Australia goes to the polls tomorrow and it is all but certain that Labor will lose office. They will be the first Government not to get three terms since Labor under Whitlam from 1972 to 1975. Most Australia Governments are long-lasting:
- Coalition 1949 – 1972, 23 years
- Labor 1972 – 75, 3 years
- Coalition 1975 – 1983, 8 years
- Labor 1983 – 1996, 13 years
- Coalition 1996 – 2007, 11 years
- Labor 2007 – 2013, 6 years
The latest polls average the Coalition on 53% and Labor 47% on the two party preferred. This would see the Coalition win 86 out of 150 seats according to an electoral calculator. It may end up more than that though. On primary vote Labor is averaging just 35% and it depends if minor party voters preference them as strongly as they say they will. The Coalition is more likely to win more than 86 seats, than less, in my opinion. But a complicating factor is how Katter and Palmer parties go in Queensland especially. Bob Katter is merely eccentric wile Clive Palmer appears to be actually stark raving mad, with his claims Wendi Deng spies on Rupert Murdoch for Chinese intelligence..
Also of interest is that Tony Abbott is now Preferred PM, narrowly, in the most recent polls. Rare for an opposition leader to achieve this. He even has a 2% lead amongst women in the latest poll. This is less a vote of confidence in Abbott than fading confidence in Rudd. Abbott’s performance has been generally disciplined but also erratic and how he will perform as PM is far from known.
The key states to watch are NSW, Victoria, Queensland and even Tasmania. Labor looks likely to lose seven seats in NSW, a couple in Victoria and three in Tasmania. Queensland may see Labor lose no seats, but if they do start losing seats in Queensland also then it is a massacre.
To some degree the real race is in the Senate. We are unlikely to know for a week or so how that has gone, as the priority on election night is the House count that determines the Government. But indications are that preference deals between very small parties will probably be effective and the Coalition may in fact lose seats in the Senate. Winning a majority there looks very difficult. That means that a Labor opposition will have to decide whether to block some of the Coalition’s policies such as repealing the carbon tax, or risk a double dissolution election in the future.
The Age has commented:
- One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has a serious chance of defeating the Liberals’ intended finance minister, Senator Arthur Sinodinos, for one of the two final seats in NSW.
- Family First, which won a Senate seat in Victoria in 2004 with 1.9 per cent of the vote, could do it again, with their lead candidate Ashley Fenn rated a 50/50 chance of unseating Liberal senator Helen Kroger.
- The Coalition is odds on to lose a further seat in Queensland, probably to country singer James Blundell of Way Out West fame, running for Bob Katter’s Australia Party, but possibly to the Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party, One Nation or the Australian Christians.
- In South Australia, the No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics are given a strong chance of unseating prominent Green Sarah Hanson-Young, even if they get as little as 0.15 per cent of the vote.
It looks unlikely but not impossible the Wikileaks party could even win a seat.
Here’s how the Senate may go, by state:
- NSW – Coalition 3 (nc), Labor 2 (-1), third party 1 (+1)
- Victoria – Coalition 2 (-1), Labor 2 (-1), Greens 1 (+1), third party 1 (+1)
- Queensland – Coalition 3 (nc), Labor 2 (-1), Katter 1 (+1)
- South Australia – Coalition 2 (nc), Labor 1 (-1), third parties 3 (+2)
- Western Australia – Coalition 4 (+1), Labor 1 (-1), Greens 1 (nc)
- Tasmania – Coalition 3 (nc), Labor 2 (nc), Greens 1 (nc)
Overall the Coalition need to win 5 seats to get a majority in the Senate, and this looks unlikely.
I’ll tweet ad eventually blog the election results on Saturday night, and also am on Q+A on Sunday morning discussing the Australian election, the Labour leadership race and Syria.