Party’s over

The Australian Democrats may well have reached the tipping point with Labor’s decision to put them behind the Greens on preferences for all states in the Senate, Labor having concluded that they now carry too little electoral clout to be worth doing business with. Had this occurred in 2001, Greens candidates would have been elected in place of Lyn Allison in Victoria and Andrew Bartlett in Queensland, Andrew Murray would have prevailed by the narrowest of margins in Western Australia, and only Natasha Stott-Despoja in South Australia would have emerged a clear winner. The Greens now seem all but certain to win seats in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania and may well win one in Queensland, although the picture there is too complex to say for sure. South Australia remains the Democrats’ best hope, due to both their own historic strength there and that of Family First with whom they cut a retaliatory preference deal yesterday. But on the basis of current opinion poll results, even that is looking enormously unlikely.

The Liberals have seen fit to reveal that their internal polling shows them losing enough votes to Labor and the Greens in the blue-ribbon Sydney seats of Warringah and North Sydney to put Government heavyweights Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey at risk. The combined Labor and Greens vote in the latter is reportedly 52 per cent, 11.5 per cent higher than the combined Labor, Greens and Democrats vote from 2001. Although both seats have a history of voting for independents, Ted Mack holding North Sydney from 1990 to 1996 and former state MP Peter McDonald scoring 27.8 per cent in Warringah in 2001, the Poll Bludger finds this a little hard to credit.

News Limited’s Sunday papers are getting unnecessarily excited about an opinion poll conducted by TNS for the Sunday Mail covering a flimsy sample of 300 voters, in which voters were apparently asked nothing more than how likely they were to vote for Pauline Hanson. Eleven per cent said "very likely" and another 11 per cent said "quite likely".

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.