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An interesting result

Written By: - Date published: 9:20 am, August 22nd, 2010 - 36 comments
Categories: australian politics - Tags:

Australia is about to enter a new era in politics. They appear to have a hung parliament this morning according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

With three-quarters of the vote counted, Labor, which began the night with a notional 88 seats, had lost a confirmed 18 seats, including the seat of Melbourne to the Greens candidate Adam Bandt and most likely the Tasmanian seat of Denison to an independent, Andrew Wilkie.

Labor clawed back only two seats from the Liberals in Ms Gillard’s home state of Victoria McEwen and La Trobe giving it a net loss of 16, leaving Labor sitting on a total of 72.

But another two Labor seats were in doubt and the ABC analyst Antony Green was early today predicting Labor to finish with 72 seats, Tony Abbott’s Coalition 73, one Green and four independents.

If the Liberals won all outstanding seats, there is a slim chance they could govern in their own right.

The three incumbent independents, all former National Party members Bob Katter, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott will be joined on the crossbench by Mr Wilkie, a former intelligence officer who fell out with the former Howard government over the Iraq war. Both he and Mr Bandt would be more disposed to siding with Labor.

The three former Nationals were non-committal last night and Mr Windsor warned that if stable government could not be achieved, “we may all end up back at the polls”.

There was obviously dissatisfaction with Labour, which seems to have gone to the Greens

The drift of votes to the Greens killed Labor. Its primary vote fell 5.3 percentage points from the 2007 election to 38.1 per cent while the Coalition’s primary vote rose 1.6points to 43.7 per cent.

The Greens had a 3.8 per cent swing to receive 11.8 per cent.

It looks to me like the Aussies could do with a better electoral system. That 11.8% resulted in one seat in the 150 seat lower house, although they did better in the upper house.

Because of the preferential voting system in Australia and the use of secondary votes, the electoral position is more confused than the primary vote indicates.

Late last night, the national two-party-preferred swing against Labor from 2007 was 2.6 per cent. Labor led the Coalition by 50.5 per cent to 49.5 per cent.

I’d expect to get some creative constitutional principles from the coalition over the next few days. But it looks like it will come down to who the crossbench MP’s decide to support.


36 comments on “An interesting result”

  1. Outofbed 1

    And not forgetting the Greens hold the balance of power in the senate
    Shame they haven’t got PR in the lower house though, Greens with 11% of the vote and only one seat
    that doesn’t seem right somehow
    Still a seat in the UK parliament and now one in OZ. All in all another good election for the Greens!

    • lprent 1.1

      Yes, I forgot to mention the senate except indirectly….

      The senate balance causes major problems for the Coalition in running (rather than forming) a government. Quite simply the Greens would have a problem because the policies they espouse in their primary areas are in direct conflict with the Liberals. That means that deals with them will be difficult because the Libs will push blame for not following policies loved by their supporters on to the greens. It would be a poison chalice.

      I’m pretty sure that the Greens can make a workable deal with Labour with some ministerial posts. However it will be pretty hard in a party that has enough hassles managing its own factions.

  2. gingercrush 2

    Would you see 11% under proportional representation?

    I think there are pros and cons to Australia’s electoral system. In the lower house the member that represents the electorate has the support of at least 50% of that electorate population. Votes that go to minor parties end up redistributed when preferences are counted. Meaning the vote itself isn’t wasted.Something I believe we should implement in New Zealand albeit in a simpler form.

    The senate is more proportional though I’m not a huge fan of STV systems. I think it adds too much complication in how you rank candidates and have found it particularly useless in regards to Health Board selections. And would be extremely pissed off if it ever came into Christchurch City Council selections.But it does provide a check to undemocratic aspects of Australia’s electoral system. Though it also places a lot of power in party hands and play a too active role on election day.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    It looks to me like the Aussies could do with a better electoral system.

    STV = FPP in drag

    It’s not a truly proportional system. Of course, neither is MMP but it is better.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 3.1

      Its not a proportional system. Except for the senate on a state wide basis
      You need 50% of the votes to win and when you dont the preferences of the losing candidates are distributed until someone does

  4. ghostwhowalksnz 4

    The Greens didnt ‘win’ a seat. They came second in Melbourne. However Liberal preferences mean they will very likely end up with more votes.
    I would consider the Greens national share of the vote to be lower if there wasnt a preferential system. After all most Green voters would have put Labour 2nd,

  5. ZB 5

    The Australian electoral system is deeply flawed. If you vote for a major party you get one
    vote. But if you vote for a fringe party you get to vote, and vote, and vote until you get
    to vote for a major party – false illusion of consent for the process! Worse because they
    are forced to the polls what was once a vote plus dissent is now consent from the people.
    When voter numbers drop in other
    countries the governments are weaken, apathy creates a rump of dissent that could be
    harnessed by a mass movement. This cannot happen in Australia. So all in all, there
    is little way a third party can get momentum to unseat the two major parties from
    a mass movement.

    You could even get a flatline vote, where everyone likes a candidate and puts
    them second after three other candidates who are evenly split. At the first count
    the candidate everyone favors gets dropped and the three diametrically opposed
    candidates each have a third of the votes. Couple this with the illusion effect of
    having you preferences churned to decide the winner and you get the impression
    you are consenting to an extreme candidate, even when most like their second
    choice but voted for a divisive candidate in the first round. So as the
    votes are counted, the second preferences might as well have not have been
    cast! So much for being a fair system!

    The incumbents rule in OZ – the system is so convoluted that the two major
    parties are easily nobbled by ‘wealth’ Australia.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 5.1

      There is so much wrong with what you are saying its hard to start. All voters have to rank all candidates in order.
      All it means is that to get 50% to win the minor candidates are eliminated, but not their voters.
      In Melbourne seat the Labour candidate has the most votes , the Green candidate is 2nd, the Liberals 3rd. No one has 50%. The liberal preferences most likely will go to Greens as they would have been ranked above labour.
      Even the most nut case candidate has to be ranked by all the voters

      • ZB 5.1.1

        A,B,C and D are candidates. 1201 people are voting.
        400 vote A, B, C and D, they all hate D.
        400 vote B, D, C and A, they all hate A.
        400 vote D, A, C and B, they all hate B.
        Everyone likes C.
        Candidate C votes for himself, C, A, B, D, he hates A,B and D.

        So guess who wins? A does! more people hate A than any other candidate
        and everyone likes C! WTF

  6. ghostwhowalksnz 6

    As goes the UK so goes Australia.
    Doesnt look good for national getting 50% or more of the party vote, unless they fudge the system a bit……

  7. Olwyn 7

    Like many elections these days, the voting pattern in Australia shows deep disenchantment with what Joe Bageant calls “the hologram” and Plato called the cave. The disenchantment is particularly strong with the left, because traditionally they are the party associated with social justice and challenging the status quo. The hologram, however, is so far able to dictate the limits of social justice, as if the world economic structure functioned with the inevitability of weather. In fact the right now have nowhere legitimate left to go, unless you count extreme privation and oppression as legitimate, while the left equivocate away at some imaginary point called the centre, looking for minor victories to crow about that will impress voters without upsetting the hologram. The greens, whether rightly or wrongly, give the impression of being outside of the hologram. Whether this is true, and if it is whether it will stay true if they are in the position to take effective action remains to be seen. However, at the moment, the independents, as well as the Greens in the senate, will almost certainly be placed under huge pressure to support Abbot in forming a government, as happened with the lib-dems in England. Unless Labour is lucky enough to end up one or two seats ahead.

    Anti-spam word: drawn

    • RedLogix 7.1

      The Hologram:

      It, in Bageant’s case, is something he likes to call “the hologram,” a Matrix-like construct of corporate misdirection and media complicity whereby average American Joes and Joleens are persuaded to subjugate their own best interests to the prerogatives of a rigged economy that views them as nothing more than consumer grist for the global money mill.

      The Man, in short, keeps the working man down, and the working man — so easily distracted by NASCAR, Bud Light and attack ads — is happily complicit in his own exploitation. Her too.

      Interestingly…Joe is in Christchurch early Sept:


  8. Santi 8

    Australia in the hands of the lunatic Greens? How awful!

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 8.1

      No worse- in the hands of Tony Abbott and Bob Katter

      • millsy 8.1.1

        Or Julia herself for that matter. If you really want to be honest.

      • Fisiani 8.1.2

        Being a centre-right voter in NZ I can really easily identify with Australian Labor. 90 day trials ok, national standards in education ok. private schools ok mining ok feeling good about yourself ok. The list goes on and on.

        • loota

          9% employer super contribution ok? Increasing education spend 86% in the last 3 years ok? Strong progressive tax system with a top marginal income tax rate of 45% ok? No GST on food ok?

          Why Fisiani you are a good guy after all, I had you pegged all wrong.

          • Zaphod Beeblebrox

            Actually Howard did all of those things as well. When he tried to do his only right wing act (work choices) he got shot down in flames. Its easier to co-opt your oponents agenda than implement your own sometimes.

            I get both your points, however- Aussie is lot more conservative socially, but does have a socially egalitarian economic streak.

    • Outofbed 8.2

      I am not a loony. Why should I be tarred with the epithet ‘loony’ merely because I have a pet halibut?

      • Luxated 8.2.1

        Marcel Proust had an ‘addock! So if you’re calling the author of ‘A la recherche de temps perdu’ a loony, I shall have to ask you to step outside!

  9. Claudia 9

    “It looks to me like the Aussies could do with a better electoral system.”

    You seem to be forgetting Gillard’s credibility problem after breaking a number of agreements to do with Rudd’s leadership, and both Gillard’s and Rudd’s culpability in caving in on climate change issues in what is probably the driest country on earth.


    One also has to mention the increasingly assertive role of major mining companies, possibly implicit in Howards NT ‘intervention’. Rudd’s apology to indigenous people in Australia may have been perceived as threatening their plans.

    I doubt we will ever know. What matters now is the realpolitik of global recession.

    One upside, I think, is that the needs of rural Australia may be adressed outside the straightjacket of the party system.

    I hope. Porkbarelling is not unknown in the bush.


  10. ZakC 11

    what I don’t see about this Election is what it is that marks out Abbott as a “hero” according to former PM Howard. Yes, in terms of the Liberal party/coalition, but in respect of Australia the only thing that springs to one’s ear is what a loud mouth..

    Does loud mouthery make for aussie heroes these days..?

    Otherwise a genuine question, so c’mon guys give this one a go…

    • Luxated 11.1

      Does loud mouthery make for aussie heroes these days..?

      Well the Aussie media tend to hand out the ‘hero’ title with packets of chips.

      I’d say your assessment of all mouth no substance is largely correct.

      • loota 11.1.1

        Well the Aussie media tend to hand out the ‘hero’ title with packets of chips.

        Uh, I think you mean crisps. Packet of crisps.

        • Luxated

          I considered saying crisps, but I reconsidered as the word isn’t used that much these days. Functionally the same thing.

          • Carol

            I grew up in NZ calling the cold stuff in sealed packets, “chips”. Then I went to England and found that they called the cold stuff “crisps”, and “chips” was reserved for the hot variety. So, as far as I’m aware “chips” is the Kiwi word for it.

  11. ZB 12

    Katter could swipe a number of politicians to form a partner party with Labor?

    Why work with five candidates, when the coalition is a meld of
    parties that could go their own way?

  12. Sanctuary 13

    Three things stand out for me from the Australian election campaign. One is Tony Abbott – I would guess his reactionary conservative social attitudes would make him pretty much unelectable in this country, and highlights just how much more a conservative society Australia is compared to New Zealand.

    Secondly, the Aussie voting system is seriously broken – 11% of voters get ONE MP? The The Nationals with 3.86% get seven seats? What sort of democracy is that?

    Finally, reading a lot of the coverage the truly awesome depth of Australian racism is starkly laid out. Unreconstructed rednecks are still out and proud, and the hatred and loathing of a few thousands of boat people is astonishing. John Howard will be judged harshly by hisotry for creating and pandering to a white racist constituency.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 13.1

      According to exit polls, 18% of voters felt that what to do with 1,000 illegals who arrive by boat (50,000 arrive illegally by plane each year and 300K arrive legally) was the most important issue for voters. How can you even try to argue with such ignorance.

    • RobertM 13.2

      No, I think your wrong. Australia for the most part is more liberal, probably not the bush, NT or Queensland, but generally. Abbott is somewhat more flexible and intelligent than the left her can bring itself to believe. After all he came out for sex. Howard and Abbott effectively gave the equivalent of family support to l9 year old solo mothers who enjoy a free sex life. Abbotts campaign promise of lengthy paternal leave was far more generous than here. The Howard Government was prepared to generously support young mothers regardless of their status. Cullen, Maharey and Clark were always more interested in the fundamentalist vote in Mt Roskill, the catholic vote in Southland and the provincial vote in Hastings and Rotorua. I know I might be sexist, but the australian male vote likes his women politician to be a bit of a cougar. There’s a trace of that in Gillard and bit more in Julie Bishop the Liberal deputy. Far more than here it seems to me that australian women politicians have to be conventionally sexually attractive. If there not or appear past in like Carmen Lawrence and Julie Bishop there likely to take a hard fall. That may suggest sexism to New Zealander. But surely New Zealand is a more sexist society when it seems to penalise you in New Zealand ploitics if you are an sexually attractive women or an active herosexual.
      Surely the reason for the exodus to Australia( other than Queensland) is that intelligent New Zealanders want more privacy and hetrosexual freedom, away from the repression of New Zealands working class and rural male population and a lesser number of resentful spinsters and housewives.

      • RobertM 13.2.1

        I meant to say that Carmen Lawrence and Cheryl Kernot, took a hard fall politically because they were no longer good looking or youthful enough to appeal to the Aussie electorate. It was a bit of a typo. Julie Bishops political future will be interesting and I’m sure she will be a major power in a Abbott cabinet, but she may be a few years too old to be a leadership contender for the liberals in the harsh lights of the Australian public and media. Actually Bishop impresses me as a politician and I am somehow failing to be suffiently gallant- but Abbott is the right leader for this decade and it will be interesting to see if Malcolm Bligh Turnbull stays on board.

        • Zaphod Beeblebrox

          Lawrence got caught out misspeaking in a court case. I really liked her- very good premier, probably a bit left even for Labor. No way would she have supported George W in Iraq. Kernot was possibly a bit too left as well- also couldn’t deal with the factional system (sleeping with Gareth- bad move!)
          Gillard’s no wallflower- but smart and pragmatic and tough! I think she will survive.
          Julie Bishop- she’s very loyal too. Deputy to Nelson, Turnbull and now Abbott conveniently changing loyalty just as the vote is taken to change leader.
          You’ve obviously never seen her interviewed by kerry O’Brien- spouts the Libs attack points well but a bit lacking in ideas IMO.

          Disagree about who’s more progressive- check out Gillard’s and abbott’s answers regards gay marriage. Also check out the racially motivated Cronulla riots in 2006.
          Can’t see NZ using SAS to board refugee boats.

  13. prism 14

    I was wondering what had happened to the snooping on the internet legislation that was mooted in Oz by Labour. I was alarmed at the scope and possibilities for wide censorship with the options the pollies would give themselves to extend the criteria. And then anything Oz does our pollies are likely to recite ‘Me too’.

    Here are a couple of links for those who are interested. Wikipedia says that the bill hasn’t been drafted as at June 2010. This would have been under Kevin Rudd’s watch. Will Julia pick this up? Will Labour be the governing party even?
    IMO it’s worth getting rid of Rudd if it stops this type of creeping state watch tactics.
    Also at 23/7/2010

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