While Antony Green at the end of Saturday night deemed the election result unknowable, Bill Shorten gave a victory speech that declined to claim victory, but said the Coalition had lost their mandate. “Labor is back”, he said.
Turnbull waited until after midnight, claimed a victory in the making, and in what many considered an ungracious speech, blamed everyone except himself. It was a political speech which neglected some of the conventions. Michelle Grattan, in an excellent analysis, said he was “extraordinarily lacking in self-awareness”, “showed not a scintilla of humility” and “made no gesture of contrition, no promise that he had heard the message the people had delivered.”
Let’s look at the numbers.
The House of Representatives
The magic number is 76 in a house of 150, to elect a speaker and govern. The ABC computer, at time of writing, has 65 won by the LNP, 67 by Labor, one green, one Xenephon and 3 others, who are Andrew Wilkie in Denison, Cathy McGowan in Indi and Bob Katter.
Of the 13 doubtful, I understand that the LNP are ahead in 8, Labor in 5. However, the rural seat of Grey, not currently in the doubtful column, may go to Xenephon rather than to the Liberals, depending on how the Labor preferences break.
Antony Green tonight had a high water mark of 76 for the LNP, but that includes Grey. Labor were saying if they get to 72, they can give it a shot. The Liberals are claiming that their superior performance on postal votes, of which their are said to be 1.5 million, will give them a shot at all 13. They have to win 11 or perhaps 12 of the 13, in order to govern in their own right.
No-one is looking at a deal, except Xenophon, who is assembling his wish list.
I’m assuming the LNP will fall just over or just short of the line, and will be the ones to form government.
The Senate results are too hard for me to make sense of with 50 to 70% of the vote counted. However, Barrie Cassidy on Insiders quoted a source which he regarded as plausible that suggested there would be 30 LNP, 27 Labor, 9 Greens and 10 Other. The 10 Other would include 3 NXT in SA, Derryn Hinch in Victoria, one Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) in NSW, and 2 Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. She’s claiming 2 in Qld, one in NSW and one in WA. It does look possible, depending on how preferences go.
Of this motley bunch, Turnbull would need 9 out of 10 if the Greens and Labor oppose. That, as Laura Tingle pointed out on Insiders, means most of his program will go nowhere.
Nevertheless this bunch look more right-leaning than the senate we’ve just lost. It looks, however, that the LNP won’t be able to get past both Hanson and Xenophon. It may be easier dealing with Labor and/or the Greens.
Labor and the Greens would only need to find 3 on the crossbench.
Passing the industrial relations legislation in a joint sitting may be doable, but not without Hanson and Xenophon exacting deals in return.
Under Labor rules the leadership automatically becomes open after a failed election. However, there are no rumblings about Shorten’s leadership. Plibersek has said she won’t run. Steve Conroy told us no-one would be able to muster more than 20 votes. I think Albanese won’t upset the apple cart and create a distraction in these interesting times.
Turnbull, however, has failed every measure set for him, except the electoral wipe-out that loomed with Abbott. He was meant to win well and establish authority his within the party. Now he won’t be able to shape the policy platform to his will, where already the conservatives are seeking a wind-back on superannuation, claiming the party room wasn’t consulted. That’s true, nor was the industry.
Michael Gordon at the SMH asks Will Turnbull be a lame duck leader in a poisonous Parliament?
One Coalition insider rates his chances of surviving at one in 10.
- His agenda is in tatters, his authority diminished and his judgment is being questioned on multiple levels.
What may save him is the lack of alternatives. Going back to Abbott would be death, but Abbott clearly wants to be in the ministry.
The first surprise to me was the 8.8% swing to Labor in TPP terms in Tasmania.
Then the swing in NSW where Labor have now won 24 seats so far to the LNP’s 21.
In Victoria, commentary says that the fire volunteers dispute probably only affected the outcome in Corangamite, which Labor had expected to win.
Then the swing in Queensland bringing so many seats into play was a big surprise.
Hanson’s performance in Qld was expected, but coming into contention in NSW and WA was not.
And the notion that Labor would get anywhere near the treasury benches was amazing.
Nothing that happened in SA was a surprise.
Lies and scare campaigns
Turnbull basically blames his situation on Labor’s lies and scare campaigns. Frankly I think he set the tone for the election in his response in February to Labor’s negative gearing policy. He said it would “smash” property values, which it clearly won’t.
During the campaign he ran one scare campaign after another, with Labor only being able to get on the front foot when they ran their own scare campaign on Medicare.
Just on the back office, I have heard there are 1400 unionised jobs attached to that giant out-of-date computer. Promising to keep it within government must have hurt Malcolm enormously.
One reason he panicked and did it was that the Liberal Party’s polling showed that the election was in fact closer than we were lead to believe. On Insiders we were told that Liberal officials briefed journalists that they were cruising where it mattered. It became the received wisdom during the campaign. They were lying and journalists don’t like being lied to.
Grattan on lies:
Turnbull complains about Labor’s lies about Medicare’s future, but they were made more credible to the public because of the Coalition’s previous lies and actions. Did it think people would not remember Abbott’s 2013 promise of no cuts to health? Or the attempt in the 2014 budget to bring in a co-payment, unsuccessful though it was? Or the various subsequent moves for cuts and user pays measures?
Labor’s campaign might have been exaggerated and dishonest, but the Coalition itself had effectively given the ALP the building blocks for it.
I’m not comfortable with texts and phone calls frightening people about their health, purporting to come from Medicare, especially close to and on polling day. If the law needs to be changed to prevent this nonsense it should be. However Turnbull’s call for ‘a step up in political culture’ is a joke considering what he and his mob did.
I don’t know who was responsible, but a ground report from the Sydney electorate of Reid said the biggest factor working against Labor in Reid was an avalanche of propaganda in Chinese, Greek and Arabic about Safe Schools and Marriage Equality. I understand this happened at least in several other seats.
Some 55% of people in Reid speak a language other than English in their homes.
The Greens came very close to picking up a couple of seats in Melbourne, where, it must be said, few in Labor would mourn if Danby and Feeney were toppled by Greens. Overall the national Green vote improved by 1.3% to 9.9%. Labor’s improved by 1.9% to 35.3%. The Greens are a long way from becoming a mass party.
I’ll do a separate post on them before I return to climate change.