Some day this war’s gonna end

In the meantime:

• The Australian reports the dunce of the Senate, Steve Fielding, is contemplating adding constitutional vandal to the extensive list of black marks against his name. Fielding polled all of 2.7 per cent of the vote in Victoria on Saturday, yet remains a serious prospect to retain his Senate seat thanks to a disastrous electoral system that Labor has been determined not to reform.

• Today’s Sydney Morning Herald editorial offers some fascinating speculation about Tony Abbott’s tactics in the past few days. The paper’s national editor, Mark Davis, detects a high-stakes game with the objective of final victory at a fresh election. It is evident he will be backed to the hilt in this endeavour by The Australian, which has jacked up the hysteria today by (among other things) running a lead news story that describes former Office of National Assessments intelligence analyst Andrew Wilkie as a “radical”.

• On Wednesday, the News Limited tabloids published a Galaxy poll of 600 voters in the rural independents’ electorates of Kennedy, New England and Lyne, which predictably showed a 52 per cent supporting a Coalition government against 36 per cent for Labor. Respondents were evenly split as to whether they wanted a fresh election. Some national polling at the moment would be uncommonly interesting.

• There has been talk of a legal challenge, or at least the possibility of one, against the election of Coalition candidates Russell Matheson in Macarthur and Natasha Griggs in Solomon, on the basis that their position as councillors runs foul of the archaic constitutional requirement that candidates not enjoy “office for profit under the Crown”. Constitutional expert George Williams has been quoted saying such a challenge would have a “one-in-four chance of winning”. Labor successfully engineered a re-match in Lindsay in similar circumstances after the 1996 election, only to have the voters respond to their sore-loser act by delivering a further 5 per cent swing to the successful Liberal candidate, Jackie Kelly.

UPDATE: Here is a link to the Brisbane late counting thread, which has dropped off the front page. I’ll come up with a more enduring solution to this issue later today.

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.

1,037 comments on “Some day this war’s gonna end”

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  1. Fielding is just making noise and should act more maturely. If the Greens and Xenophon came out and said they’d act as blockers against an Abbott Government then it’d put everyone in an impossible situation.

  2. The Advertiser (Adelaide) yesterday had a front page screaming “MAKE ABBOTT PM” then went onto mention the Advertiser exclusive poll in the three Independents’ seats.
    I thought it was the Galaxy Poll but that is the muck we get served here.

  3. Independently,

    You should cut out that headline and file it away for future reference. Supposing Abbott does make it into the Lodge, then stuffs up badly, you can rub the Advertiser’s nose in it.

  4. [“They cost us 8000 jobs in this electorate alone. I pointed out to him that if the Liberals intend to abrogate responsibility (to the Nationals) I will be pointing out I want an assurance the final decision would lie with him.”

    Nationals MPs traditionally have been awarded the rural portfolios.]

    JB it sounds like Katter still harbours a secret desire to be a Minister for Rabbott.

  5. Mr Katter yesterday also raised the prospect of two new states in northern Australia.



    The bit below is from The Oz on how Katter is interested in redrawing State boundaries.

    The Queensland independent told the Northern Territory News he hoped to merge the Northern Territory with part of Western Australia to form the state of Northwestern Australia so that the region could better exploit its natural resources, become a food bowl and accommodate an extra 100,000 people.

    Mr Katter also wants Queensland split into two states, north and south.

  6. When William has a heading like…
    [The boys will be home by Christmas]
    …we’ll certainly know it’s time to dig the trenches 😀 The guns of August indeed!

  7. I thought Libs + Fielding = Labor + Greens + Xenophon.

    Besides anything else, to be flagging at this stage – before any legislation is even put before you – that you intend to vote stuff done just beggars belief. Is he suggesting that he would, for example, vote down the reintroduction of Bible studies as part of the national curriculum? Outlawing abortion? How about pro-male changes to the Family Law Act?

    If Labor do form government, they should lob a piece of “FF friendly” legislation past him just to see what he does …

  8. Yes I’m right Senate current 37 lib+ 1 Fielding vs 32 ALP + 5 Green + 1 Xen, so if it is even it falls the governments way

  9. No, Coalition and Fielding is enough. A tied vote results in the question being negatived. This means, for bills, that the bill is rejected.

  10. So today the coalition will hand over the costings when the AFP investigation is complete (probably next week).
    Will treasury be able to understand them, and won’t this trash 100 years of conventions?

  11. I hope Labor is talking to some Libs as well as the Independents. Having a Lib in the Speaker’s chair in both houses is starting to look like a smart move.

  12. Trigger on ABC24: “I got good memory, i am a journalist”. yes, you are trigger, yes you are, oh, good memory that is. Journalist? nah ………………

    Oh someone at ABC24 should ask her to stop flashing her tits. There is nothing to flash.

  13. chinda, John Hogg will continue to be president until the Senate changeover next year (unless he resigns). In any case the President of the Senate has a deliberative rather than casting vote so there’d be no point having a Liberal President as far as numbers on the floor went.

    Incidentally, the Liberal Deputy President (Alan Ferguson) is retiring 30 June 2011 so there’ll be a new President if there’s a government change. My early money would be on current Opposition Whip, Stephen Parry.

    Technically the Greens and ALP, who would have the numbers, could keep Hogg in the chair or appoint a Green President (Christine Milne has been proposed by the Greens on the past 2 occasions) but there is a convention that the President is always a Government senator and the Deputy President is always an Opposition member. This was famously broken on 2 ‘recent’ occasions. Firstly, the Labor Government joined with the Democrats in the early 90s to appoint Mal Colston instead of the Liberal Opposition’s proposed choice of Noel Crichton Browne. As payback after the 96 election, the Liberals refused to grant pairs for the vote and appointed Mal Colston, who had the previous day quit the ALP.

  14. centaur, unfortunately yes. Section 23 of the Constitution provides:

    [Questions arising in the Senate shall be determined by a majority of votes, and each senator shall have one vote. The President shall in all cases be entitled to a vote; and when the votes are equal the question shall pass in the negative.]

    This is why the ALP found it so tough in the Senate last term. They needed all of the Greens, Xenophon and Fielding to pass legislation if the Opposition opposed it because the Opps had 1 less than half the Senate. It could’ve been worse though. If Xenophon hadn’t run the Opposition likely would’ve had exactly half the Senate and would’ve been able to block anything they wanted.

  15. That’s it then mass protests outside Fielding’s office starting ASAP. It’s in Blackburn Road syndall. How dare that little pea brain hold the country to ransom

  16. Okay, so Labor doesn’t have the numbers unless a Lib crosses the floor. So the question remains; who does Labor have half a shot with? Who can potentially be induced to sit on the “Labor” side of the equation with the offer of a Ministry or whatever?

    Is there anyone who would be both an asset to a Labor government in terms of their skills and knowledge who is ALSO likely to consider such a proposal? Any ideas?

  17. centaur 009

    I think that is the way to go. He should be bombarded with complaints via email and phone.

    I wish he could be removed from office for ‘bringing parliament into disrepute’. Of course he would have a lot of his colleagues removed as well. Lol.

  18. Is Crook in WA an independent or not? If he is still claiming that status then its Labor 72, LNP 72 and negotiations should proceed on that basis.

  19. What a rich collection of aliases we have. All the greek philosophers,cavemen, bogans, astrological signs, mythical beasts….soothsayers, and plain old names

  20. 👿

    Just testing to see if I can get that little devil face. Guy Barnett BTW, is not too bad for a Lib. He’s a Christian, a very bad diabetic, and works very hard – or did – for his electorate. He used to be lumped in with Abetz, but since he was rolled, there has been a lot more sympathy in Tas for him. Of course that didn’t translate into votes from either side, for obvious reasons.

  21. [someone’s playing fielding behind the scenes]

    It certainly isn’t Abbott. He’s too busy having a very public meltdown 😀

  22. Fielding on AM saying he doesn’t want an early election, it is all about twisting the arm of the Governor General to put a Tory government into power.

  23. Is there a national poll coming up soon? The confrontational style we have seen in the couple of days from the real Tony Abbott does not bode well for keeping the crossbenchers happy and stable government. He is completely unsuitable to be PM in this situation and his costings obviously have holes in the billions. A 53-47 News or Nielsen poll in the next week would do nicely.

  24. Fielding has just ensured the coalition can not offer stable government it can only offer a donkey supporting a Tory Government.

  25. Fielding cannot force the GG to do anything. Govt is decided on the floor of the House. Will it take this fool until August next year to realise that he is irrelevant?

  26. Fielding should be ignored. There’ll be at most 4/5 sitting weeks left with him in the Senate. The only essential legislation will be a couple of additional budget bills and the Coalition would be highly unlikely to block them.

    Xenophon and the Greens could come out and say he’ll block Coalition legislation if the Coalition forms Government but they wouldn’t be so irresponsible.

  27. [
    Posted Friday, August 27, 2010 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Fielding saying labor lost their way, doesn’t think they have found their way. Idiot.]

    Actually he said, “Labor said they had lost their way and he doesn’t think they have found it”. The bigger idiots are those that initially said it, at least Fielding isn’t kicking own goals.

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