Skip to comments.LIVE THREAD: Australian Federal Election Count as it happens
Posted on 09/07/2013 12:49:49 AM PDT by naturalman1975
We have had Live Threads here at Freerepublic for the count for the last three Australian Federal elections - in 2004 which ended in conservative victory, then again in 2007 which ended in defeat for the conservatives and a Labor government, and then again in 2010 which gave us a hung Parliament, where Labor continued governing with the support of the Greens and independents. This is the live thread for 2013 - polls close and the count begins in about 10 minutes.
Polls and exit polls indicate a victory for the conservative coalition under Tony Abbott is highly likely.
A primer for those trying to understand the Australian election.
First of all, the parties. There are two 'sides' that are really important.
We have Labor - the Australian Labor Party. These are the socialists who have held government since 2007 first of all under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, then under Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and now once again under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. These are the people that most Freepers would not want to see re-elected. They will typically be referred to as the ALP or as Labor.
On the other side we have a coalition (commonly referred to as 'The Coalition' as it has existed for a very long time now - since 1922) of conservative parties - primarily the Liberals (Liberal Party of Australia) and the Nationals (National Party of Australia), but also including the Liberal National Party of Queensland (where the two have merged) and the Country Liberal Party of the Northern Territory (result of an earlier merger back when the Nationals were the Country Party). The Liberal Party is the largest and its leader, Tony Abbott is the Leader of the Opposition. He was a Minister in the last coalition government (1996-2007) under Prime Minister John Howard. If the election goes the way we hope, he will become the next Prime Minister of Australia following this election. You may see this group referred to as the Coalition, or by any of the party names or initials - LP, NP, LNP, etc. From the perspective of most conservatives, a vote for the Liberals is as good as a vote for the Nationals and vice versa - they only rarely run against each other.
Australia's political system is largely based on that of the United Kingdom, with some elements adopted from the system of the United States. We have a Parliament with two Houses - a House of Representatives and a Senate - that are roughly similar to the US Congress, with the House of Representatives consisting of Members elected to represent local constituencies roughly based on equal population, while the Senate has an equal number of Senators representing each state (two 'Territories' of Australia also have a smaller number of Senators). What matters today is the election of the House of Representatives - the Senate is important, but it doesn't determine who holds government and the complicated voting system used there means we won't know its make up for some time.
So let's look at the House of Representatives.
There are 150 seats in the House of Representatives. To win government in your own right, a party (or coalition) needs 76 seats. So as the count progresses, that's the number we are looking for - 76 confirmed seats out of 150. Americans may find it helpful to consider this as somewhat equivalent to getting 270 Electoral College votes in your system - the magic number where you have won. Getting more is nice, but that's the bottom line.
So when people post counts, look for a 76 minimum in the Coalition grouping or a combined total of 76 in the Liberal/National/Liberal National/Country Liberal columns (more often you will see the former).
There are a host of minor parties - some of which are potentially relevant. First of all, there are the Greens. The Greens currently have one Member of Parliament, and they could well retain that - they will support Labor if it comes down to it, their support is part of the reason we've had a Labor government for the last three years (nobody got a majority last time, and the Greens helped Labor across the line). There are also a number of minor parties which currently do not have any seats (except on a technicality - I will get to that in a moment) but where it is possible (though not necessarily at all likely) they could win some today and become relevant. These are:
The tecnhicality I just mentioned, Katter's Australian Party - lead by Bob Katter. Katter was elected to Parliament in 1993 as a National, but turned independent in 2001, and has now started his own party. He is quite likely to be returned, and it's not impossible some of his other people might be elected. If necessary, KAP members would almost certainly support the Coalition - so if the election is close (much closer than is expected), KAP can provisionally be counted in our numbers as well - but they would certainly want commitments to some policies.
Palmer United Party - a brand new party, started by Clive Palmer, an extremely wealthy Australian miner who is currently planning on building both a replica of the Titanic and his own version of Jurassic Park (full of animatronic dinosaurs). He used to be a member of the Nationals and then the Liberal Nationals, but had enough disagreements with them to start his own party. Again, it's not impossible (though it is unlikely) they could become relevant today - but again, if it came down to it, the PUP would almost certainly support the coalition.
Family First - a generally conservative party (except on a few welfare and 'humanitarian' issues) with a strong Christian base. They've held representation in our Senate before, but never in the lower house (which is what I've been talking about here). It isn't impossible they could, but again is unlikely - but again, in a close election, they would probably support the coalition.
There are lots of really minor parties, none of which are likely to have any hope of being relevant at all. In the unlikely event they become relevant during the count, I'll explain them then. There could also be some relevant independents.
Short version - we want 76+ votes for the Liberal/National coalition. If we come in just under than number things get a bit more complicated, but may be salvageable.
Coalition people all being very cautious as no votes have actually been announced yet, but nobody on the Labor side seems to think they have any hope at all.
Interview now with Tanya Plebersek (I need to check that spelling) - senior Labor Minister, and they lose as expected, a possible new Leader of the Party. She’s harping on about Tony Abbott being negative - as they have all through the campaign. She actually is the first Labor person who doesn’t seem to think they are facing a total disaster.
First figures coming in - very early ones, which includes Eden Monaro - which for the last forty years has always gone to the party that wins the election - and the Liberals are well ahead there.
Sombre mood at the Brisbane Cricket Ground (GABBA) where Labor is having its function. Not surprising.
More early numbers.
Seat of Braddon - Labor held, currently going to Liberal - 57-43
Seat of Eden-Monaro - Labor held - currently going to Liberal - 53-47
.49% of the vote counted - coalition ahead 73-26. Those numbers will come down to a bit close to 50/50.
To clarify for those with poor eyesight - 0.49% of the vote counted.
Seat of Capricornia - Queensland, Labor held, they are currently still holding it.
Kingsford-Smith - traditionally safe Labor seat, held by Peter Garrett (former lead singer of Midnight Oil), Labor currently still holding it.
Hunter - Labor held, considered very safe - currently going to the Nationals.
1.24% of vote counted - coalition ahead 66-34
Excellent summation (and congrats on the apparent landslide), but perhaps you might drop a line or two about the Senate?
That’s what I’m really watching. The preference system has been proposed occasionally in the U.S., and some commentators believe that Tasmania may change the balance of power tonight toward the Coalition. Or not, depending on preferences.
Seat of Fairfax - LNP held, Clive Palmer trying to win for his new party. Does not look likely he will.
Seat of Moreton - Labor held. Still going Labor.
Seat of Eden-Monaro - Labor held. Labor slightly ahead.
Seat of Lyons - Labor held. Currently going Liberal.
It might be an hour or 2 or even more before anything worth seeing comes out for the Senate. Voting for the senate in each state can range over very differing areas and groups of people and so false indications can be given depending on what areas are counted first!
WhenI get Senate data, I will, but that takes a lot longer.
Seat of McEwan - Labor held. Looking like Liberal, but experts have doubts about data.
Seat of Page - Labor held. Looking like it is going to Nationals. Actually being described by the computer projections as a Coalition gain - first one.
Interview with Peter Beattie - former Labor Premier of Queensland who was drafted into the election by Labor to try and win the LNP held seat of Forde because of his personal popularity. Says he expects the situation to be very difficult.
Beattie blames Labors likely loss on divisions in their party leadership. Seems reasonable to me as one major cause.
3.80% of vote counted - coalition ahead 63-37.
Seat of Indi - Liberal seat that we are worried about losing to an independent - looks very close.
Thanks, but what I really meant was a bit of explanation of the system as it actually works. :)