9 October 2004

Don't head for New Zealand Just yet

The state of the parties in the House of Representatives is unchanged at 22:35, although doubtful seats will give the prime minister an increased majority.

  • Liberal 40.7% +3.2 75 seats
  • National 6.0% +0.4 12 seats
  • Labor 37.9% +0.0 58 60 seats
  • Greens 7.0% +2.1 0 seats
  • Democrats 1.1% -4.3 0 seats
  • One Nation 1.2% -3.1 0 seats
  • Others 6.1% +1.7 3 seats

The Senate looks scary. Victoria may elect a Family First senator and give the government control of the Senate for the first time since 1980.

The Liberal/National Coalition will control the House and form the government for the next three years. I'll think about this and scribble more over the next few days. Hindsight is useless, except there will be another election in 3 years time. I think Labor can win that election easily. Every issue from the economy to national security favours the government right now, but it's all built on the housing bubble, the special relationship with George Bush, the interest rates of mass destruction, and Labor's inability to get back the 2001 Tampa voters. Those issues will not be there in 3 years time. neither will the Man of Steel and Iron Mark will be a seasoned leader facing the happy alternatives of Abbot or Costello. Labor also needs to think hard about seats like Greenway and the advent of an organised religious right in Australia. Those votes wiill not come to Labor no matter how many principles are compromised.

The media has been spectacularly complaisant, but I think that can be changed over the next three years. If Family First wins the sixth Senate seat in Victoria an avalanche of legislation will scream through the Senate, That will make the choices much clearer next time around. The Man of Steel must be praying that interest rates, which respond to the global economy more than domestic policy, do not rise in the next three years.

Raining down policies once the election is declared does not work. You have to do what Whitlam did and run a permanent campaign. A year ago Labor was facing the loss of 25 seats. Holding seats in an essentially unchanged parliament is fairly spectacular achievement.

Bloggers need to get a lot more active and build a closer relationship with the parties of progress. After the Democrat implosion that means Labor and the Greens. We especially need to start riding the media in the way the US blogosphere does. More when I'm less depressed and when the Senate result is clearer.

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