The Senate: part one, sub-section A

Antony Green has offered the astounding assessment that the Coalition could achieve the unprecedented feat of winning four seats in one state, namely Queensland, with both Nationals candidate Barnaby Joyce and the Liberals’ Russell Trood set for victory (other readers who concur include Bryan Palmer of Oz Politics and regular contributor Geoff Lambert). Since they also appear set to win three seats in each state plus one each from the territories, this suggests that the Coalition will emerge with the first absolute majority in the Senate since 1981. If so, it appears that the scale of the Coalition’s triumph at this election has yet to be fully appreciated. Green’s perspective on the Senate election was one of many the Poll Bludger received from various readers, which have collectively exposed a few wonky assessments in yesterday’s posting. Updates appear in order:

New South Wales: Here at least it looks the Poll Bludger had it right yesterday in calling it as three Labor and three Coalition. If 100 per cent of votes were above the line (the real figure being more like 90 per cent), on current figures the last three standing in the battle for sixth place would be Liberals for Forests (0.81 of a quota), Labor (0.66) and the Greens (0.53). Since the Greens have put Labor ahead of Liberals for Forests, their elimination would result in the re-election of Labor Senator Michael Forshaw.

Victoria: An apparently wrong call by the Poll Bludger in writing off Family First, which was based on the assumption the third Labor candidate would finish ahead of the Greens and then win the seat on their preferences. On present figures the Greens would be leading Labor 0.69 of a quota to 0.59. That would leave Labor preferences deciding the outcome between Family First and the Greens – and perhaps contentiously, they are delivering them to Family First. The Greens have thus been doomed in being frozen out by both Labor and Family First. Ironically, if they had done slightly less well their preferences would have given the seat to Labor, which they would surely have preferred.

Queensland: It appears that Hetty Johnston (apologies to serious Senate watchers for yesterday’s rather strange conclusion that Johnston was in with a chance), Liberals for Forests, the Fishing Party and the Democrats will progressively drop out leaving the third Liberal and Labor candidates, the Nationals, Pauline Hanson, One Nation, the Greens and Family First. Labor and Pauline Hanson will then drop out in quick succession – somewhat surprisingly, this means One Nation will have done better than its founder. The next to be eliminated will be either Family First or the Nationals – the result is very tight with the Nationals just a shade ahead. If the Nationals prevail they will aborb Family First’s preferences which will put them about even with One Nation, again just slightly ahead. Since most of One Nation’s support comes from last-minute fine-avoiding impulse voters, it seems reasonable to assume that this gap will only widen as absentee votes come into play. When One Nation and the various components of its accumulated vote scatter at this point, Antony Green calculates that the Liberals will have 1.08 of a quota and the Nationals 1.03, with the Greens stranded on 0.89.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.