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This website is in imminent danger of being shut down. It has been online since 1995, but the personal circumstances of the owner, Malcolm Farnsworth, are such that economies have to be made. Server costs and suchlike have become prohibitive. At the urging of people online, I have agreed to see if Patreon provides a solution. More information is available at the Patreon website. If you are able to contribute even $1.00/month to keep the site running, please click the Patreon button below.

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After July 2, When Will The Next Election Be Held?

The July 2 election will be held just 2 years, 9 months and 25 days since the last election on September 7, 2013.

But the 45th Parliament we elect on July 2 won’t make it to three years either. In fact, it could easily be shorter than the 44th.

The double dissolution election that the Prime Minister is expected to formally initiate tomorrow will be held on a date redolent with constitutional and electoral ramifications.

The government has had a trigger for a double dissolution election since June 2014, when the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (Abolition) Bill 2013 [No.2] was rejected by the Senate for the second time. Two more triggers were provided on April 18, 2016, when the Senate rejected the Building and Construction Commission legislation.

Why is the Election Being Held on July 2?

Turnbull did not have to wait for July. He could have held a double dissolution election in March, April or May of this year. He could have held one in October, November or December last year. [Read more…]

The Myth Of The Ten-Week Election Campaign In 1984

A popular view of the 1984 Federal Election is that Bob Hawke and the ALP suffered a swing against them because of the “long ten-week campaign”.

In just the past few weeks, as speculation about Malcolm Turnbull’s intentions has grown, the claim has been made repeatedly.


Monash University academic Nick Economou said Hawke “called an election that ran for ten weeks”.

The estimable William Bowe, in Crikey, referred to “the 10-week marathon” in 1984.

Writing in Fairfax Media, Michael Gordon discussed “Bob Hawke’s experience in 1984, when he went into a 10-week campaign with soaring approval ratings and suffered a 2 per cent swing and lost a swag of seats.” [Read more…]

Jingoistic, Xenophobic, Protectionist: Bill Shorten’s March To The Fringe In Speech To Submarine Workers

Disregarding the ALP’s role in developing a modern and open trading economy, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has taken the low road of jingoism and protection in a speech to submarine workers in Adelaide.


Shorten spoke to workers in Adelaide, following reports that the National Security Committee of Cabinet is set to replace the Collins class submarine fleet with a new “off-the-shelf” Japanese vessel. He accused the government of lying to workers. [Read more…]

Carbon Tax Repeal Bill Defeated In Senate As Palmer Squabbles With Government Over Amendments

The Senate has rejected an Abbott government bill to repeal the carbon tax.


A combination of ALP, Greens and Palmer United Party senators, supported by Motoring Enthusiast Senator Ricky Muir, voted 37-35 to defeat the bill that would have abolished the carbon tax.

The bill failed due to a breakdown in negotiations between the government and the Palmer United Party. Palmer wanted the legislation to mandate that power savings be passed on to consumers. In the end, the amendment moved by Palmer was judged to be a tax that the Senate had no power to introduce. [Read more…]

The Result Of Clive Palmer’s Al Gore Stunt: Carbon Tax Abolished, ETS Dead

The cynicism of today’s stunt by Clive Palmer became clear late tonight as the Palmer United Party leader confirmed that his senators will vote for the abolition of the carbon tax and the emissions trading scheme.


Earlier today, Palmer called for the establishment of an emissions trade scheme (ETS) that would only come into force once China, the United States, the European Union, Japan and Korea had also taken action to establish similar schemes. International action of this order is all but impossible to imagine. [Read more…]

Terri Butler Wins Griffith By-Election For ALP; Status Quo Result Sees 0.68% Swing To Liberals

Terri Butler will become the new Labor member for Griffith, following her by-election victory in the Brisbane-based electorate vacated by former prime minister Kevin Rudd.


At the close of counting tonight, Butler had recorded a two-party-preferred vote of 52.33%. This is a swing against the ALP of 0.68% since the September 2013 general election. [Read more…]

The Malcolm Mackerras Six And The Question Of How To Define A Landslide

In a weekend newspaper article, the well-known psephologist and election analyst, Malcolm Mackerras, argued that there have been only six federal election “landslide” victories.

In his article, Mackerras nominated the six elections as: 1917, 1929, 1931, 1943, 1966 and 1975.

Mackerras quite rightly objected to the idea that “every second federal election” is a landslide. He described the 2013 election as a “respectable loss” for the ALP but not worthy of being called a landslide.

He said: “However, I have a more rigorous definition, the details of which I have not the space to elaborate now.”

How To Define “Landslide”

I would suggest two essential election statistics as criteria for defining a landslide:

  1. The proportion of House of Representatives seats held by the winning party or parties.
  2. The national two-party-preferred vote achieved by the winning party or parties.

The primary vote achieved by the election winners is also of some interest but since our system of compulsory preferential voting always provides us with a national figure of combined primary and preferred votes the primary vote alone doesn’t necessarily mean much. [Read more…]

The New Senate Numbers And The Abbott Government

As counting of the 2013 federal election winds down, the Senate election result is now clear.

There is a small chance of change in Western Australia where the Greens have asked for a recount following Scott Ludlam’s defeat.

Because of the fixed terms of the Senate, it will be another nine months before the complexion of the Senate changes. Current senators remain in place until June 30, 2014.

The current numbers are:

The Current Senate – until June 30, 2014
Party/Group No.
D.L.P. (Madigan)
Independent (Xenophon)

In this configuration, the Greens hold the balance of power. The Greens-ALP combination has a blocking majority. It ensures that Abbott government legislation to repeal the carbon pricing arrangements and the mining tax will most likely be rejected by the Senate.

This will be the state of the parties in the Senate after July 1, 2014:

The New Senate – from July 1, 2014
Party/Group No.
Palmer United Party
D.L.P. (Madigan)
Liberal Democrats (Leyonhjelm)
Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party (Muir)
Family First (Day)
Independent (Xenophon)


In this configuration, the ALP-Greens combination becomes less important and power shifts to a collection of minor groups and independents. [Read more…]

Of Votes And Bodies: The Labor Party’s Election Defeat

by Malcolm Farnsworth

There’s votes and there’s bodies.

In Saturday’s election, the ALP ended up with more bodies than it thought it would. Members who were written off or deemed at risk just three months ago have survived the election.

Think, for example, of Jason Clare, Chris Bowen, Laurie Ferguson, Ed Husic, Matt Thistlethwaite, Mark Dreyfus, Alan Griffin, Anna Burke, Graham Perrett, Kate Ellis, Gary Gray and Warren Snowdon. They are some of the saved furniture. Some of it is tatty, some of it has lustre, but it has survived.

That’s why the relief in the ALP is palpable. Bodies matter. MPs have staff, offices and facilities. They are an essential part of the infrastructure a political party needs to wage war with its opponents.

Whatever the Gillard apologists might say – and they were out in force over the weekend – the ALP was heading for the loss of 30-40 seats in June.

In Melbourne in May the massive swing against the ALP in a state by-election where the Liberals didn’t even run a candidate drew attention to what was happening in the electorate. In some areas, the swings were over 20%. The smarties denied that a state by-election warranted federal comparisons but people on the ground knew better. [Read more…]

It’s Over: Defeat Looms For The Rudd Government

by Malcolm Farnsworth

After Kevin Rudd’s return to the prime ministership on June 27, and throughout July, I told anyone who asked that I thought the electoral psychology of Rudd’s revival wasn’t clear. I wanted to wait until the end of July to see what the polls revealed.

It seems clear now that the country breathed a sigh of relief that Gillard was gone. The electorate was also prepared to give Rudd a chance to show his stuff. There was a general sense of excitement that we now had a contest. [Read more…]