First Trump, then Brexit, now the Australian election has produced a rebellion of sorts.

The outcome remains to be decided by postal votes, but it is already clear that if the Turnbull Government survives it will not have a majority in both houses of Parliament.

Minor parties and "microparties", as Australia calls single-member outfits, have won enough seats for some to be pivotal in the Senate. One of them is Pauline Hanson's One Nation, resurrected from its own wreckage. What is going on around the world?

These inchoate insurrections allow all sides to put their own interpretation on them. The left blames poverty, low incomes and loss of jobs to global trade. The right blames immigration, political correctness, failures of "big government".


It is probably all of these things and none in particular. It may just be that politics has become too predictable and complacent, and voters are in a mood to rock the boat just to remind those who practice and pontificate on politics that people do not like to be taken for granted.

When Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull engineered a rare double dissolution in Australia, and Prime Minister David Cameron promised Britain a referendum on remaining in the European Union, they were taking high risks.

But it did not seem so at the time. Mr Turnbull no doubt believed the electorate would not be ready to return to Labor so soon after the Rudd-Gillard Government. Mr Cameron made his promise when he was in coalition with a pro-European party and probably did not envisage his party winning power in its own right, forcing him to deliver the referendum.

Even then, he probably believed that, like Scotland's independence referendum, this one would narrowly confirm the status quo.

The shock in Britain appears to have buoyed Donald Trump's presidential campaign in the United States to a degree that he seems to have discontinued a brief attempt to moderate his style and rhetoric after sacking his campaign manager.

No matter how outrageous he may be between now and November, nobody will discount the possibility that he could win. In Britain, the electorate seems chastened by Brexit, conscious that it has taken a step into the unknown.

Its confidence cannot be helped by the decisions of the most prominent Leave campaigners, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, to step back from the leadership or prospective leadership of their parties before the next phase of Brexit begins.

Binding referendums, like elections, are not just a lively debate and a victory to celebrate. They are important, often fateful decisions for the country concerned, and sometimes for the rest of the world.

Australians who voted for Hanson and others outside the mainstream were probably registering discontent with the performance of both Labor and the Liberals in power.

Both have dumped leaders who won the previous election and now Mr Turnbull, or perhaps even Labor leader Bill Shorten, like Julia Gillard, face the prospect of being a minority Government dependent on deals with independents. It is untidy, but it is the mood of the times.