While the final results of the election won’t be known until postal votes are counted on Tuesday, as of this morning, it looks like roughly this in percentage terms.
With 96.94 per cent of the first preference vote counted, there has been a 3.22 per cent swing against the Coalition in the two-party preferred count, according to the Australian Electoral Commission.
The Coalition is sitting on 50.04 per cent of the two-party preferred vote, compared to 49.96 per cent for Labor.
At 1:40am, there were just 8124 votes separating the two major parties. The Coalition was leading on 4,929,311 votes compared to Labor on 4,921,187 votes.
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The Greens got just under 10% on the night, but because aussie still runs on those archaic geographical seat rules has just one confirmed seat.
As well as the undeclared, some of the declared seats are still possibly in contention with postal votes. It appears possible for the Coalition to form a majority with 76 seats and unlikely that Labour to form a majority government.
However it is highly probable that there is effectively a hung lower house of parliament, as several of the seats in contention have strong swings to Labour or with independents and minor parties.
The overwhelming majority that the Coalition got in with in 2013 has been dissipated in the intervening years by the internal faction fighting inside the Liberals, the obnoxiousness of Tony Abbot that led to his dumping by the Liberals, and the ineffectual flailing and lacklustre campaigning of his successor cabinet.
This is pretty apparent in the polling where Tony Abbot rapidly lost support for the Liberals in 2014, was replaced in 2015, and then they lost support again. Quite simply, the Coalition had this election to lose and the Liberals performed well at the task.
Labour under the more stable leadership of Bill Shorten didn’t do spectacularly in percentage terms, but clearly did the work on the ground to flip a large number of marginal electorates.
And now the Senate, which triggered the double dissolution. Well if Malcom Turnbull or his successor does manage to stitch a coalition together, they still have to face the expanded cross-bench in the Senate.
In the last senate, the Coalition had 33 senators, Labor 25, the Greens 10 and there were eight cross-benchers. The Coalition needed on each vote to get 6 of the 8 cross-benchers to vote with them.
However, it appears the Senate crossbench could be even bigger than the eight-strong bloc – not counting the Australian Greens – that thwarted both Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull during the 44th Parliament.
While preference flows will be critical, both major parties and the Greens appear to have lost seats in the upper house.
The Senate result makes it even more unlikely that a re-elected Turnbull government would be able to pass its bills in a joint sitting.
These results are still rather fluid because of preferences. However it looks like the Greens will have dropped from 10 to 8, but the cross-bench has increased to 12. Moreover Nick Xenophon in South Australia appears to have dragged in another senator and possibly two. While Pauline Hanson returns to the Federal parliament after 18 years, possibly dragging in another One Nation senator.
Fun times in an increasingly divided Senate 😈
Now I suspect that Malcolm Turnbull may be able to create barely working fracticious and fragile majority in the lower house, subject to many bloated and argumentative political egos. Those that come immediately to mind are those of Tony Abbot, the parts of the Coalition that are not Liberals, and probably some independents. However with those cross benches in the Senate – that makes anything that Malcolm Turnbull (or his successor) comes up with fraught to try to pass both houses.
I suspect we are looking at a lame duck government in our biggest trading partner. While we wait for their next early election, we’re likely to see either not much happening at all, or a series of quixotic gestures aimed at bolstering uncertainty and reinforcing the need for “stable government”.
It is hard to see how either Malcom Turnbull or the Coalition can survive a full term or even more than a small number of bills failing to pass either the lower or upper house. The bitter factionalism that has been lying just below the surface inside the Liberals and the Coalition is sure to rise sooner rather than later (and Tony Abbot hasn’t been noticeable about holding back). Anyone care to take bets on new election this year or early next year.