21 August 2010

Hung Parliament in Australian Election

Following the remarkable election in Britain last May, Australia has followed with its own remarkable election today, resulting in an apparent hung parliament.

The balance of power may lie with the four independent members of the House and the one newly-elected Gren party member:
The three incumbent independents, all former National Party members – Bob Katter, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott – will be joined on the crossbench by Mr Wilkie, a former intelligence officer who fell out with the former Howard government over the Iraq war. Both he and Mr Bandt would be more disposed to siding with Labor.

The three former Nationals were non-committal last night and Mr Windsor warned that if stable government could not be achieved, "we may all end up back at the polls".

Mr Oakeshott offered hope to Labor by saying good communications, including broadband, was a priority for him.
Senior Liberal Nick Minchin said the independents should respect the major party that had the highest two-party-preferred vote and the most seats.

The final result may not be known for some days, especially as a record 1.8 million pre-poll votes were cast, including almost 951,000 postal votes.

The drift of votes to the Greens killed Labor. Its primary vote fell 5.3 percentage points from the 2007 election to 38.1 per cent while the Coalition's primary vote rose 1.6points to 43.7 per cent.

The Greens had a 3.8 per cent swing to receive 11.8 per cent. Mr Bandt is only the second Greens member to sit in the House of Representatives, following Michael Organ who won the 2002 Cunningham byelection.
It is too early to say what the implications might be for Australian climate policies -- which played a big role in Labor's demise -- as his election is still playing out, and may need to be played out again.  Stay tuned.