Betting on politics: elections in Australia

I haven’t covered Australian politics for a while, says political-betting expert Matthew Partridge – the forthcoming election provides a good opportunity.


(Image credit: 2011 Getty Images)

I haven't covered Australian politics for a while so the forthcoming election provides a good opportunity to do so.On Saturday 18 May Australia goes to the polls in a federalelection that will electa new House of Representatives and more than half the Senate.

Both the bookies and the betting exchanges expect Labor to form the next government, with Betfair offering 1.31 (76.3%) on Labor and 4.1 (24.1%) on the Coalition of centre-right parties. Bet365 is offering slightly better odds of 1/3 (75%) on Labor, thoughonly 10/23 (30.3%) onthe Coalition.

Betfair is also offering a handicap market whereby the Coalition gets awarded 25.5 extra seats. In this case, Betfair has the Coalition at 1.11 (90.9%) to come out ahead and Labor at 5.7 (17.5%) to win by 26 seats or more. Bet365 is offering a similar market with a slightly lower handicap of 22.5. In this case, it has the Coalition at 4/6 (60%) and Laborat 11/10 (47.6%) to winmost seats.

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Australia uses a two-stage preferential voting system, with both primary and secondary votes (which come into play if neither candidate gets a majority of votes in the first round). At one stage Labor had a lead of around 8% in the second preference vote. This has narrowed over the past few weeks to the point where some polls have the gap as low as 2%. I'd therefore suggest that you make two separate bets on the Coalition beating both the 25.5- and the 22.5-seat handicap.

Dr Matthew Partridge

Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.

He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.

Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.

As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.

Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri