Whither the Greens?

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Bob Brown said on several occasions “We don’t want to keep the bastards honest, we want to replace them.” It may be a time to reflect whether this is a realistic prospect, or whether the Greens will settle into being a niche party of the left.

I’d suggest the the Greens are no longer primarily a protest party for those disaffected by Labor, and to a lesser extent the LNP. Rather they a party with an ideology in their own right, based on values related to the environment, sustainability, human dignity and social justice. As such they have become an enduring part of the political furniture. But the question now is whether their trajectory to replace Labor as the main party on the left is still on course, or whether it has seriously stalled.

The Senate

The senate has been the Greens platform to launch into national politics. In 2013 they reached a high watermark in gaining 10 of the 76 seats. In 2016 the Greens were virtually static overall in the Senate, advancing only 0.2% to reach 8.8% of the national vote, albeit with at least a third of votes still to be counted. In the washup the Greens will definitely lose one to Xenophon in SA and need preferences to secure a second in WA and Tasmania. It’s looking like 9.

What happens in 2019 will depend on which senators are given 6-year terms. This is to be decided by the Senate itself, but the likelihood is that there will be a LNP-Labor deal which could disadvantage everyone else. The Greens may lose further under these circumstances in 2019, but it is hard to see them advancing beyond 12 senators in 2022.

If we take the LNP, Labor and the Greens as the mainstream parties, they account for 74.4% of the Senate vote, compared to 87.1% in the House of representatives. Clearly the drift to “other” is greatest in the senate, with Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (ON) and the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) the major parties of protest.

Of note, ON polled 9.09% in Queensland compared to 7.36% for the Greens. In SA NXT actually fell back by about 3% to 21.8% while the Greens got only 5.66%. In a half senate election NXT would be probably get two senators, whereas the Greens may struggle to get one.

Nationally Labor’s vote is about 3.5 times that of the Greens.

The House of Representatives

In 2013 the Greens won 8.65% of the national vote in the lower house, down by 3.11% from the 11.76% in 2010. This election so far they have won 9.8%, an improvement of 1.2%.

Labor’s trajectory was similar in gains and losses. In 2013 they lost 4.61% to go from 37.99% to 33.38%. This time they have improved by 1.9% to reach 35.3%.

In 2010 Labor’s vote was 3.23 times that of the Greens, now it is about 3.6 times. In terms of replacing Labor the project seems stalled.

Nevertheless, the Greens have taken the seat of Melbourne, initially on Liberal preferences, and are threatening in four other nearby seats (Batman, Higgins, Melbourne Ports and Wills). They now own Melbourne and have edged in front of Labor in Batman and Wills. However, their vote trails off rapidly as you move away from the city centre. Tim Colebatch explains why they struggle in the outer reaches of these seats.

Elsewhere it is hard to find seats were the Greens poll above 20%. Examples include Grayndler in Sydney, where they polled 21.9% against Albanese’s 46.8%, but reached only 18.5% in Sydney, where Plibersek was on 44.3%.

In Richmond in the NSW northern rivers the Greens polled 20.%, but Labor was on 31.4%.

In my seat of Ryan, Stephen Hegedus, a native title lawyer and a good candidate, lost 2.3% to end on 23.2%, while the Greens gained 4.3% to end on 18.7. However the LNP’s Jane Prentice improved her vote slightly to achieve 52.1% first preference. Similarly in Brisbane the Labor vote receded, while the Greens improved, still less than 20% and in third place, while the Liberal improved to sit on 50% first preference.

It’s difficult to see where the Greens will pick up a federal seat in Queensland.

Move beyond the leafy suburbs and the Greens vote rapidly descends into single figures.

In two elections time it’s hard to see the Greens claiming 5-7 seats in 150, and even harder to see them moving beyond that. Osman Faruqi, I believe he’s a Green, says Without some serious soul searching, the Greens will never move beyond the 10% plateau.

This may be significant:

    Some long-term Greens campaigners have begun to question the party’s more moderate political direction under Di Natale. Christine Cunningham, the national co-convenor of the Australian Greens in 2013 and 2014, said: “In a world desperate for change and hope, we offered a centrist position summed up in a vague slogan.

    “We can continue to be led by a nice-guy, mainstream footy-playing doctor and negotiate incremental change … Or maybe as a party of really smart, but often too-privileged-to-quite-get-it members, we should take a long hard look at ourselves and make some radical changes.”

The Greens are arguably now a party of the intelligent, compassionate centre-left, rather than of the far left, as stereotyped by the tories. Yet there is a wide and deep river between them and Labor on such issues as asylum seekers. Labor would say that on this and some issues like emissions trading systems, the coal industry and how to pay for their promises, they are all care and no responsibility.

The Greens do have to understand that there will be no Gillard-style deal, where policies Labor has taken to the electorate will be given away to achieve power with a niche party. Running against high profile sitting ALP members also precludes co-operation.

The states where the Greens are performing above their national average are Victoria on 12.8% and WA on 11.6%. Labor’s strong states are NSW, Victoria and Tasmania, while the LNP are strong with older people and rich people. The only state where the LNP stand out is WA on 48.5%, and in Queensland when the right wing preferences come back to them. The LNP are weak in SA and Tasmania.

The true protest vote to ‘politics as usual’, I think, is better gauged by the vote for ‘Other’ defined as the remainder after considering the LNP, Labor and The Greens. This vote is 12.9% nationally in the HoR, compared to 12.42% in 2013. The accepted meme is that people are leaving the major parties in droves. Sorry, but I can’t see it.

The large states of NSW and Victoria are below the average, on 11.8% and 9.3% respectively. WA is lowest on only 6.3%. On the high side we find SA on 26.9% and Tasmania on 16.4%, plus Queensland on 16.9%, where only 2.2% of the Palmer United Party’s 11% in 2013 has flowed back to the majors and the Greens.

So there is a significant leakage to the right in Queensland, to the centre with NXT in SA, and I’m not so sure in Tasmania.

In all three states economics and the ravages of free market economics, globalisation, economic rationalism or whatever is a factor. With Hanson there is also the spectre of racism and an anti-Muslim feeling.

Margo Kingston says we need to listen to Pauline and and engage with her. Shunning and shaming will only enrage her followers. More to the point, I think, we need to engage with those who feel excluded and fearful and seek to develop policies that will improve their lives.

It would be a mistake to think that Labor is moribund and past its use-by date. Katherine Murphy describes Labor’s field operation in the 2016 federal election which produced some mind-blowing statistics, and the conservatives risk being comprehensively outflanked.

The campaign worked through volunteers, some not party members, social media and phone calls.

    The field team logged 1.6m contacts with voters over the eight weeks – either through phone calls or door-knocking. They made a million phone calls, they knocked on 560,000 doors, and logged 450,000 successful conversations in targeted seats.

The unions ran a separate campaign. Both campaigns cranked up in the last three days. On election night the youth of the Labor supporters was evident.

FWIW this is some analysis from a union source, picked up on Facebook:

    – the ALP gained strongly in younger, lower-income and working class electorates
    – Electorates with a higher proportion of tradies swung more to the ALP ‪
    – the swing to the ALP was stronger in 30 Coalition marginals at 4.1% where the national swing was 3.4%
    – the 22 seats resourced by the union movements year long community campaign average swing was 5.5%.

For a really fascinating read, Google ‘John Black When we demographically dissected the seats which swung to Labor’ to bypass Uncle Rupert’s paywall.

Black says that the childcare subsidies for the year ran out about the exact time Turnbull called the election.

He also pointed out that 32,000 GPs provide 140 million services each year. There were about 23 million GP visits during the election.

Those seats swinging to the Coalition were characterised by the retired, those who own income producing assets and two-income professionals within the best access to broadband and amenities in the most secure jobs, often linked directly or indirectly to the public sector.

Ironic, that.

Politics is hard graft, and for the Greens I think the hardest work is in front of them. Douglas Hynd said:

    There is a mixture of sociological/cultural forces behind their appearance and growth – along with the failure of the major parties on climate change that has left a major policy opportunity.

I think they’ll need to go beyond dissatisfaction on climate change to become a party of the marginalised, as well as a party for the marginalised. Not easy.

57 thoughts on “Whither the Greens?”

  1. Good discussion. A brief addendum on the ACT.

    Greens House of Reps vote in two ACT electorates is now at 15% – its Reps vote has increased & Senate vote has declined to the point where they are nearly identical. If you treat the House vote as a base vote because there is no chance of electing the candidate then the base vote is improving and the protest vote element represented by the difference between the Reps and the Senate is declining. The ACT Greens vote is similar in sociological character to that in Melbourne.

    This Reps vote is encouraging indicatively in terms of the impending ACT Legislative Assembly election. Issues are different but a territory wide vote of 12-13% would give them a chance of a seat in up to 4 out of 5 of the electorates. There has been a shift since the last election in the Hare-Clark system from 2 5 seat electorates and 1 seven seat electorate to five Five seat electorates.

  2. I’ve changed the post, placing the Greens as a party of the intelligent, compassionate centre-left, rather than of the left. They are certainly left on the left-right scale, but are not a threat to the capitalist order.

    I think we should go in for more democratic types of representation such as represented party lists or multiple electorates, but reform of that kind will be hard if not impossible to do.

  3. The Political spectrum thang is so difficult to illustrate, impossible even.
    It varies from one culture to the next and changes almost daily within each.

  4. Jumpy, I’m not a political scientist, so I won’t pretend I am. however, if a party calls for the ‘public ownership of the means of production’ they are seriously left of centre. It used to be in the ALP’s manifesto. Haven’t looked now, but they haven’t taken it seriously for the longest time.

    I recall Bronwyn Bishop last century when she was making a play for the leadership explaining to us all that the Liberals prioritise the individual, whereas Labor look out for the group.

    I remember thinking, Yes Bronwyn, that’s right.

  5. Good one Brian. It captures much of dilemma that the Greens need to face in the shorter term.
    When analyzing the figures it is useful to divide Green voters into:
    1. Those that want a Green government now.
    2. Those that support the directions that the Greens are arguing for.
    3. The protest vote that doesn’t really care what the Greens are wanting to do.
    My take is that, in 2010 the Greens benefited from a protest vote that is now split between a number of parties. My gut feel is that 1 and 2 are growing but that this is being offset by the reduced share of the protest vote.
    More later.

  6. Thanks John, I look forward to “more later”. I went looking for ‘green shoots’ further out and couldn’t find much.

    I’ve been pretty depressed by the trivial reasons people have been giving for the way they vote on local talkback radio.

  7. The Greens vote this time around was a bit better than the 2013 vote but hardly what you would call outstanding. The courier mail said today (Sat 9/7) that about 1/3 of the Green vote came from people who were voting against someone else. It is a bit hard to tell to what extent the change in the overall Greens vote represented a change in actual supporters vs a change in the protest vote going to the Greens.
    The failure to get more lower house representatives was also disappointing but it is worth noting that in Vic the Greens came a lot closer to getting more in a number of Melbourne seats. For example in Batman, the Greens/Labor TPP was 48/52 this time around vs 40/60 last time.
    It is also worth noting that the Greens have numerous elected representatives in some state parliaments and local councils. For example, the last time looked the lord mayors of Byron Bay, Tweed heads and Lismore were Green.
    Finally, if the proportion of members in the federal parliaments were the same as the percentage of votes the Greens would have 15 members in the house of reps and 8 in the Senate. It is the undemocratic nature of one member electorates that make the Greens look like a minor party.

  8. I am an active member of the Greens because i think the Greens are, by and large, pulling in the right direction with respect to things i think are important like climate change and fairness. In my patch the branch effort was much greater than previous with my electorate of Ryan increasing their % of the vote by 4%.
    However, the overall Green strategy suffered from all the talk about wanting to become a mainstream party just like the Democrats did not long before they collapsed.
    Talking about becoming mainstream comes with a number of problems:
    Firstly the wisdom of talking mainstream is a bit questionable when the country is getting more and more pissed off with the mainstream parties. A number of people would have been put off by the Greens trying to force their way into a ALP/Greens coalition and doing a deal with the LNP over the Senate voting system. (A deal I strongly agreed with.)
    Secondly, a party will be tempted into being more moderate with the idea of convincing that it is safe to consider as mainstream.
    The problem this election was that the country is facing a series of problems for which radical solutions should be considered and orthodox solutions challenged. Think about it:
    Unemployment in Aus has hovered around 5% since the stagflation crisis. Part of the problem is that the RBA was so spooked about stagflation that it slams the brakes on as soon as unemployment goes much below 5%.
    Both majors are beating each other about the alleged budget crisis. Given that an overpriced currency and below target inflation are being held up as problems perhaps the Greens should have argued for a bit of money printing.
    70% of new graduates are failing to find full time employment.
    Youth unemployment was over 20% the last time I looked.
    The Greens should have been doing a Bernie Sanders and pushed for radical economic solutions.

  9. John, good points.
    Do you think Di Natale is seen as not radical enough ?
    And given the US, Japan and Chinasmanipulating of their currency value by ” quantitative easing ” ( printing money ), if taken up by every Nation in equal proportion, would that be a good thing ?

  10. Douglas, impressive graphics. On Mark’s Facebook he commented on this article with more explanation and conventional graphics showing the Greens penetration in Melbourne.

    His criticism was that the maps only give you a single data point for each booth, which tells you nothing about the size of the margin or who it was against (that is, the two candidate preferred count). So he thinks a lot of inferences are being drawn which are not sustainable.

    I think he’s saying there is nothing inevitable about the move to the Greens as inner suburbs gentrify, put in more units etc.

    The patterns we see may not endure, and don’t tell us anything that is necessarily transferable to other cities.

  11. John, I think that Di Natale and Bandt got a bit ahead of themselves with talking about coalitions. It certainly worked in Turnbull’s favour so that the LNP could run a scare campaign against Labor, especially on asylum seekers.

    Another comment is that there is an issue in NSW where they seemed to run candidates with a far left background. There have been questions about Lee Rhiannon’s judgement.

    Di Natale is very articulate and intelligent, but carries the aura of upper middle class privilege a bit. Not sure that’s fair and I wouldn’t comment on the Greens’ philosophy overall.

    During the campaign their leadership suffered a bit from attention deprivation, certainly when compared to normal coverage. When the ABC election coverage switched to him he made a big political speech, which Leigh Sales cut off in the end.

  12. Jumpy: I think DiNatale is an impressive leader who talks sense.. However, being sensible doesn’t necessarily get the attention needed to boost the Greens vote during an election. I also think we really do need to get away from economic orthodoxy at this point of time.
    Quantitative easing is about making money available to the banks. Hasn’t been all that effective because there is already plenty of money sloshing around at low interest rates. The printed money has to be used to get money to people who are actually going to spend it like Rudd did to deal with the GST. (Should have paid for the Rudd stimulus using printed money.)
    I agree that manipulating currency value by printing money can result in unstable “competitive devaluation.”
    One of the reasons for the good 30 years after WWll was the Bretton Woods agreement that was put together by the allies before the end of the war. A key part of this was a system for stabilizing currency values. Part of the problem at the moment are the mix of floating currencies and computerized speculation.

  13. John, one of the things Immanuel Wallerstein talks about is ‘financialisation’. From 1970 onwards it was harder for capitalists to make profits, so they started to turn every aspect of life into an industry where profit can be garnered.

    I used to joke that we’d have to pay for the air we breathe, but that’s not so funny now.

    It also means just making money out of dealing with money.

    BTW I think the world needs to legislate a minimum length for how long we should own shares to slow down computerised share trading.

  14. Brian in my area (Brunswick) which is a large part of the ‘inner’ or south-of-Bell-Street part of Wills electorate, we have had very large swings to Greens on 2pp, from 10-20%. I was amazed by this and went so far as to suggest that in the next state election, the Greens may win a majority of first preference votes in the state electorate of Brunswick.

    Since then I’ve had a closer look and it’s not quite so simple. Booths in the 2016 fed election and the 2014 state election aren’t exactly the same, but similar enough to do a fair comparison I think. It looks to me that the Greens got a swing of about 3.5% on first preferences between state election in 2014 and fed election in 2016 in the Brunswick area (from just under 40% to a bit over 43%). What seems to have made the 2pp swings so large is that a raft of minor left parties (Sex, Drug Reform, Socialist Alliance and Socialist Equality – yep the socialists have split) stood this time when they hadn’t in 2014 (plus Animal Justice increased their vote). I think it must be their preferences that pushed the Greens 2pp so high. Plus there may have been more Liberals who didn’t follow their party’s HTV card and actually preferenced the Greens before Labor.

    Either way, the massive swings on 2pp suggest the Greens should win Brunswick in the next state election. They should also win the state seat of Northcote by the same token. They already have Prahran and Melbourne so if those two hold, the Greens could end up with four seats in the Victorian Lower House next state election. I don’t think what is happening in Victoria is a flash in the pan by any means – it looks much more like the emergence of a new major party.

  15. Val, that’s very interesting, but I’d be wary about the “new major party” thesis. I don’t know what it means in practice, but the Greens threw a lot of resources at about five seats in Melbourne, whereas Labor, it is said, focussed on 22 throughout the country, won about half of them, and made the rest very marginal.

    There does seem to be a demographic issue, because go across a road or a bridge and the Greens vote seems to rapidly drop to single figures. Hereabouts if you move from Brisbane and Ryan to Forde, Lilley, Bonner and Bowman the Greens vote falls rapidly away.

    My post details that nationally or even within states the Greens progress is not remarkable, or even somewhat stalled.

    The other question is whether seats where the Greens are doing well will stay that way over time, or whether the vote is retrievable by Labor and the Liberals, depending on the quality of candidates, the effort put in etc. Some like Ryan, where John and I reside, voted 52.6% first preference for the LNP, up 0.9%.

  16. Brian I think you are under-estimating cultural change. Voting Green in areas such as the one I live in is now the ‘new normal’ for many. Greens are no longer treated as a fringe party or a joke. The experience of people door knocking in the election bears this out.

  17. Val, I’m just trying to get a grip on reality. I heard on the radio that Labor might win on Greens preferences in Cowan. Great, I thought, what’s the story?

    I take a look and find The Greens got 7.2%, the same as the swing to Labor.

    Nationwide I said in the post:

    In two elections time it’s hard to see the Greens claiming 5-7 seats in 150, and even harder to see them moving beyond that.

    That’s about half what Labor picked up this time.

    The Green march in Melbourne is impressive, but I think we need finer-grained research to understand it even there, which is not to deny your perceptions as someone who lives there.

  18. Val, on anecdotes, I’ve heard of one Greens candidate in the state election here who had a lovely time door knocking in Ashgrove, our suburb. When she went to Mitchelton a bit to the north she had a horrible time.

  19. Doug Hynd’s graphic suggests that once one area is contaminated by the Greens the disease spreads rather than jumping all over the place. My sense is that the West Brisbane patch is getting more and more Green friendly even if we haven’t won yet. (Watch this space.)

  20. The green vote seems to grow most in the most polluted environments, to which they contribute, Big Cities.
    Maybe it’s a guilt vote rather than a protest vote.

  21. Jumpy you will note that I said in the area where I live (Brunswick) the Greens are not treated as a fringe party or joke. I wasn’t aware that you had become an expert on Brunswick.

  22. Brian I also think the Greens need to do more to win support, but like John, I support the Greens on the basis of their policies, and I get depressed that more people don’t make decisions on that basis.

  23. I get depressed that more people don’t make decisions on that basis.

    Me too, especially so-called swinging voters.

    I’ve actually come to think again about compulsory voting as a result of this election.

  24. Brian:

    I’ve actually come to think again about compulsory voting as a result of this election.

    Don’t even think it. Get rid of compulsory voting and:
    The extremists will still vote. Parties have to pitch to get extremist support.
    It is easier to pressure people like African Americans to not vote and use Jim Crow laws to exclude people.
    Less pressure to take your old mother down to the polling booth if she is not facing a fine.
    I don’t want Aus to be like America.

  25. I would even go so far as to have enrolment conducted at the transport department too.
    No enrolment, no drivers licence.

    I know, doesn’t sound very Libertarian but it’s the Law and I’m sick of Governments making new bandaid Laws to cover over their unwillingness to simply enforce the Laws we already have.

  26. Thinking about it, maybe the Greens really do need to focus more strongly on the policy space. A lot of people (like Jumpy?) seem to assume their policies are foolish or non-existent, without knowing anything about the actual policies.

    Need to have a real policy debate in Australia I think.

  27. I don’t mean the Greens need to focus more on the policy space in the sense of developing policies, because I think they already do that. I mean in the sense of publicising their policies, defending them, having policy debates.

  28. A lot of people (like Jumpy?) seem to assume their policies are foolish or non-existent, without knowing anything about the actual policies.

    I have read their policies and find very many either unworkable or economic suicide.
    But that’s just my opinion.
    I think they had Treasury analysis done this time, if it was released I haven’t read that. Got a link Val ?

    ( Oh Val, making the assumption someone holding a differing view different to yours because they must be uninformed or ignorant is quite arrogant and potentially insulting. Just sayin )

  29. There’s a difference between a question and an assumption. If I’d said ‘like Jumpy’ that would be an assumption, but I said ‘like Jumpy?’ which is a question. I was asking whether you’d read the policies before suggesting the Greens were in fact a joke, as you did upthread.

    I think Treasury just costed the Greens policies. If you want a link, you can google it yourself, since you raised that issue.

  30. If that’s the standard you want to set Val, ok, look forward to me employing it in future.

    John, thank you, I’ll check it out. My google searches only yielded journalistic analysis of Treasury analysis which were not at all consistent. I hope your link has the raw findings.

  31. Jumpy you are already consistently rude to me (and others, but more to me I think) so I’m not sure what the new standard will be, but if it involves putting my name with a question mark after it in one comment, I’m not in fact very scared,

    The link to Treasury costing is here https://www.electioncostings.gov.au/?field_costing_portfolio_tid=All&field_status_tid=All&field_costing_released_by_value=All

    There’s 87 requests, it seems Treasury didn’t manage to respond to all of them, but apparently did to most. I haven’t read them all and I don’t intend to, I trust the Greens did this to ensure their coatings were realistic and honest.

  32. Now that counting for the election is complete it may be possible to undertake a more measured account of the Greens performance. HoR – 10.2% up by 1.6%. Senate 8.6% stable from previous election – rather than a small reduction as the early count suggested. Greens did relatively well out of the later counting. 9 senators – a loss of one in South Australia.

    The curious thing to note is the relative improvement in the Reps vote as against the Senate. No longer the party of choice for the protest vote in the Senate – but building a stronger vote in the Reps to the extent that they have good candidates and are able to resource local campaigns. Relatively poor performances in South Australia and NSW compared to the other states.

  33. Douglas, yes the Greens are at 10.2%, up from the 9.8 they were at the time I did the post. Still well short of the 11.76% they had in 2010.

    In NSW last week Bob Brown unloaded on Senator Lee Rhiannon, calling on her to stand down.

    It’s still hard yakka for the Greens, I think. Someone said recently that after the went into coalition with Labor in Tasmania, at the next election they lost 30% of their vote. RDN should be careful what he wishes for!

  34. Bob Day got up so a bit of sanity toward the Construction Industry represented in the Senate.
    SHY up too, so that cancels that out I suppose….

  35. Yes, Day up at the expense of Labor. A surprise, because he only got 0.37 of a quota.

    I think it means the LNP can get stuff through with the Greens, and Labor can’t block stuff with the Greens and Xenephon. They’ll need one more. But a couple of unknowns, so we’ll wait and see.

  36. Tim Colebatch has done the numbers, and I’m wrong. You only need 38 for a blocking vote, so Labor, the Greens and X can do it.

    Turnbull to get stuff through will need Labor, or The Greens, or 9 out of 11 of the crossbench. That means he would need One Nation as well as X.

    Xenophon will be pleased.

  37. One of the interesting things was the surprising way the preferences ran. The Greens and it looks like Day did much better than expected from the primary and predictions based on results from the old corrupt system where the parties and vote whisperers controlled the preferences. A healthy percentage of voters seem to prefer the Greens ahead of the two majors or minor right wing.
    The other interesting thing was that voters for parties considered “right wing” were not giving their vote to other “right wing” parties. I may be wrong but people who are interested in shooting and fishing often have a deep love for the wild environment and aren’t necessarily Christian or racists.
    Look forward to what the election tragics have to say after the count has been analysed.
    Agree that the Greens need to have a close look at what they did. Many are not convinced that they want the Greens to become the third old party.

  38. I may be wrong but people who are interested in shooting and fishing often have a deep love for the wild environment and aren’t necessarily Christian or racists.

    Who said they were ?

  39. Agree with your comment about fishers, shooters John.
    Also, many Christians would not dream of voting for the small parties that use “Christian” in their party names.

    Some rural folk vote ALP, some vote Green.
    Some National supporters apparently favoured Cathy McGowan over Sophie Mirabella in Indi, in 2013.

    For decades, analysts have noted differences between vote totals for HoR vs. Senate, from same booths; sometimes called ‘strategic voting’ I think. Or ‘hedging my bets’.

    Great to see Senator Singh returned, on a strong personal vote. Very happy that we voters are able to ignore party rankings like that.

    Can we assume Senator Day enjoys some personal regard in his State?

    Finally, a quip I saw a few years ago regarding the NSW Greens: opponents of the ‘old guard’ were calling it “the Eastern Bloc” because many leading lights resided in the Eastern suburbs…….

    There may have been another reason …… 🙂

  40. Yes indeedy, Sir Bob the Brown has had enough of Mz O’Gorman-Brown it would appear.

  41. Ambigulous, Day certainly gave the fourth Labor senator a fair start, and was even behind One Nation on the first pick.

    Do you know how many votes he got in the end? He probably would not have needed a full quota because of the exhaustion of votes.

  42. No, it was at the expense of the Liberal Democrats, according to Antony Green. They were in line for the 12th seat. Green says he thinks her proximity on the ballot sheet to Bob Katter party and Glenn Lazarus may have helped.

    But he also says that the majority of PUP voters appear to have moved over to One Nation.

  43. David Leyonhjelm is back.


    Coalition: 30 (down from 33 in the last Senate)
    Labor: 26 (up from 25)
    Greens: 9 (down from 10)
    One Nation: 4 (up from zero)
    Nick Xenophon Team: 3 (up from 1)
    Liberal Democrats: 1
    Derryn Hinch Justice Party: 1
    Jacqui Lambie Network: 1
    Family First: 1

  44. Brian: The coalition has 30 senators and the Greens 9. 39 votes are needed to pass legislation so LNP+Greens can pass legislation even if everyone else is against. The ABC says:

    The Australian Electoral Commission has now announced the Senate results for all states and territories, leaving the Coalition and Labor with 30 and 26 spots respectively.

    It is a drop for the Coalition, who previously had 33 representatives in the Upper House.

    They need 39 votes to pass legislation, leaving them to negotiate with the crossbench — up from eight to 11 — comprising of four One Nation senators, three Nick Xenophon Team senators, as well as independents such as Jacqui Lambie and Derryn Hinch.

    The new Senate includes 11 crossbenchers. Who are they, and what do they stand for?
    Family First Senator Bob Day and Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm were also returned, as well as nine Greens (down from 10 in the previous government).

    Ms Hanson, who was comfortably elected to the Upper House, will be joined by fellow Queenslander Malcolm Roberts, a prominent climate change sceptic with the Galileo Movement.

    The Pauline Hanson One Nation Party polled more than 9 per cent of the first-preference vote in Queensland, securing up to 21 per cent in the conservative South Queensland seat of Wright.

    It will have a total of four seats in the Senate, following the election of Brian Burston in New South Wales and Rod Culleton in WA.

    Bill Shorten attributed

    Ms Hanson’s success to Mr Turnbull and Greens leader Richard Di Natale.

    Speaking to media in Sydney, Mr Shorten said the election of Ms Hanson and her colleagues was a result of voting reform and a double dissolution.

    “The presence in such numbers of One Nation in the Senate is a direct result of Mr Turnbull and Mr Di Natale’s action in terms of their so-called electoral reform,”

    Not impressed Bill – Cant have the voters being allowed to decide who their preferences flow to can we?
    It would also be more democratic if all the senators had to face the voters every time the house of reps goes to an election. Would make it easier for the supporters of minor parties to be heard and I can see no merit having senators who were elected 6 years ago under what might be very different conditions.

  45. Agreed Brian.
    Also, a ban on senators being ministers of the crown would help the Senate better function as a house of review. (Which is still its stated purpose I believe?)

  46. I find myself in agreement with both zoot and Brian John.

    Unfortunately ( imho ), given the makeup of the new Senate, Bills that have economic overtaxation burden drag will pass with flying colours and hobbyhorse porkbarrel spending will thrive.
    And Bills to reign in wasteful spending will be stillborn in caucus room.
    Expect any lessening of the deficit growth to be pushed back at least 3 more budget forecasts in a row.

    Great job Talcum Turncoat

  47. One thing to keep in mind is that the government may actually win the double dissolution issues because the government actually has an absolute majority in the lower house. Haven’t done the sums.

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