Liberal Democrat Influence disproportionate to importance.

The result in the Canning by-election could have profound ramifications for the political landscape in Australia. If the Liberal party were to lose the seat, then there would almost certainly be a challenge to Tony Abbott’s leadership and this will almost certainly be won by Malcolm Turnbull if he were to stand.

 communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull waiting the Canning results on the NBN network
communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull waiting the Canning results on the NBN network

Electing Turnbull as Prime Minister and party leader may give the Liberal party the list in the polls that they need to win the next federal election.

So the news from Canning is worrying.

The Liberal Democrats will give preferences to the Labor Party ahead of Liberal Party candidate Andrew Hastie at the Canning byelection.

The preference swap deal with the ALP is a blow to Prime Minister Tony Abbott whose future could hinge on the strength of result in Canning.

Now the Liberal Democrats can give their preferences to whoever they choose.

But let us not forget that Liberal Democrat Senator Leyonhjelm famously took ten per cent of the primary vote in NSW in 2013 after drawing the “donkey vote” position at number one on the Senate ballot. Liberal Party director Brian Loughnane believes that most of those votes were cast by voters thinking they were voting Liberal rather than Liberal Democrat.

 Senator Leyonhjelm: influence beyond his importance
Senator Leyonhjelm: influence beyond his importance

The voting system for our Senate  gives rise to some pretty scary results, Leyonhjelm being one of them and now he is in a position where he is likely to exercise influence well beyond his importance or the size of the constituency he actually represents.

Perhaps it is time we started thinking seriously about the way we elect our senators.

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