Friday, 21st February 2014

A FRESH ELECTION

The High Court declared the WA Senate result void, so the entire state will go back to the polls, most likely in April or May, to elect six federal senators. The result will dictate how many cross-bench votes the Abbott government needs to pass legislation through the upper house after July 1.

If the vote goes well for the Coalition, it will keep three spots, two will go to the ALP and Greens, and one will be an independent or Palmer senator who's amenable to the government's main legislative goals, such as repealing the carbon and mining taxes.

If it goes badly for the Coalition – and the ALP/Greens win three senate spots – it will need, across the whole senate, the votes of six out of seven cross-benchers to pass every piece of legislation; these being the three Palmer senators (including Motoring Enthusiast Ricky Muir), Nick Xenophon, Liberal Democrat, DLP, and Family First senators.

The Coalition needs to make its case to the people of Western Australia while simultaneously preparing the whole nation for a "tough" May budget. It will doubtless resurrect its campaign to repeal the carbon and mining taxes, which is likely to be popular in WA, and hope its poll numbers hold up against, most particularly, populist campaigning by the Palmer party and voters' urge to "send a message" (sponsored by the ALP or Greens). 

Abbott and his government have a lot to lose in the new vote, and not much to gain. 

Nick Feik
Politicoz Editor

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