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Wed, Aug. 25th, 2010, 07:58 am
[Politics] May you live in interesting times

I tend to think of the ancient Chinese curse as a blessing, at least when it comes to politics, but this is too much of a good thing. Wednesday and the result is still not clear, but what is clear is that this result is a repudiation of the two major parties. Maybe at the the next election (which I expect will come much sooner than in three years' time) they will try to inspire us with real vision for the country and give us a reason to vote for them instead of against the other guy? Antony Green has given Denison to the Independent Andrew Wilkie, which means the Coalition is likely to have the edge in terms of number of seats held (73 against 72) in which case I expect Tony Abbott will form government with the help of the three conservative-leaning independents. I expect the Independents will agree to support the Coalition in any no-confidence vote (in the absence of fraud or gross incompetence) and to pass supply, but every other Bill will be considered on its merits. After that, he has to get it through the Senate where the Greens will hold the balance of power. In spite of the wails about the end of the world, he will not be so suicidal as to try to push through WorkChoices again, or dismantle Medicare (which is most certainly not on their agenda anyway). I don't think much in the way of egregious policy will get through the Senate, even if he can bribe the Independents in the lower house with bonuses for regional Australia. In fact, the Independents may even be able to push Tony more towards Labor's policy of a National Broadband Network (a big deal for regions) with no net censorship on the horizon so this might even be a good outcome over all.

In the Senate, this election has been a good one for the Greens and a bad one for Family First (I note with no little satisfaction). The Greens picked up a Senate seat in every state and Family First lost their one Senator in Victoria. In early counting, it looked like FF might replace him with a Senator in South Australia but this doesn't look so likely anymore. The Greens will definitely hold the balance of power in the Senate, so they will act as a brake on any really bad policy from the Coalition. However, the new Senate doesn't sit until next July, so until then Tony Abbott will only need the support of Family First and the Independent Nick Xenophon to pass legislation. FF is virtually an extension of the Coalition anyway in my opinion, but I don't think Nick will be so easily swayed.

Wed, Aug. 25th, 2010 01:17 am (UTC)
marko_the_rat: Re: Alternate theory

If Hasluck does go to Labor instead (and that's still a possibility) then the situation is reversed and Labor is more likely to get the support of at least one of the right-leaning Independents. The Coalition would need all three right-leaning Independents plus the support of one Greens and one left-leaning Independent, and I just don't see that happening, especially when they can't claim the legitimacy of leading on the seat count. That's still going to be a very shaky government, with legislation needing the approval of Labor, one Greens, one left-leaning Independent and at least one right-leaning Independent to get through. Assuming the Greens vote as a block at least it won't have any trouble getting through the Senate then though.

Even my scenario assumes that the WA National's claims of being another Independent are just posturing; he has said he'll support Labor if they promise to scrap their mining tax. That would anger the Greens, but not enough that they'd side with the Coalition instead.