A Hung Parliament and You – What the heck is happening?

Some questions I’ve been asked lately:

What is a Hung Parliament?

It means that no party won enough seats in the House of Representatives to form a majority government. So Labor and the Coalition will need to negotiate with the three (possibly four) independents and the lone Greens member to form a Coalition Government.

So does that mean the [ALP/Coalition] won’t  get in?

So far the ABC is predicting Labor will have Seventy Two seats to the Coalition’s Seventy Three. So both parties cannot form a majority government, however there are three (maybe four) independents and one green. Whichever party manages to convince those people to sit with them in the House will form Government.

So it’s entirely possible that the Liberal-National coalition will form Government and it’s entirely possible that there will be a Labor coalition government. It just depends on what party the independents and the Green decide to sit with.

Aren’t the Greens generally a Labor supporting party?

They are, but they’re also incredibly principled, let’s not forget that The Greens voted against the ETS effectively killing it. This lead to the downfall of Rudd and the entire Labor movement federally, in my personal opinion that is. This works for the Greens by the way.

The Greens current enemy isn’t really their ideological opposites the Coalition, in fact they only took the seat of Melbourne because of the Liberals, the enemy of the Greens is the ALP; because they occupy the same space politically and ideologically. They’re both Centre-Left parties. They’re both largely after the same voters.

Eventually the ALP will have to kill The Greens threat off by adopting enough of their policies to steal a good proportion of their vote (Like the Libs did to One Nation) or they’ll have to do what the Liberals and Nationals have done and form a Coalition. I personally believe one of these scenarios will happen within the next four elections.

If you’re an ALP supporter you unfortunately have two natural enemies, the guys in the other camp and the guys invading your own camp.

Break it down!

Right, right.

In Australia we have the Westminster System of Government, meaning we have a House of Representatives and a Senate. The important thing at the moment is the House of Representatives so we’ll focus on that.

Currently there are One Hundred and Fifty seats in the House of Representatives, whichever party can gain a majority of seats in the House forms Government. Mostly in recent history this has been either the Australian Labor Party or a Conservative group of parties known as the Coalition.

In this election neither the Australian Labor Party nor the Coalition managed to get the Seventy Six seats needed to form a Majority Government in the House of Representatives, this has lead to what we call a ‘Hung Parliament’. Meaning there is no clear winner, despite predictions of the Coalition winning more seats in total than Labor.

Currently Labor has is predicted to have Seventy Two seats while the Coalition is predicted to take Seventy Three. As you can see neither has the magical Seventy Six.

This is because there are four seats which have been won by non-party affiliated Independents and one seat (Melbourne) won by the Greens.

In order for either of the parties to be able to form a Government they need the independents and the Greens to sit with them in the House of Representatives, basically Labor or the Coalition need them to say they will support their parties.

When either party manages to get the numbers they will be able to attempt to form Government, if they are successful then they become the Government until either the next election is called or the deal between the party and the independents/green breaks.

Should neither party be able to secure the independent/green support I assume another election will be called, if I’m lucky possibly a double dissolution election.

So there isn’t a prime minister currently?

Julia Gillard is still the Prime Minister of the Country.

How long will it take for a new Government to be formed?

This I don’t know, it could take any number of days or weeks. But I’m going to assume that we’ll know within two weeks.

Update: My predictive powers are amazingly accurate.

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