With the Federal Election all over (except Herbert), we can now look at how this election has fallen and what we can learn from it for the future.
This Federal Election will go down as one of the oddest Federal Elections in recent memory. With Labor only achieving 34.9% of the primary vote, Labor has scored the second worst result since 1949. Paul Keating is famous for saying that you can't win with a primary vote with a 3 in front and this has been the case here.
However, the Coalition's primary vote of 42.1%would be its fourth lowest result for the past 60 years. To put this into context, this is a similar result to the vote the Liberals received in the 2007 loss to Howard.
This election has become the rise of the minor parties. 'Others' has received 23.7% of the vote across the nation. The strong primary votes for "Others" also resulted from increased support for independents like Cathy McGowan in Indi, the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT), Family First, the Christian Democratic Party and One Nation.
The notable performances coming from NXT winning Mayo in South Australia (the first time a seat in SA has gone outside the major parties since 1949) and the re-emergence of Pauline Hanson's One Nation which has not only seen Pauline herself return to the Senate but One Nation emerge as a national party.
However, we can now expect the Turnbull Government to be returned. With Capricornia, Flynn and Forde having LNP leads (thanks to postals), we would struggle to see a situation where Labor re-takes the lead in those three seats.
Hindmarsh, Cowan and Longman will be Labor gains.
There are three major takeaways from this election result:
1) For either the Liberals or Labor to say that they have 'won' this election, is disingenuous at best; nationally both major parties lost votes (the Nationals did not) in a dramatic way. This is a contributing factor to why Labor couldn't win marginal seats in Queensland such as Capricornia, Flynn and Brisbane.
2) Negative attacks work and substance still matters. We give to readers, the New England campaign. A campaign where at one stage, Tony Windsor was getting close to beating Barnaby Joyce, he attacked Barnaby hard and Barnaby very cleverly (in our opinion) hit back. He did this in a way which encapsulated this situation, wasn't generic and delivered the knock out punch combination required to win. When Labor is running around marginal seats (particularly lower socio-economic ones) with a MediScare campaign, the response isn't to whinge about the campaign but to hit back. Furthermore, saying you have a 'tax plan' isn't the same thing as having one (cutting Company Tax isn't full scale tax reform) and for Labor, saying you have 100 positive policies without telling anyone what they are; doesn't mean everyone believes you have 100 positive policies when all they see is ads about Medicare in the letterbox and on TV, Radio and social media.
3) Targetting (and timing) matters. It is obvious that Labor ran awful campaign in Petrie and Capricornia. These should have been Labor gains (not just because we predicted them) but because seats on under 1000 vote margins with a swing to you should be gains. With Robert Schwarten having lost a Council ticket campaign (and nearly losing his brother's seat) in March and this failure in July; someone should be asking about whether or not Rocky has moved on from 'SchwartenLabor'. Michelle Landry and Luke Howarth both ran very good grass roots, local campaigns with good local content on the backs of great teams of volunteers. However, the fact Labor couldn't break these down is a poor performance from them. In the reverse of this, why wasn't more resources funneled into Western Sydney and Tasmania by the Libs?
Now with these things mind, we go to the predictions and results. We freely admit we didn't get everything right. In some places we over-estimated the Liberals ability to 'sandbag', Labor's ability to target or in the case of Grey, the ability of NXT to capitalise on a swing of populism where the sitting MP isn't a magnet for criticism.
We did however see the carnage for the Liberals in Western Sydney (despite Eden Monaro) and the Northern Territory. We saw Lyons, Burt, Cowan and Longman. However we would have predicted the Tasmanian Liberals would do a better defence job of Braddon and Bass and Queensland Labor of being able to secure marginal swings in Petrie and Capricornia.
The Turnbull Government will have 76 seats (or 77 depending on Herbert) but with an ONP and NXT dominated senate. The demands of this Senate for passage of government legislation will dictate where the government's fortunes lie.