Assuming that Labor wins government on November 24, it will still face the prospect of a hostile Senate.
Even if the Coalition loses the ACT Senate seat held by Liberal Gary Humphries as looks likely, the Coalition will still have the numbers to equally divide the Senate and so resolve any vote in the negative. (Senators elected from the territories take their seats immediately after the election, unlike those from the States who don’t take theirs until the following July).
This would pose immediate problems for a Rudd Government, especially in regard to its key promises such as amending WorkChoices. But there is a way out if Rudd will be, like Macbeth, bloody, bold and resolute.
He could offer a porfolio to a Coalition Senator. Now, if he were to create a ministry of Northern Australia, might not Senator Barnaby Joyce – the self-declared Senator for Queensland before the Senator for the Nationals – be interested?
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After all, there is a precedent. Labor Premier Mike Rann in South Australia has a Nat serving in his Cabinet – Karlene Maywald as Minister for the River Murray and Water Security.
Delving further back into history, the Nats (then the Country Party) played political footsies with Labor in Victoria, with Labor supporting a minority Country Party government in return for concessions in 1935-43 and 1950-52.
Surely, Kevin Rudd and Barnaby Joyce, Queenslanders both, could agree on acceptable concessions.