The final Australian Senate was announced today with 11 wildcard “cross benchers” (people who are not in the four largest parties). Turnbull is going to have to choose to go conservative or go left. For foreign readers — sorry about more Australian politics but this finally maps out who holds the power in the Australian government.
Senators include: Hanson, 4. Nick Xenophon, 3.
plus Bob Day, David Leyonhjelm, Jackie Lambie, Derryn Hinch.
The Coalition needs 9 of them to get legislation through the Senate. Somehow Turnbull has to deal with both Hanson and Xenophon candidates, an impossible combination on any climate or environmental issue. Turnbull will have to do deals with the Greens to get through any pro-climate-industry legislation The Greens have exactly the number of Senators that the Coalition needs. But a Greens deal risks a Liberal party room revolt for a weak PM. Potentially the Hanson team could up the ante in protest at a climate deal by holding out on approving other legislation as a price.
Skeptics, Defcons must keep the pressure on Coalition members to stop Turnbull doing Green deals.
In this messy senate, Turnbull cannot hold the threat of an election over recalcitrant senators because he barely won the last election. That dynamic would be upended if Turnbull was tossed out and a new Liberal PM installed (see my bold point above again). We need a list of all Coalition members in marginals seats that the Defcon votes can influence.
In the cross bench, Xenophon holds a lot of power because they can “go left” and block things. To stop legislation the Labor-Green combination just needs 3 of the crossbench list (which means the Xenophon team). The Xenophon team lean closer to the Green-Labor set on many issues and are more likely to stick together with votes. The Coalition have to get one of their votes in any cross bench deal.
The Hanson story is a remarkable achievement — Welcome Malcolm Roberts to the Senate
With little funding, and no favourable media coverage, they have achieved a remarkable success. One of their team includes Malcolm Roberts, an absolute die-hard skeptic who has been fighting in the climate trenches for years. So a big congratulations to him, finally rewarded after years of work. He has a masters degree in business administration from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, and many skeptics will be familiar with his dedicated work with the Galileo Movement.
Malcolm Roberts has obviously been central to setting up the One Nation Climate Policy, which contains the Christmas wish-list of many a skeptic. Good on him:
One Nation: WHAT IS THE CLIMATE CHANGE AGENDA?
Climate change has and will continue to be used as a political agenda by politicians and self interest groups or individuals for their own gain. We cannot allow scare mongering by people such as Tim Flannery, who make outlandish statements and are not held accountable. Climate change should not be about making money for a lot of people and giving scientists money. Lets know the facts and scientific evidence to make a well informed decision as to how best to look after our environment.
Paying a carbon tax or an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is not going to wave a magic wand and stop nature changing the climate change. It will only make it harder for Australian families and businesses to make ends meet. We can address real environmental issues with legislation.
Background: The small government guys on the cross bench are Leyonhjelm and Day. The Hanson team are socially conservative, utter skeptics, have mixed big government leanings but don’t like the banks. Lambie is a former Clive Palmer candidate who leans more big left. Hinch was elected as a law and order candidate.