Australian Federal Election, 2016

  • 01 May 2016

    The federal election is drawing to a close; Tuesday is election day, and ABC 1 will have all the coverage from start to finish with Kerry O'Brien, Leigh Sales, and Chris Uhlmann with all of the key leaders, marginal seats, and swing tracker in this new horizon of federal politics.

  • 03 May 2016, 5:00 p.m.

    Fran Kelly: Hello and welcome to a special edition of The Party Room on RN. I'm Fran Kelly from RN Breakfast, joined by Patricia Karvelas from RN Drive bringing you a special final election day broadcast. It's been an interesting election campaign which has seen a party that was in third place, the APP (Progressives), come from that third place spot to take the first place in the polls led by current Senator Hillary Clinton, she will be elected Parliament most likely in her Progressives safe seat of Corangamite. Labour has been hammered on two sides from Hillary Clinton on the left and the Prime Minister and Conservatives on the right. Kevin Rudd may deal the President's party its worst election performance in its federal election history. Minor, right-wing parties have also been hammered to the point of not registering on polls across the country. Patricia, what do you have to say about this election?

    Patricia Karvelas: Wow. That's all I have to say. To think that the Progressives and Hillary Clinton could be so close to power after being in third almost two months ago when the double dissolution was called, that's absolutely incredible. The First Nations have also run a party for the first time, and are on course to win something around 10 seats as well, taking them from the rural sector of the Conservatives, and that could be the make or break. We've gotten word this week that the Greens would partner with the Progressives and the First Nations said they would consider forming coalition agreements with the largest party in Parliament, which could mean that Hillary Clinton has already wrapped up governance this week.

    FK: Let's take a look at the poll of polls here done by the ABC: The Progressives have 35%, the Conservatives at 29%, Labour at 25%, Greens at 7% and the First Nations at 3% and they matter because of where their vote share is happening...out in the bush, in the rural areas of Australia, where there are less voters and secure them the threshold of winning over 5 seats to be included in the Parliament. This could be the first true coalition government in Australia in over 80 years and may signal the beginning of a new coalition alliance in Australian politics between the APP, Greens and First Nations Party. What Labour has to do now is seemingly insurmountable and they may turn into a more state by state challenge rather than a federal one if these polls signal a huge change. They may also become a viable presidency party as personally Julia Gillard is very popular but her party is not.

    PK: Well, it was a big mistake not to ask Julia to campaign as a surrogate for Kevin Rudd, but it largely came down to the President's role as the head of state for all Australia and how she could be seen as politicising the office. The Prime Minister's charge that Kevin Rudd would just be an arm for Julia Gillard's policies also worked among their keys supporters, mobilising the current Government to second place and within 6 percentage points of the Progressives. The problem is that the voters still can list preferences on the MP section of the new ballot, and many Labour voters will naturally support the Progressives second, so that has made a huge swing in the results. The Progressives could win up to 145 seats which would put them tantalisingly close to power without coalition, but with the reported seats that the Greens and First Nations look to win, they could get up to 176 in that new coalition, a comfortable victory.

    FK: Alright, we don't want to spoil the surprise for you, so tune in to a special edition of 7:30 with Kerry O'Brien and Leigh Sales that will be broadcast from our Election Centre at Broadcasting House, Sydney.

  • 03 May 2016, 7:55 p.m. (5 minutes before polls close)

    Election Music

    Kerry O'Brien: Good evening, I'm Kerry O'Brien and you are watching ABC News Special Election coverage from the National Tally Room in Canberra. This is going to be an exciting night of politics which already has made history. This is the first federal election under the new mixed-member proportional system, and it may be the first election in which Labour or the Conservatives will not hold power in some way, shape or form, legacy parties or otherwise, in the entire electoral history of Australia. Joining me is Leigh Sales, Patricia Karvelas, Stephen Smith, former Labour Prime Minister Paul Keating, and former Conservative Prime Minister John Howard.

    Patricia, you and Fran have been dissecting this election from day one, what are the big stories going into it?

    Patricia Karvelas: It's gotta be the APP, the Progressives! Hillary Clinton has taken this party from third as soon as March of this year to top of the polls and brokering insurance deals with the Greens and First Nations to form a governing coalition should she need their help. In an MMP system, it's much harder to gain an outright majority than in the traditional first past the post system. Coalitions are key, and Hillary Clinton moved quickest to form an agreement. The voters have not had too much time to consider that, but according to polls that may not matter. The Progressives at 35% are 6 points ahead of the Government, the Conservatives, and 10 points ahead of Labour. They're going to be the largest party and dictate the rules of coalition anyway.

    KOB: Well, that is true. It's absolutely shocking. Let's see, Paul, what did Labour need to do to poll better with the public?

    Paul Keating: No, you can't ask that Kerry. I don't think there's anything that Kevin Rudd could have done differently. It's very clear that Labour had solid policies, but the Progressives really took the carpet out from under our feet in key electorates that changed the election dramatically, and to her credit, Hillary Clinton has done well with a leftist, populist rhetoric. Labour are still the only ones with the record in government at the state and federal level of bringing policies of the left to Australia, but she has changed the game for sure. The MMP system was also new territory and I don't think Labour or the Conservatives were prepared to fight for the party vote share, which is perhaps just as crucial as the individual electorates. Hillary Clinton has been an unknown commodity and she was able to brand herself. Kevin Rudd couldn't get anything beyond questions about the President, and the Conservatives had their own issues with likeability overall.

    KOB: Paul, I'm gonna cut you off right there because we've got our first exit poll results! Alright, here's the exit poll. The Progressives, the APP are projected to be the largest party at 140 seats, 35 of which will be seats allocated from individual races, well over their allotment of 35%. The Conservatives will be in second with 29%, a full 7 points back from the APP. The ALP, Labour, are a third place only 3 behind the Conservatives, their worst electoral finish in its existence. The Greens will get 21 seats, and the First Nations 10 with 7% and 3% of the vote, which means that Hillary Clinton will be able to govern if this holds up, a margin holding of 8 after factoring out the Speaker of the House. Wow...what a shock. John, what does this mean?

    John Howard: If this is true, then Labour has done a terrible job and the party is no popular than its President, which is a shame. I think the Progressives have run a slick campaign, but it's lacking substance and policy. Both the Government and Labour put out real policies that could be debated while the APP and Hillary Clinton have stuck with promises and slogans.

    Leigh Sales: I disagree John, Hillary Clinton has put out the public infrastructure investment bank, she's put out the free prescription plan, she's put out the Australian Citizens' Payment plan which mirrors the Citizens' Income now used in the United Kingdom by the Conservatives there. She's put out lots of credible policies and how she would pay for them, it's just that the Conservatives and Labour were too busy going at each other to notice Hillary Clinton until the second debate, at which point the tag team by two men against a female leader looked terrible.

    P. Keat.: No no no, Hillary Clinton played this as a presidential election and she convinced the electorate that it was a choice between Malcolm Turnbull, Kevin Rudd, and Hillary Clinton, and she managed to point out many times that Kevin Rudd was not going to be running the Government if he was Prime Minister, because there was Julia Gillard in the Presidency and she would be dictating who would be in a Labour Government's cabinet.

    JH: Because it was right!

    P. Karv.: John, come on, that's not true at all.

    JH: Julia Gillard would have been dictating terms and turning the Presidency into the most powerful office in the land and not a cohabitation of Prime Minister and President as intended by the new constitution.

  • 03 May 2016, 9:00 p.m.

    KOB: Good evening and welcome back to our electoral coverage on this historic night, the first election under the MMP format and it is surprisingly the APP ahead in some key seats like the electorate of Brisbane, once solidly Labour but now turning orange for the Progressives. Macquarie, another seat solidly in the column of one of the two traditional parties, this time the Conservatives, falling to the APP. If we take a look at Queensland, the Progressives have had a swing of around 10%, taking a huge bite of the Conservative and Labour vote there, with the Conservatives still narrowly ahead in Queensland overall. New South Wales, that bellwether state has gone orange by 2%, a remarkable swing of 12%. These are gigantic swings, Leigh. What is going on in the electorates out there?

    LS: The APP have chipped away at both ends of the political spectrum. Sitting on the centre-left has definitely helped the Progressives paint Labour as being old left, socialist left, working class and out of touch with modern values, while the Government got pigeon-holed as their traditional stereotype: unfeeling, working for the rich, gutting government at the expense of working class people.

    KOB: With these numbers, I think it's safe to say that Hillary Clinton will almost without a doubt be the next Prime Minister of Australia and its first female Prime Minister to be elected. Remember, Julia Gillard was the first female Prime Minister and she deposed Rudd for a while in 2010 before she lost that to Rudd and the Government lost a vote of no confidence in 2012, which gave us the Conservatives that we have now under Malcolm Turnbull.

    P. Karv.: Yes. It's a historic night on all fronts in Australia as it is panning out. Now we will have to find out what the new Government might look like. Will she needs those coalition agreements to safely govern or will she be able to do it alone. This swing is on and it's been built largely with targeting marginal seats from both the Conservatives and Labour and running policies that appeal not only to the left leaning Labour but to the centre-right Conservatives.

    KOB: We'll take a short break before looking at Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia, which would all but clinch the result for the Progressives.

  • May 04, 2016 7:00 a.m.

    Fran Kelly: Welcome to RN Breakfast, I'm Fran Kelly bringing you the headlines on this Wednesday, May 4th 2016. The election is over! One of the longest and most extraordinary elections in Australian history has left us with not a hung Parliament, but a coalition Government! The Progressive Party, the APP, along with the Greens and the First Nations Party have agreed to govern together, with the Greens and First Nations getting representation in the Cabinet. This new electoral coalition, put together by Hillary Clinton, looks to be something that will be permanent, as she and the Greens and First Nations have agreed to extend this indefinitely. We'll talk to Senator Penny Wong about the election and Labour in the future, as well as Christopher Pyne. They're joining us after 8. Wow, let's join our own Matt Bevan with the headlines in the newspapers!

    Matt Bevan: We've got Hillary Clinton on the front of most of the newspapers today. The Sydney Morning-Herald says "Madam Prime Minister, It's the President on the Line". Hillary Clinton wins the election, forms a coalition and snubs the other major party of the left from Government to the dismay of Julia Gillard. The Courier-Mail in Queensland says "Government Bundled Out, Left Turn Awaits"...Hillary Clinton and the APP make solid gains across the country, including former Conservative seats in Queensland to the ire of Julia Gillard and Labour. The Age: "Clinton Conquers Canberra"...Mrs. Clinton makes the biggest electoral comeback in Australian history to secure government and reset the political norms at the federal level. The papers generally either stunned if they're a more a Murdoch owned paper or mourning the Labour Party in the left leaning ones like The Sydney Morning Herald.

    FK: It's interesting that The Age and Victoria are more sympathetic to the APP than the rest of the country. That's particularly been a Victorian left Labour stronghold, but those almost unilaterally turned orange for the Progressives last night. I'm still trying to recover from staying up so late to see the victory speech.

    MB: Yes, Fran, it's exciting stuff here. Now we'll see what the Greens and First Nations will get in the Cabinet.

    FK: Let's take a quick look at the Parliament seating chart based on the results we got:

    The Progressives got 140 seats, 10 shy of being dead even, and 11 shy of a slim majority of 1. The Greens and First Nations were thrown in having met the requirements of winning at least 7 seats in the FPTP component or 7% nationally in the party vote. Greens getting 21 and First Nations with 10. Conservatives down to 84 and Labour on 75...what a shocker this was. We'll be on with the Progressive Party's strategist, and conveniently for us it's Mrs. Clinton's husband, Bill Clinton, former APP leader from 1992-2000, credited with expanding the appeal of the Progressive Party slowly over time, working with Hillary to get her to become party leader in 2013. In three years, she's taken her party from third in Parliament to the Lodge! Bill, welcome to Breakfast!

    Bill Clinton: Thanks Fran!

    FK: What a night for your wife. An absolute stunning election campaign fought hard by her on two sides, very smart strategy. What made you think of this kind of strategy?

    BC: Well, we fought a campaign that brought the issues to the Australian people. We needed to get everyone to realise that they could have more. They could have an infrastructure bank, They could invest more in health and education and we could do it without raising taxes on the most vulnerable in society.

    FK: Well that brings me to the question of who is going to pay for these measures. Free prescriptions, free tertiary education including vocational, infrastructure bank, more concessions on superannuation for lower and middle income earners. What is the policy for that?

    BC: Well, Fran, we have just won an election. As the third party in Parliament, we haven't had a chance to assess every figure that the Government or Labour have, so we are in touch with the Parliamentary Budget Office to get the official figures so that we can craft a budget. We also need to get people into the Cabinet. It's too early but we will honour our election promises and be sure that the wealthiest in this country pay their fair share of tax. It's a crime that the Conservatives were able to watch tax revenue unbalance from a progressive tax rate to almost a flat effective tax rate. They cut corporation tax and taxes for the wealthy and did nothing at the lower end of the spectrum, hoping trickle down economics would work. We know that trickle down doesn't work, and that the Government has to be on the side of working families easing their burden and providing them with jobs and security of living that will enable them to help generate the economic growth that we need.

    FK: But tax cuts have to be funded. Where are you funding this tax cut? Are you going to cut spending in other areas?

    BC: We will take a balanced, progressive approach to revenue and spending. Look, remember you had a choice between a Progressive Party with a plan for sustainability, growth, and putting working families first, a Government that had cut taxes for their rich friends and corporations while gutting crucial public services, and Labour which wanted to nationalise everything. We will take a smart approach, in step with modern Australia and its values, putting fairness and equality of opportunity at the forefront of our policy.

    FK: Thank you very much, Mr. Clinton. We've just run out of time.

  • Admin


    A great win for the Australian people tonight! I look forward to working with @SenClinton to strengthen relations between our countries. Félicitations!

  • Admin


    Congratulations @SenClinton @OzPros on a well-deserved victory. Another great win for fwd-thinking centre-left. #LeftTurnOz #LeftTurnEU

  • @SarahPoschenko

    From woman to woman I would like to congratulate @SenClinton her victory and best wishes in its management. This again symbolizes a big step for women in Europe and for the european centre-left. I hope to work close with her and stregth the relations between our countries.

  • @SenClinton 05 May 2016 - 09:16 PM

    Thank you to @SamCourtenaySDP @SarahPoschenko @MarcGrenouille for the good will. It has indeed been a victory for the people of Australia and @OzPros. #LeftTurnOz #LeftTurnEU

  • 06 May 2016, 7:30 a.m.

    Michael Brissenden: Good morning, it's 7:30 on RN, this is AM. I'm Michael Brissenden with the headlines. Prime Minister-elect Hillary Clinton has gone to Yarralumla to seek a mandate to govern from President Julia Gillard, who is obligated to follow the results of the federal election just like the former role of the Governor-General. Hillary Clinton, after going to Yarralumla in Canberra, stood in front of Parliament House to announce her Deputy Prime Minister. Here is the PM-elect:

    Hillary Clinton: I am pleased to announce that my Deputy Prime Minister, perhaps the most crucial role in this Coalition Government in the Federal Parliament, will be Larissa Waters. Larissa has been key to the Coalition agreement and will work with the APP and the First Nations' Party to bring stable, progressive Government.

    MB: More Cabinet announcements have been made by Mrs. Clinton. Treasurer, no surprise, is Wayne Swan from Queensland. Mr. Swan, a former Labour party politician, moved to the APP in 2010 after the deposition of Kevin Rudd by Julia Gillard. He has since worked very closely with the Clintons to build their party platform, best described as Third Way embracing. The Leader of the First Nations' Party, Nova Peris, will be positioned as Minister for States, Territories and First Nations. Formerly known as the Minister for State and Regional Australia, this position deals directly with communication and coordination between the federal government, state and territory governments, and the First Nations' Council.

    Joining us on AM is someone who has been touted as part of the Clinton Coalition Cabinet, APP MP from Jagajaga Jenny Macklin. Jenny, congratulations on the electoral victory for the Progressives!

    Jenny Macklin: Yes, we've had a big win and it's a big win for Australia. Thank you.

    MB: Now, you and the Greens and the First Nations have quite a task to come up quickly with a Cabinet and a President's Speech and a Budget by June. What's the timeline looking on that?

    JM: Well, Michael, we've got Cabinet negotiations with the Greens and First Nations coming to an end which was quite amicable because this Coalition is built on very similar ideals and very similar political beliefs. That being said, we will be following the pattern of previous Governments by having the Speech from the Throne as it used to be called, but now simply the President's Speech, three weeks after the election. Gives everyone time to go back to the electorates and have a quick rest before getting back to the work of governance that we have been given.

    MB: What is going to be in the President's Speech? And will it still take place in the upper house?

    JM: Well, the President's biggest authority is their tie-breaking vote in the Senate, so yes it will still take place in the Senate. What's going to be in it, well of course our promises in the election are a priority, but we also need to make sure that they are actionable in this first President's Speech, because we have three more after this. Same with our budget; of course we want to bring out election promises to the Australian people, and I can already say that the public infrastructure investment bank is on the cards and will be started with a one time investment which will be fully costed into the federal budget. This will bring thousands of jobs, green jobs, good paying jobs to Australia, jobs in things that cannot be outsourced. When then-Senator Clinton proposed this on the campaign trail, the Green Party and First Nations threw themselves behind the proposal, saying "we're gonna back this" and has been a key uniting policy.

    MB: Do you know how much this public infrastructure bank is going to cost the taxpayer?

    JM: We will see what the full figures bring us, but we've said in our campaign that it will have at least $50 billion in investment from the federal government. But this bank will have the same kind of powers that the Reserve Bank has, in the fact that it can subpoena, it can issue infrastructure bonds, and it will seek private funding as well and this could be a huge investment source for Australia. Leading economists here and in London and in Verington have said that there is a potential for $100 billion in private sector investment via the purchase of infrastructure bonds alone. It will also be only seeking subsidies for infrastructure projects that are underwritten by the federal government by at least $75 million.

    MB: We're running out of time, Ms. Macklin, but are there any more details on the President's Speech that we should know?

    JM: The APP and our Coalition partners are going to deliver the progressive, centre-left agenda that the people of Australia voted so clearly for and we will do so in a responsible, sustainable manner.

    MB: Thank you very much. Jenny Macklin, MP for Jagajaga from the APP, potential Cabinet Minister Macklin.

    JM: Thank you for the early promotion, Michael (laughing).

  • Jenny Macklin, MP for Jagajaga (APP)

    @JennyMackMP - 06 May 2016 - 09:17 a.m.

    Proud to be on @RadioNational AM with @m_brisso discussing our sensible, progressive policies for good government and sustainable future. #LeftTurnOz2016 #DeliverTheAgenda