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Australian Federal Election


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Voting in Australia is underway to elect a new federal government for a 3-year term. Opinion polls do not look favourable for the incumbent Prime Minister and his government, but he pulled a rabbit out of the hat last time. Will he do the same again or will the Labour Party win government for the first time in 10 years?

Australia has two houses of parliament being voted for this election. The House of Representatives is where the government is determined through either a majority win by a party or coalition, or where one party may enter a minority government with the support of independents.

The Senate, often classed as the house of review, is made of Senators elected on a percentage share of total votes in each state for a party or independent.

The whole election is organised and operated by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) a body independent of all parties. Voting is done by filling out paper votes. House of Representative votes are counted at the polling site and then transferred to a secure central location. Postal votes are counted at the central site.

Senate votes are counted at the central site via first scanning the voting paper and then an AEC team member manually enters the information as well. The AEC team member cannot see the result from the scan. If the two entries do not match, a supervisor then reviews the voting paper.

At all times scrutineers from all parties and independents involved can view the process and raise concerns or objections.

Australia operates a preferential voting system in which you identify second, third etc choices. These are then distributed after all primary votes are allocated. A mandatory first distribution of preferences for the two leading candidates is a legal requirement.

Polling stations close at 6pm local time and are often at the local school, and a tradition is for a “sausage sizzle” to be held on site raising money for the local school. Many Australians will cast their vote in person and then partake of a BBQ sausage in bread or two after doing the deed, as it often referred to!

Source: https://www.aec.gov.au/


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With the polls closed in all states, counting is well underway in the Election.

From the initial vote counting there seems to be a couple of key points rising.

(1) The Morrison Government is not in a position to retain government in a majority. Even doing so as a minority government with the support of the independent members is looking highly unlikely.

(2) The rise of the so called "Teal" Independents. Many are historically people from strong Liberal families disappointed with how far the party has been moving away from central conservative values.

(3) Unclear as yet as to whether the Labour party, in opposition for the last 10 years, can form a Majority government in their own right. But it appears seats are swinging massively their way in Western Australia which may drive them into majority government. 

Counting finishes at 12pm and will recommence tomorrow. There are several stages of the count to be completed.

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It will be interesting to see how the new Government goes. Some of there plans are aligned to better climate results and the introduction of an independent federal corruption commission. Would not be surprised to see them upgrades their targets and plans further as a result of the major rise of the independents who have climate change as a centre piece of their platforms.

It is starting to look like the Senate will be on favourable terms for the passing of sensible legislation so the Labour Party have a significant chance to enhance their credentials especially as it would seem likely for the Liberals to elect Peter Dutton as their new leader.

His politics have been more orientated towards the right wing which could place the opposition in a very highlighted position against the desires expressed by the voters.

As to the new Government and Prime Minister, only time will tell if he can deliver on his promises. He has some experienced hands around him that are well versed in their portfolios from an opposition side. For example, the new Senate Leader in Penny Wong who will be be the new Foreign Minister.

But governing is very different to be simply offering arguments. The responsibility is now on the new Prime Minister and his government to act on behalf of Australia and sometimes make the tough decisions.

I am personally not sad to see Scott Morrison (Scomo) go. He may be honest in his dealings and convictions, but there was simply too much rhetoric and spin rather than effective planning and action. To me he lacked foresight and too often he fell back into the role of a PR person or marketer than doing things. 

He was not supported well by his Ministers in Cabinet often seeming to be a one ship fleet. Too many allegations of rorts and other matters. 

It now up to the new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (Albo) to show if he can get things done or fall into the trap that politics too often delivers. Australia needs actions and not spin.

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