October 10, 2004

IT'S 1994 DOWN UNDER:

Balance of power tilts in Senate (Josh Gordon, Meaghan Shaw, October 11, 2004, The Age)

The Coalition's likely Senate stranglehold could clear the way for the full privatisation of Telstra, an extensive industrial relations overhaul and a major shake-up of media ownership laws.

Prime Minister John Howard is expected to recall Parliament in the second week of November, beginning the mammoth task of introducing legislation to deliver on his huge list of election promises.

But it won't be until the newly elected senators take their seats on July 1 next year that the Coalition will be given the chance to pass some its most controversial proposals.

Yesterday, the Coalition had secured 38 of the Senate's 76 seats, with a strong chance of winning a 39th Senate seat in Queensland.

That would give the Coalition the necessary majority to pass legislation without support from the minor parties or Labor - a level of power that has not been experienced since the Fraser era.

Even with 38 seats, the Coalition would be able to pass legislation with just one vote, most likely that of Victorian Family First candidate Steve Fielding, looking to win a seat.


From the sound of things--and I freely admit to lacking much knowledge of Australian political history--taking the Senate is akin to the GOP winning control of Congress.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 10, 2004 4:00 PM
Comments

Leave to one side our delight in seeing Howard triumph and in the chance that Family First, together with the Coalition, will develop into an American-style right. To the extent I understand it (limited, at best), the manner in which the Family First candiate won with 1.9% of the vote is as good an argument against preferential voting as I've seen.

Posted by: David Cohen at October 11, 2004 9:51 AM
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