Cliffhanger or hung Parliament
The 2016 Australian Federal Election is shaping up to be a cliffhanger, with a hung Parliament looking like a possibility, and nervous politicians looking to Western Australia’s 16 seats for crucial votes.
With two thirds of the seats confirmed, voters have turned against the Malcolm Turnbull’s government but it is not clear if the swing will be enough to unseat the Liberal Coalition. When this edition went to press, the Coalition had 73 seats, Australian Labor Party had 66, Greens one, One Nation four with six seats to be decided. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the Coalition had maintained from the outset the result would be close.
“After the 2013 election when there was this huge swing away from Labor, people utterly rejected the chaos of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years and there was a significant swing to us,” Ms Bishop said. “Of course it was always going to correct and come back to a more usual federal election which is incredibly close. We haven’t seen a majority government in Australia since 2004 so we’ve always expected it to be close. “I think Western Australia will be very important this time. Often we find over here the result is already known and the rest comes in later but obviously given the indication so far the 16 seats in Western Australia will be crucial.” Former Howard government treasurer Peter Costello believes there has not been a large enough swing towards Labor in Queensland in order for it to win the election. “I can see seats that Labor can win in New South Wales and some of the ones we’ve been putting up obviously are seeing a Labor swing,” Mr Costello said.
“But every time I look at seats in Queensland I’m actually seeing swings against Labor in Queensland not to Labor.
“I do think this is one of those elections where you are going to see state variations. “Unless Labor can get onto the sugar coast down through those seats to Brisbane and unless Labor can get into Brisbane itself I don’t think it’s going to get together 22 seats to win an election.” Labor is facing a strong swing against it in the Brisbane seat of Griffith. On early counting Labor MP Terri Butler was facing an eight percent primary swing against her. Nine is predicting a large swing towards Labor in the Tasmanian seat of Bass. The Prime Minister visited the volatile seat three times during the campaign. Labor’s Linda Burney has declared she’s won the south Sydney seat of Barton, becoming the first Indigenous woman to be elected to the House of Representatives. The seat was won by the coalition’s Nick Varvaris in the 2013 election but became a notional Labor seat after a redrawing of electoral boundaries. Counting from 13 booths showed a four percent swing to Ms Burney. An exclusive Nine-Galaxy exit poll released at 5pm found the election result was still too close to call. The poll surveyed the 25 most marginal seats, revealing the Coalition has its nose in front, but not enough to be certain of victory at this stage. “Our pollsters have found a swing in the marginal seats of 3.4 percent,” Nine’s political editor Laurie Oakes said.
“If that plays out on a uniform basis tonight Labor would be on track to climb to 68 seats. Now that’s still eight short of victory - but depending on how many cross-benchers win seats tonight, it also means there’s a chance the Coalition will be short of the 76 seats it needs.
“That creates the possibility of a hung parliament which everyone will be delighted about I’m sure.”
Across all of the surveyed marginal seats, the Coalition was predicted to secure 43 percent of the vote, while the ALP would get 36 percent. The Greens were predicted to secure nine percent in the areas surveyed, and the Nick Xenophon Team three percent.