Aug 25, 2010

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.

Jason Whittaker — Former <em>Crikey</em> editor and publisher

Jason Whittaker

Former Crikey editor and publisher

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".

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22 thoughts on “Three seats in doubt, but Hasluck will probably decide the race

  1. fredex

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

  2. David

    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

    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

    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

    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

    @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. Syd Walker

    @ 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

    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

    @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

    But will Corangamite oust Vegemite? That is the question.

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