Crossbench Tipped for Senate ‘Balance of Power’ After Next Election

New analysis from The Australia Institute has shown that, even under the most optimistic predictions for a potential future Labor Government, it will likely still need to work with the Greens and at least one or two members of the crossbench to get legislation passed through the Senate.

With the Coalition similarly incapable of taking control of the Senate in their own right, based on current predictions, the crossbench will almost certainly continue to play a significant role in Australian politics, with a few key Senators poised to wield significant power after the next election.

“Current polling makes Labor the favourite to form government at the next election, but our analysis shows that they will still need to work with other parties, and potentially some independents, in the new Parliament,” said Ben Oquist, Executive Direct of The Australia Institute.

“Even under the most optimistic predictions for the Labor Party, we expect that they and the Greens will only have 38 Senators between them, one short of a passing majority. That means the Centre Alliance party, or independents like Derryn Hinch or a potentially re-elected Jacqui Lambie, are likely to wield significant power.

“South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria are shaping up to be some of the most hotly contested states and are likely to be key battlegrounds when it comes to deciding the final few seats.

“With just two Senators remaining in the Parliament, One Nation are a serious chance to increase their representation at the next election which could be significant in the event of a Coalition win.

“While the polling indicates that One Nation has a chance of taking the final seat in Victoria, precedent suggests that is very unlikely and the Coalition is better placed to be in the contest for the final Victorian seat against Labor and, potentially, Derryn Hinch (which would give the Coalition the total projected seat range of 30-35 and One Nation 2-5).

“While the last federal election was a double dissolution election, it is important to note this next election is a half-senate election only, which doubles the quota making it more difficult for minor parties and independents in particular.

“It is particularly challenging to make senate election predictions as this is the first half senate election held under the new voting laws.”

The full report can be viewed and downloaded here

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Anna Chang Communications Director

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anna@australiainstitute.org.au