Official federal election seat count disputed by ABC election expert
Never mind the titanic clash that took place over the past eight weeks between Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten, another storm is brewing in the aftermath of Saturday’s federal election.
Antony Green, the ABC’s election analyst, has questioned the accuracy of the seat count on the official website for the Australian Electoral Commission. The AEC count puts Labor ahead on 71, with the Coalition on 67, and six others including Greens MP Adam Bandt, two Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) members, Bob Katter, and independents Cathy McGowan and Andrew Wilkie. Six seats, it says, are yet to be determined. The ABC, however, has the Coalition narrowly leading on 68 from Labor on 67, with five cross bench MPs (they only count one NXT member), and a further 10 in doubt.
There are two main problems Green has with the AEC numbers. Firstly, they include seats that a party or candidate is simply leading in, not seats they are projected to win. For instance, the Liberal candidate in the Victorian seat of Chisholm, Julia Banks, is currently ahead by a mere 66 votes, yet the AEC has included that in the Liberal column. Antony Green and the ABC are putting seats such as those in a separate ‘In doubt’ section.
As well as this, the six seats that the AEC claim are yet to be determined aren’t marginal seats that could go either way, but in fact very safe seats that they simply have no data on. Five of these; Barker, Cowper, Durack, Higgins, and O’Connor, have been comfortably retained by the Coalition, and the remaining seat, Grayndler, belongs to none other than Anthony Albanese.
Using the ABC count as a guide, if the candidates who are currently ahead in seats that are still ‘in doubt’ all win, the next parliament will include 72 MPs each for the Coalition and Labor, and six crossbenchers. Coalition sources, such as Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg on last night’s Q&A, believe the postal votes will favour the Coalition, possibly giving them a greater number. Even with this boost, it’s unlikely they will win a clear majority.
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