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Batman By-election: The issues, the candidates and the ramifications

\"Holy by-election Batman, this one could go down to the wire!'

This Saturday voters in the inner-Melbourne federal seat of Batman will head to the polls following the resignation of Labor's David Feeney, the latest victim of the citizenship debacle.

It's a headache the Opposition doesn't need and could make it that much harder for Bill Shorten to take up residence at the Lodge after next Federal Election.

Batman is one of Labor's most marginal seats located in the highly socially conscious northern suburbs of Melbourne. At the 2016 election, the Greens scored the highest primary vote with 36.23% followed by Labor with 35.27%. Labor eventually won the seat on preferences, however the seat sits on a wafer thin margin of 1.03%.

The seat is an emerald the Greens will be desperate to slot into their political crown, with Labor forced to open its weighty war chest to hold the electorate.

For all the talk about local issues, there is really only one that has galvanised the Green campaign and caused Bill Shorten to toss and turn at night. The planned construction of the Adani coal mine in Queensland's Galilee Basin.

Although the proposed site of the Adani mine is around 2,300km from the electorate of Batman, the Greens have used the campaign to stop the mine to wedge Labor's support base. Thousands of jobs and billions in spending will flow to the struggling regions of North Queensland should the project go ahead and the Opposition Leader knows it.

Which may explain the mixed messages coming from the Labor camp with their candidate for Batman claiming the economics of Adani mine 'do not stand up', while Bill Shorten's support for the project remains 'as long as the economics stand up'.

It's an incredibly tough call for Labor with their other key marginal seat of Herbert situated in Townsville, the current headquarters for Adani and a hotbed of local support for the project.

Labor has selected ACTU President Ged Kearney to run as their candidate at the by-election. A trained nurse and educator, Kearney has a strong background in the trade union movement and has previously indicated a strong interest in a career in politics at both a state and federal level.

The Greens have selected perennial candidate Alex Bhathal to take on Labor in Batman. Bhathal has an impressive background with a Masters in Criminology from RMIT and has spent thirty years working in the social welfare sector.

A loss for Labor this Saturday means there is one more seat they have to win at the next election to topple Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. A win for the Greens will soothe their wounds from the Tasmanian election result and validate their anti-Adani strategy.

Advoc8's prediction: Too close to call.

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