While you wait:
The media has finally awoken to the possibility the Steve Fielding might yet win the race for the final Victorian Senate seat, which is the only result of the election still in doubt. The ABC projection has John Madigan of the Democratic Labor Party winning the seat after narrowly escaping exclusion at count 21, where he keeps ahead of Fielding with 3.29 per cent of the vote against 3.14 per cent. If Fielding gets ahead and there is reason to think name recognition will boost him on below-the-line preferences it will be he rather than Madigan that snowballs to victory with the help of the other preferences. However, Antony Green reckons it more likely whoever gets ahead will ultimately land short of the third Coalition candidate, Julian McGauran, who will benefit from the Coalition’s traditional strength on late counting. More from Andrew Crook at Crikey. Those wishing to discuss the Senate count are asked to do so in the dedicated post below.
Government formation negotiations have turned up a number of agreements on campaign finance and electoral reform. The Labor-Greens alliance proposes that the two parties will work together to enact reforms that were blocked in the Senate last year by the Coalition and silly Steve Fielding: lowering the threshold for public disclosure of donations from $11,500 to $1000, closing the loophole that allows separate donations below the threshold to be made to multiple state party branches, shortening the gap between receipt of donations and disclosure, tying public funding to genuine campaign expenditure, banning foreign donations and banning anonymous donations over $50. Julia Gillard has said the deal she has offered to the independents, which has not been made available to the public, is along the same lines. According to The Age, Tony Abbott has signalled he is prepared to consider significant reform but is yet to reveal the specific options he is putting to the three rural independents.
Also in the Labor-Greens agreement is a promise to consider a long-standing Greens private members bill which proposes to abolish the just vote one above-the-line Senate option that commits the voter to the party’s registered Senate ticket, to be replaced with preferential ordering of at least four party boxes above the line (seven at double dissolutions). This would result in votes exhausting where no further preference is indicated, rather than locking every vote in behind the sometimes highly obscure candidates who survive to the final stages of the count.
Labor and the Greens also promise to work together to enforce truth in advertising, which the Greens have been very keen on since Labor targeted them with a smear campaign before the March state election in Tasmania. Establishing the terms of such a measure would be highly fraught, as noted recently by Robert Merkel at Larvatus Prodeo.
Labor has agreed only to investigate the possibility of legislated fixed terms; the rural independents are calling for the length of the current term to be set by enabling legislation or other means.
Tim Colebatch of The Age fancies Senate figures suggest Labor should ultimately win the two-party arm wrestle, the results of which won’t be known to us for at least a month.
Tasmanian firm EMRS has published one of its regular polls of state voting intention, which has the Liberals down from 39.0 per cent at the election to 35 per cent, Labor down from 36.9 per cent to 34 per cent, the Greens up from 21.6 per cent to 26 per cent overstatement of the Greens being a feature of EMRS polls. The firm suffered a further dent during the federal election campaign when its poll failed to detect the strength of support for Andrew Wilkie.