David Blackburn

Too close to call Down Under

Too close to call Down Under
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Australia has spoken, but it will take some time to determine what they’ve said. ABC is reporting that Australia is headed for its first hung parliament since 1940. Exit polls suggested that Julia Gillard’s Labor party would win the most seats; but it now looks as if Tony Abbott’s Coalition has obtained 73 seats, one more than Labor; there are also 4 independents and 1 Green MP to throw into the mix. Conservative Home is following the election in detail.

Weak and indecisive government may follow, but the Coalition has the political momentum. 6 months ago Kevin Rudd was, in racing parlance, a dead-cert for re-election. Mounting enmity and severe policy errors demolished Rudd’s popularity in a matter of weeks and he was replaced by Julia Gillard, who called an election whilst still enjoying the post-Rudd honeymoon. But Rudd’s unpopularity casts a long shadow: his home state of Queensland have comprehensively voted against Labor.

It’s too early to make predictions, but judging by the tenor of her comments Gillard doesn’t fancy her chances of staying in power.

‘Obviously this is too close to call; there are many seats where the result is undecided and where it will take a number of days to determine the result. What we know is there will be a number of independents in the House of Representatives playing a role as the next government of Australia is formed. There are anxious days ahead, but I will keep fighting.’

Compare that with Tony Abbott’s celebratory address:

‘This is a night for pride in our achievements, satisfaction at the good results that have been achieved but also a measure of reflection on the magnitude of the task ahead...There should be no premature triumphalism but an appreciation that this has been a great night for the Australian people.’

Who’d bet against the Coalition forming a minority government?