Sunday, July 3, 2016

Australian Federal Elections - too close to call yet?

Sou | 3:34 AM Go to the first of 44 comments. Add a comment
Australia has just held a double dissolution election, meaning people are voting for all the Senate positions as well as all the lower house positions (House of Representatives). Usually we vote for all the lower house but only half the upper house. It was a freezing cold day in this part of Australia, but voting is compulsory so that wouldn't have affected the turnout much. In any case, lots of people would have voted before today (by post).

The election is said to be too close to call. Malcolm Turnbull, the Prime Minister (to the political right) is on the left, and the left (Labor leader) Bill Shorten is on the right in the photo below:D
However, at the close of counting this morning, the results for the 150 seats in the House of Representatives on the AEC website are as follows:
  • Australian Labor Party (Bill Shorten leader) 72 seats
  • Liberal/National Coalition (Malcolm Turnbull Prime Minister) 66
  • Independent 2
  • Other minor parties 3
  • Not yet determined 7.
I'll let you do the arithmetic but be aware, the numbers are not final and can change.

The ABC website has the two major parties even at 67 seats won apiece, with 5 others (as above). The remaining 11 seats are listed as:
  • ALP ahead - 6
  • Lib/Nat ahead - 5.
Those two numbers can easily change when the counting continues.

The leaders of both major parties gave a speech late last night. The ALP leader, Bill Shorten said something about Turnbull no longer having a mandate. The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull said "...we can have every confidence that we will form a Coalition majority government in the next Parliament". He might be right or he might be wrong. Those in the media aren't prepared to say who will win, unlike before the election, when most of the media backed the Liberal National Coalition to remain in power.

In my electorate of Indi, the sitting member and independent Cathy McGowan retained her seat. Ms McGowan accepts climate science. The previous incumbent science denier and monarchist Sophie Mirabella had another shot at it, but fared worse than she did last time around. I suspect she won't be back again.

If the Labor Party does succeed, then climate mitigation will hopefully get back on the agenda here. I doubt that the vandalism at CSIRO will be fully repaired no matter who wins power. At least there will be some reparation of the damage if the Labor Party wins.

So - nothing to report yet. I'll let you know what happens. It's been reported there will be no more counting until Tuesday. I don't know why that is.


  1. " It's been reported there will be no more counting until Tuesday. I don't know why that is."
    Sou, I don't thiunk that report is right. The AEC update page is
    here. New posts are recorded.

    1. Thanks Nick. I read that in more than one place. Maybe someone said it and it just went the rounds of the journalists.

      On the other hand, while there's an updated timestamp, there's been no change in the numbers since early this morning that I can see.

    2. Correct that. I couldn't see a change in the seat numbers on the AEC website since early this morning, but on the ABC website, 2 seats have been taken away from the Libs, making the ABC's tally for now:

      Labor 67
      Lib/Nat Coalition 65
      Other (independents etc) 5
      Seats in doubt 13 - 6 with Labor ahead and 7 with Libs ahead.

      Whether that signifies that counting is still going on or not, I'm not sure. Some of the spots have been updated on the ABC website, but I didn't take any snapshots so I don't know if it's a change in the count or just the time stamp of the analysis.

    3. More clarity from the AEC, reported a short while ago on the ABC website:


      Counting for the House of Representatives will not begin in earnest again until Tuesday.

      When will votes be counted:

      Sunday: Absent, interstate, postal and other declaration votes will be reconciled, sorted and packaged ready for dispatch to the home division from

      Monday. Any counting today will be limited to the small numbers of votes collected by AEC mobile teams

      Monday: Officials will continue the process of verifying more than 1 million postal votes already returned to the AEC

      Tuesday: The counting of Lower House votes will continue

      Mr Diak said the votes counted on Saturday included Lower House ballots cast on election day and early votes. There was also a count of first preferences for Senate ballots cast in polling places.

      He added there would be some small counting today of mobile votes — where AEC polling teams visit voters who are not able to get to a polling place — and that Senate pre-poll votes would be counted on Monday.

      However, he said postal and absentee votes would have to be reconciled, sorted and sent to their home divisions before counting for the Lower House could resume on Tuesday.

  2. Thanks, Sou
    Yes, I heard it today from Malcolm himself on radio. He's saying that on Tuesday they start counting all the absentee votes etc. Till then, its basically tidying up the booth data.

  3. Hopefully the AEC have got their act together after their disastrous performance at the last Federal election in WA where ballot papers went missing. For those who don't know, there had to be a fresh Senate election in WA.

    I would like to see the AEC take over complete responsibility for postal votes. Currently it is legal for a political party to send out a postal vote, together with their how-to-vote card, and for the voter to post their completed ballots BACK TO THE PARTY, not the AEC. I wonder how many votes go missing? Parties have databases, they know how somebody is likely to vote. It would be very tempting to lose a few postal votes in a tight contest. They should never have been allowed to get involved in the distribution of postal votes, but they make the laws.

    1. That's appalling. I checked and you are correct. How did this happen? Why is there not an outcry?

    2. Spu

      I was astonished by this. In the UK applications for postal votes must be sent back to their local electoral registration office.


      The popularity of postal votes has increased considerably here in recent years and there has been several scandals related to their possible mis use.

      The Austrian Presidential election has just been annulled due mostly to concerns about the probity of some 750,000 postal votes.

      It seems like there are not perhaps the balances and checks that are desirable to ensure a free and fair vote.

      I have no idea as to the scale of Australian postal votes being returned to the party and whether this has had any noticeable impact on your election.

      I think it is compulsory to vote over there? Does this mean there is a 100% turn out? If you do not approve of any of the candidates or have no knowledge of their policies is there a 'none of the above' box on the ballot paper ?


    3. Sou

      Sorry, I misspelt your name.

      If your vote is compulsory what measures do you have of voicing your disapproval of the candidates on offer?

      A spoilt ballot paper is usually taken over here that someone purely misunderstood how to vote properly.

      The idea of compulsory voting does have some attractions as it would then obviate the annoyance at our leave referendum vote by the young, the overwhelming majority of whom did not even vote (in the up to 24 year old category)


    4. Tony, you'll never get 100% turnout. Some people on the roll have died, some are sick, some are not competent (eg dementia), some forget, some are overseas and can't get to an embassy or consulate, some just don't bother. Some people haven't put themselves on the electoral roll. People enrolled is usually around 95% of those eligible to vote.

      There are voter turnout numbers here, around 93% usually:

      In regard to disapproval, the general view seems to be that when there is a bigger vote for minor parties and independents and the proportion of votes for major parties drops, that's a sign that people aren't too happy with the major parties.

      People scribble stuff on the voting papers, but even the counters and scrutineers wouldn't usually notice (I've scrutineered, so I can vouch for that). You can also just submit a blank or incomplete form if you feel like it (called an informal vote and not counted, even if there are some numbers on it). All that means is that you give more weight to everyone else's vote, of course.

      Otherwise the usual - letters to the papers, emails to MPs etc.

    5. Actually, this was the election where the AEC - Australian Electoral Commission - officially confirmed that you can draw a dick on your ballot paper and it's still a formal vote if you've numbered correctly! Very 'Strayan!*...

      Anyway, I'd never want to end our compulsory voting system. Guy next to me marking ballot papers in the booths Sat arvo was grumbling because he'd queued up at what he thought was a polling station that morning for 3/4 of an hour, only to be told this was a station for interstate absentee voters only! 'Bloody farce being forced to vote for these useless mongrels' etc. etc.. When I suggested that now he was marked off the register he could just walk out without troubling himself if he really wanted to (perfectly legal) he looked affronted, and just turned back to start marking his ballot. The beauty of our system is that we don't get idiotic situations like the Brexit non-turnout of The Yoof, or Reagan's 'landslide' that was actually only 25% of registered voters.

      Love it or hate it, we always get (more-or-less) the government the people have elected, or, in the current case, the one they haven't!

      *Like the classic legal decision that ruled that saying a judge had 'had his hand on it' when he made a particular decision not much to the complainant's liking was neither defamation nor contempt of court.

    6. For my part, I'm glad we can not only vote for the lower house but the upper house too.

      I'd never thought much about it until Brexit, but now I feel so sad for the British, still half-living under a ruling aristocracy and apparently not able to do anything about it.

      I wouldn't care if the Senate was filled with nothing but squabbling independents as long as it's been voted in, not born to rule.

    7. We certainly owe the Senate independents a great debt is saving us from the worst of the Abbottite excesses!

      Now,if only we could swap Ricky Muir back in for Pauline Hanson, the living incarnation of the Dunning-Kruger effect. Where the Senate gets bad is when someone like her - and, God forbid, her cronies! - holds the balance of power.

    8. One Nation will only form a balance of power if the Lib/Nats take power. Under the Labor Party it would be the Greens who hold the balance as far as I can tell.

      Whatever happens, there might not be a whole lot of action from government over the next 3-4 years except on non-controversial issues.

    9. Let's not forget Gillard achieved our highest ever rate of passing legislation (0.495 pieces per day) as the head of a minority government! If you can negotiate and convince people what you're doing is both what the voters expected and is genuinely in the genuine national - i.e. public - interest you can make a hung parliament work. But those criteria are going to be a major hindrance to the LNP, they know it, and they're angry. Oh, and they've let the nutters in worse than before, which could lead to all sorts of crankish deals. Pray for a ALP / Greens / NXT parliament tacitly supported by Wilkie and McGowan, I say!...

    10. Pauline Hanson only got in because of the double dissolution. Under a normal, half-senate election the quota for a senate position is double what it is in a DD. She apparently has a quota of 1.1, which would be 0.55 normally. In the past, most parties preference away from One Nation, but now the preferences have been returned to the voter to decide, that didn't happen.

      Both decisions were made by Malcolm Turnbull. I support the idea of being able to direct preferences when voting above the line (previously I've always voted below the line, even though that requires numbering 100+ boxes), but the election of PH may be an unintended consequence.

    11. I thoroughly enjoyed not having to spend the usual ages sorting out the who of the obscuro Nazis, Nutters and Nonentities on the Senate list was the most toxic, or make sure the 3-digit numbers came out right, and gave up numbering around the mid-20s with considerable satisfaction!

      I also thoroughly enjoyed skipping over Don Farrell when it came time to hold my nose and vote for the lesser of the 2 evils. It didn't help, of course - he's safely ensconced - but if only more people on the other side of the fence had done the same for Cory Bernardi! If general voters ever reach that level of sophistication the world really will change...

    12. "The popularity of postal votes has increased considerably here in recent years and there has been several scandals related to their possible mis use."

      I feel uneasy about the widespread use of postal votes. You are not supposed to take a photo of your paper in a polling booth, because this could help bribery or intimidation, but with a postal vote there's no way to ensure it's secret.

    13. A postal vote can also allow a domineering partner to have a second vote at the expense of their other half.

    14. I've been largely away from HW and similar blogs as I've been tied up with work, and in some part in putting it to the politicians, but now that the dust is settling I can't help but make an observation that I've made several times, here and elsewhere...

      It's not actually compulsory to vote in Australia. It is compulsory to attend a voting booth and to place a piece of paper into a cardboard box or, failing that, to submit a ballot by post or at a mobile unit or at a pre-poll location. But actually voting - no, you don't have to do that!

      On other matters, the re-emergence of Pauline Hanson is a nightmare. That woman, for all her political rat cunning, is in my opinion as stupid as a bag of hammers and as bigotted as a KKK clansman. I can only hope though that she manages to stir up a Royal Commission into "climate science", because 1) if the terms of reference were in any way fiddled it would be so patently obvious that the whole enterprise would fail in a more spectacular fashion than a decision to vote on Brexit, and 2) if the terms of reference were reasonable there is no way that a Commission could come up with anything but a resounding concurrence of the consensus science, which would blow back in her face and those of the LNP*.

      And 3), if it was a conservative government that put together such an RC and they decided to stack the investigation with a partisan Commissioner, any resulting deviation from the science would be so blatantly conspicuous that the corruption of the process would render the LNP unelectable for a generation.

      *If Hanson somehow had a putative Labor government conduct a climate change RC the result would be a reaffirmation of the science, but then there'd be a decade of conspiracy thinking from the also-as-dense-as-a-bag-of-hammers bottom third of the Australian population that either won't accept the science, or is sufficiently malleable that they can be persuaded to disbeleive it. But then, I doubt that a Labor government would be silly enough to accept any insistence from Hanson for an RC...

    15. bill "I also thoroughly enjoyed skipping over Don Farrell when it came time to hold my nose and vote for the lesser of the 2 evils. "

      Me too.

  4. Pauline Hanson, victim of political mugging under John Howard, re-emerges in the senate, calling for a Royal Commissions into climate science and Islam.

    Is further comment needed?

    1. Well, a Royal Commission would set the cat among the pigeons if it was able to get out the facts behind Larry Marshall's demolition of the CSIRO climate and ocean research. It would be good if it also teased out relationships between politicians, coal mine companies and the fossil fuel industry in general.

      I say bring it on.

    2. Yes, set rational terms of reference and it will bring Ms Hanson tears.
      She's hanging around with Malcolm Roberts, a man who confuses derisive laughter with encouragement, poor soul.

    3. 10 Other Things Pauline Hanson Should Call For A Royal Commission Into:


    4. This time, not from a satirical website, although you would be hard pressed to spot the difference:

      Pauline Hanson: It’s always been my stance even from the Tampa, and John Howard actually did do it and stopped the boats in 1998 because of the support that One Nation was getting, and he knew he had to pull back those voters. That’s why he took the stance against stopping the boats. (https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2016/jul/04/australian-election-2016-labor-coalition-independents-politics-live)

      So that's why the Liberals campaigned on the lie of "Children Overboard" in 2001, because they had "stopped the boats" in 1998!

      Thanks Malcolm! Your tactic to get the ferals out of the Senate _really_ worked. Except most of them have returned, and invited some mates along to trash the house.

  5. I guess the Australians are just too busy celebrating the 4th of July to bother with counting their ballots.

    1. Why would Australians be celebrating the 4th of July?

    2. No 4th July holiday here :D

      See my comment above. The work of the AEC has continued over the weekend and will tomorrow, too. They are hard at it. It's just that formal *counting* of the million or more postal votes can't proceed until they are verified.

    3. I have this sneaking suspicion jch was mocking both Australia and the US with that sly comment.

    4. 51st state? Well, we've swallowed Halloween whole, and there's even been some moves towards a Thanksgiving(!)... it'd be interesting to see the numbers on how many think our emergency number is 911.

  6. Speaking of Pauline Hansen, does anyone remember Pauline Pantsdown?


  7. Also, see Who Really Decides. About 3 million people, apparently, have a vote that actually counts. And then we could discuss, say, the population of Tasmanian electorates and the scale of their Senate representation.

    1. The logic is flawed. If people decide not to vote, then they will never be counted. A marginal or swinging seat is that way because the voters have cancelled themselves out almost exactly; but they are still counted and they still voted. Safe seats are "safe" because a major proportion of voters always vote the same way; but they are still counted and they still voted.

  8. Well I guess until the counting resumes we will have to put up with One Nation and their empty words on the telly. Does anyone know what their Climate Change platform is, the only things I can find are opposition to an ETS and a Royal Commission into, well, the climate system?

    1. Oh my stars not the Galileo Movement is it? They have not produced any YouTube videos in years.

    2. The One Nation Climate Change platform is here,

    3. I think this link tells you all you need to know:

    4. Today Jo Nova was praising racist Pauline Hanson and anti-semitic Malcolm Roberts. A few days ago she was campaigning for a candidate for the homophobic and racist Fred Nile party. Jo wears her bigotry on her sleeve.

    5. Also, while not a rabid anti vaxxer, definitely a fellow traveller...


      Hey, Eric, got any thoughts on that?


    6. Someone picked it up above, Malcolm Roberts is the climate change denial advisor for this little group. He is some sort of retired mining person as far as I can tell.

      So One Nation are taking advantage of the free publicity the media are giving them. Just a matter of waiting until the group implodes again.


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