Minority Government?

This Bit Ain’t Gonna Work

Bob Katter is one of the independent members that may help either major party form a government and he’s got this interesting interview here wherein he’s writing off the 2 party preferred system. It’s curious because Katter essentially burnt himself out of the Nationals’ fold and since that time has evolved somewhat – perhaps even considerably. The Bob Katter I remember was a guy who was always saying embarrassing thing, but it turns out that he finds Barnaby Joyce an incredible unfortunate-ness.

Mr Katter said he had not yet decided where his support would go, but pointed to continuing issues with former Nationals colleagues – and concerns over the Coalition’s broadband policy.

He also said it was unfortunate that the Nationals leader Warren Truss “attacked me personally last night”.

”And (Nationals Senate Leader) Barnaby Joyce…a similar piece of incredible unfortunateness.”

He hoped the two other Nationals-turned-independents, Mr Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, would vote as a block to decide the nation’s political future.

Which all makes for fun reading and prognostication. I was having a chat with Skarp down at the tennis court this morning doing some post mortem of sorts and it occurred to us that this is actually less workable for the Coalition even if they manage to coral these wayward ex-National Party MPs into an extended Coalition to form a minority government.

Consider the fact that the balance of power in the Senate belongs to the Greens. If Tony Abbott and the Liberals wanted to carry out their carbon policy of buying out the polluters to stop, they’re going to run right smack into the Greens who even opposed the ETS last time around for not going far enough. So that suggests that even in Government, this set of circumstance is going to be too difficult.

Now, back in the day of Hawke-Keating and the Democrats holding balance of power in the upper house, you could reasonably say that the Democrats filled a little niche between the increasingly conservative Liberals and the increasingly mainstream ALP coming into the centre. In that sense, they were a decent enough broker of power. This time around, the balance of power is being held by a party further to the left than either of the major parties. In a Venn diagram, there actually is very little overlap between the Coalition’s stated policy and the Greens’ stated policies.

That would mean it is the ALP that has a shot at getting its policies through the senate, through negotiating with the Greens.

The problem for the ALP is that they have to also figure out a way of bringing in the wayward ex-Nationals – except they may have very little in common with these MPs. Further complicating the picture as well are Mr. Wilkie and the Green MP from Melbourne, Adam Bandt. That would mean a very tense relationship as the Greens with the uncompromising Bolshiness may impact greatly on what the ALP can and cannot do with the budget. What’s more, the price of such a coalition may actually be having to give the environment portfolio to Mr. Bandt. One wonders if this is already too high  price for the ALP.

All this circles back to Mr. Katter’s point that the 2 party system enforced by the 2 party-preferred voting system might have to come to an end. It is conceivable that massive electoral reforms that allow smaller parties to thrive will become the price for whoever manages to wrangle these 3 into their coalition. I’m actually looking at this hung parliament result today as having the potential to really change the way politics works in this country.

Oh, and Wilson “Ironbar” Tuckey is gone and the WA National replacing him is saying the Coalition are not getting his support.

Those Informal Votes

Don Quivote was riding high in the polls last night as a near-record 5.64% of the votes cast being informal. This was up from 3.95% in 2007. They’re calling this the Mark Latham effect.

Dr Sally Young, a senior lecturer in social and political sciences at the University of Melbourne, said it was too early to say whether Mr Latham’s urging played any part in the trend.

Mr Latham denied his comments would have had a significant effect when asked about his role on the informal vote on Sky News.

Dr Young said it was clear the public felt disaffection with the two major parties, a reflection of the mood prevailing in other western countries.

”The fact is we’re looking at the possibility of a hung parliament and we had the same result in the UK in the same year,” she said.

”Something is going on in terms of the major parties, there’s certainly disaffection out there, there’s no doubt about that.

”This is a trend across the board, you can see it in the US as well where there’s a lot of dissatisfaction with Barrack Obama after his stunning win.

”I’m not sure [if Latham’s comments played any part]. He’d probably like to think so.”

Well, let’s see now. I’m guesstimating that the full 100% of those who voted for Don Quivote did so out of anger at the ALP and its disposal of Kevin Rudd. They’re disaffected Kevin07 votes. so that’s 5.64-3.95= 1.69% of votes swinging against the ALP right there and there, that also didn’t go to the Coalition. That 1.69% probably would have returned a Kevin Rudd labor to government y’know?

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