Back to top

A new era of great achievement

This nation stands on the threshold of a new era of great achievement.

- John Howard, victory acceptance speech, 9.10.04

It is 3145 days since the Liberal and National parties were elected to government. Looks like we will have them for at least another thousand.

The best thing that can be said about the Labor Party's performance in the House of Representatives is that they did not lose any major talent. Those Labor MHR's who appear to be on the way out are: Michelle O'Byrne (Bass), Con Sciacca (Bonner), Sid Sidebottom (Braddon), Sharryn Jackson (Hasluck), Jann McFarlane (Stirling), Kim Wilkie (Swan), Martyn Evans (Wakefield). Sciacca was a junior minister in the Keating days.

For the Government, Ross Cameron has been uprooted from Parramatta, while Larry (son of Doug, grandson of Larry) Anthony has been rolled in Richmond. What will become of now?

The real chill comes in the Senate. The Coalition will have at least 38 seats out of 76, and possibly 39, if Barnaby Joyce of the Nationals can get the final spot in Queensland ahead of Drew Hutton of the Greens. (Pauline Hanson seems to be out of the hunt, thankfully.)

In Victoria, Family First (with 1.9% of the statewide senate primary vote) look like gaining a senator in the form of Steve Fielding. They have said they won't support the Government in the sale of Telstra, but we'll wait and see. Such are the nuances of the preferential voting system that they will probably beat The Greens (8.66%) for Victoria's last senate seat. Either result will see Labor's Jacinta Collins on her bike.

Also taking that bicycle ride into the sunset are all three Democrat senators who stood for election: former acting leader Brian Greig, former deputy leader Aden Ridgeway, and John Cherry, one of only two of the seven Democrat senators who has been neither leader nor deputy lleader of the party at one time or another. Farewells also to former Democrat leader Meg Lees (whose Australian Progressive Alliance progressed nowhere at this election) and One Nation's last (and hopefully final) remaining representative in Canberra, Len Harris.

The Greens have at least a third senator now, Christine Milne from Tasmania. They might get others, possibly in Queensland and WA. John Kaye in New South Wales appears to be out of contention with the ALP likely to retain the sixth.

More analysis of the Senate and the preferential system later today (or simply later). I also want to look at the demographics of Grayndler and Sydney electorates (and a place still dear to my heart, Shortland), and a bit of a Where-to for the Labor Party.

The ALP is under threat of losing many long-term supporters permanently to The Greens. I should know, I'm one of them.