Can You Help?

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.


Become a Patron!


Mike Baird Announces Resignation As NSW Premier

Mike Baird, the Liberal Premier of New South Wales, has announced that he is retiring.

Baird

Baird has been Premier since April 17, 2014, when he replaced Barry O’Farrell, who fell victim to an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry.

Baird took the coalition government to its second successive victory at the election on March 28, 2015.

Recent controversies, especially the proposed banning of dog racing, have impacted on the government’s popularity. It lost a by-election in Orange to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party last year.

Gladys Berejiklian is Baird’s most likely replacement. She is currently deputy leader, Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations.

The next premier will be the seventh in twelve years. Labor’s Bob Carr was the last premier to serve a full term. He retired in 2005.

At a press conference in Sydney, a tearful Baird said: “My father and my mother and my sister are going through a very serious health challenge…at times I have been in pain.”

He went on to say: “I didn’t want to become a career politician. I wanted to go as hard as I could for as long as I could and then step aside.” He denied he was cutting and running, citing his three years as Treasurer and three as Premier. He said he made the decision to resign in the last couple of weeks.


Final Two-Party Figures: Coalition Won 2016 Election With 50.36%; Swing To Labor Of 3.13%

Final figures published by the Australian Electoral Commission show that the Coalition won the 2016 federal election with 50.36% of the two-party-preferred vote.

The Liberal-Nationals coalition polled 50.36% of the national two-party-preferred vote. The ALP received 49.64%. There was a 3.13% swing to the ALP nationally, a near reversal of the 3.61% swing to the Coalition in the 2013 election.

Every state and territory recorded a swing against the Coalition. The largest swing was 7.41% in the Northern Territory. The smallest was 1.22% in the Australian Capital Territory. [Read more…]


So When Will The Next Election Be Held?

The Parliamentary Library has published a research paper setting out Federal, State and Local election dates over the next few years.

According to the paper, the earliest possible date for a joint House of Representatives and half-Senate election is August 4, 2018. The last possible date for such an election is May 18, 2019. Assuming no unforeseen events, the next federal election is almost certain to fall between these dates.

The last possible date for a double dissolution is May 4, 2019. A double dissolution of the parliament cannot be called later than February 27, 2019.

The paper shows that there will only be two state or territory elections over the next eighteen months: in the ACT on October 15, 2016 and in Western Australia on March 11, 2017. [Read more…]


2016 Senate Votes: A Higher But Fragmented Vote For Minor And Micro Parties

Aside from the Coalition, ALP and Greens, 47 parties contested the Senate at July’s double dissolution election.

Just 8 of the 47 parties polled above 1% nationally. Five of these 8 parties elected senators: Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (4 senators), Nick Xenophon Team (3), Liberal Democrats (1), Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party (1) and Family First (1). The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, the Christian Democrats and the Animal Justice Party did not elect any of their candidates.

There were 39 parties that nominated candidates in at least one state or territory but failed to poll above 0.74%. Fourteen failed to even reach 0.1% nationally and did only marginally better in individual states. Another 25 polled between 0.14%-0.74%.

The Jacqui Lambie Network was the only party in the latter group that managed to elect a senator. Lambie polled just 0.50% nationally, but she only ran candidates in three states and polled a full quota in her own right in Tasmania. With 8.30% of the vote, Lambie won a place in the first group of senators who will receive six-year terms.

The election of Derryn Hinch in Victoria is somewhat comparable to Lambie. His party only polled 1.93% nationally, and less than 1% in all states except Victoria, where Hinch secured election off a primary base of 6.05%.

The combined Coalition-ALP-Greens vote was 73.62%, down 2.85% from the 2013 result. This delivered 65 of the 76 Senate positions (85.5%) to these three groups.

The remaining 26.38% of the vote was split between 47 parties. These parties won the remaining 11 seats (14.4%).

Independent and ungrouped candidates below-the-line received just 0.18% of the vote.

The figures in the table below are consistent with the previous election. In 2013, there were 46 parties that polled less than 1% each.

The overall proportion of the vote flowing to the Coalition, ALP and Greens fell once again at the 2016 election. It fuels the argument that voters are disillusioned with the major parties and looking for alternatives. However, the figures indicate that this is a simplistic analysis.

Voters have failed to coalesce around more than a handful of minor and micro parties. Outside the top 11 groups, the votes for other parties are derisory. The so-called fragmentation of support for the major political groups is more than matched by a fragmented voter rebellion.

Group voting tickets were abolished for this election. Without them, all but a handful of parties were incapable of winning seats. Those elected more closely represent the parties with the highest primary votes. The Family First party in South Australia elected Bob Day from the lowest primary vote of 2.87%. [Read more…]


The New Senate: The Defeated, The Retired, The New And The Returning

There will be 14 new faces in the new Senate when it meets for the first time on August 30.

This represents 18.42% of the Senate’s 76 members. Each state has 12 senators, whilst the territories have 2 each, who serve terms concurrent with the House of Representatives. The double dissolution meant that all 76 positions were up for election on July 2.

The fourteen new senators include two (Louise Pratt and Don Farrell) who were Labor senators defeated in 2013.

Ten of the fourteen departed senators were defeated in the election, whilst four retired. [Read more…]


Government And ALP Agree On Senate Terms; First Elected To Get 6 Years

It was reported today that the government and the ALP have agreed on the allocation of terms for the new Senate.

The reports say the Coalition and the ALP have agreed that the first six elected in each state will get 6-year terms, whilst the last six will get three-year terms. This is the procedure that has been adopted following previous double dissolutions.

The ALP and the Coalition easily have the numbers to impose this decision on the Senate. Its effect is to give six-year terms to a majority of senators from the Coalition (16 of 28), ALP (13 of 24) and Nick Xenophon Team (2 of 3).

Pauline Hanson and Jacqui Lambie will also get six-year terms. Both polled a Senate quota in their own right.

Only three of the Greens’ nine senators will receive six-year terms. Each of them – Richard Di Natale (Vic), Scott Ludlam (WA) and Peter Whish-Wilson (Tas) – represents a state where the Greens won two places. The other six senators, one in each state, will all face the electorate before June 2019. This means it is all but impossible for the Greens to increase their overall numbers at the next election. Instead, they will face the danger of losing incumbents. [Read more…]


One Nation Wins Another Seat In NSW; Coalition Loses One More, Leyonhjelm Returns; Crossbench Grows To 20

The Senate results for New South Wales were finalised and announced this morning.

The Coalition retained 5 of its 6 senators, the ALP 4, the Greens 1 and Liberal Democrats 1. The final place was taken by One Nation.

The final composition of the Senate is now:

  • Coalition 30 (-3)
  • ALP 26 (+1)
  • Greens 9 (-1)
  • One Nation 4 (+4)
  • Nick Xenophon Team 3 (+2)
  • Liberal Democrats 1 (-)
  • Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party 1 (+1)
  • Family First 1 (-)
  • Jacqui Lambie Network 1 (-)
  • TOTAL = 76

The Coalition polled 35.85% of the primary vote and secured the re-election of its 5 senators – Marise Payne, Arthur Sinodinos, Fiona Nash (Nats), Connie Fierravanti-Wells and John Williams (Nats).

The Coalition has failed to replace Bill Heffernan, who retired at the election. Hollie Hughes, who at one stage threatened the Fierravanti-Wells’ position, has not been elected.

The ALP polled 31.28%, enough to return its 4 incumbent senators: Sam Dastyari, Jenny McAllister, Deborah O’Neill and Doug Cameron.

The Greens polled 7.41%, re-electing Lee Rhiannon to a second term.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation polled 4.10% of the vote and elected Brian Burston. His election means that One Nation will have 4 senators in the new parliament.

The Liberal Democrats secured the re-election of David Leyonhjelm, off a primary vote of 3.09%. [Read more…]


How Well Did Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Do In The Federal Election?

The tables on this page show the level of electoral support for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation at the 2016 federal election.

NOTE: This page has been updated with final figures from all House seats and Senate elections. See the updated page HERE.

Hanson

One Nation ran 15 candidates in the House of Representatives, 12 in Queensland and 3 in NSW. It ran a Senate ticket in each State but not in the territories.

Nationally, One Nation polled 4.26% in the Senate, including 9.03% in Queensland, where Pauline Hanson has been elected a senator. A Senate quota is 7.7% of the primary vote in a double dissolution election. Hanson secured 1.17 quotas and will win on primary votes alone. She will return to the Parliament for the first time since she lost the seat of Oxley in 1998. She won Oxley as a disendorsed Liberal candidate in 1996.

In the House of Representatives, One Nation polled 1.28% nationally and 5.48% in Queensland. Even though it only contested 12 seats, it polled the fourth highest proportion of the primary vote in Queensland, behind the LNP (43.15%), the ALP (31.43%) and the Greens (8.51%). Family First and Katter’s Australian Party took the next two places. [Read more…]


Election Nominations: Three MPs Who Blundered Their Way Out Of Parliament

Nominations for the 2016 federal election close at noon today.

On such a day, I always give a thought to some famous examples of sitting MPs who forgot to nominate in time and ended up out of parliament.

It is all but impossible for a federal candidate for a political party to fail to nominate these days. Group nominations can be submitted by the parties on behalf of individual candidates two days before the final close of nominations.

2002 – Dr. Robert Dean

DeanDean, then 50, was the Liberal shadow treasurer in Victoria. He had been the Liberal member for Berwick since 1992, Following a redistribution, he nominated in the seat of Gembrook and claimed an enrolment address in Berwick, a property he had previously rented.

The Victorian Electoral Commission ruled he was ineligible to stand because he had been struck off the roll when the Commission established he was not living at the Berwick address.

Dean, in fact, lived in Hawthorn, some considerable distance from Gembrook. [Read more…]


COAG Discussions Focus On Terrorism, Federation And Taxation

The Council of Australian Governments met in Canberra and discussed a range of issues, including terrorism, reform of the Federation and the taxation system.

COAG

The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, held a joint press conference following the meeting. He was accompanied by Premiers Baird, Napthine, Newman, Barnett, Weatherill and Hodgman, as well as the Territory Chief Ministers Gallagher and Giles. Felicity-Ann Lewis represented Local Government. [Read more…]