By Anton Lang ~
The most recent UPDATES follow this introduction, with the most recent at the top, with results beginning to come in at around 6.30/7PM Local here in Australia, which is 4.30/5AM U.S. Eastern.
Today, here in Australia, it is Saturday 2nd July 2016, and it’s election day, following what has been the longest election campaign in almost 50 years, and it’s been eight weeks long.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is hoping to be re-elected. He leads the Liberal National Coalition, and while in America, that word liberal means left leaning, here in Australia, the Liberal party is the major political party from the Conservative side of the political fence, and they are in coalition with the Nationals, also a Conservative political party. The Liberals represent those people in the urban areas, while The Nationals represent a similar voting bloc for regional and rural Australia.
The major party of the left here in Australia is The Labor Party, and there are also The Australian Greens Party. There also a number of minor Parties and Independents as well.
This election is what is referred to as a Double Dissolution (DD) Election. Normal elections are always for every Member of the House Of Representatives, and for half of The Senate. However, this DD election is for all The House and the whole of The Senate. While the results in individual seats will be known fairly early on, deciding who forms the new Government, the results in The Senate will be a lot longer in deciding.
The main protagonists are the current serving Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, (Liberal Party) and the current leader Of The Opposition, Bill Shorten. (Australian Labor Party)
For further background on the Australian Electoral process, I have a Post explaining most of the points, and that Post, written in the lead up to the 2010 Federal Election, is at the following Link.
Polling opened early this morning, and closes at 6PM, when counting begins.
Where possible, I will come in here with the most recent UPDATE once an hour beginning at around 6.30/7PM our time, which is 4.30/5AM U.S. Eastern Standard Time.
UPDATE 6 (1.30AM)
And still there is no definite result. True, there is only one Party which can actually form a Government, and that is the Coalition. The reason as to why that result will not be known for certain stems back to a couple of earlier elections and the absolute security of ballots. The Australian Electoral Commission has said that the counting done tonight in seats that are close must be strictly seen to be secure, and that is why the ballots are taken to a central point in each electorate and their own experts would then come in and do a full recount of those seats still in doubt and those seats deemed to be close.
Both Leaders have come out and spoken of the result, and both gave what amounted to victory speeches, even though the Labor Leader knew he could not form Government. Malcolm Turnbull spoke of how Labor ran on a big lie, and he was very fired up.
Some of those Pre-poll votes are to be counted, and because of the security aspect, the full result may not be known until Tuesday maybe.
Like most Australians, we go to bed tonight not knowing what future is in front of us.
UPDATE 5 (11PM)
In the last hour and a half, the situation has gotten decidedly tighter. It still looks like the Labor Party will not gain enough seats to win Government, be that in its own right, or with the support of some of the Independents, and even in that situation, probably two of those Independents would not support the Labor Party. With the target number of 76 seats to form Government, the Coalition has stalled at 74. One point made by the commentators is that the count has stalled because the Australian Electoral Commission has declared that it will be keeping a very tight control over the way the count proceeds in a number of close seats, and will then decide which of them to send in its experts to run very careful scrutiny over the way the count ‘on the night’ was carried out.
In those seats which are still undecided, there is a general opinion that the Government will hold onto enough of them to be able to form Government.
That being said, this is not a particularly good result for the incumbent Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, as his main premise in all of this was to be able to form a stable Government, and it looks like that might not be possible because of just how close the result will really be.
This result does however firm up the position of the Leader of the Opposition, labor Party leader Bill Shorten.
In my own seat, it actually looks like the incumbent Michelle Landry might just hold on, as she has pulled slightly ahead. In what was expected to be one of the first seats to fall to Labor, that is a pretty astonishing result, to be able to keep her seat when others considered not as safe as hers have fallen. She is slightly in front with 80% of the vote counted and those early votes and Postal votes still to be counted, long the province of the Coalition.
The Senate is looking like the result may be more complex than expected, and in that election, there has seen a rise in the vote for the minor Parties and the Independents.
All up, this has been an extremely close election, and it seems likely that the result may not be known for a day or even a number of days.
Again, the results in some seats could change with all of those pre-poll votes still to be added in to the results.
I’ll include the link to more detailed results again, as it is now down the page a way, and those results will be updated virtually every five minutes, and that is at this link and with the detailed count, seat by seat at this link.
UPDATE 4 (8.45 pm)
I’ve been away a little longer this time around, because I stopped to have dinner, a lovely roast pork meal.
In that time the vote has closed up somewhat. There has been a swing towards the Labor Party of around 2.3% or so, but this is not big enough for Labor to take Government. One point that has been made is that this time around, for this election, the number of people who voted early, prior to today’s polling day is far and away larger than it has ever been. That is a substantial voting bloc, and will likely lead to a firm result not being known for a long time. The count has swung around a lot as some seats get put into the ‘won’ column, only to change when the next polling booth results are entered into the computer. With 76 seats needed to claim Government, both sides are well short of that number with too many seats still considered as ‘in doubt’. One thing has become obvious is the rise of the Independents, especially in one State South Australia.
This election is still well and truly in doubt and is likely to stay that way for a long time yet.
In my own seat of Capricornia, with just under 50% of the vote counted, the Labor candidate is just ahead of the sitting member, but this was already one of the closest and most marginal seats in all Australia, and the current margin shows that the seat is still in doubt, a pretty startling result, as it was almost expected to go back to the Labor Party quite easily.
Most commentators are still predicting that the incumbent Government will hold on for a win, albeit with a reduced majority.
UPDATE 3 (7PM)
Still very early counting here, and some electorates vary wildly from others. With 76 seats needed so that one side or the other can form Government, the preliminary count so far, at a low percentage shows probability that the Coalition Government has 54 seats and the Labor Party has 32 seats with some indications that Independents may have 3 seats. All this will change pretty dramatically as the night goes on. As to using a swing to give an idea, that also varies. Labor is just ahead in NSW, while in Victoria and Queensland, both show a slight swing towards the sitting Government. Commentators are all still basically talking amongst themselves while they wait for more significant figures to come in.
In my own local seat of Capricornia, the result is showing that it is neck and neck, keeping in mind that only 8% of the vote has been counted.
Again, for more detailed results use the link I have provided below.
UPDATE 2 (6PM)
Well, the polls have now closed, and the counting is under way. For readers who want to keep immediately in touch, take the following link to the ABC Results site, at this link. It shows a simplified results total, and under that are links which can give a more detailed insight into what is happening. I don’t think readers outside of Australia can use the ABC24 live streaming screen at the right of the results. That Interactive Map link shows a map of Australia, and you can go to any electorate in the Country for all the information for that electorate.
My good lady wife and I have just returned from voting. The Whole process only took just on half an hour, from our home to vote, and then back home again, simple really. The polling station was the local High School which is only 3 minutes from our front door. There was no queue, so we had our name checked off and then voted in the booths, using a pencil to mark your preference on both voting forms.
We live here in Rockhampton in Queensland, and that electorate is called Capricornia. I mentioned how those individual seats are named in the linked information Post above, and ours is named Capricornia, because the city of Rockhampton sits directly on the Tropic of Capricorn.
The local Member who represents this electorate in the House of Representatives is Michelle Landry and she is a member of the LNP. I mentioned above that the two main Conservative Parties are The Liberal Party and The Nationals. Here in the State of Queensland, those two parties have combined to form the LNP. When in Canberra on Parliamentary duties, Michelle Landry sits with The Nationals in their separate party room.
There were seven names on the ballot for this seat, representing the 2 major parties, one for The Greens, a couple from minor parties, and a couple of Independents. For a legal vote here, each square must be numbered, and in this case for our electorate, that means numbering the squares one to seven, indicating the way you want your vote counted. It is done in this manner, because here in Australia, we have what is referred to as Preferential voting, and rather than explain it all over again, that is also mentioned in the information at that Post I have linked to above.
Voting for The Senate was an entirely different matter again. As this is a Double Dissolution (DD) election where the whole Senate is up for re-election, then the State of Queensland, like each of the 6 major States has 12 Senators to be elected. Because of that, there is a large number of people running to see if they can gain a seat in The Senate.
There being 12 Senators, then a successful candidate needs to only gain around 8% of the vote for that State.
Get this! There were 122 names on the ballot, and that ballot paper was more than one metre wide and as deep as a sheet of A4, a huge ballot.That was for just Queensland, and the two larger populated States New South Wales and Victoria have more names than that, and even larger ballot papers.
Luckily there are now two options for voting. In earlier days, every square had to be numbered, and that was changed to two options, one where you voted below the line, and still had to number every square, or the simpler version where you just marked the number 1 above the line for the party group you wanted as your first preference. The Parties then sorted out how they then distributed their preferences. This ended up in the system being gamed, so, for this election the process was changed again. You could vote above the line by indicating the Numbers 1 to 6 for the Party you wished to vote for, or you could number below the line, indicating the numbers 1 to 12 for the individual persons of your choice. It sounds complex but will be simpler to find a result this time, well, hopefully anyway.
In every State at least ten Senators are elected quite quickly as per the count, and the time consuming part then comes with the distribution of preferences for the remaining two positions.
The voting part of the process is now over. All we need do now is wait for the results to start rolling in, and that will be in another two and a half or three hours.
Anton Lang uses the screen name of TonyfromOz, and he writes at this site, PA Pundits International on topics related to electrical power generation, from all sources, concentrating mainly on Renewable Power, and how the two most favoured methods of renewable power generation, Wind Power and all versions of Solar Power, fail comprehensively to deliver levels of power required to replace traditional power generation. His Bio is at this link.