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WA Senate election has far-reaching implications for all

THE re-run of the Western Australia half-Senate election on April 5 was interesting in its own right.

But it's the possible damage that might be in store for the Abbott Government's legislative agenda that is more intriguing.

At time of writing, it looks likely that the ALP got just one up, the Liberals three, the Greens one and the Palmer United Party one.

The third Liberal seat looked pretty shaky but they were expected to hold Labor down to just the one.

Believe it or not, the Sports Party was in with a show, too - with less than one half of 1% of the vote!

(Because I'm taking leave, I'm writing this two weeks ahead of publication so by the time you're reading this, the thing should be settled.)

Interesting is not a strong enough word really.

The number one ticket holder in the ALP's run up to election day not only indicated that he had a history of bucking the party line, but brought into question his female running mate's sexuality.

Clive Palmer all but hid his candidate from public view as he reportedly splurged $5 million on advertising aimed at convincing Sandgropers that he'd grab them a bigger slice of GST revenue.

Scott Ludlum of the Greens commented that the 5% swing against the Libs was a "damning indictment" of a government that had only been in power for seven months.

But what of Labor, whose support also fell 5% from 27% to 22%?

It's what looks to have been left of the Senate composition from July 1 that is intriguing.

The Coalition needs 39 "yes" votes to get its legislation through - that means the repeal of the mining and carbon taxes, among everything else.

They look to have 33 seats tops. Labor looks to have 26, maybe 27, and the Greens nine seats, presumably meaning a like-minded bloc of 35, maybe 36 seats.

There are five independents and three PUPs. Labor will need two or three only to side with them to scuttle the Coalition.

The Coalition needs six or seven to get their legislation through.

It looks perfectly primed for an imminent double dissolution election.

That is if the Coalition is convinced that the extremely poor polling of Labor under the ineffectual Shorten is a strong enough pointer to a Coalition win in both houses.

Otherwise, it's going to be more of the sort of horse trading that crippled the Gillard government.

Bob Lamont is director of Corporate Accountants situated at the Night Owl centre. Email him on boblamont1947@gmail.com.

Topics:  bob lamont clive palmer gladstone business good business opinion



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