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Checkmate: The 2010 Australian Federal Election


So it has come to this. The people have had their say.

It is clear now that the say of the people has curdled the hopes of both major Parties to claim outright victory. There are still, as I write this, votes to be counted and a claim of tampering to be decided in the courts.

But the dust has settled and the dust read as follows:

ALP 72 seats;  Liberal/National Party Coalition 72 seats; Independents 4 seats; Greens 1 seat; and an Independent National member 1 seat.

And the all important House of Representatives National Two Party Preferred Result is:

ALP 50.39%  of the vote.

Liberal/National Party Coalition 49.61% of the vote.

It is unlikely this last figure will change and it is this last figure that must be adhered to or the concept of Federation in this country is doomed.

I find it bizarre that Tony Abbott refuses to see this. I do not understand how a man who has been elected for several terms does not understand how our political voting system works. If I was to interview Wyatt Roy, the 20-year-old and youngest elected parliamentarian, I am pretty sure he understands how the two-party preferred system works and why. Yet Mr Abbott remains blind to this and is still advocating a victory. Is your desire for victory worth destroying the very system that has elected you Mr Abbott?

 The Coalition has been playing a game of divisiveness. It seems the only game they know. It was able to help them claw back so many seats that was taken from them at the last election in 2007, but it has also directly caused the election result we had to have to misquote a Keating-ism. This is what happens when you plunge a wedge into a nation and  split the population via ideology. But now the game is over. The time has come for acceptance.

The Coalition not only has to face the two-party preferred result and accept it, they must also come to the conclusion that even if they were able to form a minority government, they will have deep trouble in the senate. That can not be considered a foundation for stable or competent government; something all elected representatives desire and the Coalition can not deliver.

Likewise the ALP has been beaten by the populace too. It has lost its overwhelming numbers and now too faces the prospects of minority government. Unlike the Coalition, they are in much better position to pass bills through the senate with support of the Greens. The two-horse race is looking more and more like a one horse race.

The Coalition are sticking firm to their guns, but their guns are clearly unloaded. Currently, the Coalition is claiming a victory based on the primary vote. But if the ALP do enter in a formal Coalition agreement with the Greens, then this claim of Mr Abbott’s is muted resoundingly. Mr Abbott claims that the Independents from the rural electorates have a duty to side with his party. But how can this be Mr Abbott? The reason those electorates chose Independents is they did not want to elect a Liberal or National candidate. That is the whole reason they elected them. It is also the reason why you can not claim 73 seats as a prominent Liberal candidate was defeated by Tony Crook, who claims allegiance to the Western Australian Nationals and emphasises that his party is NOT aligned to the Federal National Party.

The other argument the Coalition is pushing is the second preferences chosen by the electorates of Kennedy, New England and Lyne should be the determining factor for the members of those electorates to choose them. This is a totally invalid argument! Yes their second preferences are vital in a two-party preferred system. But you can not ignore that same second preference from the other 147 electorates. And so we return to the true indicator of who should form government: the two-party preferred result.

It is time Mr Abbott to concede defeat and stop this open derision of the system that elected you. It is time to let the country heal from the wounds you caused and now, after the election, continue to fester for your desire to govern.

Face it Mr Abbott, this is an election that you can not claim victory in. This is an election where you do not have a mandate to govern. Show Australia you can be magnanimous in defeat as you have been in victory in the past.

It is finished Mr Abbott. Time to let go.

A. Ghebranious   2010

  1. Bruce permalink

    Interesting read, though I’m not sure why you feel that the national 2PP figure is somehow important to the concept of Federation. At the time of Federation there were no parties and there was no provision in the rules (and Constitution) regarding them.
    The only measure in forming govt. is the number of seats/votes that support the govt (which is just a collection of “Ministers”). There is nothing that says a “govt.” must even contain any members of parties.

    The 2PP figure is also “misleading” because it always adds up to 100% & disregards any votes to minor parties and independants. If the election had returned 148 independants, 1 Lib & 1 Lab – the 2PP figure would still add up to 100%. Would the fact the Lib or Lab got 50.1% of the 2PP figure justify them forming govt?

    2PP figure is really just a measure demonstrate the lack of any gerrymander disadvantaging a party and with less than 1% difference in the 2PP figure and seats.

    Every election throws up various parties using creative math to show how they were cheated. This election all 3 parties (Libs, Labs & Greens) are engaging in that creative math; something I feel shows a good/healthy result.

    • But you need to look at the distribution of the 2pp vote. Of the eight states and territories, the Coalition has a mandate in just three. The ALP has five out of the eight. If this was a referrendum, then the response is favored to the ALP.

      • Bruce permalink

        I’d argue that House of Reps is the people’s house and the Senate is the states house & it’s bums/votes on seats that count, not state by state 2PP “mandates”.

        As I said above 2PP is misleading because there are more than 2 parties.

      • Bruce summed up the folly of using 2PP better than I could… And I don’t see how it could be the end of Federation when it never has been in the past.

        I’d also add that it’s pretty flimsy relying on 2PP since atm, since it could likely swing back (postal votes traditionally favour Libs slightly more than the rest of the vote).

      • But the 2pp system is used to elect the member. Cant turn it on at one level and turn it off at another. Its an issue in my opinion.

        The other will be the costings of the policies

      • But the 2pp system is used to elect the member. Cant turn it on at one level and turn it off at another. Its an issue in my opinion.

        What? Of course you can, don’t be silly… In fact, they are mutually exclusive. If you have 2PP to decide the government, then the elected members don’t get to choose the PM; if you have 2PP to elect the candidate (as we do now,) then in close elections, you will inevitably get results where the national 2PP is at odds with who actually wins.

        We do not directly elect the PM (as Gillard demonstrated). Now, if your point was that we there should be constitutional reform whereby we do directly elect the executive (whether we continue to call him/her PM or “President”), whilst keeping the role of the executive separate from the legislature, then I might agree… but you didn’t.

    • 2PP is (at time of writing) now in the Coalition’s favour… Of course, it could just as easily flip the other way – it’s a close election! Are you now going to argue that Gillard should resign? Even if we wait until the final 2PP result – if the Coalition are ahead – will you maintain your position that the party with the best 2PP result should form government? Or will you suddenly come around to my way of thinking that 2PP is irrelevant in a parliamentary democracy?

  2. “It is unlikely this last figure will change and it is this last figure that must be adhered to or the concept of Federation in this country is doomed.”

    Actually, with only 80% of vote counted for national TPP, it is more than likely that it will change. Furthermore, the TPP is a meaningless figure – since we have more than two parties elected. But even if that were not the case, the government is – and must be – won on the number of candidates, not the TPP. This is not a failure the design, but effectively prevent particular regions lording it over the others. If that were allowed to occur, then that would be divisive.

    • If you study the electorate, the bigger states have more seats and this restores and equality then when we average all individual states and then get Nationwide total.

      Note that the AEC has the 2pp preferred vote count on the home page of the count and as the first count.

  3. Bruce permalink

    Not sure where this will nest/land so -In response to
    /ashghebranious says:
    August 30, 2010 at 4:02 am
    But the 2pp system is used to elect the member. Cant turn it on at one level and turn it off at another. Its an issue in my opinion.

    The other will be the costings of the policies/

    Actually, it’s the preferential system to elect that’s used to elect not 2PP. If a candidate gets more than 50% of 1st prefs, other prefs don’t need to be calculated to determine winner.
    2PP is merely a statistic beloved by the media and the parties (when it suits). If you look at say Denison or Kennedy or Lyne etc AEC results there’s no 2PP figure (because there aren’t 2 parties) there’s 2CP. Are you saying there’s no one elected in those seats ? 🙂

    Policy costings are part of the pre voting procedure surely? We express our opinion on those in how we vote.

    • Bruce permalink

      I see that the current AEC 2PP national figure is 50.04% ALP 49.96% LNP 🙂
      Nice to see you sticking up for indies “demands” vs “issues for clarification” accuracy on twitter.
      I notice the twitter ad hominens have started on one of the indies being “gay” – sad level of debate in this country.

      • AEC site updates 3:30pm AEST…

        # Currently 84.09% of the primary vote has been counted.
        # The two party preferred count is 79.80% complete.

        2PP is:
        50.03% ALP
        49.97% Coalition

        Based on the size of the swing in later votes, I reckon Coalition will ultimately win 2PP. Now, I still believe that this doesn’t matter – that the election isn’t (and shouldn’t) be decided on 2PP – but it does make the argument of the OP seem a bit premature, if nothing else.

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