AUSTRALIA POLITICS: What Liberal Party With One Nation Preference Deal Could Mean at Election
The success of the Liberal Party’s preference deal with One Nation in WA could be determined by how many support staff are available to hand out how-to-vote cards on the day, according to a political analyst.
“In order to know what you’re supposed to do with your preferences, what you need to do is go to someone handing out a how-to-vote card and find the order for this,” said Emeritus Professor David Black.
“In the Legislative Council it’s completely different. As soon as you vote any party ticket, the preferences will flow in the pre-arranged order, which that party has lodged.”
Professor Black said it was likely the Liberal Party, with its larger base of volunteers, would need to help hand out One Nation how-to-vote cards on election day.
“In a difficult election for the Liberal Party, if they can get some kind of deal which works and an adequate number of people available to hand out how-to-vote cards, then it could be a crucial fact in an election which could be very, very tight,” he said.
“The impact of preference distribution in the Lower House will be crucially affected by the extent by which the parties can provide the staff at the polling booths to make this happen.”
Liberals looking to use One Nation’s popularity
Professor Black said it appeared One Nation could receive a significant primary vote in WA’s March election.
“We know that in the previous election when this happened their preferences went against sitting members in the Liberal Party, which suffered,” he said.
“In a very difficult election for the Liberal Party this is one obvious way [the Liberals] can see of trying to boost their chances — by having a party that’s likely to get a pretty strong primary vote more likely to give preferences towards the Liberal Party than against.”
“The Labor Party, to win the election, has to probably win 11 to 12 seats or more. If they [the Liberals] can save two, three or four seats, that can make all the difference.”
Professor Black described the National party as an election wildcard.
“In the end, what their votes do, how well they do, what happens in places like the Pilbara because of the mining tax and so on, which party benefits is very much up in the air and that just makes it an even more complicated election than we’d otherwise have,” he said.
“In order for the Liberals to lose, the Labor Party has to have absolutely everything going right.”
Professor Black said the Labor Party appeared to be a in a slightly stronger position, but at the same time they needed to win a lot of seats.
“It’s an election that the Liberals, according to the polls, are facing a very, very real prospect of losing,” he said.
“But they are confronted by this situation, where for a variety of reasons, One Nation has re-emerged from the clouds and all the opinion polls suggest they’re going to get a very substantial portion of the vote.”
Professor Black said there could also be some retaliation from the WA Nationals, who could direct their preferences elsewhere.