17 May 2013

Downer warns Australian election could be close

12:19 pm on 17 May 2013

Former Australian foregn minister Alexander Downer says the federal election in September could actually be close, despite polls suggesting the coalition will win easily.

Mr Downer said the media and many in Labor were all predicting the coalition would "scream it in" at the election on 14 September. But he believes it would actually be very close.

"When you poll people today, they are not about to vote. So it is much more a referendum on the performance of the government.

''People do think the government on the whole is pretty incompetent," he told ABC Television.

"When polling day comes, they will be thinking of the two sides in a much more equal sense."

Mr Downer said people would then weigh up the two sides, balancing a not very competent government against a coalition they may not like.

AAP reports he cited 1993 when then-opposition leader John Hewson lost an ''unloseable'' election to the unpopular government of Labor prime minister Paul Keating.

"I would warn the Liberal Party that this election is not a sure-fire thing. It's still very open, the election on 14 September, and I think it could end up by being very close," he said.