The federal election result shows a shift in Australian politics, Antony Green says

Australia has a new prime minister, but Labor’s path to victory has been unlike any election in history.

With a sea of ​​teal independents winning seats on climate change and anti-corruption platforms and a swing towards the Greens in some capital cities, it seems clear that Australia’s appetite for the two major parties has diminished.

This is reflected in the primary vote count, which will see Labor form government with just around a third of the first-preference votes. As of Sunday afternoon, they had secured at least 71 seats – under the required 76 to form a majority government.

ABC chief election analyst Anthony Green has covered more than 90 elections. Here he takes us through the key takeaways – and some of the still unanswered questions.

ABC chief election analyst Antony Green has covered more than 90 elections since 1989.(ABC: Daniel Boud)

What makes this federal election result unique?

We’ve never seen support for the major parties drop so low at a federal level before. The nearest comparison would be One Nation’s breakthrough in Queensland in 1998.

In countries with comparable electoral systems, like Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, we saw support for the long-dominate parties starting to subside in the 1970s and 1980s. That didn’t happen in Australia – the ’70s saw a polarization.

I think compulsory voting has added an inertia to the way our political system works and has prevented a decline in the major party vote.

What last night’s result shows is that the two major parties are no longer represented across all parts of the country. There was a time when both major parties would get a substantial majority of the vote in every seat.

People are looking at the national vote level, and missing the fact that the change is occurring at a much lower level; there are parts of cities where Labor’s votes have disappeared, and there are parts of the country where the Liberals and Nationals did very poorly and the independents did well.

It’s the national electorate that’s breaking apart.

Where are the non-major party voters turning?

Realistically, the only third party is the Greens. They received 12 per cent of the vote nationally. One Nation and the United Australia Party got between 4 and 5 per cent each.

At 12 per cent and with concentrated support in particular areas, the Greens are able to win individual electorates and with their level of vote, they’re able to elect senators.

When the Greens’ Adam Bandt won Melbourne in 2010, it was the first time a minor party had won a House of Representatives seat in a general election since before the war. They’ve now won several. But while they’ve got huge success in inner-city seats, they are a negligible force in large parts of Australia.

Greens candidates Max Chandler-Mather, Elizabeth Watson-Brown, Stephen Bates, Penny Allman-Payne with Senator Larissa Waters
Brisbane voters could be sending three Greens to the House of Representatives.(ABC News: Jessica van Vonderen)

As for One Nation and Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party, there hasn’t been anything significant. One Nation’s vote rose because it stood three times as many candidates. If you look only at the seats it contested last time, its vote fell.

Clive Palmer’s vote is only slightly higher than last election. One Nation and the United Australia Party’s impact will be with their preferences, and we’re not exactly sure what those are.

The rest of the shift is support for independents, with the highest number of independents ever seen set to enter parliament. Candidates with significant profiles and backing are able to win seats on the right issues. (Independents have so far won 11 seats, with the Greens on track to take four.)

An oddity was, one of the independents that I thought had the best chance of winning, Rob Priestly in the Victorian seat of Nicholls, was not able to take the seat from the Nationals.

People were critical that the teal independents – a group of female candidates running on similar platforms of climate change and a federal anti-corruption body – were getting so much more coverage than other independents but look at, say, Dai Le in Fowler who won over Labor’s Kristina Keneally.

She was just a local independent, she wasn’t a movement, she wasn’t undermining the party system – she was a local independent complaining about Labor selection processes.

The teal independents are a broader movement and they have had enormous success.

Is this an end to the two-party preferred system?

No. One or the other of the traditional parties will continue to form government.

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