I’m surprised no-one else seems to have mentioned the impact of state-level problems on Labor’s vote in the election. Right across the country, state-level issues ran against Labor. This partly reflects the fact that Labor is in office in every state, and in some cases, has been in office too long. But mostly, it was idiosyncratic stuff, that could have gone either way, but happened to go against Labor – even popular Labor governments ran into strife. Here’s my list
* In Queensland, the CEO of Energex committed suicide during the campaign. Although it was a complex story, it was tied to the failure to prepare properly for the blackouts that followed storms in January, which hurt the government
* In NSW, there were a string of hospital crises
* In Victoria, there was the broken promise over tolls on the Scoresby Freeway
* The Tasmanian forests were a state issue that split the general alliance between Labor and Greens
* The Gallop government in WA seems to be unpopular, though I don’t know the details of this
I don’t think these factors were enough to swing the election, but they could easily have added up to a 1 or 2 per cent swing, making the difference between an easy win for Howard and a narrow one.