Playing favourites

The preference tickets for above-the-line upper house votes are now available courtesy of the South Australian Electoral Office. Antony Green has crunched the numbers and concluded that Family First’s Dennis Hood is looking good; that the Greens and Democrats are in direct competition for a place that will almost certainly go to the former; and that a preference swap between the two means No Pokies MP Nick Xenophon must do well enough on the primary vote plus preferences to reach a quota before the swap comes into play (unless the Greens do well enough to get elected early, in which case he will get Democrats preferences). Xenophon’s only direct sources of preferences are from the minor candidates who appear on the second row of the ballot paper, who Antony tells us accounted for less than 0.2 per cent of the vote in 2002. That number should be higher this time due to the the crop of former and current major party MPs who are contesting as independents, of whom Peter Lewis and Ralph Clarke are sending preferences straight to Xenophon.

Antony’s calculations are built on broad assumptions about the overall vote outcome, of which the only one that is inconsistent with my expectations is that Xenophon will poll "around 1-3%". No doubt Saturday’s Advertiser poll showing No Pokies on 10 per cent was way off the mark, but Xenophon’s popularity seems genuine enough that he should poll at least at the higher end of Antony’s scale. Antony is also sticking with the likely outcome of five seats for Labor and four for Liberal while countenancing the unlikely possibilities of one extra in each case. If I am correct in my hunch that Xenophon will get through on his own strength, someone will have to miss out somewhere – either the fifth Labor candidate, the fourth Liberal, the stronger performer out of the Greens and the Democrats, or Family First.

What follows is a simplified guide to the preferences of the various players (listed in ballot paper order), stripped of marginal candidates and obfuscations. Of the latter there are relatively few, with only Peter Lewis’s ticket sending numbers all over the shop. I have excluded all lists with only one candidate, with exceptions made for current and former MPs Peter Lewis, Ralph Clarke and Terry Cameron. Speaking of minor players, I am very surprised to discover that the No Rodeo Cruelty group is not in the race – on my recent visit to Adelaide I was struck by the extent of its poster coverage, which was almost comparable to the major parties, but a lack of political nous has apparently led it to concentrate its efforts on the lower house where it will wield little or no influence.

One Nation: Shooters Party; Family First; Peter Lewis; No Pokies; Dignity for Disabled; Nationals; 50% Liberal, 50% Labor; Democrats; Greens; Terry Cameron; Ralph Clarke.

Family First: Nationals; One Nation; Shooters Party; Peter Lewis; Dignity for Disabled; Terry Cameron; Liberal; No Pokies; Labor; Ralph Clarke; Democrats; Greens.

Labor: Greens; Family First; Dignity for Disabled; Shooters Party; No Pokies; Democrats; Nationals; Ralph Clarke; Liberal; Peter Lewis; Terry Cameron; One Nation.

Liberal: Family First; Dignity for Disabled; Nationals; Democrats; No Pokies; Terry Cameron; Shooters Party; Peter Lewis; Ralph Clarke; Labor; Greens; One Nation.

Nationals: Family First; Liberal; Democrats; No Pokies; Shooters Party; Labor; Greens; Ralph Clarke; Dignity for Disabled; Peter Lewis; One Nation; Terry Cameron.

Shooters Party: Family First; One Nation; Nationals; Peter Lewis; Labor; Liberal; Greens; No Pokies; Dignity for Disabled; Terry Cameron; Ralph Clarke; Democrats.

Greens: Ralph Clarke; Peter Lewis; Democrats; No Pokies; Labor; Dignity for Disabled; Terry Cameron; Nationals; Shooters Party; Liberal; One Nation; Family First.

No Pokies: Ralph Clarke; Dignity for Disabled; 50% Greens, 50% Democrats; Nationals; Peter Lewis; Terry Cameron; Shooters Party; 50% Liberal, 50% Labor; Family First; One Nation.

Democrats: Dignity for Disabled; Greens; No Pokies; Ralph Clarke; 50% Liberal, 50% Labor; Nationals; Peter Lewis; Family First; Terry Cameron; Shooters Party; One Nation.

Dignity for Disabled: Democrats; Shooters Party; Family First; No Pokies; Greens; Peter Lewis; Ralph Clarke; Nationals; Liberal; Labor; Terry Cameron; One Nation.

Terry Cameron: Family First; Democrats; No Pokies; Greens; Dignity for Disabled; Shooters Party; Liberal; Labor; Nationals; One Nation; Peter Lewis; Ralph Clarke.

Peter Lewis: Nick Xenophon (No Pokies); Family First; One Nation; Shooters Party; Ann Bressington (No Pokies); Dignity for Disabled; Nationals; Democrats; Greens; Ralph Clarke; Terry Cameron; Liberal; Labor.

Ralph Clarke: No Pokies; Labor; Greens; Democrats; Dignity for Disabled; Peter Lewis; Shooters Party; Nationals; Terry Cameron; Liberal; Family First; One Nation.

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.

53 comments on “Playing favourites”

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  1. I should clarify why I am not convinced Xenophon will do spectacularly well. On polling day, the Greens will be standing outside most polling places in the state, as will Labor and Liberal workers. I presume Family First will have a strong presence, and you may still see a few lonely Democrats outside polling places in the Adelaide Hills. I can’t imagine there will be many Xenophon workers on booths.

    In 1997, Xenophon was in the 2nd column on the ballot paper. This time he is in 8th column. He may be better known today, but in 1997 his No Pokies campaign was also a bigger issue. His victory in 1997 came about after he outpolled other minor parties (apart from the Greens) and picked up all the preferences. He polled 2.9% in 1997.

    Candidate like Fred Nile have shown in the past you can garner 3% of the vote without handing out how-to-vote cards. But it requires you to have an enormous mailing list and network to tap into.

    The Advertiser poll last week read 8 parties to respondents, then Nick Xenophon, then a generic ‘others’ and asked a vote. I strongly believe after such a long list with Nick Xenophon the only candidate name mentioned, name recognition increased his vote. Such a cue will not be there on the ballot paper on 18 March.

    I’ve tried different numbers, and until Xenophon gets to 5%, he still loses in the cut-up of preferences, and I truly find it hard to believe he can outpoll either Family First or the Greens.

    I’m happy to be proved wrong, but I repeat that Xenophon has to get nearly 5% in his own right before he can get elected because he does not get much help from preferences. And 5% is a huge ask for a candidate without a party structure.

  2. William, I think I’m more inclined to agree with you than Antony on this one from the evidence I can see. I’d be interested to see some more modelling on the reasoning behind the call that Xenophon needs this magical 5% figure. From what I understand, the crucial issue is the extent of Labor’s surplus – if it’s not terribly significant, then the Greens may just end up being stranded.

    Let’s first assume the likely scenario of Labor receiving five clear quotas to the Libs’ four (much as I would wish the reverse to be true). Following on from that, I’m also of the belief that the Liberals will be convincingly defeated but not roasted to a Victorian level of well-done, and thus I think we will see Dennis Hood elected on Liberal top-up, plus various minor parties (One Nation, the Nationals [in the position they deserve to be in]) after receiving around 4% in their own right.

    This then puts the race for the final vacancy – in reality – down to the Greens, the Democrats and Xenophon (very amusing surname, incidentally).

    If we follow South Australia’s Senate votes, then the above scenario is null and void and the Greens will be clearly elected before FFP after absorbing Democrat preferences. But I don’t believe this will be the case. I’m of the opinion that the Green vote statewide will slide compared to the last Federal result, as it did slightly in WA – and I believe their vote will be closer to 5.5%, given SA’s position at the lower end of the national Greens support spectrum.

    The Democrats will drop further and pick up just over 1% of the vote (let’s say 1.2%). They’ll likely be the next excluded after the abovementioned minor parties – though I honestly have no idea how the sitting members running as Independents will perform). Tally these together and we’re talking around 6.7% – this leaves them around another 1.5% to find to get the Greens over quota.

    I see Xenophon getting around 3-4% of the vote from what I see and read (though as a Victorian and part-time Western Australian, I’m again not hugely informed of the extent of his profile).

    The crucial point here is the amount of quota left from Labor vs the quota left from any no-hoper that may still left in the count (unlikely?) plus Family First’s top-up over and over what they required from the Liberals et al. The fact of the matter is that other than the Labor surplus, plus the fairly insignficant preferences from the Shooter’s Party, that’s it for the Greens – they have to hope that Labor have really romped this election home, becuase otherwise they’ll be overrun by the preferences to Xenophon from Family First, the sitting MPs running as Independents, the excess from the Liberals etc.

    So, in short, I don’t see a circle around 5% for Xenophon with regards to what he requires to be elected. It would obviously be advantageous under the conditions I’ve suggested for him to be around that figure, but in the end the reality is that the extent of Labor’s victory will determine whether or not No Pokies’ slots match up – if the Liberals are a fair chunk closer to another quota than Labor, Xenophon will be the beneficiary.

    There’s probably a couple of holes in my rationale here, so Antony and others, do feel free to pick me apart.

    Great coverage as usual by all, under somewhat hectic circumstances I’m sure!


  3. Unfortunately, I don’t have a web version of my LC calculator for everyone to play with, but putting in various scenarios, some more probable than others, brings me to the conclusion that Xenophon needs around 5%.

    I put in a scenario where Xenophon, the Greens and Family First all got 4%, the Democrats got 1.2%, One Nation, The Nationals and Diginity 1%, and Labor was on 5 quotas exact and Liberal 4 quotas exact. I then gave both Peter Lewis and Ralph Clark 1%, which leaves around 7% of the vote which I spread evenly around all other groupings.

    Now I consider this scenario underestimates Labor, Green, Family First and Democrat vote, and inflates Xenophon and all the second line candidates. It also removes any Labor and Liberal surplus.

    Oddly, this resulted in the final vacancy going to the Democrats. The Democrats do well from second line preferences, which allowed them to pull ahead of the Greens because I set the Green vote low.

    Most of the preferences Xenophon gets go to one of the other contenders for the final position before they reach him. That is why he needs a high primary vote to ensure the other contenders get knocked out first.

  4. Chris, I modified my model above, lifting the Greens to 5.5%, taking those extra votes from all the groups on the second line, and the result was the Greens won the final spot.

    However, with these votes, Family First was not elected until the Democrats were excluded. Looking at my worksheets, my system uses the Senate method of calculating transfer values when surpluses are distributed.

    For the real trainspotters out there, South Australia uses the same formula, but defines the bundle of votes that make up the surplus differently. Votes are distributed from excluded candidates not in one big bundle as with the Senate, but in smaller bundles in the order they were received by the excluded candidate.

    The easiest way to explain why life is tough for Xenophon is if you assume the Democrats can’t win, then you at some point you are assuming they will be excluded and determine whether the Greens or Xenophon win the final spot. Just simply add the Green and Demnocrat vote together and you see the hurdle Xenophon has to pass. Again, he needs a high primary vote or he doesn’t get ahead.

  5. I don’t think we can assume that the Democrats can’t win. If there is little or no residue above ALPs five quotas (perhaps because Nick X took some of their votes) then the Greens will not add much to their primary vote. The Democrats have done very well from the independents and should get good uplift from D4D. The last Morgan poll had them @ 3% (down 1%) and they generally poll better in the upper house. Given that Antony had them winning from 1.2%, and if Nick X gets his 5%, I think the Greens are in trouble if the ALP do not get significantly above 5 quotas.
    A web version of the LC calculator is pomised today from (It appears that we had to wait for prison break!)

  6. I wonder what I’m missing – I don’t get it. The Advertiser’s most recent poll gave the Democrats 4.5 % of the Upper House vote, and rising strongly.

    The Democrats are contesting all lower house seats but one, have had an effective campaign and, in Kate Reynolds MLC, have a proven lead candidate. Yet your usually astute analysis places the Democrats at 1.2% of the primary vote.

    In contrast you give the Greens who have long been weak in South Aust., 4% or more. According to the poll, support for the the Greens and Democrats is comparable, if not dead level.

    I’m sure that many South Australians will rally to ensure the survival of its humanist liberal party.

    Melbourne, 9 March

  7. Thanks for all this analysis people. Doesn’t quite accord with mine, but I don’t have time to write all my thinking down just now.

    Will make one minor point though William. Some parties have lodged two tickts, but in the sumaries you provide you only list one. This is particularly significant in the case of Xenaphon, who has a 50/50 split between Greens and Dems, rather than putting the Dems ahead as you suggest.

  8. Quote: ‘and, in Kate Reynolds MLC, have a well known lead candidate.’

    Sorry Paul but as a South Aussie on the ground I would hazard a guess that less than 0.5% of the entire state would be able to name who the Democrats’ lead candidate is. She made it to the front page of The Advertiser today as part of a story about women in politics (absolutely nothing to do with policy or any other electoral issues), so perhaps recognition could rise to 0.6% until 9pm tonight at the most.

    The Democrats stand for absolutely nothing and Kate Reynolds must surely be already looking through the Tiser’s weekly Careers supplement. She is gone.

  9. Interestingly the Democrats’ obvious shortage of funds and resources has led them to put up posters of Sandra Kanck on stobie polls around the southern suburbs. One can only suppose that these are left over from 2002 as Sandra isn’t up for election this time around!

  10. Paul, I don’t feel the Democrats have done enough to double their SA Senate vote from 2004, while the estimates we’re giving for the Greens are all around 1% lower than their 6.6% for SA at the last Federal Election.

    The Greens may not have a sigificant party structure in SA, and, granted, it is one of their weaker states, but the numbers speak for themselves – I’m far more inclined to trust solid (if somewhat Liberal-skewed for the purposes of this election) numbers than polls. Remember the number that had Howard in trouble in 2004! I don’t think the result is in doubt this time, but if your reasoning is correct and the Democrats poll 4.5% to the Greens 3.something%, I’ll do a nudie run through central Adelaide… I just can’t see it happening.

  11. The Party that “stands for absolutely nothing” has a full program of constructive policies on all issues … consistent with its underlying philiospohy of humanistic liberalism. Not surprising that the Shooters Party has preferenced the Democrats last.

    If Kate Reynolds is known by 0.6 per cent of South Australians then she may be better known in Victoria. From my visits to beautiful Adelaide, I give South Australians more credit.

    After all, SA virtually invented the Democrats and have nearly elected them to Federal and State lower house seats on numerous occasions, including the most recent State election.

    Melbourne, 9 March

  12. But Paul, that SA is the home of the Democrats is now irrelevant, as are their past performances, as are their policies (unless they get significant media coverage on them between now and the election). The harsh reality is that they have no support anymore. I can’t see what they have done that will cause their vote to double since the last time their support was put to the test in 2004. The only thing that will save them is if there is still enough population with the word “Democrat” still ingrained into their voting psyche to get them over the line.

    Just because SA and the Democrats are synonomous does not mean the voting public will show mercy. The DLP is inherently Victorian – yet how many votes do you seem receiving these days, whether or not people may agree with their policies? The state-riotic (ok, I invented that word…) parties such as SA First have proven that a party’s state of origin is insufficient to gain it votes.

    The only way that I can see the Democrats polling well is if those who have voted for Meg Lees’ APA in the past will come back to the Democrats – but fundamentally, I see the APA and the Democrats as they currently stand as completely different beings, and I’d expect that her previous vote will be distributed fairly evenly between the major parties this time around.

    I’m not going to say the Democrats stand for nothing – but they’re going to need to convince more than myself of that in the coming days.

    On the Shooters Party preferencing the Democrats last, I still don’t understand their preferencing of the Greens above Xenophon. This could be crucial if things get close, and I don’t understand why they’re sending votes to a party fundamentally against their ideals. Anybody have thoughts on this?

  13. There are a few things that need rebutting here. I am a Democrat candidate myself in the seat of Fisher. These are my personal opinions and are not endorsed by the party.

    1. Antony’s claims that there will only be a few lonely Democrat polling booth helpers in the hills is false. I have almost totally filled my polling booths (there will be more than one person at most polling booths) as have several of our candidates in the traditionally strong Democrat areas. I think people underestimate the strength of the Democrats in South Australia. People are rallying behind the party.

    2. Kate Reynolds is a very well known face in the Metro area of Adelaide. She may not be that well known outside of Adelaide, but Ian Gilfillan our current deputy leader who is retiring is well known and has passed on the Rural and Regional responsibilities to Richard Way (our #2 candidate for the Legislative Council) who is well known on the Yorke Peninsula.

    3. Yes the Advertiser poll contained anomalies (particularly the No Pokies vote.) What needs to be remembered is that the SA Democrats are running a strong campaign on the Upper House and that is reflected in the Advertiser poll (the magnitude of impact is hard to judge though.) What also needs to be remembered is that the undecided vote is still reasonably high and votes could swing either way. We will only find out the result on polling day.

    4. Whilst I can’t comment on financial resources and other resources, I can tell you that we are not struggling.

    I am not denying that it will be a tough battle for the Democrats, but all our resources and effort is being focused on the campaign. It is starting to pay dividends and interest from the General community in the party is much higher than it has been for years.

    Don’t write the Democrats off yet. You may be surprised what happens. Anything can happen, that is the beauty of Democracy.

  14. Nothing is sacred when it comes to doing upper house preference deals.
    Left-Right, Major-Minor what ever it takes to get elected.

  15. Far out, what I am I saying – I did mean preferencing the Democrats last after all!

    I’ve already stated I’m from Victoria, MB – the last time I was in Adelaide was about two months ago. Nonetheless, I did clarify my statements where I felt I had a lack of local knowledge.

    Cinderrella (sp?) man, who are you referring to exactly?

  16. It seems from the above preferences that it will indeed be hard for the Democrats to win the final senate spot. There is really only 2 scenarios in which the Democrats will win the final upper house spot

    The democrats and their feeders outpolls the greens, and labor’s surplus over their 5th quota is also higher than the greens quota, so that the democrats absord green’s preferrences instead of Green absorbing the Labor preferences

    The god-botherer do so well that they reach their quota easily (after preferences) and releases enough surplus to elect the Democrat candidate

    So even through the Democrats had put the god-botherers last, you should be cheering for the god-botherers, I love how the uper house voting works

  17. Is anyone going to factor into the Upper House preference scenarios the HEMP factor?

    In 2002 they got .89% of the vote , not a whopping vote by any means but perhaps enough to offset the Nationals vote in the Upper House for parties like the Democrats.

    The whole marijuana recriminalisation issue has been givena red hot run here by the likes of Family First and the Libs and even the Greens nationally watering down their drugs policy after the flaming they got from the press at the last Federal election.

    How about it number crunchers – how’s the stoner factor going to play out for the minors?

  18. In their glory days the Democrats were able to get Senators elected in state-wide ballots when they certainly did not have campaigners at every polling booth. With Labor heading for victory could they appeal to the popular desire to put a break on governments more effectively than the Greens (too left) or FF (scary)? I don’t think they can be written off. The SA Greens seem to be less politically appealing than in other states to the left-liberal constituency.

  19. MB I am from SA and I deem myself to be reasonably ‘tapped in’ to the State’s mood. That mood is setting the following scenario:

    Rann to get a middle-of-the-road landslide.

    A heap of seats with strong Liberal sitting members going down to preferences.

    Xenophon getting re-elected.

    and finally …

    The Democrats sinking into the great dustbin of spent political forces which includes One Nation, the DLP and Peter Lewis.

    MB, the Democrats are dead in the water. Policies such as putting condom machines in high schools just leave your party open to ridicule and will do little to galvanise that affluent Adelaide Hills vote that you have so long cherished!

    One final point: it is a beautiful day in Adelaide MB, a mild 30 degrees. Not a cloud in the sky, a nice breeze every now and again. Why aren’t you out door-knocking???

  20. Chris, funnily enough Victoria does remain a DLP stronghold to this day, and its lead candidate was nearly elected to the Senate in 2004 !

    John Mullholland of the DLP attracted 1.94%, outpolling (Senator) Steve Fielding on 1.88%. There could have been a DLP Senator in Victoria 50 years after the Party’s formation. Perhaps, as you suggest, this loyalty factor, has implications for the Democrats in its South Australian base.

    Incidently, the DLP (formerly the Barry-Coleman Labour Party) was founded by my maternal Grandfather, the Hon. William Peter Barry, MP for Carlton, Minister for Health, Melbourne Councillor, etc.

    My Grandmother, Mary Barry, was also highly influencial in the ALP and was the only woman on its Central Executive during the split. Both were magnificent people who worked tirelessly for disadvantaged people.

    Various current leaders of wide ranging views, in Victoria and elsewhere, have DLP heritage including Premier Bracks, Senator Andrew Barlett and many others.

    Melbourne, 9 March

  21. Thanks for pointing that out Stephen L, it has now been corrected. For the benefit of those who have been paying very close attention, One Nation and the Democrats have divided preferences between Liberal and Labor, whereas I had them both favouring Liberal earlier; No Pokies is dividing preferences between the Greens and the Democrats (I originally had them favouring the Greens) and Liberal and Labor (I originally had them favouring Liberal).

  22. For the real trainspotters out there, South Australia uses the same formula, but defines the bundle of votes that make up the surplus differently. Votes are distributed from excluded candidates not in one big bundle as with the Senate, but in smaller bundles in the order they were received by the excluded candidate.

    Could you explain the significance of this, Antony?

    So long as the surpluses are distributed before the elimination of candidates, I struggle to see what difference it makes.

  23. I do find it very hard to see the Democrats getting a seat in the legislative Council, I am yet to get any sort of campaign material from the party which would suggest it is struggling somewhat. I live in Hartley and am working on ms Portolesi’s campaign, I spend allot of time traveling from my home to university and so forth and have noticed the lack of democrats posters around the metro area, Also their strategy is odd, especially since the Bragg campaign has plastered areas of Hartley even though they are a significant distance from the border, then once you travel into and around Bragg there are very few democrats posters?? It also seems farcical to expect a decent vote in a well documented ageing electorate when you run an 18 year old candidate.

  24. David, it is way to complex to explain but I will try. In the Senate, all votes at full value get distributed at the same time. In S.A. each full value vote is distributed in the order that the bundle of votes is received. So if in these endless distributions of bundles a candidate reaches a quota, the rest of the votes to the elected candidate would go on the the next candidate at full value. In the Senate, all votes would end up with the elected candidate for distribution with the surplus.

    It does mean that where in the Senate some excluded votes would be discounted and passed on as a surplus, in the S.A. LC, they may skip ending up in the surplus all together and go on to the next preference at full value, while other votes in the surplus end up with greater weight. A technical point, but one that will be very important in a close result. My calculator uses the Senate method and may differe slightly to the SA LC count.

  25. Wow I must say I love this site especially for all your comments… and from the men themselves… William and Antony. [When I first saw Antony Green comment here and on the other sites like OzPolitics I was stunned. haha Didn’t expect such a high-profile politic guy commenting.]

    I must say I’m a true Democrat at heart [after taking the OzPolitics Political party Quiz… Take it for yourself – you’ll be surprised at which party it suggests you are most likely in tune to policy wise] as I’m not really into the major parties… although on 2PP I’m staunchly Labor. The Democrats do stand for something – like all political parties do [ yes even the Ripen Tomato Party, The 4WD Party, The Fishing Party and… our friends the Shooters Party] stand for something.

    However more the point… it seems that in the past few years the Democrats vote has really plunged. One look at Antony Green’s election guide on the ABC website through the electorate profile – you can see the massive swings against the Democrats at the last state election – one hitting 16% for memory. [Don’t quote me on it – not as fancy with my stats as all you guys :P] In looking at the last Federal Election [2004] the Democrats lost all their 3 senators reducing their size down to 4. Although this could be seen as John’s Howard popularity stealing the limelight… the Democrats really aren’t shining through and I’d hate to say- but they’re very much in decline. [A recent crikey article was putting them as almost a spent or has-been party – comparing it to funnily enough the DLP in the 1970s.] This decline has been due to past leadership problems federally… and these tend to feed down to the state level in effecting voters opinions. Ok – I agree Adelaide used to be Democrats stronghold – but now used to be… I reckon the Democrats will get a fair vote still but not make it over the line to get a seat in the upper house. [It seems to be the harsh reality from what I hear – but if they do get a seat – I’ll be bringing out a bottle of wine to celebrate]…..

    On another issue….. Re: FFP in Kavel
    I haven’t seen much comments around this issue – but does anyone think that the FFP might actually have a chance at getting this lower hosue seat? Considering the profile that goes along with it’s candidate. I’d like to hear comments on that.

  26. oo I didn’t realise there have been campaign updates on the electorates [checking them now] I guess it’s just wishful thinking if good ‘ole Tom makes it over the line

  27. PollBludger, this has to be one of the best political websites I’ve ever come across. As a South Australian I am delighted at your detailed coverage of a state which is not your own. Well done! 🙂

  28. Thanks Antony. That clears it up. (and thanks too to Will for correcting my formatting.)

    The situation of a surplus distribution creating another surplus hadn’t occurred to me.

  29. Just out of aside interest – how well does everyone reckon the Aussie Democrats will go in the seat of Heysen? Oh and another thing Antony Green – I was interested in looking up more on the democrats only lower house seat won in 1977 and 1979 but didn’t know which electorate it was under… just to look it up for curiousity I guess.

  30. Mitcham. It was held by Robin Millhouse, who left the Liberal Party with Steele Hall to form the Liberal Movement. When Hall re-joined the Liberal Party, Millhouse and most of the rest of the Liberal Movement became the building blocks for the Australian Democrats in the state. When Millhouse was appointed to the bench by the Tonkin government in the hope of winning his seat back, it was surprisingly retained by Hether Southcott at a May 1982 by-election. She was defeated at the state election later in the year.

  31. wow that was pretty damn quick – thanks a bunch William and Antony! That history does help too. 🙂 cheers – I must say this SA Election is probably crucial in determining if the democrats are really a spent force -or this election will give a clear idea if the trend will continue with 2007 an ultimatum for the democrats when all their 4 senators come up for re-election…..
    {Are there any guesses around or comments or mutterings as to how many senators people think the Dems will retain?}

    and to a really quick easy question – but just needed some clarification – is Dignity for Disabled an actual political party? or is that added into the column after the word ‘independant’?

  32. I indicated way back on March 9 that I didn’t entirely agree with Antony and William’s predictions re the upper house. Scary as it is to publically disagree with Antony, here goes.

    Firstly, I think that his predictions re Xenaphon and the Democrats are a little conservative. In particular, the Democrats are pulling out all stops this time, and I suspect will have better booth coverage than he allows for. I also think the minor players may do a little better than Antony seems to think and they are mostly preferencing one or other of these two. I think it is quite likely that either the Dems or Xenaphon will get up, possibly both.

    Perhaps a better way of looking at it is who won’t get up. I’m really not convinced by Antony’s belief that the Liberals will get 4 and Family First 1. If you look at the first elections for the incumbant ALP governments around the country it seems reasonable to predict that the Liberal 2pp vote in the lower house will be 43% or below – that’s less than they got in WA and NSW, but more than in Qld, Vic and NT – and would have got in Tas or ACT if one could get a realistic 2pp figure.

    Now if the Libs get 43% 2pp, it is far from certain that they and Family First will be able to get the 41.7% required for five upper house seats between them. After all, some of the Lib 2pp vote comes from people who vote Green or Democrat, and Xenaphon, Dignity for the Disabled and the host of independents will score some votes from people who will vote Liberal in the house. True, Family First, One Nation, Terry Cameron and the Shooters will win some votes back – votes that preference ALP in the lower house, but are directed to the Lib/FF side in the on the upper house side.

    Nevertheless, I suspect that the combined votes of candidates of the left (including Xenaphon and those who have preferenced to him in that for simplicity) will be 2% higher than the Labor 2pp vote.

    Family First stand to get an injection of extra votes if the Democrats drop out of the race causing Dignity for the Disabled’s preferences flow across, or if both the sixth ALP and the Green drop out and they pick up ALP preferences. Consequently, it is certainly possible we could see the 4 Lib/1FF scenario, but I think it’s far from certain. If this does not occur I think it is more likely the 4th Liberal will miss out than Family First, but it could go either way.

    If I’m right that leaves 7 seats between the ALP, Greens, Dems and Xenaphon (I really can’t see anyone else making it). Labor will certainly get 5 of these – probably on primaries – but I don’t think their chances of getting 6 are very high. In which case any two out of Greens, Dems and Xenaphon will fill the last two spots.

    I really can’t make a call as to which these will occur.

  33. PO, with your dem senate question, I think they will lose at least 3 seats, with Natasha the only one with a chance because she has/had a large personal vote.

  34. Stephen, I just can’t see both the Greens and the Democrats getting elected. I’ll accept the Greens could do worse and the Democrats can do better than I have factored in, but their combined vote being above 10%? I will be startled.

    In 1993, the Liberals got 51.8%, Labor 27.4% and the Democratcs 8%, and it ended Liberal 6, Labor 4, Democrat 1. The preferences are different now, but those figures still show how hard it is for a major party to get less than 4 elected MLCs.

    Comparing with 2PP is not always relevant. Remember under the LC system, there are 11 filled quotas at the end of the count, and about 8.3% left with an unfilled quota. It is much more likely that the combined Labor plus Green plus Democrat quota will end up in this extra leftover quota beyond the sixth filled seat.

    Also remember that Labor’s ticket goes to the Greens and then to Family First before the Democrats. Not all of the tickets stay in the simple left-right divide that 2PP analysis implies.

  35. Antony,

    I don’t expect the combined Greens and Dems vote to be above 10%, but it doesn’t need to be to elect both (unless by combined vote you mean combined with all the small fish who preference them).

    Lets say the Greens get 4.5% and the Dems 3% – total 7.5% which I think is pretty realistic. The two independents who go to the Greens got 0.2% each last time, which if repeated takes the Greens to 4.9%

    The Democrats are getting preferences from five and a half independents, plus Dignity for the Disabled. I think there will be almost 3% of the vote between these (most of the independents will get less than 1% between them, but HEMP will go close to 1% on their own. Dignity is hard to predict, but could easily be over 1%).

    So after the little groups drop out I expect the Greens to be on almost 5% and the Democrats close to 6%. Assuming the ALP excess is below 5% – something you seem to think is likely – this will go to the Greens and take them close to victory, or possibly over. If Xenaphon then drops out 50% of his preferences flow to the Greens, which should certainly elect them, probably with some spill over. A little of the spillover will be ALP votes and leak to Family First, but most will be Greens/Xenaphon, which combined with the direct share from Xenaphon’s vote that goes to the Dems this would elect them as well.

    Obviously I can’t be confident of this particular scenario – maybe the Green vote will be lower, maybe the independents and Dignity will be worth less, maybe the ALP’s excess will be too high or too low. On the other hand, the same outcome could occur in other ways, eg an ALP excess that is higher than the Green vote, but the Greens get ahead of them on half of Xenaphon’s preferences.

    Regarding 1993 – the ALP got their fourth seat because some of the candidates who might be considered to the left of them (some left independents, one of whom is now running with the Greens, HEMP, a Green party not associated with the Australian Greens) didn’t cross preference. If they had the result would have been 6 Liberal 3 ALP 1 Democrat 1 Independent. This time the preferences are generally tighter.

    That said, I take your point about not all the preferences holding to the left/right divide. The fact that the ALP and Dignity for the Disabled have both put Family First high on their preferences could cruel my prediction – but only if it is the Family First candidate who is fighting for the last spot – if they’ve already got elected at this point and the fourth Liberal is still short those preferences will come back to the left.

    The situation is so chaotic I certainly would make no predictions with confidence, but I think that a Green and a Democrat being elected is quite possible, as is one of them along with Xenaphon.

  36. Stephen L

    Have to disagree with you there, have been using the calculator and it seem highly unlikely for the Libs to not win 4, if they get 32% of primary, they are almost certain of winning 4

    and FF can get up even if they have only 4% of the vote, the only way FF can not win a seat seem to be if the combined FF/one nation vote is lower than Dem, Greens and Xenophon and their feeders, if that happens they deliver the seat the Xenophon, however I do not think that will be very likely

  37. Can the experts advise as to whether Dignity for Disabled has a realistic chance. My calculations suggest that, even with as little as 1.5% primary, they could move through the pack due to their strong flow of micro party preferences. They then get support from the big parties, Democrats, No Pokies and others (in fact preferences flow from right, left and centre).

    Melbourne, 14 March

  38. Looks like I’m out on my own in thinking we could get two out of Greens, Democrats and Xenaphon up. Maybe my desires are affecting my judgement, but I can’t help pointing out that in 1999 in NSW the Liberal-National vote was 27.4% in the Legislative Council. Sure that was the tablecloth ballot, but even in 2003 they only got 33.3%.

    If the Libs get 32% they’re home, but if they are half-way between there two NSW results, that is 30.4%. I think it is quite possible they will be that low. If so they’ll struggle to make it.

  39. Stephen L

    You are using data from the wrong state, NSW is probably the most left leaning state in Australian politics, while SA is one of the more right leaning. In NSW, the liberals have only been in power for about 6 (I think) of the last 24 (?) years.

    That is like saying Since George Bush won 2 election, Howard will win the next federal election, or since the liberal Dem lost the Canada election, the liberals will lose the next federal election.

    In NSW, there are more minor parties and the Liberals were led by Chikarovski, whom most liberal suporters I know did not vote for, Kerin is not that unpopular

  40. Now I’m in S.A., some of my thinking is changing. Everyone I talk to says Xenophon will have a presence on polling places, which means his chance of getting above 5% are good. Who will that hurt? Probably the Greens and Democrats on one side, and the major parties who may lose votes between the houses.

    But, I still say Family First will get elected. A good Xenophon vote would see him in. A Green or Democrat getting elected then means either the Liberals winning only 3 or Labor winning only 4.

    My last comment on the subject. Got to have the entire ABC computer systems working by tomorrow night when I fly to Tasmania to get that system running.

  41. I can tell you now that the Democrats have 90% booth coverage at booths with 1000 or more electors and many more filled in smaller booths as well. In my electorate of Fisher there is 100% coverage.

    Antony, thank you for your work and you too William. Both of you provide very good coverage despite having to cover 2 elections at once. Antony, good luck with getting the computer system up and running. Its no mean feat in a short amount of time.

  42. Today’s Age reports on the threat to the Democrats in SA from Family First. I’ve decided to go to Adealide to help the Democrats to maintain SA’s historical leadership in progressive social and environmental policies.

    Melbourne, 15 March

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