August 17, 2006

Chances of Liberals winning more seats than the Nationals

The chances of the Liberals winning more seats than the Nationals have declined sharply over the last couple of days. This is because the Liberals only win more seats than the Nationals if there is a "boil over" win, and the inability to acknowledge what every child ought to know - that the party with most votes "Rools" - has made it unlikely that the coalition will win, let alone rule.

Still, there are some interesting relativities between the parties, depending on what the swings are and whether they are uniform.

Our pendulum is colour-coded to make it easy to work out which Labor seats are contested by the Nationals, and which by the Liberals. It makes it easy to see where the parties are likely to stand after the election.

To win an absolute majority of 45, the coalition needs another 22 seats. This makes the swing seat Cleveland. Between Cleveland and Caloundra, the Liberals' most marginal, there are only 7 seats being contested by the National Party, leaving 15 to be potentially won by the Liberal Party. If this happened the National Party would have 23 seats, and the Liberals 22. Laurence Springborg therefore becomes leader.

However, if the swing runs up just one more seat, then the parties tie. Another seat, and the Nationals are back in front. And so it goes. Things are finely balanced.

But these calculations assume a uniform swing. What if the swing occurs at different rates in different seats? In the Parliament of 1995 to 1998 the Liberals held Mansfield, Greenslopes and Mt Ommaney, seats which look unwinnable at present. But if there was a swing back in Brisbane these seats might snap back much further and faster than others, and that could tip the balance towards the Liberals.

Or Queensland might be looking at a minority government of some sort. Of the six independents elected last election, only one is retiring - Elissa Roberts - and the others look fairly impregnable in their seats. So five independents might be negotiating with the coalition parties on the terms for forming a minority non-Labor government. It's possible those terms might involve the minor major party supplying the premier. In effect, the next Coalition government might involve not two, but more than two entities, and those much more minor entities will have a right to have a say in who is premier.

Given the campaign so far, these speculations are most probably idle - Labor looks to have the number of the Coalition. Still, it's interesting how unsophisticated the Australian commentariat is when it comes to assessing situations involving more than two major parties. Almost nowhere else in the world would this be the case. It is here because we have become hooked on viewing the world through a veil of duality, despite the fact that it hasn't applied at anytime in Queensland since at least 1957!

Posted by Graham at August 17, 2006 11:08 PM

Who's going to knife Bruce Flegg if Caltibiano loses Chatsworth? I don't know how much the silver fox's personal vote was & how much was a protest vote.

But 2.5% doesn't seem like enough up agaist a high profile candidate who ISN'T a machine man.

Posted by: Scott at August 19, 2006 07:45 AM

I missed it too until it was pointed out to me by a helpful reader. Where'd you be without 'em ...

Posted by: William Bowe at August 18, 2006 10:57 PM

Thanks William. You're quite right. Not sure how I missed that.

Posted by: Graham Young at August 18, 2006 09:33 PM

Elisa Roberts has actually changed her mind about retiring: link.

Posted by: William Bowe at August 18, 2006 05:35 PM


Posted by: Mark Bahnisch at August 18, 2006 04:02 PM
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Graham Young
John Black
Mark Bahnisch
Michael Lee