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Betfair widen gap in Australia Election betting market after announcement of date

Has PM Julia Gillard taken the right option?

31st January 2013 / Lee A Jackson

According to the odds at online betting exchange Betfair, the recent announcement by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, her party is going to struggle to get back into power. Head of the incumbent Labor party, Gillard put an end to the speculation of when Australia will go the polls again this year, by stamping the date of September 14th, 2013. This will be the first federal election held in the month of September in Australia since 1946.

But Betfair has given Labor only a 23% chance of holding on to power come September, by quoting them at a long price of 4.2 in the two horse race. That leaves the opposition Coalition Party, headed up by Tony Abbott in as overwhelming 1.27 favourites in Australia General Election betting. The odds have shifted a lot since as recently as last November, when Labor were in as low a 3.0 with the Coalition still at a favoured 1.5 in the market. The announcement of the date has seen the political betting market shift further apart at betting exchange Betfair.

Some think that Gillard has committed political suicide by announcing the date so far in advance, when there was no need to do so. The reflection in the odds at online betting exchange Betfair could be on the back of the rumours that key figures in the Labor party weren’t aware of the date being announced by their leader. While Labor insist that they will be able to take a cool and calculated approach to their electioneering, the ball could have been dropped in handing an advantage to the Coalition.

Critics of Gillard’s announcement, which will now see very long, protracted campaigns being strung out, suggest that the element of surprise has been lost. Had Gillard announced her election date closer to the actual date, then the opposition would have been left scrambling to piece together their strategies. Now the opposition have plenty of time to make their own calculated approach. There is unlikely to be much action in announcing financial plans until after this year’s Australian Budget which is due on May 14th.

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