Senate update

Voters wanting to elect a party of an independent other than the LNP or Labor, or indeed the Greens, are more likely to do so in the senate. Kevin Bonham says:

    Nationally, the overall “Others” vote is up only slightly in the Reps (12.88% from 12.42%) but it is up from 23.54% to 25.70% in the Senate.

Tim Colebatch points out that we had 54 parties or combinations of parties running for the senate, and 631 candidates for the 76 seats. People voting for something different want their vote to mean something, so how is the new senate shaping up?

William Bowe (Poll Bludger) thinks (paywalled) it “looks no less problematic for the government than the one that preceded it.” Indeed it is likely to be more so.

His table won’t copy well, so here’s the story.

He thinks the LNP have won 30 seats, with a further 2 seats possible (WA and Tasmania), but not likely.

He thinks Labor has won 26, with a further one (Tasmania) likely.

The Greens have 7 with a further 2 likely, in WA and Tasmania.

Xenephon should win 3 in SA.

One Nation will won one in each of Qld, NSW and WA.

Jacqui Lambie and Derryn Hinch should be there.

The Liberal Democrats should win one in Qld, and are likely to pip Fred Nile for the last seat in NSW.

An extra National is possible in WA, more likely is a second Green.

If an extra LNP gets up in Tasmania it would be at the expense of the second Green.

The likely outcome from all that is LNP 30 (5 National), 27 Labor, 9 Greens and 10 on the crossbench, with 3 each to One Nation and Xenephon.

So in terms of getting legislation through, needing 39 votes, if the Government doesn’t make common ground with Labor, it should be able to get laws through with the Greens – just. Otherwise it is likely to need 9 out of 10 of the crossbench, meaning they couldn’t avoid One Nation.

Labor and the Greens in order to block legislation would need the assistance of 3 from the crossbench. That puts Xenephon in a powerful position.

Tim Colebatch’s article provides useful analysis (thanks John D for the link). He celebrates the diversity of choice now offered, which has increased vastly in the post-war years. The main story this time, however, is the demise of Palmer United and the rise of Xenephon and One Nation.

He calculates that on the left, leaving aside the Greens, (8.3% on the latest count), some 17 other left-of-centre parties won 5.2%.

The right is quite fractured:

    On the right, twelve small parties together shared 12.8 per cent. By far the largest was Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (4.3 per cent). Others included the Liberal Democrats (2.0), the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (1.4), Family First (1.3), the Christian Democrats (1.2), the Democratic Labor Party (0.7) and Katter’s Australian Party (0.4).

Uniting them would require a charismatic figure as a necessary condition. We know it isn’t Clive Palmer or Bob Katter – it’s unlikely to be Pauline Hanson. We don’t have a Nigel Farage or Marine Le Pen in sight.

The Greens have survived their initial charismatic leader (Bob Brown), whereas the Democrats did not end up surviving the departure of Don Chipp.

In most states there is still more than 20% of the senate vote to be counted, and I understand that will take a further two weeks, so the preference flows could change a bit.

Meanwhile the HoR result now has 76 LNP, 68 Labor, one each to the Greens and Xenephon and 3 independents. One seat, Herbert, is in doubt with the LNP ahead by 34 votes, and I believe about 3000 to be counted.

It looks as thought Turnbull will lose 13 seats and Labor pick up 13 seats.

If this is the case, on my calculations the Government would need 36 senate votes to pass legislation in a double dissolution joint sitting. Possible, with amendments.

The only post-election poll I’m aware of is Essential, which has the majors 50-50. The most significant change is that Turnbull’s approval rating has turned sharply negative, now on a net -11 after being +33 last December.

In the same space Shorten has moved from -20 to -2.

16 thoughts on “Senate update”

  1. Also at the finish an automatic recount in Herbert and others may happen. Inside 100 votes i think.
    Don’t know what would trigger a recount of senate positions ( other than a bunch of votes disappearing into thin air, again)

  2. a) some 17 other left-of-centre parties won 5.2%

    b) On the right, twelve small parties together shared 12.8 per cent.

    A rough comparison would suggest that the Minor Right is twice as popular as the Minor Left; and further, that it is

    the so-called Left that is quite fractured.

    I agree that the new Senate looks difficult for both the Govt and ALP. That was predicted as a likely outcome as soon as the double dip was called, because of lower quotas.

    It’ll be interesting to see how many voters chose ¬1 to 6 above the line, how many ¬ just 1 above the line, and how many ¬ 1 to 12 below the line.

    A friend told me that Tassie usually has the highest proportion of voters choosing to vote below the line. Why? Because everybody knows everybody else!!

  3. If the figures above hold the Senate result is a good one from the point of view of the LNP, Labor and the Greens.
    It is a good result from the point of view of the LNP in that the Senate will protect the government from its own stupidity and reduce the influence of its Tea Party faction on what happens in Australia.
    Given that Labor, the Greens (and, at least in theory, a combined 9 out of 10 cross benchers) all separately hold the balance of power in their own right the government will have a reasonable alternatives of getting legislation through the Senate.
    It is a good result in terms of the ALP in that it has the power to pass government legislation in the ALP’s own right and block legislation with the support of the Greens plus 2 backbenchers or by all 10 backbenchers acting as a group. They can also pass legislation originating in the senate with the support of the Greens and 3 cross benchers. The senate makeup will also provide provide some protection to the ALP if it gets caught up in mindless blocking.
    The Greens will have considerable power in their own right and could do deals with the government without Labor or the crossbench being able to block these deals. The risk for the Greens is that they will fall into the trap that the Democrats did and make deals that the people who voted for them did not expect. (Think Democrats supporting some of Reith’s legislation.)
    The cross bench parties with more than one member can join Labor + Greens to block government legislation no matter what the other cross benchers are doing.

  4. Experience with Hare-Clark system is probably one reason for more BTL votes in Tasmania – would be interesting to check if the same was the case in the ACT – suspect it might – but both are also small jurisdictions

  5. Douglas H: The small number of candidates and the order of party lists being controlled by the likes of Abetz would be an incentive to go below the line.
    Looks like Labors no. 6 will beat their no. 5. Not sure what is going on with the LNP.

  6. On Tassie, there are only 5 electorates in the HoR, cf Qld 30, so maybe they all know each other.

    William Bowe comments on the below the line voting. The result is very hard to predict. He says there was a:

    very large number of major party voters who have gone below-the-line to give their votes to fifth-placed Liberal Richard Colbeck and sixth-placed Labor candidate Lisa Singh, who had been shafted by party powerbrokers in contentious preselection decisions.

    Singh could pip Labor’s fifth-placed John Short, or both could miss in favour of Colbeck

    John, it sounds as though the politics of the senate could be interesting.

  7. The greens don’t throw open the Leadership in the event of an election loss do they ?

    How do you define an election loss for the greens?

  8. I’ve checked the Greens site and can’t find anything about leadership rules. I’d expect RDN is there for the foreseeable future.

  9. John

    The Senate leadership of the Greens is decided by the party room.

    Would I be correct in say the greens party room number 7 ( Bandt + whoever was gifted the No. 1 spot by the State organisations in 6 of the States), as it looks at the moment ?

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