Wry & Dry

Election 2: South Australia to win the election

W&D is used to pork-barrelling*, it is sadly a part of a politician's or party's desire to get elected.  And so W&D has grown immune to the billions of dollars being tossed at we-the-voters by all parties in an attempt to bribe us to vote one way or the other.

Neither side really cares any more about the fiscal outcome of all of this.  The aim is to win the election and [insert here your choice of a four-letter word] the future.

But in the battle for votes, the pork-barrelling is not confined to within the election campaign.  Once elected, MPs, especially independent Senators, can enjoy the fruits of their 'independence'.

SAThe Electoral Commission has specially designed ballot boxes for South Australia

Work with W&D on this.

The Coalition does not have a majority in the Senate.  It relies on negotiating with 'cross-benchers' (i.e. those who are neither Coalition or Labor/ Green) to pass legislation.

This election was called to resolve voting on two industrial relations' bills before the Senate: one to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission, the other is the Registered Organisations bill.

To say that each bill is an anathema to Labor (and the Greens) is an understatement.  W&D will not go into the details of each.  

For the bills to be passed by the new parliament (and assuming the Coalition is returned to government) each bill must firstly again be passed by the (new) House (which is likely), then re-presented to the (new) Senate.  If the (new) Senate fails to pass the bills (most likely) then the government can ask the Governor-General to convene a joint sitting of both the House and the Senate. 

Both the House and Senate then sit, debate and vote together, with an absolute majority required to pass the bills.  With 150 House seats and 76 Senate seats that is 226 seats (it will be crowded) in all. So an absolute majority is 114 seats.

The bookies have the Coalition winning 79 House seats.  If so, then 35 Senate seats are needed to pass the bills.

ABC election guru, Antony Green, suggests that the Coalition should win 30 Senate seats without trouble.  And on a good day, might win up to 34.

Close.  But no cigar.

Of course, the Coalition may win more than 79 House seats.  Otherwise, it will need to rely on Senate cross-benchers for the remaining.  Two Senators (Bob Day - assuming he is re-elected - and David Leyonhjelm) will assuredly support the Coalition as they supported the bills the first time around.  

As did Senator Nick Xenephon (S.A.), but he will demand a high price**. And he may have as many as three Senators in his party. 

W&D's prediction?  In five years time, expect S.A. to have the best roads in Australia, a new ship building industry, a new hospital and new airport for Adelaide, a new regional university and steel import tariffs.


*  Pork barrelling is a metaphor for the appropriation of government spending for localised projects secured solely or primarily to bring money to a representative's electorate or to a party's electoral base.  The term originated in the pre-civil war US (where else?), when barrels of pork were used to pay slaves.  It then became more widely used in relation to gifts given by politicians. 

**W&D well remembers Tasmanian Senator Brian Harradine, who sold his vote to support the privatisation of Telstra in exchange for some $350m of infrastructure spending in... Tasmania.