(Transcript from World News Radio)
Major and minor parties alike are still assessing the implications of the weekend election results in Tasmania and South Australia.
The Tasmanian election has delivered disappointing results for the Greens and Labor parties, and halted the momentum of the Palmer United Party.
And the expected landslide win for the Liberals in South Australia has failed to eventuate.
The results have raised issues for all the parties involved, not the least what role the federal Coalition played in the South Australian result.
Amanda Cavill reports.
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South Australian State Liberal leader Steven Marshall was expected to sweep to power in Saturday’s election.
But in a surprise result, neither the Liberals nor Labor managed to win enough seats to form a majority government.
With State Labor in the box seat in negotiations to form a minority government, Federal Labor has taken heart from the poll.
It has attributed the upset result to voter dissatisfaction with the Abbott government – in particular the failure to support jobs in the car industry, and planned spending cuts.
Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten says the South Australian election shows an undercurrent of concern about jobs, and cuts to health and education in the May budget.
“A lot of Australians and a lot of South Australians I believe at the last minute turned back to State Labor because they are very wary of Tony Abbott. They don’t think he’s fair dinkum on fighting for jobs. South Australia has been knocked around with job losses and the Abbott Government has done nothing. Let’s be really clear. Federal issues played a role in the last couple of weeks of that State election and South Australians doesn’t trust Tony Abbott. A lot of South Australian Liberals also be ruing his intervention.”
Senior Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne says Labor is deluding itself about the South Australian election.
He says the fact that the state Liberals won almost 53 per cent of the two party preferred vote is a vote of confidence.
“Labor ran a very personal campaign against Steven Marshall, also against many candidates individually in their seats. When Labor’s back is to the wall they always fight dirty. We expect that. They did that in this campaign and so they’ve won some individual contests but in a few of those contests they shouldn’t be popping the champagne corks just yet.”
Prime Minister Tony Abbott says the 53 per cent two party preferred result for the Liberals would be a resounding majority anywhere else.
He says he doesn’t think the result reflects badly on his government.
“63% of south Australians voted for someone other than the Labor Party, so it’s hard to see how Mr Shorten can claim this as a vindication of Labor’s position. While I’m on that subject, the Labor Party is claiming that the South Australian election was somehow a referendum on the Federal Government, but the Tasmanian election somehow wasn’t a referendum on the Federal Government. Like almost everything that the current Leader of the Opposition says, it just doesn’t make sense.”
Despite a big-spending campaign, and some big talk from its flamboyant leader Clive Palmer, the Palmer United Party failed to win a seat in the weekend state elections.
The results have left the Greens also facing a challenging future.
There was an eight per cent swing against the party in Tasmania, and it appears it will retain only two of its five seats.
Until soon before the election, Labor was in an alliance with the Greens, which included giving the party Cabinet positions.
Both major federal parties have made it quite clear there will be no more deals with the Greens and say one of the reasons for Labor’s loss in Tasmania was because of its alliance with the party.
Undaunted Greens say voters should use next month’s re-run Senate election in Western Australia to stop the Coalition from gaining too much political power across the country.
Greens’ Deputy Leader Adam Bandt says it is critical for WA voters to re-elect Greens Senator Scott Ludlum.
“The people of Western Australia have the opportunity to save the country from Tony Abbott potentially having total control. Now we’re waiting to see what happens in South Australia obviously. But there is a very real possibility that Tony Abbott could have total control of parliaments from coast to coast. Now whatever party it is and whoever it is, it’s not a good idea for one group to have total control.”
Labor is keen to secure two seats in the WA election, after winning only one in the initial 2013 poll, while the Liberals want to hold onto three of the six up for grabs.