Federal Election 2016: WTAF Happened?!
Usually, you have an election, someone wins, someone loses, Guy Sebastian is crowned Australian Idol, it’s done and dusted. That’s apparently not how Australia likes to do things.
Two days after election day, the hangovers have cleared, but the results are still too close to call and we don’t know who’ll be in government. What we do know is that some … strange …. characters will be in Parliament.
If this is feeling familiar, it’s because something very similar happened in 2010 - after replacing Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister, Julia Gillard went to an election and didn’t win a clear majority, and the whole thing took days to sort out. Strap yourselves in.
Who will be the government?
So here’s how it works: to form a government, one party usually needs to win a majority of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives up for grabs - so 76. At the moment, both Labor and the Coalition have won 67 each, and other parties have won 5, with 11 more still too close to call.
When they start counting the votes again, there’s a chance that some of those 11 undecided seats could get either the Coalition or Labor over the line. Then they’ll be able to form a government, no worries. It’s hard to predict though - postal votes and pre-polling haven’t been counted yet, and they account for 20% of the vote.
For what it’s worth, Malcolm Turnbull is backing himself and has said he reckons the Coalition will still get a majority and he’ll still be Prime Minister.
— triplejHack (@triplejHack) July 3, 2016
But if neither parties gets to 76, they’re going to have to make some calls and start negotiating with those five people who have won a seat but aren’t from a major party. They’d be trying to form a ‘minority government’ - where the government doesn’t actually have a majority of seats, but you convince the Governor-General that you can get a majority of MPs to vote for your legislation and keep the country running. That’s what Julia Gillard did back in 2010, and it went OK...sort of.
Both leaders, maybe stupidly, signed a pledge during the campaign they wouldn’t form a minority government. We’ll see how they feel about that pledge now. If they decide to honour it and neither party scores a majority, we’ll probably have to have ANOTHER election, and see if the result changes.
And what’s going on in the Senate?
For whoever ends up forming government, their troubles aren’t over. To pass legislation, you need a majority in both the House of Reps AND the Senate - and it’s clear that neither party will get a majority in the Senate. That means they’ll need to do deals with some of the zanier characters who have managed to get themselves elected.
Remember Pauline Hanson? The former prison inmate and contestant on Dancing With the Stars? She’s won a spot.
And meet Senator Derryn Hinch - whose one obsession seems to be naming and shaming pedophiles.
We've called it we are in.
— Derryn Hinch (@HumanHeadline) July 2, 2016
And Senator Jacqui Lambie is back, baby - she’s the one who said she wanted a man who was well hung.
However confusing this result might be, at least we’re not in Donald Trump or Brexit land yet!
- Hannah Ryan.