Wild west wash-up

Upper house results from the Western Australian election are coming through this afternoon, and we will also have Premier-elect Colin Barnett announce his new cabinet. The first upper house result comes from Mining and Pastoral, which has gone two Labor (Jon Ford and Helen Bullock), two Liberal (Norman Moore and Ken Baston), one Nationals (Wendy Duncan) and one Greens (Robin Chapple). Full preference distribution here. It earlier appeared possible that second Nationals candidate David Grills might win a seat at the expense of the Greens, but Chapple emerged 8168 to 7070 ahead at the final count.

This post will be progressively updated as information becomes available.

UPDATE (1.30pm): Cabinet announced. Included are three Nationals (Brendon Grylls in regional development, Terry Waldron in sport and recreation and Terry Redman in agriculture) along with independent Liz Constable, who takes education from Peter Collier, who instead gets energy and training. Constable is one of only three women out of 17, and the only one in the lower house. The others are Robyn McSweeney as Child Protection and Community Services Minister and Donna Faragher as Environment Minister, the latter a surprise inclusion at the expense of former Shadow Women’s Affairs Minister Helen Morton.

UPDATE (3.30pm): North Metropolitan, East Metropolitan and South Metropolitan have all gone Liberal three, Labor two and Greens one. Still to come are Agricultural (likely result Nationals three, Liberals two and Labor one, although the third Nationals seat might go to Liberal-turned-Family First member Anthony Fels) and South West (looking like three Liberal, two Labor and one Nationals).

UPDATE (3.40pm): Three Liberal, two Labor and one Nationals in South West.

UPDATE (4.50pm): Three Nationals, two Liberals and one Labor in Agricultural. Final result: 16 Liberal, 11 Labor, five Nationals, four Greens.

UPDATE (Saturday): Full preference distributions:

North Metropolitan
East Metropolitan
South Metropolitan
South West
Mining and Pastoral

Listed below are close-ish results at the final counts. There were no tremendously close calls earlier in the counts that might have proved decisive, such as Family First or CDP candidates getting ahead of Liberal or Nationals candidates in South West or Agricultural.

Greens #1: 41489 (15.0%) ELECTED
Labor #3: 37106 (13.5%)

Greens #1: 43516 (15.5%) ELECTED
Liberal #3: 40174 (14.3%) ELECTED
Labor #3: 34640 (12.4%)

Liberal #3: 22124 (14.4%) ELECTED
Greens #1: 20992 (13.6%)

Nationals #3: 11096 (15.2%) ELECTED
Labor #2: 8971 (12.3%)

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.

228 comments on “Wild west wash-up”

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  1. I am very sorry for my previous comments and I withdraw them without reservation.

    To exlplain myself, I was was deeply and personally offended by Adam’s earlier abusive and as yet uncensored comments such as describing the Greens as “a handful of petit bourgeois dilettante politicians…” etc etc.

    I should have thought more carefully before posting.

    I would, however, be very interested to know why it is the Greens that draw Adam’s considerable ire. The Liberals and Nationals in WA opposed reform in both the upper and lower houses but do not rate a mention from Adam (as far as I have seen). This seems inconsistent.

  2. Grant, thanks for that statement.

    The Libs and Nats do not claim to support 1v1v. I disagree with their views but I recognise they are acting in accord with their principles. The Greens claim to support 1v1v but sided with the Libs and Nats to block it in the Council. I find that hard to understand and hard to forgive, since the chance may not come again for a long time.

    Is Donna Faragher the same person as Donna Taylor?

  3. Personally, I myself don’t see how 1v1v does not align with Liberal principles. Unless we are discussing the Liberal principle of being elected at all costs.

  4. Adam,

    Couldn’t your comments at 152 equally be directed at those in the ALP who espouse progressive ideals yet happily defend climbing into bed with Steven Fielding and condemning the Senate to conservative control for at least 6 years if not longer?

    Sounds a mite hypocritical to me.

  5. Adam can you definewhat u mean by 1v1v? Whilst I congratulate the WA government in introducing changes intheway they count the upper-house Suplus tgransfer value, the system left in place still retains the non – 1v1v method of distributing preferences from excludedcandidates. (A factor that produced a distortion in theelection of the 3rd ALP Senator in QLD. or when yoy refer to 1v1v are you claiming the need to ensure each electorate has the same number of voters…

    Personaly I think multi-member constituents isthe only means of delivering 1v1v provided the system used to count the vote is correct and fair with each electorate returning the same number elected with the same percentage quota (ideally same in numer enrolled also). The single member constituentcy can never deliver 1v1v as it is based on geographical residency which in itself is a distortion in the socio-economics distribution and so called community of interest. Once elected, memers of parliament are susposed to represent the whole not the part. Then there is the issue of afirmative action. the list goes on. A single house elected on a multi-member stv being far preferable then a bi-cameral parliament. But if you place weight on the number of constituents being the sole basis of 1v1v then Tasmania should not be a state but a Territory.

  6. William, will the WAEC be publishing the detailed preference data-files. As was proven in other counts it is impossible to scrutinise the validity of an electronic count without access to this data. Its similar in context/priniciple to the usa not providing a paper receipt. The detailed election results must be readily available and should be publishedvas part of the scrutiny/declaration of the poll in order to maintain open and transparent conduct of public elections.

  7. Well D@W, I guess what’s offensive is in the eye of the beholder.

    Personally, I think ” a handful of corrupt, power-hungry incompetents” is an excellent way to describe the ALP. I wonder would you find that description offensive?

  8. D@W, I have no opinion about the technicalities of how votes are counted. So far as I know the Senate system works well in delivering proportional results. I know you don’t agree, but I don’t know enough about it to argue with you about it.

    One vote one value means electorates with roughly equal numbers of voters, whether they are single-member seats, as in the WA Leg Assembly, or multi-member seats, in the WA Leg Council.

    The story so far: For over a century WA had gross malapportionments in both houses – country districts had fewer voters than urban districts. (So of course did other states, but WA’s was the only one surviving by 2005.) This was always wrong in principle, but until recently it didn’t make much political difference because both sides of politics had roughly equal support in the rural areas of WA. With the decline in Labor’s voting base in regional WA as the old rural working class has disappeared, the malapportionment has come to be more politically significant. Hence the long battle to get rid of the malapportionment.

    In WA, the Libs and Nats hold the view that country people ought to have more representation in Parliament than their numbers warrant. Labor supports one vote one value. These three parties have acted in accordance with their principles. The Greens also say that they support one vote one value, but when it came to the point they sided with the Libs and Nats to preserve the malapportionment in the Leg Council.

    After all this argument I have STILL seen no coherent explanation for why they did this. The only explanation anyone has offered is that they did it because Dee Margetts insisted on it so that she would have a better chance of regaining her seat in Agricultural. Every time I say this I get abused, but no-one has actually denied it, or offered a better explanation.

  9. Well on that basis Tassy should not be a`state. There is much more to 1v1v then numbers in a given electorate. Ideally equality should exist at all levels and divisions. A multi member system is the only true 1v1v system provided it does not use a distorted distibution method. Meeks or a reiterative linear count isthe prefered 1v1v system. Each electorate must be equal in number and percentage of quota. I agree the rual sector in WA is over represented. Most of Austalia is over represented.

  10. MHW I agree. But it was quilified by the statement if there was one house. In a bi-cameral “two house” parliament then I think the lower house should be single member Tasmainia hasit the wrong way around) if it isjust one house then a multi-member chamber is preferable. And yes idealy the same principals should apply. Each house should be as equal as possible and most importaant is that the vote is counted in the same way as every other vote and any exclusions shoulg be redistributed as though the excluded candidate had not stood. The current WA system does not fullfill either principle nor does the Senate which is much worst then in WA.

  11. The federal arena is not really analogous to the state parliaments. Australia is a federation, and the Constitution represents a negotiated agreement between what were then six sovereign states as to the terms on which they would agree to federate. Both the equal representation of the states in the Senate, and the five-seat minimum in the House of Reps (which originally benefited WA as well as Tas), were necessary concessions by the two large states to get the four small states to agree to federate. As a further concession, the large states agreed that the Constitution couldn’t be changed without the consent of the small states (the double majority rule), so we are stuck with these arrangements, probably forever.

    The states are quite different. They are not federations, and the distortions of democracy which were built into their electoral systems in the 19th century had nothing to do with accommodating regional differences. They had to do with protecting class interests, namely the property owning class (restricted franchise, particularly for upper houses), and the farmers (rural malapportionment). Furthermore in most cases the state constitutions can be altered by legislation, not by referendum, so these arrangements can be changed. And most of them have been changed. In NSW, Vic, Qld and SA undemocratic upper houses have been reformed (in Qld it was abolished), and rural malapportionents (the “Playmander” in SA, the “Joh-mander” in Qld), were abolished. WA was the last holdout, for reasons I explained in an earlier post. Now the WA Leg Assembly has been reformed, so the WA Leg Council is the last relic of 19th century class privileging in Australia’s electoral arrangements. In WA a farmer’s vote is still worth 4 times more than an urban worker’s vote. And this travesty of democracy has been perpetuated, possibly for another generation, by the allegedly most progressive party in Australian politics, the Greens, for reasons no-one has yet coherently explained.

  12. Adam
    Your reading of what I said isn’t quite correct. The advantage to the Greens of the current upper house is largely non-existent (4 seats notwithstanding). To think that Margetts thought only of how to retain her seat is incorrect. The correct conclusion would be to consider that she felt no threat from standing in the Agriculture Region because she thought she could be re-elected, and so could argue from a position of some comfort. She was, however, swayed by her constituents and after Sharp came up with the ‘state senate’ analogy felt she could continue. BTW there is another principle at play here which is to do with equality of service provision for all electors – that rural residents should have the same access to services as city residents. Sharp as a person who lived in a regional area and Margetts as a representative of a rural electorate both felt this was a key issue. Interestingly Chapple who had lived 11 years in Port Hedland and represented Mining & Pastoral was no so convinced, but thats another story.

    The opening scenario in this, by the way, was one of no change, so getting Margetts to agree to 1v1v in the Assembly was a move forward. Whether you see this as ‘voting with the Libs and Nats’ (which never happened because thats not how the Bill came forward) or part of the negotiating with the ALP is a matter of interpretation. The same applies to the Presidents vote – Green MP’s did try to do what they thought was the right thing at the time, but perhaps in that also lies a political lesson to ‘keep your eye’s on the prize’ – to focus on the outcomes that you believe to be important and find the best ways to achieve them.

    On your comments, however, I happen to think your version is tainted by your own political position, and is not coming from a more neutral perspective.

    I will, however, agree that the failure to reform the Council was a serious error. It was not only a lost opportunity but potentially will deliver to the Libs & Nats the chance to remake the Council into something far worse, such as a return to the old province system. I’m not sure Barnett will go that far as it could tip them out of government in the future (it was the heat generated by the electoral debate in the 80’s that caused the Nats to consider siding with Labor to reform the Council then – plus the hope that it might benefit them). But as some one else has mentioned earlier, it should be in the Libs interest to get rid of the gerrymander too – it actually makes it easier for them gain government in their own right if they don’t have to constantly consider the Nats in any discussions on government. But they still remain opposed to it, I suspect, because it has delivered them enough seats…

  13. Stewart J, thanks for that comment, which if I may say so presents the situation more clearly than did your previous post. If I understand you correctly, I was wrong in my assumption that the Greens supported the principle of equal representation, and therefore wrong in my accusation that they sold out that principle in order to secure more seats for themselves. If you are correct, the Greens did NOT support the principle of equal representation in the first place. Rather they agreed with the Nats on the view that rural people deserve disproportionate representation in at least one house of the legislature. I’m glad we’ve clarified that. I can now withdraw my accusation that the Greens sold out their principles – and I would have done so days ago if someone had clearly stated why they acted as they did, as you have now done.

    The issue now becomes one of the rightness or wrongness of the view shared by the Greens and the Nats – that the votes of people in Doodlakine are four times more valuable than the votes of people in Balcatta, at least as far as the Legislative Council is concerned. I’ll come back to this in a later post when I have more time.

  14. Was having a brief look at the live streaming of the Olympic Welcome home parade and note that Terry Waldron, who hasn’t been sworn in, is representing the State Govt as Minister for Sport.

    Considering that the ALP are still the caretaker Govt until tomorrow, shouldn’t the CURRENT sports Minister, John Kolbelkie be the relevant Minister ?

  15. Adam @ 177: One of the possible reasons for having an upper house at all is to give representation for interests and perspectives that tend to be marginalised in the lower house. Ironically, the more faithful the electoral system for the lower house is to the principles underlying 1V1V, the stronger the argument becomes for a differently-constituted upper house.

    Malapportionment in favour of country voters can be justified if:

    – country voters are a permanent minority;

    – country voters have perspectives and interests which different significantly from those of metropolitan voters; and

    – metropolitan voters can be expected to return members who will discount the perspectives and interests of country voters.

    The first of these is certainly the case; the latter two I suppose are debatable.

    The thing is, on the recent election results, it doesn’t appear that country voices are
    completely eclipsed, at least if we take the Nationals as representative of country voices. Relative to their vote, the Nats are in fact the most overrepresented party in the Assembly – 4.9% of the votes, but 6.8% of the seats. And it’s not as though the Liberal party doesn’t include many members representing country seats, and sensitive to country views.

    The Nat support, though small, is concentrated, and the system of single-member electorates that we have in the LA favours concentrated support over more widely-diffused support. The Greens have more than two-and-a-half times as many first-preference votes as the Nats, but no MLAs at all. If the Green vote were as well represented as the Nat vote, there would be 10 Green MLAs. Likewise, if the Christian right vote (taken together) were as well-represented as the Nats there would be four Christian right MLAs, whereas in fact there are none.

    A second chamber that that is doing its job of widening the range of views and perspectives that are given a parliamentary voice should be returning Green and Christian right members (your distaste for the Greens and mine for the Christian right notwithstanding), and fewer members of the major parties – in other words, it should be countering the very significant distortions built into the electoral mechanism for the Legislative Assembly. Perhaps it should also favour, or at least facilitate, representation by groups that do not fit easily into the conventional classification of political parties.

    There’s no reason to think that malapportionment in favour of country areas will produce this result. The Nats, unsurprisingly, are even more overrepresented in the LC than they are in the LA. What might help would be abolition of the ludicrous rule requiring voters to express, or pretend to express, a preference for every single candidate, plus abolition of the system by which parties can effectively dictate comprehensive preferences for voters who are unable or unwilling to formulate their own. However, since these reforms would increase the power of the voter at the expense of the parties, I don’t expect them to be introduced.

  16. FreoBloke @ 179. That is why the upper house is elected by PR – so as to give minority parties a voice proprtional to their vote. I am fully in favour of that. That does not justify the gross OVER-representation that country areas have in the WA Council.

    The argument you cite, that “country voters are a permanent minority; that country voters have perspectives and interests which different significantly from those of metropolitan voters; and that metropolitan voters can be expected to return members who will discount the perspectives and interests of country voters” might well be true, but it could be just as truly said of young people, old people, retired people, indigenous people, gay and lesbian people, people with disabilities, non-English-speaking people, people with pierced tongues, people who collect stamps, etc etc. Are they all to have disproportional representation in the legislature? Do Liberal politicians bewail their under-representation? No. It seems to be ONLY country people who get this kind of consideration. And why is that? Because they are a reliably conservative voting block, and it is in the interests of conservative politicians to increase their voting power. That has been true in Australia all the way back to the first NSW Legislative Council in 1825, and before that it was true of the unreformed House of Commons in the UK. This is the most ancient rort in the history of parliamentary politics.

  17. ABC Election Night Coverage- WA Votes 2008:

    Troy Buswell: “I was increasing circulation to my extremities a bit there”

    Treasurer Troy Buswell will be like Treasurer Peter Costello I think, he has a good sense of humour! Barnett will be the wise one like John Howard!

  18. The West Australian
    Story: Perth welcomes Olympic heroes home

    “Country boy George also said he was thrilled with the State election result and believed the stronger National presence was a good thing for regional Western Australia.”

    “(The result) was awesome. My vote counted a fair bit so I was pretty happy that the National Party did well,” he said.

    “Max Trenorden, he’s in my area so we’re pretty happy.”

    Looks like ALL West Australians like the election result!!!

  19. And Honest John, again thanks for the irony of ‘Honest John’ so close to the liberal symbol thingy … your message is the same as Franks, but more subtle I love it. I know you don’t mean it that way.

    Buswell is like Costello minus any ability Costello has but with a lot more arrogance and without the sense of propriety the former treasurer had.

    Barnett seems both fundamentally a million times more decent than Howard was on his best day, seems to actually care about policy, but a bit politically inept. Much much better for WA in a single day than Howard was in his whole wasted administration.

  20. Labor announces the shadow ministers on Tuesday?
    Will Carpenter put his hat in the ring, or is he staying on the backbench until a retirement in the next 12-18 months?

  21. [Labor announces the shadow ministers on Tuesday?
    Will Carpenter put his hat in the ring, or is he staying on the backbench until a retirement in the next 12-18 months?]

    Apparently the ALP Caucus meets on Wednesday, and Carpenter isn’t expected to put his hat in the ring, unless Eric appoints him anyway – somehow I doubt that as it would open the way for the Govt to attack Labor over it’s loss, but Carpenter has maintained he will stay for the next four years to represent his electorate of Willage which had a swing towards him.

  22. It’s to Carpenter’s credit that he’s going to represent his constituents for the next 4 years, or until there’s a new election – the likes of Iemma and Reba in N.S.W could have taken a leaf out of his book.

  23. Ah Adam (@177 & 183), how close to Wilde you come, but then again, perhaps not…

    I was trying to allude that in some Green MP’s minds there were competing principles. Now, I should add that this view was held by 2 of the 5 – Watson, Chapple & Scott did not share Margetts enthusiasm for a continuing gerrymander (Sharp came up with the ‘state senate’ idea to mediate this disagreement). But what was able to be achieved was a (largely) removed gerrymander in the Assembly. This is the positive step forward. That two of the MP’s sought to deal with what they saw as competing principles should at least be acknowledged. The end result came through negotiation with Margetts, which also included asking Laurie Marquett (the Clerk of the Legislative Council) seeking the formal legal ruling from the Supreme Court (this ruling overturned the original legislation, which lead to McGinty’s failed case at the High Court). I should also add that the Greens (WA) allows a conscience vote on all parliamentary matters (for better or worse), so Margetts was within her rights to deny this legislation if she so chose. Perhaps one day the Greens (WA) will abolish this quirk of their constitution, but then all Australian Greens MP’s (with the exception of NSW MP’s) get a conscience vote, so it could be tricky. Sometimes makes you wonder about the worth of policy…

    As it happens, Adam, I agree with you that the gerrymander should be removed. The retention of the upper house in its current form was a mistake, as it fails even Sharp’s ‘state senate’ ideal – the regions don’t see themselves in such a way, don’t vote, act or communicate that way. Only those who believe in regionalised government (the abolition of state governments and their replacement with regional government) would even countenance it. So maybe the Greens should be castigated for not getting it completely right, or for being able to persuade Margetts & Sharp to change their positions between the failure of the original legislation and the passing of the second – but at least do this understanding the circumstances under which it occurred.

  24. Stewart, I try to come as close to Wilde as I can
    http://www.adam-carr.net/travelindex7.html (scroll down)

    Thanks for your further refinement of what happened. It seems from this version that it was not the Greens as a whole who were responsible for retaining the malapportionment (it’s not technically a gerrymander, although I sometimes use this word when I’m in rhetorical mode, because more people are familiar with it). It seems it was just two of them, or perhaps one and a half. So I was correct to identify Margetts as the principal villain, although you insist that her motive was not self-interest but rather the principle that rural areas should be over-represented. And since the Greens believe in “consensus,” that gave Margetts a veto over the rest of the Greens caucus. How very democratic. Perhaps she is a devotee of Richard Darre and his Blut und Boden theories? But I won’t pursue that…

    Even with the fullest understanding of the motives of everyone involved, I will indeed continue to “castigate” the Greens, because the outcome was the retention of a grossly undemocratic malapportionment in the Council, which will give the Nats a veto over this and quite possibly future governments. I really don’t care whether this is because Margetts is a fool or a knave or because all the Greens are fools or knaves, or because they are a bunch of naive hippies who don’t know what they’re doing – the outcome is the same. They are responsible for their own stupid internal processes, and also responsible for the consequences of their actions. They will now get four years of Lib-Nat government, complete with uranium mining, forestry and god-knows-what-else, during which to contemplate the folly of their ways.

  25. Adam, I agree with you that the present malapportionment in the LC to favour country voters is wrong. My point is that an egalitarian 1V1V electoral system is not necessary or appropriate in the LC, but it doesn’t follow that any system will do, provided it is inegalitarian and skewed.

    The case for 1V1V in the Assembly is unassailable, but the logic of that is that the Assembly should also have PR. Under the present system of single-member electorates, about 55% of the voters across the state would prefer to be represented by somebody other than the MP who in fact represents them, and there is only a tenuous relationship between the percentage of votes that a party gets, and the percentage of seats; how is this consistent with a 1V!V approach?

    If the LC had both 1V1V in the distribution of seats, and PR, then it would have a stronger democratic and representative mandate that the Assembly, which makes little sense, given that the executive is accountable to the Assembly. It would also make for instability, given that the house which knew itself to be the more democratic and representative body would tend to feel more justified in blocking legislation it disliked, or in refusing supply to a government it disliked.

    The obvious course is to follow up 1V1V in the lower house with some form of PR, so that the distribution of seats between parties bears a reasonable relationship to the distribution of votes.. An electoral system for the upper house could then be devised which would give a voice to minor or unorganised perspectives marginalised in the lower house. This, I agree, is not done by the present malapportionment.

  26. Freo, that is all fair comment. The problem is deciding what the primary function of a legislature is. Is it to be as representative as possible, or is it to provide stable government? It’s easy to cite examples that take one view or the other to extremes. In Belgium and Israel, pure PR produces a fragmented legislature and no effective government (in Belgium, no government at all), and gives far too much power to extremes. In Israel this has had dire consequences for the Middle East*. In the UK they have a winner-take-all system that hands a massive majority to the leading party, even if they only have 35 or 40% of the vote.

    I happen to think our system provides a compromise between the two extremes. In our lower houses (except Tas and the ACT) we have single member seats, with members elected by preferential voting. This gives minor parties considerable say over who gets elected, even if they rarely get elected themselves. But we nearly always get stable majority governments which have the support of a majority of the 2PP. In our upper houses (except Tas), we have PR, which allows minorities to get elected and have influence over the legislative process, without (usually) destabilising government. I would be opposed to introducing PR in our lower houses. I think the *primary* role of lower houses is to provide stable, majoritarian government, not to be totally representative of all shades of opinion.

    *Where did Israel copy its electoral system from? The Weimar Republic, of all places. You’d think they’d’ve known better.

  27. Hi Adam

    I think the flaw here is the assumption that only a single-party majority government can be “stable”; this is not the case. Ireland hasn’t elected a single-party majority government since 1977, and yet has enjoyed since then a period of governmental stability and unprecedented growth. In terms of society, history and traditions Ireland and Australia have a certain amount in common.

    A genuinely representative PR system requires the development of a political culture in which parties understand that it is their role and function to form stable and effective governments, and to enter into coalitions, pacts or agreements for government which will deliver that. Parties go to the electorate with electoral platforms, and then depending on the support which each party gets they bargain with one another to agree a composite platform which will attract sufficient cross-party support to allow a stable government to be formed.

    There is nothing inherently impossible about such a culture, and no reason why one would not develop in Australia, given a representative electoral system. Political parties have a strong natural incentive to develop such a culture and make it work, since otherwise they deny themselves power and influence. And the “culture of coalition” avoids the periodic instability which arises when a political culture that depends on single-party majority is faced, as it is from time to time, with a hung parliament.

    The objection to this culture is that the government which results implements a platform which was never put to the electorate. On the other hand, the platform is a composite of several platforms which were put to the electorate, and which did between them achieve majority support. The alternative, which we have in Australia at the moment, is that the largest party claims a mandate to implement a platform which in nearly all cases the majority of the voters has voted against. I don’t honestly see that as a better outcome, either from a pragmatic or a principled point of view.

  28. Hey, don’t blame us for 4 years of Barnett Government – it was this bloke…er, wazisname…Carpenter?!?! who went to the polls months early (or a week too late). And anyway, imagine how bad it’d be if the old malapportionment still existed in the Assembly (actually, probably wouldn’t look so dissimilar – those darned Libs seem to be able to win seats everywhere).

    Sure, blame us for not getting our internal processes totally flawless (but we did tie down an MP to voting the right way for half the legislation). Yes, you were correct in saying that Margetts is the reason the legislation didn’t pass in your preferred form (but I don’t remember actually denying this, excepting to try and clarify what actually happened). Yes, we tried consensus in the party room – knowing that we had no way fo forcing Margetts to actually vote the way we might otherwise want her too. The Greens don’t have a big “preselection” stick to carry around and threaten recalcitrant MP’s with (although they apparently can get special dispensation in the NSW ALP from big cheese Karl?). Oh, and while you’re probably right about uranium mining, I’m not so sure that logging will make the comeback you seem to think – the Libs found out in 2001 what a good forest campaign can do to your electoral performance, and now they’re defending even more city seats.

    And while you fulminate about WA, I’ll sit back and contemplate the train wreck formally known as NSW after 12 years of ALP government (although I’ll also give Wran his dues for mostly sorting out the Leg Council here in NSW).

  29. Hmm, we might be seeing our first by-election 🙂

    [The Australian Labor Party (ALP) is considering a legal challenge the election result in the state seat of Riverton.

    On Saturday, the West Australian Electoral Commission (WAEC) declared the seat had been won by the Liberal candidate Mike Nahan.

    He was deemed to have beaten the sitting Labor MP Tony McRae by 64 votes.

    The ALP says it twice requested a recount, but its submissions were rejected by the WAEC.

    The Labor Party says it is considering whether to challenge the result in the Court of Disputed Returns, saying a Labor win in Riverton could have changed the overall election outcome.

    It says it still has a several weeks to decide whether to take the action.]


  30. Does anybody know why the WAEC would refuse a recount in Riverton. 64 votes is less than one pile in the wrong spot. While i dont think the recount will change the result, surely when 32 votes being reasigned could change the vote isnt there a strong arguement for a recount. I seek enliightenment re the WAEC decision making process.

    A recount would keep this thread going for at least another week or two.

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