Advertisement

Josh Frydenberg's Supposedly 'Safe' Seat Is A Major Hotbed Of Political Activity

ANALYSIS: Letters, robocalls, late night polls and billboards.

This is what Australians have faced for weeks, amid a seemingly never-ending Federal election campaign.

The Melbourne seat of Kooyong -- home to the quiet, leafy suburbs east of the CBD -- is supposed to be safe. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg holds it with a 13 percent margin.

But residents are stunned with the amount of political activity.

josh frydenberg
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg campaigns in his seat of Kooyong. Photo: AAP.

Over a two-day period, one home received four different letters from Frydenberg, all addressed to voters with their details on the publicly accessible electoral role.

That same household had received three politically-related phone calls in one night.

One was a robocall from the Liberal Party, inviting them to a conference call with Frydenberg himself. The other two were polling companies,  seeking the voters view on if an election were held today: who they would vote for in the upper and lower house.

It’s a sign there are either worries, or the seat is fully in play.

But there can be unintended consequences.

Some 4,600 residents in Kooyong received a robocall in the middle of the night, being asked -- at midnight -- how they were planning to vote.

Pensioner Marjoie Kayler told 10 News First she luckily went back to sleep within 10 minutes of the call.

Marjorie voter Kooyaong
Marjoie Kayler wasn't happy to receive the post-midnight call. Photo: 10 News First.

Kayler and thousands of others have now received an apology for a sleepless night, from polling company Lonergan Research.

"Due to a technical glitch which happened with our robo-polling, it appears to have restarted around midnight," CEO Chris Lonergan said.

As to who commissioned the midnight robo-polling remains a mystery. 10 News First approached every prominent candidate in the seat, plus environmental groups like GetUp, for comment.

All denied commissioning the poll, except for GetUp, which didn't return our calls.

The activist group only days later had dropped a Lonergan Research commissioned poll in the seat of Warringah to Fairfax / Nine Newspapers.

And as Hamish MacDonald found on The Project, the activist group isn't staying silent this election campaign. Josh Frydenberg is on their 'hit list' of Coalition members to unseat, along with Tony Abbott, Peter Dutton and more.

Miriam Lyons GetUP The Project interview
GetUp's Miriam Lyons was grilled on The Project.

Kooyong is a seat emboldened with Liberal History. It's the electorate of former Liberal Leader Andrew Peacock and former PM Robert Menzies.

It's been a rusted on safe Liberal seat for years, but suddenly the tide is turning.

In a shock result last November, Labor snatched the state seat of Hawthorn, nestled in a pocket of the federal Kooyong electorate.

Now, three different federal candidates are trying to do the same.

Prominent Lawyer Julian Burnside, well known for refugee advocacy, was parachuted into the seat by the Greens. The party dumped a lesser known candidate, once they had their high profile man on board.

That move has diminished the hopes of independent, Oliver Yates.

A former Liberal party member, and friend of Malcolm Turnbull, Yates is running in Kooyong on a conservative platform of climate change, much like his independent friends, Julia Banks (Flinders) and Zali Steggall (Warringah).

I met Yates on a pre-poll booth in Hawthorn, in the heart of Kooyong. Tens of thousands of the two million early voters have already cast their vote there -- which is why every candidate is spending their time at the booth.

One of his volunteers pointed out to me his no-holds-barred How to Vote Card.

It clearly encouraged voters to number their boxes strategically, to vote Josh Frydenberg out.

yates
Independent Oliver Yates's how-to-vote card. Photo: 10 News First.

Labor's candidate Jana Stewart is a long-time party member, but she'd never done a television interview before 10 News First requested a chat.

After a five-minute pep talk or clearance from Labor HQ, Stewart outlined her hope that one day, the blue ribbon seat of Kooyong would turn red.

Ultimately on Saturday night, Australia will find out if enough voters are feeling blue, and swing their vote elsewhere.

Josh Frydenberg could retain his seat, but the true test will be exactly how many people Vote 1, Liberal.

The figure to watch will be the Coalition's primary vote.

Listen to Hugh Riminton and Peter Van Onselen in The Professor and The Hack discuss all things #Auspol. 

Listen on Acast | Listen on Apple | Listen on Spotify