The Greens might have lifted their representation to its highest ever level of 10 senators – and at the same time been rendered utterly powerless.
For the election of a collection of micro parties which “harvested” preference flows … has locked in, not so much a “right-wing” majority in the senate … but a “non-left” majority. And locked it in for up to six years.
The immediate consequence of this, once it has been understood, is that there is no way that Tony Abbott will now initiate a double-dissolution election…
With six senators in each state, to get elected, in each half-senate election, you need a vote quota of 14.3 per cent for each of them.
What this means broadly, is that each “side” – left and right – need to get a total vote of 42.9 per cent to split three senators each.
And that’s broadly what happens. The Greens and Labor – and in times past, the Australian Democrats – can usually get to at least 42.9 per cent. So they fight over the third senator.
While on the others side, it’s the Coalition broadly on its own, with some help from small right-wing parties like in recent times Family First.
Occasionally we would get a Nick Xenophon and before him a Brian Harradine to break this big-party split… [or get] the Greens managing to push the “left” senate vote up to the 57.1 per cent in a state that gets you four senators … as the Greens were easily able to do in Tasmania while the “Messiah” Bob Brown was still around.
Now to the seismic shift. What the rise of the micro parties AND Palmer in this election has done, provided the current indications hold up, is give the “non-left” four senators in no less than three states – NSW, Queensland and WA.
But also absolutely crucially, kept them three senators in two states – South Australia and Tasmania – where they could easily have dropped to only two. In “green” Tasmania and `Xenophonic’ SA…
So we end up with a senate that will be dramatically different from the 40 left, 35 right plus Xenophon that gave us the carbon tax…. We end up with a senate from July next year that is exactly reversed – 40 “non-left”, 35 left (25 Labor and 10 Greens) plus Xenophon… If the next election went back to a 50-50 left/right split, that would actually slightly improve the Coalition’s position to a senate that was 41 “non-left”, 34 left and Xenophon.
I’m enjoying the new Senate line up more by the day, Take Wayne Drupolich of the Australian Sports Party – likely to win a seat with just 0.2 per cent of the primary vote in Western Australia:
A member of Perth’s influential resources industry, Mr Dropulich also rejected the idea that he will instinctively back Tony Abbott’s plan to scrap the carbon and mining taxes, saying he would not be entering the Senate purely as a “rubber stamp” for the government.
Although he currently works as an engineer on Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill iron ore project, he insisted he would not be automatically pro-mining.
Can’t wait for the conspiracy theories.
Add him to the two Senators that coal magnate Clive Palmer is likely to get up – with the help of Greens preferences, of all crazy things – and the Senate will have a remarkably different culture.
Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.