Anti-gambling and pokies campaigners look like they are acting as kingmakers in the Australian federal election.
After last week’s election, PM Malcolm Turnbull was left fighting for his job as he failed to secure a majority. With counts and recounts still to be completed, both Turnbull and Bill Shorten’s Labor opposition will be desperate to woo independents and form a slim majority government. The jockeying could take a while, however.
But it’s long-standing anti-pokies MPs who look like they are shaping the next Aussie government. Andrew Wilkie holds a seat in Tasmania, while the Nick Xenophon Team made massive gains in South Australia. So far, Turnbull holds 70 seats, with 76 needed for an outright majority.
Xenophon has been a long-time opponent of the prevalence of pokies in Australia. Although Senator Xenophon told ABC this week he would stand by any party who held the biggest number of seats, his team could be in line to make some deals.
Xenophon Turns SA Politics On Its Head
Xenophon serves as an independent senator in South Australia. And the rise of his team shows that, as in other parts of the world, the public are turning away from mainstream politicians.
As it stands, 25 percent of Aussies voted for someone outside the main Coalition or Labor party. Andrew Wilkie held onto his seat with an increased majority, while Xenophon’s party got over 20 percent of the SA vote. His party picked up the seat of Mayo in a shock steal from the Liberals at the weekend.
There is a recount currently happening in Grey, where the Nick Xenophon Team are trying to take the seat. If Andrea Broadfoot takes the seat, Xenophon’s party will be in a powerful position to have a say on who makes their majority.
Labor Back To Winning Ways
Labor’s rise has been a shock, even to its own leader, Bill Shorten.
“One thing’s for sure,” he said as the results started to come in. “The Labor Party is back.”
“Three years after the Liberals came to power in a landslide they have lost their mandate. And Mr Turnbull’s economic programme, such as it was, has been rejected by the people of Australia, whatever happens next week.”
Kevin Rudd lost to Tony Abbott in the 2013 election. However, since then Abbott has left the stage to be replaced by Turnbull. With all the coups, departures and takeovers, it’s evident that the Aussie public are sick to death of the current situation.
With 76 seats up for grabs in the Senate and 150 seats in the House of Representatives, it’s still too early to know who will be sworn in. However, Aussie bookmakers seem to have made their mind up. Sportsbet.com.au go a Coalition win at 1.15, with Labor a 5.00 shot to return to power. You can still get 1.22 on there being a hung parliament, and 4.00 against.
If Bill Shorten does become PM, it could impact hard on pokies lobbyists. Powerful pokie-friendly organisations like the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) would have to declare any donation worth over $1,000 under a Shorten government. Currently, the disclosure threshold is $10,000.
The AHA relies heavily on pokie machines for revenue. And it won’t look kindly on the likes of Nick Xenophon holding any more power than he does already. Hotel groups have pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the major parties’ election campaigns. It seems that a fair proportion of the Aussie public has not been listening.