The Australian Federal election has been run and won. It’s just that, we don’t know by who.
Mr Rabbit and Julia the Red have both come up short of gaining the 76 seats needed to hold a majority in the House of Representatives. Both can form government only with the support of at least one hostile independent. Labor appear to have won 72 in their own right, while the first Green elected to the Lower House in a general election—Adam Bandt in the inner-city seat of Melbourne—and independent (and former Greens candidate) Andrew Wilkie in the Hobart-centred seat of Denison, would notionally side with a Gillard Government. The Liberal-National coalition are claiming victory in 73 seats; however, while the three sitting independent, but former National Party members—Bob Katter in Kennedy (outback north-west Queensland), Tony Windsor in New England (rural central-northern New South Wales) and Rob Oakshott in Lyne (mid-north NSW coast) have all been returned and would notionally give Abbott the 76 seats he needs, all three have in the past demonstrated hostility to the Coalition over a variety of issues. Abbott would need strict undertakings from all three regarding confidence (that is, that they would not support a no-confidence motion on the floor of the House, bringing down the government). Gillard, on the other hand would need two of these three naturally conservatives to side with her to form government—implausible, yet not impossible given the political leverage it would afford them.
As I told you the other day, the Senate is a mess. And today, it got even messier. Under our system, only half the senate faced the people yesterday (a provision intended under our Federal arrangements to ensure smooth continuity of government, even across changing administrations); new senators will not take their seats until next year. Greens leader Bob Brown (himself not facing election this year) believes his party will increase its numbers from the current five to at least six and possibly eight, giving it the balance of power in the Upper House.
And there’s the rub: with an alliance of socialists and crypto-socialists controlling the Upper House, government for the Coalition would be all but a poisoned chalice; yet Labor can itself govern only through the unholiest of marriages. Memoryvault’s point yesterday was spot on; party members represent their party first, last and always, and their constituents only by happenstance.
I’m betting we’ll all be back to the polls pretty soon.
Update: The YouTube clip Swanny found is so brilliant I have to highlight it up here at the top. This really sums it up: