New WA Senate election likely


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.

Houses and Holes


  1. It is most likely that the Palmer party will now pick up 2 Senate seats rather than their previous 1. Then we may get some common sense from our political system. WW

    • Why is that likely? Is there polling that supports the idea? They only just won a single seat in the first count.

      • Palmer said his internal polling showed he’d win two seats in the re-election, so there’s some supporting “evidence.”

        That said, six months ago he claimed he’d win 10 Senate seats, so I’d take his predictions with a grain of salt…

      • Palmer would need to get 28% to get two seats. I have more chance of upstaging Jamie Packer and stealing Ms Kerr than that happening.

        Likewise Labor and the Greens are unlikely to get 57% to get four seats.

        I think Labor will get2% more at least giving them an extra seat. So it will be a battle between the Greens, Palmer and Greens for the last two seats.

      • “I think Labor will get 2% more at least giving them an extra seat. So it will be a battle between the Greens, Palmer and Greens for the last two seats.”

        That’s what I reckon as well. I just hope Ludlam gets returned as he’s really the only one in the Senate who knows anything (or cares) about IT and copyright issues.

    • Anecdotally I’d say PUP stands a good chance of 2 seats – I didn’t vote Palmer before but will this time – anything to dislodge Ludlum. In the circles I move in this is remarkably common intent.

  2. WA is just about the least likely State to vote for parliamentarians who will block repeal of the carbon price.

    England has more chance of winning at the WACA than Labor and the Greens have of winning four WA seats.

      • I’m not sure about that – most commentators said people would reject the 2010 minority government in the 2013 Federal election – yet we ended up with a higher vote for the minor parties there than we did in 2010.

        I suspect the concept of “a pox on both your houses” may be starting to gain some traction.

      • Either way, you couldn’t ask for a more interesting re-election.

        A mining state, with repeal of the carbon tax at stake, but a government that seems to be swiftly dropping in popularity.

      • Yes, it shall be fun. You can expect there to be some form of protest votes… as with most by-elections.

  3. There are really only 2 seats “in play”.

    Likely results are the first of the 2 will be retained by Scott Ludlum for Greens OR a Labor gain.

    Second seat is a complete toss up between PUP, any number of micro parties or the Liberals.

    No matter how it ends up the effect on carbon tax legislation is likely to be the same since PUP and (probably) the micro parties would oppose it.