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Three seats in doubt, but Hasluck will probably decide the race

So it’s down to three. Probably. The seats of Brisbane, Corangamite and Hasluck remain in doubt, with counting likely to continue for another week.

The Tasmanian seat of Denison was taken off the endangered list by ABC election oracle Antony Green last night. Green-tinged independent Andrew Wilkie will snatch the seat from Labor, despite finishing third behind Jonathan Jackson and Liberal candidate Cameron Simpkins. Green explained on his blog:

The formal flow of preferences will not be conducted until next week, but at this stage preliminary scrutiny has made clear that Wilkie will pass Simpkins. The Electoral Commission has now conducted an indicative throw of preferences between Labor and Wilkie that at this stage indicates that Andrew Wilkie will win Denison from the Labor Party.”

With the Adelaide seat of Boothby (Liberal win to Andrew Southcott) and outer-Melbourne electorate of Dunkley (Liberal win to Bruce Billson) shifted out of the ‘in doubt’ column yesterday, the latest tally has the Coalition and Labor deadlocked on 71 seats each.

Former Labor front-bencher Arch Bevis is standing firm in his seat of Brisbane, despite being 657 votes behind Liberal-National candidate Teresa Gambaro on the latest update yesterday afternoon. There’s some 16,000 votes still to count, and Bevis believes it could come down to 1,200 provisional votes (that is, “a vote cast on election day by a voter who believes they should be on the roll but whose name could not be found on the roll in the polling place,” the AEC explains).

Bevis, who has held the seat for two decades, is calling on provisional voters to provide proof of identification to the AEC so their vote can be counted. In a statement yesterday, the AEC said voters had until Friday to have their votes counted.

I wouldn’t say I’m confident because I’d rather be 600 votes ahead than 600 votes behind,” Bevis told the ABC this morning. ”But the way in which the postal vote campaign and other things went, it’s certainly some cause for optimism — we’ll just have to wait and see.”

In Corangamite the momentum seems to be with Liberal candidate Sarah Henderson. Last night she had clawed back half of the deficit to Labor MP Darren Cheeseman to be just 637 votes behind on the latest AEC update.

Henderson isn’t giving up, with postal votes expected to favour her cause. She told the Weekly Times yesterday: ”Clearly the Labor Party is ahead, but depending on the outcome of absentee and postal votes that may change.”

The final tally will inevitably hinge on the Western Australian seat of Hasluck. Just 560 votes separated Liberal Ken Wyatt and Labor incumbent Sharryn Jackson in an AEC update last night. The AEC says about 20% of the vote remains uncounted — some 15,000 postal, pre-poll and absentee ballots — in a process likely to stretch into early next week.

AAP reports postal votes traditionally favour the incumbent, but were for the moment slightly favouring Wyatt — who hopes to become the first indigenous member of the House of Representatives.

If Labor was to hold on in Brisbane and Corangamite, and the Liberals maintain their Hasluck lead, the final tally would see Labor on 73 seats and the Coalition on 72. But the Coalition tally includes WA National Tony Crook in the seat of O’Connor, who has vowed to sit on the cross-benches and may throw a spanner in the works.

New Greens MP Adam Bandt has already nailed his colours to Labor’s mast, while Wilkie is expected to support a Julia Gillard government (though he maintains he’s not siding with anyone at this stage), meaning Labor would need to sway at least one of the conservative-leading independents to form a 76-seat voting majority.

Or, as Windsor reminded the media today, “there is a third option, and that’s another poll”.

22
  • 1
    fredex
    Posted Wednesday, 25 August 2010 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Look carefully at Brisbane today.
    After one third of absent votes counted Bevis has closed the gap by over 200 votes.

  • 2
    David
    Posted Wednesday, 25 August 2010 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    One of the most refreshing aspects of this period in limbo is the attitude of the 3 independants at the press club today. For the first time the msm is getting brutalised by these 3 and it is bludy good to listen to. They are being told the old smart arse questions are not in play. In other words smarten up your game. About time. Even cowboy Katter is making good sense.

  • 3
    Tom
    Posted Wednesday, 25 August 2010 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    In the nane of all that’s reasonable, how can it possibly take so long for such a relatively few votes to be counted? ‘Water cooler’ conversation at work this morning suggested that in a recent election in India with 800Million voters it was done and dusted in 8 hours. As the Crikey election T-Shirt asks, WTF?

  • 4
    kevrenor
    Posted Wednesday, 25 August 2010 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Tom, it is called uncorrupted counting … scrutineers, recounts, waiting for absentee and postal votes etc.

    India? - yeah right!

    Still why postals didn’t close on say Monday is a reform needed.

  • 5
    Liz45
    Posted Wednesday, 25 August 2010 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Postal votes can still arrive up to next Tuesday I believe? So, it stands to reason, that if there’s a relatively small gap between candidates, we’ll have to wait until after Tuesday (cut off time? close of Australia Post - last mail delivery etc?)when those votes can even be opened. They then have to be scrutinized for bona fides etc and then votes counted. I’d rather have this process than India - hardly a good example of stable governance, over decades, more even. They assassinate politicians there - we’ve only come close once - thank goodness(Arthur Caldwell)! Incidently, I don’t like the system as in the US - anyone who watched ‘How Bush Won Florida’ wouldn’t either! Too much corruption - major parties involved in election process etc - no thanks! I like it this way just fine - exercise in patience! Good things like a real democracy shouldn’t be hurried for expediency - that’s when those who can will exploit and corrupt!

    Again I was most impressed with the Independents, including Adam Bandt! Refreshing! I hope the media hurry up and catch up! This is a good lesson for Murdoch?????????Get with the program, or get out of the way I say! It’s quite refreshing! Politicians speaking and sounding genuine?????I like it!

  • 6
    Tom
    Posted Wednesday, 25 August 2010 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    @KevRenor - Your sneering response prompted me to wiki it. India has electronic voting for it’s 714Million voters (2009).

    Tell me then, does it take longer to count in an “uncorrupted” fashion? Does it take longer if somebody is “scrutinising”? Why would it be necessary for a re-count if the first count was not corrupt and was scrutinised, are the scrutineers as thick as the counters are honest?

    Waiting for absentee and postal votes” where the bloody hell are they? I know the postal system in this country is crap but surely for an election (nominally an important event!!) ‘they’ could stretch to Fedex or UPS or Express Post?

    Sorry, 5 days on and with up to 5 seats still uncertain should be all the proof that anyone needs that the electoral system needs fixing. Sneering (and that’s giving you the benefit of doubt) at a nation more advanced than us from a position of mindless and indefensible arrogance, now that’s what we’re good at!

  • 7
    Posted Wednesday, 25 August 2010 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    @ Tom

    After the appalling rorts that showed up in US Elections following the introduction of electronic voting, I’m grateful for paper ballots and hand counts in Australia, which are accurate and seen to be fair even if they can seem a tad slow.

    See http://blackboxvoting.org for the US experience - and be grateful we have not gone there in Australia.

    It’s bad enough to have groteque dominance of our democratic process by one gigantic media corporation, without having to worry about systematic voting fraud.

  • 8
    harrybelbarry
    Posted Wednesday, 25 August 2010 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Well if we had a Fast Broadband in this country , we too could do it at home or on the way out or at the beach (laptop). I told the long line up at my local school (all day ) on election day and all agreed and the most complaints were the Paper waste , no Rudd or boats ?

  • 9
    Tom
    Posted Wednesday, 25 August 2010 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    @SydW - It’s coming!! Last Victorian State election the Government trialled e-voting for people with a visual disability, worked beautifully and I believe is being extended for the Nov 25 election for more groups with special needs.
    Take your point on the travesty of a democracy that is the US but working in technology can assure you that if done properly e-voting would be 10 times more secure and 100 times more efficient should we choose to adopt it ‘going forward’ (apols!).

    ….and you have me thinking …… given it’s technically possible now and as HARRYBELBARRY suggests, would be faster, more efficient and more widely available through utilisation of the NBN, it also represents the opportunity (chosen carefully) to cheaply and quickly have referenda on pretty much any subject ‘we’ like, as and when ‘we’ want. Imagine if in the election just gone we’d be e-enabled and had a choice to accept/reject the NBN, show compassion or narrow minded thinly veiled rac1sm toward refugees, accept or reject additional funding for health or education or pensions or parental leave. Why it might even make politics sort of democratic not to mention the fact that decisions could be made for the dim-witted idea bereft politicians we currently are lumped with?

  • 10
    Socratease
    Posted Wednesday, 25 August 2010 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    But will Corangamite oust Vegemite? That is the question.

  • 11
    Frank Birchall
    Posted Wednesday, 25 August 2010 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Seems to me that the postal votes procedure is based on the horse and buggy days. Why not cut off postal votes by say the Tuesday after polling day? Australia Post could ensure that all postal votes are treated as Express Post items. People would be well aware of the deadline and would have to vote accordingly or miss out.

  • 12
    John james
    Posted Wednesday, 25 August 2010 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    The Coalition might win all three.
    I just love watching the Left sweat, which they’ve been doing more and more profusely, as Abbott moves closer and closer.
    I still think, though, that it would be good to see a Labor-Green alliance govern.
    Labor has no legitimacy, and the Greens will alienate small and large business so quickly , they’ll be begging the Coalition to save them.

  • 13
    Acidic Muse
    Posted Wednesday, 25 August 2010 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    @Frank

    Are you aware that some postal votes come from places with unpronounceable names in Afganistan and Outer Mongolia, where one of my fellow political junkie friends works as a mining engineer?

    People simply need to calm their asses down and allow our none too shabby Democratic processes deliver us the Government EVERY Australian voted for…even those brave boys unlucky enough to be currently dodging bullets in Uruzgan province.

  • 14
    David Sanderson
    Posted Wednesday, 25 August 2010 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Good point Acidic. Like everyone else I would love to know which side is going to be one up but fair and orderly voting and count is the first priority.

  • 15
    zut alors
    Posted Wednesday, 25 August 2010 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    I agree with David (1.35pm) regarding thoroughly enjoying this period of limbo. No longer do we have to suffer prattle about going forward, stopping the boats or the threat of a great big new tax. Hallelujah.

    The two parrots, Gillard and Abbott, have been more or less silenced for the time being as they digest the not so surprising fact that Australia doesn’t particularly like either of them. They would be wise to shy away from the proposition of another election in the foreseeable future as the electorate may opt for even more independents if given another opportunity.

  • 16
    harrybelbarry
    Posted Thursday, 26 August 2010 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    frank , it might be a bit hard to fill your election card out , when there is people shooting at you, eg Iraq , Afghanistan and Pipeastan and in submarines. australia Post has lost 5 posties on bikes in a South pole blizzard. What’s the rush , or is every day a day closer to the Green’s day in the senate , as Abbot will want to push as much through before that day , IF he gets a chance. After tonight’s news conference walk out after dodging questions on costings , its all down hill back to opposition bench.

  • 17
    chris doonan
    Posted Thursday, 26 August 2010 at 12:41 am | Permalink

    @Tom

    In your last comment you mention a way of technologically empowering people (with care) to participate much more effectively in the democracy of their country, by having referenda on any subjects we chose. I am all for that. I understand we may have one of the better democracies in the world, but think what could be possible if we were to have that much say in the way things were to go. Wouldnt that be great?

  • 18
    Liz45
    Posted Thursday, 26 August 2010 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    @HARRY - And how would you stop corruption via electronic voting? How would you check whether people were even alive????I don’t think that’s a viable option!

    Just be patient! Gee, you’d be hopeless at being pregnant - 9 months we have to wait! Settle down!

    John James - Where have you been? Quite the little ray of sunshine aren’t you? Abbott is showing his true colours? If he does get the gig, he’s just turned the public servants off him, very nice work!
    Most of them were the same people who were there during the Howard govt? Including Ken Henry!

    I think one positive role that technology could play in an improved and more inclusive role both on the floor of parliament, and the electorate, is being involved in decision making processes? We could adopt some positives from other countries like Venezuela - they use all forms of the media so that ordinary people have debates, make decisions, and then inform govt members. They adopted these measures when they re-wrote their Constitution. After discussions, inclusions etc, the people then voted on the finished product - now that’s real democracy, not the pretend and non-inclusive charade that we have.

    If Abbott is seen to be non-coperative and confrontational, particularly if he forces an election, it’ll take more than Murdoch for him to win. As someone else has rightly commented, there’ll be more Independents than now! He’ll deserve the wrath of the people! What happened to ‘mr nice guy’? Knew it wouldn’t last!
    Incidently, I’m not sweating at all! I find this refreshing. Who knows, like other countries, we just might grow up at last, and you just might have to acknowledge and accept that! So-called journalists are still asking questions based on the old political landscape - they might grow up too? Perhaps I’m too hopeful!

  • 19
    Tom
    Posted Thursday, 26 August 2010 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    @Chris Doonan - “Wouldn’t that be great”? Well yes and no. Yes from the perspective that the decision making process would be considerably more inclusionist, democratic, representative of the ‘will of the people’ but no in context of there being a prospective collective decision to have the navy sink refugee boats and bring back hanging for dole cheats!

    I can hear the likes of John James suggesting us old lefties can’t have it both ways and that ‘the people’ should get what they want, whatever that might be, but I disagree. If you (or anyone?) can suggest where the line be drawn in context of issues that are to be the will of the people against what should remain the remit of the pollies then I’d be happy to at least discuss it.

    @Liz45 - As a bit of a pointy head I can tell you that yes it is possible that an e-voting system could be corrupted but it would be very very difficult to do and all but impossible not to be detected. If you measured it in a risk profile against bits of paper stuffed into boxes or envelopes, vans or post, tipping onto tables and having the (generally) elderly people physically count them, the e-Voting option would win hands down.

  • 20
    saram
    Posted Thursday, 26 August 2010 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    To correct the misconceptions with postal votes: The postal vote envelope needs to be post stamped before the election, so this year they needed to be sent in the mail and processed by the post office before 20 August, or hand delivered to an AEC office/polling booth on or before election day.
    They allow a little bit more time for the post to arrive, but the postal vote itself had to be in the mail before the election day.

  • 21
    Liz45
    Posted Thursday, 26 August 2010 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    @TOM - What about computer hackers? There’s been strong assertions in the US for some time, that electronic voting systems have been interfered with. We know that a teenager hacked into the so-called internet security system when Howard was in power? I’m not convinced, and how would people in remote areas get on? Are you suggesting two systems of voting? Electronic where possible, and ‘paper voting’ in remote areas? I don’t think that’s satisfactory. There was also the problem in the US, where the names and areas to indicate selections didn’t coincide? This way, no candidate can in any way be anywhere near ballot papers - if they even enter the area they are immediately disqualified; they’re not even allowed to wear a T-shirt with their name on it into the polling area. I recall Pat Farmer one year having to go outside and turn his T-shirt inside out or replace it, because it had promotional language printed on it! That’s what I like, and it should be protected. Also, scrutineers can be disqualified for even touching a ballot paper - out the door quick smart! Ballot papers are securely locked up with witnesses, and only the head person has the key/s? I like that idea too! We’re very lucky in this country - we’ve never had a hint of ‘funny business’ going on! If, once in 80 yrs we have to wait for a definite outcome, so be it!

    I’m not sure that those who count the ballots are “elderly people”? You forget the scrutineers? Their role is to look at each ballot paper, that’s why each candidate is allowed sufficient scrutineers to coincide with the number of people doing the counting. I think the “elderly” claim is ageist. At 65 my eyes with glasses are as good as someone in their 30’s or 40’s? You can’t say with certainty, that all younger persons counting votes have 20/20 eyesight? Some young people deny their failing eye sight for a number of reasons - vanity is often one of them! I’ve seen some of the people counting, and they look like predominantly non-elderly people to me - they’re public servants employed for this purpose aren’t they? Like at Census time!

    The problem would be with ‘instant’ recognition of a voter on line, and built in securities that they either couldn’t vote from that computer again, but in fact from any other computer? How would that security be implemented? There’s no point trading off fairness and security because every so often(last time 80 yrs ago) outcomes turn out like now. Many worthwhile outcomes don’t happen overnight? This is one of them!

    The way things are going, we might all be back at the ballot box soon! Abbott’s real personality is coming to the surface - surprise, surprise! I think it’s time he named names(re the alleged leak); put his money where his mouth is, as right now it looks like he doesn’t want any scrutiny of Coalition policies? The Treasury ‘leak’ is an excuse in my view! The added nonsense that Treasury aren’t capable of ‘knowing what the Coalition’s policies really are????’ is rubbish! We just want to know how much they’ll cost, and what if any the impact will be on the budget. Ken Henry is more than able to investigate and report on that. Funny how Abbott will probably be defending Henry in the future if he becomes PM???Does he really think that we’re that stupid???Abbott should look at his own supporters in the public service instead of accusing people!

  • 22
    chris doonan
    Posted Friday, 27 August 2010 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    @Tom
    Politicians are great when they have integrity, I would assert that has been missing in the 2 main parties recently. When people are aware of what is going on they tend to make choices that work rather than ones that dont. Today very few people are aware of what is really going on in politics including me but I know when I have a say and allow others to have a say about what goes on around me we are all empowered. I like Get Up

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