It now appears likely that the Liberal-Nationals coalition will hold 90 seats in the House of Representatives, as Labor’s position deteriorates in several undecided electorates.
The ALP’s position in Barton, Eden-Monaro and McEwen has worsened over the past two days of counting. The ALP is behind by 643 votes in Barton, 591 votes in Eden-Monaro and 116 votes in McEwen.
However, in the Queensland seat of Capricornia, the ALP remains ahead and has stretched its lead to 268 votes. Capricornia and McEwen are now the only results in serious doubt.
In Reid, the ALP’s position has worsened since Monday and it is now 928 votes behind. It is 722 votes behind in Dobell. Both seats are now presumed to be Liberal gains.
The ALP began the election with 72 seats. It has lost 14 seats so far: Bass, Braddon, Lyons, Deakin, La Trobe, Corangamite, Hindmarsh, Petrie, Dobell, Robertson, Page, Lindsay, Banks and Reid. If it holds Capricornia but loses Barton, Eden-Monaro and McEwen it will finish up with 55 seats in the House of Representatives, or 36.66% of the total.
This would constitute the ALP’s 10th worst defeat in the 41 federal elections held since 1910. It did worse in terms of seats at the elections of 1934, 1919, 1996, 1966, 1925, 1977, 1917, 1975 and 1931.
The interest on the Coalition side now centres on Indi and Fairfax. Clive Palmer is now 1,411 votes ahead of his LNP rival in Fairfax. His lead has been quite stable since Monday and he now seems certain to win.
In Indi, the independent Cathy McGowan is 1,449 votes ahead and now seems assured of victory. Her lead was consolidated yesterday after the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) corrected a clerical error which had seen 1000 votes incorrectly given to the Liberal incumbent, Sophie Mirabella.
Whilst the clerical error may seem like sloppy work on the part of the AEC, its rectification is in fact a tribute to the fail-safe measures the Commission has in place. By reconciling the number of ballot papers issued with those returned and monitoring Senate numbers, clerical errors are quickly identified.
The Coalition began with 73 seats. It has gained the 14 seats listed above, plus the formerly independent electorates of New England and Lyne. If we assume it has lost Fairfax and Indi, but won Barton, Eden-Monaro and McEwen, it will have 90 seats in the new House.
Sophie Mirabella will have the dubious distinction of being the only incumbent Coalition MP to be defeated.