Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Greens surge, hung possibility emerges

A huge increase in support for The Greens and the possibility of a hung parliament are two key elements of the latest Newspoll survey published in The Australian today.

Conducted last weekend the poll shows that support for both the Coalition and Labor Party has dropped in recent weeks while along with The Greens 16 per cent, support for other parties has risen to eight per cent, meaning nearly one in four voters is considering a non-major party vote.
  • Labor        2007 election 43.3; today 35
  • Liberal      2007 election 36.6; today 38
  • National   2007 election 05.5; today 03
  • Greens      2007 election 07.8; today 16
  • Others      2007 election 06.8; today 08
Credibility issues for both Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott have dinted their 'satisfaction' rating to 35% and 37% respectively.

If voting followed this survey the possibility of a hung parliament - no party with a clear majority - is more of a possibility. The role of the minor parties and independents could become significant.
Keep in mind that at this point there are no Greens sitting in the House of Representatives and the Christian aligned parties such as Christian Democratic Party and Family First also have not been close to winning a lower house seat.

However there are four independents and their role could become crucial if, after preferences, there is no clear majority in the parliament.

Four independents sit in the House of Representatives: Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor from NSW and Bob Katter from Queensland - all three are former members of the National Party, and Michael Johnson following his expulsion from the Liberal Party of Australia in May 2010.

The current standings in the Australian Parliament are: Labor 83 seats, Liberal 54, Nationals 9, Independents 4 - total 150.

For a full analysis of the role of independents in a hung parliament, read Michelle Gratton's article.

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