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LIVE THREAD: Australian Federal Election Count as it happens
21st August 2010

Posted on 08/21/2010 12:49:31 AM PDT by naturalman1975

This is a live thread to follow the count for the Australian Federal Election 2010. Polling stations in the eastern Australian states (which means the large bulk of Australia's population) close at 6pm Australian standard time - that is 1am in California, and 4pm in New York for American comparisons.

Australia currently has a Labor government elected in November 2007 under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd who defeated the Liberal/National coalition government of Prime Minister John Howard which had governed Australia for approximately 11 years. Labor, in response to poor opinion poll results, recently replaced their leader, giving us our first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, while the Liberal party (senior party in the coalition) after trying a very moderate party member as Leader of the Opposition, chose conservative Tony Abott as its leader in December last year.

In simple terms, this is an election of socialist Labor versus the conservative Liberal/National coalition, and the end result will be either Julia Gillard continuing as Prime Minister, or being replaced by Tony Abott.

But it isn't quite that straightforward.

Australia's political system is largely based on that of the United Kingdom, with some element 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. If a party (or coalition of parties) wins 76 seats, it wins government. If no party (or coalition) achieves that number we have a hung Parliament - which could happen, and if it does, both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott will need to see if they can make a deal to form government (Gillard, as the incumbent, is entitled to the first chance to do so).

There are four parties of relevance to the House (there are a lot more parties, but only four are statistically likely to win even a single seat in the House).

We have Labor - who currently hold 83 seats and the government. A socialist party with all that entails. I am afraid I think they are most likely to be narrowly returned - but I'm willing to be wrong. The bottom line is we don't want Labor winning 76 seats, and even if they win 71 or so, they have a reasonable chance of forming a minority government.

We have two conservative parties - the Liberal Party and the National Party. These two parties nearly always operate in coalition and differences between them are minor. The Liberals are the larger party in the coalition and tend to represent conservatives in cities and the suburbs. The Nationals tend to represent conservatives in rural areas. There is also the Liberal-National Party (or LNP) which reflects the fact that in the state of Queensland and the Northern Territory, the two parties have formally combined. For the purposes of tonight, these three parties can all be counted together - so if they can win, combined, a minimum of 76 seats, we win. We go into this election with 63 seats. With 72, we have a chance to form a minority government, assuming Labor hasn't managed 76 - how good a chance is very hard to say.

The other party of relevance is the Greens. The Greens have never won a seat in the House of Representatives, but have a reasonable chance of doing so today - one single seat which is currently held by Labor. The Greens have made it clear that in the event of a hung Parliament, they would give their support to Labor.

There are also four independents - they will, if reelected, or if any other independents are elected, have the balance of power in a hung parliament. All four of them are former members of the conservative parties (one Liberal and three Nationals) so if this happens, it may come down to whether their conservative tendencies are more or less important to them, than the reasons they left their parties.

So 76 seats is the magic number - it may help Americans to consider this as equivalent to Electoral College votes in your presidential elections (although they come in one at a time, not in blocks).

Now - Australia is a federation of six states (former British colonies) and two major territories (there are a number of minor territories, but they don't return Members of Parliament and are irrelevant here).

Polling indicates that in the current election, conservatives (the Liberals, Nationals, and Liberal Nationals) are most popular in Queensland, New South Wales, and Western Australia. Labor is most popular in Victoria and South Australia. In simple terms, to win, conservatives are hoping we can win enough seats in Queensland and New South Wales, and Labor is hoping they can win seats in Victoria and South Australia to hold us off. We're certainly interested in the other states and territories - we'll take a win anywhere we can get one, and a loss anywhere can hurt us - but most focus will be on these four states.

One final note - Australia has a preferential voting system - you have to rank candidates in the order you want them, not just vote for a single candidate. That means as results come in, the initial count (the 'primary vote') doesn't always matter much - unless a candidate does win 50% of it. What counts is how the votes go after the 'Distribution of Preferences', what is referred to as the 'Two Party Preferred' or '2PP' vote. Win 50%+1 of that, and you are in.

As happens in the US, media outlets use statistical analysis to try and call seats well before counting is complete. They are generally pretty good at it. We often start to get some calls within 30 minutes of polls closing.

OK... time to start the live thread.


TOPICS: Australia/New Zealand; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: australia; election2010; juliagillard; tonyabbott
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1 posted on 08/21/2010 12:49:37 AM PDT by naturalman1975
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To: naturalman1975

Approximately 17 minutes until polls close on the east coast.


2 posted on 08/21/2010 12:50:38 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: FreeStateYank; Brytani

PING!


3 posted on 08/21/2010 12:51:46 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

4 posted on 08/21/2010 12:53:50 AM PDT by Berlin_Freeper (Chump Obama promised "Change" and we got chump change.)
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: naturalman1975

Watching lawnbowls... waiting for election coverage to start.


6 posted on 08/21/2010 1:02:26 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975
Sadly I think that Labor will get back in. I would dearly love for Labor to get a thumping.

I did a postal vote a week ago. Being in Canberra my vote won't make much of a difference (for my American brethren Canberra is the national capital and like Washington DC, a lefty stronghold full of government drones).

7 posted on 08/21/2010 1:06:06 AM PDT by Dundee (They gave up all their tomorrows for our today's.)
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To: naturalman1975

Polls have closed in the east. Counting has begun.


8 posted on 08/21/2010 1:07:14 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: Dundee

I think the odds are in their favour. But at least we look like we have some chance.


9 posted on 08/21/2010 1:08:48 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

when an exit poll is that close, it can easily switch, the margin of error is what?


10 posted on 08/21/2010 1:10:55 AM PDT by sunmars
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To: naturalman1975

Stephen Smith - Labor Minister says he doesn’t know who will win. At the last election he was confident at this stage.


11 posted on 08/21/2010 1:11:24 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: sunmars

+/- 2% typically.


12 posted on 08/21/2010 1:12:03 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

Strange that the Liberal party would be conservative.

But that’s not surprising since the Green party is red.


13 posted on 08/21/2010 1:12:53 AM PDT by Fresh Wind (For the first time in half a century, there is no former KKK member in the US Senate.)
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To: Fresh Wind

When the Liberal Party was named, it meant something quite different.


14 posted on 08/21/2010 1:13:46 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

I see that Labor is leading the exit poll 51-49. However, perhaps people are afraid to tell a stranger that they voted anti-communist.


15 posted on 08/21/2010 1:14:02 AM PDT by iowamark
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To: iowamark

51-49, evenly, we’d win. The margins in the seats don’t quite match the overall national average.


16 posted on 08/21/2010 1:15:10 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: iowamark

so with a +2-2 moe, it could easily be 49/51, the other way round. i’d love to see te smirk wiped off labours face.


17 posted on 08/21/2010 1:15:56 AM PDT by sunmars
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To: Fresh Wind; naturalman1975

Liberal at one time around the English speaking world meant a person or party that was in favor of freedom. Alas that meaning has been mostly lost.


18 posted on 08/21/2010 1:17:11 AM PDT by JLS (Democrats: People who won't even let you enjoy an unseasonably warm winter day.)
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To: sunmars

Analysts pointing out that a year ago, people were predicting we’d lose 30 seats and be out for another decade. Even if we don’t win, we’re in a much better position than anybody would have believed possible last year.


19 posted on 08/21/2010 1:17:44 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

ABC has cut to news broadcast as there are no numbers yet...


20 posted on 08/21/2010 1:19:23 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: Fresh Wind

Liberal used to mean freedom. Free enterprise, free speech, freedom of religion. In most democratic countries today, only the center right parties hold these values. Marxist-socialist parties have arisen on the left. In the US, few openly call themselves Communist, Marxist, or Socialist so the term “liberal” has become a euphemism for them.


21 posted on 08/21/2010 1:19:35 AM PDT by iowamark
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To: iowamark

i say liberal as in liberal with my fricking wallet.......


22 posted on 08/21/2010 1:21:08 AM PDT by sunmars
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To: naturalman1975

ABC journalist shows basic lack of understanding of Australia’s political system and constitution by saying this could conceivably be Gillard’s last day as Prime Minister.

Even if she loses, the Governor General wouldn’t commission Tony Abbott until sometime next week at the earliest, and she would remain Prime Minister until that happens.


23 posted on 08/21/2010 1:22:13 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

ABC news broadcast is mostly election news, so why not just have the election coverage...


24 posted on 08/21/2010 1:25:06 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

Ah - that’s why. They need to show the football results.


25 posted on 08/21/2010 1:25:35 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

Back to election coverage.


26 posted on 08/21/2010 1:28:26 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

Stephen Smith (Labor) says they expect swings against them in Queensland and New South Wales. Hope to pick up some in Victoria.


27 posted on 08/21/2010 1:30:11 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

Discussion of how Labor is facing problems because of the performance of state Labor governments in Queensland and NSW. Certainly true.


28 posted on 08/21/2010 1:32:07 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

someone just told me money has suddenly started pouring on the coalition on betting sites in the last 10 minutes, maybe someone knows something?


29 posted on 08/21/2010 1:32:24 AM PDT by sunmars
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To: naturalman1975

Large swings against Labor in initial counts - but very small number of votes counted so far.


30 posted on 08/21/2010 1:32:58 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: sunmars

That sounds good. I don’t bet on elections, myself. But I hope they are right.


31 posted on 08/21/2010 1:34:13 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

Labor believes it has lost the seat of Melbourne to the Greens. If right, we have a Green MP in Parliament - who would support Labor in a hung Parliament.


32 posted on 08/21/2010 1:35:02 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

First ‘official results’ from small booths in country seats expected in about 10 minutes.


33 posted on 08/21/2010 1:37:03 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

Polls have just closed in South Australia and the Northern Territory. They remain open in Western Australia.


34 posted on 08/21/2010 1:38:20 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

anyone wants election coverage, i’m watching on this.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/abcnews24/


35 posted on 08/21/2010 1:38:45 AM PDT by sunmars
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To: naturalman1975

Now pointing out that ‘redistribution’ since 2007 changed 6 coalition seats to being ‘notionally Labor’. To me, this smacks of gerrymandering, but nobody seems to be allowed to say so.


36 posted on 08/21/2010 1:39:35 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

tese exit polls are designed to influence remaining voters, so transparent.


37 posted on 08/21/2010 1:39:49 AM PDT by sunmars
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To: naturalman1975

On ABC Election site – a swing of 9.4 against Labor in QLD. WTF.


38 posted on 08/21/2010 1:41:19 AM PDT by sunmars
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To: naturalman1975

First numbers:

Labor: 11
Liberal/Nationals: 26
Other: 3

These are predictions - not calls.


39 posted on 08/21/2010 1:41:33 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: sunmars

Kevin Rudd is a Queenslander and they are especially angry about his dumping. They also have a long term, unpopular state Labor government. We expect the swing there to be large. 9.4 would be good.


40 posted on 08/21/2010 1:42:45 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

Labor: 16
Liberal/Nationals: 28
Other: 3

These are predictions - not calls.


41 posted on 08/21/2010 1:43:16 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

Big swing to Liberal in Brisbane on first booth counted.


42 posted on 08/21/2010 1:43:27 AM PDT by sunmars
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To: sunmars

Labor: 17
Liberal/Nationals: 30
Other: 3

These are predictions - not calls.


43 posted on 08/21/2010 1:46:15 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

Labor: 20
Liberal/Nationals: 31
Other: 4

These are predictions - not calls.


44 posted on 08/21/2010 1:46:51 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

Corangamite (Labor held): 4.6% swing to Liberal at this point.


45 posted on 08/21/2010 1:48:21 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

Leichardt (Labor held): 10.3% swing to Liberal National.


46 posted on 08/21/2010 1:49:09 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

so far the swings so far i’m seeing if it continues bodes badly for Labour and the exit will be off.


47 posted on 08/21/2010 1:50:05 AM PDT by sunmars
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To: naturalman1975

Flynn (Labor held): 1.3% swing to Labor
Forde (Labor held): 20.4% swing to Liberal National
Dawson (Labor held): 11.2% swing to Liberal National


48 posted on 08/21/2010 1:51:39 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: sunmars

Early days, but yes, so far looks quite good.

Brisbane: 7.7% swing to Liberal National


49 posted on 08/21/2010 1:52:31 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

Queensland: 6.0% swing so far to Liberal Nationals
NSW: 4.2% swing to Liberal/National coalition
Victoria: 1.1% swing to Liberal/National coalition

Very early figures.


50 posted on 08/21/2010 1:53:54 AM PDT by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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