Cliffhanger or hung Par­lia­ment

Fiji Sun - - Fiji Today -

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.

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