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June 10th 2016 print

Christian Kerr

Marked Preferences for Chaos

It might be that the next Senate is a docile and constructive assembly of fair-minded souls pledged to the nation's betterment, as Malcolm Turnbull professed to hope when forcing this double dissolution. What he will get, however, is likely to be anything but

sarah sobbingBetween now and Tuesday the outcome of the July 2 election should become easier to forecast. As of midday today (June 10), we will have the full lists of candidates and between then and the opening of pre-poll voting on Tuesday, the parties will decide their preferences. Applying some basic statistical skills to the state-by-state polling figures will offer some idea to the likely make up of the House of Representatives after ballots have been cast.

Determining the composition of the Senate, however, will be a different matter. Guessing will be about the best we can do. This election should be all about the Senate. We have a first-term government going to a double dissolution because the upper house has constantly frustrated its legislative program. We have not seen a one-term administration in this country since Jim Scullin’s Labor government was swamped by the Great Depression. All the focus at this poll should be on the likely outcome of the joint sitting of both houses the Turnbull government will be entitled to call to guarantee the passage of its industrial relations laws.

Instead, the focus is whether Turnbull will emulate Scullin. And the shape of the Senate is a mystery. The changes to the Senate voting system passed by the Coalition with the unlikely support of the Greens and Nick Xenophon in a bid to stop micro parties gaming the system abolished the tool used to calculate Senate outcomes, the group-voting ticket. In an optional preferential system, as the ABC’s Antony Green explains,  it is impossible to model the Senate vote, as there is no reliable method of predicting just how many voters will allocate preferences and which way they will flow.

All we know is that the protest vote will be high and, thanks to the double dissolution, the quota needed for election to the Senate has been halved. And so we enter the final three weeks of the campaign with the House of Representatives on a knife edge and, when we talk about the Senate, in the dark.

Amazing what great political minds can achieve.

Comments [5]

  1. Bwana Neusi says:

    It is remarkable that the media and the major parties continue to avoid mention of the party “Who must not be named” (apologies to J K Rowling).

    Whilst Pauline Hanson is reluctantly given some press, and Xenophon is given considerably more coverage, the ALA are still shunned.

    Even the debacle of uniforms in politics and Andrew Hastie’s sacking by the ADF, does not warrant a mention of ALA’s Major Bernard Gaynor who was similarly sacked.

    The ALA will be a force to be reckoned with and the Media’s and political party’s studious “Move on. Nothing to see here” is fascinating.

    • ArthurB says:

      I hope that the ALA will be successful, however I fear that most voters are unaware of its existence. I too have noticed that the ALA is invisible, due to its being ignored by the media, in particular by Their ABC. The only time I have seen a candidate on TV was a week or so ago, when Angry Anderson was interviewed on one of the commercial channels, by a young reporter who kept asking gotcha questions, and accusing it of being racist etc. I am sure that if voters were aware of the party, and its platform, it would attract protest votes from citizens who are fed up with the two major parties.

  2. en passant says:

    You owe me a new keyboard as I threw up over it when I read the sentence “Amazing what great political minds can achieve”. Turdbull is not ‘Great’. Alexander was Great, Alfred was Great, Frederick was Great, Malevolent is ‘Machiavellian’, but without the skill, foresight, character or traits of a real politician.
    Now that he has realized how despised and dislikable he is to the average person, like a hermit crab he has withdrawn back into his mirrored shell where he is more comfortable. A Drover’s Dog could beat him in this election, but Electricity Bill is no Drover’s Dog (a most useful working and productive animal).
    The less coherence and power parliament has the better off we will be until the current crop is cleaned out after we have sold the country to the highest bidder.

  3. Bran Dee says:

    Facebook is said to have taken down Kevin Bloody Wilson’s post supporting Pauline Hansen. Sure she takes a strong stance against Islamic immigration but it is only what Donald Trump and the majority of Americans might say.
    It can only be imagined who, apart from Ned Kelly in his armor, would object to the following item in Pauline Hansen’s platform:
    *A driver’s licence cannot be obtained without showing the full face and having a photo ID on the driver’s licence.

    ALA with an appealing and reasonable platform and a large number of candidates may need to generate some in-your-face publicity as the above mentioned male and female redheads have done.

    • Jody says:

      And today we learn the execrable Rob (let me tell you in 20 minutes) Oakshott that he’s taking a tilt again. Combine that with Windsor and you can see these two terminal ferals think there’s going to be a hung parliament again. Perhaps they’re enamoured of the 25% “other” in the opinion polls.

      Well, you two fellas, even the dogs are going to the polls!!