Monday, March 26, 2007

Independent thoughts

The effective results of the NSW state election were in by around 9 pm, just hours after the polls closed. It quickly became clear that the Labor Party would retain government. An early comment on my own electorate was "they don't count votes in Port Macquarie, they weigh them!"

Independent incumbent, Robert Oakeshott, was the first non-aligned candidate proclaimed. The interim results tell the story:

Port Macquarie NSW

Candidate party percent primary vote

Hayes ALP 9% 3,070

Williams National Party 20% 6,718

Reid AAFI (Australians against further immigration) 1% 504

Russell Greens 3% 898

Oakeshott Independent 67% 23,109

It looks like there will be ten independents in the new parliament, a trend that is worrying the major parties. I would have thought the woeful performances coming out of the majors would be a bigger issue for them.

The big fear is that if the majors fail to gain outright majorities the system is destabilised. Poor dears, they would actually have to debate legislation on the floor of the house.

The scary monster sold to voters is that independents would have disproportionate power. That claim fails to recognise the broad spectrum of politics represented by these non party members; from left through bland beige to the right.

But given a bit of analysis, Labor's win really comes down to the electorates repudiation of Howard's federal industrial relations laws (the US model). It does not bode well for Howard's Liberal's in the upcoming federal election. Labor is already well ahead in the polls and this weekend's result is a sign of things to come.

Even a badly performing state government seems to look good against the socially destructive Liberal's.

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