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Jun 22, 2013

Abbott could win the Senate, but not till July 2014

Labor is expected to go down to one of its worst election defeats in September, possibly only getting 30 – 35 seats in the 150 seat House of Representatives.  Kevin Rudd, even if he can roll Gillard before then will have little impact on that as his own knifing was caused by his poor poll ratings.  Voters will soon remember his tenure in the top job and the Liberals have plenty of television footage of his own party’s opinions of him.
With the merely terrible polling of the past few months, the Senate appeared to be a bridge too far for Abbott owing to the healthy margin of the Labor/Green coalition.  Given the disastrous polling at present, that may not be the case: 
TONY Abbott stands to gain control of the Senate on September 14, relegating Labor to its worst election result since 1901, according to a new state-by-state polling analysis. 
New fears have spread through senior Labor ranks that the number two Labor Senate positions in a number of states could now be at risk with Labor's primary vote at or below 30 per cent in most states. And the union movement is becoming increasingly worried that unless Labor can maintain some influence in the Senate with the Greens, it will be powerless to stop the Coalition trying to crush the union movement. 
An analysis of the latest polls, showing a primary vote of 29 per cent, suggests Labor could end up with only 25 to 26 Senate positions out of 76. 
With the primary vote in the Senate traditionally three to five points lower for Labor than what it receives in the lower house, Labor stands to elect potentially just a single Senator from Western Australia and Queensland and just two in most other states. With the Greens likely to end up with 10 to 11, Labor would not be able to exert any influence in the Senate.
Should this pan out on election day it will be a cause of celebration everywhere other than within Labor, Fairfax Media and the ABC, however it will not mean that the LNP will be able to implement their policies immediately. The Senate unlike the house, has fixed terms and the newly elected Senators will not take their seats until July next year. 
Abbott and his party will go into government immediately, but will have to wait eight and a half months for the Senate to come into line.  Until then it will still be controlled by a substantial number of Senators who are effectively the walking dead.
Anything the new government passes will be voted down by people voted out of office until July next year.  Former PM, Paul Keating famously described the Senate as unrepresentative swill.  He will definitely correct during that period.
We need to go to fixed parliamentary terms immediately. 

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