Saturday, 14 September 2013

Post-Election - House of Representatives

What has passed...

It is ironic that in an election with such a foregone conclusion, I should recieve the lowest score the I can remember. Here is the results table:

These results provided by the AEC 14/9/2013. Counting is ongoing and results may change.

These results give the following House of Representative results:

Coalition - 91 (60 Liberal (including 1 CLP), 22 LNQ and 9 Nationals)
Labor - 54
Other - 5 (1 Greens, 1 Palmer, 1 Katter, 2 Independents)

A clear Coalition victory, which should have been no surprise to anyone. However there were enough surprises to smash my predictions down to not-so-respectible 127/143 (~88.8%). So, lets get down to the usual broody, intraspective navel-gazing that inevitably follows my eqally inevitable mistakes.

That leaves 16 errors: Barton, Blair, Brand, Capricornia, Chisholm, Fairfax, Greenway, Hindmarsh, Indi, Lilley, Lyons, McEwen, Melbourne, Moreton, Parramatta and Perth.

Fairfax, Indi and Melbourne are local curiosities not playing part in the wider game of red vs blue. In Fairfax I had anticipated that, should Palmer outpoll the ALP, their preferences might push him over the top. While I had expected the ALP primary vote to perform as low as it did, Palmer's high vote surprised me. I think this illustrates the high protest vote in the community in general, and in my opinion stands as another example of the folly of compulsory atendance.

Melbourne demonstrates the power of incumbency. Until last election, the Greens were largely seen as a protest vote. Things have changed since then, and the Greens are being viewed more and more as a viable party in both houses perhaps partly the result of taking the seat of Melbourne, but this was not the first lower house seat the party has won. This change is visible in the (ultimately meaningless) polls released by the media, which often include the Greens as well as the Liberals and ALP. A large swing against the Greens was expected this year, which I think is at least partly the result of protest voters switching allegiance to Palmer and "the Kat in the Hat", Bob Katter. This swing was noted in Melbourne, but with only a 1% swing this was not as big as I had predicted.

Lastly Indi saw the demise of Liberal would-be-minister Sophie Mirrabella to Independent Cathy McGowan. I frankly have no idea why McGowan is doing so well, but that is the nature of the game. I cannot scope out every Independent in every seat, so I just have to swallow this mistake.

Those are the easy ones, the "minor parties" that can occasionally throw a spanner in the works.

That leaves Barton, Blair, Brand, Capricornia, Chisholm, Greenway, Hindmarsh, Lilley, Lyons, McEwen, Moreton, Parramatta and Perth unaccounted for. I have historically failed to develop a means of determining which seats are likely to recieve the largest swings. There are no historical patterns, there is no obvious correlation with margin, and now it appears that arbitrarily allocating an increased swing to historically unpredictable seats works marginally better.

This is what I did, however, for Bass, Blair, Braddon, Chisholm, Dobell, Lingiari, McEwen, Page, Parramatta, Perth and Richmond, which was successful for Bass, Braddon, Dobell, Lingiari, Page, and Richmond and unsuccessful in Blair, Chisholm, McEwen, Parramatta and Perth, which is as near as dash it 50% success. Irritatingly it would be roughly as ineffective, based on this year's results, to discard this approach as to persist with it. I will have to look further into this, and play around over a few more elections to resolve this.

Now we have to work out what went wrong with Barton, Brand, Capricornia, Greenway, Hindmarsh, Lilley, Lyons and Moreton. Brand, Greenway, Lilley and Moreton were predicted to fall to the Right on the grounds of the predicted swing, and until I can formulate a better means of predicting this I have to accept these losses. Brand has always been Labor and I should have been more cautious on that front. Greenway and Moreton somehow picked up votes for Labor. Lilley lost some votes, but was at least in part saved by Wayne Swan's familiarity among the general public. In general I think I need do develop some way of factoring in incumbency, since (with the exception of Palmer winning Fairfax and Mirrabella losing Indi to an Independent) only four of the errors I made occured where an unexpected change occured. The majority of mistakes resulted from a failure to succumb to the expected change.

Capricornia was misjudged as safe early on. In hindisght this looks foolish, and precluded it from analysis prior to the election. That just leaves Barton, Hindmarsh and Lyons. I cannot explain these seats changing hands at this time, with large swings unobsevered elsewhere. Lyons experienced a swing in excess of 13%.

In summary, I need to be more wary of minor parties rising on the back of protest votes, I need to refine my means of predicting where the largest swings will occur, and I need to factor in incumbancy.

... and what is yet to come.

And now that we know even more certainly that the next Prime Minister is indeed Tony Abbott, I will engage in that very thing I so recently derided -- speculation on the leadership of the Australian Labor Party. However, I maintain that this time is different because the position of leader is already in flux.

It has become clear that the challenge will be between Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese. Mr Shorten is a popular politician, with many people at large hoping that he would step in during the depths of the Rudd-Gillard leadership troubles. However he also carries the baggage of being deeply involved in the removal of Rudd and then Gillard. Obviously Shorten has at least some power in the caucus, and may well command the votes among the party members as required under Rudd's leadership reforms.

The alternative, however, is widely favoured as the best move politically. Albanese was apointed deputy under Rudd, and given that the ALP wishes to demonstrate a break from the old conflict of Rudd vs Gillard vs faceless men, someone with some claim to precieved legitimacy might smooth the way.

Whoever takes on the job will have to bring stability, as Albanese is suggested to be better at, and be able to take the fight to the Coalition, which is Shorten's forte. Normally I would expect Labor to go through several leaders as the Libs did after 2007 to erase any links and perceved links to the old regime. (In the case of the Liberal Party, it is ironic that such fresh faces as Dr Nelson and Mr Turnbull cleared away the memories of the Howard years merely to install one of his closest ministers, Mr Abbott, to face the 2010 and 2013 elections.) However, if there is one aspect of the past that the ALP needs to shed, it is the image of the "revolving door leadership" and back-room powerbrokers. Therefore I am tipping the next ALP leader to be the contender for PM at the next election, barring any catastrophies.

Importantly, the next leader of the ALP may have some say in determining the date of the next election, and thus whether there is time for another change of leadership.

The Coalition has vowed to repeal the Carbon Tax on day one of Parliament. However, the Senate will not change until mid next year, and with the Greens opposed to a repeal, the ALP has two choices. They can support the repeal on the grounds that it is clearly the will of the people and that the Coalition has a mandate to repeal the law, and then prosecute the case that the Coalition is not serious about climate change. Alternatively, they can oppose the repeal on the grounds that it is a good law and that a transition to a carbon trading scheme is imminent.

In that case, the Coalition can back down or try again with the new Senate. The risk here is Section 57 of the Constitution, which states:
If the House of Representatives passes any proposed law, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, and if after an interval of three months the House of Representatives, in the same or the next session, again passes the proposed law with or without any amendments which have been made, suggested, or agreed to by the Senate, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, the Governor‑General may dissolve the Senate and the House of Representatives simultaneously...
The old double-dissilusion clause. If Labor plays for this and succeeds, we could have another election as soon as mid next year. It is a difficuly play to make, though, and will rely heavily on the Senate results.

The Senate resuts which will be the subject of next weeks post...


  1. I had a dream about a double dissolution and everyone blamed labor and they got destroyed in the election. What has this blog done to me????

    1. I don't know, but you aren't the only one. A while back I was still half-asleep and under the impression that my alarm clock was actually displaying the election results (ALP seats as hours, Coalition as minutes). This blog seems to strike some untold Lovecraftian-style madness into the hearts of all who behold its insanity.

      I'm thinking of putting up a disclaimer to ensure I don't have to cover everyones therapy bills...