From Rob Burgess at Business Spectator today:
Former federal police commissioner Mick Keelty has made his report into what went wrong in the Western Australian recount, and gave the Australian Electoral Commission a good kicking for its lax standards. It had, he said, “failed to meet its own high standards and damaged its reputation with the community and parliament”.
The AEC itself has petitioned the High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, to declare the election void and call another election – costing tax payers $13 million, and forcing disgruntled sandgropers to trudge, again, to polling booths.
…And a new election is the last thing Tony Abbott needs.
…two important voting blocks: the Liberal Democrats, which got 0.24 of a quota (equal to 44,902 votes) and the Sports Party which got 0.016 of a quota (or 2,997 votes).
These parties are of interest because, by and large, they are not parties that Western Australian voters thought they were voting for.
That is, many commentators reckon these parties got a high vote only because of their position on the voting card. And on the implications:
…So if a Western Australian election is held before the new Senate sits on July 1, there could be some very large swings, and major re-routing of preferences.
…Abbott’s most important task will be to retain three Liberal senators in a new Western Australian election, and be supported in the Senate by a Palmer United Party candidate.
If that happens, he still has the balance of power – particularly for his most important election promise, to repeal the carbon tax.
If the Libs keep three seats, and Labor or the Greens pick up one, they could not block the carbon tax after July – they would have 37 Senate votes, and that would be including Nick Xenophon’s vote. He has previously said he will not vote for repeal, unless another form of carbon trading is set up to replace Labor’s ETS.
It is possible that Labor and Greens could pick up four seats. It appears we really are going to have a referendum on the carbon price, in WA.