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Here’s my initial day after ruminations. More likely to be wrong than right[1].

Western Australia and Tasmania

Over the course of the next parliament, and the subsequent 2018/19 election, Tasmania will get pork. The ALP have three shiny new seats to defend, the LNP have three seats they want to get back.

There will be pork.

Western Australia will get squat.

Here’s the table for Western Australian seats for the last six federal elections (noting that the 2016 results are not final).

Election Coalition ALP
2016 11 (probable) 5 (probable)
2013 12 3
2010 12 3
2007 11 4
2004 10 5
2001 8 7

Basically WA has voted the way it has voted for a generation: for the coalition[2]. This effectively neutralises WA when it comes to determining who forms government. The coalition will always be ahead, and the question is whether the ALP can get far enough ahead elsewhere to win government. You know, in places like Tasmania where seats can be swung.

The coalition don’t bother spending in WA (because they’ll win anyway), and the ALP don’t do much either (because there’s no return on the investment to be had).

So WA will get squat. Of course, if WA had flipped a couple more seats to the ALP and delivered them government, everything would be different. Suddenly the state would have been essential to the ALP, and the coalition would have wanted it back. Cf: Tasmania.

Oh well. Better luck with the pork in 2021/2 WA!

The Senate and the Voting Reforms

Whilst I was wrong about PM Turnbull calling a DD, I was right about why he shouldn’t have, ie 7.69% quotas.

It is the quotas of first preference votes putting Pauline Hanson and (probably) Derryn Hinch into the Senate. Not the Senate voting reforms, those haven’t even come into play in the counting yet.

Here’s the top entries in the QLD provisional quotas[3]:

Enrolment 3,075,709  
Provisional Quota 112,366  
Group Quota Estimated Votes
Liberal National Party 4.3809 492,264
Australian Labor Party 3.5368 397,416
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation 1.1894 133,648
The Greens 0.9852 110,703
Liberal Democrats (LDP) 0.3354 37,688

Pauline Hanson is getting into the Senate because 130 thousand Queensland electors put a 1 against her name or group. That’s primary vote, and it would have happened that way under the previous voting system or under the new rules.

As yet we don’t know how the preferences will flow, only that they will be solely what the electors recorded on their ballot papers. That may well give One Nation a second seat.

But only because electors voted that way, not because of labyrinthine preference herding deals. We have no one to blame for the Senate but ourselves.

Senate Terms and the Next Election

I’m not going to repeat Antony Green’s excellent post on the long and short terms, which you can find here. Just be aware that:

  • Senate terms will backdate to 1 July 2016[4];
  • Half the Senators will get three year terms, expiring on 30 June 2019;
  • Half the Senators will get six year terms, expiring on 30 June 2022;
  • Whilst there are some conventions, the Senators basically get to decide among themselves who gets what.
  • Writs for a half Senate election can be issued after 1 July 2018; and
  • This probably means that the next “normal” election will have to be held in late 2018/early 2019.

There are two key takeaways here:

  • Any negotiations for forming a minority government will inevitably include the allocation of Senate terms; and
  • This parliament will have to run relatively short as well to restore the normal synchronisation of house and half senate elections.

Yes, that means that this parliament will have to run relatively short as well. I’m basing the date estimations on this post by Antony Green. Joy. Oh well, barring another DD[5], at least the next election campaign will be only 33 days.

No, we can’t have a do-over. It wouldn’t help.

I’m already seeing occasional commentary about having another election almost immediately to resolve a hung parliament if that’s the final result.

Any such election would be House only[6], and wouldn’t touch the Senate[7]. Doing that would force still another house election in late 2018/early 2019 to synchronise with the Senate.

Another double dissolution can’t be called until a trigger is set up, and that takes at least 6 months, and probably closer to a year. As we’ve just seen, a double dissolution involves throwing the dice on 7.69% quotas, a number I’m sure will be looming large in the minds of any government for a decade or so.

Conclusion

Mostly I’m looking at the technical aspects here. I’ll mostly leave the politics to other people, but this result is very much a disaster for the Prime Minister, and a good result (if not an outright victory) for the Opposition Leader. Sound off in the comments if you have any questions about what I’ve discussed h

[1] Of course, unlike the press gallery, I’m happy to admit that.

[2] The same applies to the ACT in reverse.

[3] Sourced from http://vtr.aec.gov.au/SenateStatePage-20499-QLD.htm at 2:45PM 03/07/2016

[4] Which is why the election campaign was so long. Otherwise they would have backdated to 1 July 2015.

[5] Which would take at least 6 months to set up

[6] See above. Senators have fixed terms.

[7] With the usual exception of the Senators for the Territories.