Monday, 23 August 2010

Backdated - The House of Representitives (and what the PsephologyKid saw there)

(24/08/2010: Careful reanalysis of the data has caused me to correct some statistical errors. The conclusion is the same - in Hasluck we trust - although with a slightly stronger leaning to a Labor win.)

It is still too close to determine the outcome of theelection with certainty. Boothby, Brisbane, Corangamite, Deakin, Denison, Dunkleyand Lindsay have all been on-and-off marginal's. The only permanent marginal isHasluck, which has been leaning to Liberal for some time now. Postal votestypically favour incumbents, and typically work against independents, to agreater degree than "normal" votes so this means counts so far are not necessarilya good indicator.

By my estimation, Labor wins 73, including Corangamite, Deakin,Denison* and probably Lindsay.

The Coalition (that's Liberals, Nationals, Liberal Nationalsand Country Liberals) has 72, including Brisbane, Boothby (due to Liberal incumbency),and most likely Dunkley, (also due to incumbency).

The only true seat "in doubt" in my mind is Hasluck is Liberal at this point by 382 votes (317 now), but with a Labor incumbent this could go eitherway.

That leaves 1 Green (Melbourne) and three independent candidates (Kennedy, Lyne and New England). I expect the Green will align with Labor to divide the House of Reps 74-72.

The three independents have agreed to move as a bloc. Although they will doubtless consider policy factors for their electorate and favourite issues, they all agree that stability is the most important thing. If Hasluck goes Labor the division is 75-72. With 150 seats, the winner is whoever controls 76 - a necessity as the winner must elect a speaker and still have a majority (75-74). For this reason, the independants are likely to side with labor and can afford two defections or by-elections.

Technically, they could place one of the opposition as a speaker. This would increase the leading party's majority on the floor, but undermine their control - a move suggested by the independents. Owning the speaker is a major advantage in question time, as anyone who has watched five minutes can tell. Far smarter would be to place one of the independants in that position. You loose some control, but it does not go directly to your opponent. One independant has already rulled out accepting this, though, so it is unlikely the others will accept either.

Far more interesting is if Hasluck remains with the Liberals. We could expect a couple of recounts, but if it is confirmed it would leave the Labor:Coalitlion ration at 1:1 (or 73:73 if you prefer). Whilst Labor could call on the Greens for a 74:73, it is still very close - one by-election or defector would bring it back. More worryingly, Labor does not see eye to eye with the Greens on every point, so the Greens' Adam Bandt could easily cross the floor or generally serve as a loose cannon.

The best move for Labor (or Liberal for that matter), in my humble opinion, is to offer the speakership to Adam Bandt (on the condition they win the majority, of course). This would secure the support of the Greens (giving them balance of power in the senate and control of the floor in the house), would leave labor all 73 of their own seats (74 inc. Hasluck) and win over the independents as the best shot as stable government 76:73 (or 77:72 with Hasluck) with a speaker already elected. It could, of course, backfire if Labor cannot secure Hasluck with a 73:76 in the Coalition's favour as the Green's speaker is not bound to the Labor party**. Add to that a former Labor government vs a Coalition leadership proven only through opposition, TPP vote in Labor's favour and (despite all being former Nationals members) the indepenents having had political rifts with the National Party, I would place my money – but only if I had to – on a Labor minority government.

Everyone has been watching the three independents for a hintof which way they will go. I doubt they have made any decisions yet. I would suggest watching Hasluck instead.

*Denison is now considered Labor by most, with 13,136 to 11,102 TPP over independent Andrew WILKIE. Labor also has the advantages of incumbencyand opposing an independent in postal votes. I just want to gloat that I calledthat even before the undisputed god of psephology, Antony Green. ***

**Mr Bandt has indicated he will side with a Gillard Government (

***Denison is given to Andrew Wilkie again, and I must admit it is looking more likely. Damn you, Antony Green. Still, I will maintain a Labor-win in the seat, and if I am wrong there is still a 50% chance he'll side with the Gillard goverment anyhow.

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