Mr Shorten managed to find one, but its an usual way of eating! Usually you start from the end!
While I don't intend to live blog the vote, I thought that I would create a post for anybody who wanted to comment as the evening went on.
18:00 The polls have closed. Following the lead from Sue, beef casserole on, red wine opened.
18:20. Pauline Hanson reported to be polling well in Queensland Senate.
18:50 Swing on, but size not yet clear
18:52 Labor looking good in Eden-Monaro.
19:10. Would ABC 24 stop the talking heads and give us some numbers! It's crappy coverage. There are 3 "others" awarded seats but no info
20:02 Coalition returned although a minority Government still an outside possibility. Joyce holds New England. Interest now in individual seats. One Nation polling well in Queensland.
20:17 Barry Cassidy: strong chance of a hung Parliament. Labor doing better than expected in Queensland
20:27 mmmm. Closer than I said at 20:02
21:17 Tony Windsor not conceding.
The Morning After
I fear I ended up going to bed last night while the count was still on. The opinion polls were right in projecting a close election!
At the moment, the most likely outcome is a slim Coalition majority followed by a hung parliament with a Coalition minority government followed by a hung parliament with a Labor minority government. I say this with a degree of caution, for the numbers are bouncing around. Whoever forms Government will face an uncertain Senate.
One of the complicating issues is the large number of pre-poll and postal votes still to be counted. Around 20% of votes remain to be counted. So what can I say that might add value to the commentary?
The ALP has had a very good election. They have done better than anybody really expected. You can see this in the polls where the the voting intentions showed even steven, but the majority expected the Coalition to win. Mr Shorten deserves and will be given credit for his performance.
The National Party has had quite a good election. The Party won one seat from the Liberals and have apparently held off the challenges from the returned New England independents in Cowper (Rob Oakeshott) and New England (Tony Windsor). Rob did better than I expected given his very late start, Tony worse. I know that his failure will disappoint some of my younger friends and colleagues.
You have to remember with Tony that his campaign attracted great interest and support including cash from those outside the electorate. In the end, I think that this finally alienated many locals. I base this view especially on Facebook discussions and other feedback in the last week of the campaign.
Looking at the current booth votes in New England, Tony had an especial problem in the new areas added to the electorate and in some rural areas. However, he also failed to attract the vote he expected in Tamworth and to a lesser degree in Armidale where he did win some of the booths. .
One of the things that interested me was the extent to which the environmental wars especially on the Liverpool Plains might affect the vote. This has been a huge issue, one of the things that drew Tony back into the fray. Measured by social media coverage, this was the dominant election issue.
The electoral redistribution that split the Liverpool Plains between the Parkes and New England electorates probably blunted the focus given the geographic size of the Parkes electorate. Even so, looking at the booth figures I was hard pressed to identify any impact outside the small Breeza booth that the Greens appear to have won.
This was not an especially good election for the Greens, although they did increase their share of the national vote. A lot of the commentators have said that the result has to be seen in the context of the Green's strategy of building up their vote in inner city areas. Maybe. That's been a Green strategy for some time.
I haven't had the time to look at all the individual seat details, but I have the impression that the Greens did not do well outside inner Melbourne. In the inner Sydney seat of Grayndler, for example, a seat that they had hoped to win, the Party is actually in third place behind the Liberals.
Monday Forum - Australia's messy politics. We did see the risks of the decision, but I for one underestimated Bill Shorten.
One of the very real difficulties for the Coalition in the campaign lay in the ideological splits within the Liberal Party. The Liberal right contains the type of inherent contradiction that we have seen in the US. We can see this along three dimensions:
- There is a neoconservative wing that places weight on markets, a reduced role for Government, less regulation, greater self reliance, greater freedom
- This overlaps and sometimes conflicts with a socially conservative wing that places weight on security, preservation and indeed enforcement of conservative values. The conflict arises because the socially conservative wing supports state controls that actually conflict with the underlying premises of neoconservative beliefs.
- Then there is a populist statist wing that has much in common with the socially conservative wing but is in fundamental conflict with neoconservatives beliefs.
This was a very regionalised election in which conflicts in general perceptions and beliefs overlapped with considerable regional variation in needs and perceptions.
The Nick Xenephon team is central statist in its attitudes, with a powerful bias towards one area, South Australia, and its needs. One Nation is populist right, nationalist, anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, drawing support especially from the disadvantaged and disadvantaged areas, those who have failed to benefit from the changes that have taken place in Australia.
Earlier on, I underestimated the extent of the challenge to the Coalition from the populist right, the extent to which the Coalition base was threatened. This drove some of its political responses. I think Tony Abbott would have been more effective in limiting the rise of the populist right, but this would have come at a cost.
The new Senate itself is interesting. I am going to miss Ricky Muir, by the way.
Derryn Hinch and the Xenophon team would seem to me to form something of a natural alliance in the Senate. Jacqui Lambie is more of a wild card. Now I am going to stick my neck out a little. If there is a Coalition Government, I think that the Senate probably won't be a problem in terms of effective government. I think that this holds true for Labor as well. The purists would say that this, the need for compromise, affects government. But that's true in all cases, for government is about compromise.
Concluding, one of the things that has stood out in the post election period is the inward looking nature of the debate, especially in the Liberal Party. The world hasn't ended. It's just entered a new phase!