Well, we’ve got our whingy it-isn’t-fair lines from the losing side:
1. 700,000 More Votes (provided you include the Nats but discount the Greens):
From News Ltd, bitterly disappointed after its election loss:
The overwhelming feeling in the Abbott office yesterday, where MPs and staff watched the press conferences that announced their fate, was disappointment after winning more seats and 700,000 more primary votes than Labor.
By my calculations from the current results (with 12% still to be counted), 5,349,531 people voted for the Liberals and the Nationals and the Liberal/Nationals. In contrast, 6,140,963 people voted for Labor and the Greens.
The Liberals appear to want to have it both ways: they’ll claim that they have more votes than Labor by including the Nationals, but – despite pretending that the ALP and Greens are in some kind of “coalition” – discount the Greens to make the 700,000 vote claim. Which is absurd, because the 1.4 million of us who voted Greens were very clear about not wanting Abbott in government.
If the Libs want to quote a figure that somewhat justifies their claim, it should be the 0.02% edge they currently have (less than two thousand votes in 12 million) on two-party preferred. But there’s a lot of counting to go.*
The 700,000 figure is so meaningless and stupid as to make me wince whenever they use it. And use it they are.
2. Tony Windsor Thinks The Liberals Would Win A New Election
Apparently a determination to chuck what the Australian voters just decided over the side and make us do it again is considered a democratic virtue. It’s just not democratic to stick with the MPs we just elected! Real democracy involves going back to the polls until our side wins!
As put by some Liberal supporter on The Punch:
Wrong. They lost because the independents chose Labor. They chose Labor because Labor is electorally weak and thus unable to go back to the polls. That gives the independents “stability” (at the cost of democracy, effectiveness, integrity, legitimacy, etc).
First, nobody knows if Windsor is right that the Liberals would win, but News Ltd certainly is convinced they would and has been pushing hard for a new poll (from which they, as a media organisation, would of course massively profit). The independents quite reasonably suspect that a Liberal minority government would very quickly go back to the polls whenever it looked like they could secure a majority in their own right.
It’s not “democratic” to make us keep voting till one side likes the result.
In any case, the independents’ main reason for picking the ALP on stability grounds was that when the new Senate sits from July next year, the ALP and Greens will have a clear majority in the upper house. Given to them by us voters, as it happens. (Not that any of these right-wing columnists will object to the present Senate that we’ve just voted to change holding us to ransom for the next nine months. Bolt even gloats about Fielding blocking legislation until July, without noting that voters resoundingly kicked him out.)
Voters clearly indicated that whilst they were ambivalent about the major parties in the lower house, they definitely wanted a progressive Senate. Things being essentially equal in the House of Representatives – we’re talking 49.99 vs 50.01% 2PP – they responded to the much clearer result in the other house.
Of course, if you’re a right-wing apologist, a couple of Newspolls in the independents’ electorates are much more a mandate for government than how the Australian electorate actually voted less than three weeks ago – but please don’t pretend that’s “democracy”.
I almost wish I could travel – very, very briefly – to the parallel universe where, say, Windsor sided with the Coalition, and bring back the justifications from these columnists as to why the independents’ decision there was entirely legitimate. The contrast would be amusing.
UPDATE 6PM: *The ALP is currently more than 500 votes ahead on 2PP. This could vacillate again, but clearly it undermines the Libs’ rubbish argument that the independents should’ve picked them because of some kind of clear indication from Australians.
UPDATE #2: Check out the breathtaking dishonesty of the front page of the Daily Telegraph today:
“The Big Steal”? The great unhinging, indeed. The ALP, meanwhile, as at 9.30pm, is more than a thousand votes ahead in the 2PP. Some “steal”.