Polar Opposites and Hung Government

Posted on August 22, 2010 by


The mood was grim at Tony Abbott’s event in Sydney last night.

Food and booze but little of the celebratory mayhem I’d been anticipating well, dreading (might as well be honest!)

The room was filled with low chatter, urgent phone conversations to various ‘informants’ and eyes glued to a screen rolling out the tally.

We watched as both Liberal and Labor tallies seemed to slide up inch by inch, neck and neck for hours. The Greens did some amazing exponential leaps and bounds, and Andrew Wilkie’s success was certainly a perk amongst the dreary race between the two major parties to just scrape over the finishing line.

The ‘Greenslide’ (as dubbed by Brown) in the Senate is another little piece of history in the making and Adam Bandt’s success is of particular notability. I received many an excited sms at the news of his polling success.

The worry is though, what’s the good of any of it?

Where we sit at the moment we have a hung parliament with it likely to end up as a Liberal minority. A Liberal minority with the Greens holding balance of power in the Senate – it hardly rolls off the tongue.

I think any of three things could happen, if the Libs do manage to scrape a victory…

1) We might see no new legislation for a very long time as the Libs freak out about what on earth they’re going to be able to get through the Senate.

2) We might see the Greens back down hard on several issues in order to avoid a situation where the Liberals throw bills at them, and they throw them right back. This might be coated in political spin as “compromise” or “diplomacy”.

3) We might have the Libs and the Greens head to head, and a double dissolution called.

I’m sitting in a café in Newtown and the air is pretty heavy with disappointment (or perhaps it’s just mass-hangover, there was a pretty raging election party last night).

The image I saw walking into vote yesterday really sums up this remarkable election. With a herd of Greens T-shirts on one side of the church and a bunch of Lib shirts on the others… it’s clear that Labor has lost support in both directions, in this whole polarising fiasco.

Words – Sophie Trevitt