Malcolm Turnbull’s Coalition have been returned to Government. The Prime Minister claimed victory about an hour the Opposition Leader, Mr Shorten, conceded defeat. It comes eight days after Australia went to the polls.
University of Melbourne experts have already analysed some of the key seats and explained the policy challenges ahead. And we’ve published a series of videos outlining what’s next for the key players – scroll down and have a look.
You can also join the conversation at #ElectionWatch and #ausvotes
10 Jul 2016
We’ve won, says mr TUrnbull
The Prime Minister, Mr Turnbull, has claimed victory in the 2016 Election, meaning the Coalition will form the Government of the 45th Parliament.
“We’ve won the election,’’ Mr Turnbull said. “It’s a great day today ... to thank the Australian people for the decisions they have taken in this election,’’ he said, promising “good government” and “wise legislation’’.
He thanked the Opposition Leader, Mr Shorten, for calling him to concede and said the swearing in of the new government would happen in the “course of the next week”.
Mr Turnbull said he’d been passionate about electronic voting for a long time. “This is something that we must look at,” he said.
Bill shorten concedes
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has conceded defeat, meaning the Malcolm Turnbull-led Coalition will form Government.
Mr Shorten said he has spoken to Mr Turnbull to congratulate him and wish him well. It is unclear whether Mr Turnbull will form a majority or minority Government.
“I expect them to do nothing less than keep the promises that they made to the Australian people,” Mr Shorten said of the Coalition.
“I am proud Labor is back, Labor is united and Labor has found its voice.’’
He also said he would work with the Government to find ways of improving and speeding up the vote count. “We’re a grown up democracy, it shouldn’t be taking eight days to find out who’s won and who’s lost,’’ Mr Shorten said.
8 Jul 2016
coalition to “scrape in”
Labor leader Bill Shorten concedes it’s likely that over coming days the Coalition will “scrape over the line”.
Shorten also said “this could well be one of the shortest parliaments in 50 years” and that Australians could be going back to the polls within a year.
Counting continues in a handful of undecided seats, with neither major party yet to win enough seats to govern in its own right.
have we reached peak disaffection?
Dr Sara Bice, Melbourne School of Government
Saturday’s vote confirmed a global wave of voter disaffection, social inequality and doubts in democracy as we know it.
In times past, a cliffhanger election result would have generated exciting headlines about historic events. Instead, it was more headshaking and disappointment at leadership instability and a lack of major parties’ ability to deliver strong and distinctive policies. While the pundits suggest that Malcolm Turnbull will likely be able to form Government, the experience has left many with a sense of dark déjà vu and concern for the effectiveness of the Government to come.
As a social scientist, my job is to pick out the patterns in a complex world. So, what is revealed by Australia’s cliffhanger federal election?
Far from achieving the stability called for by both major parties in the final week of the marathon campaign, the election result gives Australia an ideologically divided Parliament, with individual minor party members—including Pauline Hanson, Derryn Hinch and Jacqui Lambie in the Senate—holding power incommensurate to their representativeness.
We know that informal voting is on the rise, as are votes giving preferences to minor parties, largely due to a focus on very particular ‘narrowcast’ issues.
But to call these protest votes, however, is to devalue them.
These are not protests but choices. The choice to vote informally or to preference minor parties is less of a protest and more of an admission that a considerable number of voters feel disempowered and excluded from the political system. To view these votes as ‘complaisance’, not protest, better recognises the sentiments of disenfranchisement and disempowerment that sit behind them.
In the late 1990s, American political scientist Robert Putnam gained fame in academic circles for his book Bowling Alone. In it, he described Americans’ growing sense of social exclusion and loss of social capital—the feeling of belonging to community that provides people with a sense of place and empowerment. Combine this with French economist Thomas Piketty’s recent findings that capital in the 21st century is driving the style of deep social inequality that has fuelled past revolutions and declining empires, and you start to get worried.
Brexit, Donald Trump and Australia’s election: Is it too long a bow to connect these events? I think not. Because they each offer yet another sign of growing public disaffection with government, social inequality and a sense that democracy isn’t living up to people’s expectations.
The 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, for example, shows that only 43 percent of people surveyed globally trust their government. The study also identifies a growing gap in levels of trust reported by the ‘general public’ and that of the ‘informed public’ (i.e. those socially and economically better off), with members of the informed public more trusting of government. Other patterns materialising around these events include rapidly emerging intergenerational angst—with Gen X’ers and Millenials beginning to finger-point against Baby Boomers, worrying xenophobia, isolationist national sentiments, and support for a conservatism not seen since the days of Reagan and Thatcher.
Yes, this election experience was terribly disappointing—even though it did give us a chance for a Saturday night OD on Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb. But it may also be the kick in the pants we need to catalyse social change. If we gain nothing else from such a divisive experience, we must at least use it as an opportunity to acknowledge that declining social capital is real. And it is a real social problem. This will be a critical first step in ensuring concentrated attention is paid to re-engaging the Australian public, to taking a long and honest look at political tactics that are no longer serving the greater good, and to pursue policies that re-establish trust in government while reducing social inequality.
Cliffhangers are fun, but I’d much prefer a happy ending.
This article was first published by ProBono Australia
Looking behind the ballot papers
Voters have turned away from the major parties – but is it because they are disillusioned, apathetic or just plain angry? In this episode of the The Policy Shop podcast, University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis discusses this key issue with Dr Andrea Carson and Dr Lauren Rosewarne, both from the School of Social and Political Sciences.
7 Jul 2016
We’ll probably spend many more millions on another election in less than three years
This year’s election was predicted to cost taxpayers at least $227 million, or around $15 per voter.
Increasingly, the financial cost of implementing our democratic principles has ballooned. The cost of holding a federal election has risen 15% on average since 1990. Read more on Election Watch.
At the same time, we’re going to the polls on average less than three years. The average length of a term in Australia since 1990 has been 32 months, as governments rarely complete the full 36-month three-year cycle.
Australia’s is out of step with other countries on this. For example, out of 77 countries which have a bicameral (two chamber) parliamentary system (like Australia), 71 have either four or five-year terms, while only three – Australia, Mexico and the Philippines – have three-year terms. Read more on Election Watch.
There’s also the chance we might go back to the polls well within three years. The uncertain outcome of the election has led some commentators such as the ABC’s Barrie Cassidy to suggest that a government without a strong majority and an unruly Senate might find it very difficult to govern.
Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman has advocated for four year terms, saying “it’s worth reflecting” that “every 33 years out of a every century are potentially lost to good governance.”
style of leadership
Beyond the policy debate, this election was also about Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull v Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, and their respective and distinctive leadership styles. Professor Peter Gahan, from the Centre for Workplace Leadership, runs the rule over them.
6 Jul 2016
THE FIGHT FOR EQUALITY MUST NOT BE LOST IN POLITICAL CONFUSION
Dr Helen Szoke, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive
The election result shows loud and clear: Australians want leadership that will demonstrate a mandate for equality and a fair go for all.
This is a message our political leaders will need to embrace. The past decade has seen a dramatic increase in inequality around the world. While many developed nations have experienced economic difficulties, the rich have grown richer and more powerful.
Throughout the election campaign, Oxfam assessed promises based on how each of the major parties planned to address the ever-widening gap between rich and poor in both Australia and overseas.
While there were some positive promises made, our political leaders must listen closely to the public’s growing concerns about tax dodging by rich and powerful multinationals, the erosion of Indigenous rights, climate change and restoring Australia’s aid budget. Our political leaders must act on these concerns.
Read the full article on Election Watch.
uncertain politics means uncertain policy for areas such as climate change
As the dust settles after a protracted eight-week campaign results are surprisingly close, but clearly show diminished authority for Malcolm Turnbull and the Coalition.
Recriminations and blame-shifting have already commenced in earnest. What is clear is that Turnbull’s double dissolution ploy has failed dramatically, with key seats lost and a problematic Senate likely predicted. And all this despite campaigning hard on the need for stability under a returned Coalition government.
So what does the election result mean for climate change? And what can the tactics of the past two months teach us about the direction for environmental politics in the uncharted waters of this 45th Parliament?
Election Watch has more.
5 Jul 2016
why politics is testing our faith
“We have a political system designed in the time of the horse and buggy trying to deal with a world to a hyper-connected, super speed, globalised information age.” – Nicholas Reece, University of Melbourne.
“Young people have to stop shooting themselves in the foot and become engaged. If you ignore politicians they will ignore you.” - Professor Lisa Hill, University of Adelaide.
Nicholas Reece and Professor Lisa Hill examine the fracturing electorate and signs of voter disengagement, and what needs to change.
pauline hanson’s one nation is back
Hanson is likely to win at least one seat in the Senate. Yesterday she held a media conference at which she called for a ‘Royal Commission’ into Islam and said Asians were ‘swamping’ the suburbs.
Hanson first swept onto the Australian political scene 20 years ago. Here’s an excerpt from her maiden speech in 1996.
how not to give oxygen to bigotry ...
Dr Denis Muller, Centre for Advancing Journalism
We are living through a period when bigotry seems fashionable in some quarters of society, mainly on the extreme right. The Attorney-General, George Brandis, has even said that bigotry is an entitlement.
We have Pauline Hanson about to be elected to the Senate saying things like “Australia is being swamped by Asians” – her old line from 1996 -- and “Mosques are places that preach hate”.
We have Sheikh Shady Alsuleiman, president of the Australian National Imams Council, preaching on YouTube in 2013 that homosexuality is spreading diseases.
We have the fundamentalist Christian pastor, Fred Nile, saying homosexuality is “unnatural, immoral, unhealthy and sinful”.
And if the Turnbull government gets back, we are going to have a plebiscite on gay marriage where sensibilities arising from religious belief and sexual orientation are likely to conflict.
In a climate like this, the media have a difficult ethical challenge: how to provide news and a platform for public debate without giving oxygen to bigotry.
Some factors to consider.
First, authority. Where ugly statements are made, are they from someone in a position of power, responsibility or influence?
Second, prominence. Does it get beaten up, or given it the place it objectively deserves according to news values rather than an outlet’s own prejudices?
Third, presentation. Does a headline lend support – “Hanson takes a stand” – or is it oppositional: “Hanson attacks Asians and mosques”. What images go with it?
Fourth, context and proportion. Is the audience reminded that Imam Alsuleiman’s and the Rev Nile’s views are not representative of all Islam or Christianity?
Fifth, language. Does the report add its own inflammatory language to what the protagonists are saying?
How the media deal with these considerations will influence how the public debate plays out.
the recriminations within the coalition are in full swing
Credlin shared many more insights during our public panel discussion last Wednesday with the ABC’s Barrie Cassidy, Julia Gillard’s former chief of staff Ben Hubbard, the University of Melbourne’s Andrea Carson and the Herald Sun’s Ellen Whinnett.
Watch the full video “Election Watch 2016: Australia Decides”
counting begins in eArnest again today
The Australian Electoral Commission begins counting votes again today, so numbers will begin trickling in again, but the result may not be known for days or longer.
The latest AEC figures on the state of play can be found here.
However, the ABC’s election analyst, Antony Green, has criticised the AEC for their resprentation of the figures.
4 Jul 2016
PM’s Advice To Governor-General key
By Andrew Trounson, University of Melbourne
If Australians have delivered a hung parliament, it is Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who will be calling the shots in advising the Governor-General, even if that means giving advice to give the other side a go.
Once the count is final, Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove will be waiting for advice from Mr Turnbull about who he should commission as Prime Minister. Depending on the numbers, if Mr Turnbull believes he can form a workable government with the support of enough lower house crossbenchers and advises the government accordingly, precedent suggests that Sir Peter will commission him as Prime Minister, according to University of Melbourne constitutional law expert Emeritus Professor Cheryl Saunders AO.
If Mr Turnbull cannot form a government but it seems likely that Labor leader Bill Shorten can do so, it would be appropriate for Mr Turnbull to advise the Governor-General to ask Mr Shorten whether he can form government.
“Almost invariably, the practice has been that the incumbent Prime Minister advises the Governor-General on the actions to be taken under the Constitution, and constitutionally it is appropriate for the Governor-General to take that advice,” says Professor Saunders.
“The governing principle here is that the person who commands the confidence of a majority in the House of Representatives should form the government. Prime Ministers should act in accordance with this principle when they give advice to the Governor-General.”
“If there is a hung parliament then the Prime Minister would have to make an assessment about whether he can form government. If he thought he could, the Governor-General would be likely to commission him and it could be put to the test on the floor of the parliament if necessary” she says.
“If the advice from the Prime Minister were seriously contested, it is possible that the Governor-General might talk to the other parties. But by and large the goal of our system is to avoid involving the Governor-General in a determinative role by relying on the advice of a Prime Minister, properly formulated. As a backup, in the case of misjudgement, the Parliament can sort it out when it meets.”
“At the end of the day, the determining factor will be the number of seats held and who is prepared to support who on questions of confidence,” she says.
Where it gets tricky is if the Governor-General commissions Mr Turnbull but his government loses a vote of no confidence. In those circumstances the Governor-General could be faced with potentially going against the advice of the Prime Minister and having to decide whether to call an election or invite the opposition to try and form a government. In the constitutional crisis of 1975 Governor-General Sir John Kerr dismissed Prime Minister Gough Whitlam without advice and appointed opposition leader Malcolm Fraser as Prime Minister. Mr Fraser then advised Sir John to call an election that he went on to win convincingly.
“If the current Prime Minister is commissioned and loses a vote of no confidence, it would still fall to the Prime Minister to advise the Governor-General. If the Prime Minister were to advise that parliament be dissolved for another election then the Governor General would face the choice of accepting that advice or trying to determine whether the other side of politics could form government.”
Professor Saunders says this is a contested area. Some argue that if the Prime Minister advises an election in circumstances of this kind the Governor-General must accept it. An alternative view is that the Governor -General is bound to at least explore whether the opposition could form an alternative government given the disruption that another election would entail, and the possibility that, in any event, it may result in another hung parliament.
“It would be a difficult call for the Governor-General but I would expect him to give some consideration to whether the opposition could form government as an alternative to an election.” she said.
In the event of a hung parliament the ball will be in Mr Turnbull’s court. Sir Peter will be hoping the Prime Minister won’t force him into being the umpire.
what street gangs can teach us about political leadership
“No matter how great the leader … his tenure of power is never certain. Some change in the personnel of his gang or in the situation … may bring his rule to a speedy end. He makes mistakes; the gang loses confidence in him, and he is ‘down and out’. The democracy of the gang, primitive though it may be, is a very sensitive mechanism, and, as a result, changes in leadership are frequent and ‘lost leaders’, many.”
Timely as it might seem, this passage was not about Australian political leaders and their futures. Rather, it’s about Chicago street gangs and comes from a classic written in 1927 by acclaimed sociologist Frederic M. Thrasher. But also it shows the parallels between the streets and the party room, says University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis in this piece here.
“keep your promiseS!”
By Andrew Gibbons, University of Melbourne
One thing is already clear from the vote counting: there appears to be a move away from the major parties, particularly in the Senate.
Five seats in the House of Representatives are likely to be won by independent and minor/micro party candidates.
3 Jul 2016
We’ll know more in coming days ...
24 hours after polls closed there are still more ‘unknowns’ than ‘knowns’.
Really, the only ‘known-known’ is that the result – in the House of Representatives and the Senate – won’t be clear until after counting resumes in earnest on Tuesday.
Even then – as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said today – the picture might not take shape until the end of the week or beyond.
It’s worth remembering that if there is a hung parliament, it was 17 days until Julia Gillard was able to secure the support of enough independents to form government after the election in 2010.
In the meantime, the Australian Electoral Commission’s figures on the unfolding situation can he found here.
seat analysis - eden-monaro, new south wales
By Shaun Ratcliff, University of Melbourne
Has Eden-Monaro lost its bellwether status?
The party that has formed government has won this seat in every election since 1972.
Eden-Monaro is traditionally a bellwether because of its unique shape. Its traditional boundaries encompass the suburbs around Queanbeyan in NSW, on the ACT border. This area is basically spillover suburbs from Canberra.
The electorate also runs down the southern coast of NSW, including the coastal towns of Merimbula and Eden, and just inland the Bega Valley. To the west it moves around Canberra all the way to the Yass Valley on the other side of the ACT.
These areas, economically, culturally and politically don’t look like the rest of Australia (which is mostly suburban). The northern coastal part is Left-leaning sea-changers from Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.
Merimbula is an old coastal town with middle-class retirees moving from the larger cities and Eden a more conservative working-class town built around a port, and saw and chip mill. The parts near Canberra are suburban, but lean Left because of, well, Canberra. However, they balance each other out. A boundary change has taken the division around the other (west) side of Canberra, bringing more rural (and therefore conservative) areas into the electorate.
The current member is Peter Hendy, who won the seat from Mike Kelly at the last election. Hendy was formerly a public servant and political advisor, before becoming CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
In 2005 he was included in the Australian Financial Review’s Inside Power magazine as one of the most influential people in the Australian political system. This insider status may have been his undoing, with criticisms emerging that he spent too much time in Canberra and too little time campaigning in his marginal seat. This is reflected in his role as a key player in the plot to replace Tony Abbott with Malcolm Turnbull.
His opponent in 2013, Mike Kelly, is contesting the seat once again. The sitting member between 2007 and 2013, before this Kelly had been in the military for 20 years as an army lawyer, serving in peacekeeping missions in Somalia and East Timor.
Hendy’s apparent absence from his electorate appears to have had an effect, with his two party vote dropping by 6.4 points, to 46.5 per cent, giving Kelly and the Labor Party the win.
It means if Turnbull is able to eke out a parliament majority, or cobble together a minority government, Eden Monaro’s 44-year winning streak is over.
Seat analysis - lyons, tasmania
By Shaun Ratcliff, University of Melbourne
The Liberals did not have a good election in Tasmania. After the 2013 election the Liberal Party held three seats in the Apple Isle, compared to one held by Labor and another (Denison) by independent Andrew Wilkie.
Since then, there has been a four-and-a-half per cent two party swing against the Liberal Party, which lost all its seats to the Labor Party.
The first of these to go was Lyons, which covers a large area of approximately 32,000 sq km in the state’s centre. This includes the central highlands in the west, the Meander Valley in the centre, and the east coast all the way down to the Tasman Peninsula in the south. It is primarily an agricultural area, with fishing, forestry, wool, dairy and beef, fruit, and wine making all major industries. Also important are hydro-power generation, mining and tourism.
This reflects the interesting mix of communities making up the electorate. There are some tree changers in the southern parts, including the area around New Norfolk and Bridgewater, closer to Hobart. Most of the rest of the electorate is very rural and somewhat conservative.
The sitting member was Liberal Eric Hutchinson, who won the seat from Labor at the last election.
Hutchinson was neither born in the electorate (rather nearby Launceston) or live inside it (he lives in Bass). Before being elected to Parliament he worked in the wool-exporting businesses. He won the seat against long-term Labor member Dick Adams with a swing of 13.5 per cent.
His Labor challenger this year was Brian Mitchell, who has long-term Labor affiliations but no political profile in the area.
The swing in Lyons was smaller than the state average but enough to knock off Hutchinson, with his primary vote falling by 2.6 per cent and his two party support falling by 3.7, leading to a Labor lead of 52.5 per cent.
It is possible the big swings in Tasmania were the result of the Coalition’s first two budgets. In Tasmania and Lyons the average income is lower than the Australian average. The unemployment rate is also higher than the Australian average. For a state so heavily reliant on federal support, cuts to education spending, for example, would have had an outsized effect.
which party received the most chatter on facebook?
Credit RatingS at Risk as Political Will Wilts
By Andrew Trounson, University of Melbourne
The prospect of a hung parliament increases the risk of Australia having it credit worthiness downgraded, Grattan Institute chief executive John Daley warns.
Mr Daley said credit rating agencies are already worried that Australia isn’t doing enough to reduce its structural budget deficit, and that a hung parliament and a minority government will be interpreted as a sign that there isn’t the political will to reduce spending and raise taxes. He said the structural deficit is running at 2-3 per cent of Gross domestic Product, and is material enough to cause the ratings agencies real ongoing concerns.
“The big implication of the election result is that the credit rating agencies have an objective reason to be worried,” Mr Daley said.
“They have been making noises about disliking Australia’s budgetary situation and disliking the lack of political will or otherwise to deal with it. Those noises will now get louder,” he warns.
“If there is an actual downgrade, and that is a very real possibility, then the Australian government will pay more for its debt, Australian banks will pay more for their debt, and that will ultimately be passed on to Australians who will have to pay more for their mortgages.”
“There were few signs of political will to deal with the deficit when the government had control of at least one of the houses of parliament. Now at best a government will have only a tenuous hold on the lower house, and the Senate will be even trickier than the last Senate. So you would understand why a ratings agency would be more nervous about the ability of a government to make any of the changes needed to get the structural deficit under control.”
He warned that reducing the deficit requires tough and unpopular decisions on controlling the rise in health care costs and raising taxes in a way that doesn’t damage the economy or hurt the disadvantaged too much. He said a new government will also need to adopt policies to reduce the cost of housing in metropolitan areas and to increase the participation of women in the workforce. However, addressing both these issues will create losers as well as winners in a tight budgetary environment, and therefore are tough to do politically.
Mr Daley said the problem will now be made worse because any new government will struggle to persuade crossbenchers to back unpopular measures. Unlike a government, he said, crossbenchers don’t have the same responsibility for overall economic and policy outcomes. “It is governments that have to live with the overall outcome. Individual Senators have to live with the outcomes on a particular bill, but they tend to bear less responsibility for the overall outcome.”
“Not surprisingly, the policies that will help aren’t particularly popular. If they were popular someone would have done them by now,” he said.
Credit agencies Moody’s and Fitch both affirmed Australia’s Aaa and AAA rating following the May budget but both warned that the deficit made the country’s finances more vulnerable to external shocks.
What’s next - the Xenophon effect
Thank you South Aust. I will continue to stand up to (whoever wins Govt) for our state, action on global warming & decency for refugees— Sarah Hanson-Young (@sarahinthesen8) July 3, 2016
seat analysis - petrie, queensland
By Shaun Ratcliff, University of Melbourne
Queensland has frequently been the key to forming government at the federal level in Australia, and the suburbs of Brisbane have a habit of swinging wildly between the parties.
Queensland broke the Keating Government and helped elect Howard with a large majority in 1996. Kevin Rudd’s popularity in 2007 also helped him win. So this was a seat important for both major parties – since 1987 the winner of Petrie won government.
Petrie is located in the outer northern suburbs of Brisbane, on the way to the Sunshine Coast. It was the Coalition’s most marginal at the 2013 election, held by first-termer Luke Howarth by just half a per cent. His Labor opponent is Jacqui Pedersen, a local who grew up in the beachside suburb of Redcliffe, which located in the electorate.
Petrie’s political importance was highlighted by Malcolm Turnbull’s appearance there on the first full day of the campaign to promote his youth jobs plan. Bill Shorten visited the electorate early, answering questions from Petrie voters for the Sky News People’s Forum in April. Popular Labor figures Anthony Albanese and Tanya Plibersek also visited the seat to campaign.
A Galaxy poll published one week out from the election suggested Labor would take the seat, along with another coveted Queensland marginal, the regional division of Capricornia.
However, this may have given Labor false hope, with the current results indicating Labor will just miss out. The Labor Party actually saw a small decline in its primary vote, with the Liberal National Party’s primary vote actually growing by 3.5 per cent. This resulted in an almost flat two party result, with Howarth receiving 50.5 per cent of the total vote.
seat analysis - macarthur, new south Wales
By Shaun Ratcliff, University of Melbourne
Like most other Australian federal elections, this one has been largely decided in the suburbs and regional centres. In particular, those around Sydney and Brisbane and up the coast of Queensland.
This is the reason both the Liberal and Labor parties launched their campaigns in western Sydney. It is a growing mortgage belt area with a lot of middle-income households with large mortgages, and plenty of voting power that can make and break governments.
Despite this, the result for the seat of Macarthur was a surprise. Sitting in the outer south-west of metropolitan Sydney, the seat covers the area around Campbelltown, covering a number of new (and fairly affluent) subdivisions and semi-rural areas covered by hobby farms and large blocks.
The area was once seen as a bellwether seat rivalling the famous Eden-Monaro. At every election between 1949 and 2007 the party that won Macarthur won government. This changed in 2007 when the Rudd-slide bypassed Macarthur, which re-elected Liberal Pat Farmer.
Farmer retired in 2010 and was replaced by Russell Matheson, but a recent redistribution changed the boundaries, bringing in more built suburban areas around Campbeltown, and the Liberal margin dropped from 11 per cent to about three.
Matheson reportedly considered running for preselection in the neighbouring (and safer) electorate of Hume, before deciding to recentest Macarthur at the advice of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
This time around the Labor candidate is local paediatrician Mike Freelander, who has a low public profile and no history in politics. This hasn’t stopped him from doing well, with the Liberal primary vote declining by 10.5 per cent and the Labor vote rising by 14.9 per cent. The two-party swing was 12.5 per cent, with a 60 per cent result in favour of the Labor Party.
This was strong across most of the electorate, with only a handful of booths won by the Liberal Party, mostly in the more rural parts of the electorate around the edges.
If the Coalition is unable to form government after this election, the loss of Macarthur will be one of the major reasons why.
Young Women more politically engaged online than men
What’s next for climate policy?
Professor Robyn Eckersley, University of Melbourne.
What are the prospects for climate policy in the event of a narrow majority or minority Coalition government? The Coalition offered no new climate policies during the election campaign, and it did its best to keep climate change out of the limelight. We can therefore expect, in the short term, to see a continuation of the Abbott government’s Direct Action policies.
However, the Coalition has promised a review of its climate policies in 2017, ahead of the UN global stock take of national pledges under the Paris Agreement in 2018. In anticipation of this review, the government will come under increasing pressure to produce much tougher climate action. Polling during the campaign showed that a very clear majority of voters are concerned about climate change and want stronger action.
Under the Paris Agreement, the Coalition pledged to reduce emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030. This pledge is among the weakest in the developed world. Yet the Coalition will not be able to meet it without significant additional funding to the Emissions Reduction Fund, which is not fiscally sustainable, or much tougher baselines under the Safeguard Mechanism’s baseline and credit trading scheme, which would undermine its rhetoric against a price on carbon.
Given the significant swing away from the Coalition, it is unlikely that Malcolm Turnbull will have the political capital to override the climate sceptics in his party and produce more credible climate and energy policies. However, if the Coalition retains power as a minority government, then it may have to succumb to pressure for reform from the cross-benches, depending on the final make-up of both houses of the Parliament.
what’s next - environmental policy
caught in the middle of a poker game
By Professor Marcia Langton, University of Melbourne
Australians wait, and may wait for a week, for a government to be formed. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called a double dissolution and general election because the Government’s ABCC legislation was not passed. But the issue was rarely raised as the campaign revolved around other issues.
The protest voters – the high-wealth individuals concerned about superannuation and negative gearing changes proposed by the government, along with the ‘voiceless’ xenophobes who voted for Pauline Hanson’s crew, and the disillusioned who voted for other minor parties and independents – have brought the nation to a perilous situation.
If there is no clear outcome, and the major parties need to horse trade with minor parties and independents, voters who face critical issues in their everyday lives – Indigenous people and other vulnerable sections of the community, the ill who depend on Medicare and the seniors who depend on superannuation investments – will become the subject of what will look very much like a game of Texas hold’ em poker.
There are two clear outcomes that should bring some optimism to Indigenous Australians: the first Aboriginal member of the House of Representatives, Ken Wyatt (Liberal), retained his seat in the Hasluck electorate, and Linda Burney (ALP) won the seat of Barton to become the first Aboriginal woman in the House.
This is good news: Aboriginal voices in our Parliament – especially on both sides of the chamber – will raise and debate Aboriginal policy issues while limiting the apathetic, lazy and outright racist performances in the House.
They will also provide scrutiny on bills, and overcome to some extent the elephant and mouse ratio of power that makes us so ‘voiceless’.
The national priority of Closing the Gap on Indigenous disadvantage is at great risk, however. During this campaign, Indigenous issues barely rated a mention, with the only commitments being a $90m fund for Indigenous entrepreneurial activities from the Coalition, and promised funding for Aboriginal rangers and the First Australians Congress from the ALP.
The media coverage on these and a raft of critical policy issues was fleeting, contemptuous or non existent.
Both parties have maintained a commitment to constitutional recognition of First Australians, but Bill Shorten made a mistake by responding positively to a question about a treaty, thereby causing damage to the prospect of a successful referendum on the recognition question.
The understanding of the political class on the question of recognition has not increased during this longest of election campaigns. Tania Plibersek had the gall to say to me on Q&A that constitutional recognition and a treaty are not “mutually exclusive”, parroting Senate incumbent for the ALP in Western Australia, Patrick Dodson.
Dodson had said as much following Shorten’s gaffe, but has done little else to explain why campaigning for a treaty is a distraction from the critical matter of reaching consensus on the question to be put to Australians on the matter of recognition.
Debates about a treaty must wait until that is resolved.
The issue was not ignored by the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition and more than an entire chapter of the report delivered to former PM Julia Gillard deals with the technical and other issues involved in treaties and agreements, whether constitutionally entrenched or not.
As a member of that Expert Panel and scholar of these issues for two decades, I am disappointed – to say the least – that the muddle-headed politics continues to jeopardise our best chance of winning an honourable and formal place for Indigenous people in the nation’s founding document.
Facebook reveals the top 5 most talked about electorates
What next for the same sex marriage plebiscite
If Malcolm Turnbull does manage to be returned as Prime Minister, one of the issues he has promised to deal with early on is marriage equality.
Given that his party’s right wing is likely to have been emboldened by the unclear election outcome, it may seek to influence the way the questions in the promised plebiscite are framed.
John Howard, as Prime Minister, skewed the questions in the republic referendum in order to minimise the chance of a yes vote.
So how might the plebiscite questions be framed fairly, and how might they be skewed?
Fair framing requires a neutral setting, and an even-handed question design. For example:
In current Australian law, only a union between a man and a woman is recognised as marriage. Should a union between same-sex couples also be recognised as marriage in Australian law?
To skew it, you could introduce ideas such as “tradition” and play on change-aversion in the community:
Traditionally Australian law recognises that marriage can only occur between a man and a woman. Should this law be changed to allow marriage to occur between same-sex couples?
You could also use terms such as “homosexuals”, which carry discriminatory baggage from the past, and create a contest with the status quo:
Should a union between a homosexual couple be recognised by Australia law in the same way as a union between a man and a woman is recognised?
The permutations are endless, but the test always comes down to framing and even-handedness.
One of the great examples of how to get the result you want was provided by the tobacco industry, which used to ask a series of three questions:
Do you believe in free speech?
Do you believe that companies selling legal products should be free to advertise them?
Tobacco is legal. Should tobacco companies be allowed to advertise their products?
(In association with Irving Saulwick, Denis Muller worked on the Saulwick Poll for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald between 1984 and 1994, and conducts a social and policy research consultancy.)
what’s next - bill shorten and the labor party
hard and difficult debate on super will not go away
Dr Kevin Fergusson, University of Melbourne
The superannuation policies of the major parties heading into this election were never going to address the elephant in the room, namely that Australians’ savings just aren’t going to be enough to meet our aspirations.
And the prospect now of a minority government may mean there is even less room to manoeuvre.
Both the Coalition and the ALP went into the election with policies to increase government tax revenue by reducing superannuation tax concessions for the wealthy. The new Senate make-up can be expected to be sympathetic to such moves. But these policies fail to address the problem.
The big question for Australia and retirement income is whether the country can generate the wealth to support the retirement aspirations and living standards of a rapidly ageing population?
And at this stage there is a lot of doubt around that.
According to ABS data, our biggest export earners are iron ore, coal and education services. The outlook for iron ore and coal is for lower export returns, and any growth in international student income isn’t going to go anywhere near towards making up for reduced iron ore and coal earnings. So ultimately the whole debate on superannuation hinges in the tougher question of how Australians will generate enough wealth over next 10-20 years.
In the current low-return investment environment and in the aftermath of a commodity boom, Australia is experiencing a hit on its wealth. According to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, total assets for superannuation entities in the March quarter shrank by 0.6 per cent, or by some $8.7 billion, to $1.4 trillion..
For the year to March, the industry-wide rate of return for entities with more than four members was -1.5 per cent, and the five year average annualised ROR was 6.7 per cent.
Investment returns over the short and medium term also bode poorly for Australian superannuation funds.
According to data on from the RBA, as at 30th June 2016, 10-year Australian Government Bonds are quoted at a yield 2.12% p.a. For comparison, 10-year government bonds yield 1.84% in US, -0.11% in Japan, 0.15% in Germany, 1.43% in UK and 1.32% in Canada.
Central bank overnight rates are, for the month ended May 2016: 0.38% for US, -0.10% for Japan, 0.00% for the Euro area, 0.50% for UK, 0.50% for Canada and 1.75% for Australia.
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Pensions Outlook 2014, “Economic stagnation compounds demographic pressure on pension systems.”
The level of an individual’s superannuation savings at retirement is driven by that individual’s income over their working life, salary inflation, the number of years worked and the long-term investment returns achieved by the superannuation fund. The adequacy of this accumulated investment to provide income in retirement is hindered by increasing life expectancies.
Broadly speaking, an individual’s income is correlated with Australia’s gross national income (GNY), namely the income generated by Australian owned assets. Data from World Bank shows that Australia’s GNY has increased at a rate of 6.3 per cent a year since 1962, but has recently declined.
According to the IMF World Economic Outlook:
“The baseline projection for global growth in 2016 is a modest 3.2 per cent, broadly in line with last year, and a 0.2 percentage point downward revision relative to the January 2016 World Economic Outlook Update. The recovery is projected to strengthen in 2017 and beyond, driven primarily by emerging market and developing economies, as conditions in stressed economies start gradually to normalize. But uncertainty has increased, and risks of weaker growth scenarios are becoming more tangible. The fragile conjuncture increases the urgency of a broad-based policy response to raise growth and manage vulnerabilities.”
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Pensions Outlook 2014: “Nearly all OECD countries were active in changing their retirement-income provision systems between February 2012 and September 2014.”
There is always a trade-off between adequacy of benefits and sustainability of the pension system.
One measure of adequacy is the net pension replacement rate, being equal to the ratio of the net pension entitlement to the pre-retirement income net of taxes and social contributions.
Countries with the highest net pension replacement rates for average-income earners are: Luxembourg, Netherlands, Turkey, Hungary and Austria, all being around 90%. For Australia the ratio is 65%, faring better than the US, which has a ratio of 45%.
The generosity of retirement arrangements is related to how wealthy a country is and the policies enacted by its government. Many countries’ pensions systems are in the same position as Australia’s. Possible solutions include encouraging more people to stay for longer in the workforce by raising the retirement age. Governments could also encourage the growth of a younger population through higher fertility rates and young migrants, because these are the people who will be paying the taxes of the future.
Addressing the problem also raises the question of whether we need to ensure superannuation funds are making strategic investments in Australia’s infrastructure and retaining ownership of the derived earnings.
However the fundamental challenge for any new government is to encourage wealth creation to replace the past commodities boom.
Superannuation is a long-term game and therefore we need long-term policies.
seat analysis - indi, victoria
By Shaun Ratcliff, University of Melbourne
This was a rematch between former Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella and first-term independent MP Cathy McGowan, who led an insurgent campaign to take the seat by 439 votes in an upset win in 2013. It cost Mirabella her place in the Abbott ministry. This time around, McGowan may have buried Mirabella’s career for good.
This should be a solid and safe Coalition electorate. It covers the rural communities and small towns in north-east Victoria, from Kinglake in the south near the Melbourne suburbs to Wangaratta in the north and Rutherglen on the NSW border. In recent elections the Liberal Party was able to win the seat on first preferences and often gained a two-party preferred vote of 60 per cent or more.
The problem faced by the Liberal Party is that they selected Mirabella as their candidate. In doing so, they chose a candidate with few links to the community (or any rural area). She is a relative ideologue candidate, traditionally based in Melbourne where she was educated (St Catherine’s School in Toorak and then the University of Melbourne), and where she then worked as a lawyer after graduation.
Mirabella was dropped on Indi and spent most of her time before losing it in 2013 fighting political battles and chasing ministerial ambitions in Canberra. This would have been fine if she was a good fit for the electorate (and spent some time tending her backyard), so that her constituents felt she had their best interests at heart.
However, being an outsider in a rural area who was not seen as working for her voters, she lost their support. This became a problem when she was faced with the candidacy of local Cathy McGowan, who was born, raised and had lived in the area her entire life.
McGowan had worked as a staffer for an Indi Liberal MP during the late 1970s and early 1980s, as a regional councillor for agricultural industry association the Victorian Farmers’ Federation, was a former president of Australian Women in Agriculture and a recipient Order of Australia. Although it is important to remember that despite being a less than great candidate for the area, Mirabella only lost by 439 votes in 2013.
To further complicate the election the National Party decided to run a candidate this time, selecting Marty Corboy, a Family First candidate for the the state seat of Benambra in 2006, who said (apparently without trying to sound sexist) that “some people are rapt to have a man to vote for”.
Mirabella’s attempt to resurrect her political career has been on the rocks since April, when she told Sky News a local hospital had lost $10million in funding because the electorate voted for McGowan, suggesting she (and the Coalition) was happy to punish the area for not voting for her.
There was another hurdle in May, when Mirabella suggested her own party may be behind leaks against her, leading to speculation the Liberals weren’t serious about backing their candidate. Within days, the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce seemingly wrote Mirabella off, declaring the race would come down to “Cathy and (Nationals candidate) Marty (Corboy)‘’.
This chaos and controversy surrounding Mirabella’s campaign appears to have taken its toll, with Mirabella’s primary vote dropping by 17.6 per cent. A lot of this was the result of the National Party’s decision to contest the seat, with Corboy receiving 18.2 per cent of the vote. McGowan appears to have taken advantage of her two and half years of incumbency, increasing her primary vote by 3.5 per cent. On a two-party basis the Liberal vote declined by 4.5 per cent, with McGowan’s vote growing to nearly 55 per cent.
TOP 2 MOST ENGAGED Facebook POSTS ON ELECTION NIGHT
More than 4 million Australians engaged more than 33 million times on Facebook on election night. So who created the most hype online?
Here are the two most engaged posts:
1. Greens Adam Bandt thanking his supporters:
2. Labor’s Sharon Claydon thanking Newcastle for returning her:
what’s next - stable government and the gay marriage plebiscite
seat analysis - higgins, victoria
By Shaun Ratcliff, University of Melbourne
Situated in Melbourne’s inner south-eastern suburbs, this seat shows how the Greens appear to have misjudged their campaign and focused their resources in the wrong places.
Higgins is a diverse electorate. It covers a line of suburbs strung between the Monash Freeway in the north and the railway line to Dandenong in the south. These go from the inner-city neighbourhoods of South Yarra, Prahran and Windsor spaced along the shopping and dining district of Chapel Street, through the wealthy and treelined suburbs of Toorak, Armadale, Malvern and Glen Iris in the middle, to the more middle and working-class suburbs of Hughsdale, Ashburton and Carnegie in the east.
The urban Chapel Street suburbs in the east have a large gay community, in which both the Labor and Greens candidates are active. The former selected the interesting and Karl Katter (Bob Katter’s younger half-brother; yes, that Bob Katter). The latter have selected LGBTI and mental health advocate Jason Ball as their candidate.
The seat is currently held by Liberal assistant treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer, the most recent in a long line of prominent members to represent the area, including the Liberal treasurer Peter Costello and prime ministers Harold Holt and John Gorton.
The Greens may have believed their chances of winning the seat were higher for a number of reasons. The first was their win of the state seat of Prahran in 2014 Victorian election, the second O’Dwyer’s perceived gaff when discussing the use of changes to business tax deductions would make it easier for a cafe owner to buy a $6,000 toaster.
The mockery (at least amongst the twitterati) was vicious, but may have not been particularly informative about public opinion. As the Greens began to move into the electorate in a big way, with billboards and campaigners everywhere, they released fortuitously-timed polling by Lonergan that said Liberal Party would get a 10% pay vote swing against it in Higgins, and that the Greens vote would jump by nearly as much.
However, even at the time I rated their chances quite low. The parts of Higgins that fall into the state seat of Prahran are the best areas for the Greens in the electorate. Prahran also misses out on many of Higgins’ best areas for the Liberals, such as the wealthier and more suburban parts of Toorak and Malvern.
The Greens only won Prahran on 25 per cent of the primary vote and relied on a good flow of Labor preferences to do so. To have won again they would have needed to drive the Liberal first preference vote several points below 50 per cent and used Labor preferences to get a majority of the two party vote.
Although the Greens’ last-minute campaign appears to have paid some dividends, with their primary vote growing by nearly 10 per cent, this appears to have been mostly at the expense of the Labor Party.
The Labor primary vote share collapsed by nearly 9 per cent to an abysmal 15 per cent, while the Greens hit an impressive 26.4 per cent. By contrast, the Liberal vote only declined by less than three per cent and nearly topped 50 per cent on first preferences.
This suggests the Greens spent a lot of volunteer time and money cannibalising the Left vote. Perhaps they are playing the long game, planning to use this as a platform for the next election. However, the Liberals hardly campaigned in the seat this time and will likely be better prepared for a Greens challenge in the future. And with Batman so tight, the redirection of Greens resources to Higgins may have cost them that seat for little in return.
seat analysis - brisbane, queensland
By Shaun Ratcliff, University of Melbourne
Inner city seats are usually safe areas for Labor (or Greens) candidates. They tend to be more diverse, younger and quite well educated (and in Sydney and Melbourne in particular include a few remaining working-class pockets).
In Sydney and Melbourne the Liberal Party struggles to do better than 30% in these electorates. However, in the other state capitals the inner-city area is smaller and the electorates that cover them often also reach into some affluent suburban areas that favour the Coalition.
This is the case with the seat of Brisbane. Here the division incorporates the CBD and the areas that favour the Labor Party and the Greens, such as northern New Farm, Fortitude Valley and Red Hill, near the city, and Kelvin Grove just to the north, where the main campus of the Queensland University of Technology is located.
Overall, Brisbane is actually one of the wealthier electorates in Australia, including a number of highly affluent and strongly Liberal/National supporting suburbs, in particular Ascot and Hamilton in the east.
The contest in Brisbane is writing political history, regardless of the result, with two openly gay candidates contesting, the first time Australia has seen this in a federal campaign.
The incumbent, Liberal MP Theresa Gambaro, retired and was replaced by former National Retailers Association CEO Trevor Evans. However, the seat has a strong Labor tradition and the ALP is hoping that army major Pat O’Neill will win it back.
Brisbane looked like a dead heat for much of the campaign, however a Galaxy poll published one week from polling day predicted the LNP will get across the line. The result in Brisbane, dubbed by The Guardian a ‘groovy’ seat, may be used to measure the popularity of Malcolm Turnbull among inner-city voters, as well as a measure of whether the ALP has been able to achieve a uniform swing of support that could deliver it government.
The Liberal National Party’s candidate choice appears to have paid off, gaining them a positive swing in first preferences, which went up by 1.8 per cent, almost winning a majority in their own right. The Labor vote actually went backwards by nearly four per cent, with the Greens jumping but almost five to 20 per cent.
On a two-party preferred basis, the Coalition won 54 per cent of the vote, up a per cent on 2013, making Brisbane a solid hold for the Liberal National Party.
What’s next for political stability?
Dr Mark Triffitt, The University of Melbourne.
The so-called protest vote in yesterday’s election was a seismic salvo that has sunk three ships in one go.
Australians voted for minor parties and independents in unprecedented numbers, resulting in the major parties recording one of their lowest combined primary vote percentages in living memory.
It has probably sunk the Coalition’s chances of gaining a secure majority in parliament.
It also sank Labor’s chances of gaining a narrow, unexpected win, while simultaneously inflating its two-party preferred vote to make its support appear more credible than it actually is.
And it has more than likely doomed Malcolm Turnbull’s short tenure as Prime Minister, even if final counting gives him a bare majority.
But to call it a ‘protest vote’ is a misnomer.
A protest vote suggests voters are giving both the Coalition and Labor a big whack so both parties see the errors of their ways.
It assumes, as a result, the major parties will reconnect with a disaffected public with meaningful engagement and polices that speak to genuine concerns, giving voters a reason to return the fold at subsequent elections.
But many who rejected the major parties yesterday won’t go back for two reasons.
First, the major parties will learn next to nothing from the result as they berate each other in the aftermath over campaign tactics and who has a ‘mandate’.
In fact, they’re more than likely to double down on their content-free, uber-managed version of political engagement because – over the past decade or two - it has become the only way the major parties know how to ‘do’ politics.
Second, yesterday’s result was an acceleration of a longer-term trend of voters moving away from the major parties.
This is because Australia’s major parties – like those in many democracies across the world - are seriously struggling to engage with an increasingly fragmented electorate with one-size-fits-all policy agendas based on 20th century ideology.
So voter support for minor parties and independents will only solidify and expand across Australia’s political system in the wake of yesterday’s result.
Swings to the Greens across inner metropolitan areas yesterday have laid the foundations for them to win more seats at the next election.
Nick Xenophon’s party has instantly entrenched itself in South Australia, with the real prospect of expanding its franchise in other states at future polls.
One Nation is back to fracture the conservative vote, while the overall Senate outcome shows it is now a permanently fragmented institution.
The days of the Coalition or Labor claiming a credible election mandate are pretty much over.
We have entered a new era where coalitions of minor parties and independents, backed by an increasingly fractious and unpredictable electorate, define our political landscape as the rule, not the exception.
what’s next - malcolm turnbull and the liberal party
What next for Health?
By Associate Professor, Helen Dickinson, University of Melbourne
In the run up to the election, health policy was a key point of debate. A number of commentators have already suggested that Labor’s accusations that Coalition plans to privatise Medicare may have been instrumental in significant gains for Labor, particularly in Tasmania. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has announced that the Federal Police will investigate text messages sent by Queensland Labor urging voters not to back the Prime Minister and his government in order to “save Medicare”.
Regardless, of what plays out as a government is formed, what is clear is that health will remain a hotly contested issue. With the political move to the centre in recent years it has been difficult to distinguish between traditional party positions. To some degree Labor have attempted to return to days gone by in presenting themselves as the saviours of Medicare.
Yet the outcome of this process is likely that there will be little hope for significant reform of the health system. This outcome will not leave any government with a clear mandate or render them willing to take on a substantial health reform process. Indeed, parties may feel that the greatest reward comes not through a positive vision for the future, but through scare campaigns and negativity. None of which offers much hope for substantive change.
In the run up to the election there was not much to divide the various promises of the parties on the health front. Both argued that they were committed to maintaining universal health services. Labor planning to do this through a cash injection into the system and by making savings on private health insurance. The Coalition committed to more limited investments, but with a desire to use existing resources more effectively (including those in the private health system). But what was missing in these election commitments was a clear sense of how the health system would be reformed in a significant way to ensure that we see the level of change that is needed to ensure that this performs as well in the future as it does now.
This election has demonstrated that people care deeply about their health system, but this will not result in politicians feeling courageous about taking on reform in a significant way. The fractured parliament that we will inevitably be left with will also make it more difficult than ever to pass legislation. No doubt we will see money freed up for various different agendas – and likely many of these will focus on interests of independents holding the balance of power. But none of this bodes well for those of us who wish to see Australia embark on a careful and considered reform of its health system.
Record number of LGBTIQ politicians elected to House of Representatives
Three new openly gay politicians will be going to Canberra following their election on 2 July.
All three politicians are Coalition MPs – Liberal Trent Zimmerman in North Sydney, Liberal Tim Wilson in Goldstein and LNP Trevor Evans in Brisbane.
Trent Zimmerman only became the first openly gay politician elected to the lower house in 2015 following the North Sydney by-election vacated by former Treasurer Joe Hockey.
There were several other openly gay candidates that were not elected including, Labor’s Sophie Ismail in Melbourne and Greens’ Jason Ball in Higgins.
We earlier reported that this election saw the rise of LGBTIQ politicians.
turnbull wins facebook contest
Malcolm Turnbull was the most “mentioned” leader on Facebook over the eight-week campaign. He was followed by Labor leader Bill Shorten.
However, Malcolm Turnbull’s strong coverage on Facebook took a dive throughout the campaign where he peaked at 80%. By election day, he was generating 69%.
Bill Shorten’s engagement rose from 32% at the start of the campaign to 40% by the end of election day.
Interestingly, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, whom is predicted to win a Queensland Senate seat, was the third most discussed leader on Facebook beating the more established Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce.
She received the biggest increase from 9% of Facebook election-related interactions to 30% by yesterday’s end.
Richard Di Natale stayed constant throughout at 9%. Barnaby Joyce increased only moderately in Facebook interactions from 17% to 19%. In the last days of campaigning
More than 11 million Australians use Facebook every day.
seat analysis - new england, new south wales
By Shaun Ratcliff, University of Melbourne
The electoral division of New England sits in the north-east of NSW and stretches from the Queensland border in the north almost all the way to the Hunter Valley in the south.
This is a federation seat, existing in roughly the same area since 1901. Along with much of the rest of northern NSW and southern Queensland, New England is a fairly conservative area and except for a brief stint between 1906-1913, it was continuously held by a politician from a right-of-centre part. From 1922 to 2001, the seat was always held by the National Party. However, between 2001 and 2013, it was represented by independent MP Tony Windsor.
A farmer at Werris Creek before entering politics, Windsor had been the state MP for the seat of Tamworth, which was entirely located in the federal electorate of New England. Born in Quirindi, just south of Tamworth, where he went to high school, Windsor has strong local links and won the state seat after missing out on a National Party preselection (in part) because of a drink driving allegation.
After supporting the minority Labor government between 2010 and 2013, Windsor’s position in New England appeared untenable, and he (ostensibly) retired from politics at that election, and was replaced by Barnaby Joyce.
Born in New England, but educated at the North Shore private Catholic school St Ignatius Riverview in Sydney (also attended by Tony Abbott), Joyce’s connection to the electorate is a little more tenuous than Windsor’s. He left the area after university and spent most of his adult life in Queensland, where he was an accountant before being elected to the Senate in 2004. It was only in 2013 that Joyce moved back to NSW and New England, to contest the seat for the National Party.
The move from the Senate to the lower house paved the way for Joyce’s election as Nationals Leader, but it has been a bumpy ride of Joyce. He and the government to which he belongs appeared to renege on a promise for more funding for a local hospital and the Abbott Government’s approval of the Shenhua Watermark coal mine in the electorate (over Joyce’s opposition) does not appear to have been popular.
This appears to have left an opening for Windsor, who announced his return to politics in March, citing coal mining and the NBN as some of his major concerns. His campaign was backed by the local chapter of activist group GetUp! which may be more of a hindrance than a help in this relatively conservative area.
Despite this, Windsor’s campaign looked competitive, with a Newspoll run just a fortnight before the election indicating Mr Joyce led Mr Windsor by only 51 per cent to 49 per cent on a two-candidate basis. Perhaps as a result of the close contest and high states (with the career of the Deputy prime minister on the line) it became a deeply personal and increasingly negative campaign. Despite the smears, New England remains one of the most intriguing races in the country.
However, it appears voters in New England have long memories, and Windsor was unable to recapture his pre-2013 popularity, winning only 29.7 per cent of the primary vote, which translated into 41.9 per cent of the two party vote.
He did well around the university town of Armidale, where he was winning booths with 50-60 per cent of the two party vote. However, he did not do well in many of the more rural parts of the electorate, where his support dropped into the 20s and 30s. As a result, Joyce was able to win on first preferences, with only a small 1.6 per cent swing against him. His two-party vote was 58.1 per cent.
what’s next - the greens
seat analysis - mayo, south australia
By Shaun Ratcliff, University of Melbourne
Mayo covers the hills east of Adelaide, stretching south and east to the Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island. Established in the South Australian redistribution of 3 September 1984, the division has only been represented by two members in that time, Liberal MPs Alexander Downer (1984-2008), and the incumbent Jamie Briggs since 2008. Downer is your stereotypical blue blood Liberal. In fact, he was the third generation of a Liberal Party dynasty.
Under these two Liberal politicians, the party’s hold on this area of market gardens, wineries and small farms has generally been strong. At the last four general elections the margin between the Liberal and Labor candidates has been between over to 10 per cent, with the Liberal usually receiving around 60 per cent of the two-party vote.
However, despite the hold the Liberal Party has enjoyed on the seat, this has been a frequently challenged dominance. When a third party representing a centrist or moderate liberal tradition emerges, Liberal candidates have often been given a run for their money.
The Australian Democrats in particular polled better in the area traditionally covered by Mayo than just about anywhere else in the country. They did particularly well in 1990 and almost won the seat in 1998. Ten years later the Greens again ran the Liberal Party close on preferences in a by-election when Alexander Downer retired from politics in 2008.
In 2016 it appears the Liberal Party have again been forced to defend what should be safe territory for the party, with this part of Adelaide one again flirting with a centrist political force, with the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) replicating the gains made by the Democrats in the past.
However, in the months leading up to the election it was looking like an uphill battle for NXT. Polling in Mayo conducted in January indicated Nick Xenophon’s party was sitting on a primary vote of 15.4 per cent and unlikely to win the seat. Although single seat polls are often unreliable, later polling in nearby Hindmarsh and Sturt suggested similar results.
However, the travails of Liberal Jamie Briggs undoubtedly improved NXT’s chances in Mayo. In December he was forced to resign as Malcolm Turnbull’s Cities Minister for behaving inappropriately towards a female public servant while on an official visit to Hong Kong. The candidate from NXT is Rebekah Sharkie, who was actually a former staffer to Briggs and ex-Liberal Party member. A Newspoll taken a fortnight out from the election showed that this controversy may have hurt the Liberal chances in the seat, with Sharkie poised to win the seat on preferences.
This last set of polls was pretty much spot on. Briggs was clearly a deadweight on his party’s vote and his support collapsed by 16.7 per cent to 37.1 per cent, an embarrassment for the Liberal Party. Sharkie received 35.6 per cent of the primary vote, an incredible result for a first time candidate of a new party. On a two-party basis Xenophon’s candidate won with nearly 55.8 per cent of the two party preferred vote.
By winning this seat (plus probably three senate seats), Xenophon arguably has a chance to fill the niche the Democrats once occupied, and set up a centrist and moderate small-l liberal party (although with a distinctively illiberal interventionist policies on trade, industry and poker machines)
However, winning seats like Mayo is only half the battle. He also needs to avoid the fate of Clive Palmer, who achieved a similar outcome in 2013, only to see his party implode within two years. Xenophon needs to make the leap to establishing a sustainable party structure that relies on more than his personal popularity in South Australia.
what’s next - the senate
The People have spoken, we just don’t know what they’ve said
Extraordinarily, it’s unclear this morning whether the Coalition or Labor will win enough seats to form government. It’s entirely possible neither will win an outright majority and there will be a hung parliament.
This the latest from the Australian Electoral Commission:
seat analysis - batman, victoria
By Shaun Ratcliff, University of Melbourne
Batman is a diverse Melbourne electorate and the close result we see reflects this. When it was created it covered the inner-city neighbourhoods of Carlton and Fitzroy, but successive boundary changes have moved it steadily northwards. Today it includes Northcote, Preston, Thornbury and Reservoir. Located in Labor’s traditional heartland of north Melbourne, Batman has been in Labor hands for all but two terms since 1910, and without any interruption since 1969.
The seat is currently Labor’s safest (on a two-party count, with a 21 percent two-party margin. Unfortunately for Labor, this is not the count that matters in Batman. Against the Greens (who finished second in 2013), their two-candidate margin is 10.6 percent and closing. After the electorate of Melbourne, which the Greens won off Labor in 2010, Batman is the most likely to fall next if the Greens are to continue to expand their hold on House of Representative seats, and the result says a lot about whether they will be able to meaningfully progress their campaign to conquer inner-Melbourne and seats elsewhere.
Batman’s diversity gives it an interesting result. The median weekly household income is close to the Melbourne average. However, this hides the fact the southern neighbourhoods of Clifton Hill and Northcote, just outside the CBD, are increasingly becoming enclaves of well-educated professionals on good incomes. This is your classic hipster zone where coffee is single origin and fair-trade, and the Greens vote was between 40 and 50 per cent in 2013.
Moving north are suburbs like Reservoir and Kingsbury. There coffee is cheaper and crates are for packing goods and not for sitting on. These areas are traditional Labor areas with more working class jobs and larger migrant communities. The Labor Party tends to receive around 50 per cent of the first preference vote in these neighbourhoods.
Across the electorate the Liberal Party are also able to gain around 20 per cent of the vote, and their preferences make them potential kingmakers for the seat.
Batman has been a Labor stronghold for a century and it has been held by senior Labor figures since 1977. From 1996 it was held by Martin Ferguson, who was elected after six years as President of the ACTU. Ferguson served as a senior Labor frontbencher, and a minister in the Rudd and Gillard governments. He was succeeded at the 2013 election by David Feeney, who had been a senator and junior minister in the Rudd and Gillard governments.
Feeney has had a terrible campaign and has certainly been a drag on the Labor vote, which has dropped by about 10 per cent since 2013. First he was outed for failing to declare the $2.3 million dollar investment property he and his wife own in the electorate (which is rented out and negatively geared). Soon afterwards, he bombed during an interview with Sky News’ David Spears, where he couldn’t explain Labor policy. To compound this embarrassment, he then left his briefing notes behind afterwards.
Feeney’s opponent Alex Bhathal is contesting the seat for the fifth time. The gentrification of the southern part of the electorate has resulted in a growing Greens vote (although in 2013 Labor still won most of the booths). Feeney likely artificially increases the Green vote. He is a Labor backroom player from central casting. Not particularly appealing for young, well educated, idealistic progressive voters that live in the inner city neighbourhoods that make up the southern part of this electorate.
If Liberal preferences were going to Greens, they would have a real chance, and appeared very confident early in the campaign. Leaked polling appeared to support this confidence. However, when the Liberal Party decided to preference Labor, it made a victory harder (but not impossible) for the Greens. Since then the Greens seem to have moved resources to other seats, in particular Higgins and Melbourne Ports.
The decisions to focus on other electorates may have cost the Greens the seat. According to current AEC results, the Greens managed to gain 36.9 per cent of the primary vote, an increase of more than 10 per cent. The Labor primary vote fell by five per cent, to 36 per cent. However, the majority of the preferences from the Liberals 19 per cent of the primary vote went to Feeney, giving him 51.45 per cent of the two party vote, and victory.
and the winner is ...
By Cathy Harper, Editor, Election Watch, University of Melbourne
The key points of the 2016 Federal Election so far are:
It is unclear who will form Government. Both Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten were upbeat as they addressed their supporters, declaring the fight wasn’t over.
The picture will not be clearer for days;
The Coalition held ground in Victoria and Queensland, but didn’t do as well as expected in New South Wales and there was a surprise big swing to the ALP in Tasmania;
Senate results are unclear, but there will be a significant cross-bench.
The Australian Electoral Commission data shows several seats in the balance. Almost four million Australians entered pre-poll votes, which will play a significant part in determining the result.
Andrew Hockley, former staff member of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and Director of External Relations at the University of Melbourne, says it seems “most likely the Turnbull Government will be re-elected, either with a tiny majority, or in a minority arrangement with one or more of the independents”.
Some notable results are:
New England (NSW) – Barnaby Joyce, the Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Nationals, easily won his seat despite a challenge from Independent Tony Windsor;
Mayo (SA) – One-time Cabinet Minister Liberal Jamie Briggs has conceded defeat to Fiona Sharkie from the Nick Xenophon Team;
The Greens have not won Higgins or Wills. Batman –the party’s best hope of a second seat in the House – was still in play but favouring Labor’s David Feeney;
Barton (NSW) – Australia will have the first Indigenous woman elected to the House, with Labor’s Linda Burney claiming victory;
Indi (Vic) – Former senior Liberal Sophie Mirabella failed to win back the seat from Independent Kathy McGowan;
Eden Monaro (NSW) – the bellwether seat looks to have blown its status as such, with the ALP’s Mike Kelly defeating the Liberals’ Peter Hendy.
The make-up of the Senate will take some time to be finalised.
Hockley says it seems “highly likely there will be a sizeable number of Greens, members of the Nick Xenophon Team and Independent members in the Senate’’.
“This will make the passage of contentious legislation difficult,’’ he says. “The joint sitting (which was to be called as part of Prime Minister Turnbull’s double dissolution process) seems likely not to deliver a majority for the government, which means the ABCC laws might not get up. This will be politically challenging for the new Prime Minister.
“The Senate will be a place of ugly rhetoric given that it seems likely Pauline Hanson, Derryn Hinch and Jacquie Lambie will all be elected.’’
Mr Turnbull called an early double dissolution election in an attempt to pass two bills that had been rejected by the Senate. It was widely believed his plan was to clear the decks and go to an election which would deliver the Coalition more certainty in the Senate. That appears unlikely to happen.
The Coalition was widely expected to lose some seats, but still expected to win. After all, it had a 19-seat majority and although Mr Turnbull’s popularity in opinion polls during the campaign had diminished significantly since he took over the leadership from Tony Abbott, he was coming off a very high base.
Addressing supporters in Sydney, Mr Turnbull declared he had “every confidence” the Coalition could form a majority government.
Hockley says Mr Turnbull may have to establish some kind of formal process with the cross-benchers in order to manage his legislative program, especially if he is trying to manage minority government.
“Will Turnbull have a mandate to pursue some of his less conservative agenda items such as same-sex marriage? Politically, it could pose an existential threat to him from the right of his own party.
“Whatever criticism Malcolm Turnbull may face from his own party over what will be seen as a disappointing result, the reality is that Tony Abbott would most likely have been trounced. The Coalition owes Mr Turnbull a debt of gratitude for rescuing it from a catastrophic defeat,’’ Hockley says.
Mr Shorten told his supporters the “Labor Party is back”, and that it’s “re-energised and unified”.
Hockley says Shorten has done surprisingly well with a disciplined, hard-working and consistent performance over a gruelling campaign period.
“He is unlikely to be challenged for the leadership anytime soon, and faces a situation in the Parliament that will suit him greatly. On the other hand, Labor’s primary vote is unsustainable over the long term and Mr Shorten has not fundamentally improved it,” Hockley says.
2 Jul 2016
1 Jul 2016
And the “Frequent Flyer” winners are...
We’ve followed the leaders of the four established parties throughout the eight week campaign.To honour the countless kilometres trekked, Election Watch is giving special awards to the tiresome travellers.
Both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten’s “election hotspots” look almost identical. Despite this, Turnbull has visited more marginal seats than Bill Shorten. For a list of all the “Frequent Flyer” winners visit our winners page here.
Social media politics: For and Against
Social media has brought voters unprecedented access to information, and with that unprecedented power to mobilise. Parties and their candidates have engaged voters through Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and apps on smartphones, tablets and computers.
But has it improved the political conversation? Dr Aaron Martin, of the University of Melbourne’s School of Social and Political Sciences, and Dr Denis Muller, of the Centre for Advancing Journalism, have different views, which you can read here.
Vote compass passes 1 million respondents
The innovative political survey reached a new milestone today, surpassing 1 million responses.
Vote Compass is a civic engagement tool which plots voters personal views with the positions of the political parties. The tool has been developed in partnership with Vox Pop Labs, the ABC and political scientists at the University of Melbourne.
The results have provided a wealth of insight into Australia’s political landscape.
The most Right-leaning seat is Maranoa, in outback Queensland, while the most Left-leaning seat is Batman, in inner city Melbourne.
Plus, data has shown that voters are most influenced by a party’s platform (30%), stable government (23%), and the party leader (11%).
Vote Compass was first introduced into Australia in 2013 and also reached 1 million respondents.
Watch the Video: The Inside story on the election
Australia finds itself at a crossroads, with huge decisions awaiting the next government.
On Wednesday 29 June the Melbourne School of Government held a panel discussion with top political insiders.
One panelist labelled the marathon campaign as “long, laborious and lumpy,” forecasting a challenging “minority government”. Another said Victorian Senate candidate Derryn Hinch was ineligible to run because of prior convictions; although others dispute this position.
When asked about voter apathy, particularly for young voters, one panelist said: “If you don’t turn up, like in Brexit, or you put in an informal vote, or you don’t go and ask the tough questions online or in forums, then I think you lose your right to moan.”
Our panel included:
Peta Credlin (Former Chief of Staff to PM Tony Abbott)
Ben Hubbard (Former Chief of Staff to PM Julia Gillard)
Barrie Cassidy (Host of the ABC’s Insiders program)
Ellen Whinnett (National Political Editor, Herald Sun)
Andrea Carson (Lecturer in Media and Politics, University of Melbourne)
The event was moderated by Nicholas Reece (Principal Fellow, University of Melbourne)
30 Jun 2016
ANd the winner of the gold pogie goes to ...
Kevin O’Lemon, Whinging Wendy and now Fake Tradie – political ads can end up being one of the most interesting things you see during an election campaign.
To honour the great tradition of bad acting and oversimplified messages, Election Watch ran the inaugural Political Logies (#Pogies) for the Best Worst campaign ad of the 2016 federal election – and the results are in.
The ads were a mix of the effective and offensive. The University of Melbourne’s Dr Andrea Carson described one of the ads as “in poor taste’’, “badly timed’’, “not funny” and “advocates violence”. “It got attention for all the wrong reasons. It’s not how we do politics in Australia,” Dr Carson says.
Another video was described as the “ball-tearer of the campaign” by University of Melbourne Principal Fellow Nicholas Reece.
Want to know who won? See the results here.