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August 21, 2010 4:44 PM   Subscribe

In what seems to be a growing trend, Australian voters have spoken a resounding "meh". Rejecting both major parties, the most likely result of yesterday's election is a hung parliament.
posted by coriolisdave (187 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
I voted to string Bill Shorten and Paul Howes up on telegraph poles. Well hung indeed.
posted by peacay at 4:52 PM on August 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Live election results for the House and the Senate.
posted by Ritchie at 4:57 PM on August 21, 2010


Every time I saw Paul Howe's face I wanted to hit something. ‎"Julia ran an extraordinarily good campaign" Why yes, compared to Hitler's campaign on the eastern front it was a masterful display of discernment, judgment, and razor-sharp strategy.

I predict another election - if not a DD in more than 12, but less than 18 months.
posted by smoke at 5:07 PM on August 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


What's a DD?
posted by cthuljew at 5:08 PM on August 21, 2010


We have no facts yet. Could this not have waited a few more hours? It should have.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:12 PM on August 21, 2010


DD=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_dissolution
posted by antiquark at 5:14 PM on August 21, 2010


A hung parliament is a serious rebuke to a Prime Minister without a penis.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:15 PM on August 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Abbott declaring victory for not losing is somewhat annoying.
posted by antiquark at 5:15 PM on August 21, 2010


Wouldn't have made any difference fff. It'll be days before anyone can say with confidence who is going to form the next government.

DD: Double Dissolution, cthuljew.
posted by Ritchie at 5:16 PM on August 21, 2010


I don't know if "meh" is the right characterisation of the election so much as "a pox on both your houses". Although the 5% informal vote (holy cow!!) is 10 times as big as the 0.5% margin I'm not sure it was (just) apathy rather than frustration. I think the greens comparatively massive primary vote suggests people being frustrated with policy, not just the shambles that was leadership spill and the campaign. Labor lost more votes to the left than they did to the right.
posted by adamt at 5:18 PM on August 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I find it interesting that the UK, Canada and now Australia are dealing with minority government issues. Is it just "the times" or is it a sign that the major parties in these Westminster systems have to man up and accept proportional representation as a way of creating more effective governments?
posted by zadcat at 5:28 PM on August 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Besides, this was a halfassed gun-jumping election. It kind of merits a halfassed gun-jumping fpp (no offense meant coriolisdave - you did what had to be done).

Abbott declaring victory for not losing is somewhat annoying.

Tony Abbott is in many ways a remarkable man. Whatever the opposite of charisma is, Tony has it in spades. The fact that he's made it this far is a testament to the low regard Australians have for political office in general, and the prime ministership in particular.
posted by Ritchie at 5:28 PM on August 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


MeTa
posted by five fresh fish at 5:33 PM on August 21, 2010


zadcat, I'm always reluctant to spot a trend when historical specifities will do the job just fine, but having said that: I - in Australia and the UK at any rate - think the two major parties remained mired in their nineteenth centuries beginnings - beggings based on the capitalism of the time and built strongly on class, class based on hard demographic data at that.

In the twenty-first century, when class is more (though not wholly) a form of identity politics rather than an immutable demographic label, the barriers and identifications the two major parties are based on starts to break down.

The populace has become more a mass of pluralities - somewhat atomised - and I think our political systems are yet to catch up. The age of mass politics as we had heretofore defined it is fading I think.

Faced with this disjunction, voters feel unrepresented, disillusioned, resentful, and confused. Interesting times.
posted by smoke at 5:44 PM on August 21, 2010


It was the best possible outcome. Labor might learn a lesson, Rudd is hopefully finished - no way he can be rewarded for leaking during the campaign - so he can take his supercilious smile and bizarre personality off to a back bench then retire to a UN committee.

If Abbot manages to take government - then he can see how easy it is to deal with an obstructionist senate - 10 greens, that's huge. Fielding, the arch twit of Australian politics is gone - so clearly god doesn't vote. And Tucky might be no more - and well that's fantastic.

If Gillard takes government - we might just start to see some progressive policies fly - and maybe, just maybe the can stop being so utterly risk averse - and sickening.

But probably not.
posted by the noob at 5:52 PM on August 21, 2010


Noob there's still no evidence it was Rudd. Having spent a bit of time working in and around this area, let me assure you that - despite the "there were only three people in the room" lines, there would easily be 50, quite plausibly 100 people, maybe even more, who would have had access to the information that leaked. It could quite easily have not been an MP, or even someone in the party.
posted by smoke at 5:58 PM on August 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


We have our first hung parliament WWII, the first indigenous MP, the youngest ever MP, the first Greens MP elected at a general election, and the bizarre prospect of Bob Katter holding balance of power in one house, and Bob Brown holding it in the other. Even ignoring the bizarre lead up to this election, it's quite possible, FFF, that there's a lot of facts here. After what Kerry O'Brien called the most remarkable night of politics in his memory, Australian MeFi-ites might very well want a thread on this topic. I suspect you might have a similar feeling if Canada had had a night like that, yes?
posted by mixing at 6:01 PM on August 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


Smoke - he leaked - and if he didn't he knew who did.
posted by the noob at 6:04 PM on August 21, 2010


I would prefer the breaking news end before we begin to analyze it. This isn't the immanization of the eschaton.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:06 PM on August 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


before we begin to analyze it

Even in Canada, pity.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:07 PM on August 21, 2010


May we live in interesting times.

Also, IN YOUR FACE, FAMILY FIRST, LOL.
posted by Jimbob at 6:07 PM on August 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Smoke - he leaked

Looking forward to your evidence, then.
posted by smoke at 6:08 PM on August 21, 2010


My biggest disappointment of the election: the P&F of the school where I go to vote wasn't running a cake stall this year. I picked up some delicious lamingtons in '07.
posted by Five O'Clock at 6:10 PM on August 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Jimbob, I think we can ALL drink to that.
posted by coriolisdave at 6:11 PM on August 21, 2010


I would prefer the breaking news end before we begin to analyze it.

Perhaps, but a brief inspection of how many MeFi posts tagged with election are actually related to breaking news, regardless of country of origin, it doesn't seem like everyone agrees with you. And, in all honesty, I think it might be best if the Australian MeFi-ites form our own opinion about what posts we'd like to see about our elections. If you don't like the idea, you don't have to read about it. It's very easy to not read things.

Anyway, back on topic...

That 5% informal voting rate is incredible. If you assume that the number of incorrect-but-not-blank ballots is similar to last election (I can't imagine why we'd have more people making mistakes on the ballot), then the implication of the AEC's comments is that maybe 3% of people deliberately voted informal. That's a tripling of the 1% rate from last time. I'd say it's unbelievable, except I totally believe that.
posted by mixing at 6:20 PM on August 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


Mixing the time I've spent in tally rooms leads me to think that there were a lot of ballots with "fuck you" messages to specific politicians/parties written alongside votes. A lot of people don't realise that this can invalidate your vote, especially depending on the ratio of party invigilators in the room.
posted by smoke at 6:29 PM on August 21, 2010


FIAMO, fishy.. FIAMO. Particularly the "MO" bit. Thanks.
posted by coriolisdave at 6:31 PM on August 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Looking forward to your evidence, then.

I am sorry to say that I don't have any. But the opinion on the non-silly members of the gallery - and labor itself is that he leaked. There is no opinion the other way True- there was suggestion that it was Tanner. Regardless- it was hugely damaging and a massive distraction.
posted by the noob at 6:33 PM on August 21, 2010


Is it just ‘the times’

Making the UK election "The meh heard round the world."
posted by XMLicious at 6:38 PM on August 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I find it interesting that the UK, Canada and now Australia are dealing with minority government issues.

You could add the US to that list if you include the Bush-Gore election, which was also a 50-50 result. I think voters realize it's become a case of electing Tweedledum or Tweedledee. There is a sense that politicians are not the ones in charge anyway -- it's their puppetmasters.
posted by binturong at 6:40 PM on August 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks smoke. I didn't realise that this could be used as a reason to invalidate the ballot. On my (entirely naive) reading of the AEC website, writing messages on the ballot paper shouldn't legally invalidate the vote, unless it identifies the voter. IS this an "in theory versus in practice" difference, or are there other rules that aren't referred to on that page?
posted by mixing at 6:41 PM on August 21, 2010


On my (entirely naive) reading of the AEC website, writing messages on the ballot paper shouldn't legally invalidate the vote, unless it identifies the voter. IS this an "in theory versus in practice" difference

You're exactly right, on both counts. It shouldn't, but it's often used as an excuse, hence the reason invigilators from parties become so important. Some will try to invalidate those votes (if it's in their interest) by arguing that it's obscuring the vote in some way, and those from the other side will be doing their darndest to include them.

Invigilators don't generally make a huge difference, but in a close-run seat where it's down to a few hundred votes they can literally make the difference between win and lose.
posted by smoke at 6:48 PM on August 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Also, to be fair, voters are stupid, and sometimes their little fuck you message really does obscure their vote. :S
posted by smoke at 6:48 PM on August 21, 2010


FFF, what was it you intended to link to?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:49 PM on August 21, 2010


Crikey interprets the swing to the Greens as a fundamental movement in the the electorate to the left. I wish I could agree. I'm pretty sure the answer lies much more in Labor moving to the right.
posted by Jimbob at 6:56 PM on August 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


For some reason I think it was the Julian Assange rape warrant fpp currently being discussed in MeTa.
posted by Ritchie at 6:58 PM on August 21, 2010


Dear Australia:

Welcome to the club.

Love,

Her other Realms and Territories
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:01 PM on August 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I came to the belief that Alistair Jordan was the source of the leak. He would've had the information and he had a pretty big motive. From powerful senior staffer with the ear of the Prime Minister to nothing.

And I'm not sure there's a big difference between having 10 greens or 4 greens in the Senate. It says something for how Australians are trending, but as far as the PM having to deal with the greens it's more binomial. Brown has the balance of power (as predicted), and he will use it exactly the same way as he would have done with a narrower hold.
posted by kisch mokusch at 7:03 PM on August 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jimbob, for symmetry The Washington Examiner (it's always interesting to see how these things are being viewed overseas) is interpreting it as a move to the right. But I suspect you're correct, it wasn't the people who moved, it was the parties.
posted by adamt at 7:03 PM on August 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Albanese possibly gone? Too. Damn. Weird.
posted by Jimbob at 7:05 PM on August 21, 2010


I was scrutineering in Grayndler last night after handing out HTVs there (and as a partial consequence am hung over as hell).

My interpretation of the high informals: largely people voting #1 then leaving the rest of the ballot blank, which is a perfectly formal vote at the State level. We need national standards for formality. There were only one or two graffiti ballots and I argued them into the count where they had voted as well.

My interpretation of the result: this country's finally gone around the fucking bend—it's not 'meh' so much as furious, passionate dissociation at a massive level. Anybody can freely interpret the result in any way according to their own previously held prejudices.

Also, bring me the head of Karl Bitar.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 7:06 PM on August 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well, lets split the difference. Clearly a lot of people went left, to the Greens. And a lot of people went right, to the Liberals. Fun fun fun.
posted by Jimbob at 7:09 PM on August 21, 2010


Yes, let's agree to disagree, and united, as one nation, line up to cockpunch Paul Howes.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 7:11 PM on August 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Albanese possibly gone? Too. Damn. Weird.

And thank fuck for that. Interesting times indeed.

Also, bring me the head of Karl Bitar - I don't think you will have long to wait
posted by the noob at 7:12 PM on August 21, 2010


Paul Howes. That syphilitic mongrel. I can't believe he's only 28. I thought he was like 40.

Best analysis of the evening came from Maxine.
posted by smoke at 7:19 PM on August 21, 2010


This potentially hung parliament is an astounding and excellent situation for rural Australians. The three elected House of Reps independents - Windsor, Oakeshott and Katter - are from rural/regional electorates. Despite some all of their obvious differences - Windsor is an experienced and well respected politician, Katter is an experienced nutter - they are all active supporters of the National Broadband Network (NBN) which is a Labor policy that will be abandoned by a Liberal government. The NBN is vital communications infrastructure and rural Australians will be poorly disadvantaged without it.

And into this mix of independents comes the possible election of independent (ex-Greens) Andrew Wilke...
"a former soldier and intelligence analyst who resigned from the Office of National Assessments (ONA), an Australian intelligence agency, in March 2003 over concerns that intelligence was being misrepresented for political purposes in making the case for Australia's contribution to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. ... In 2004, Wilkie published Axis of Deceit, an account of the reasons for his decision and its results. He describes his views on the nature of intelligence agencies and the analyst's work, the history of the Iraq war, the untruths of politicians, and the attempts to suppress the truth."
Reading briefly on his policies I think it is fair to assume that Wilke is a man of integrity with a sense of social responsibility.

Interesting times indeed!
posted by Kerasia at 7:22 PM on August 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Who was the woman with the dark hair on ABC last night? This was on the panel with Tony Jones as moderator. She was a bit obnoxious.
posted by naturesgreatestmiracle at 7:30 PM on August 21, 2010


Who was the woman with the dark hair on ABC last night? This was on the panel with Tony Jones as moderator. She was a bit obnoxious.


Concetta Fierravanti-Wells
posted by the noob at 7:34 PM on August 21, 2010


Canada is a little different than the meh of Aus and the UK, in that the minority governments of the past 7 or 8 years are a result of regional/ethnic politics more than anything else. Without Quebec, neither party (Liberal or Conservative) has a hope of gaining a majority:

Lib = 35%
Con = 35%
NDP (Socialist) = 15%
BQ (Quebec) = 15%

Very generally speaking, the Tories represent the West, the Liberals represent Toronto and much of the Maritimes, the NDP represent a few urban ridings, and the BQ represents Quebec (although Gilles Duceppe seems to be the most reasonable and charismatic of any of the Federal leaders).

Things may change with planned changes to seat arrangements in the House of Commons that will dilute Quebec's power.

If the Greens ever elect a real leader, or figure out how to work together as a coherent party, they may gain better traction, but they've lost 3000 members since the last election.

Regionalism is the real reason for Canada's democratic woes, rather than dissatisfaction with politics (although that plays a part).
posted by KokuRyu at 7:51 PM on August 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


There was a ~9% informal vote for the lower house at the polling station I was working at, the bulk of which were people who only voted for their first preference. The rest were blank, apart from a few voted for Madonna or Kevin Rudd, and one guy who bought his own permanent marker to write "informal" all over his vote.

It was a bit depressing, having specifically explained to every single person I gave a ballot paper that they needed to fill in all the boxes. I'm guessing a lot was due to language barriers: we really needed at least one Cantonese speaker.

Be interesting to see what the final result will be, though it's hard to believe that any of the current options will create a functioning government.
posted by kjs4 at 7:55 PM on August 21, 2010


Best analysis of the evening came from Maxine

Seems like a real shame that she did not win her seat - she seems like a real asset to Australian politics.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:00 PM on August 21, 2010


I'm reading the result as an attitude that Australians don't feel that they can trust either major party to govern responsibly.

I was volunteering for GetUp at a marginal seat, in a booth in a lower-income area: lots of bogans (not the cashed up variety), lots of Aboriginals, a sprinkling of migrants, quite a few disabled people, lots of pensioners. They showed a reasonable interest in our issues scorecard, and we had quite a few people *only* take the GetUp flyer, refusing anything else offered to them.

I was appalled at the attitude of the volunteers for the parties: at least one from each group had a whinge to me about how stupid voters are, how they don't know how to vote in their own interest, they're all cattle or ignorant or whatever. And that includes the fella handing out Greens HTVs - people asked him policy questions, and he just had snappy comebacks for them, not real answers. Another Greens volunteer was much better, actually engaging people if they seemed interested, but she wasn't there during the busy part of the day.

And that to me explains exactly why we have a hung parliament now. If you want to win votes, you might want to hide your contempt for the voters.
posted by harriet vane at 8:49 PM on August 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


I would prefer the breaking news end before we begin to analyze it. This isn't the immanization of the eschaton.

Yes, we worked that out from your first strangely italicised comment and its follow-up that linked to nowhere. Now feel free to fuck off and come back when there are enough facts to suit you.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:52 PM on August 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Albanese possibly gone? Too. Damn. Weird.

Two seats that were once a Liberal/Labor TCP (two candidate preferred) are now a Labor/Green TCP. The AEC has recently lodged a note on their official results website: "Note for Grayndler and Batman: The indicative TCP settings on Polling night were ALP/LP, however these appear to be incorrect. The TCP has been redetermined as ALP/GRN, and fresh scrutiny of these votes commencing Monday 23 August will incorporate a TCP count to these candidates."

This is another sign that this is an extraordinary election. It is as far from a 'meh' situation as you can get.
posted by Kerasia at 9:16 PM on August 21, 2010


naturesgreatestmiracle: "Who was the woman with the dark hair on ABC last night? This was on the panel with Tony Jones as moderator. She was a bit obnoxious."

the noob: "Concetta Fierravanti-Wells"

And, to answer the second part: yes.

(If you're interested, but not from NSW &/or unfamiliar with her political history, the minutes from the Senate committees she's been on [e.g. Estimates] make enlightening reading. Summary version: she's so far to the right of the spectrum she could probably turn to her left and wave goodbye to Andrew Bolt on the horizon…)

As mentioned above, it's interesting to see the % of Green vote roughly double right across Australia. Overall, it looks like there's been a move away from the centre to a more polarised Left / Right split, which in turn has benefited the Coalition - the Right effectively has a single party to encompass a wide(r) range of beliefs, while the left of Labor has fallen off the edge and been gathered up by the Greens. Given that, a slight move to the right (~1.8% nationally) seems to have pushed the Libs & Nats to outright victory in a few cases, with more picked up due to the flow of minor preferences.

As much as anything worries me (i.e. not much) about politics, that polarisation towards extremes does.

Anecdata: After voting yesterday I chatted to a retired neighbour, a dyed-in-the-wool Liberal man and ex-Party-member. He voted Labor for the first time in his life. Later, I was at a party full of nominally Labor-voting teachers. Every single one of them voted Greens. This, in the state that was allegedly going to swing hard right due to the knifing of "our" Kevin Rudd and the cock-ups of our Labor state government.

(And despite not at all agreeing with him, I don't believe Katter is crazy like many people think; certainly not at a Tuckey or even Fielding level. His public persona may come across as loopy - but I have no doubt he's actually quite smart, and understanding and responsive to his electorate. People I know who've dealt with him professionally tell me he actually seeks out more knowledgeable people for advice, and even listens (gasp!) to them. Which, ideology aside, seems to me like exactly the kind of person you want as a representative…)
posted by Pinback at 9:19 PM on August 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sorry to lower the tone, but: did anyone else notice that the Australian Sex Party had the G spot on the senate form?
posted by twirlypen at 9:28 PM on August 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


An interesting result.

Even at this stage I don't feel comfortable predicting how this is going to turn out, and I do consider myself something of an informed observer in Australian politics. If I was forced into making a prediction, I'd say that the Independents will, somehow, come to some arrangement that allows Abbott to become PM, as it's the only way I can see the Governor General forcing us back to the polls, which is a situation the Independents will want to avoid for a number of reasons, chief of which will be that if they can unite and give a party supply they'll get a crap load of pork for their electorates. But even so, I can't see The Greens supporting Tony "Climate Change is Crap" Abbott without Abbott reneging on one of his core beliefs, and Andrew Wilkie has likely not forgotten the public snow job Howard and Abbott did on him back when he left ASIO.

Let's also not forget that even if, somehow, Abbott miraculously got all four of the five Independents to support him, that would only give him 76 seats. This is the bare minimum he needs to form a minority government. But that minority government also needs to elect a speaker, meaning Abbott automatically loses one vote in the House, unless he lets Labor's Jenkins stay on in the role (unlikely) or offers it to the Greens (which they would probably not accept without significant demands, given they'd want to push their Climate Change agenda in the lower house).

Which leaves us at the very real prospect that the GG may send us back to the polls. I wonder if that happens whether much would change. How many people who voted on Sunday would really change their vote in Round 2? Some, surely, but I'm not sure how the electorate will manage to change enough votes to some degree to ensure that one side gets a clear majority, barring some kind of Borg-like group mind connection being put in place soon.

If we do go to the polls again, I want to place on record my strong hope that both sides learned something from this experience. No, scratch that. I hope that Labor, specifically Julia Gillard, learned something from this. I can't begin to express how utterly disappointed I am in her. I mean, we can't really be disappointed in Abbott can we? He can always be counted on to be his usual sexist, racist, luddite self. But Julia? We expect more from you!

I had always believed that when Julia got her chance it would usher in some kind of renaissance in Australian politics. She's a bright, articulate woman who hails from the progressive side of the ALP. But by becoming PM the way she did, she has found herself beholden to the right of the party, and this is why we saw her come out from Day 1 saying "I'm going to stop the boats."

I fucking HATE that sentence "Stop the boats." You can't ever stop the boats, unless World Peace is declared tomorrow and most of the middle east becomes some fucking nirvana in which to live. Gillard is smart enough to know that.

I hate that she has said she's against gay marriage. I don't know her well enough to say for sure if she really does oppose it or not but again, she's a progressive. I don't know any progressives who are opposed to gay marriage.

I hate that she has sold her soul to try and appeal to the Lowest Common Denominator in the Australian electorate.

And I think that many Australians feel the same way. I think many people thought that the choice between an Abbott Prime Ministership and a Gillard Prime Ministership should have been stark. Instead we got the usual "lesser of two evils" crap we're so used to choosing from. In political terms, that is so last century.

So if we do go to the polls again soon, hopefully she really lets the real Julia loose and gives the Australian people a choice between moving forward and moving back to John Howard Version 2.0. If she does, maybe the result will firm up for Labor and we can avoid the brutal dictatorship that Abbott promises us.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:36 PM on August 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


Which leaves us at the very real prospect that the GG may send us back to the polls.

Nope. That is the kind of scenario which would give any GG nightmares. She will do everything in her power to avoid another election, though I reckon we'll still get one in about 18 months.

Likewise, I will be surprised - not shocked - but surprised if the independents go with Abbott. Windsor certainly won't: he hates the nationals more than anybody else for how they screwed him. And the NBN is a big tick from all the independents.

Coming from the country myself, let me reiterate the independents generally are really truly that - which is why they're so wildly popular in their electorates. Furthermore, the no. 1. competition inds face in all of their seats is from the National Party (except, kind of, for Katter); they will always want to ensure differentiation.
posted by smoke at 9:53 PM on August 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pinback, I've only seen the crazy side of Katter, but he's managed to get and hold the vote of his electorate for a while now. They must feel that he is doing a good job of representing him, and that in itself is a recommendation for his sincerity. Plus, he's said that even though he's anti-Greens, he likes their water policy and he supports the NBN (which will obviously be a huge boon for rural areas). I think he really does have rural interests at heart, moreso than many Nationals.

Really, I think we maybe should have seen this hung parliament coming (I'm sure there's a joke in there but I'm too tired to find it). Look at what happened in the Tasmanian and South Australian elections just a few months ago. It's very similar, I'd love to see a full comparison of the three elections.
posted by harriet vane at 9:58 PM on August 21, 2010


Which leaves us at the very real prospect that the GG may send us back to the polls. I wonder if that happens whether much would change. How many people who voted on Sunday would really change their vote in Round 2?

I'd be expecting the informal vote percentage to drop. Or rise. Or do the hokey-pokey somehow.

I hate that the Australian Sex Party is called the Australian Sex Party. I mean yes, I know that adults should be expected to ignore the form and examine the function, and that's a reasonable expectation. But it's naive to expect one's political opponents to be reasonable or adult, and in my opinion giving yourself a name like Sex Party, while evocative and perhaps even accurate, gives your opponents a free shot at goal to scoff at you and make you seem like a joke.
posted by Ritchie at 10:00 PM on August 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


> So if we do go to the polls again soon, hopefully she really lets the real Julia loose and gives the Australian people a choice between moving forward and moving back to John Howard Version 2.0.

As much as I want (what I hope to be) the real real Julia Gillard to step up, I think if she does and makes a move back to the left on social matters, she loses the next election. If she does that, her only chance is to talk properly about the economy to counter the "stop the waste, pay back the debt" nonsense. But what's the truism there, "if you're explaining you're losing"?

On the plus side, I think the next/re-election is more likely to be next year than next month, and question time is much easier place (relatively speaking) to put forward a complex argument than the campaign trail. Besides, Abbott might be in office just long enough to take the blame when the world falls into the second half of a double-dip recession. ;)
posted by adamt at 10:12 PM on August 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I fucking HATE that sentence "Stop the boats." You can't ever stop the boats,

Ugh yeah.

I walked into the polling station carrying my five month old, holding my two year old's hand and my seven year old in tow - I couldn't help saying to the liberal volunteers as I picked up HTVs - "you know, with a young family there is simply no issue more important to me than stopping the boats" to which they all nodded approvingly.
posted by the noob at 10:15 PM on August 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


smoke: "Nope. [Going back to the polls] is the kind of scenario which would give any GG nightmares. She will do everything in her power to avoid another election, though I reckon we'll still get one in about 18 months."

I agree but what other choice does she have? Based on current numbers, Abbott has 72 seats and Gillard has 70.

If all 5 Independents support Gillard, and this seems unlikely, she falls short with one seat. If all five support Abbott, and this is also unlikely, Abbott gets 77 seats but loses one vote with the election of a Speaker. He'd still have enough to form a Government but the Parliament would be al but unworkable.

It's been a long time since I looked at my copy of the Constitution but I don't think that in this situation there's any other choice the GG has.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:17 PM on August 21, 2010


Let's look at the Independents and how they'll vote to see our future.

Bandt (The Greens) has said that he'll support Labor. That mean's Gillard has, essentially 71 seats to Abbott's 72.

Katter is a crazy man, and he's said he's likely to support either side, but knowing what I know of him he's going to end up choosing Abbott over Gillard in a crunch.

As I said earlier, Wilkie was sandbagged big time by Howard and his Government when he spoke out about Australia invading Iraq, and I'd be surprised if he's forgiven them. He's also a former Green and Greens preferences helped get him across the line so I'd bet money he'd support Gillard.

I agree that Windsor hates the Coalition, and he has said in Parliament a few times that he believes in man made climate change. So I'd be picking him to support Gillard, if anyone.

I know little of Oakeshott but last night he made it pretty clear the NBN was important to him, so he sounds as though he'd support Gillard. But he also said the hung parliament was a shot in the arm for democracy, so if supporting Abbott got Abbott elected or made Oakeshott Speaker, he might support Tony instead.

This means Gillard has a likely shot of getting 73 to 74 seats. Abbott is likely to get a similar number. Neither is going to get 76, let alone 77 or better yet, 78.

I think a new election is a very real prospect. Not a given, but a real prospect here.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:32 PM on August 21, 2010


Based on current numbers, Abbott has 72 seats and Gillard has 70.

There are still AFAIK 3 seats which are too close to call, and they're all currently held by Labor (the seat of Lindsay, where the count is furthest along, is currently favoring Labor, but only by the tiniest margin). It really will be a photo finish.
posted by Ritchie at 10:40 PM on August 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ritchie: "There are still AFAIK 3 seats which are too close to call, and they're all currently held by Labor (the seat of Lindsay, where the count is furthest along, is currently favoring Labor, but only by the tiniest margin). It really will be a photo finish."

Ah, OK. So if those 3 undecideds go to Labor, Gillard has 74 seats when including Brandt's support. If Wilkie and Windsor support her, she's across the line. She'd probably give Oakeshotte the Speakers role.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:46 PM on August 21, 2010


It's not necessary for either side to form a majority government. All they need is enough support to get appropriation bills through. They can agree on that without a wider ranging deal. So for example, Katter, Windsor, Bandt and Wilkie could promise to support Labor's appropriation bills in exchange for say the National Broadband Network and a well thought out water policy.

They would still be free to vote against any substantive bills. This would mean Labor would have to do separate deals for every piece of legislation they needed to get through.

(You can change "Labor" to "Coalition" if you prefer).

The GG would then be able to instruct Gillard to form a government and no new election need be held.

In practice, Labor would probably want to do a deal on some key policies rather than just on supply, but the bottom line is a guarantee of supply is all they need to form a government.

Gillard would probably love the style of government this would require. Abbott would have a stroke in the first week.
posted by GeckoDundee at 10:47 PM on August 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sorry, I meant an NBN of the form that suits their interests, but it's only an example anyway.
posted by GeckoDundee at 10:49 PM on August 21, 2010


Could someone help a political junkie out: briefly, what's with the whole leaking scandal that folks were alluding to in the beginning of this thread? How has that, in the junta's opinion, affected the election's dynamics?
posted by the cydonian at 10:55 PM on August 21, 2010


Also, I forgot to add for the international audience, the seat of Lindsay is considered a 'bellwether' seat, inasmuch as it has always been won by the candidate of the party which went on to form government, which may mean something or nothing at all. (Eden-Monaro and Makin, also so-called bellwethers, have apparently remained Labor this year. BUT! Leichardt in Far North Queensland seem to be headed to the Liberal-National Party.)
posted by Ritchie at 11:08 PM on August 21, 2010


A story was leaked to the media that deposed PM Rudd would send a staffer along to national security committee meetings.

Shortly thereafter stories appeared claiming that Gillard had opposed pension rises and paid parental leave.

Then there were stories paralleling those about Rudd, this time claiming that Gillard had sent a bodyguard along to national security meetings.

There was speculation that Rudd was the one doing the leaking. Of course, it looks as though someone trying to justify his dumping was the initial sources of leaks.
posted by GeckoDundee at 11:09 PM on August 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


This article outlines the current situation for six seats in doubt. Seems like it might be the end of the week before we know the outcome.
posted by liquorice at 11:14 PM on August 21, 2010


How has that, in the junta's opinion, affected the election's dynamics?

Apart from the fact that it displays disunity, and portrays the subject of the leak in a bad light, during the campaign it prevents the party from getting its message out - that was the true damage and the intent of the leaks. It'a allowed more 'Stop the taxes, stop the school hall ripoffs and stop the boats' and less 'Moving forward moving forward moving forward'
posted by the noob at 11:19 PM on August 21, 2010


Oh yeah. Labor's campaign director Karl Bitar seems to be blaming the result on the leaks.
posted by GeckoDundee at 11:19 PM on August 21, 2010


I think the biggest problem with the leaks was it showed that Gillard isn't in control of her own party. She appears to be so disrespected in some quarters that they'd rather lose the election than see her become PM. Of course, the spinners are going to blame Rudd for the leaks, and make it seem as though it was the work of one angry man. I don't know if it was or it wasn't, but my general feeling is that Rudd isn't that kind of guy.

Australian politics is very big on unity. You may disagree with your leader, but you do it behind closed doors and toe the line in public. The Labor party broke that in a major way, and they did it during an election cycle. Disaster ensues.
posted by Georgina at 12:00 AM on August 22, 2010


My favourite bit from last night was Annabelle Crabbe retweeting scrutineer messages she received. One told how they saw 10 ballots with "yes please" written next to the Australian Sex Party.
posted by peacay at 12:16 AM on August 22, 2010


I'm going to share what a female friend of mine from Australia wrote:

"[sigh] looks like it actually *will* be a hung parliament. I'm clearly not the only one who has trouble discerning the "good" political party to vote for.

I'm really surprised Tony Abbott got as many votes as he has so far. This is a man who believes that an imaginary man in the sky gets very, very upset and disappointed if women have sex before they have put on a special outfit, perform a ritual, say magic words, and get a magical piece of jewelry from the person MAN that they are going to have sex with.

I suppose it's clear that a little over half of the nation think that is a good belief for the country's leader to have, that is an acceptable way for a man to feel about women's sexuality and sexual freedom (or lack thereof) in 2010; but it's slightly less okay for a woman to be a leader and to usurp power from a man who was voted as incompetent at his job by a bunch of other men. Bonking vs betrayal, is what it comes down to."

posted by markkraft at 1:36 AM on August 22, 2010


An update from my friend...

Tony Abbott: The Government has lost its legitimacy

Really? Does that make you all bastards? See, sex before marriage isn't so bad.

posted by markkraft at 1:38 AM on August 22, 2010


Hitler's views on the Australian election: Anyone who listened to Mark Latham and voted informally, leave now.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:31 AM on August 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm really surprised Tony Abbott got as many votes as he has so far.

I don't think they voted for Abbott as such. What they voted for was that special blend of middle-class handouts and thinly veiled racism that has proved such a winner with the latest generation of Australians.
posted by Ritchie at 2:52 AM on August 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Thanks y'all. I get it now.

Australian politics is very big on unity. You may disagree with your leader, but you do it behind closed doors and toe the line in public.

Well, it's the same story in all liberal democracies. :) People gravitate to cohesive narratives, just as they do in fiction and essays. And not just that, inner-party politics adds an additional (IMHO, unnecessary) layer of intrigue to the whole game; you don't know who's on your side, for example.
posted by the cydonian at 3:03 AM on August 22, 2010


What does Tony Crook have to do to get counted as one of the kingmakers? He seems less committed to the federal Lib/Nat coalition than Bandt is to supporting Labor, but he is being lumped in with the other Nationals.
posted by Canard de Vasco at 3:03 AM on August 22, 2010


I don't think they voted for Abbott as such. What they voted for was that special blend of middle-class handouts and thinly veiled racism that has proved such a winner with the latest generation of Australians.

That and discomfort with a woman being PM. (Possibly an atheist as well, though that wouldn't have factored in as much as in the US.)
posted by acb at 3:51 AM on August 22, 2010


Well, it's the same story in all liberal democracies. :) People gravitate to cohesive narratives, just as they do in fiction and essays. And not just that, inner-party politics adds an additional (IMHO, unnecessary) layer of intrigue to the whole game; you don't know who's on your side, for example.

Australian politics emphasises unity far more than US or UK politics. For example, there is by default a three-line whip on all parliamentary votes, with voting against one's party being grounds for deselection and/or expulsion; the exception is when the party leader specifically calls a "conscience vote". In contrast, in the UK, MPs vote against their parties all the time, and actually use that as a selling point in their campaigns (I know in the last one, the Labour MP in the electorate I lived in at the time made a lot of noise about opposing the Iraq war/the more right-wing excesses of Blairism), and in the US, the two parties are more like coalitions of factions than actual monolithic entities (probably a necessary result of the radically bipolar electoral process which makes third parties unviable).

Australian democracy would probably benefit from weaker party discipline. That hasn't been forthcoming, but analyses of past elections do show another phenomenon: the rise of independent MPs.
posted by acb at 3:57 AM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I for one would welcome with open arms less "party discipline". It annoys me no-end that the parties march in lock-step to their leaders tune, no matter how batshitinsane. EG: Cap'n Bligh and her Mad Mad Sale (EVERYTHING MUST GO!).
posted by coriolisdave at 4:24 AM on August 22, 2010


The problem with relaxing party discipline is that whichever party does it first leaves themselves vulnerable. Therefore neither wants to go first. But I agree party discipline is a poor substitute for vision.

To address the lackluster state of Australian politics more broadly: on some level, this shit works for us. We might complain a lot, but Aussies have learned to love their mediocre administrative class (I won't dignify them with the term 'leaders'). If they all died in a meteor strike tomorrow there's maybe half-a-dozen I'd genuinely mourn as a real loss to the Australian people. The rest consist of assorted vainglorious loudmouths, toadies, sociopaths and technocrats. And we're fine with this.

In summary: this is all our own fault.
posted by Ritchie at 5:09 AM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yup Ritchie, the endless "but what's in it for me?" questions at Rooty and Red Hills respectively were a most unedifying spectacle - even if they were a hundred times better than journo's asking Julia about her pants suit.
posted by smoke at 5:37 AM on August 22, 2010


It was interesting to see that the media made a bit of an attempt to lift their game after being roundly criticised (on Twitter and in the blogs) for focusing on trivial issues during the campaign. It wasn't a real success, but you could see they were trying. I wonder if greater 'customer' demand for serious reporting would help push the quality a bit higher.
posted by harriet vane at 6:20 AM on August 22, 2010


ACB wrote: Australian democracy would probably benefit from weaker party discipline.

I think the Australian Democrats tried that. It was hard to tell because they spent most of their time trying to stab each other in the back. The Liberal Party actually used to make a big thing about how parliamentarians could cross the floor. Not that any of them would ever want to deviate from the correct line, of course, unless they were actually unfit to be a Liberal MP.

The real problem - all snark aside - is that our Parliament is too small. When you have 650 MPs, as they do in the UK, one or two MPs crossing the floor is usually no big deal. The Australian one is less than a quarter that size and crossing the floor often means an embarrassing defeat for the Government. That's why we have such rigid discipline - it's the only way to stop people gaming the system by dangling the possibility of crossing the floor.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:33 AM on August 22, 2010


This article outlines the current situation for six seats in doubt.

It was an interesting article, but it was wrong about Digance (Lab) being 710 votes ahead in Boothby before postals. Southcott (Lib, sitting), was ahead by that margin as of this afternoon (when the article was posted), with 8000+ postals to be counted starting tomorrow.

Plenty of fun to come!
posted by Wolof at 6:46 AM on August 22, 2010


Sorry, those numbers I quoted are of course two party preferred figures.
posted by Wolof at 6:49 AM on August 22, 2010


It's not necessary for either side to form a majority government. All they need is enough support to get appropriation bills through.

This is how Canadian Parliament has operated for the better part of a decade. It's depressing, because the Liberals generally have to vote to keep the Tories in power, unless they want to force an election, and the don't want to force an election because they are too weak. So, the Conservatives essentially behave as though they are a majority government.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:29 AM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The message I got from the 7.30 report interview with Windsor, Katter and Oakshott was that Parliament is going to reassert itself against the executive and the parties. Although Katter threw the switch to vaudeville about half way through, it was really cheering stuff.
posted by hawthorne at 7:49 AM on August 22, 2010


Joe in Australia, the UK has about 40,000,000 more people than we do - an extra 500 MPs seems like barely enough to represent them. But you're right, one person from 70-80 in the group is much more noticeable and attention-getting.
posted by harriet vane at 8:29 AM on August 22, 2010


Albanese possibly gone? Too. Damn. Weird.

There's some precedent there. Albanese's partner, Carmel Tebbutt, came within a whisker of losing the State equivalent of Grayndler (Marrickville) to the Greens in the most recent state election.

I've heard that Grayndler is traditionally the safest Labor seat in the country, but the strong margin of +25% or so is based on the fact that a large proportion of people vote further left than Labor. All it takes is for the Greens candidate to end up ahead of the Liberal, and suddenly it's a very close race indeed, as the votes for Greens at 1 no longer flow to Labor, and the Greens also pick up preferences from the Liberal & other voters.

Sydney (held by Tanya Plibersek) is another electorate with a similar kind of dynamic, but I think the Greens fell just short of being the second party in the two-candidate-preferred counting.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:42 PM on August 22, 2010


Oh awesome. Looks like Anna Bligh is copping a lot of the blame for the poor Labor showing up here (and rightly so!). Double awesome: the death knell has sounded...
posted by coriolisdave at 2:53 PM on August 22, 2010


I find it interesting that the UK, Canada and now Australia are dealing with minority government issues. Is it just "the times" or is it a sign that the major parties in these Westminster systems have to man up and accept proportional representation as a way of creating more effective governments?

Given the vast differences in vote-counting methods employed in these countries, I don't see that one can ascribe these close results to a lack of PR, just because they're all Westminster systems.

Particularly when the Australian upper house is determined by PR already.

So, I'll go with "the times".
posted by pompomtom at 4:50 PM on August 22, 2010


The message I got from the 7.30 Report interview with Windsor, Katter and Oakshott was that Parliament is going to reassert itself against the executive and the parties. Although Katter threw the switch to vaudeville about half way through, it was really cheering stuff.

It sure was. I live in Windsor's electorate and Oakeshott's is adjacent. This is an excellent outcome for rural and regional Australians. I've always knocked Katter, mostly because he's into land clearing but in part because he's so parochial. Yet parochialism has just got a big tick from me.

Australia is now one of the most urbanised populations in the world and yet our wealth primarily comes from rural and regional production. A decade of drought, reduction in tariffs, deregulation of primary production and approval for foreign food imports has hit rural areas very hard. I was shocked when the National Party (the conservative 'rural' party) went against the National Broadband Network, because a high quality national communications network would have huge benefits for rural health. The NBN is not just about getting a quick download on the latest Parker/Stone animation, although that is an important consideration... The network would among other things allow live online consultations between rural patients and urban specialists, aid in the training of rural health workers, permit rural folk to receive 24hr online medical advice from trained nurses, etc.

The independents are strongly in support of the NBN. Anyone taking bets on how quickly Abbot will change his no-NBN policy to woo the three who could give him power?
posted by Kerasia at 4:55 PM on August 22, 2010


Anyone taking bets on how quickly Abbot will change his no-NBN policy to woo the three who could give him power?


I'm sure party hacks are, right now, trying to explain the concept to him.

Again.
posted by pompomtom at 5:11 PM on August 22, 2010


For those interested in how our proportional representation system works in the senate elections, check out the senate results for NSW which show the breakdown of how the preferences were distributed and how a candidate with a non-winning primary vote can pick up a seat through preferences.
posted by Kerasia at 5:21 PM on August 22, 2010


So, I'll go with "the times".

I think that the rise in hung parliaments in the Anglosphere is a knock-on effect from the collapse of Communism, and the shift of left-wing parties to the neoliberal centre-right (the reasoning being "the Soviet Union's not around to foment revolution any more, we don't have to pander to those meagre workers, and can devote our attention to the people with real money and influence"). Or at least it has been in the UK (with Blatcherite New Labour no longer being the lesser evil to the Nasty Party) and in Australia (with the left having deserted Labor in droves, inner-city electorates falling to the Greens, and even some unions switching their party affiliation to the Greens).

Then again, perhaps it's not so much the collapse of Communism as the political equivalent of gentrification, with the threat of Soviet-backed unrest only having slowed the process for half a century.
posted by acb at 5:32 PM on August 22, 2010


For those interested in how our proportional representation system works in the senate elections, check out the senate results for NSW

So it's true. DLP candidate elected in Victoria. The zomies have truly awoken from their slumber.

* Runs off to create a FakeJohnMadigan Twitter account *
posted by Jimbob at 5:35 PM on August 22, 2010


And a Green has been elected to the senate in every state in which it's numerically possible. I don't think that's happened before.
posted by Jimbob at 5:36 PM on August 22, 2010


DLP candidate elected in Victoria.

The ghost of Bob Santamaria looks on with approval.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:45 PM on August 22, 2010


What's with the "Socialist Equality Party" giving their preferences to the DLP and Coalition? Are they a Trojan horse set up to leech votes from the more gullible lefties? Or is this a particularly toxic case of left-wing factionalism?
posted by acb at 5:51 PM on August 22, 2010


Are they a Trojan horse set up to leech votes from the more gullible lefties?

Well, according to the 'pedia, They are the real commies, "affiliated with the International Committee of the Fourth International", and the Socialist Alliance are just a "middle-class protest organization".

The idea of a party that's "affiliated with the International Committee of the Fourth International" passing preferences along to the DLP is somewhat mindblowing.
posted by Jimbob at 5:56 PM on August 22, 2010


Looking closer at those senate results, it looks like the Socialist Equality Party just had a split preference ticket, with an equal number of their above-the-line votes going to the ALP, Liberal, Democrats and the DLP.
posted by Jimbob at 5:58 PM on August 22, 2010


Watch this animated summary from Taiwan - quite well done
posted by the noob at 6:04 PM on August 22, 2010


The idea of a party that's "affiliated with the International Committee of the Fourth International" passing preferences along to the DLP is somewhat mindblowing.

The narcissism of minor differences?
posted by acb at 6:20 PM on August 22, 2010


DLP candidate elected in Victoria

Owk. Another right wing so-called Christian individual with little support gaining a seat. I wonder if he'll spend as much as Fielding has on international climate-change denial junkets and so forth.
posted by Kerasia at 6:40 PM on August 22, 2010


At least he won't have the balance of power, and won't be able to get things like internet censorship firewalls onto the agenda.

(Of course, if there's a double dissolution election and Abbott becomes PM in his own right, his opposition to the national firewall may well dissolve like the morning mist. It was about as convincing as Gillard's support for it.)
posted by acb at 6:44 PM on August 22, 2010


Interesting comment from Greens deputy Senator Christine Milne. Apparently Kevin Rudd did not meet with Greens leader Senator Bob Brown even once during his one year prime-ministership. There is no love lost between the Greens and Labor and many members of the Greens, including some sitting and elected members, believe that a Greens / Nationals alliance is a possibility in the future.
posted by Kerasia at 7:23 PM on August 22, 2010


It's way too early to declare that Santa's Little Helpers have won the last Victorian senate seat. Could be them, Fielding, Thow (ALP) or McGauran (Lib, former Nat).
posted by hawthorne at 7:36 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kerasia: Australia is now one of the most urbanised populations in the world and yet our wealth primarily comes from rural and regional production.

This is repeated ad nauseum by the mining companies and the National party (and the 3 independents, for example) but Ag and Resources make up only 10% of the economy, although they are a little above half of exports (cite)
The urban population already provides a huge subsidy to regional Australians, and suggestions it should offer more are a bit rich.
I live in an area where the nearest University campus is over an hour away, there is no alternative broadband supplier to Telstra and our nearest hospital is under constant funding threat, yet I've no Independent member pork barreling for me (although the LIBs did a pretty fair job by promising health expenditure, enough to get elected).
I would like to see a more accountable parliament, but I suspect what we will see is cash for the independents' seats and a continuation of the shabby and uninspired, 'middle-of-the-right' politics that cheapens our country.
posted by bystander at 7:46 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ag and Resources make up only 10% of the economy, although they are a little above half of exports.

I don't disagree bystander however my definition of wealth includes intangible, non-economic benefits including environmental, aesthetic and cultural values.

I live in an area where the nearest university is three hours away, there is no broadband service available at all except unreliable and expensive satellite, I have far fewer and more distant medical resources available than someone living in your area, as well as no public transport. Is this something to argue about?
And so it came to pass, that we all sat up 'til 1:00am Sunday like bewildered virgins on our honeymoon ('Is it in yet? How about now?'), waiting for something to happen...
Comedian Marieke Hardy thinks that in this election We get what we deserve. She may be funny but her thesis is serious, albeit a little unimaginative. After all, the lack of a single leader doesn't mean we have no leadership.
We're just a mish mash of hopeless idealism and world-weary cynicism and until we decide who we really are we're going to keep ending up with a crippled government of stymied personalities and tremulous crowd-pleasers too terrified to put a step wrong lest we again pounce. And we deserve it. This is what we get.
posted by Kerasia at 8:48 PM on August 22, 2010


>Is this something to argue about?

Nope, you're right.
I guess my initial point was that I am hoping that good comes of this, rather than my cynical expectation that they will Brian Harradine their way to local pork barrels.
posted by bystander at 9:08 PM on August 22, 2010


Brian Harradine their way to local pork barrels

ha! read my mind. I too was thinking about his infection of coalition and labor policy with his particular set of requirements. But Harradine was an ideologue and I'm hoping the independents will have a more practical and encompassing agenda. I think they will judging by what they were saying on good governance, stability etc. None of them appear to be doing any blackmailing. They are well respected and experienced politicians who appear up to the task. As Fran Kelly said of Windsor and Oakeshott on Sunday, I'm glad its those actual men in this position.

Windsor received the highest first preference vote of any candidate in NSW. We trust him, hope you can too.
posted by Kerasia at 9:42 PM on August 22, 2010


Damn, it seems that Andrew Wilkie didn't get his seat after all.

Current results are 73 Labor, 72 Coalition, 1 Green & 3 independents.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:41 PM on August 22, 2010


Yep, it looks like Wilkie has come in second again. He just lost out on a state seat earlier this year.

Tonight's Q & A line-up is Tony Windsor, Malcolm Turnbull, Sarah Hanson-Young, Mark Arbib, Janet Albrechtsen and Graham Richardson.

Personally this election is the most fun I've had since I ate that panda at a peta conference by mistake.
posted by Kerasia at 10:57 PM on August 22, 2010


Glad to see that the Quentin Bryce (GG), unlike her son-in-law, Bill Shorten, has some ethical standards. She may abdicate responsibility to the NSW Governor for choosing between Tony & Julie's petition to form a government because Bryce rightly supposes the appearance of a conflict of interest.
posted by peacay at 1:46 AM on August 23, 2010


NSW gg? That'd be right, the bloody NSW conspiracy rears its head once again. Bet you'll be saying next that the cricket captaincy falls to the NSW captain if... wait, thanalready happens anyway. Carry on.
posted by coriolisdave at 1:49 AM on August 23, 2010


It falls to the NSW Governor because of seniority apparently. Well, that and because it's in accordance with the faceless cabal's wishes.
posted by peacay at 2:15 AM on August 23, 2010


Constitutional crisis is not on the cards: Professor Simon Evans from the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies (Melbourne Law School) weighs in on what happens next.

The Governor-General is waiting on advice from Julia Gillard. If Gillard can form a government with 76 members, all well and good. If not, she must offer her resignation as Prime Minister. She may resign and suggest that the GG invite Abbott to form a government. If neither of them can do so, then an election may be necessary. The GG and Gillard can put a series of votes to the House of Representatives to test if they have the confidence of the House at any stage in this process.

Does Quentin Bryce have a conflict of interest? Legal opinion is divided. Peter Faris QC says she does; Greg Barns, Director of the Australia Lawyers Alliance, and Professor David Flint say she doesn't. The decision should really be made according to constitutional conventions, which are quite clear about the process (see above), so personally I'm not sure where a conflict of interest would come in - everyone would be able to see whether she was right or not about the chosen government having the confidence of the House.
posted by harriet vane at 2:47 AM on August 23, 2010


Oh and the ABC Election site has Labor on 72 seats, Coalition on 69 - what's changed since yesterday?
posted by harriet vane at 2:53 AM on August 23, 2010


The Vote, 2010 - ABC Election site photo gallery. It's like the Big Picture, only with more politicians than usual.

They've got the photo of a Liberal volunteer with a "Voting Green?" t-shirt, handing out green leaflets. The ABC says the leaflets had voting information, but they looked like this (link goes to Twitpic). They say to put Labor last and imply that Senator Christine Milne approves. I thought it was against the law to tell people *not* to vote for someone else?

There's also a bunch of Labor volunteers wearing shirts very similar to the Liberal ones. Are there ever any penalties for this kind of deception? Or do they just get a slap on the wrist?
posted by harriet vane at 3:07 AM on August 23, 2010


Wilkie in Denison isn't over yet - as usual, media election computers are too quick to jump the gun. Here's the booth-by-booth results as they come in, and here's a little map I made which I'm updating as the results come in, showing how varied this seat is, and how trying to predict it when you haven't counted many booths is futile. Basically, everyone north of "Creek Road" went Labor, everyone south of it went Wilkie. #denison on Twitter.
posted by Jimbob at 3:42 AM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Peter Faris QC says she does;

I would like to place on the public record my strong opinion that Peter Faris QC wouldn't know his arse from his elbow.
posted by Jimbob at 3:53 AM on August 23, 2010


Oh and the ABC Election site has Labor on 72 seats, Coalition on 69 - what's changed since yesterday?

I'm guessing that at some point estimates and predictions have been replaced with more precise counts as more votes were counted.
posted by acb at 4:05 AM on August 23, 2010


Arbib has been pulled from ABC by Gillard. ABC response = comedy gold.
posted by smoke at 4:26 AM on August 23, 2010


Nice, smoke.

Mr Arbib will be represented by an empty chair at the Q&A desk.

The chair is the first uncongested piece of infrastructure to be associated with the NSW Right for some time.
posted by hawthorne at 5:02 AM on August 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Too true, Jimbob. I'm wondering if the entire GG conflict of interest issue was drummed up by him having a rant to whichever pet journalist he usually contacts.
posted by harriet vane at 5:12 AM on August 23, 2010


I would like to place on the public record my strong opinion that Peter Faris QC wouldn't know his arse from his elbow.

Although David Flint is on the other side of this argument, and really you wouldn't put your money on either of them in a knowing-arses-from-elbows competition.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:24 AM on August 23, 2010


I think an empty chair is a wonderful metaphor of the intellectual underpinnings of the NSW right.
posted by smoke at 5:32 AM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Although David Flint is on the other side of this argument, and really you wouldn't put your money on either of them in a knowing-arses-from-elbows competition.

The first thought that occured to me, when I read about the Bryce "controversey", was "I wonder how many Tories are vaugely related to the Queen, and how often the Queen has let that concern her."
posted by Jimbob at 1:28 PM on August 23, 2010


showing how varied this seat is, and how trying to predict it when you haven't counted many booths is futile. Basically, everyone north of "Creek Road" went Labor, everyone south of it went Wilkie.

Oh, I never realised that Denison was Hobart. So Wilkie's supporters are generally inner city & battery point?

But yeah, people experienced in a particular electorate (or who look up previous figures) know which way the booths normally go. Here in Grayndler, the largest & most Labor-voting booth is generally Marrickville. Because it's so big the results come in about last, with a massive chunk of Labor votes to push the incumbents over the line right at the end.

All we need to do is gentrify Marrickville with Green-voting students & yuppies and...wait, that's already well under way. The next election is ours!
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:17 PM on August 23, 2010


They've got the photo of a Liberal volunteer with a "Voting Green?" t-shirt, handing out green leaflets. The ABC says the leaflets had voting information, but they looked like this

It worked so well, and got so little publicity, last election, they'd've been stupid not to encore this despicable little trick.

Young libs need a smacking.
posted by pompomtom at 3:02 PM on August 23, 2010


At least they didn't wear a "Alla Akba" (sic) T-shirt & hand out ersatz Labor leaflets.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:06 PM on August 23, 2010


If people are really so numerically-challenged that they need look look at cheat sheets in order to write the numbers 1 to 5 in boxes, then the how-to-vote cards should just be stuck up behind perspex in each booth. It would prevent a lot of stupidity.
posted by Jimbob at 4:31 PM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


(And free up more people to concentrate on cooking sausages.)
posted by Jimbob at 4:31 PM on August 23, 2010


Or tofu burgers, as the case may be. Frankly, I'd prefer them handing out how-to-votes.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:50 PM on August 23, 2010


Two posts from Larvatus Prodeo:

Oakeshott on Lateline - his position on boat people ("we need to put fear in the back pocket") and carbon trading ("at least consider going back to the Garnaut Report").

How do coalitions work? - A New Zealander tells us how they've been dealing with minority governments for the last 15 years. Some good advice based on experience.
posted by harriet vane at 6:56 PM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Vegie kebabs instead of tofu-anything?

I've heard the HTV-in-the-booth idea before, I do wonder about the graffiti it would provoke though :)
posted by harriet vane at 6:57 PM on August 23, 2010


I'd hate to see this thread die before its time. What's the buzz? Who do you think is going to reign supreme? Whichever way it goes, everything is going to be blocked in the senate anyway. I can see an incredibly frustrating time coming up.

That is my forecast. Extreme frustration followed by incredible angst. Looking forward to the next election!
posted by h00py at 5:54 AM on August 24, 2010


Just for you, h00py :)

Election post-mortem by Ben Eltham at The Drum. An analysis of what went wrong with Labor, noting that the supposed soft support for the Greens turned out to be very hard indeed, and what that means for both parties in the future.
posted by harriet vane at 5:56 AM on August 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Eltham's column is alright but I don't know that I believe that the greens are on an inevitable upward trajectory that could see them with a handful more lower house seats in the next few years. He also suggests that there'll be a Labor/Greens coalition sometime. I don't buy that either. You can't say on the one hand that the greens got a big protest vote (because of the profile of unique circumstances affecting this election) and then say that they're are going to permanently shred labor's inner city voter base. Time will tell whether or not they are able to behave responsibly/competently as upper house brokers. But I think this is their highwater mark electorally.
posted by peacay at 3:16 PM on August 24, 2010


I agree peacay, all indications are that the Greens are reaching stable peaks of support at the local government level, which is where responsibility for their most natural political issues lies.
At higher levels of government they're faced with the nasty dilemma of having to be either open to negotiation as crossbenchers, or uncompromisingly principled to maintain the support of voters protesting Labor's abandonment of its Left.
and then say that they're are going to permanently shred labor's inner city voter base
Indeed. Gentrification means that the Greens also have to compete with the Liberals for the anti-Labor vote, who're doing better and better in the inner city as the old die off and the poor move out.
I don't buy a Labor/Greens coalition at the national level either. Local and state, sure, but not in Canberra.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:16 PM on August 24, 2010


You can't say on the one hand that the greens got a big protest vote (because of the profile of unique circumstances affecting this election) and then say that they're are going to permanently shred labor's inner city voter base.

These are not mutually exclusive, if you distinguish between a national protest vote, and a trend of increasing Greens support in the inner city, over a number of Federal, State & local elections.

It was at least 2-3 elections ago that the Greens polled over 20% in Sydney, Marrickville was called for the Greens in the last State election before finally remaining with Labor, and Albanese had to go to a second count in Grayndler this time around.

At the local level, last time I looked both Marrickville & Leichhardt councils had Green majorities, and only missed out on the Mayoral positions because of collusion between the major parties.

As Lee Rhiannon suggested, it's the longer-term experience of having Greens on local councils that may be trickling up to make Leichhardt & Marrickville marginal on a State level, which translates to Grayndler now being a marginal seat at Federal level. Sydney's a bit of a special case because of Clover Moore's cult status at local & State, but the Greens continue to poll strongly there as well.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:28 PM on August 24, 2010


The Australian Electoral Commission yesterday moved Denison off the list of in-doubt seats and listed the former whistleblower and independent candidate [Andrew Wilkie] as the likely winner of the electorate.

Postal votes are still to be counted but Mr Wilkie now has a solid lead of 1375 votes.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:59 PM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


The story of the Liberals and fake Greens shirts in Ryan (interestingly, my electorate, though I can't vote).
posted by divabat at 9:30 PM on August 24, 2010


http://doesaustraliahaveagovernmentyet.com/ **refresh**

ubu, I'll concede there's state potential with the greens (and if we factor in the odiousness of the present NSW oppo leader, it's BIG potential), but I was talking federally. Like the democrats, the greens are a sponge for electoral discontent.
posted by peacay at 10:48 PM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the component of the Greens vote that came as a protest against either of the major parties could be solidified. It's a bit like what marketers say about buying big-ticket items like a car - they want you to see the ad for your chosen model in the 3 weeks *after* you bought it, to remind you how cool it is and therefore prevent you from getting buyer's remorse and badmouthing it to your friends.

If the Greens act responsibly and positively over the next 6 months, the people who used them as a protest could well begin to feel that they made a sensible choice and stick with it next time.

I'm not sure I agree about local government being the location of their natural political issues. There's a bit more to it than recycling these days. A transition away from coal and setting forest policies can't be organised from below, they've got to be done with state/federal co-operation. Creation of marine parks is a federal issue as well, as is setting a carbon price and negotiating international agreements for same.
posted by harriet vane at 1:02 AM on August 25, 2010


Also Batman joins Grayndler as a seat where the Two Party Preferred is now Labor/Greens (55.99/44.01), not Labor/Liberal.

I love that we have a seat called Batman. I also love that Mar'n Ferguson is the one beseiged by Greens there, it must piss him right off.

PS: AEC is no longer showing Hasluck as a close seat, but ABC Elections still have it on their Seats In Doubt list.
posted by harriet vane at 1:24 AM on August 25, 2010


The independents have released a 7-point list of preconditiosn for government; currently it's light on policy specifics, though includes access to ministers and Treasury costings. Gillard's reply to the independents' demands.

I imagine it's a bit of a balancing act; the independents are effectively asking for a fine-grained and ongoing power of veto across all departments, effectively becoming the government. I wonder which of the two parties will blink first.
posted by acb at 2:16 AM on August 25, 2010


Bob Katter on AM this morning (mp3 & transcript). Nutter, right?

But listen to the full interview (mp3, also handily-embedded on the transcript page above for comparison). Somewhat less nutty - or, at least, his extended ramblings add a fair bit of nuance to the quotes used in the aired interview.

(I can't believe I'm somewhat defending Bob fuckin' Katter! Maybe growing up under Joh Bjelke-Peterson did more damage to me than I'm willing to admit…)

Note to furriners: "Two to The Valley" is an archaic Brisbane term, denoting the raising of the index and middle finger in a 'V' formation before displaying your hand palm-inwards, used to indicate the number of tickets required and your destination. Once often used mistakenly towards policemen due to the similarity of their uniform to that of bus and tram conductors, it nowadays has an effect opposite to that intended as the main watch-house has been moved from Fortitude Valley to Roma Street…

posted by Pinback at 12:31 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Katter may be a nutter, but I do like Andrew Wilkie's condition of restricting maximum bets on poker machines to $1.

I'm gonna call this "One to Macquarie Street"
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:41 AM on September 1, 2010


August 24: NSW Christian Democratic Party MP Fred Nile says the state Labor government will lose votes in western Sydney after it decided to oppose his private member's bill banning burqas in public.

Sep 2: A CHRISTIAN Democrat MP has been identified as as one of the biggest viewers of internet pornography in an audit of NSW parliamentary computers.

The audit, which claimed the front-bench career of a Labor minister yesterday, showed that adult content had been accessed under Reverend Fred Nile's log-on.

Sources said that up to 200,000 suspect hits had been recorded.

Mr Nile denied viewing pornography and said that his staff had used his log-on for research purposes.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:00 PM on September 1, 2010


Couldn't have happened to a nicer chap, UbuRovias.

At the moment I'm spending half my time thinking Katter is a nutter. and half the time thinking he has some serious points that the major parties simply won't address. I've long been a fan of supporting regional areas so the population actually wants to live there, to take pressure off the cities. His attitude towards climate change is ignorant and ridiculous... except he seems to be legitimately concerned about anthropogenic impacts on the Great Barrier Reef.

As for Wilkie, he has clearly gone in a bit too hard. Demanding light rail for Hobart and a $1 maximum bet on pokies are noble causes, but he's a just-elected independent who got incredibly lucky. He seems to have forgotten that his campaign for state parliament failed.
posted by Jimbob at 7:58 PM on September 1, 2010


Jimbob, surely it would be better for the environment if we had greater urban density and left the bush alone? I live in Melbourne and the amount of suburban sprawl is quite amazing. When I was a kid I lived near the edge of suburbia. Now the edge would be a good half hour's drive away.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:14 PM on September 1, 2010


The New South Wales Christian Democrat MP Fred Nile says neither he or his staff have been "perving" at internet pornography videos on their work computers - but they have been researching the issue.

How did you know it was videos?!?? We never said anything about videos!!!

/tv cop voice
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:33 PM on September 1, 2010


Jimbob, surely it would be better for the environment if we had greater urban density and left the bush alone?

And if you live on the edge of Melbourne, and work in the city, you're facing a ~100km commute there and back every day, and the food you're eating still comes from a long, long way away. As does the water you drink. And your waste has to be transported a long way away. Encouraging people to move to rural areas doesn't necessarily mean bulldozing virgin forests.

I often compare Australia to the US, and see that in the US, each state doesn't necessarily have one huge, massive city that 95% of the population live in, and the rest of the state is rural country side. If you're in California, you might live in LA, or San Diego, or San Fransisco, or Davis. If you live in Texas, your city might be Austin, or Houston, or Dallas, or San Antonio or Fort Worth. The same is true in the UK, and in Europe. We don't have that in Australia. Tasmania may be the only exception, and possibly Queensland, although basic services are still severely lacking outside the capitals. Instead, our weeping sores of cities just get bigger and more difficult and more expensive to live in and harder to service. Why can't, say, Mt Gambier be encouraged to become a real "second city" of South Australia, and why can't major employment opportunities and industries be encouraged in, say, Armidale or Albury? I'd move there in an instant, if there was a job for me.

Maybe it's just a fantasty of mine, but living in a rural town and telecommuting over the infamous NBN sounds like a great plan to me.
posted by Jimbob at 8:52 PM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can see the benefit of density of housing, however. I just think that density should be more evenly spread out across the country, if you get my meaning.
posted by Jimbob at 8:53 PM on September 1, 2010


I do, and I agree. One big sprawling megalopolis (is that a word?) isn't as efficient as several smaller, denser cities over a state.
posted by harriet vane at 11:57 PM on September 1, 2010


Like Wollongong, Sydney & Newcastle, for example?
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:04 AM on September 2, 2010


I try to avoid thinking about New South Wales wherever possible. * twitch *
posted by Jimbob at 12:37 AM on September 2, 2010


Noooooooooooooooooo! Version 2: ABC's election computer predicts Family First senator in SA.
posted by Jimbob at 8:48 PM on September 2, 2010


Quick! There's still time to hold a referendum to force SA to secede!

(apart from the Coopers & Southwark breweries, which will revert to the Commonwealth)
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:12 PM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


And if you thought Steve Fielding was a calm, reasonable voice of moderation in the Senate, wait until you meet Bob Day!
In 2002, as secretary of H.R. Nicholls, he blamed the award system for high unemployment and the social ills of drugs, crime, violence, poor health, teenage pregnancy and suicide. In a March 2005 financial forum speech, he likened workplace regulations and protections to "Checkpoint Charlie" as he advocated his idea of workplace nirvana, called "Workforce Superhighway". Employment conditions would be determined solely between employers and employees and "no one else". "Hours of work, rates of pay, holidays, sick leave, long-service leave, hiring and firing, will all be agreed between the two parties". There would be no industrial relations commission and workers could settle disputes through either voluntary mediators or magistrates courts. In a January 2005 newspaper column, he urged a return to when apprentices were indentured to tradesmen and paid a modest wage that started at "10 to 15 per cent" of the tradesman's wage.
posted by Jimbob at 9:35 PM on September 2, 2010


Like Wollongong, Sydney & Newcastle, for example?
I'm thinking about the zombie corpse of the Multi Function Polis. Stinking toxic algal blooms, furious sucking up for Federal subsidy, real estate speculation and a scratch below the surface, gutter racism. It's a very Adelaide story.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 11:30 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jimbob: so it's pretty much a given he'll side with the Coalition in the Senate, yes?

Fiasco: my God, I'd forgotten about that. Wayne Goss may have been a proto-Rudd, but we dodged a big bullet when he knocked that down up here. It was a narrow thing, too; IIRC, Goss liked the idea but wasn't keen on the fact that Eddie Kornhauser - a well-paying 'friend' of Russ Hinze - had bought up all the intended locations.

(Ah, Russ… You were a crook of the highest order, but you knew how to throw a good barbecue.

I met his grand-daughter at one; she would have been about 13 at the time.)

posted by Pinback at 2:52 AM on September 3, 2010


These bastards better make their mind up today.
posted by peacay at 2:42 PM on September 6, 2010


It's worse than the elimination round of a bad reality TV show, you couldn't make it up.

All that's missing is lining Gillard and Abbott up in front of the cameras to stand facing a table with the three Independents, each with a plate of policy prepared especially within a time limit. Who will the judges choose for 2010 MasterGovernment?

Gillard, would probably choose an education unionist flambé, cooked in the oven to ensure transparency and genuine parental choice, then doused in private school funding and tax rebates then set on fire. Abbott's signature dish would obviously be a Pacific Solution à la RU486 with a side of a rabbit punch in the teeth.

In case of a tie: Chris Pyne and Anthony Albanese try to hit the high notes in a big-band karaoke sing-off using only their nasal cavities.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 3:34 PM on September 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


What about Leader Swap? Gillard & Abbott have to spend a month as leader of the other party. Naturally, the voters can't tell the difference.

Or we could do World's Toughest Leaders - watch as they try to discipline their unruly back benchers, or try to prevent their deputies from deposing them.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:59 PM on September 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Amazing Race To The Right, as the ALP and Liberal Party's leaders' offices compete for the votes of the imaginary heartland: white, self-employed Australian-born men aged 35-60, married with children in private schools, living in Western Sydney north of the Great Western Highway.

Australian Idle, where we take a glimpse into the lives of many-times re-preselected safe-seat backbenchers. Marvel at Laurie Ferguson's ethnic-chic crib! Gasp in awe at Alby Schultz's southern highlands lifestyle!

The Ex- Factor, in which we follow the lives of defeated MPs and their struggle to maintain relevance after being sacked by the voters. Featuring celebrity judges Mark Latham, Maxine McKew, and John Howard.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:18 PM on September 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


Oh I've got it: cameras follow around the men and women on the front line of caucus and partyroom order. Coming up, WHIPS.

Bad boys, bad boys, what'cha gonna do, what'cha gonna do when they comin' for you
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:23 PM on September 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


How about Deal or No Deal wherein.. wait, nevermind.
posted by coriolisdave at 4:30 PM on September 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


...And Katter's declared for the Coalition.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:44 PM on September 6, 2010


...Dancing with the Tsars.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:48 PM on September 6, 2010


Hell's Cafeteria, where National Party MPs compete to cook the books and serve up plenty of pork.
posted by Jimbob at 9:21 PM on September 6, 2010


Who Wants to be a Millionaire? - which is how most countries would settle this kind of impasse.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:44 PM on September 6, 2010


Aaaaand, the Coalition all out for 74.
posted by Jimbob at 10:34 PM on September 6, 2010


Two cheers!
posted by Wolof at 10:39 PM on September 6, 2010


*stands to stretch legs; polite cricket clap*

Richie Benaud voiceover:

"Well, what an extraordinary test it's been. Labor won the toss and elected to bat. The openers Gillard & Swan held the innings for the entire test, scoring exactly zero runs, against a toothless Coalition attack that took no wickets. Let's go to the stats. Final score: 0 for 0, and on the bowling card, 0 for 0 with 0 extras.

The umpires then deliberated for two and a half weeks over who was the least undeserving side, as the rules wouldn't allow them to award the victory to the grass growing. Without any precedent to follow, they've finally decided that the trophy will remain with Labor.

That just about wraps it up here; stay tuned for the National Nine News."
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:10 PM on September 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


UbuRoivas, I think we can definitely cast Bob Katter as Billy Bowden---overrated, not very good and more than 50% out of his tiny mind.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 11:19 PM on September 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Jolly good. We have a government once more. I was getting so tired of all the anarchy.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:09 AM on September 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was getting so tired of all the anarchy
[hauls down black and red flag, demutualises the productive property held in common, re-establishes the ascendancy of powerful capital interests]
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:23 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Let the fun begin!
posted by Wolof at 6:30 PM on September 7, 2010


Oh it already has, Wolof!
posted by Jimbob at 7:01 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


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