The $1.8 million election hangover: Labor Party’s loss triggers budget black hole

Labor supporters watch the tally count as it becomes clear the party will lose, at the party reception in Melbourne on May 18.

Labor supporters watch the tally count as it becomes clear the party will lose, at the party reception in Melbourne on May 18. Photo: AAP

The Labor Party has emerged from the election in the red and is bracing for a $1.8 million budget black hole because it budgeted for a higher primary vote.

The fiscal hangover from Bill Shorten’s election loss means that the ALP faces a budget shortfall under the new rules that govern public funding.

The New Daily has confirmed the funding gap is $1,873,413 for the Labor Party based on expected primary vote of 36 per cent.

Instead, Mr Shorten secured a primary vote of 33 per cent.

But Labor sources insist that the ALP was running a $1 million surplus contingency fund, which means the books will end “marginally” in the red but it will be closer to $500,000, not $1.8 million.

“Although the maths is correct, we had a million dollar surplus that is offset,” an ALP source said.

“The budget was thankfully pretty conservative, so that $1.8 million is offset.”

Even more worrying for the ALP, two of the biggest unions that could bail out the ALP – the CFMMEU and the Electrical Trades Union – are at war with Anthony Albanese over the future of Victorian union leader John Setka.

Multiple sources say that ALP secretary Noah Carroll budgeted on securing 36 per cent of primary votes across Australia to determine election spending and estimate public funding.

Based on current voting data the ALP will secure $24,669,374, nearly $2 million less than expected.

It is calculated on first-preference votes, not the two-party-preferred vote tally.

The Liberal Party will secure an estimated $27,851,931 from taxpayers for the 2019 under the public funding rules.

The Greens will secure an estimated $7.67 million.

Candidates and parties that secure more than 4 per cent of the vote secure $2.75 for every first-preference vote but must prove election-related expenditure to claim.

Chloe and Bill Shorten outside their Moonee Ponds home after the election. Photo: AAP

An automatic payment of election funding of $10,000 is paid as soon as practicable after 20 days after polling day.

The AEC confirmed those arrangements are under way on Friday.

To secure more than the $10,000, political parties or candidates must make a claim to the AEC.

The amount of any further election funding payable is whichever is the lesser of: the calculated election funding entitlement; or the amount of demonstrated electoral expenditure.

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