested, or must parties constantly seek to change the topic to ‘their’ issues? How malleable is the political agenda during an election? Can parties really change minds during the campaign? How rational are voters — how sensitive are they to new information, to the record of the government, to the policies of candidates? Or indeed, how rational are candidates? Are they really cold hard vote calculators, or do they sometimes choose policies and strategies for other reasons?