By Malcolm Mackerras

Back on Wednesday 1 November I had an article posted on this website titled “Citizenship debacle dragged on too long.” It began this way, dealing with Queensland:
 
“Back on Friday September 8. . . I made a forecast which was that Labor would win an election I expected to be held on Saturday October 28. My prediction of the date was slightly out but my forecast of the result stands. It is 50 seats for Labor, 36 for the Liberal National Party, four for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party, two for Katter’s Australian Party (Hill and Traeger) and one for The Greens (South Brisbane). I shall contribute a detailed article on Queensland later this month.”
 
The first purpose of this article is to keep that promise. I begin by giving a list of the 50 seats I predict Labor will win on Saturday. They are: Algester, Bancroft, Barron River, Bulimba, Bundamba, Cairns, Capalaba, Chatsworth, Cook, Cooper, Everton, Ferny Grove, Gaven, Gladstone, Greenslopes, Inala, Ipswich, Ipswich West, Jordan, Keppel, Kurwongbah, Logan, Lytton, Macalister, McConnel, Mackay, Mansfield, Maryborough, Miller, Mirani, Morayfield, Mount Ommaney, Mulgrave, Mundingburra, Murrumba, Nudgee, Pine Rivers, Pumicestone, Redcliffe, Rockhampton, Sandgate, Springwood, Stafford, Stretton, Toohey, Toowoomba North, Townsville, Waterford, Whitsunday and Woodridge.
 
I now give the 36 seats I predict the LNP to win and the four I predict for One Nation. For the LNP: Aspley, Bonney, Broadwater, Buderim, Bundaberg, Burdekin, Burleigh, Burnett, Caloundra, Clayfield, Condamine, Coomera, Currumbin, Glass House, Gympie, Hervey Bay, Hinchinbrook, Kawana, Maiwar, Maroochydore, Mermaid Beach, Moggill, Mudgeeraba, Nanango, Nicklin, Ninderry, Noosa, Oodgeroo, Redlands, Scenic Rim, Southern Downs, Southport, Surfers Paradise, Theodore, Toowoomba South and Warrego. For the ONP I predict wins in Callide, Gregory, Lockyer and Thuringowa.
 
I am, of course, aware that this is a general election, not a series of 93 by-elections. Nevertheless, my opinion is that this has been a good campaign by Labor, The big issue is the Carmichael coal mine proposed by Adani Mining. I think the Labor campaign has handled this question skilfully. On the one hand Labor’s insistence that the mine will be built has helped to “sandbag” potential losses in regional Queensland. On the other hand, the possibility that the mine just might not be built if Labor wins has helped it in the south east. However, I think it is the personal popularity of Annastacia Palaszczuk which will do the trick for her party.
 
The second purpose of this article is to comment on something which has received very little notice, the decision by the High Court to confiscate the NSW Senate seat won fair and square by Hollie Hughes of the Liberal Party. It means that the seat will go to Retired Major General Jim Molan AO DSC. The only possible democratic justification for such favouritism would be the fact that, at the 2016 Senate general election, Molan received 10,182 first preference votes below the line compared with 1,126 for Hughes. However, when the Court deigns to gives us its reasoning I would be extremely surprised if such a justification is even mentioned.
 
My sympathies in this matter have been recorded several times on this website. The articles in question are: “My sympathy for Culleton, Day, Ludlam and Waters” (posted Thursday 20 July), “Why Section 44 of the Constitution needs fixing” (Thursday 27 July), “Barnaby Joyce should have resigned seat in August” (Friday 8 September), “Citizenship debacle dragged on too long” (Wednesday 1 November) and “High Court is to blame for political crisis” (Wednesday 15 November). Readers will know that I think the High Court has made a series of outlandish decisions. However, with the case of Hollie Hughes the Court has, in my opinion, graduated from the outlandish to the outrageous. This decision is outrageously unfair to Hughes. Our High Court has no interest in fairness or justice. It is interested only in its own power which it exercises with the certainty of a zealot.
 
Of course, I am aware that High Court idolatry is very strong in this country. There is a gaggle of so-called “respected” commentators who constitute a cheer squad for the Court. Their current line is to argue that the Court is “a black letter law” institution. Nothing could be further from the truth which is that the Court becomes a black letter law court when it wants to be but should not be described generally in that way. As I have argued, the Australian High Court has actually engaged in judicial law making but has been able to generate a popular opinion to the effect that certain politicians have trespassed against the Constitution. Actually, what has happened is that some blameless, worthy and patriotic politicians have not been aware of their situation and have trespassed against laws legislated by the High Court from the bench. It is not surprising that the Court (and its media cheer squad) want the general public to believe that such politicians have behaved badly.
 
One of my themes has been to repeat my belief that the voting system for our House of Representatives is vastly superior to that for the unrepresentative swill of the Senate. The High Court is involved in that fact. It can confiscate seats from senators who have trespassed against judge-made legislation – and get ordinary people to believe that the senators have disobeyed some commandment in the Constitution. The prime example of this lower house democratic superiority comes in the form of by-elections in New England on 2 December and Bennelong on 16 December.
 
In the case of New England, I have total confidence in the judgment of the people. They will cock a snoot at the Court by giving it a big, big, two finger salute. In modern language they will say “up you” to the gods and goddesses in question. I cannot, however, say that I am at all confident of the judgment of Bennelong electors.
 
Readers may be interested to know that I shall be out of circulation from Friday 24 November to Monday 4 December, inclusive. During that period I shall give serious consideration to my next article which will be on Bennelong. A question in my mind is whether I should make a prediction. That will require very serious thought!
 
(Malcolm Mackerras is Honorary Fellow of Australian Catholic University. malcolm.mackerras@acu.edu.au)