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For the first time, One Nation now has a position of real power in an Australian Parliament after picking up an estimated three seats in the WA upper house and holding the balance of power with the Greens.

Court thought the gerrymander would save him but his government has been wiped out with up to 16 seats and 6 Ministers defeated.

Both major parties have a lot to answer for in the size of the One Nation vote, but Court should carry most of the blame because at least Labor is moving to a one vote one value system.

The tragedy would be if this key electoral reform got blocked by One Nation in the upper house after Labor sweeps to power.

As former Labor Party national secretary and Woodside Petroleum consultant Gary Gray told ABC radio at 2.45am this morning: “The party that has the most to lose from one vote one value is One Nation.”

And the Labor Party should also be ashamed by the conduct of its former upper house member Mark Nevill, whose preferences will deliver One Nation its vital third upper house seat in the Mining and Pastoral region.

The gerrymander works as follows in the Upper House. There are six regions – three for the city and three for the bush. The city regions of East Metropolitan, North Metropolitan and South Metropolitan have an average of 51,717 constituents for each of the 17 MPs that serve them. One Nation failed to win a seat in any of these regions.

Then you have the three rural regions of Agricultural, Mining and Pastoral and South West which have an average of 18,141 voters for each of the 17 MPs. One Nation has picked up a seat in each of these regions, despite being placed last by all of the major parties. If it was one vote one value, One Nation would have probably won one seat. Instead it is a malapportionment of almost three to one.

The preference system in the WA upper house is very powerful because voters only tick one box and then are bound to follow the party’s ticket. Therefore, One Nation were stuffed if they didn’t get over the necessary quota on the primary vote. This applied everywhere accept Mining and Pastoral where that rotten Labor rat Mark Nevill ran as an independent and looks likely to get One Nation over the quota level with his preferences.

There are 34 seats in the Upper House. Five of the regions provide five members each and only North Metropolitan and South West have seven seats.

The Conservative side of politics have controlled the Upper House for the entire history of the WA Parliament up until the previous election in 1996 when they dropped one seat to 17 and then surrendered control when they provided the speaker.

At this stage the WA Legislative Council is now shaping up with Labor having gained one seat to 13, which is well short of the necessary 18 for control. The Democrats lost two of the Metropolitan region seats, one to Labor and one to the Greens, and have now been wiped out in the WA Parliament. Their primary vote in lower house seats also halved so they look like a spent force out West. However, Labor look like they might have dropped a seat in the Mining and Pastoral region to One Nation, once again thanks to Mark Nevill’s preferences.

The Libs have probably dropped one seat to finish with 13 in the Legislative Council but the National Party have dropped from 3 seats to 1, with two of these going to One Nation. The Greens will hold an estimated four seats but if they can win the six they are tipping, this could deliver Labor Upper House control without needing One Nation. But if the Greens only finish with four, the Libs, Nats and One Nation could together block anything Labor throws up as they will hold an estimated 18 seats between them.

Ironically, Labor has swept to office on the back of One Nation preferences because Hanson adopted the almost uniform policy of putting sitting members last. In other developments, it is great to see Liberal sleaze getting punished by voters. Former Police Ministger Kevin Prince was swept out of the Parliament with a staggering 25 per cent swing. He was caught up trying to protect dodgy finance brokers and should have been banished to the backbench months ago by Richard Court.

Similarly, the Crikey backed hero of the retirees, Denise Brailey, is looking an excellent chance to snatch the seat of Alfred Cove from dodgy Doug Shave, the Fair Trading Minister who did nothing near what was required to help retirees who have lost up to $200 million from finance brokers.

Denise is running neck and neck with the Liberals for Forests candidate Trish Woollard with about 21 per cent of the vote. However, the Greens won 6.17 per cent and their preferences should hopefully get Denise ahead of Trish to finish second.

However, dodgy Doug Shave is not definitely defeated because with 84 per cent of the vote counted he’s got 32.67 per cent of the primary vote and is being preferenced by One Nation (shame on them) and another independent who together polled 10.8 per cent of the primary vote.

Alfred Cove has the oldest demographic of any seat in the state and Denise is the saviour of the retirees. Given that One Nation is also meant to be preferencing against sitting members, their support for Shave is an absolute disgrace.

Crikey is pleased to see a change of government out west because Australia has an appalling record when it comes to third term governments. Politicians of all persuasions get stale and become prisoners of their own history. Court’s failure to dump Doug Shave and Kevin Prince is a classic example of this but at least the people have removed them instead.

The other good ethical message sent by voters was in Geraldton where dodgy Liberal Bob Bloffwitch looks likely to lose his seat on a massive swing after it was revealed his wife owned 84,000 Kingstream Steel shares which he did not declare as he pumped their giant steel project.

The people want honesty in politics more than ever before and at least Labor and Gallop refused to dalliance with One Nation, adopted one vote one value and have promised a properly constituted Royal Commission into the finance brokers scandal.

Peter Fray

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