Posts Tagged ‘Australian state politics’

Hanging loose out West

September 9, 2008

Saturday’s snap election in Western Australia could be a harbinger of things to come in New Zealand.

The result is so close that the final tally of seats might not be known until next week.

Interestingly, the election is the first fought on new boundaries which more fairly reflect the population distribution. Things had reached the point that “each member of the Legislative Assembly, as at 30 September 2007, was representing either 28,519 metropolitan voters or 14,551 country voters” (pdf: 66KB).

Whilst the maldistribution had clearly disadvantaged the Labor Party, the new boundaries migth not save Labor from losing power, despite the disarray in the Liberal Party. If it picks up another seat in the counting — 4 of the 6 in doubt were Labor held — and gets an independent on board, then it could still govern.

But it seems that the National Party has emerged as the kingmaker, having picked up at least four seats. Leader Brendon Grylls has met with the Labor and Liberal leaders and says he will wait for the final outcome and talk further with the other leaders. Given that the Nationals are a party of the right, this would stun many of its supporters. But Grylls is pursuing a larger share of the mining royalties for the regions. Watch this space, and reflect on the dynamics.

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Morris Iemma resigns, Nathan Rees succeeds

September 5, 2008

Water Minister Nathan Rees is the new Premier of NSW. Carmel Tebbutt is his deputy, the first female Deputy Premier in NSW.

NSW Premier Morris Iemma stepped down this morning after the Right faction of the NSW Labor Party rejected his proposed frontbench reshuffle following the shock retirement this week of Deputy Premier John Watkins, and he was told he had lost the support of MPs as a result.

Iemma yesterday sacked his Treasurer after the State Government lost the support of the Liberal Party opposition for electricity privatisation in the NSW Upper House, where it does not hold a majority.