Arguably the election campaign started on Sunday with Turnbull’s formal rejection of the ALP’s negative gearing campaign. With 68 days to go the polls are all square in the House of Representatives, and, intriguingly, look set to deliver a hung Senate, with the casting vote resting with pesky crossbenchers. Incredibly, Turnbull may win, but not have enough head room to pass legislation at a joint sitting without negotiating with some of the people he wanted to get rid of.
A few people have been looking at the likely Senate outcomes and the prospects are interesting.
Bear in mind Antony Green’s calculus that to pass legislation at a joint sitting:
- would require the government to win support from 114 of the 226 members present at a joint sitting. If the government wins only 33 Senate seats [the same as it has now], it would need to win more than 80 of the 150 House of Representatives seats to pass legislation.
Kevin Bonham’s 2PP aggregate now has the ALP at 50.1, but the LNP winning 77 seats to 69 Labor and 4 other.
Adrian Beaumont has done a neat table of current polls which are magically aligned:
William Bowe’s BludgerTrack gives it 50.1 to the LNP. His breakup of primary votes is 41.7% for the LNP, 34.5% for Labor, 11.4% for the Greens and 4.0% for the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT).
Now track back to Antony Green and find that in a double dissolution a party needs 30.8% to elect four senators, 38.5% for five senators, and 46.2% of the vote to elect six senators. In a half senate election a party only needs 28.6% of the vote to elect two senators and 42.9% to elect three. The main parties do a little less well in the Senate than in the HoR.
Green goes into great detail, but the LNP might struggle to keep their 33 seats, Labor has reasonable prospects of nudging up from their 25, and the Greens will likely lose one to end up with 9. Of the ‘other’, NXT is the big story. He will almost certainly get 3 in SA, wiping out one of the Greens, and could get 4. He could even fluke one elsewhere.
For a simple account, see Adam Gartrell’s How the Senate ferals will survive Malcolm Turnbull’s double dissolution. In summary:
- approach this with caution but here’s the best estimate: the Coalition between 30 and 35 seats; Labor between 25 and 28; the Greens 9; and between five and nine ferals. Sorry, minor party or independents.
Which is basically the same as it is now! Currently, the Coalition has 33, Labor 25, the Greens 10 and others eight.
There are other forecasts with even more ferals. The truth is that no-one knows how the flow of preferences will go. For example Kevin Bonham thinks the race for the last position in Queensland could be between NXT and Glenn Lazarus. Karen Middleton thinks it could be between Lazarus and Pauline Hanson.
Middleton also reminds us that because of vote exhaustion the last place might only require 3% as against the formal quota in a double dissolution of 7.7%. That gives them all a chance, except probably PUP’s Zhenya Wang. Some say that Ricky Muir won’t be known outside people who follow politics, but parties are now allowed to show a party emblem on the ticket. I believe he’s chosen a mug shot of himself.
Some say that Derryn Hinch will struggle precisely because people do know him.
It’s clear that the big winner will be Xenophon. He’s been burnt before by running mates he’s picked and is said to have taken more care this time. However he’s chosen acupuncturist Damien Carey to run for Kingston. Carey thinks fertility in women can be enhanced by needles.
NXT is threatening a number of HoR seats in SA:
- Those seats include Sturt, Mayo and Boothby, held respectively by Liberals Christopher Pyne, Jamie Briggs and retiring MP Andrew Southcott.
On the Labor side, Port Adelaide, Adelaide and Kingston, held by Mark Butler, Kate Ellis and Amanda Rishworth could also be lost.
Turnbull needs a solid victory to see off the right in his own party. Right now his prospects don’t look good. He may also end up having to negotiate with as many or more ferals than the six he needs now. He’s actually more likely to lose the ones who vote with him the most. My impression is that Turnbull is not a good negotiator.
Likewise Bill Shorten would need to negotiate if the numbers fall his way in the HoR.
Then there still Senator Day’s High Court challenge to be settled. Happy days!