Upper house tipped to move right
Thursday March 24, 2011
LEGISLATIVE COUNCILMINOR parties favouring the Coalition are likely to hold the balance of power in the Legislative Council after the election, a leading academic predicts.University of Wollongong politics lecturer Dr Anthony Ashbolt said the Liberal/Nationals Coalition were likely to control the upper house with the support of parties such as the Christian Democrats (CDP), the Fishers and Shooters Party and Family First.Leading the CDP charge into the upper house is Nowra man Paul Green, who is ranked first on the party's Legislative Council ticket.His wife Michelle is also standing, in position No 12 on the ticket.Upper house candidates need to reach a 4 per cent vote quota to be elected to one of the 21 seats in contention at this election.The NSW Electoral Commission predicts the quota for Saturday's election will be about 182,000 votes.Dr Ashbolt ruled out a majority win for the Coalition based on current opinion poll trends, but said the Christian Democrat vote would likely be bolstered with the Liberals directing preferences to the CDP above the line.Dr Ashbolt said it was possible the Greens could increase their vote; however, he believed heavy campaigning by some conservative lobby groups could also impede any gains."Perhaps the Green vote has been underestimated and this could help change the make-up of the upper house," he said."There has definitely been a strong campaign by Labor supporters, and some Greens, to get a preference flow to Labor above the line and guard against the dominance of the right in the Legislative Council."Also likely to garner support in the upper house are independent candidates, including former South Coast MP John Hatton, who is heading the Group C ticket.The long list of independent candidates also on the ticket include Mangerton lawyer David Swan and retired researcher Dianne Allen from Kiama.Other Illawarra residents who have launched upper house bids are Fishers and Shooters Party's David Cook from Farmborough Heights, the Socialist Alliance Party's Jess Moore, Patrick Harrison and Stefan Skibicki, and Labor's John Rumble, who lost out to Anna Watson for preselection in the seat of Shellharbour.