Late count: Herbert finalised, Senate results imminent

Prospects for a legal challenge to Labor’s 37-vote win, as the AEC prepares to press the button on Senate election counts across the country.

New South Wales and Queensland results (Thursday)

So then. New South Wales as expected: 1. Payne (Lib); 2. Dastyari (ALP); 3. Sinodinos (Lib); 4. McAllister (ALP); 5. Nash (NAT); 6. O’Neill (ALP); 7. Fierravanti-Wells (LIB); 8. Cameron (ALP); 9. Rhiannon (GRN); 10. Williams (NAT); 11. Burston (PHON); 12. Leyonhjelm (LDP).

But in Queensland, the second One Nation candidate, Malcolm Roberts, pulled off what I deemed the improbable in getting enough preferences to win a second seat:

1. Brandis (LNP); 2. Watt (ALP); 3. Hanson (PHON); 4. Canavan (LNP); 5. Chisholm (ALP); 6. McGrath (LNP); 7. Moore (ALP); 8. Macdonald (LNP); 9.Waters (GRN); 10. O’Sullivan (LNP); 11.Ketter (ALP); 12.Roberts (PHON).

The primary vote front-runner, Gabe Buckley of the Liberal Democrats, received a remarkably weak flow of preferences, and Roberts was further able to pull ahead of the Nick Xenophon Team, Family First, Katter’s Australian Party and Glenn Lazarus Team candidates at various points in the count. The chart below shows the results at Count 9, at which point Pauline Hanson was elected and her surplus flowed on to Roberts, and the race for the final three positions out of the last nine surviving candidates.

2016-08-02-qld-senate-count

Thursday

The AEC has announced the button will be pressed in Queensland at 9am, with New South Wales apparently likely to follow either late today or some tomorrow. I’ve now done a spreadsheet for Western Australia, to go with the one I did earlier for Tasmania, showing the frequency with which voters for the various parties included the various other parties in the top six of their preference order (which in most cases means giving them a preference full stop, since most voters simply numbered six boxes above the line). As before, each party’s first preference vote and preference allocations are listed by row, and there are separate worksheets accessible at the bottom left for above-the-line and below-the-line votes.

Victorian result (Wednesday)

1. Fifield (Lib); 2. Carr (ALP); 3. Di Natale (GRN); 4. McKenzie (NAT); 5. Conroy (ALP); 6. Ryan (LIB); 7. Collins (ALP); 8. Paterson (Lib); 9. Marshall (ALP); 10. Hinch (DHJP); 11. Rice (GRN); 12. Hume (Lib).

No surprises there then.

South Australian Senate result (Tuesday)

1. Birmingham (LIB); 2. Wong (ALP); 3. Xenophon (XEN); 4. Bernardi (LIB); 5. Farrell (ALP); 6. Griff (XEN); 7. Ruston (LIB); 8. Gallacher (ALP); 9. Fawcett (LIB); 10. Kakoschke-Moore (XEN); 11. Hanson-Young (GRN); 12. Day (FFP).

A defeat for Labor as the fourth candidate on its ticket, Senator Anne McEwen, loses out to Bob Day of Family First. McEwen had 39,378 votes after the surplus from the third-placed Labor candidate was distributed, ahead of Bob Day on 31,548. As the table below illustrates, McEwen maintained a lead of 50,515 to 44,907 as the various also-rans were excluded, leaving candidates of six substantial parties competing for the last three seats. However, the exclusion of the fifth Liberal, Senator Sean Edwards, unlocked a decisive flow of preferences to Day, a considerable number for the third Nick Xenophon Team candidate, Skye Kakoschke-Moore, and pitifully few for McEwen, and fewer still for the Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young – who nonetheless came within 16 votes of a quota at this point of the count. Then followed the exclusion of One Nation, and an approximately equal flow of preferences to Day and the Kakoschke-Moore, and much fewer to McEwen and Hanson-Young, although sufficient for the latter to win election at this point. This left Day to a still greater lead over McEwen, which was dented only slightly by the distribution of Hanson-Young’s surplus.

2016-08-02-sa-senate-count

Western Australian Senate result (Monday)

1. Cormann (LIB); 2. Lines (ALP); 3. Ludlam (GRN); 4. Cash (LIB); 5. Sterle (ALP); 6. Smith (LIB); 7. Dodson (ALP); 8. Reynolds (LIB); 9. Back (LIB); 10. Pratt (ALP); 11. Culleton (ONP); 12. Siewert (GRN).

The outcome of the final seat appeared to be up in the air before the count was finalised, with preferences set to determine the winner out of Rachel Siewert and Kado Muir of the Nationals. In the even, Siewert did it surprisingly easily. With the election of Louise Pratt to the tenth seat and the distribution of her small surplus, two seats remained to be filled with three candidates left in the count, of whom Rod Culleton of One Nation had 104,782 votes, Siewert 936,266, and Muir 67,657.

Earlier

First up, The Australian reports that “the Senate count is also due to be finalised this week, with results to be known in South Australia and Western Australia tomorrow, Victoria and Queensland on Tuesday, and New South Wales on Wednesday”.

The other big news today was the finalisation of the recount in Herbert, which delivered Labor a final winning margin of 37 votes. The AEC should declare the result some time this week and must return the writs by next Monday, initiating a 40-day period inal which a challenge can be made before the High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns. This court can either uphold the result, reverse it, or order a fresh election. Overturning could conceivably happen if the court ruled ballot papers had been incorrectly interpreted, or declaration votes wrongly excluded. However, all the talk has been of a by-election initiated on the basis that voters had been wrongly denied votes in numbers exceeding Labor’s winning margin.

There are three stories circulating as potential basis for such a challenge: the Australian Defence Force’s confirmation of a failure to vote by 628 Australian Defence Force personnel participating in Exercise Hamel, a military exercise conducted around Port Pirie, Port Augusta and Whyalla in South Australia, including up to 85 who might have been based in Townsville; claims that people were unable to lodge absent votes in the neighbouring seat of Kennedy due to a shortage of ballot papers; and a statement Senator Ian Macdonald says he has from medical staff a Townsville Hospital that AEC officials neglected to provide ballots in a particular hospital ward.

A number of legal precedents are of note here. At the Queensland state election in July 1995, the Labor government under Wayne Goss eked out a one-seat victory that depended on a 16-vote victory in the Townsville seat of Mundingburra. This result was voided by the Court of Disputed Returns on the grounds that 22 military personnel serving in Rwanda did not receive the postal votes they applied for in time due to a transportation bungle by the Australian Defence Force, combined with errors made by the Electoral Commission. A by-election was ultimately held the following February and won by the Liberals, resulting in the fall of Goss’s government.

On a purely legal level, the relevance of a case centred on postal votes to the claimed irregularities in Herbert is limited. However, the centrality of Defence Force personnel to the Coalition’s case is very important as a matter of political strategy. The Murringburra by-election was followed at the end of that year by another litigation-initiated electoral re-match — this time in the federal seat of Lindsay in western Sydney, where Jackie Kelly’s win for the Liberals had been overturned on grounds of her employment by the RAAF, an “office for profit under the Crown”. On that occasion, Labor was humiliated when voters gave Kelly a further 5.0% to add to the 11.8% swing she received at the election. If a fresh election in Herbert is to have any chance of being to the Liberals’ ultimate advantage – a very dubious proposition under the best of circumstances – it is crucial that it be presented as a means of redressing the disenfranchisement of military personnel, and not the sort of sore loser act Labor was indulging in in Lindsay.

The second clearly relevant precedent from federal level was the seat of Ballarat at the 1919 election, when Labor’s Charles McGrath was defeated by Nationalist candidate Edwin Kerby by a margin of one vote. This was overturned on the grounds that a handful of voters had been wrongly denied ballots due to various official errors, which in two cases involved voters being denied absent votes. At that time, polling stations were issued with blank ballot papers for absent voting, on which officials would fill out the names of the candidates for the relevant division and provide them to the vote. However, a polling station in Corangamite ran out of such papers, and the presiding officer advised deprived voters to await the arrival of new papers. None arrived, and after several hours, the officer decided instead to issue altered ballot papers for Corangamite – but by this time, two affected voters from Ballarat had given up and gone home.

In response to this episode, a number of legislative changes were made in 1922 – one of which proved to be significant after the Western Australian Senate election was botched in 2013, and another of which has an important bearing on the present circumstance. In determining whether the official errors in Ballarat at the 1919 election were sufficient to warrant a fresh election, the court deemed it material that the deprived voters had intended to vote in a way that would have changed the result. It was felt this violated the secrecy of the ballot, so the Electoral Act was changed to specify that no such evidence was to be admitted. After the 2013 election, this section was invoked to refute the argument that the voting intention of the 1375 voters whose ballots had gone missing during the WA Senate recount should be ascertained with reference to the first count.

This changed to the act widened the scope for potential challenges, so the 1922 amendments also imposed limits on who could give evidence about having been denied a vote. This survives today as section 367 of the Electoral Act, which allows evidence to be admitted only from those who made a claim to vote. Media reports say the AEC set up seven polling stations within the Exercise Hamel area at which 1274 votes were cast, and that a further 1371 force members were taken to vote at surrounding population centres. However, 628 did not cast votes for reasons the Defence Department has declined to shed further light on. Unless these members actually fronted up to vote and were knocked back, section 367 would allow no basis for the court to hear their complaint.

As well as that, the Courier-Mail reports the Liberal National Party has written to postal vote applicants in an attempt to identify anyone who failed to receive their ballot paper. The party’s efforts to cover all bases calls to mind another legal challenge at state level in Queensland, following Labor’s 74-vote victory in the Brisbane seat of Chatsworth in 2009. An LNP fishing expedition cited 130 postal vote applications for which no vote was processed, 30 cases of multiple voting, and various other bits and pieces. Most of these were deemed to have had innocent explanations, and the 10 genuine discrepancies that were identified were too few to influence the result. But with the federal division of Herbert having three times as many voters as the state district of Chatsworth, and fewer than half as many votes having decided the result, there seems to be an even money chance that a court challenge will give the Coalition what it appears to believe it wants.

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.

362 comments on “Late count: Herbert finalised, Senate results imminent”

  1. Kevin

    Will be very interesting to see in the larger states with more candidates, if the minor parties stated preferences are ignored to the same extent.

    Plus with the Labor voters appearing to be the most reliable, LDP in NSW and QLD are looking stronger.

  2. Was looking at results per seat type, ALP hold a bit more than half of Metropolitan seats, almost two thirds of provincial seats, and just less than a quarter of rural seats.
    The provincial seat count surprised me, after 2013 ALP has 8 of 21, now its 14 of 22.
    The now provincal seats of Hume and Paterson where rural in 2013, with the previously provincial seat of Charlton abolished.
    Dobel, Robertson, Bass, Macquarie, Herbert and Longman all switched to ALP.
    Looks to me that the next election will be about queensland, ALP has 3 seats under 2% to defend, and 5 under 2% they could gain.
    Im also surprised how well ALP is looking in NSW, ALP has more seats than LNP now, which is pretty good considering what happened not many years ago. Havent read much coverage of it. Its a pretty big deal long term IMO if ALP can strengthen their hold on NSW, with natural hold on Vic, Tas and SA unlikely to ever be very blue.
    LNP just have QLD and WA as strongholds, the rural seats, which is where NATS have more influence.
    Going out on a limb i can forsee the Liberal part facing an existential crisis, if the Nats hold, and Bernardi splits out his Conservatives into its own brand within the coalition, the Liberals would be very few indeed. Thats Turnbulls crisis, he really is a minority leader already, its just all hidden in layers.

  3. I presume Labor is assured of winning four senate seats in SA. On the ABC website it says likely, but I read that it still was a toss up in the daily telegraph.

    “It is still unclear who will win the final SA Senate spot. Labor’s Anne McEwen, Liberal Sean Edwards and Bob Day of Family First are all in the race to win the 12th SA Senate spot.”

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/pauline-hanson-pips-nick-xenophon-for-slice-of-taxpayer-funding-of-political-parties-and-election-candidates/news-story/8f9f9243b3f22c15136ba4c60087a632

  4. @ David – ever seen a football match?

    “Its a game of 4 quarters, just because one team is losing 100 to 5, a goal or two would give them the momentum they need to get back in this.”

    The DT will make more money by claiming there is uncertainty than by claiming there is not.

    That doesn’t mean they are wrong, it doesn’t mean they’re right either. It just means you can’t believe anything they say.

  5. Bug1 – agree mostly with your assessment.
    Alas, ALP did not pick up Robertson (maybe next time). But otherwise it did extremely well in NSW – though part of this was rebound from a very low base. The opprobrium surrounding NSW State Labor government is starting to dissipate.
    To win government next time round, the ALP has to do better in middle income suburban seats – like Reid, Banks, Petrie, Dickson, Forde, Hasluck, Chisholm, Dunkley.

  6. Peter Jonson: No, they haven’t. Most of the non-classic divisions (i.e. where a non-ALP/LNP party made the 2PP) have not been added yet, and most of them are conservative. The Coalition will almost certainly win the 2PP.

  7. Bug

    Good points

    I agree Turnbull is a minority party leader. Indeed the Qld Nats may well speparate so that Turnbull could “lead” the following in the HoR:
    Country Liberal; 0
    National: 7
    Qld National: 8
    Qld Liberals; 8 roughly
    Qld Conservatives: 3
    Conservatives: 9 rough guess from the Liberal ranks (other than Qld)
    Liberal: 41

  8. All of the “Unapportioned” votes in SA and WA have disapeared, so it seems they are ready for the button press.

    Does anyone know what time they are happening?

  9. Regarding a by-election in Herbert, it seems to me from the little evidence available that the voters go with the national trend in by-elections ordered by the CDR. Thus Murringburra went against Goss, consistent with the trend in the election, and Lindsay went with the new government, consistent with the trend in the 1996 Federal election.

    The one good thing that will come out of any challenge to the Herbert result will be a solid addition to the jurisprudence around the circumstances in which an election result will be set aside due to the inability of some people to vote. No doubt, the High Court will be quite forensic in deciding which of the various circumstances were grounds and which weren’t.

    I would be surprised, though, if the Coalition did not do what they did in getting the McEwen result overturned some years ago and challenge any real or imagined ‘anomalies’ in the vote count itself. If successful, this could avoid a by-election. Although it would be very funny if the CDR both found enough anomalies going Jones’s way to give him the election and THEN rule that enough people were improperly denied a vote to void the election anyway!

  10. “Now Ewen Jones has officially lost his Queensland seat of Herbert, he’s off to mow his lawn.
    “That’s the big one for me,” he said on Monday.
    The outgoing coalition MP conceded his loss after the electoral commission finished a re-count with Labor’s Cathy O’Toole ahead by 37 votes at the weekend.
    But Mr Jones may not be away from parliament for long, with the former MP urging the Liberal National Party to take the vote count to court.
    “(There were) a number of anomalies in the count that we believe would mount a significant challenge,” he said.
    A court challenge could send Herbert voters back to the polls and Mr Jones wants a decision from the LNP on whether to mount a case “as soon as humanly possible”.
    “We owe it to the party and people of Townsville to see if we can get a voice in government.”

    More like the party owes it to Ewen Jones to call a $450 000 bye-election because of sour grapes. They would not be doing this if they won, senator Ian Macdonald has already admitted this. It actually has hint of born to rule mentality, like saying ‘the voters got it wrong and we need a bye-election to make sure the voters get right and elect me’.

  11. It’s worth refreshing our memories of McEwen. From the SMH, 2 July 2008:

    Fran Bailey has retained her federal seat of McEwen – by 27 votes – a court has declared, more than seven months after the federal election.

    Labour candidate Rob Mitchell was originally declared the winner of Australia’s most marginal seat by seven votes after the November 24 election.

    But following a request for a recount at the behest of Ms Bailey, the Liberal member for McEwen, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) handed the central Victorian seat to her by 12 votes in February.

    The ALP appealed the decision to the High Court, which referred the case to the Federal Court, where both sides argued over the validity of 643 disputed ballots.

    Justice Richard Tracey, who handed down his decision today in the Federal Court, said he had examined the ballots in question and found nine ballots ruled to be formal by the AEC were in fact informal, and 142 that were ruled to be informal should have been counted.

    Justice Tracey said in his decision that Mr Mitchell had 48,312 votes and Ms Bailey 48,339.

    So, a lot of initially informal votes were deemed formal by the court. Hopefully the AEC now takes that case into account in its determination of what is a formal vote and it wouldn’t re-classify as many of votes from Herbert. Thirty-seven is a fair few votes for the LNP to claw back.

  12. Last senate seat in WA down to the wire, with a fight between Greens and the Nationals. ABC prediction hasn’t got the Greens on a likely for secound senate seat either, although I expect them to be the favorites to hold the seat.

    “The WA Senate count will be finalised today. Only the final seat is in doubt and will come down to preferences, with incumbent Greens senator Rachel Siewert about 3500 primary votes ahead of Nationals challenger Kado Muir.

    Excluding the undecided seat, the Liberals will have five senators after former defence minister David Johnston was defeated, Labor will have four, Greens deputy leader Scott Ludlam has been re-elected while One Nation’s Rod Culleton should claim a seat.”

    https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/32199368/palmer-dealings-hurt-wang-vote/#page1

  13. Triton, it’s unlikely that a judge will have to correct so many votes again as happened in McEwen. The main problem was a total dickhead electoral officer who didn’t know about European-style 1s and 7s. Before the next election I asked the Qld head of the AEC whether that was likely to happen again and she assured me they were much better trained since then. But with some of the things you hear about from polling places, you still might wonder a bit.

  14. peter jonson @ #5 Monday, August 1, 2016 at 10:00 am

    And the ALP wins the overall 2PP count.
    ALP 50.1% cf. L-NP 49.9%.
    Strangely, I haven’t seen this much reported.

    Probably because it isn’t true, not that that is always a barrier. The overall 2PP count is still incomplete and still excludes a number of mostly conservative seats in which the major parties weren’t both of the top two parties. It will still be some time before it is finalised. As William has already posted it is likely to end up around 50.5 to Coalition.

  15. david @ #4 Monday, August 1, 2016 at 9:48 am

    I presume Labor is assured of winning four senate seats in SA. On the ABC website it says likely, but I read that it still was a toss up in the daily telegraph.
    “It is still unclear who will win the final SA Senate spot. Labor’s Anne McEwen, Liberal Sean Edwards and Bob Day of Family First are all in the race to win the 12th SA Senate spot.”
    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/pauline-hanson-pips-nick-xenophon-for-slice-of-taxpayer-funding-of-political-parties-and-election-candidates/news-story/8f9f9243b3f22c15136ba4c60087a632

    The Daily Telegraph probably hasn’t looked at the preference flows (or lack thereof) seen in Tasmania. If voter behaviour is anything like that in SA then it is highly unlikely the Liberal preferences will save Day.

  16. jack a randa @ #22 Monday, August 1, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    So that’s 6 left, 5 right and 1 erratically extreme right on some issues and leftish on others…

    So the net result in WA from Turnbull’s masterstroke is that his party has lost a senator to Labor. The Greens still have two senators and whacko world has replaced Palmer’s proxy with a representative of Pauline Hanson whose main concern is having a banking royal commission. Nice one Mal.

  17. Terrible result for Liberals in WA with only 5/12.

    Culleton may also be facing his day at CDR due to larceny charges in NSW, subject to up to 2 years in jail. He denies it, but the back story is some vigillante style intervention by him in vehicle repossesion.

  18. From ABC Perth

    Western Australia’s remaining Senate seats have been decided, with Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party and the Greens picking up the final two positions.

    The results come more than four weeks after the federal election was held.

    They have revealed One Nation candidate Rod Culleton and Rachel Siewert from the Greens have been elected to the Senate.

    Overall, the Liberal Party won 5 of the 12 Senate seats in WA, with Labor taking four, the Greens two and One Nation one.

    However, the eligibility of Mr Culleton is in doubt due to a criminal conviction in New South Wales.

    Mr Culleton is also awaiting trial in WA over a stealing charge.

  19. sprocket_ @ #29 Monday, August 1, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Terrible result for Liberals in WA with only 5/12.
    Culleton may also be facing his day at CDR due to larceny charges in NSW, subject to up to 2 years in jail. He denies it, but the back story is some vigillante style intervention by him in vehicle repossesion.

    I saw something about Culleton on TV yesterday, I think. The charges go to action he took to support other farmers in fights with the banks and moves to repossess vehicles etc. Not to defend him, but this is different from the impression that he is some sort of crook that hooked up with PHON. The other interesting things about him is that if he is ruled ineligible to take the seat or to keep it, next in line is the second PHON candidate, his brother in law. The third candidate was his wife. The third thing, from the news report, is that they are somewhat less enthusiastic about the racial aspects of Hanson’s party than they are about a Royal Commission into banks.

    The new parliament can only get more interesting.

  20. So that everbody knows exactly what law applies, here is the relevant bit of s 44 of the Book of Rules:

    Any person who: … has been convicted and is under sentence, or subject to be sentenced, for any offence punishable under the law of the Commonwealth or of a State by imprisonment for one year or longer… shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

    Note (i) that it applies to any offence where the max is a year or longer regardless of what actual sentence is imposed, and (ii) that the disqualification runs from the conviction to the expiry of sentence. No lifetime bans as in the US of Punitive Ugliness.

    I gather from one report that he has been convicted in his absence of a charge in NSW which carries a 5-year term and is awaiting sentence, which would seem to make him ineligible. He is yet to face court for the alleged offence in WA, so that one would only make him ineligible once convicted. [And the “offences” consist of taking vehicles away to avoid having them repossessed by the Bastard Banks, which would make him a hero to many – not that that will be relevant when it comes to the application of s 44]

  21. And now official from AEC

    Successful candidates for the 12 Senate vacancies for Western Australia
    Candidate Party
    1. CORMANN, Mathias Liberal
    2. LINES, Sue Australian Labor Party
    3. LUDLAM, Scott The Greens (WA)
    4. CASH, Michaelia Liberal
    5. STERLE, Glenn Australian Labor Party
    6. SMITH, Dean Liberal
    7. DODSON, Patrick Australian Labor Party
    8. REYNOLDS, Linda Liberal
    9. BACK, Chris Liberal
    10. PRATT, Louise Australian Labor Party
    11. CULLETON, Rodney Norman Pauline Hanson’s One Nation
    12. SIEWERT, Rachel The Greens (WA)
    The Australian Electoral Officer for Western Australia, Marie Neilson said the distribution of preferences was conducted today to elect the twelve Senators.

    “As with all aspects of the count, the automated distribution of preferences undertaken today was open to scrutineers appointed by the candidates,” Ms Neilson said.

    All 2016 federal election results are available on the AEC tally room.

    Declaration of the Poll
    Ms Neilson said the formal Declaration of the Poll for the 2016 election of Senators for Western Australia will take place at 10:00 am on Tuesday, 2 August and will be held at the AEC’s State Office, Level 13, 200 St Georges Tce, Perth.

    All candidates and the media are invited to attend. RSVPs are not required.

  22. sprocket_ @ #29 Monday, August 1, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Terrible result for Liberals in WA with only 5/12.
    Culleton may also be facing his day at CDR due to larceny charges in NSW, subject to up to 2 years in jail. He denies it, but the back story is some vigillante style intervention by him in vehicle repossesion.

    Some colourful video of this was screened on ABC last week. In one of the cases involved (not sure which state) he allegedly “steals” a car by placing bales of hay around it thereby preventing it from moving.

    Anyway the WA One Nation candidates are a family group and they don’t seem to be that keen to follow the Hanson line on immigration and Muslims. They seem to see themselves more as Nationals with teeth. Wonder how long it takes One Nation to fall to bits again.

  23. And Bug1, I think (without checking all my books) that if it turns out he was ineligible all along, the rule for Senate elections is that they should rerun the count as if he wasn’t on the ticket – so yes, unless there were very funny things happening in BTL votes it would go to the next on the ON ticket. (Graeme Orr, are you reading this? – please confirm.)

  24. Anyone ever heard of Gabe Buckley? I haven’t either, but he might be the new senator in Queensland for the Liberal Democrats. Apparently the last seat is a contest between him and One Nation for the last senate seat in Queensland.

    “Gabrielle who? Gabe is a 40-year-old Bracken Ridge father-of-three, a web designer and frontman in a cowboy rock band. He plays guitar and harmonica and rattles out melodies by Johnny Cash, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Dylan. I’m beginning to like him already. Gabe was also David Leyonhjelm’s Liberal Democrat Senate candidate in Queensland. Gabe is a veteran of four campaigns.

    Last night, there was speculation he just may grab a seat. In what may have been a line from a Kenny Rogers ballad, Buckley told me he rated his chances as “somewhere between the flip of a coin and roll of a dice”.

    If Buckley doesn’t win, the seat is likely to go to One ­Nation’s Malcolm Roberts, a mining engineer with an MBA.”

  25. In relation the NSW charge, Culleton is potentially unlucky on the timing. He has been convicted but not sentenced. The maximum penalty is over a year, but he is unlikely to get jail time. If he had been sentenced to a fine, he would no longer be “under sentence”, but as it is, he may be ineligible to be elected because of the potential maximum. However it’s also possible that someone from down the ticket could take his seat and then resign once he is clear of his sentence, and he could fill the casual vacancy.

    I understand he also has a charge due to come to trial in WA, which is potentially more serious.

  26. Malcolm Roberts is also principal of the Galileo web site. The main theory they propose is that Climate Change is a conspiracy organised by the Rothschilds to replace national governments with the UN as a one world government.

    Apart from that, he is one of the better qualified ONE candidates.

  27. And while we are on OneNation candidates and conspiracy theories, Pauline Hanson’s media adviser is one James Ashby of AshbyGate fame.

    I’m sure Christopher Pyne and George Brandis are waiting with open arms for his return as a staffer in Canberra.

  28. I actually think Malcolm Roberts will get the final seat in Qld, much as that would disappoint me. He needs to out-preference Buckley by between 1.8 and 2-to-1 (depending on the exhaust rate). I think that is very plausible. One Nation got more than triple the primaries of the LDP. In Tasmania One Nation attracted preferences from all corners. The LDP actually got a good chunk of second preferences in Tas, but most of them were from the Liberals, whose preferences will only count for a tiny fraction in Qld when their fifth candidate limps over the line.

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