Monday, 4 July 2016

Election 2016: Malcolm Turnbull 'blew it between January and June', Barrie Cassidy says

Despite the Prime Minister's confidence postal votes can secure the Coalition a majority, Insiders host and political analyst Barrie Cassidy says he "can't see that happening" and we are "well and truly in hung parliament territory".
The swing away from the Coalition and the loss of several key marginal seats is bad news for the Prime Minister. He was dramatically installed in the top job, ousting Tony Abbott, for his popularity but Saturday showed that goodwill was gone.
Cassidy offered this analysis:
He was put in the job back in September, that's the way it looked, he was the messiah, the guy who had the power of the polls and he blew it.
"You have that 'we were robbed' speech on Saturday night bringing it back to Medicare. The decline started before that. Elections are won and lost between elections."

What happened to Malcolm Turnbull's popularity?

There was a lot of talk in the campaign about "the old Malcolm". Commentators were referring to the Mr Turnbull that once appeared in touch with young Australians and sat to the left of his party.
The implication was that Mr Turnbull had lost his edge after becoming PM and many put that down to the power wielded by the Liberal conservatives.
So, what happened?
"He disappointed some people who thought he might be an advocate on some of the issues they believed in on the social agenda," Cassidy said.
"But more importantly, he floated ideas around taxation, three big ones, none of them landed.
"He started to look like a ditherer. By the time of the election campaign, most of the support evaporated."
The campaign ended where it started in terms of support for the two parties. You can't blame particular issues within the campaign. He blew it between January and June.

That leaves us here at a 'statistical dead heat'

And yes, there is a possibility we could all head back to the polls for a tie breaker.
The PM said he was confident late counting would reveal a Coalition majority, but Cassidy said while, "historically ... they [the Coalition] do marginally better with postal votes", a majority was not likely.
"That would be a remarkable result from where they sit at the moment. I can't see that happening," he said.
"The most ambitious aim would be to get to 75 and try and persuade one or two [of the crossbenchers] to give them emotional if not practical support.
"I can't see that happening. We are well and truly in hung Parliament territory."
"Hung parliament territory" means neither the Coalition or the Labor Party are likely to reach the 76-seat quota required to form government.
Cassidy puts the two major parties at 72 seats apiece.
That means, like in 2010, the crossbenchers hold the balance of power.
Remember, before the election:
  • The Greens said they would not form any sort of partnership with the Coalition and have reiterated that since Saturday
  • Bill Shorten said Labor would not form a coalition with the Greens to form government

This is the Cassidy crossbencher state of play

His key points are:
  • "This time around, I don't think anybody will sign up formally with the way the Greens did with the Labor Party in 2010"
  • "The best they can hope for is some sort of guarantee around supply and a loose arrangement"
  • "I don't think either can stitch an arrangement that will give them 76 in the House"
That's an awful situation for any government to be in when you haven't got an arrangement that gets you automatically to 76 seats in the House and you've got a hostile Senate.
We do have a pretty clear picture of the Senate results and while that might be good news for counters, the results are going to make it "very, very tough on the government of the day".
"The Senate is straightforward enough, 19 crossbenchers, nine of them will be from the Greens. It is a simple equation now," Cassidy said.
"Let's say the Coalition emerges in the House of Representatives, the simple equation for them [when trying to pass legislation], if they can't get Labor and the Greens ... [is] they have to get nine out of 10 of the other crossbenchers.
"Look at who they are. [There] could be three Xenophons, three Hansons, two at the moment, one or two Jacqui Lambies, a Derryn Hinch and a couple of other assorted people."
That is not an easy ask.

OK, if no-one gets 76 seats and no-one's doing any deals, who is going to govern?

"What will happen is one or the other will emerge, probably the Coalition, and say 'we think we can govern without a vote of no confidence against us in the House' and they'll carry on and see how it works.
"But don't be surprised if it doesn't work, if the feel is bad and somewhere down the track we'll have to go back to another election."
That is the tie breaker we mentioned.
Cassidy said we should know more by Wednesday night and after two days of counting there might be one or two seats still in play.

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