I also just wanted to say to my Australian friends, "Welcome to the world of hung parliaments!"
Canada has had what you guys call a hung parliament since 2006. And since we're on the Westminster system like you guys, our voting system is equally ill-equipped to handle the reality of multiple parties. Worse, actually, since we have neither preferential ballots nor a system of proportional representation.
And like you, most of us voted farther to the left than the party that won the plurality - your Greens and Labour parties make up 49.5% of the popular vote to 44% for the right-wing Coalition, whereas 63% of Canadians voted farther to the left than the winning Conservatives our last election.
I offer two pieces of advice, as a lefty who's had to watch the worst government in our history dismantle our country with only a mandate of 37% of the popular vote:
- Do not allow the media to demonize a coalition between your more left-wing parties. They are not sports teams - they are not discreet units that have nothing to do with each other, and it's not "first past the post." They represent positions on a political spectrum, these positions blend in with some parties better than others. When similar parties ally to each other, they better represent the whole of the public than "winner take all."
- If Abbot does wind up as prime minister, don't let him bully the other parties with a threat of an election. Our prime minister has kept himself in power four years by making everything a confidence motion, and cowing the cash-strapped Liberal Party into voting for everything the Conservatives want.
Gillard lost more votes to the Greens this election than to the Coalition, so it's pretty clear that Australians are more interested in progress than the final seat tally suggests. Don't let Abbot spin this into an undeserved victory.