Appearances are deceptive. Opposition leader Bill Shorten behaves as if he has won the election. As yet, he hasn’t. The right-wing of the Coalition ponders an act of revenge against prime minister Malcolm Turnbull by restoring Tony Abbott to the job.
However, until the Australian Electoral Commission gets round to declaring a result, possibly Wednesday, but maybe not until next week, comment and analysis on future strategy is futile.
There are few certainties, but it is clear that the election on July 2 was a big win for the trades unions, however unintentional. The original reason cited by Turnbull for calling the election – to rein in the controversial and crime-ridden CFMEU by restoring the construction industry watchdog, and outlawing corrupt practices, will not pass the Senate. Outrageous wage claims that have made the building industry one of the world’s most expensive will persist.
Coalition plans to cut company taxes from their present (comparatively high) levels will not happen, as ghey will also not pass the Senate.
Worst of all, the burgeoning Budget deficit will continue to rise, almost certainly leading to a downgrading of Australia’s AAA credit rating. Even when many thought Turnbull might pull off a clear majority, there was no appetite for the kind of measures needed to rebalance the Budget. Now it will just drift, like the country.
Shorten will remain leader of the Australian Labor Party; as of today it is less certain whether Turnbull will be able to cling to power. Investors will wait and see what happens.