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Green updates on seats still in doubt -

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KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: The see-sawing battle for the handful of seats still in doubt changed
shape again today and it now looks like another independent is going to take his place in
Parliament at Labor's expense, which changes the whole dynamic. Election analyst Antony Green has
been making his own assessment of the latest figures.

Antony, what has changed today?

ANTONY GREEN, ABC ELECTION ANALYST: Well what happened today, the Electoral Commission completed
its recount of all the votes in Denison, doing a count between Labor and the independent who will
finish second after preferences. On that count, Andrew Wilkie is roughly about 1,300 votes ahead of
Labor. Labor's gotta poll 57 per cent now amongst the postals and absent votes. That's extremely
unlikely and so it looks like Andrew Wilkie has won Denison from Labor.

KERRY O'BRIEN: OK. Now what difference does that make to the numbers?

ANTONY GREEN: Well it means Labor - if Labor can't get to 73 with Denison, the only way it can get
to 73 now is to actually win Hasluck.

KERRY O'BRIEN: OK.

ANTONY GREEN: And on the count today in Hasluck, the lead went out for the Coalition from about 380
to about 508 as they started to count postal votes. There's still a fair bit of counting to go, but
the postal votes that were counted were not a good trend for Labor.

KERRY O'BRIEN: OK. So what seats do you now regard as doubtful?

ANTONY GREEN: Hasluck's still in that doubtful category. Brisbane has narrowed. Brisbane, there was
no declaration votes counted as of this morning. They've counted some today and the lead has
narrowed to 657. Now there's a lot more counting - Labor only had to get about 51.5 per cent of the
rest of the votes to get ahead, but that's still a big gap to close. The other electorate ...

KERRY O'BRIEN: When might we know that one?

ANTONY GREEN: Hopefully tomorrow they'll do some more declaration vote counting and give us a
better handle. They'll just progress the count beyond about 72 per cent, which is all it is at the
moment.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Now you put Corangamite back into the doubtful which had looked like it was gonna
stay with Labor.

ANTONY GREEN: In Corangamite, the postal vote heavily favours the Coalition and certainly did at
the last election, and on the 4,000 or so they've counted to date they've again favoured the
Coalition heavily, and that's brought Corangamite back into the narrow band which we call
"doubtful". But what hasn't been counted yet is the absent vote and that absent vote is generally
cast in Geelong and on past trends favours Labor more than the on-the-day vote. So Labor will
increase its majority once the absent vote starts to be counted. The other group of category is
pre-poll votes, and at this election for the first time, over half of the pre-poll votes have
already been counted because they counted them on the night. So they're less of a problem. So I'd
say while Corangamite has narrowed, I think Corangamite is still favoured for Labor to win.

KERRY O'BRIEN: So on the basis of that, if those three doubtful seats, assume Corangamite stays
with the Government, assume as it sounds that Hasluck will go to the Liberals, put Brisbane to one
side - how would that leave the numbers?

ANTONY GREEN: Well if you put Brisbane aside, it again comes down to 72 all with the Green plus
four independents, and the last seat then would be Brisbane. So if Brisbane becomes the last
deciding seat - I'm still not convinced of that - it's still looking much more like 72 Labor, 73
Coalition.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Four independents ...

ANTONY GREEN: ... and one Green.

KERRY O'BRIEN: ... and one Green. Which, theoretically, would favour the Coalition over Labor, just
in terms of raw numbers. In terms of numbers of seats.

ANTONY GREEN: Yeah. If you wanted to treat Andrew Wilkie and the Greens separate from the three
other independents, then that favours Labor, but that assumes that the - the Coalition - but that
assumes that the three independent conservative members would support the Coalition. It's their
choice.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Which is still well and truly to be played out. Now just quickly, let's come to the
Senate because it's unusual, is it not, that there's quite a gap before the new Senate in which the
Greens will have the balance of power will take its place. That doesn't happen until July next
year. Now that's 10 months.

ANTONY GREEN: Yeah, we've normally had our legislations between October and November - September to
November in recent years, so it's been eight to nine months before the poll takes it - the Senate
takes it seat. It's much longer this time because we've had an August election. This is only the
third winter election in Australian history, which is why the gap's longer. The Senate is a fixed
term and it will take its seats next year.

KERRY O'BRIEN: So in fact whichever side forms minority government will be dealing with the current
Senate through until July-August next year, which means that the challenge of having to deal with
the Greens as the sole balance of power is a long way away yet in political terms.

ANTONY GREEN: Yeah. If the Coalition forms government, they're in a better position until July next
year and then their position deteriorates. So that's one of their problems.

KERRY O'BRIEN: So now answer me this question: because Tony Windsor said again today, "Don't rule
out the possibility of us having to go back to the polls." Now, if there is another early election,
what happens with the Senate? Is it a half-Senate election? Is there any possibility of a double
dissolution which has very strict rules on when you can have a double dissolution? Or are we just
going to see - if it happens - an election just for the Lower House?

ANTONY GREEN: It would have to be just for the House. I can't see how they can have a - a double
dissolution requires a trigger; there isn't a trigger, so that's out for the moment. And even if
they get a trigger between now and July next year, I think there would be an implict block on
having a double dissolution because the Senate is about to change anyway. I don't think you can
have a half-Senate - you'd get a constitutional lawyer's opinion on this one, but I think
implicitly it's in the Constitution that you can't have another half-Senate election now having
already held one, issued the writs and had the writs returned.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Before they could even take their place.

ANTONY GREEN: So I'd say anytime up until the end of next year, you can have a separate House
election and it doesn't get the House out of step with the Senate. So I think there would be the
possibly in the next months - next 18 months of having a separate House election if the House
becomes unworkable in some manner.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Now very briefly: Rob Oakeshott's hopeful idea that maybe the major parties could
think outside the square and possibly pull together. Any precedent for that?

ANTONY GREEN: Well, I think back to 1940 when we last had a hung Parliament produced by an
election. That was during the War and there wasn't enough good will to get a coalition government
out of it. At that time, the Labor Party stayed in Opposition. They formed a consultative
committee, but there was certainly no formation of a Cabinet in the time of war. So it strikes me
as hard to believe that in this era, when there isn't a war on, that you can get that sort of good
will between the two sides of politics.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Antony Green, thanks.

ANTONY GREEN: Thankyou.