The end is nigh. Whether it’s the end for the Coalition Government or just the end of the 45th Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia remains to be seen. Either way, the next federal election is well and truly ‘nigh’.

There is a view circulating among the ranks of commentators that the Wentworth by-election, to be held on the 6th of October, could be the flint that fires up the freshly minted Prime Minister to call upon the Governor General. If the Liberal Party loses the seat of Wentworth, it will leave the Government operating under a minority and if they win, it could be the bounce the PM needs to pull the trigger.

So what are the main issues that will likely be on the mind of voters when an election is called?

Power prices

The perceived inability of the Turnbull administration to make a decision on power prices was one of the catalysts that caused the recent leadership spill in Canberra. That’s because power price pain is probably the most significant cost of living issue facing families, pensioners and businesses.  

Public and private polling has consistently showed that while people like the idea of renewable energy, they desperately want affordable and reliable electricity. Polling also shows that they’re more likely to vote for a political party that can provide just that.

While high power prices have occurred on the Coalition’s watch, the recent hard-line taken by the new Energy Minister, Angus Taylor, may put them a whisker ahead of Labor who are sticking to what many believe are unrealistic emissions targets.

Bottom line - punters will vote for whomever they believe will deliver them power price pain relief.

Health

Health is always one of the key issues at both State and Federal elections. Voters want to be sure they have affordable access to medical care.

This has always been a strong suit for Labor as they’re not afraid to splash the cash on health. In the lead up to the federal election we’re likely to see the Opposition Leader visit every marginal electorate and promise funding for local health services. This week Bill Shorten visited Rockhampton, Queensland, the heart of the electorate of Capricornia which sits on a wafer-thin margin of less than once percent.  Shorten was promising a new cardiac theatre for the Rockhampton Hospital.

The Coalition will be desperate to inoculate against health spending being a voter changer at the federal election.  

Cost of living/economy

‘It’s the economy stupid’. With each passing election voters seem more and more aware of how election results impact their hip pocket. Cost of living and the economy consistently rate in the top three ‘unprompted’ issues of concern for voters. The Coalition traditionally rates better than Labor on economic management; however Labor will be hoping the Coalition’s recent woes will reflect upon their cost of living credentials.

Leadership

Australian elections have become increasingly ‘presidential’ in nature, where voters choose the man rather than the Party. It’s hard to tell how this will play out at the next election with Scott Morrison largely unknown and Bill Shorten not incredibly popular. It may be more of a case of which leader loses rather than which leader wins.