D-day plus 1

As you can see by the threads below, there are five seats still in doubt as far as I’m concerned, though it’s not unknown for outsiders to emerge on the radar late in the count. In post-redistribution terms, Labor has lost Bennelong, Macarthur, Macquarie and Gilmore in New South Wales; Bonner, Dawson, Dickson, Flynn, Forde, Herbert, Leichhardt and Longman in Queensland; Solomon in the Northern Territory; and Swan in Western Australia. In Victoria, Labor gained McEwen and La Trobe and lost Melbourne to the Greens. Also in Western Australia, as a notional count conducted late in the evening has made clear, Wilson Tuckey has lost O’Connor to Tony Crook of the Nationals, who has promised to sit on the cross-benches rather than join the Coalition party room.

This produces a base result of 70 seats for Labor and the increasingly complex beast known as the Coalition (42 seats for the Liberals, 21 for Queensland’s Liberal National Party, six for the NSW and Victorian Nationals and one for the Northern Territory Country Liberal Party); one seat for the non-Coalition Nationals WA; one for the Greens; and three independents. Of the five seats in doubt, as many as four could go to the Coalition (three to the Liberals and one to the LNP), with the other being the contest between Labor and an independent in Denison. Labor’s best case scenario involves an independent in the Speaker’s chair and a bare majority on the floor (with Adam Bandt of the Greens as a further safety buffer). At the other end of the scale, a loose arrangement with Tony Crook could allow the Coalition to achieve something similar. In between are various scenarios involving a collective kingmaker role for Tony Windsor, Bob Katter and Rob Oakeshott. The best guess at this stage is that the four Labor-versus-Coalition undecideds will break two-all, while Denison is impossible to read.

One imagines the independents’ most pressing concern would be the deep conservatism of the electorates; however, Labor has in its hand the prospect of Labor-Greens Senate majority that would complicate any Coalition claim to offer the greater stability. If a minority Coalition government eventuated – and this intuitively seems the most likely outcome – it would presumably be keep to set up some double dissolution triggers with an eye to another election about 18 months down the track. For the time being it would have available to it the existing Senate configuration until the middle of next year, in which it could pass legislation provided it had the support of Steve Fielding and Nick Xenophon.

Which should give you all plenty to chew on. This thread is for general discussion of the situation: I ask, more in hope than expectation, that emotional and rhetorical overkill of one kind or another be kept to a minimum. If you wish to discuss late counting, please do so in the thread below.

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.

2,480 comments on “D-day plus 1”

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  1. dyno, on what basis do you think Gillard will be able to form government? Do you think the regional independents will support her?

  2. Pedro

    I think that in 1998 John Howard went from a majority Liberal government
    to having to form a Coalition with the Nationals to remain in power
    for his second term.

    I seem to recall that it was just the Liberals for the first term.

    I may be wrong.

  3. Actually, I think both leaders came out of the campaign reasonably ok at a personal level. IMO they both showed a fair bit of grace under pressure at various times.

    Both sides had pretty significant problems, and I don’t really think the leaders were to blame, for the most part.

  4. Hmmm, as i see it there are really 3 likely scenarios and in 2 of them we get a Gillard Labor minority Govt.

    So, 2/3 chance of Tone’s being a frustrated boy back in his old seat. Will be interesting then to see if he goes full term and leads the Libs to their next election? Or will his head expolode before then??

    tell you what, this will certainly make any by-elections in the next three years interesting.

  5. Now things have degenerated to personal attacks. Why is that? GP — you seem to be able start the nastiness so easily, it is little wonder you keep getting banished. And tonight you’ve brought along a few charming friends.

    Personally, I’m not in the mood to trade blows when people are unwilling to see the truth (and I do think Julia will remain PM so it isn’t sour grapes — just lack of sleep).

  6. [I seem to recall that it was just the Liberals for the first term.]

    After 1996, the Liberals had enough seats to govern without the Nats but they still honoured the Coalition.

  7. This is how bad a thumping howard took in 1998 after his first term


    The Howard government entered the campaign with a 40-seat majority. The government suffered a nationwide swing of approximately 5% against it and the loss of 19 seats in the House of Representatives.

    The government was re-elected with 49.02% of the two-party-preferred vote, compared to 50.98% for the Australian Labor Party.

    One Minister, Warwick Smith, the Family Services minister, lost his seat. The Foreign Affairs Minister, Alexander Downer, fought off a strong challenge from the Australian Democrats in his South Australian seat of Mayo.

    Whilst polling around 8% of the national vote, the One Nation party lost its leader, Pauline Hanson, who was defeated on preferences by the Liberal candidate in the Queensland electorate of Blair. One Nation won no seats in the lower house, but Heather Hill gained a Senate seat in Queensland at the expense of the National Party’s Bill O’Chee. She was subsequently disqualified under Section 44 of the Constitution.

    As a result of the election, the balance of power in the Senate reverted to the Australian Democrats after July 1, 1999.

    The ALP made the single biggest gain by an Opposition party following an election defeat. The swing was sufficient in all states to deliver government to the party, but the uneven nature of the swing denied Kim Beazley the extra few seats necessary to command a majority in the House.

    The Howard government now holds 10 seats by a margin of less than 1% and will be highly vulnerable to even the smallest swing against it at the next election.

  8. I seem to remember a fair bit of Liberal hubris back after the 96 election, and some debate about whether or not they actually needed the Nats or were the Nats just embarrasing baggage?

  9. My opinion, as everyone has one….

    If the coalition finishes with 73 seats, expect to see the current speaker offered the continuing job.

    That would mean a need for only 2 independents, (Katter and WA Nat perhaps) to join the Coalition for a straight majority on the floor of 75 to 74.

    Extra Ind plus the green to add some flavour, but Lib/Nats to be governing from 73 seats.

  10. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-election/call-another-poll-if-talks-fail-oakeshott-20100822-13ayz.html?autostart=1

    Mr Oakeshott said he appreciated all the government had done but said ”history doesn’t matter now”.

    Nor will he be swayed by arguments by Liberals including Alexander Downer and George Brandis that the independents should support the party with the most votes and the most seats.

    ”It’s unhelpful of them to stick their noses in,” he said.

    ”This is a time for clear and calm heads.”

    Mr Windsor said his main concern would be stability of government and a deal with either party was ”not something we should rush into”.

    Mr Oakeshott said the three independents could decide as a bloc.

    ”I’m confident that Bob and Tony and I will stick to the process we agreed upon and not get picked off by the others,” he said.

    All three, who have 68 years of parliamentary experience between them, agreed the election signalled the electorate was tired of the two-party system of government.

    ”It’s not about the blue team and the red team,” Mr Oakeshott said. ”This could be a really enlightened moment if people of all political brands are willing to focus on their country instead of their political party.”

    I also think that this could herald a really fantastic age in for Australia. Forget about ALP/Lib as parties (although I only think it’s possible under the ALP having the minority government), this could very well lead to some enlightened policies.

    I don’t believe that I can remember so progressive a government possibility, while maintaining an important conservative element (which all politics is to some extent these days). This will actually get us a carbon reduction scheme. It will actually get us a national broadband network. It’ll probably get us a number of things relating to education and health that simply wouldn’t be possible, even if the ALP or the Libs had control of both houses.

    True negotiation out in the open for the first time since cooee, with no back-room deals being stitched up.

    Bring it on.

  11. The only reason why Gillard called an early election is because she saw that Tony was at plummeting record lows in opinion polls while she was doing the complete opposite. They thought it was a shoe-in for Labor, vying him as ‘unelectable’.
    If they thought it was going to be this close there’s no way they would’ve called the election this early.
    Also, given the position the Liberal’s were after the 2007 Election, most people would have thought Labor would be in government for at least another 3 terms easily.

    They underestimated him and that is why Gillard and Labor find themselves in this position.

    Even after the leaks and the Rudd dethronement, Gillard was still preferred PM.

    Even watching the election coverage on all channels, not one political analyst, Labor and Liberal MP’s, former MP’s, journalists etc predicted that Liberal would win. All of them predicted a win for a Labor by at least a couple of seats.

    Abbott has won in that retrospect.

  12. Thanks tsop 2407. you are correct

    Still the Gillard government could be a majority government
    into the future if it formalises a coalition agreement
    with some of the independents and/or green.

  13. TSOP
    I agree, there has been plenty of critical examination of Labor’s activities by people on this blog, but this is best done in hindsight when more information is available.

    One thing though, it might almost be worth it to see the neo-cons try to live with the antics of Abbott as PM, especially when he is frustrated by the senate and indies/greenies not going his way. Tends to chuck his toys, does their Tone.

    They cannot quarantine him forever and he will not listen once the natural arrogance of his ‘holy mission’ is sparked by those two letters after his name. What are the odds the neo-cons will think back wistfully to Turnbull?

    It should prove quite amusing. 😉

  14. [dyno, on what basis do you think Gillard will be able to form government? Do you think the regional independents will support her?]

    ltep, my assumptions are:

    1. The seats are 72 ALP -72 Coalition – 3 Ind -1 Greens, with Hasluck and Denison the genuine undecideds.
    2. Whatever happens, Bandt and Wilkie (if elected) will support Labor when it comes to the crunch. So Labor has a solid 74 for confidence vote purposes. (If my assumption about Wilkie supporting Labor is right, then it doesn’t matter who wins Denison – in terms of which party gets to form Government).
    3. If Labor wins Hasluck (50/50 IMO) then they have a solid 75.
    4. Whatever else the Independents and Greens want, it’s a Government that can command a reliable majority in the HoR. Very bad for their brand if the whole thing quickly descends into chaos.
    5. A party with a solid 75 can make the HoR impossible for anyone else trying to be the Government, noting that the Govt must provide a Speaker.
    6. So if Labor wins Hasluck then the cross-benchers will almost certainly come to an accommodation with them, if only to avoid the chaos (or new election) scenario.
    7. If the Libs win Hasluck then they have 73 and Labor has the support of 74. The three rural Independents then have a genuine choice. They will probably all support the Coalition, but it won’t be completely straightforward. Not as clear cut a choice as in 6.
    8. Overall Labor has a better than 50% chance, if it’s true that Hasluck is really 50/50 at this stage.

  15. I still say that there is still a possibility that either Labor or LNP can win a majority government given the closeness of ballots in some seats. Some are still only separated by a few hundred votes and there’s still postal votes to count.

  16. I think why I find this all so disapponting is that Australia is a conservative country and you have to be in power for a long period of time to shift the centre ground politically.We had the chance to do this and now it looks like we may well have blowen a once in a generation opportunity.

  17. I think the most likely outcome is a Labor minority government.

    Watching the 7:30 report it’s clear that Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott basically want the Labor party policy platform on health, education and broadband. I cannot see Abbott being believed if he agrees to backflip on all of this. It would just reek of bullshit.

    The one thing that would put Labor in trouble is if they lose any of Greenway, Lindsay or Corangamite after postals. If that happens, we’re probably out of the game.

    If we pick up Hasluck, we’re in for sure.

    One other thing – for anyone bandying about the primaries as a mandate, if you add up Labor & the Greens on primaries you get bang on 50% of the total formal vote.

    Adding together all the right-wing parties you get 46.5%. This includes:
    Family First
    Christian Democrats
    Country Liberal
    One Nation


  18. [I think why I find this all so disapponting is that Australia is a conservative country and you have to be in power for a long period of time to shift the centre ground politically.We had the chance to do this and now it looks like we may well have blowen a once in a generation opportunity.]
    What? Are you for real? Once in a generation? Come off it. The Libs will not be in power forever, if at all this time. Sheesh.

  19. Puff, the Magic Dragon. @ 2418

    [They cannot quarantine him forever and he will not listen once the natural arrogance of his ‘holy mission’ is sparked by those two letters after his name. What are the odds the neo-cons will think back wistfully to Turnbull?]


    I think you’re getting your conspiracy theories mixed up, Puff.

  20. Dave, I am talking about before the counting began. Not ONE predicted a Liberal win. Everyone predicted a narrow Labor win. It wasn’t until votes started to trickle in that they started to change their opinions.

  21. Gary do you really think some feeble coalition with the likes of Katter is going to last or achieve anything.
    Australia has had six changes of government since the war,if Abbot gets in he is there for ten and by the time we get back the centre ground will be well to the right of where it is now.

  22. nsw state labor still in disneyland.

    according to ms kenneally,

    [the federal vote could not be easily translated into state seats.]

    in a way she’s right because the swing that’s expected is thought to be > 20% rather than 7%.

  23. One depressing thing. According to Anthony Green the actual counting of postals wont be officially over till Tuesday next week!!

    think i’ll lurk till then. 🙂


  24. Frankie V 2425
    Call them Aussie Liberals, UK conservatives, Yank neo-cons, they are all the same. The Libs want to turn Australia in an USA style neo-con-land. So neo-con is as good a name as the others, except Liberal, for that is an outright lie.

    Yes, name it for what it is. Neo-cons thee be.

  25. [I think why I find this all so disapponting is that Australia is a conservative country and you have to be in power for a long period of time to shift the centre ground politically.We had the chance to do this and now it looks like we may well have blowen a once in a generation opportunity.]

    You have to laugh. Labor went off and mud wrestled the Liberals of in the right wing tent, the Greens took of with all the girls and you reckon wrestling in the right win tent is a good way to pick up chicks?

  26. dave, I think everyone is growing a little tired of you just saying “crap”. Clearly you’ve run out of things to say old timer.

  27. fred 2433,

    the greens took labors left and probably the youth vote with it. however, i don’t think the loss of votes to the greens accounts for the swag of seats that labor lost in qld.

  28. 2432 – And if Abbott gets in bit by bit, argely by stealth and with the help of the Murdoch media an intimidated ABC and a largely disinterested public, he will achieve it.That is where the tories have it over us – they understand that Australian politics is all about the long slow march.

  29. @ Fredn

    [You have to laugh. Labor went off and mud wrestled the Liberals of in the right wing tent, the Greens took of with all the girls and you reckon wrestling in the right win tent is a good way to pick up chicks?]

    I feel much the same in that Labor places too much value on focus groups and risk management. Stick to it’s beliefs and values and the heartland vote will stay staunch with labor. Keating said just after 2007 win that the current mob couldn’t get out of bed without consulting a focus group.

    There was a lot of blue collar voters who only wanted to vote for the fibs yesterday.


  30. The NSW Right. It begins and ends there. They bring calamity every time they interfere. They would rather a decade in Opposition as long as they controlled the party. They have wrecked everything.

  31. Thomas Paine.
    I am not up to speed on the inner workings of the ALP, but it is obvious some stables somewhere need cleaning.

  32. Hey Thomas.

    I can’t believe they are still expecting everyone to drink their snake oil. I am sure our independents will have insider knowledge of the ALP figures.

  33. One feature of the political landscape is the geographic concentration of the parties. Labor does well in NSW, Victoria, SA and Tasmania, and while the Liberals have their share in NSW they dominate QLD and WA. This should be a matter of concern to Labor, who really need to figure out how to rebuild their base in the two fastest-growing states.

  34. When I think of Thomas Paine, I think of Mark Latham in period costume.

    Sorry TP, you raise some valid points about the NSW right, their values judgement and strategies but your vitriol towards Julia Gillard IMO is unwarranted and mostly petty.

    Fact was that the movers decided on a change and basically if it wasn’t Julia, it was someone else. Its a pity the NSW in fact tarnished her reputation as well as Rudd’s but unfortunately that’s what they do.

    Re the real Latham, its postulated that the extra blank voters were largely labor voters who couldn’t vote for someone else. If that’s the case then Mark has now cost Labor two elections through his particular combination of testosterone, bile and intemperance.

    On the other hand. If labor do manage to form a minority government he could have given them and the people a great gift. Concentrate on policies and get them out into the community for real discussion. Rely on reason and principle rather than slogans.

    Fine line between genius and madness isn’t it ?

  35. The more I start to think about it the more I reach the conclusion we are all just teasing ourselves and regardless of the seat count the independets are going to jump with Abbott.
    Ultimately they will opt for self preservation knowing that their constituents would rather Abbott than Labor and despite some policy differences they are all more ideologically comfortable with the tories broadly speaking.Their will be some horse trading but when the time comes that is how they will probably jump.

  36. I think it should be noted that, on first preferences, the coalition did not do quite as well as it may appear / as some may make it appear … they increased their FP by 1.8% (versus ALP loss of -5.4%). [Note: put in a nation-wide swing of 1.8% into Antony Green’s election calculator and you get a hung parliament]. In 2007, most ALP gains came of coalition losses. A quick and dirty comparison on the ABC website also shows that the seats which the coalition won back from Labor are now held at a slimmer margin than before the 2007 election.

    Furthermore, I have not seen much / any comments on the huge swings from ALP to LIB (primary losses of ALP almost identical to primary gains of Libs) in Sydney’s Inner-West such as Watson and Banks. Banks was double digit ALP seat, now it’s the fifth most marginal seat they have.

  37. Pedro, I think this is an uninformed opinion. Not many people like Abbott. Half of libs don’t either.

    The libs have brought absolutely nothing to the table in terms of ideas and vision.

    Independents also don’t fall for the tricks that westies fall for.

  38. Hi Pbsers

    I had a great deal of trouble in the last couple of days attempting to log in.

    Just would not work.

    Finally, after a zillion fix possibles, it works!

    What now can I say?

    Except that I voted Green in the Senate.

    And, don’t know about anyone else; the reason I did that was to ensure, hopefully, that whatever the HOR outcome, stuff the dopes supposedly representing.

    Let the Senate, long live, do its work.

    Whatever people think of Windsor, Katter, Oakeshott and the late, great Peter Andren.

    Though I should not group Andren with them.

    However, they speak.

    They do not have my interests at heart. Say water, say climate, say saving my Murray and Coorong and hell, fish and things.

    Whatever the Lower result, I am delighted that Wide Brown and troupes will have a say.

    Imminently and eventually.

    And save us from the Libs!

    And we still do not know where the new, whomever they are, PMs will live.

    I reckon The Greens should go to the Lodge and bring back Kev’s fostered chooks.

    Abbott. Well. Wonder whatever has happened to Kirribilli Removals.

  39. Might be right there Pedro, but if Tones ends up on 72 they wont actually have any option but to side with Gillard (aside from forcing a fresh election by sitting out on 75 each).

    I think its clear they wont do that.

    So, lets watch the vote count in Hasluck.

    Id just note that the turnout rate was 78%. Thats about 15% lower than you get in East Timor – where voting is voluntary! 🙂

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