Turnbull Likely To Win Narrowly As Voters Punish Coalition; ALP Secures Nationwide Swing Of 3.18% But Falls Short

Hung Parliament Still Likely; Many Close Seats; Nationwide Swing Delivers ALP Gains; Xenophon Wins Lower House Seat; Pauline Hanson, Derryn Hinch And Jacqui Lambie Elected To Senate

TurnbullPrime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressed Liberal supporters in Sydney last night

The Turnbull coalition government is clinging to office, following yesterday’s federal election, and may yet face a hung parliament controlled by crossbenchers not necessarily sympathetic to it. In a post-midnight speech, the Prime Minister insisted the coalition would be able to form a majority government.

A nationwide 3.18% swing towards the ALP sees the coalition leading the two-party-preferred vote with 50.01%. Every state and territory swung to the ALP, the Northern Territory leading the field with 7.37% and delivering Solomon to the ALP. The smallest swing was 0.68% in the Australian Capital Territory, where the ALP already held both seats and polled 61.73% of the two-party vote.

There was a 3.64% swing to the ALP in New South Wales. The ALP has won Banks, Barton, Dobell, Eden-Monaro, Lindsay, Macarthur, Macquarie and Paterson.

In Victoria, the swing was 2.13% but it appears that only one seat has changed hands. The ALP lost Chisholm, the eastern suburban Melbourne electorate held since 1998 by the former Speaker, Anna Burke. The Greens came close to winning Batman and counting may yet throw Melbourne Ports into doubt for the ALP.

In Queensland, a swing of 2.75% delivered Longman to the ALP and ended the two-term career of 26-year-old Wyatt Roy. The LNP electorates of Capricornia, Forde and Petrie are too close to call. Hinkler may also be in play.

In Western Australia, a 3.82% swing has delivered the new electorate of Burt to the ALP, giving it 4 of the 16 seats.

Tasmania swung decisively by 6.33% to the ALP and it picked up 3 seats lost in 2013: Bass, Braddon and Lyons.

In South Australia, a swing of 4.44% saw two seats change hands. The ALP’s Steve Georganas regained Hindmarsh, which he lost in 2013. The Liberal Party lost the seat of Mayo to the Nick Xenophon Team. NXT may yet have a chance of taking the large country electorate of Grey.

A range of commentators last night agreed that the coalition would likely be able to form a government with 76-78 seats. The large number of close results means that it will be up to ten days before the results are clear.

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Triumphant Shorten Says The ALP Is Back; Turnbull Delivers Late-Night Off-Key Speech To Supporters

The closeness of the count delayed the appearance of the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader. Shorten appeared first, after 11pm. He told supporters in Melbourne that the ALP was “back”. He reiterated his campaign themes and said that the ALP would save Medicare “in government or opposition”.

Malcolm Turnbull spoke to Liberal supporters at 12.30am, delivering a speech widely panned as off-key and inappropriate. Turnbull spoke at length about thuggery in the construction industry and defended his decision to call the double dissolution. He insisted that the coalition would be able to form a majority government.

  • Watch Shorten’s speech (11m)
  • Listen to Shorten (11m)
  • Watch Turnbull’s speech (16m)
  • Listen to Turnbull (16m)

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Windsor and Oakeshott Defeated; Existing Crossbenchers Re-Elected

Tony Windsor, the former member for New England, failed to defeat Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce. Windsor polled 29.73% but Joyce won the seat outright with a primary vote of 52.09%. [Read more…]


Fact Checking Mr. Windsor: Only One Majority Parliament In The First 20 Years Of Federation?

In an election pitch for his return as an independent member in the NSW electorate of New England, Tony Windsor last night told viewers of the ABC’s QandA that country voters needed to use their clout “more strategically”.

Windsor

In putting his argument for having more independent members in minority parliaments, Windsor claimed that “in the first 20 years of Federation there was only one majority parliament”. [Read more…]


Credit Julia: Gillard And Windsor Speak At Victorian Women’s Trust Tribute

Julia Gillard and Tony Windsor have spoken at a Victorian Women’s Trust event honouring the former prime minister in Melbourne.

The event was called Credit Where Credit Is Due, with the social media hashtag #CreditJulia.

Gillard

The former prime minister and the former independent member who provided crucial support to the minority government from 2010 until 2013 spoke to a large crowd at the Melbourne Town Hall. The event was compered by Mary Crooks. [Read more…]


When Will The 2013 Federal Election Be Held?

What do we definitely know about this year’s election?

  • A House of Representatives election can be called at any time. Provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act require a minimum of 33 days notice. A January election is now impossible. No federal election has ever been held in January or February. Given the holiday period underway now, an early March election is probably the earliest possible date.
  • A double dissolution is now constitutionally impossible. No legislation has been twice rejected by the Senate with the requisite three-month interval. The option formally expires on March 27.
  • A half-Senate election cannot be called until after July 1. See Section 13 of the Constitution. A House-only election held between February-June 2013 would require a separate half-Senate election sometime before June 30, 2014. A Gillard or Abbott government would be forced back to the polls within a year of any House election held before June 2013.
  • The earliest possible date for a joint House of Representatives and half-Senate election is August 3.
  • A House election can be held as late as November 30, if every requirement of the Constitution and Electoral Act is stretched to the maximum allowable time.
  • The House of Representatives will expire on September 27 if it hasn’t already been dissolved. This is because the three year term of the House dates from the first day the parliament met – September 28, 2010. If the House expired on September 27, the writs for the election would have to be issued within 10 days.
  • Antony Green has written a couple of informative pieces about the historical timing of elections and the constitutional and legislative requirements. See here and here.

Is an election in March, April, May or June entirely out of the question?

  • No. An upturn in the government’s fortunes could encourage Gillard to go early to capitalise on favourable conditions. In this event, the half-Senate problem would probably be lost in the general melee of an election. Besides, the Opposition has been demanding an early poll for most of the past two years.
  • There have been suggestions the government might go early to avoid bringing down a May budget. This seems less likely since Wayne Swan announced that the government has all but abandoned its budget surplus promise. It is just as likely that the government will aim to use the Budget to establish its priorities for the election campaign and to engage in some electorally strategic spending initiatives.

Is a March-June election likely?

  • No. As is well known, the government is not travelling well in the polls. In these circumstances governments do not go early. They hang in until the last possible moment in the hope that the Opposition will stumble or that something else turns up to rescue them. John Howard did this in 2007. Members facing defeat don’t want to go any earlier than they absolutely have to for political and possibly financial reasons.

[Read more…]


Tony Windsor Attacks Tony Abbott

Tony Windsor, the independent member for New England, has attacked Opposition Leader Tony Abbott during a motion to suspend Standing Orders in Parliament today.


Dealing With Craig Thomson: An Impressive MPI Debate

An impressive Matter of Public Importance debate took place in the House of Representatives this afternoon.

The MPI was devoted to the issue of how the House should treat Craig Thomson, the member for Dobell, in the light of allegations against him and his statement to the House yesterday.

Debate revolved around the nature of a censure and the arguments for and against suspending Thomson from the service of the House. [Read more…]


Video: Sunday Political Talk Shows

Video of Meet The Press and The Bolt Report.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and independent Tony Windsor appeared on Meet The Press. Liberal Dennis Jensen appeared on The Bolt Report, Grace Collier discussed industrial relations, whilst John Della Bosca and Alexander Downer discussed the political week.