Two of the remaining rural independents have announced that they will support Labor to form a government.

Australians, or night owls on my side of the Pacific, discuss while I turn off the ABC live feed of the press conference and get some sleep.

13 thoughts on “Labor

  1. I had a feeling it was moving towards Labor for the past week (although I’d predicted Katter would join the other two). Stunts like Senator Heffernan’s “This is the devil” phone call can’t have helped Abbott.

  2. Someone at Larvatus Prodeo raised a good question: Why did Katter bother declaring for Abbott before the other two had announced? Katter could have held back, said “I don’t need to declare for either, Gillard’s got 76 MHRs now”, and remained non-aligned.

  3. I don’t know that diffidence about his opinions is among the strongest characteristics of the Federal Member for Kennedy. I also think he wanted to make a point about the former prime minister.

  4. Just for the record, Gillard has offered Robb Oakeshott, one of the country independents, a cabinet seat on the confidence and supply basis that was used in South Australia.

  5. The new government’s legitimacy will be severely attacked, of course. Go here to see what I mean. Warning; this site contains people who believe in chemtrails.

    The pledge to go the full three years does create difficulties for the government because it means giving up the pressure relief valve of a double dissolution in what remains an unstable political situation. My solution, already conveyed to Julia Gillard, the three independents and others, is a constitutional amendment that would provide that a bill passed twice by one House and rejected twice by the other would go to a referendum of the people on the vote of the House in which the bill was initiated. The government would continue in office and the people would resolve the deadlock. Such a provision would also be useful if we had constitutionally fixed terms for the Houses of Parliament.

    Labor wants fixed four-year terms for the House, which I support. However, such a measure would be unlikely to get the support of the Opposition, which would run the scare campaign that Labor was trying to extend its term in office, even if the amendment were not to come into force until the election after next. Perhaps a three-year fixed term would be a useful staring point.

    Alternatively, a constitutional amendment could specify regular elections every four years but allow elections between those dates; i.e., a government could go early but would not avoid the set date, so that by going early all it would gain would be two short terms, rather than one four-year one.

    To deal with the argument that sometimes dreadful governments should be forced to the polls early, there should be a constitutional provision allowing recall by a petition of any MHR, with anyone elected at the subsequent election to fill only the remainder of the fixed term.

    The Senate term should remain at six years (or go to eight years if the House goes to four years) as there are advantages to political stability in this: such an arrangement moderates temporary enthusiasms in voting.

    The Greens want Senate terms to be the same as House terms because the lower quota would advantage them. However, there is no constitutional requirement for multi-member Senate electorates or for the current voting system in the Senate. As part of the package, there should also be a constitutional amendment to entrench the single transferable vote as the method of election for the Senate, with each state remaining one electorate. I actually suggested this to Frank McManus to negotiate with the Whitlam government for the 1974 referendum that pretended to make electorates equal in size, but he did not pursue it. So I try again 36 years later. This is desirable in itself, but also would help get the Greens onside for other necessary constitutional reform. Such a provision would neither ban nor insist on above-the-line-voting, which should be left to Parliament to determine.

    Labor will have to get over 1975 because it if attempts to demand the removal of the Senate’s power to block Supply, it will sink the other, necessary reforms.

  6. I am persuaded by what Ted Mack said, the Nationals want their seats and they would have been supporting a government dedicated to winning their seats from them.

    The Shanahan five reasons are also persuasive, but they don’t address the problem that Labor ran its worst campaign on the worst program in my memory and the Coalition just did not perform well enough. The main cause for that, in my view, is Tony Abbott’s lack of commitment to serious policy and his passion for the soundbite. The broadband plicy was really only a sumptom fo the udnerlying policy vacuum.

    Abbot was running for prime minister in the economy with the highest employment and the lowest debt in the OECD, the only OECD economy not to go into recession as a result of the GFC and a country that receives very few asylum seekers. His program was stop the big new taxes, pay off the debt, top the boats. At the same time Labor somehow managed to turn their stellar economic record into a negative for them. A Howard or a Fraser would have eaten this government alive.

    Moreover there is very and news in this election for Labor, Asians in particular and migrants in general, started abandoning Labor because Gillard ran on a conservative immigration policy. That showed in middle ring seats in Sydney. Policies aimed at the bogan vote in western Sydney were driving off traditional Labor voters in the inner city and surrounding suburbs. And the Greens now threaten in 3 or 4 more inner city seats.

  7. One of the great evils of the structure of our House of Representatives was exposed in this election. It erects marginal seats into exactly the same role as battleground states in the US. Both major parties ran on vacuous programs directed exclusively at low-information voters in marginal seats in NSW and Queensland. Thus the focus on problems which are not actually problems, like asylum-seekers arriving by sea, and the total failure to discuss anything serious.

  8. Labor has a very narrow lead in the two party preferred vote although there is some debate about how the AEC calculates the 2PP, and a long argument over the Federal Division of O’Connor where the WA Nationals defeated a Liberal on Labor and Green preferences.

  9. Antony Green has now posted his analysis of preference flows.

    We have heard a lot from time to time about the way the major parties in Australia are said to use MPV to maintain a monopoly of seats in the House. The Green analysis tells us that in the 8 seats where the the major parties did not control the outcome they invariably preferenced a minor party or independent candidate, not each other. The MPV duopoly theory would require the major parties always to preference each other to exclude the minor parties and independents.

    The Crook result is not an exception. There Labor and Green preferences defeated a sitting Liberal by electing a National.

    Although we are used to speaking about parties preferencinh each other, that decision is of course in the hands of individual electors, who can choose to follow or reject the party recommendation.

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