Flat White

Death by by-election

25 July 2016

12:30 AM

25 July 2016

12:30 AM

The Liberal National Party has sent the lawyers up to Townsville as the recount continues for the seat of Herbert.

After coming behind Labor’s Cathy O’Toole by eight votes on the initial count, sitting member Ewen Jones held a lead of just one after weekend counting.

Close to 90,00 ballots have already been counted but veteran LNP Senator Ian Macdonald, who has made north Queensland his bailiwick, says the learned friends are there to coordinate evidence for a possible to challenge to the outcome in the High Court sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns if things fail to go the Coalition’s way.

It’s already been claimed some locally based defence personnel were unable to vote while off in exercises in South Australia..


Macdonald also claims some Townsville hospital patients were denied ballot papers.

University of Western Australia pseph William Bowe points out that recounts in similar cliffhangers in Fairfax after the 2013 poll and McEwen in 2007 both benefitted the Coalition.

But would a by-election? If there’s one lesson we’ve learned since Queensland swung so hard towards Kevin Rudd in 2007 and so hard against Julia Gillard in 2010 – let alone the experience of the Newman state government – is that the state is politically volatile.

Townsville is doing it hard. Herbert voters are sullen. It took the government some time to match Labor’s promise of funding for a stadium for their beloved Cowboys and it seems they want more.

The LNP may have sent in the lawyers. Did they ask the Prime Minister first?

Having the barest of majorities on the floor of the House of Representatives may be better for him than punting on a by-election.

It could give him an extra seat, true. But it goes the other way it could also destroy virtually all that is left of his political capital.


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