Australian election – Morrison returned as Prime Minister

Despite late polls giving a slight advantage to Labor their leader Bill Shorten has conceded to incumbent Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Stuff – Bill Shorten concedes defeat, Scott Morrison to return as PM

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has claimed victory in a stunning political “miracle” that has devastated the Labor Party, forced Bill Shorten to step down as its leader and reshaped Australian politics.

Shorten had been favoured in exit polls and made significant gains in some seats in New South Wales and Victoria, while independent candidate Zali Steggall defeated former prime minister Tony Abbott in Warringah.

But his bid to become Australia’s 31st Prime Minister – through a platform of tax, wages and climate policy reform – was in deep trouble with his party suffering damaging defeats in key electorates the party needed to claim power.

Mr Shorten announced he would stand down as Labor leader while staying in Parliament, adding the federal election campaign had been “toxic at times” but that Labor had fought for ambitious change.

The election result was yet to be finalised at the end of election night, with several seats in doubt, but the Coalition defied the opinion polls to hold its ground and win seats from Labor.

With almost three quarters of the vote counted, the Coalition had 74 of the 151 seats in the House of Representatives and was within sight of forming government in its own right or with support in a hung Parliament.

Any result would have been dramatic. When was the last time an Australian Prime Minister won an election?

But:

However, the result shows the nation is divided along geographic and ideological lines with Mr Abbott declaring a political “realignment” with Labor making gains in progressive wealthy seats and the Coalition doing better in working class areas.

A group of key independents could still hold the key to power.

Neither of the major parties are popular in Australia.

Australian election

Australian national politics continues to swing all over the place with ongoing uncertainty. Yesterday’s election showed a big swing against the Government but Malcolm Turnbull claims he can still form a majority coalition government.

It appears that things will remain in limbo until the final count is known on Tuesday.

Number crunching the hung parliament prospect

Mathematically, the coalition and Labor are tied at 67 seats each. 76 seats are required to form a majority government.

There are 11 seats in doubt.  Labor is ahead in six of those and Liberals are ahead in 5. 

Which means there are five lower house crossbenchers who could decide the next government.

So where are we at?  Well we have the very real prospect of another hung parliament.   As The Age’s political editor Michael Gordon writes, “Malcolm Turnbull is facing the worse kind of win”

SMH: Australian federal election 2016: Voters walk away from Malcolm Turnbull, results on knife’s edge

Australian voters used the July 2 poll to deliver the rookie Prime Minister a stinging rebuke, with Liberal seats falling across the country and slashing government’s 90 seats in the 150 member lower house.

Malcolm Turnbull’s audacious double dissolution gamble looked to have backfired spectacularly on Saturday night as voters walked away from the first-term Coalition government in droves, raising the chances of another hung parliament and turmoil in Coalition ranks.

Mr Turnbull’s failure to secure a strong majority from voters represents a significant boost for Labor leader Bill Shorten, who campaigned strongly on the party’s traditional strengths of health and education, ran a fierce scare campaign about privatising Medicare and advanced an ambitious plan to cut negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions.

At the end of a dramatic night as the government’s fortunes appeared to slide sideways, Mr Turnbull waited until after midnight to appear declaring the Coalition was set to form majority government in the next parliament, while cautioning that voters would not know the final result until postal votes were counted on Tuesday.

The apparent loser claims victory: Shorten triumphant but Turnbull confident of a majority

Labor Leader Bill Shorten declared the Coalition had “lost their mandate” and “Labor was back.”

While Malcolm Turnbull took hours to appear.  When he eventually emerged from his Point Piper mansion he looked disoriented and stressed.

Looks like another ‘stuff the lot of you’ election where no clear mandate has been given by the voters.

Little Little success in Australia

Andrew Little’s and Phil Goff’s trip to Australia to lobby for New Zealand ex-pats and detainees seems to have had little success. This isn’t surprising.

NZ Herald reports: Australia won’t budge on deportations

Australia won’t budge on deportations and shows little appetite to examine support for Kiwi expats – but Labour senses softer ground among politicians from both major parties.

Labour leader Andrew Little and MP Phil Goff have completed a day of lobbying in Canberra after meeting Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Opposition leader Bill Shorten.

They received little encouragement from Mr Dutton, except for a promise to look at any individual deportation cases raised by Labour.

“There wasn’t a eureka moment where he said, ‘Oh no, I’ve got it all wrong, but it was useful to have the opportunity to put the case and put the arguments,” said Mr Little, who will tomorrow visit Sydney’s Villawood Immigration Detention Centre.

The visit of New Zealand’s Opposition leader went largely under the Canberra radar. He entered Parliament in the early morning heat past a pack of local reporters with no question asked, and there was only minor interest from Australian media outlets.

However, Mr Little said that there was a broad acceptance from Liberal and Labor members of two committees he presented to that there was some unfairness in the way the rules were applied.

This may have been a reality check for Little in one of his first dabbles in international lobbying, and Australia will be relatively easy.

Leaders of opposition parties can do little at home so will achieve little abroad except perhaps build relationships and experience.

Why did Little take Goff with him? Goff is off next year if he wins the Auckland mayoralty.

Little may have felt he needed experience alongside him on his Australian foray, but surely Labour should be looking at building expertise for the future.