Sunday, November 25, 2007

aussie senate...and Lib boss now?

Minor parties regain Senate control

Minor parties have seized control of the Senate once more, ensuring the Rudd government will have to negotiate to get its laws through parliament.

And the extinction of the Australian Democrats as a political force sees the Greens emerge as the new kingmakers, with the Greens' support essential for Labor to pass legislation that the coalition opposes.

This includes Prime Minister-elect Kevin Rudd's plan to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and wind back the Howard government's controversial Work Choices industrial laws.

The coalition lost its historic 39-37 upper-house majority at Saturday's election, although it continues to have the numbers until next July when the new Senate sits for the first time.

As counting progressed, it became clear the coalition would have no more than 37 seats and possibly only 36 in the 76-seat chamber.

Calculations by the ABC's election computer put Labor on 32 seats, the Greens on five, plus Family First's Steve Fielding and independent Nick Xenophon.

But if the coalition fails in its battle with the Greens to snare the sixth spot in Victoria, Labor would not require Senator Fielding's support.

Labor's Senate leader Chris Evans acknowledged it could be difficult to negotiate with the competing interests of the Greens and Family First.

But this was much the same position the Keating government was in when it had to negotiate with independent Brian Harradine, the Greens and Democrats.

"After July 1 we'll be in the same position we were in throughout the period we were in government throughout the 1980s and early 90s," he told AAP.

"While it will be difficult it's basically the same situation."

Labor plans to put the coalition to an early test by introducing its transitional arrangements for people on Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) immediately when parliament resumes in February...this would test whether the coalition still supported Work Choices after losing the election.

"Their decision to impose Work Choices was fundamental to the election campaign and fundamental to their defeat."

Mr Xenophon pledged to support the Rudd government's workplace plan and to work cooperatively with Labor, the Greens and Family First.

"I've worked constructively with the Greens and Family First in state parliament and there's no reason why I can't do that again," he said, after quitting his South Australian upper house seat and being successful in his tilt at the Senate.

"I wouldn't have run with this unless I was ready (to negotiate with) the competing interests."

Outspoken National Barnaby Joyce said the Senate would be particularly important in the next eight months, the period for which the Rudd government faces a hostile upper house.

"The Senate must now do its job and really step up to the mark to hold the government to account," he told Sky News.

The Democrats' failure to win anything at this election had one of its own senators admitting it looked like the end of the line.

and now to new coalition boss...
Costello has finally realized he was a fool for trusting Howard and now he's going to look for options in the real world. Old school chums to the rescue. Insurance salesman; which brings me to Turnbull, the new leader. He was the man in the middle of the FAI sale to HIH. When HIH corrupted, the receivers found that the FAI books had been cooked, inflating the prices. Turnbull could be the only Opposition Leader who's been thrown into jail for fraud. Would they do that? Turnbull hopes they wouldn't.

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