Greens Seek Recount After Scott Ludlam Loses Western Australian Senate Seat

The Greens have asked for a recount after its one-term Western Australian Senator Scott Ludlam lost his seat today.

LudlamPredictions since election night have held that Ludlam and the Australian Sports Party candidate, Wayne Dropulich, would win the final two seats in WA. However, when the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) computer distributed preferences today, the ALP’s Senator Louise Pratt and the Palmer United Party’s (PUP) Zhenya Wang emerged victorious.

Ludlam’s defeat was caused by a 14 vote difference between Australian Christians and Shooters and Fishers candidates that ensured preferences flowed to the ALP and PUP ahead of the Greens and Sports Party.

Clive Palmer’s party will now have 3 senators after next July. Palmer has won the House of Representatives seat of Fairfax by 7 votes but a recount will begin tomorrow. PUP won 709,076 primary votes – 5.49% – nationally in the House. In the Senate, it won 658,892 votes, or 4.91%. By any measure, this is the most successful performance by a new party since the Australian Democrats won two Senate seats in 1977.

The final result in Western Australia sees the re-election of the Liberal Party’s two senators, David Johnston and Michaelia Cash. However, the Liberals have lost one seat by failing to replace retiring Senator Alan Eggleston.

Aside from incumbent Senator Louise Pratt, the ALP has also elected Joe Bullock. Pratt’s narrow victory reflects the low ALP vote of just 26.59%. [Read more…]


Julia Gillard’s Melbourne Conversation With Anne Summers

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard has appeared at the Melbourne Town Hall in her second appearance in conversation with Anne Summers.

Gillard

As with last night’s Sydney Opera House appearance, Gillard spoke to a rapturous crowd who frequently cheered and applauded her remarks.

Tonight’s discussion contained more substance and canvassed more issues. Many questions centred on issues of gender, sexism and misogyny. [Read more…]


Palmer Wins By 7 Votes, Triggering Recount; Final Senate Results Now On Way

Clive Palmer has won the Queensland electorate of Fairfax by 7 votes, triggering an automatic recount.

PalmerThe Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has completed a full distribution of preferences in Fairfax. Palmer has 42,337 votes and his Liberal National (LNP) opponent, Ted O’Brien, has 42,330. An automatic recount will now take place because the margin of victory is less than 100 votes.

Palmer’s victory comes off a primary vote of 26.49%. O’Brien polled 41.37% (down 8.08%), the ALP 18.21% (down 9.10%), the Greens 8.32% (down 9.68%) and Family First 1.67% (down 3.57%). Fairfax is a traditionally Coalition electorate. It was held since 1990 by Alex Somlyay, who retired at this election.

Fairfax is the only House of Representatives seat still undecided. However, counting in the safe Labor electorate of Wills, once held by Bob Hawke, has seen the Greens overtake the Liberals for second place after preferences. The AEC has yet to publish the preference distribution figures. Wills joins Batman and Melbourne as seats in which the Greens are Labor’s main competition. [Read more…]


Reserve Bank Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged

The Reserve Bank of Australia has left interest rates unchanged after its monthly board meeting today.

The cash rate stays at 2.5%.

It is the first decision on interest rates under the Abbott government.

Statement from Glenn Stevens, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 2.5 per cent.

Recent information is consistent with global growth running a bit below average this year, with reasonable prospects of a pick-up next year. Commodity prices have declined from their peaks, but generally remain at high levels by historical standards. Inflation in most countries remains well contained.

Overall, global financial conditions remain very accommodative. Changes in the outlook for US monetary policy have increased volatility in financial markets, but long-term interest rates remain very low and there is ample funding available for creditworthy borrowers.

In Australia, the economy has been growing a bit below trend over the past year. This is expected to continue in the near term as the economy adjusts to lower levels of mining investment. The unemployment rate has edged higher. There has been an improvement in indicators of household and business sentiment recently, though it is too soon to judge how persistent this will be. Inflation has been consistent with the medium-term target. With growth in labour costs moderating, this is expected to remain the case over the next one to two years, even with the effects of the lower exchange rate.

The easing in monetary policy since late 2011 has supported interest-sensitive spending and asset values. The full effects of these decisions are still coming through, and will be for a while yet. The pace of borrowing has remained relatively subdued to date, though recently there have been signs of increased demand for finance by households. There is also continuing evidence of a shift in savers’ behaviour in response to declining returns on low-risk assets.

The Australian dollar rose recently, but is still about 10 per cent below its level in April. A lower level of the currency than seen at present would assist in rebalancing growth in the economy.

At today’s meeting, the Board judged that the setting of monetary policy remained appropriate. The Board will continue to assess the outlook and adjust policy as needed to foster sustainable growth in demand and inflation outcomes consistent with the target.


Julia Gillard In Conversation With Anne Summers

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard has made her first major public appearance since being deposed last June.

Gillard-Summers

The former Labor leader appeared with journalist Anne Summers before a crowd of 2600 people at the Sydney Opera House. [Read more…]


Morrison Confirms 31 Dead From Asylum Boat Sinking

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed the deaths of 31 asylum seekers from a capsized boat off the West Java coast on Friday.

There are 22 survivors from the boat.

Morrison

Morrison spoke today at his second weekly press briefing on asylum issues. He was accompanied by the Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshall Mark Binskin. Later, Shadow Immigration Minister Tony Burke responded to Morrison. [Read more…]


Albanese And Shorten Debate ALP Leadership In Melbourne

ALP leadership contenders Anthony Albanese and Bill Shorten have debated one another and taken questions from an audience at the Melbourne Trades Hall today.

The 90-minute encounter is the latest in a series of debates the two men have engaged in. They will meet again on the ABC’s Q & A program on Monday.

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