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Turning our eyes to the Senate

May 19, 2019 - 13:25 -- Admin

We largely overlooked the Senate count last night, in part due to the late hour at which votes started to arrive. But we now have a sizeable share of the vote counted and we can make some conclusions about likely winners.

The Senate result has been relatively encouraging for Labor and the Greens, while the non-Greens crossbench is set to be culled. The Coalition will not need as many crossbenchers to pass legislation, but the balance of power will likely remain with the same group of senators.

Votes equivalent to over 40% of the roll have now been counted in every jurisdiction except the Northern Territory.

The most likely outcome at the moment would see the Coalition with 33 seats (up two), Labor with 27 seats (up one) and the Greens steady on nine seats. One Nation looks likely to hold two seats, both in Queensland, alongside Jacqui Lambie, Cory Bernardi and two members of the Centre Alliance. One other seat in Victoria is a complete wildcard and could give the Coalition a 34th seat.

The Centre Alliance has fallen far short of success at their first Senate election since the departure of Nick Xenophon and the subsequent renaming of the party. The two sitting senators have another three years in parliament, but Skye Kakoschke-Moore will not be returning to fill the seat she vacated over citizenship issues.

Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party doesn’t look set to win any seats. One Nation seems likely to lose their Western Australian Senate seat and won’t regain the seat in New South Wales won by Brian Burston in 2016 before he moved over to the UAP. Malcolm Roberts does look likely to regain his seat from his successor Fraser Anning as a Queensland One Nation senator.

Jacqui Lambie looks set to win a seat in Tasmania, while Derryn Hinch’s vote has collapsed in Victoria, giving him only a slim chance of re-election.

Below the fold I’ll run through the key numbers for each state:

New South Wales (52.7% counted)

  • Liberal/National – 2.6480
  • Labor – 2.1372
  • Greens – 0.6578
  • One Nation – 0.3291

The first four seats will split evenly between the major parties. The Greens and the third Coalition candidate look likely to win the last two seats, although One Nation could potentially win if they do well off preferences.

Victoria (42.9% counted)

  • Liberal/National – 2.3814
  • Labor – 2.2659
  • Greens – 0.8195
  • One Nation – 0.1916
  • Derryn Hinch – 0.1857
  • DLP – 0.1750
  • United Australia – 0.1624

Five seats are clear: two each for Liberal and Labor, and one for the Greens.

The sixth seat is a complete unknown. The third Liberal has a lead, but this could change in later counting. Labor may have some surplus preferences but many of them will be absorbed by the Greens, so it will likely be the preferences of these minor parties which will decide that last seat.

Queensland (43.2% counted)

  • Liberal National – 2.5548
  • Labor – 1.6485
  • Greens – 0.8181
  • One Nation – 0.6917
  • United Australia – 0.2308

Four seats have been decided: two for the LNP and one each for Labor and the Greens. The final two seats appear to be a contest between the second Labor candidate, the third LNP candidate and Malcolm Roberts of One Nation.

Western Australia (53.9% counted)

  • Liberal – 2.8188
  • Labor – 1.9782
  • Greens – 0.8938
  • One Nation – 0.3746

This race seems open and shut: three Liberals, two Labor and one Green.

South Australia (57.4% counted)

  • Liberal – 2.5449
  • Labor – 2.2062
  • Greens – 0.8260
  • One Nation – 0.3207
  • United Australia – 0.2024
  • Centre Alliance – 0.1837

Three of the six South Australian senators not up for election in 2019 belong to political parties which between them polled just over 4% of the total statewide vote.

The first five seats are locked in: two Liberals, two Labor and one Green. The final seat is open, with the Liberal Party starting from the lad.

Tasmania (62.8% counted)

  • Labor – 2.1753
  • Liberal – 2.1608
  • Greens – 0.8987
  • Jacqui Lambie – 0.6057
  • One Nation – 0.2518

Five seats are locked in here: two Labor, two Liberal, one Green. It seems likely that Jacqui Lambie will pick up the final seat.

ACT (50.2% counted)

  • Labor – 1.1898
  • Liberal – 0.8924
  • Greens – 0.5896
  • Pesec – 0.1597

Labor has retained their seat. The Liberals are on a similar vote total as they were in 2016, but the Greens have consolidated more of the remaining vote. The Greens trail by about 0.3 quotas, which is a little bit less than the total surplus vote sitting with Labor and Pesec. It seems likely that Liberal senator Zed Seselja will win, but it could be closer than previously.

Northern Territory (47.7% counted)

  • Country Liberal – 1.1171
  • Labor – 1.0833

Both seats will remain with the status quo.