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Australian Federal Election, 2007

by Gary J Sat Nov 24th, 2007 at 10:13:46 AM EST

Provisional results (as at 3.20 am, Sydney time) for the House of Reptresentatives. Things may shift a little, when the final figures are known, but the basic picture is clear. This is the result as predicted by ABC.

GOVERNMENT

Australian Labor Party (43.5% of primary vote) 86 seats (+24 from estimated 2004 results on these boundaries)

OPPOSITION

---------------------------------------------------

Liberal (36.5%) 52 seats (-21)

Nationals (5.5%) 10 seats (-3)

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Combined Liberal/Nationals coalition (42%) 62 seats (-24)

Greens (7.8%) no seats in the House (no change)

Others (6.7%) 2 Independent seats (no change)

-------------------------------------------------

Update [2007-11-24 10:13:46 by Migeru]: Bumped on election day. See comments for election results.

Diary rescue by Migeru


[editor's note, by Migeru] rest of intro moved below the fold for the front page

The Commonwealth of Australia is a realm, which is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Queen Elizabeth II is the Queen of Australia. A Governor-General is appointed, on the advice of the Australian government, to exercise the constitutional functions of the head of state.

Australia is a federation. Six British colonies (now the six states) combined to form the Commonwealth on 1st January 1901.

The Australian constitution was largely drafted in Australia but was enacted by the UK Parliament. The Australians seem to have taken a copy of the US constitution and adapted it for a parliamentary system. Thus the two houses of the Federal Parliament are a Senate (with equal numbers of Senators from each state) and a House of Representatives (apportioned by population).

The current election is for all the 150 seats in the House and half of the Senators for the states (36, six per state). There are also four Senators for the territories (two each for the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory).

Members of the House (known as MPs) serve a maximum term of three years, but the House can be dissolved earlier if the Prime Minister requests a dissolution and the Governor-General grants it. Subject to the possibility of a double dissolution (part of the mechanism to resolve deadlocks between the two houses), the Senators from the states serve a fixed term of six years (starting on the 1st July following their election, so there can be long delays between the election and the start of the term). The territorial Senators serve for the same term as the House members, so they take office immediately following each election.

The executive power is, for practical purposes, exercised by the Prime Minister and his cabinet. By convention the government is responsible to the House of Representatives, so if they lose a vote of confidence the Prime Minister must either resign or advise a dissolution. The government is not responsible to the Senate in the same way (although there was a constitutional crisis in 1975 when an opposition majority in the Senate refused supply and the Governor-General forced a dissolution by dismissing the Prime Minister and appointing the opposition leader to replace him on condition that the new PM asked for a double dissolution).

Voting is compulsory. In the House elections the alternative vote is used; in single member districts known as electorates, into which each state or territory is divided by the Electoral Commission. Senate elections are held at large, with the whole of a state or territory voting. The Senate elections are by a form of the single transferable vote, but because most voters use the above the line option (which accepts the party list of preferences) it works in practice much like an ordered party list version of proportional representation (except for the allocation of the last seat).

Having set the scene I turn to the current position.

[editor's note, by Migeru] Fold was here originally.

The current Australian Prime Minister is one John Winston Howard. Howard belongs to the dwindling band of national leaders who really want to be best friends of George W. Bush.

Howard is apparently known by his political enemies as 'The Rodent', thus terms like 'Team Rodent' are applied to his supporters.

To confuse non-Australians the centre-right party Howard belongs to (comparable to the British Conservatives or the US Republicans) is called the Liberal Party of Australia. It was formed in 1944 to replace the United Australia Party (itself formed by a merger of the Nationalist Party and a breakaway Labor group during the Great Depression). The Nationalist party was a merger of the original Liberal Party with another breakaway Labor group during the First World War. The first Liberal Party had been a merger of the Protectionist Party and the Anti-Socialist League (formerly the Free Trade Party) in 1909. As you can see the history of this part of the political spectrum is just a little complicated.

The Liberals (and predecessors) have been in an almost continuous coalition, since the Bruce-Page Ministry of 1922, with a party of rural conservatives. They were originally known as the Country Party, but nowadays call themselves The Nationals. The combined Liberal/Nationals group is called simply 'The Coalition' and for most purposes function as if they were one party.

The main opposition party is the Australian Labor Party (which uses the American spelling of labor rather than the normal Australian spelling of labour in its name). The ALP is currently led by the former diplomat Kevin Rudd. He seems to be a Tony Blair type figure, in the sense of re-positioning his party so it is not so scary to middle of the road voters as those nasty socialists who came before him.

It is likely that the next House, like the last one will only consist of Coalition and ALP members with possibly a few independents. There has been a trend in recent elections for some rural voters to become discontented with The Nationals current leadership and elect dissidents formerly from that party as Independent MPs.

In the Senate no state has, since the last expansion in its size, elected fewer than two Senators from each major group in an election. Only once has a state elected four from one of them. The normal pattern is for there to either be three seats to each major group, or for there to be a 3-2-1 pattern with the last seat going to another party.

The usual other party has, until the last election, between the Australian Democrats (a small l liberal party founded by former Liberal minister Don Chipp "to keep the bastards honest"). The Democrats tend to split their lower preferences, so half go to the Coalition before the ALP and half to the ALP before the Coalition. Unfortunately after internal dissension the Democrats poll rating has collapsed to 2%. It is expected to lose its last four Senate seats at this election.

The current major third party is the Green Party. It will probably not win any House seats, but seems assured of several additional Senators. The Green Party and the ALP are preferencing each other so there is potential for a centre-left bloc.

The other party which might win a Senator, if all goes well for them, is Family First. This is a right wing, christian group. They will exchange preferences with the coalition. In the past Family First have won a seat, from a very low primary vote, by 'harvesting preferences' from a disparate collection of what the Australians seem to call micro-parties.

It is more difficult to summarise polling data for Australia than in most countries, due to the complications of preference polling and the tendency to limit most polls to particular states.

A Morgan poll taken on November 10/11, estimated Coalition primary support at 39% and Labor primary support of 48%. An estimate of the two party preferred vote was coalition 43.5% and ALP 56.5%. Such a distribution of support, if it proves accurate, suggests a Labor landslide is in prospect. Other polls seem to be slightly less favourable to Labour but still with a decided ALP lead.

The outgoing 41st Parliament was elected on 9th October 2004. In the House the Coalition had 87 seats (Liberal 75 and Nationals 12), ALP 60 and Independents 3. The Senate (half for the 2002-2008 term and half for 2005-2011) consisted of Coalition 39 (Liberal 33 ad Nationals 6), ALP 28, AD 4, Green 4, and Family First 1. The seats up for election this year are Coalition 20, ALP 14, AD 4 and Green 2.


Display:
Great stuff Gary J, and of course it's compulsory to vote, even if you are overseas, I think...

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 02:34:46 PM EST
Does the concentration of the population in cities have anything to do with the results? The gradual urbanization of the western part of the US is making it possible to elect Democrats in places where previously they were scarce...
by asdf on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 04:24:29 PM EST
I am not sure to what extent the modern American experience applies to the Australian outback. Although rural America today is conservative that has not always been so. Groups like the Populists in Kansas in the 1890s and even the Socialists in Oklahoma before the First World War, were able to gain support in rural America. It may be that rural Australians also have a radical streak on economic issues, even if they are socially conservative.

My impression is that the Australian Labor Party does win some rural seats. Possibly this was more common in earlier times.

For example the Labor Party is very competitive in Tasmania, the state which has its population least concentrated in its capital city. There is a state poll which suggests Labor may well win all five seats in Tasmania.

The Labor Party has held the most rural electorate of all, the Northern Territory seat (in the days before the Territory was divided into two electorates, one in the Darwin area and the other covering 98% of the area of the Territory).

Queensland, the only state where the Nationals are stronger than the Liberals, was a very strong Labor state in the first half of the twentieth century (indeed even as a colony in the nineteenth century it produced the world's first Labour government - it only lasted a week but still). Of course a lot of that support was probably contingent on Laboutr support for the White Australia policy and evaporated when the Whitlam government modernised the immigration laws and started paying attention to the problems of the Aborigines. The infamous Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen led an entrenched Country/National government in the 'Deep North' state, which with the aid of a pro-rural gerrymander was in power for decades. In the end it required a Labour-Liberal coalition (a concept almost unthinkable in other states) to break the National hold on the state.

However the main support of both the Liberal and Labor parties is in urban and suburban areas, with the Nationals probably in a very slow, long term decline as the percentage of very rural electorates declines.
In 1922 the Country Party won 14 House seats out of 75. In 1949 when the House was expanded to 121 members the CP won 19 seats. In 1984 they won 21 out of 148 seats (by which time they were the National Party of Australia, which was a re-branding attempt to appeal beyond the rural core vote). In general their percentage of the House seats has declined over time.

by Gary J on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 06:48:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have checked my point about the Northern Territory. Harold Nelson held the electorate for the ALP between 1922 and 1934.
by Gary J on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 07:27:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... the population of Australia has always been more concentrated in the state capital cities than the US at an equivalent time ... apart from Tassie, which is an anomoly in a lot of ways because of its small size, Queensland is the only state with less than half its population in the Greater Metropolitan Area ... New South Wales has roughly 60% of its population in Greater Sydney, and the three southern mainland states have on average 80% of their populations in their respective capital cities (Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth).

Now, since Queensland is growing faster than the national average, and the north coast of NSW will, on current projections, experience a massive influx of people over the next two decades, the relative rise of Queensland and regional NSW will, over time, lead to an urbanized population that is less heavily concentrated in a few large cities than is the case today, which is already less heavily concentrated than was the case two decades ago.

The success of the Liberal/National coalition over the past more than decade has been in large part due to the Libs ability to attract support in the "mortgage belt" of outer suburban areas around the big cities, and Sydney in particular.

The last election, John Howard not only took great credit for relatively low interest rates, but was perceived as essentially promising that they would stay low under the Libs and would rise under Labor. This is especially critical in the "mortgage belt", since mortgages are almost always set with variable rates. So, listening in to the ABC podcasts from overseas, the increase of interest rates in the middle of the month and a half election campaign seems to have helped solidify Labor's lead by attracting enough attention to the question of whether "the interest rate promise was broken" that the Coalition can't get a lot of traction on other issues.

The main problem that the Coalition has is that Australia has had very strong economic growth, largely on the back of the resource boom, and the public mood seems to have shifted from, "good on them", to, "what are they going to do with it?"

After two tough elections, the first breaking to the Coalition right at the beginning with the phony Children Overboard scandal, and the second breaking to the Coalition based substantially on an increasing view of the ALP leader, Mark Latham, as a loose cannon, it seems an like a substantial margin of the electorate may be thinking that, on the one hand, Rudd is not going to do anything rash and, on the other hand, under Rudd the ALP will try to get something done.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 09:51:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
especially the rocky mountain basin west. las vegas, phoenix, denver, salt lake city, boise all contain significant %s of the states they're in.
by wu ming on Sat Nov 24th, 2007 at 01:39:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a result of rapid urbanization in places like Denver and Vegas and a booming Latino population, but it's also a product of the issues we're dealing with right now.  As I mentioned a lot last year, the PATRIOT Act was a huge issue in Montana.  The ideological lines are a bit different out West, where voters are much more accepting of the libertarian attitude to social issues than they are in the Deep South or the Middle-South.

It's shifting in those two regions, too, as states like Virginia become increasingly dominated by their liberal urban areas.  (In Virginia's case, that's the DC suburbs, roughly from Woodbridge to Arlington, but watch Richmond and the more urbanized areas near the Bay.)  What's happening, overall, is that conservatives are generally being pushed into the Great Plains and the southernmost parts of the Old Confederacy.

Even the Old Confederacy will eventually fall.  Atlanta will top ten million people in the next couple of decades, if it doesn't die of dehydration first.  (In the end, it's simply going to be too large for the conservatives to hold Georgia.)  Charlotte, Greenville and Raleigh are growing at breakneck speeds, too, I believe, although the first may suffer quite a bit with the credit crunch in the short term.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Nov 18th, 2007 at 11:21:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did I say I love ET?

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat Nov 17th, 2007 at 04:44:05 PM EST
it will be probably a Labor landslide with a wall to wall goverment but that will not be that easy:
As stated in the diar, it is not a direct election and labor needs to win some crucial, but difficult to get, seats like in Queesland.

game is not done.

a fun scenario would be to see a Coalition victory but with Howard losing his own seat and thus not be able to stay PM.

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Wed Nov 21st, 2007 at 05:14:43 AM EST
Reading Australian sites, it seems to me that the situation is similar to that in the UK in 1997. The country has definitely decided to change the government and nothing the incumbents can do will change things.

However the ALP has had a run of disappointments in the last few elections, so just like the British Labour Party in 1997, the ALP cannot quite believe that they will achieve a landslide. Thus quite minor shifts in opinion polls (which as far as I can see are meaningless fluctuations within the margin of error), lead to panicy fears that things will not turn out as good as was hoped.

by Gary J on Wed Nov 21st, 2007 at 05:26:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... is that the big cross-section polls in the most marginal seats shows a swing quite similar to the national polls. I don't recall that in all the elections when I was living in Oz (I arrived the day after Howard was elected, so I have seen him re-elected a number of times).


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Nov 21st, 2007 at 10:06:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good summary- thanks a lot. Don't stop. The Australian political scene is a mystery to many (me for one) that needs to be clearer.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Wed Nov 21st, 2007 at 06:25:58 AM EST
Yes, good summary but correct the typo, it was in 1975,
not 1974 that the constitutional crisis occurred. The one thing to add, is that there is a fair bit of anger
over the Coalition weakening industrial labor protection
and rumors that despite protestations to the contrary, they intend to weaken them further should they be elected.
by core halo on Wed Nov 21st, 2007 at 11:49:04 AM EST
Thanks for the correction.

I have not gone into the issues raised in the campaign, but I agree that the coalition plans to "reform" employment law has been prominent in the campaign.

by Gary J on Wed Nov 21st, 2007 at 01:36:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... may well be a victim of their own success in the previous election, when they in effect gained the balance of power in the Australian Senate, which allowed them to put the new Industrial Relations laws through.

In other words, it seems as if the effectiveness of the Senate as the "House of Review" when neither main party has a controlling majority in the Senate saved the Coalition from "having" to actually implement the things it always said it wanted to do ... seizing the opportunity offered by holding the effective balance of power in the Senate made it seem the more ideological of the two parties, and made Labor's (long-standing) critique of the series of government IR reforms seem more middle of the road.

At that to the government's long-standing refusal to ratify the Kyoto agreement that it signed, and the general impression that the new Labor leader gives of being a "safe pair of hands", and it seems very much like a change of government is in the offing.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Nov 21st, 2007 at 10:04:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You probably read about it already:

Howard election campaign hit by dirty tricks scandal

The election strategy of Australia's prime minister John Howard is in turmoil today after members of his Liberal party were caught red-handed in an inept dirty tricks campaign.
Bogus flyers, from a fake organisation called the Islamic Australia Federation, were distributed through the letterboxes of voters in a marginal seat claiming the Labor opposition sympathised with Islamic terrorists.

and my favourite
A team of Labor officials found five men posting the clumsily printed flyers - the phrase Allah Akbar, God is Great, had been misspelled as Ala Akba - through letterboxes in the early hours of the morning.

Guardian also links to the flyer (pdf)

by PeWi on Thu Nov 22nd, 2007 at 06:53:14 AM EST
That has to be one of the most stupid campaign tactics I've heard of. They must be really desperate.

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu
by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Thu Nov 22nd, 2007 at 07:11:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The question is, what fraction of the alleged Al Qaeda activity is actually a false flag operation by the Terra Warriors?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 22nd, 2007 at 07:18:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or what fraction of ETA activity is actually...

/ducks

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu

by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Thu Nov 22nd, 2007 at 09:32:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't think it hasn't crossed my mind:  Once in a while the timing of vandalism incidents is too favorable to the right wing and there seems to be no  symbolic reason...

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Thu Nov 22nd, 2007 at 02:29:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Coalition is familiar with dirty tricks I can tell you...think about "children overboard" scandal etc.
If it actually happen this will be a first time for me to witness change of government here and quite frankly I am not sure what I can expect. For some reason I do not trust ANY politician on Earth any more...
It's getting harder and harder to maintain standard of life without going deep in to the dept and I don't think anything can change that.I will of course vote Labor for house and Greens for Senate but I am not having big hopes that my life is going to be any easier if Labor wins...It will be a great satisfaction to see Howard and Coalition gone tho...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Nov 22nd, 2007 at 07:47:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vbo,
I just want to make sure you have seen this:

Monthly Review

The Dismantling of Yugoslavia: A Study in Inhumanitarian Intervention (and a Western Liberal-Left Intellectual and Moral Collapse)
Edward S. Herman and David Peterson

Have not read the whole thing yet, but it makes a lot of good points and deconstructs the official story. I think it has been discussed in an open thread or Salon here and an open thread at MoA, but I am too lazy to look it up.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Nov 23rd, 2007 at 07:18:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you diarise this please ? Or at least email me the book title. Moving to Bulgaria as I'm doing, I'm finding that the ex-Yugoslavian situation is very "live" in the realpolitik of Bulgaria. It impacts everything and my broad-brush understanding of what happened simply isn't up to examining the nuances I'm coming across

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Nov 24th, 2007 at 02:23:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I read it in portions, so I am not done yet. It brings back lots of memories of how I understood things back then so I have to digest it in portions.

But it is online, so just follow the link and start reading. Lots of good material for a Lazy Quote Diary there for whoever finishes it first.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Nov 25th, 2007 at 08:56:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for this...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Nov 24th, 2007 at 06:31:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even better the Liberal activists involved included the husbands of the retiring Liberal MP and the current Liberal candidate. Not that their wives knew anything about it, of course.
by Gary J on Thu Nov 22nd, 2007 at 12:15:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AC Nielson / Fairfax Ltd. shows a Labor landslide, while the Newspoll and Galaxy shows a 52/48 Labor advantage on a two-party preferred basis ... and the Coalition beat Labor when Labor won 51.5% of the national vote on a two-party preferred basis.

transcript of ABC Friday "PM" (Radio National news) story

Tis a puzzle ... there is different polling methodology, but still, this is a big gap in polling very late in the race.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Nov 23rd, 2007 at 10:41:05 AM EST
... but I just saw a graphic on the ABC (Australian BC, that is) election blog that would have cast more light on the "narrow" poll that showed a 52/48 ALP advantage ... it plots Labor percentage of the vote against Labor percentage of the seats in the House ...

... as you can see, they've lost the parliamentary election with 51% of the two-party preferred vote, but never with 52%. So all of the polls were in agreement on a Labor win, only in disagreement on how big it would be.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Nov 25th, 2007 at 08:04:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
anyone following this. what are  the senate results,
by fls on Sat Nov 24th, 2007 at 06:21:50 AM EST
Could be a tie. Link

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu
by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Sat Nov 24th, 2007 at 06:34:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | PM Howard concedes Australia poll
Australian Prime Minister John Howard has admitted defeat in the country's general election, and looks set to lose his parliamentary seat.

Mr Howard said he had telephoned Labor leader Kevin Rudd "to congratulate him on an emphatic victory".



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Nov 24th, 2007 at 07:02:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you know who casts the deciding vote in a tied vote in the senate when it comes to legislation?
by fls on Sat Nov 24th, 2007 at 02:25:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I saw somewhere that to win a vote in the Senate you need a majority. A tied vote is a defeat for whatever the Senate is voting on.
by Gary J on Sat Nov 24th, 2007 at 03:06:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The relevant provision of the Australian constitution is:-

"23. Questions arising in the Senate shall be determined by a majority of votes, and each senator shall have one vote. The President shall in all cases be entitled to a vote; and when the votes are equal the question shall pass in the negative."

by Gary J on Sat Nov 24th, 2007 at 03:13:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Final Australian Senate results usually take a week or two. However, as the Senators for the states will not take office until next July, there is time to sort out all the distributions of preferences.
by Gary J on Sat Nov 24th, 2007 at 07:27:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for this diary, is it good news for us that the ALP have won?  My instinct says yes, since it ought to be better than the 'conservatives' staying in but you likened Rudd to a Tony Blair figure...

Signing right up to the Kyoto treaty is promising.  I'd be interested to hear your views on what the win might mean for Australia.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 24th, 2007 at 09:48:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Listening to Rudd giving his acceptance speech, he did not come over as a phony like Tony. However there is no doubt Rudd has positioned Labor to the right of its traditional positions. This is the Australian version of the Clinton/Blair triangulation strategy.

However it is encouraging that Rudd has not sold his soul to Rupert Murdoch. The Australian arm of the Murdoch Empire was backing the coalition.

Rudd should be better than Howard. I hope he does not prove as disappointing in the long term as Blair did.

by Gary J on Sat Nov 24th, 2007 at 11:35:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There was an article about him n Le Monde a few days ago that noted that he would be the first ever Western leader to be fluent in the Chinese language (Mandarin, I think), and noting how the relationship with China was becoming as important, if not more, as that with the US.

Australia is China's quarry, right now.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 24th, 2007 at 12:15:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... based on the preference flows if all first preference votes were votes "above the line" for a single party list, with preferences flowing as directed by the party.

In that case, the results would be:

PartyContinuingNewTotal
Liberal/National Coalition191837
Australian Labor Party141832
The Greens235
Family First101
Others011

This suggests, with Family First normally aligning with the Liberal/National Coalition, that the newly elected independent Senator Nick XENOPHON from South Australia might hold the balance of power if he aligns with the Coalution.

However, in many issues, it seems that Nick would be more likely to line up with the ALP ... from the Wikipedia entry, with text that seems to have been written around the time of his announcing his run for the Australian Senate:

His platform will consist of anti-gambling, pro-consumer protection, attention to the water crisis, ratifying Kyoto, opposition against what he calls a decrease in state rights, and opposition to WorkChoices.

The presiding officer of the Senate is chosen from amongst the Senators, who retains his or her right to vote and participate in debates (but rarely participates in debate except on questions affecting the Senate itself) ... and when votes in the Australian Senate are evenly divided, the matter in question is not agreed to ... there is no casting or deciding vote.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Nov 24th, 2007 at 03:23:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So how would they decide on the senate President or presiding officer if the vote in the senate will almost always be a tied one? Is there still enough preference votes to change the balance in the senate? It seems that the senate can easily be the Liberal's means of stalling all legislation, especially the controversial initiatives ie blocking the mandate that was given to the new government.
by fls on Sat Nov 24th, 2007 at 03:33:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Coalition in the Senate is almost certainly not going to block supply, so the labor policies on Education and broadband infrastructure, which are more spending initiatives than changes in legislation, are unlikely to be blocked. Having been elected on a platform of ratifying Kyoto, it seems likely that the Senate will confirm that ... at the very least, Family First may get the impression from the Greens that being in the game for preference swaps in the next election may require support for Kyoto, and since the Independent is on the record as supporting Kyoto, that would be a majority ...

... that leaves rolling back the most extreme of the IR law reforms under the last Coalition government, when it held the balance of power.

On that, after the "Work Choices" system being a big part of the defeat of the Coalition, I reckon its likely that at least some of the Coalition Senators will demand token concessions and then pass the Labor program. In particular, some of the National Senators may be eager to demonstrate the continuing relevance of their party, and some headline concessions for primary producers in rural areas might be sufficient to get two or three Nationals Senators on board.

One of the stories in this election is the confirmation of the final electoral collapse of the Australian Democrats, which started a process of steep decline from holding the balance of power in the Senate with its support for the enactment of Howard's GST, which was then accelerated by its inability to find a coherent position to stand between the Coalition and the ALP as the ALP positioned itself closer to the electoral middle of the road.

One more election like this, and the Greens will hold the balance of power in the Senate.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Nov 24th, 2007 at 04:13:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Wizard of Oz is finally gone.  Thank God.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Nov 24th, 2007 at 12:06:46 PM EST
to Australians!  I hope.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Sat Nov 24th, 2007 at 12:20:18 PM EST

Some good news for a change, let's hope this spreads:

Healthy economy not enough

By Glenn Milne

November 25, 2007

AUSTRALIAN voters last night fundamentally re-wrote national political history.

From this day forth no government can rely on the successful management of the economy to guarantee its re-election.

The message from election 2007 is that long-serving governments must demonstrate the will to renew both their ideas and their leadership to survive in the modern electoral era.

In this context, this Coalition defeat is a terrible indictment of John Howard's judgment and a vindication of Labor's collective courage in backing Kevin Rudd.

The verdict of the Australian people has been emphatic; John Howard should have gone last year and made way for Peter Costello. Work Choices was his fatal obsession and climate change his historic oversight.

Kevin Rudd read the national mood better on both issues.

In his hands Howard's Senate mugging of the Australian people on industrial relations became an assault on the nation's commitment to the ethos of a "fair go''.

In those same hands climate change became a symbol of Rudd's commitment to the future.
...
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22817894-5007146,00.html



Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sat Nov 24th, 2007 at 06:50:21 PM EST
"Healthy" economy did not help an incumbent a lot in year 2000 in a certain big country. I thought Australia's economy was rather slow.

Australians are probably becoming most concerned nation about global warming - the ongoing drought must be convincing.

by das monde on Sun Nov 25th, 2007 at 10:26:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Australian Election: Bye, Bye John


Australians cheer as Kevin Rudd takes over

Former Prime Minister John Howard must be scratching his head. The polls said that the formula which had won him four consecutive elections would again carry the day for his coalition. Shift the tax burden away from the wealthy, lift restrictions on business, impose restrictions on the unions, and blame the foreigners for everything that goes wrong. Throw in some American-style God talk, flag waving, and dirty politics, and you've got the election sewed up, right? Not this time.

The question is, why didn't the formula work this time around? Australia's economy is in solid shape, and Australians are as xenophobic as ever. What was different?
...



I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Nov 25th, 2007 at 04:46:01 PM EST


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