Coalition Senators under a Rudd government

A long succession of very bad polls – with another reported today – has Liberals starting to talk about Opposition (I’m a pessimist; I started in January). One Liberal-supporting blog reader emailed me last week wondering about how the party would operate in the Senate under a Rudd government.

He was right that the good 2004 result would see the Coalition in less trouble in the Senate than the House of Representatives, but very optimistic that it would be in a position, on its own, to stop Labor legislation over its first term.

To do that, it would need 38 of the 76 Senators. Assuming that the 2 Senate places in each of the ACT and the NT will as usual go equally to the ALP and the Liberals/Country Liberal Party (in the NT), it will have the 21 seats it won in 2004. With half the seats in the six states going up for re-election, the Coalition would need to pick up 17 of the 36 seats up for grabs.

The one poll specifically on the Senate published so far suggests that the Coalition is assured of only 12, with perhaps another from Queensland – still four short. On some issues, Family First’s Steve Fielding will vote with the Coalition, but he still leaves them three short. With the Democrats due to disappear, the balance of power will be held by the Greens, who are well to the left of the ALP.
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