The news today, one day before Australia’s general election, is full of speculation (and the predictable angst) over whether Australia could have a parliament in which no party has a majority. As the NZ Herald notes:
Most analysts expect the Greens to hold the balance of power in the Senate after Saturday’s election, with as many as 10 Senators when the new Upper House is convened next July.
But the razor’s edge that opinion polls have been travelling for much of the campaign have led to speculation that for the first time since 1940 the nation could have a hung parliament.
Of course, “hung” parliament would be better called a balanced parliament, or a no-majority situation. “Hung” refers to juries, which must render a guilty or not-guilty verdict. Unlike parliaments, juries can’t make coalitions with a third option, or allow one of the two main options to prevail, subject to bargaining. And a New Zealand newspaper should know better–NZ has had quite decisive coalition and minority governments for more than a decade.
If there is no majority in the first chamber of Australia’s parliament after this election, it will be the first time since 1940. So that’s more than three decades farther back than the last such occurrence in the UK, prior to the current year.
NZ Herald again:
On a national basis, punters and recent polls predict a narrow Labor victory, but detailed polling in marginal seats in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia suggests the Coalition could pick up the extra 17 seats it needs to win.
If neither has a majority, then four independents and potentially one Green MP could hold the balance of power. The story notes that the independents are all defectors from the Liberal-National Coalition who hold views closer to Labor on many issues. It also describes their rural electorates.