Monday, February 25, 2013

Tea Party Wins in Australia

Over the weekend, the Tea Party won a victory in Australia.

A moderate conservative, Gary Humphries, has been defeated and replaced with someone more likely to tow the party line and be more conservative, Zed Seselja.

Antony Green of ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) talked about the possibility of the LNP losing it's ACT Senate seat to the Greens with a Seselja nomination. Albeit unlikely, it could happen:
The Liberal Party is awake to the danger of losing its ACT seat and consistently spends its local advertising budget on Senate ads. The ACT is the only jurisdiction where one of the major parties devotes its advertising budget to a Senate contest. The graph above indicates the Liberal Party has been successful in convincing its supporters not to split their vote. The decision of Family First and the Christian Democrats not to contest recent ACT elections also helps the Liberal Party keep its vote above a quota.

While the Greens continue to talk up their chances of winning the second ACT Senate seat, this is only possible if the Liberal vote falls below 33.3%. While the Liberal vote has fallen at the last two election, that has been in line with national trends. The Greens vote has increased, and Labor has continued to deliver the Greens preferences, but that will not deliver victory in the ACT Senate unless there is a further fall in Liberal vote at the 2013 election.

It may be that local issues surrounding possible public service cuts under a Coalition government could bite in Canberra. However, it would unusual for the Liberal vote to fall to a record low level at the same time as it is increasing in the rest of the country.

While the Liberal Party losing its ACT Senate seat is unlikely, it is a possibility the party has to avoid. Losing the ACT Senate seat would greatly complicate the Senate position of a new Coalition government.

If Mr Seselja goes ahead with his challenge to Senator Humphries, you can expect to hear much about each candidate's level of personal support, Senator Humphries at past election, Mr Seselja at the ACT election last October.
Personally I'd prefer 2 Labor senators, but if shutting out the LNP means electing one Labor and one Green, I guess that's better than nothing.

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