Monday, August 23, 2010

Australian Election

Talk about close, so very, very close.   Where we are at for the moment

  • Labor 73
  • Coalition 72 or 73 - apparently one National MP is not committed to being in the coalition
  • Greens 1
  • Rural independents, aka former National party people 3

You need 76 seats for a majority.

I would seem to be clear the Green will back Labor, moving them to 743 and therefore one ahead of the coalition.   This means everything depends on three rural MPs, Bob Katter, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott.   Either party can rule with these three, though Labour only needs two.  It also means Labour does not need the Green.

These three guys strike me as your classic western Canadian rural populists, they do not strike me as the sort of people that are comfortable with neo-liberal politics.    So who can they support?   How can rural areas make an impact?   The ten largest seats in the country cover about 90% of the landbase.   70% of the Australian population lives in six urban conglomerations, the country is a very urban country but has this major rural narrative.

I would think the natural alliance of the three independents would be with the coalition, but they may be able to use their power to extract more concessions from Labor.

Also of interest, if Australia used the same electoral system we use in Canada, the Coalition would have won a majority.

Of note is the fact that the Greens managed to win a seat in the House of Representatives.  They won the seat of Melbourne which had been held by Labor and they had won in 2007 almost on first preferences alone.  This should be a wake up call for Labor that a very safe seat fell to the Greens.

Meanwhile in the Senate, the big winners are the Greens.   The Green party now has 9 senators, up from 5.  This is almost 12% of the Senate.  The hopes of the Coalition being able to get to back to a majority are gone, in fact this is their worst standing since 1993.
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Addendum the next day.

It seems that Denison in Tasmania will be won by an independent and not Labour.   This independent is a one time Green candidate called Andrew Wilkie.   He is a former Lt colonel in Australian military before becoming a member of ONA, their equivalent to CSIS.  He resigned in March 2003 because of the intelligence frauds in the lead up to the Iraqui war.   How will he vote?  Who will he back?  No idea.   I suspect he will vote issue to issue on things.  

This result is bad for Labour because it means that with the Green and all three rural populists they are at exactly 76 seats.
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