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2016 Australian election

manu266
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Joined: May 18 2016

Election day in Australia is set for July 2. It is the longest campaign since the sixties. The goal is for the conservative Coalition to take advantage of that long campaign to attenuate the rise of Labor in recent polls. Sounds familiar?

The latest poll still suggests a narrow Labor victory after 2nd preference counting (Australia uses compulsary vote and instant runoff voting system for the House, single transferable vote for the Senate).

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/federal-election-2016/election-2016-newspoll-shows-coalition-failing-to-peg-back-alp-lead/news-story/12b18750edf6bc2bf5162151aceaca27

 

First preference

Coalition (conservative, in power) 41%

Labor 36

Greens 11

Independents and others 12

 

Two party prefered system (after 2nd preferences)

Labor 51%

Coalition 49

 

In other parties you can find

Nick Xenophon Team (Social-Liberal), usually credited with around 20% in South Australia

Palmer United Party (Catch all)

Katter’s Australian Party (Left wing nationalist)

 

Recently Green Leader Richard Di Natale said he is looking to Justin Trudeau for inspiration.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-11/richard-di-natale-says-justin-trudeau-is-model-for-greens/7405854


Comments

Ken Burch
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Joined: Feb 26 2005

Interesting that Australia now has TWO parties named for the people who founded them.


White Cat
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Joined: Feb 22 2014

Australia debunks the ridiculous idea that ranked ballots would've given the Liberals a bigger false majority last election. (Which is extrapolated by various politicking groups — both pro-PR and anti-electoral-reform oddly enough — to absurdly conclude it would put the Liberals in power for all eternity.)

In all Australian elections, a 50% majority forms the government. Each and every time. Or in other words: ranked ballot voting puts an end to false majorities and minority-party dictatorships. Forever. (Under FPTP, a landslide effect is produced by dozens of leading-party MPs winning on a minority of votes. The ranked ballot ends this by requiring that MPs EARN their seats with a majority of votes.) 

Of course, Australia would do better if it had two center-left parties. That way there would be competition for center-left alternative votes. So even if the Green party, for example, can't win seats in direct elections (because voters don't want a Green MP representing them,) they get representation for their alternative votes.

Hmmm. I wonder which country that has two center-left parties could immensely benefit from ranked ballot voting?


Ken Burch
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Joined: Feb 26 2005

Is the Australian Labor Party still rigidly Blairite?  Or has there been any glasnost there at all?  You'd think the increasing strength of the Greens might have pushed them at least slightly off the Third Way path.


manu266
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Joined: May 18 2016

Ken Burch wrote:

Is the Australian Labor Party still rigidly Blairite?  Or has there been any glasnost there at all?  You'd think the increasing strength of the Greens might have pushed them at least slightly off the Third Way path.

Hard to say. The current Labor Leader is an ex Union Leader, but when you have a quick look at his platform, you see top of the list stuff like responsible fiscal policy, stable monetary policy coming before retirement income and way before affordable housing. 

Decent jobs is chapter 5, Education chapter 7 and Health chapter 8… if this can give an idea. Sounds New Labour to me. 

Even the Green Leader is trying to tone down some of his candidates that are not as capitalism-friendly as he would like. 

The competition on the far left side comes from Katter Australia Party, which seems to be atypical, very nationalist (Australian goods only where possible, nationalisation of all transports and communication, end of foreign worker visas…) social conservative (opposition to gay marriage), and not very green (opposition to carbon tax and emission control).


White Cat
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Joined: Feb 22 2014

manu266 wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

Is the Australian Labor Party still rigidly Blairite?  Or has there been any glasnost there at all?  You'd think the increasing strength of the Greens might have pushed them at least slightly off the Third Way path.

Hard to say. The current Labor Leader is an ex Union Leader, but when you have a quick look at his platform, you see top of the list stuff like responsible fiscal policy, stable monetary policy coming before retirement income and way before affordable housing. 

Decent jobs is chapter 5, Education chapter 7 and Health chapter 8… if this can give an idea. Sounds New Labour to me. 

Even the Green Leader is trying to tone down some of his candidates that are not as capitalism-friendly as he would like. 

The competition on the far left side comes from Katter Australia Party, which seems to be atypical, very nationalist (Australian goods only where possible, nationalisation of all transports and communication, end of foreign worker visas…) social conservative (opposition to gay marriage), and not very green (opposition to carbon tax and emission control).

People in Anglo-Saxon countries live like animals when compared to the developed world. Just watch "Where to Invade Next" and it's pretty hard to come to any other conclusion.

Canada may look good next to the US. But it's still a shit country. Both Canada and Australia (both environmental freeloaders) spend less on public social spending than the US according to the OECD Social Expenditure Database. (Of course, the US spends 50% more than developed countries on healthcare benefits. But still.)

Not sure why the NDP doesn't focus on this kind of message, especially opposing Anglo-Saxon neoliberal economics. Instead they play dumb political games and act as if they never heard of Bernie Sanders. 


Aristotleded24
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Joined: May 24 2005

White Cat wrote:
Australia debunks the ridiculous idea that ranked ballots would've given the Liberals a bigger false majority last election. (Which is extrapolated by various politicking groups — both pro-PR and anti-electoral-reform oddly enough — to absurdly conclude it would put the Liberals in power for all eternity.)

In all Australian elections, a 50% majority forms the government. Each and every time. Or in other words: ranked ballot voting puts an end to false majorities and minority-party dictatorships. Forever. (Under FPTP, a landslide effect is produced by dozens of leading-party MPs winning on a minority of votes. The ranked ballot ends this by requiring that MPs EARN their seats with a majority of votes.)

That's not my issue with ranked ballots. My big issue is that there are always people who don't feel represented by the top two choices, and a ranked ballot which ends up reducing the choices to 2. Even ranked ballots assume that people's votes change and their preferences move along a line, which they don't. There are as many preferences for second choices for votes as there are voters. It is also very hard for minority voices to break through in this context. How often are representatives from smaller parties elected in Australia? How often are minority governments elected in Australia?


White Cat
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Joined: Feb 22 2014

Aristotleded24 wrote:

White Cat wrote:
Australia debunks the ridiculous idea that ranked ballots would've given the Liberals a bigger false majority last election. (Which is extrapolated by various politicking groups — both pro-PR and anti-electoral-reform oddly enough — to absurdly conclude it would put the Liberals in power for all eternity.)

In all Australian elections, a 50% majority forms the government. Each and every time. Or in other words: ranked ballot voting puts an end to false majorities and minority-party dictatorships. Forever. (Under FPTP, a landslide effect is produced by dozens of leading-party MPs winning on a minority of votes. The ranked ballot ends this by requiring that MPs EARN their seats with a majority of votes.)

That's not my issue with ranked ballots. My big issue is that there are always people who don't feel represented by the top two choices, and a ranked ballot which ends up reducing the choices to 2. Even ranked ballots assume that people's votes change and their preferences move along a line, which they don't. There are as many preferences for second choices for votes as there are voters. It is also very hard for minority voices to break through in this context. How often are representatives from smaller parties elected in Australia? How often are minority governments elected in Australia?

First, it should be noted the goal here is not to settle on ranked ballots. It's just to get the ball rolling after a decade of failure. Like in physics, the level of static friction (from a standstill) is often greater than the level of kinetic friction. So just by getting the ball rolling, Canadians will get direct experience with electoral reform. Then they will understand more about the debate (which is suppressed by the establishment news media that favors establishment party dictatorships) and will be more open to a fully proportional system (which now appears radical because of establishment lies.)

In Australia, there are 4 conservative parties. (Originally, about a century ago when they brought in ranked ballots to allow for "three-cornered contests", there were 2.)

Here are the 2013 conservative election results:

 

  • The Liberal party got the Canadian equivalent of 130 seats on 32% of the vote (38.7% of all seats.)
  • The Liberal National party got the CE of 49 seats on 8.9% of the vote (14.7% of all seats)
  • The National party got the CE of 20 seats on 4.3% of the vote (6% of all seats.)
  • The Country Liberal party got 1 seat on 0.3% of the vote (0.7% of all seats.)

 

So in Canada, there would already be 2 center-left parties (NDP and Liberals.) The Conservative party would break up into 2 parties (if the Cons elect a moderate leader, Wildrose could go federal by 2019.)

If some people didn't think the NDP was left enough, they could form another left-wing party, making 3 center-left parties.

So another way of looking at the 'alternative votes going to the top two parties' is that ranked ballots let voters vote for the minor parties with their #1 vote which actually translates into seats.

Like in the last federal election. Center-left voters had to choose one center-left party to challenge the Cons. They couldn't vote on policy. They had to vote strategically. So with ranked ballots, voters are free to vote — #1 NDP, #2 Liberal — which will change how the center-left vote is distributed.

The end result would've been a Liberal/NDP two-party majority government, which could've been led by either party (given both parties were leading for half the campaign.) There would not have been a false majority, let alone a bigger one. (These simulations assume those who voted Liberal would've voted them #1 on their ranked ballots. A really dumb assumption no mathematician or scientist would ever make.)


White Cat
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Joined: Feb 22 2014

Regarding the "minority government" question: democracies don't have 'hung Parliaments.' Coalition governments are the norm. In developed countries, they tend to last the entire election term without drama.

Then there's the question of why the Green party does as bad under ranked ballots as FPTP. There are a number of possibilities. One, they don't have the same caliber of politicians (since all MPs are directly elected.) Two, they are seen as a revolutionary party. So even many left-leaning voters will have conflicts with their platform. But when it comes to degrees of left-leaning parties, it's easier for left-leaning voters to mix it up which translates into a seat distribution that more accurately reflects the vote (as seen with Australian conservative parties.)

So look back to 1993. The NDP was reduced to 6.9% of the vote. Got 9 seats (equivalent of 10 today) or 3.0% of all seats. Given all the AU con parties got better than proportional in an election they won, the NDP probably would've gotten more than 20 seats if we had ranked ballots.

If the NDP were to think solely about partisan self-interest, they would favor ranked ballots over a pure-PR system like MMP. This is because seats that don't go to the Green and Bloc parties are distributed to (mostly) other center-left parties. That means the NDP gets better than proportional.

FPTP clearly serves Liberal partisan self-interest the most. The party hasn't represented the center-left vote in 25 years, but still gets the lion share of the center-left vote in elections. The only fly in the ointment is that there are Con dictatorships the other half of the time. Some Liberals are Ok with this. Some are not. Trudeau appears to be in the "not" category.


swallow
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Joined: May 16 2002

Ken Burch wrote:

Is the Australian Labor Party still rigidly Blairite?  Or has there been any glasnost there at all?  You'd think the increasing strength of the Greens might have pushed them at least slightly off the Third Way path.

The leader comes from the right wing of the ALP in Victoria. There are some more leftist voices, but the ALP is certainly a typical neo-liberal party. For all its weaknesses, here's how political compass plots Australian politics. (Katter's Austrlaian aprty is a natioanlist cult of personaility mroe than a party, though.) I think differences are mainly on personality rather than policies, though the ruling LNP did tack to the centre when Tony Abbott's right-wing monarchism started to look like a vote-loser. 

An ALP government would be a big improvement, but the Greens are the only actual slightly left party. Hopefully they will remain a strong force in the elected Senate and retain their one seat in the lower house. 

Meanwhile, Australia continues to lecture other countries on political instability, while it's had four PM's in the last 3 years, and both parties have in government deposed a sitting PM. They lecture other countries on human rights, when Australia is one of the few rich countries to retain legislated homophobia (US, UK, Canada, NZ, South Africa, etc, all have equal marriage). Australia continues to lecture about the environment, when it abolished carbon pricing. Australia continues to lecture about economic development, while it "polices" and loots its smaller neighbours for their natural resources, sucking out far more in profits than it pays out in foreign aid. 


manu266
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Joined: May 18 2016

White Cat wrote:

Regarding the "minority government" question: democracies don't have 'hung Parliaments.' Coalition governments are the norm. In developed countries, they tend to last the entire election term without drama.

What do you make of 2010-2011 Belgium, 541 days without responsible government? What do you make of today Spain or Ireland? Austria that needs a grand coalition? Not to mention Italy's recent troubles getting an elected government, so troubled that now they have PR but if a party gets 40% of the votes (and one will because there is a second round if needed), they get 54% of the seats... Looks like our Canadian FPTP doesn't it?

Hung parliaments are possible under PR, if parties don’t want to work together, well they won’t. I’m not sure that our beloved Canadian parties are ready for these situations, that’s why I think they need more maturity before considering PR. But the debate and their education start now, no doubt.

Hung parliament is a possibility for Australia too, a few seats to independants, 2 to Greens, 2 to Xenophon, and Labor and Coalition tied, and that's it. It will be interresting to see how they get out of that.


Robo
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Joined: Jun 1 2003

Aristotleded24 wrote:
That's not my issue with ranked ballots. My big issue is that there are always people who don't feel represented by the top two choices, and a ranked ballot which ends up reducing the choices to 2. Even ranked ballots assume that people's votes change and their preferences move along a line, which they don't. There are as many preferences for second choices for votes as there are voters. It is also very hard for minority voices to break through in this context. How often are representatives from smaller parties elected in Australia? How often are minority governments elected in Australia?

 

The significant majority of Parliamentary seats are won by either the Labour or Liberal/National (coalition) parties. having said that, the number of single seat parties/independents is consistently better than in Canada.  In the 2010 election, 7 out of 150 Austrlalian MPs were from outside the two main blocs of Parties; in 2013, it was 5 out of 150.  (Just to note this, the Australian Green Party is the closest equivalent to Canada's NDP in terms of having a substantial third-party vote -- this turns into Senate seats that are elected on a proprtional-ish ranked ballot system, more than in House seats that used a different ranked ballot.)

In the last federal Australian Election, there was a single rep elected from the Green Party and two parties named after their Leaders, as well as two independents. There is a pattern of these seats being won in constituencies where there has not been a competitive race in a long while and voters decide to elect a candidate other than their "long standing" party choice. 

For example, the Green seat was first won in the 2010 election, in Melbourne, a seat that had been rock-solid Labour for decades, that became more "bohemian" and thus more open to electing a Green MP (unlike Canada's Green party, the Australian Green Party unapologetically positions itself to the left of the Labour party). In that election, it is clear from the government web site that reports election results that the Green candidate won because the second preference ballots of Liberal voters went overwhelmingly to the Green Party, when none of the Labour, Liberal, or Green candidates could get elected on first preference ballots. From this side of the ocean, it appears that right-wing Liberal supporters so disliked Labour that they preferred a more left-wing alternative to Labour than Labour, as the Labour candidate stayed marginally ahead of the Green candidate on every redistribution of ballots until the third-place Liberal candidate's ballots were redistributed to their second-preferences.  

On the minority government question, they do not happen as often as they do in Canada, but a minority government did happen in the 2010 election.  The power of the "independents" hit its peak at this time, of course.

 


JKR
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Joined: Jan 15 2005
White Cat wrote:

Australia debunks the ridiculous idea that ranked ballots would've given the Liberals a bigger false majority last election. (Which is extrapolated by various politicking groups — both pro-PR and anti-electoral-reform oddly enough — to absurdly conclude it would put the Liberals in power for all eternity.)

In all Australian elections, a 50% majority forms the government. Each and every time. Or in other words: ranked ballot voting puts an end to false majorities and minority-party dictatorships. Forever. (Under FPTP, a landslide effect is produced by dozens of leading-party MPs winning on a minority of votes. The ranked ballot ends this by requiring that MPs EARN their seats with a majority of votes.) 

Of course, Australia would do better if it had two center-left parties. That way there would be competition for center-left alternative votes. So even if the Green party, for example, can't win seats in direct elections (because voters don't want a Green MP representing them,) they get representation for their alternative votes.

Hmmm. I wonder which country that has two center-left parties could immensely benefit from ranked ballot voting?

I agree that Australia's ranked system is far superior to Canada's FPTP system.


Robo
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Joined: Jun 1 2003

I didn't realize that this Australian election will be a double dissolution election, in which all 76 seats in the Senate will be up for election as well as all 150 seats in the House. For non-Australians (like me), the simplest important thing to understand about double dissolution is that it halves the threshold that parties have to meet in order to gain a seat in the Senate. Put simply, instead of having to get enough votes to reach a roughly 1 out of 6 votes share in each state, a Party needs to only reach a roughly one out of 12 votes share in those states.

(It's actually one in 7 and one in 13 shares, but that takes too long to explain -- read the Wikipedia link above if you want to try to understand it.  In the two Territories, a Party has to reach about 34% support to gain one of two Senate seats -- while this is better than the 50%+ margin in typical Territorial Senate elections, the Territories almost certainly will elect one Labour and one Liberal Senator this time.)

For those interested in how minority party representation works in Australia, this will be an interesting anomalous election for the Senate.

And I note that Labour now leads in polls for Australia's version of an extra-long campaign chosen by the Liberals, much like how Stpehen Harper's plans for an extra long campaign in the end did not help him.


NorthReport
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Australian federal election 2016: Worst kind of victory looms for Turnbull

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2016/australian-...


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

Apparently it is not just in Canada where the Greens contribute to the right-wing winning elections, eh!


NorthReport
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What to expect from a hung parliament in Australian federal election

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australian-federal...


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

Results appear to be getting better for Labour. Let's see what happens.

Losses in Australia Election Could Threaten Governing Coalition

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/03/world/australia/losses-for-government-...


swallow
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Joined: May 16 2002

NorthReport wrote:

Apparently it is not just in Canada where the Greens contribute to the right-wing winning elections, eh!

The Australian Greens are considerably to the left of Labor. 

Australian labor is a right-leaning party, through not as mch as the governing Liebral/National Coalition. 

The Greens preferenced Labor over the Liberals/Nationals (Australian votes are transferrable). 

Labor preferenced the Liberals over the Greens in key battleground seats. This may deliver seats tot he Liberals tht could ahve gone Green (ie. the most left-wing party).


Mr. Magoo
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Joined: Dec 13 2002

Why should they get real Greens and we don't???


Robo
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Joined: Jun 1 2003

Robo wrote:

I didn't realize that this Australian election will be a double dissolution election, in which all 76 seats in the Senate will be up for election as well as all 150 seats in the House. ...

For those interested in how minority party representation works in Australia, this will be an interesting anomalous election for the Senate.

The negative side of the process for allocating seats is that much is not decided on Election Night, as we are used to in Canada.  The latest word is that the Australian Electoral Commission estimates that it will take up to a week to determine the election results.

It is likely that minor party candidates (including the vile Pauline Hanson, an early version of Donald Trump to whom I refuse to provide a link) will win more Senate seats than had been in the previous Senate due largely to the different math in a double dissolution, referred to above. But it will be a while before the exact numbers will be known.


swallow
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Joined: May 16 2002

Hansen is monstrous, of course. Had it not been for the double dissolution, she probably would not have scraped in to the Senate. 

The other minor parties are interesting. The reforming Nick Xenophon Team will go from one Senator (Xenophon) to three, and has also elected a lower house member. This may cost the Liberals their majority, and make Xenophon (with three crossbench Senators and good relations with other independents) the kingmaker - even if the Coalition does get a lower house majority, which is looking unlikely, they will need likely Xenophon and others to pass legislation through the Senate. 


Robo
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Joined: Jun 1 2003

Turnbull arranged for double dissolution because he was tired of dealing with 8 "cross benchers" (i.e. the Australian term for elected officials not affiliated with the major Parties -- and the Greens in the Senate, but not the House, are not seen as cross benchers but as the Left ally of Labor).  Counting will still take about a week, but the preliminary numbers make the best guess on a preliminary basis that Labor/Greens will keep their 35 Senate Seats and the cross bench will pick up about 3 seats at the expense of the Liberals. 

There could be a second ONP Senator alongside Hanson, again because of the lowered threshold to win a seat.  Neither Labor nor Liberals nor Greens would touch ONP in their "vote card" preference recommendations -- thankfully, only a few of of the smaller parties on the ballot (whose votes will be redistributed before Senate seats end up being awarded) did put ONP on their lists. Time will tell.

In the Australian House, a ballot must have every candidate assigned a number in order for the ballot to be valid -- with 4 to 8 candidates on average (sometimes 12), the was not a big problem.  Until this election, the vote counting rules on the Senate side were such that Parties could designate how their votes for Senate parties/candidates would be redistributed once that Party was eliminated as the lowest ranked party was eliminated from the ballot.  Voters always had the right to choose their own numbering system by voting "below the line" -- but with over 100 Senate candidates and your ballot being invalidated if you wrote 58 twice and skipped 59, the vast majority of voters just put a number 1 "above the line" and let the Parties decide how their vote would be distributed as candidates were eliminated in each round. Even if a voter chose to vote only "above the line" but set their own preference list among the choices, there have been over 30 Parties listed on the Senate ballot in the three biggest states fror years now.  The lesser known Parties would have negotiations about where to rank the bigger Partues on their recommended listm for benefits never officially revealed.

Starting with this election, there no longer is a right for the Parties to designate an overall preference on the Senate ballot for the distribution of support once that Party is dropped from the ballot -- this time, each voter had to rank at least 6 Parties "above the line" or at least 12 Senate candidates "below the line" for the vote to be valid. This is likely to make the election of smaller Parties to the Senate less possible, and almost as likely to increase the number of invalid (or "informal" votes, to use the Aussie term) in this Senate election compared to the past.


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008
Labor appears to have done very well and right now at least are ahead of the combined 4 parties that comprise the coalition by 4 seats

Robo
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Joined: Jun 1 2003

Looking at whch seats are still to be determined, my guess at this stage is that Labor will win 72 seats, the Liberal/National coalition will win 72 seats, and the lone Green MP will side with Labor (for the reasons I cited above).  This leaves 5 MPs to determine who will be government (which is determined in the House of Representatives):

 a) 2 Nick Xenophon Team MPs from South Australia, prime targets for anyone promising to crack down on the widespread availabilty of poker/gambling machines, Xenophon's initial reason for setting up his own party 

 b) the leader of Katter's Australian Party, a rural populist from northern Queensland, that could go to either side

 c) a former intelligence officer who ran as a Green the last time he had a party affiliation from Hobart (in Tasmania), who already has said publicly he is hesitant to formally pledge anything because he didn't get what he wanted in the last minority government led by Julia Gillard, and

 d) a rural MP from Victoria on the New South Wales border who used to be a Liberal, who already is being talked about as Speaker of the House. 

 Let the bidding begin!


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

Regardless of the final outcome, Shorten ran a brilliant campaign - good luck to him!


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

AEC Tally Room

Labor 50.22%

Coalition 49.78%

http://vtr.aec.gov.au/HouseDefault-20499.htm


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008
Labor leader Shorten is calling on pm to resign

Robo
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Joined: Jun 1 2003

This commentator with the ABC (the Aussie equivalent of the CBC) has an interesting take on Labor's campaign.  It's hardly entirely complimentary, but not bad overall. 

When the Right claims the Left will raise taxes through the roof, the media just reports such takes without commentary.  When the Left, in this case, claimed the Right would privatize Medicare if it got re-elected, the media seems to have no problem with repeating the Right's derogatory term of "Mediscare" as if it was an everyday term.


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

The media is so rightwing I'm surprised they have even mentioned that people are asking for Turnbull to step down, but I suppose it is so newsworthy, and their competitors would reveal the story anyway, so the media has no choice but to report it.

The reality is this is a devastating result for the Turnbull's Coalition.


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

Australia vote shows Labour needs to seize ground on state housing

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/81711460/chris-trotter-...


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