Informal Vote Declines In Federal Election; Sydney Again Records Highest Rates

The percentage of informal votes in the 2016 House of Representatives elections dropped by 0.86% to 5.05%.

The informal vote is the lowest since 2004, when it was 5.2%. Informals declined in every State and Territory, apart from the Northern Territory, which has recorded the highest rate of 7.35%, an increase of 1.05%.

Other than NSW and the NT, all States and Territories recorded an informal vote of less than 5%. In NSW, the informal percentage was 6.17%.

Whilst the highest informal vote in an individual seat outside NSW is 8.84% in Murray (Vic), NSW has 9 seats with an informal vote above 8%. As in previous elections, these are all Labor-held electorates in Sydney with high proportions of non-English speaking residents.

The highest informal vote in an individual electorate was recorded in Lindsay, where it reached 11.77%. The seat of Blaxland, once held by former Labor prime minister Paul Keating, had 11.55%, the second highest.

The Victorian seat of Kooyong recorded the lowest informal vote of any of the country’s 150 electorates – just 1.99%. Kooyong was once held by former Liberal prime minister Sir Robert Menzies. [Read more…]


Howard Talks Of Trade, Plays Down Chances In Werriwa

John Howard has played down the Liberal Party’s chances of winning the forthcoming Werriwa by-election.

Speaking in Davos at the World Economic Forum, the Prime Minister sought to lower expectations that footballer Paul Langmack can win the traditionally Labor seat. Werriwa, held by Gough Whitlam (1952-78), is vacant because of Mark Latham’s resignation last week.

Howard also spoke of a number of bilateral meetings he has conducted with a range of Asian and European leaders.

This is the transcript of the press conference held by the Prime Minister, John Howard, in Davos, Switzerland.

JOURNALIST:

Well what happened today?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well what happened today was I’ve had some bilateral meetings with the Prime Minister of Pakistan which was a very good meeting and also the Minister for Reunification from Korea and we talked about North Korea and also of course about possible further sales of LNG from Australia to Korea and there’s another decision, another big contract coming up and we have four or five competitors so we’re hopeful, but we can’t put it any more strongly than that at this stage. I thought the meeting with the Prime Minister of Pakistan was very valuable and we have agreed to endeavour to achieve a strengthening of that relationship, it has a lot of natural complimentarities but I think it could benefit from a bit of additional effort on both sides and we were both very much of that view.

I attended two of the sessions, one on the world economic outlook and also one on China’s economic outlook which is very important not only to the world but it’s particularly important to Australia. And at lunchtime I attended a session dealing with the issue of terrorism which was chaired by ElBaradei, the head of the IAEA and involved Senator McCain and the former Irish President Mary Robinson, the Secretary General of the Arab League, and the Foreign Minister of Afghanistan, the Polish President, the Norwegian Prime Minister, and quite a wide range of people and it was a very interesting meeting, I did take the opportunity of stressing the significance of the transition to democracy that taking place, or has taken place in Indonesia and how very important it was for the long term fight against terrorism that the manifestation of moderate mainstream Islam was seen to be successful and how very important it was for the world to support Indonesia.

JOURNALIST:

In what way could the world do that do you think?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I think there are different ways, I mean we’re obviously doing it in the wake of the tsunami tragedy but what the world can do about further investment in Indonesia, obviously there have to be changes in that country to provide appropriate levels of assurance in relation to investment. But I made the broad point that Indonesia being the largest Islamic country in the world that what happens there is crucial to the I guess view the world has of, and of the interaction between moderate Islam and Islamic fanaticism because if moderate mainstream Islam succeeds and democracy remains strong, as it appears to be in Indonesia, well that is a huge rebuff to the terrorists because the terrorists do not want a stable, successful Indonesia. I made the point at this meeting that a modern successful country in Indonesia is anathema to the terrorists’ objectives.

JOURNALIST:

Was there much criticism about the United States in that debate? And also the discussion you attended for the BBC World seemed that there was a lot of so-called “Bush bashing” going on and you did step in to defend the United States, do you think that the US has come under attack here at this forum?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I think some of the criticism by some of the Europeans is unfair and irrational and I have said so.

JOURNALIST:

Do you fear that that’s the way the world appears to be heading?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, no that is not because that is the view in some parts of Europe, it’s not the view in Eastern Europe for example, you talk to somebody like the President of Latvia who took part in that meeting, you talk to the representative of Afghanistan, that is not their view, one of the other people who attended the session at lunchtime was of course the national security adviser from Iraq. Now sure, he’s part of an interim government, we’re having an election there on Sunday and it’s starting the process. I think what happens on Sunday in Iraq is very important and I hope there’s a good turn out, I don’t know what it’s likely to be, I don’t think anybody does, but I hope it’s a good turn out.

JOURNALIST:

There was a session on terrorism earlier today and they were talking about the issue of Iraq and what’s happened there in relation to the wider war on terror and one of the guys from the Rand Corporation was arguing that in fact the US presence there has almost made the situation worse because it’s created a whole new group of insurgents who…

PRIME MINISTER:

That’s not a new argument, there’s nothing particularly novel about that argument. I don’t share that view, I made the point today and I’ve made it before on numerous occasions that whatever view you may have had about the action in Iraq, everybody knows my view, leaving that aside there’s no doubt that the terrorists have adopted Iraq as a battleground and if a democracy takes root in Iraq then that is a setback for terrorism, and they’re throwing everything they’ve got at the task of stopping the elections being effective.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, Kim Beazley has been campaigning in the seat of Werriwa, where is the selection process at for a Liberal candidate for the by-election?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well that is a matter for the organisation. But the party, my understanding, the organisation is considering that issue and they’ll be making an announcement about it in the next week or so.

JOURNALIST:

Does Paul Langmack has what it takes to take the seat from Labor?

PRIME MINISTER:

He’s a wonderful footballer but I don’t know anything more about his intentions, I did read this morning that, some reference to him, I don’t know how accurate that is, I don’t want to assume anything that may not be the case but he’s certainly a very fine citizen and a very fine rugby league player.

JOURNALIST:

Do you think there is a chance the Liberals could take the seat?

PRIME MINISTER:

Take the seat? Oh come on, that’s a very big challenge. But we haven’t decided what we’re going to do yet, that’s a matter for the party organisation.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Howard, beyond the issue of America bashing there is an obvious high level of anxiety here across the board about the American economy and what the outlook is and what the impact will be of the Bush budget. Do you share that anxiety and what is your view about it?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I certainly don’t like the fact that the US budget is so heavily in deficit, that’s a view I’ve expressed before. I don’t know that I have an anxiety, I wouldn’t express it that way about the American economy, but the American economy is still making a very big contribution to world growth, it always will, however I would like to see a lower budget deficit.

JOURNALIST:

And would you like to see the Chinese contribute to rebalancing the various aspects of the world economy, I went to that discussion today, there was a lot of views expressed by the Chinese about…

PRIME MINISTER:

I thought the Vice-Chairman of the Central Bank gave a reasoned defence of their exchange rate policy. I think China’s exchange rate policy is a matter for the Chinese.

JOURNALIST:

You having any luck on wheat, Prime Minister?

PRIME MINISTER:

Wheat? What aspect of wheat?

JOURNALIST:

Well you were very exercised on your…

PRIME MINISTER:

Oh yes, we’ll continue to be, most of the people I’ve interacted with today are not really to blame.

JOURNALIST:

The Chinese, Prime Minister encouraged the world to invest more in the country as it developed, is that an important issue for Australia, to invest more in China?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well Australia has invested quite a bit already. But these things in the end have got to be determined by individual commercial decisions, I mean we don’t direct businessmen to invest in a particular country, we encourage them to take advantage of commercial opportunities. I wrote to a large number of Australian countries encouraging them to participate in an infrastructure conference that President Yudhoyono convened in Jakarta earlier this month and I believed a lot of them responded to that invitation. The question of whether they invest depends upon their commercial assessments and we don’t seek to influence those in any kind of overt fashion.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, just on Iraq, Mohamed ElBaradei has come out pleading with the global community to be patient with Iran, that they’re co-operating, how much time should the country be given?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I would like the discussions that are occurring between the three European countries and Iran to continue. I hope those discussions can produce a satisfactory result. That’s the view I expressed yesterday when I saw the Iranian Foreign Minister and continues to be our view and I hope it can work out. I don’t think there’s anything to be gained by more or anybody else nominating times…

JOURNALIST:

Did he give you any encouragement?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well he told me that Iran’s motives were positive. I think we have to wait and see.


Mark Latham’s Resignation Statement

The Leader of the Opposition, Mark Latham, has resigned as Labor leader and as the member for Werriwa.

The announcement was delivered to the media in a park at Ingleburn. Latham drove himself to the conference and left alone. He refused to take questions.

  • Listen to Latham’s statement (3m)

This is the transcript of Mark Latham’s resignation statement.

Mark Latham, former Leader of the OppositionA number of colleagues have asked me to address the uncertainty concerning the Labor leadership. While I had planned to reassess things at the end of my leave period on 26 January, the ongoing speculation is damaging the Party and needs to be dealt with now.

Obviously I am disappointed with the press coverage over the last fortnight. Despite being on annual leave and recovering from illness, the media have been constantly camped outside our home. [Read more…]


Mark Latham (ALP-Werriwa) – Maiden Speech

Mark Latham was elected as the ALP member for Werriwa at a by-election on January 29, 1994.

Latham replaced John Kerin, a former minister in the Hawke and Keating governments, in the seat once held by Labor prime minister Gough Whitlam.

A western Sydney seat, Werriwa has been held exclusively by the ALP since 1934.

Prior to entering parliament, Latham was a Councillor on Liverpool Council and Mayor from 1991-94. He previously worked as a research assistant to Gough Whitlam. [Read more…]


Gough Whitlam (ALP-Werriwa) – Maiden Speech

This is the text of Gough Whitlam’s maiden speech to the House of Representatives as the ALP member for Werriwa.

Whitlam entered the House at a by-election on November 29, 1952, following the death of the previous member, Hubert (‘Bert’) Lazzarini, who had held the seat since 1919.

In a two-candidate contest, Whitlam secured a 12.4% swing, winning with 67.5% of the primary vote, a record margin. It was an early sign of Whitlam’s vote-pulling power.

Whitlam defeated the Liberal Party’s Ian Griffith (1925-92), who went on to represent Sutherland and then Cronulla in the NSW Legislative Assembly, and served as Chief Secretary in the Askin and Willis governments (1972-75)

For his maiden speech, Whitlam spoke on the Supply Bill. [Read more…]