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June 08th 2016 print

Christian Kerr

Wheels Within Deals (and Non-Deals)

We've been hearing for months about this preference swap or that one, how Party A will aid Party B to foil the ambitions of Party C, and why these alleged pacts will outrage/delight/mystify average voters with no say in the bargaining. Well here's the scoop: until tomorrow, it is all theatre

horse trading IIThe Liberals are preferencing the Greens in Labor seats. Everybody knows. Preferencing the Greens everywhere other than in South Australia, where the two big parties are joining forces to lock Nick Xenophon candidates out of the House of Representatives.

Everywhere other than South Australia – and those other seats where they’ve done deals with the ALP of the kind Adam Bandt was talking about yesterday, deals to damage the Greens. And speaking of the Greens again: you can’t trust them. They’ll say they’ll preference you then run an open ticket.

Or so various conversations have been unfolding for the past five weeks, at increasing volumes in recent days.

Various websites have emerged, exposing the dirty deals. MPs – Labor MPs in particular – have set their staffers to work at generating memes for the faithful to Tweet and Tweet again and post on Facebook. Michael Kroger’s been enjoying his psych-ops across the Melbourne latte belt. And Albo’s been bogged down fighting crazy Green Trots in his own electorate.

What no one has been prepared to say is that this is all academic — and will remain so until the end of the week. Final candidate nominations for the election don’t close until midday tomorrow and the actual declaration of who’s running and ballot paper draws won’t occur until noon on Friday. No deals have been done. Everything so far has merely been shadow boxing. It’s been all about positioning. It’s been thinking aloud; thinking aloud as a form of market testing, floating a proposition and examining the response.

The final informed decision making will not and cannot come until party strategists are sure of the lie of the land. But once that occurs, it will come quickly. So the chorus of conspiracising will be cranked up to full volume for the next 48 hours.

The new Senate voting system gives the major parties a convenient cop-out. They don’t need to allocate preferences at all to those parties deemed beyond the political pale. So there will be no awkwardness for the Coalition over Rise up Australia or the Australian Liberty Alliance. But if that bit about preferencing the Greens in front of Labor proves to be more than a tactic designed to keep ALP tacticians guessing, Liberal leaders will face the Pauline Hanson cry: Please explain!

Comments [6]

  1. Lawrie Ayres says:

    Scant hope but every elector has the power to determine their own preferences and with the new system in the Senate it is so much easier. 1 to 12 below the line and you can punish the Abbott backstabbers and reward the conservatives, select your own party order ignoring or punishing the machinations of the Michael Photioses of this world, giving a boost to candidates who espouse conservative values and so on. Now that you don’t have to number one to a hundred and fifteen more will be voting below the line and that will make the next Senate interesting to say the least. Hopefully the power elite will heed the lesson that it is we who decide not them.

  2. Bran Dee says:

    Five good items ueber acht tage: that is one for every working day. Christian Kerr’s output is prodigious!

  3. Michael Fry says:

    Apologies to all the good people here but this is just a test mail to see if my new subscription to Quadrant – $80 odd of my own cash to counter the left’s infantile withdrawal of my other hard-owned tax paid subsidy – is working.

    Cheers to all.. Michael

  4. Michael Fry says:

    Christian, thanks for an entertaining piece. But I am perplexed why there is so little said about the new Senate voting system and the active lies being promoted by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).

    Under the new laws, marking 1 in a single box above the line is a valid vote. This way you can minimise the number of preference votes that might (in ways you could not have anticipated, and would not want) flow to other parties. This is a welcome outcome, much to be praised.

    But now we have the AEC telling us in advertisements in the MSM that we HAVE TO number 6 boxes above the line. This is a lie – a known untruth, they know it is untrue.

    Why are we being flogged a lie? Because a deal was done with the Greens to instruct the AEC to lie about this, that’s why.

    Can we have a Brexit or Eureka like movement to free ourselves from these lying bastards?

  5. en passant says:

    Michael,
    Welcome to the Rebel Base where we try to counter the Empire and the Dark Side – a Herculean task as they grow like amoeba.

  6. Lacebug says:

    This is the only issue with which I disagree with Quadrant. I attended a very rough working class school on the Central Coast and was bullied mercilessly and called a poofter nearly every day. Even some of the teachers joined in with the abuse. The thing is, I am not a homosexual; I just have a soft well spoken voice. I only wish there had been a program that raised awareness of sexual differences (both real and perceived) when I was at school.