THE BULLETIN is not the only commentator noticing that voters were sending a message with the recent Eden-Monaro by-election that ended with a close finish for Labor’s Kristy McBain on preferences.
An Inside Story analysis by reporter Tim Colebatch, previously an economics editor for Fairfax, delves into the preference flow that decided the election. Despite what some pundits, particularly on the right-wing Sky News wanted on the night, Australian elections have been decided for the past hundred years on preference flows, not on first-past the post primary votes.
CAPTION: Eden-Monaro By-election, Kotvojs (Liberal Party) vs McBain (Labor Party).
The Inside Story analysis showed that gains made by the Liberal candidate in first preference tallies were lost in the subsequent flow of votes. It also notes that a wide field of 14 candidates made a difference. It allowed voters to send a message for the legalisation of marijuana; or sustainable Australia; or heeding science, while then giving their second or third vote to Labor or the Greens, which had dropped in their primary votes.
The story also canvasses the impact of the federal ambitions of the Member for Monaro, John Barilaro, in the outcome and the possibility that he urged a vote away from his Coalition partner, the Liberals, in the hope of having a shot at the next federal election.
A former economics editor might have drilled into the impact of pork-barrelling on Barilaro’s 2019 electoral popularity in Monaro rather than following the narrative that the state National’s leader is a messianic phenomenon beloved by the people, as implied here. Time will tell, and the National’s continued destructive environmental and some regional policies will hopefully, soon, come back to bite them all. Which brings up the advent of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party in state elections and in the Eden-Monaro campaign.
They split the traditional rural vote, and sent their preferences to Labor. The exact final impact of Barilaro’s influence and the Shooters and Fishers await final tallies by the AEC.
Meanwhile here is the Inside Story analysis.