With the Coalition losing the seat Wentworth, the government is now hung. Here’s what to expect in the coming weeks.
They think it’s all over…and it certainly might be now. It might have been bonus democracy sausage day in the electorate of Wentworth, but the weeks to come will be a veritable smorgasbord of ill taste and suspect meat, with the parliament now certainly hung.
At least today is over, with the grand sage of the numbers, the ABC’s Antony Green calling it in Kerryn Phelps’ favour, a solitary hour into the counting.
#wentworthvotes 6 of 41 counting centres reported
PartyCode, First pref %, (matched PP change in %)
IND 36.5 (+36.5)
LIB 33.9 (-24.6)
ALP 10.9 (-8.3)
GRN 10.4 (-6.9)
OTH 8.2 (+3.4)
Full results at https://t.co/ngXDINz7j5 #auspol
— Antony Green (@AntonyGreenABC) October 20, 2018
Frankly, it couldn’t have come soon enough, with the campaigning for Mal’s old seat (and indeed his old majority) becoming high-grade low-brow ribald nonsense, replete with a low-grade “Pizzagate” scandal, with the inboxes of registered voters screaming that Kerryn Phelps was wracked with HIV, and therefore not fit to stand. Probably because it’s 2018, and retro 1990s nostalgia is in.
Oddly, the hottest button in our most sunburnt suburb was climate change, as The Guardian estimates that the coal clutching chicanery of the Coalition was the proverbial rock through the window.
— GetUp! (@GetUp) October 18, 2018
Hilariously, one of the loudest critics happened to be the ex-Prime Minister’s soon to be ex-son, Alex Turnbull, who triumphantly baited the old man on Twitter, stating:
Incredible result and proud of the people of Wentworth. A hearty congratulations to @drkerrynphelps who fought a great campaign. A great day for Australian democracy.
— Alex Turnbull (@alexbhturnbull) October 20, 2018
Today matters, because in losing the seat, the Coalition’s also lose their majority. They hold 75 seats, one shy of the 76 required to form a government. Deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek was quick to draw the sharpest scimitar from the drawer, telling Sky News that “...the best thing they could do is hold an election so the Australian people can make their minds up…put this government out of its misery.”
So, what happens now?
Well, according to history, a whole lot of insider trading. Fun fun.
Back in 2010, when the parliament was hung between Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott, it took 17 days for the cross benchers to decide which one should be prime minister. Eventually, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott went Labor’s way, allowing (with Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie) Gillard to form government, while Bob Katter and Tony Crook favoured the Coalition; ostensibly passing by the slimmest of margins, 3-2.
Simply put, those unaligned will now be rubbing all of their hands together, seeking the highest possible price for their deciding vote. Which, considering the fractile nature of our Senate, includes the far side of both wings.
Hello to you, Fraser Anning, Cory Bernardi, Richard di Natale and Pauline Hanson.
Game on/oh no.
— Elspeth Hussey (@ElspethHussey7) October 19, 2018