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1911 Was The Last Time A Government Won A Seat From The Opposition. Oh, Really?

On numerous occasions last week, I heard journalists and media commentators say that no government has won a by-election from the opposition since 1911.

It was repeated over and over. It was asserted again on Insiders yesterday and on Sky News last night.

The context, of course, is the batch of four by-elections – in Mayo, Longman, Braddon and Fremantle – that are about to take place following the resignations flowing from the High Court’s Section 44 decision on former Senator Katy Gallagher. A fifth by-election will take place due to the resignation for personal reasons of the ALP’s Tim Hammond in Perth.

The Liberal Party has decided not to contest Perth or Fremantle, so these seats should now be easily retained by the ALP.

The Liberals are favoured to retake their traditional stronghold of Mayo, especially given the Xenophon implosion.

So attention centres on Longman, in Queensland, and Braddon, in Tasmania. Can the ALP hang on to these two seats it won back last time? Could the government take one or two seats off the opposition?

A swing of just 0.8% would see Longman return to the government. Braddon needs 1.5%. It’s do-able but it’s tricky. Afterall, it hasn’t happened since 1911…

Well, no… [Read more…]


Griffith By-Election Set For February 8

The Griffith by-election will be held on February 8, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bronwyn Bishop, has announced.

The by-election has been caused by the resignation of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd who had held the seat since 1998.

Under Section 33 of the Constitution, the Speaker is responsible for the issue of writs for vacancies. The writ will be issued today, with the rolls closing next Monday. Nominations close on January 16.

The by-election will be held the weekend before Parliament resumes for 2014.

The ALP holds the seat with a margin of 3.01%. There was a 5.45% swing against Rudd at last year’s federal election. In 2010, there was a 3.86% swing against Rudd. When Rudd led the ALP into government in 2007 he received 62.32% of the two-party-preferred vote in Griffith. [Read more…]