The results of the Tasmanian and South Australian state elections show how much difference a change in electoral process can make.
Suddenly the Hare Clark system looks far better than single seat constituencies for delivering majority government, with the Liberal Party receiving similar overall votes in Tasmania and South Australia, but incoming Tassie premier Will Hodgman managed a thumping majority while Steven Marshall sweats on the decision of South Australian independent MPs Bob Such and Geoff Brock, the two men who will determine who forms government in South Australia. The SA Liberal Party once again failed to secure the swing in the right seats, with what in usual conditions would be a thumping winning TPP vote of 53% likely to score them no better than the same number of seats as the ALP, and possibly fewer.
Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos’ former directorship of Australian Water Holdings (a company currently under investigation by the NSW ICAC) led to opposition calls for him to step down while the investigation is underway. Following the controversy over conflict of interest among the staff of Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash, this looks to be another significant test of where the standards will be set for ministerial propriety within the Abbott government.
Attorney-General George Brandis was the other main mover this week, following the controversy over the Sydney Biennale cancelling its sponsorship arrangement with Transfield because of its shareholding in the company that runs the Manus Island Detention Centre. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison almost slipped out of the list entirely.
Crikey Political Index: March 13-19
Prime Minister Tony Abbott was the only politician seriously registering on talkback across the country in a week full of state elections and international drama.
Talkback top five
And few surprises in social media either, with the dominance of international issues keeping Foreign Minister Julie Bishop high on the list, despite missing out on the overall top 20 completely.
Social media top five
Unfortunately it takes situations like the death of fashion designer and Mick Jagger’s partner L’Wren Scott for us to think about the effects of suicide on the family and friends of the person involved, and not just the act itself. Suicide is the leading killer of Australians under 45 and accounts for twice as many deaths every year as the road toll. At the risk of being repetitive, it’s clear that we’re long overdue for a serious national discussion.