Did we have a ‘greenslide’ or a ‘One Nation/Palmer/Katter slide’ this election?
6 June 2022 at 4:46 pm
As the dust settles on the election and the new government finds its way, Neil Pharaoh takes a step back to review one of the quirks in this election – the minor party votes on either side of the political divide.
As cabinet and shadow cabinet have been announced, and the heat of the election campaign starts to subside, we can all start to plan for the years ahead when it comes to advocacy, engagement, and campaigning.
For many organisations, having three “budget like” activities over six months is an opportunity to re-prosecute, engage, and float prior budget proposals and bids. Those budgets are the October new Labor budget, the mid-year fiscal and economic update around December, and next year’s budget which will return to its usual timeframe of May 2023.
Beyond the booking of trips to Canberra (Parliament is sitting at the end of July), writing to local MP’s (who will all be declared in the next week or so, thus getting the keys to their offices), and planning for three mini budgets, we should dive a bit below the media coverage to have a look at where people’s first preferences went in this election and what it all means.
Below is a pie chart which shows the split of first preference votes from highest (Labor) to lowest (Other) – it is slightly misleading as to get the total Coalition vote you need to add together the Liberal Party, the Liberal National Party (in QLD), the National Party, as well as the Country Liberal Party.
The chunk you can see between One Nation and the LNP is the larger-than-normal “Teal” independents.
When you expand the “other” section out, the result is below:
For the “other” parties, they range from the Liberal Democrats, who took almost a third, through to the Jackie Lambie Network which took around 23,000 votes.
What is interesting is how some parties can concentrate their vote to secure seats, whereas others get split and thus can’t pick up seats. By way of example, if you add the One Nation/ Palmer/ Katter votes, they secured almost the same number of first preference votes as the Greens Party – but One Nation/ Palmer/ Katter will pick up one, maybe two seats in both houses, the Greens Party will probably pick up 10, six in the Senate, four in the house. Jackie Lambie, on just over 20,000 votes, will most probably pick up one Senator, in addition to continuing as a Senator herself.
We can’t understate the fact that the Greens Party received a primary vote similar to One Nation/ Palmer/ Katter – this is at the heart of the existential discussion happening in the Liberal Party at the moment over swinging right or swinging to the centre. Likewise, we need to be very careful in saying government doesn’t have a mandate because of its low primary vote, yet the Greens Party does because of their higher-than-normal primary vote. On the same logic, One Nation/ Palmer/ Katter have the same or similar sized primary vote “mandate”, albeit with far less seats than the Greens Party.
The social purpose and not-for-profit space needs to keep this in mind when re-engaging with both government and the new opposition (shadow ministers were appointed on Sunday). How we bring along communities to our viewpoint will steer whether the opposition tilts right, or moves to the centre. Resetting how we engage with conservative political parties is much easier when they are in opposition – you can bring bold ideas, aspire to different things, and reset some of the landscape and issues of the past nine years.
For our most contentious social ambitions, it is always easier to shift a viewpoint when not sitting on the Treasury benches – your campaign to shift the dial with opposition begins now. Especially when you consider the far right parties (One Nation, Palmer, Katter etc) matched the far left Greens Party on primary votes.
Changing hearts and minds is always hard, but Australia didn’t turn hard left in this election, it made a slight left hand turn.
PS: Next fortnight will see a change in Happening on the Hills, while every second edition will continue to focus on federal politics, every other edition will dive into the happenings of the states and territories and their political landscape around Australia.
About the author: Neil Pharaoh has spent most of his voluntary and professional life in and around social purpose organisations, government, public policy and advocacy. Neil has been behind many leading social policy and advocacy campaigns on gender rights, equality, medical research and education, and ran for Parliament in Victoria in 2014 and 2018. Neil is co-founder and director of Tanck, which focuses on better engagement with government, and regularly runs workshops and advocacy sessions and advises leading social purpose organisations on their government engagement strategy and systems.
Happenings on the hill is a fortnightly column focusing on all things politics, policy, campaigns and advocacy. Focusing on both federal and state and territory politics, stay tuned for updates around political trends and elections, lobbying and advocacy news, and hints, tips and ideas on government engagement that are specifically written for the social purpose/for purpose sector.