Julia Gillard
Julia Gillard Jerad Williams

Odds favour Gillard for PM

AUSTRALIANS are likely to today confirm Julia Gillard as Australia’s first elected woman Prime Minister, and the voters of Page and Richmond should maintain Janelle Saffin and Justine Elliot as their Federal MPs – if the bookmakers are any guide.

The trouble is, the bookies are not too sure they believe it themselves.

Odds on offer from seven online betting agencies yesterday had Labor comfortably ahead of the Coalition at both the national and local levels.

In recent years, betting odds have come to be viewed as a good guide to election outcomes – far more so than surveys. The theory is that, because the people registering an opinion are also putting their own money on the line, they tend to take more care in picking a likely winner.

However, two of those agencies, Sportsbet and Centrebet, have raised doubts about the odds being offered, saying we may yet wake up tomorrow to find Tony Abbott and the Liberal-National Coalition in charge of the country.

Sportsbet has Labor at $1.35 to form a government with the Coalition at $3.15. Centrebet has listed Labor at $1.41, with the Coalition at $2.85.

But both betting agencies said bets for the Coalition were yesterday pouring in at a much greater rate than bets for Labor, and only big dollars put on Labor early in the campaign was keeping its odds so short.

“In our opinion, Labor should only be slight favourites to win this election, but previous large wagers on it has forced us to keep its price lower than perhaps it deserves to be,” Sportsbet spokesman Haydn Lane said.

“Since Tuesday, we’ve taken eight bets on the Coalition for every one Labor bet.”

Centrebet spokesman Neil Evans had the same opinion, saying dollars were pouring in for the Coalition at such a rate he would not be surprised to wake up this morning and find the Liberals and Nationals had become favourites.

“A hung Parliament is starting to look like a good option for them (Labor),” he said.

Locally, the bookies are expecting wins for Labor in Page and Richmond. Centrebet, the only agency to offer odds on Richmond, has sitting MP Justine Elliot at a very short quote of $1.12. Nationals candidate Alan Hunter and Liberal candidate Joan van Lieshout share second line of betting at $7.50.

With $31 being offered for every dollar bet on him if he wins, Richmond Greens candidate Joe Ebono is a long shot for the seat, but still a long way ahead of his Page Greens colleague Jeff Johnson, who Centrebet has listed at $161.

Mr Evans said the punters had largely snubbed Richmond, laying down a total of just $500.

However, Page is another matter. Punters there have put down more than $15,000 – about 70 per cent of which had gone on to Labor’s Janelle Saffin.

Mr Evans said punters had put some big bets on Ms Saffin – there were a few $2000 and $1500 bets backing her – while Nationals candidate Kevin Hogan had pulled only one big bet of $1500, when bookies were offering $2.62 for every dollar bet on him.

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