Having dragged his heels in running through the various Senate contests, the Poll Bludger today offers two for the price of one – first Queensland, then Western Australia. As usual, we begin with a look at where your preferences will go if you, like most people with normal lives to lead, vote above the line. Attempts by various parties to obscure what they are up to by submitting needlessly complicated tickets don’t cut it here – this is based entirely on the order of the candidates that matter.
Labor: Greens; Hetty Johnston; Democrats; Family First; Liberals for Forests; Liberal; Nationals; One Nation; Pauline Hanson.
Liberal: Nationals; Family First; Hetty Johnston; Liberals for Forests; Democrats; Greens; Labor; Pauline Hanson; One Nation.
Nationals: Liberal; Family First; Hetty Johnston; Liberals for Forests; Democrats; Greens; Labor; One Nation.
Greens: Liberals for Forests; Democrats; Labor; Hetty Johnston; Liberal; Nationals; Pauline Hanson; Family First; One Nation.
Democrats: Hetty Johnston; Family First; Liberals for Forests; Greens; half-Liberal, half-Labor; Nationals; One Nation; Pauline Hanson.
Pauline Hanson: One Nation; Hetty Johnston; Family First; Liberals for Forests; Liberal; Nationals; Democrats; Labor; Greens.
One Nation: Pauline Hanson; Hetty Johnston; Liberals for Forests; Family First; Nationals; Democrats; Greens; Liberal; Labor.
Hetty Johnston: Democrats; Family First; Liberals for Forests; Pauline Hanson; One Nation; Greens; Labor; Liberal; Nationals.
Family First: Hetty Johnston; Democrats; Nationals; Liberal; Pauline Hanson; One Nation; Labor; Liberals for Forests; Greens.
Socialist Alliance: Greens; Labor; Democrats; Hetty Johnston; Liberals for Forests; Family First; Liberal; Nationals; One Nation; Pauline Hanson.
Liberals for Forests: Labor; Hetty Johnston; Democrats; Liberal; Family First; Nationals; Greens; Pauline Hanson; One Nation.
Fishing Party: One Nation; Nationals; Pauline Hanson; Hetty Johnston; Family First; Liberal; Labor; Liberals for Forests; Democrats; Greens.
H.E.M.P.: Greens; Labor; Democrats; Liberal; Liberals for Forests; Nationals; Family First; Hetty Johnston; One Nation; Pauline Hanson.
Non-Custodial Parents Party: Hetty Johnston; Pauline Hanson; One Nation; Family First; Liberals for Forests; Nationals; Liberal; Labor; Greens; Democrats.
As always, Labor and Liberal are each assured of two places. The third place-holders on the Liberal and Nationals tickets, Russell Trood and Barnaby Joyce, face their own battle to be the Coalition’s third contender. In 2001, 2.9 per cent of the vote separated the Nationals’ Ron Boswell from the Liberal candidate (Russell Trood once again) which was given another 1.1 per cent of padding when preferences from Call to Australia, who aren’t running this time, went to Boswell. This time the Nationals will have to settle for the Fishing Party. Morgan’s Senate poll had them on just 3 per cent, while a survey of 929 voters on the Gold Coast (once a strong area for the National Party) published by the Gold Coast Weekend Bulletin on September 25 had them on 5 per cent. While it is true that the Nationals traditionally do better than the polls suggest, the Liberals seem well in the hunt to displace them.
Hetty Johnston, Family First and the sentimental favourite of every psephologist, Senator John Cherry of the Australian Democrats, have emerged as a mutually-preferencing voting bloc that will put whoever emerges first out of the three into serious contention. Johnston has a head start here because each of the other two has her ahead of the other, while the opposite is true of Family First. There’s a good chance that whoever makes it through could edge the Coalition out of a third place and make it home on their surplus. Pauline Hanson’s only chance of winning serious preferences is if she can outperform this three-party bloc, in which case she will pick up Hetty Johnston’s vote. Hanson would also get preferences from the Non-Custodial Parents Party and also the Fishing Party if the Nationals were knocked out, but would need to at least match her 10 per cent vote from 2001 to stand much of a chance. The Greens should be able to knock Labor’s third candidate out of contention, but since Labor’s surplus to their second quota was just 3.2 per cent in 2001, it may not deliver them enough preferences to put them over the line. The combined vote for the Greens and their preference-feeders, Socialist Alliance and Help End Marijuana Prohibition, will need to be about 11 per cent. For what it’s worth the aforementioned Morgan and Gold Coast polls had the Greens on 8.5 and 11 per cent respectively.
Here’s what others think. Malcolm Mackerras: "In Queensland, my belief is that the Democrats will retain their existing seat (John Cherry) while the Nationals will take the seat of the Hansonite, Len Harris. My predicted distribution for the Coalition is two Liberal and one National. But it is possible there could be three Liberals, with the National Party missing out. I hold out virtually no hope for the either of the famous Queensland female Senate candidates, Pauline Hanson (Group K) or Hetty Johnston (Group O). While each has her own box above the line, the lack of description for that box is a major disadvantage". Charles Richardson at Crikey thinks it "a real lottery. My best guess is 2 Liberal, 2 ALP, 1 National and 1 Green, but the Democrats and Hetty Johnston are both in with a chance, and a rough shot for the famous red-headed one". Antony Green declares it "very difficult to work out" but eventually agrees with Richardson. The Poll Bludger will go out on a limb and predict three Liberal, two Labor and one Greens. My basis for tipping a National Party failure is that the Boswell-versus-Hanson contest attracted a great deal of attention to the National Party and their popular incumbent in 2001, whereas the Nationals are fielding an unknown this time and Hanson is not being taken as seriously.
Over in the west:
Labor: Greens; Democrats; Family First; Liberals for Forests; Liberal; One Nation.
Liberal: Family First; Liberals for Forests; Democrats; Greens; Labor; One Nation.
Nationals: Liberal; Greens; Democrats; Family First; Labor; One Nation.
Greens: Democrats; Labor; Liberals for Forests; Liberal; Family First; One Nation.
Democrats: Liberals for Forests; Family First; Greens; half Liberal, half Labor; One Nation.
Liberals for Forests: Democrats; Greens; Liberal; One Nation; Family First; Labor.
Family First: Democrats; Liberal; Liberals for Forests; Labor; Greens.
One Nation: Family First; Liberals for Forests; Democrats; Liberal; Labor; Greens.
Christian Democratic: Family First; Liberal; Liberals for Forests; One Nation; half-Labor, half-Greens; Democrats.
Peculiarities include the Nationals favouring the Greens over the Democrats and Family First, and a complicated effort from the Christian Democrats that appears to betray embarrassment that half of their preferences will go to the Greens’ Rachel Siewert ahead of Labor’s Emi Barzotto. The Poll Bludger doesn’t care to waste too much time on this one because he’s very confident the result will be three Liberal, two Labor and one Greens. However, Charles Richardson thinks that "Democrats, One Nation and Family First, together with some preferences from micro-parties and surplus from a major party, might put together a quota between them", potentially electing either Family First or the Democrats.