Australia: votes scatter

Submitted by Matthew on 8 July, 2016 - 1:52 Author: Rhodri Evans

Australia’s federal election on 2 July looks like producing a hung parliament.

The full results, with all the transfers due under the Alternative Vote system (for the House of Reps) and PR (for the Senate), will not be in for weeks, but it looks like the Liberal-National coalition has lost the (big) majority they won in the House of Reps in 2013, and lost ground in the Senate too.

Liberal prime minister Malcolm Turnbull called the election in the hope of winning enough seats in the Senate to push through legislation like the reintroduction of the ABCC, a special policing and judicial agency against trade unionists in the construction industry. The Liberals may form a new coalition government with support from independents, but the result is way off what they wanted.

Labor’s vote increased, but was still low by historic standards, because an unprecedented 24% of first-preference votes went to a scattering of minor parties.

The Socialist Alliance, one of the bigger groups on the Australian activist left, stood a few candidates, but did poorly (0.13% for the Senate in NSW, for example).

Five parties named after individuals — Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, the Nick Xenophon Team, the Jacqui Lambie Network, Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, and Katter’s Australian Party - will be represented in the new parliament, as well as two independents elected in their own names, though the Glenn Lazarus Team failed to make it and the Palmer United Party has faded. One Nation is a Ukip-type party, which flourished briefly in the 1990s, seemed to have collapsed, and has partly revived. The other “personality” parties are mostly not specially right-wing.

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