The Senate: Victoria

Welcome to part two in a behind-schedule seven-part series on the various Senate contests.

Along with Western Australia and South Australia, Victoria is one of three states where the Coalition has never failed to win three Senate seats since six-seat half-Senate elections began in 1990. Labor has fallen short on four of six occasions, the remaining seat going to the Democrats in 1990, 1996 and 2001 and to Family First in 2004. The latter outcome was one of two extraordinary Senate results from 2004, the other being the Coalition’s fourth seat in Queensland. Family First’s 1.8 per cent share of the vote was substantially lower than in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania, but in Victoria the party was privy to hugely significant preference deals with Labor and the Democrats (which also applied in Tasmania, where their candidate narrowly failed to squeeze Greens candidate Christine Milne out of the sixth seat). Preferences from One Nation and others put Family First’s Steve Fielding clear of the DLP (1.9 per cent), the Democrats (1.9 per cent) and Liberals for Forests (1.8 per cent), whose preferences he absorbed in turn. That was enough to put him clear of Labor’s third candidate, incumbent Jacinta Collins, who was left with a disappointing 9.2 per cent surplus over Labor’s second quota. At this point Labor’s deal with Family First activated in the opposite direction, delivering Fielding a seat at the expense of Greens candidate David Risstrom.

With no single minor party emerging a clear winner from the preference harvesting game, this year’s election is likely to be a more straightforward affair. Labor is giving preferences directly to the Greens, and the Democrats have both major parties ahead of Family First. There is still an outside chance of Family First winning a seat if it matches its 4.3 per cent lower house vote from the state election, and if the Coalition vote sinks into the low to mid-thirties, but it is more likely to be a question of who out of the Greens, the Coalition and Labor will miss out on one of the last two seats. On 2004 figures, this contest would start from 8.7 per cent for the Greens, 17.1 per cent surplus for the Coalition (their surplus over the second quota) and 9.2 per cent for Labor. From this point the Greens will be boosted by preferences from the Democrats, the Climate Change Coalition, the Socialist Alliance and What Women Want; the Coalition by Family First, the DLP, the Christian Democratic Party, the Citizens Electoral Council and the Non-Custodial Parents Party; and Labor by One Nation, the Shooters Party, the Liberty and Democracy Party and Senator On-Line.

This election is certain to see the return to the Senate of Jacinta Collins (left), who lost her seat to Steve Fielding in 2004. Collins came to the Senate in 1995 after 15 years with the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, which dominates the Catholic Right faction with which she remains associated. Collins assumes the top position on the Labor ticket left vacant by the retirement of Robert Ray, following a turf war which delivered a win for the SDA over the Right sub-faction associated with Bill Shorten. The latter group supported assistant national secretary David Feeney, who ended up winning the number three spot at the expense of National Union of Workers hopeful Andres Puig. Michael Bachelard reported in The Australian that some in the Right believed Collins won backing from the NUW in exchange for promised SDA support for Martin Pakula’s unsuccessful bid to oust Simon Crean in Hotham.

The Coalition runs joint tickets in Victoria by a long-standing arrangement in which the Nationals take the second and fourth position at alternating elections. This election gives the Nationals fourth place, meaning only Liberal candidates can be regarded as serious contenders. The precarious long-term future of the arrangement was indicated when the Nationals Senator, Julian McGauran, defected to the Liberals in January 2006. None of the three Coalition Senators elected in 2001 is seeking re-election: Richard Alston retired in March 2004, and Rod Kemp and Kay Patterson will depart when their terms end in the middle of next year. The Coalition ticket will be headed by former Peter Costello adviser Mitch Fifield (left), who filled the casual vacancy created by Alston’s departure. Fifield won preselection on that occasion ahead of former Menzies Research Centre director John Roskam, after brief speculation that Michael Kroger or even Jeff Kennett might be contenders. The next two positions have gone to Helen Kroger (centre), former state party president and ex-wife of Michael Kroger, and Scott Ryan (right), party vice-president and government affairs manager at GlaxoSmithKline. An unsuccessful contender was Bev McArthur, wife of Corangamite MP Stewart McArthur and a member of the party faction associated with Kennett. The preselection of Fifield, Kroger and Ryan marked a clean sweep for the rival Costello-Kroger forces.

The remaining incumbent seeking re-election is Democrats leader Lyn Allison (left), who was elected in 1996 and re-elected in 2001. With the future looking extremely dim for the Democrats, it is far more likely that the final seat will be won by the Greens, who have never previously won a Victorian Senate seat. Their lead candidate is Richard di Natale (centre), a humanitarian doctor who spends much of his time on HIV prevention work in India. Di Natale came within a few per cent of defeating Labor’s Bronwyn Pike in the state electorate of Melbourne in both 2002 and 2006, winning Senate preselection ahead of the narrowly unsuccessful candidate from 2004, David Risstrom. The Family First candidate is Geelong financial planner Gary Plumridge (right).

The substance of the various parties’ preference arrangements can be distilled as follows:

CLIMATE CHANGE COALITION: Democrats; Greens; Family First; NCPP; Shooters; CCE; LDP; Carers; Labor; WWW; SOL; SEP; DLP; Coalition; CEC; SA; CDP; One Nation.

ONE NATION: Family First; DLP; CDP; Shooters; NCPP; LDP; CEC; CCE; SOL; WWW; Carers; CCC; SEP; SA; Democrats; Labor; Coalition; Greens.

DEMOCRATS: Carers; CCC; WWW; Greens; SA; half (Labor; Coalition), half (Coalition; Labor); CCE; SOL; LDP; DLP; NCPP; SEP; Family First; Shooters; CEC; CDP; One Nation.

WWW: Greens; Democrats; SA; Labor; SOL; CCC; SEP; LDP; CDP; Carers; DLP; CCE; Coalition; NCPP; Shooters; One Nation; Family First; CEC.

SENATOR ON-LINE: Carers: CCE; CCC; WWW; LDP; NCPP; Democrats; Labor; Greens; Coalition; DLP; Family First; SEP; SA; One Nation; Shooters; CDP; CEC.

LABOR: Greens; CCC; SOL; LDP; Shooters; SEP; SA; Carers; WWW; DLP; Democrats; Family First; CCE: CDP; Coalition; NCPP; One Nation; CEC.

SHOOTERS: Labor; CDP; Family First; One Nation; DLP; Carers; Coalition; CCC; CCE; NCPP; CEC; LDP; SOL; WWW; Democrats; SEP; SA; Greens.

COALITION: Family First; DLP; CDP; Carers; CCE; CCC; Democrats; LDP; NCPP; Shooters; WWW; SOL; Greens; Labor; SEP; SA; One Nation; CEC.

FAMILY FIRST: CDP; LDP; LDP; CCE; CCC; One Nation; NCPP; Shooters; Carers; WWW; Coalition; Labor; SOL; SA; CEC; Democrats; Greens.

LIBERTY AND DEMOCRACY PARTY: CCE; One Nation; Labor; Family First; Coalition; Shooters; Democrats; DLP; SOL; WWW; CDP; Labor; CCC; Carers; NCPP; Greens; CEC; SA.

DEMOCRATIC LABOR PARTY: CDP; Family First; Shooters; NCPP; CCE; LDP; Coalition; Labor; One Nation; SOL; Carers; Democrats; CCC; SEP; WWW; Greens; CEC; SA.

CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY: DLP; Family First; Shooters; Carers; Coalition; NCPP; One Nation; SOL; CEC; LDP; Labor; CCE; WWW; CCC; Democrats; SEP; SA; Greens.

CITIZENS ELECTORAL COUNCIL: Coalition; Carers; One Nation; Shooters; DLP; CDP; NCPP; SOL; WWW; Democrats; LDP; SA; SEP; Family First; CCE; CCC; Labor; Greens.

NON-CUSTODIAL PARENTS PARTY: Carers; One Nation; CDP; Family First; CCC; CEC; SOL; Shooters; LDP; DLP; CCE; Coalition; Democrats; Labor; WWW; SEP; SA; Greens.

SOCIALIST ALLIANCE: Greens; WWW; SEP; Labor; Democrats; Carers; CCC; SOL; Coalition; LDP; DLP; CCE; Shooters; NCPP; Family First; CDP; CEC; One Nation.

GREENS: Democrats; Carers; WWW; SA; CCC; SOL; Labor; CCE; SEP; half (Coalition; DLP; Family First; LDP; NCPP; CDP; Shooters; One Nation; CEC), half (DLP; Family First; LDP; NCPP; NCPP; CDP; Shooters; One Nation; CEC; Coalition).

CARERS: WWW; SA; CCC; SEP; SOL; NCPP; CCE; Shooters; LDP; Democrats; Greens; Family First; Coalition; Labor; One Nation; CDP; DLP; CEC.

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.

41 comments on “The Senate: Victoria”

  1. thx for the summary william. i enjoy these.

    just a quick question.

    reading this reminded me about mcgauran’s defection from the nats to the greens. do you think this will harm him enough(or at all) to lose Gippsland?

    Nats voters can be pretty parochial.

  2. Julian McGauran defected from the Nats to the Libs. Peter McGauran is defending Gippsland. I doubt anyone in Gippsand knows or cares about Julian. They do care about WorkChoices and housing affordability.

  3. thx adam. i meant the Libs lol. mummy mcgauran prolly had a heart attack if she read that.

    and i see i mixed up the brothers. lets hope mud sticks.

  4. I have today made several posts re the Victorian Senate election on “Wheel of fortune: epsde two”, so I will not repeat them here.

  5. William Bowe Says:

    Sorry Adam, I wasn’t aware you owned copyright on parliamentary and party website photos.

    Well he wanders around ALP conferences with his digital camera it seems. Vide the rather fetching protrait that now graces his Jacinta Collins article in Wikipedia. Comparing it with old snap, one can only marvel at the power of Photoshop.

  6. Latenight, I have to admit that I didn’t realise Family First’s state vote was quite that high. Now that I do, I see that it is indeed possible to plug in scenarios where they win from that vote, particularly if the Coalition vote falls in a narrow range around 35 per cent.

  7. William, Speaking to a disgryntled ALP member, he told me which ‘margianls’ they did in Vic, Happy to let you know so you could check the cred of leaks,

  8. The Nationals will not have a Victorian Senate Candidate elected this time around. This could see the Nationals lose their party status in the senate should they decide to go it alone in opposition.

    Odds are that the results in Victoria will be 3 (libs) x 3 (ALP).

  9. This is a little off topic but I’m posting here because the newspoll thread is a bit unwieldy.

    The lesser swings in VIC and NSW and the bigger swing in QLD and SA does make a bit of sense, if you just plug it into Antony’s calculator, and then sit back and look at the 2PP column.

    Think about it like a big coil mattress with the biggest population states having the stiffest springs.

    NSW, VIC, QLD, and SA all end hanging at around 53 and 54 with NSW and VIC being on the lower end.

    TAS and NT are on the high end. and the ACT… well.. its populated by people who have some idea what’s going on 🙂

    The only anomaly here is WA, and lets face it, I’ve been to Perth, and they really do think they are a different country 🙂

    Is there a germ of truth in this btw? (not the bit about WA, the bit about springs)

  10. I disagree with your assessment that the Greens came close top winning team 2004 Senate race. The preference deal struck would have seen the ALP win a third spot had the ALP not slipped below 39% and the Liberal party were pegged back closer to the 42% mark. The polls are showing Labor is on track to be in a winning position for three seats. This will see David Feeney (An excellent candidate) be elected. The Greens only real chance of being elected is if they can out-poll the Liberal Surplus (IE the Liberals need to fall below 39%).

    Even number candidates have an undesired effect where the majority vote does not get a majority of positions. The Greens are expected to once again become the wasted quota. Although the preference deals do favour them more this round I expect they will receive less votes then they did in 2004.

  11. Mad cow @19: It pays to look at the State (Upperhouse except QLD) and also take a look at the swing registered in the previous election. Look at it more a a goup of swings in operation side by side with the main states having a bigger child on them.

  12. The National Party made a big mistake not running on a separate ticket. Had they stood alone they had a chance this way they have none. (Unless they plan to have all their supporters vote below-the-line). You can expect the coalition vote to drop a few percentage points on that decision alone.

  13. For the Victorian Nationals to run a separate ticket at this election would only play straight into the hands of the Victorian Liberal Party. Sensibly, the Nationals don’t want to give up their winnable position at the next half-Senate election and they’re not about to provide the Liberals with any excuse to set them loose.

    Even without a Senator from Victoria, the Nationals retain party status with NT Senator Scullion in caucus with the two NSW and two Qld Senators. The only way the Nationals can lose party status at this election is if Ron Boswell is defeated. (Unlikely in my view.)

  14. Well they are in a losing position in Victoria. They should have been in the race for the third spot but being fourth on the Liberal ticket will go no where.

    The pother drawback from a joint ticket is that the coalition is watering down their overall support. I have seen it time and time again two parties with a combined vote of say 45% (30 + 15%) end up being less then 40% as a result of the merger.

    Had they remained two separate parties and cross preferenced each other in the ticket votes they would have been in a better position. Keep an eye in the developments of Country Labor.

    When profiling any electorate it pays to look at all available data going back two rounds. State Federal and even local. Of course there are localised issues but in general people vote with the party of their choice.

    I would say there has been a noticeable consolidation of the party vote since the introduction of above-the-line voting.

    Australia is moving to a de facto party list system. Thankfully we still have an underlying preferential ballot however this too could be undermined if we adopt optional preferential voting.

    The system of optional preferntial voting adopted in Victoria, where a voters have to indicate a preference equal to the number of candidates to be elected, has no basis of logic or sound policy. If you support the optional preferential ballot system then it should be full optional preferential with a re-iterative counting process as opposed to a drop quota system.

  15. Can someone kindly explain why the Greens run six candidates when in reality they are struggling to have one elected. I can understand having one more candidate then you are realistically likely to have elected but having six… is just padding out the ballot papers. Unless they get a substantial personal below the line vote most are deleted in the first few rounds of exclusions so they never stay alive in the count long enough to collect any preferences of any real substance.

  16. The Nationals getting 4th spot at this election and McGaurans’s betrayal to defect to the libs makes this interesting.

    The Nats don’t have a senator from Victoria because of McGauran and will not until the next senate election after this one.

    The VFF is also opposed to Howards water plans for the state, prefering what Bracks and Brumby have planned.

    Maybe discontent with McGaurans betrayal and Howards water plan could impact on the lib senate vote, where would these disaffected voters go.

  17. I think the Democrats in Victoria should’ve made a bigger deal of Lyn Allison v. Jacinta Collins. Allison is the only female leader of a political party and has spent a career promoting women’s rights, Labor’s senate candidate Collins is a typical Labor hack except that she is *anti-abortion*. If Labor-voting women in Victoria knew this they would probably be shocked, certainly the ones I spoke to during the Albert Park by-election were.

    Ah me, it looks 3/3 split in Victoria due to the preferences aligning along ideological grounds … progressive goes progressive, loopy nutbag goes loopy nutbag, nothing in the middle 🙁

    I’m beginning to think the minor parties will be crunched this election, with the exception of FF in QLD and X in SA.

    A lot of us will be hoping for a double dissolution within 18 months I guess.

  18. A poll conducted by the University of Adelaide politics department for ABC Radio gives the following figures for the Senate in SA: ALP 34.4 per cent, Liberal 28.8, Nick Xenophon 24.2, Greens 7.3. When all the numbers were punched into Antony Green’s calculator, the result was two senators each for Labor and Liberal, Xenophon, and a photo-finish for the last spotbetween the Greens, Xenophon’s running mate Roger Bryson and the third ALP candidate, with the Greens just favoured.

    The poll suggests Labor will win the marginal seats of Kingston, Makin and Wakefield, with a good chance of taking Sturt and Boothby as well.

  19. Melbcity:

    Can someone kindly explain why the Greens run six candidates when in reality they are struggling to have one elected.

    It’s a strategic decision. It makes the Greens column tall and eye catching on the ballot paper.

    Does it work ? Who knows.

    For amusement, look at the Democrats column on the Queensland Senate paper. Andrew Bartlett has been walled in.

  20. well Melbcity,
    as 2 on the vic greens senate ticket the rationale is simple – I will get a number of personal votes that will help Richard get intom the senate. So will the others on the ticket.

  21. I wonder what vote CCC will get in Victoria. They are 1 on the ballot paper and with an interesting name. Could they get 2%? Unlikely I know, but is column 1 is worth 1%?

  22. The worry for the Greens is that any vote the CCC get will probably come directly from the Greens Primary vote, then travel via CCC preferences to someone who isn’t the Greens.

  23. Just a note on CCC preferences in Victoria – they go first to Lyn Allison (dems), second to Jacinta Collins (ALP, and will get elected in her own right), and then third to Richard Di Natale (Greens), which means they effectively go Dems-> Greens. Liberals for Forests polled nearly 2.5% in 2001 when they had the senate donkey vote, so CCC could do quite well. I’m guessing they’ll get between 1.5-2% in their position.

    Although you all seem to be calling it 3/3 between the majors, there are many plausible scenarios where it splits 4/2, with 3 ALP and 1 of either the Greens or the Dems. Lyn Allison can get reelected on 4.5-5.5% of the vote (depending on how well CCC and Carers Alliance poll). Although a 3/3 split is the most probable outcome, a 4/2 split certainly remains possible.

    The challenge for the Dems is trying to boost our vote to 4.5%+. Our campaign is far stronger than in 2004 – we have more reps candidates and will have better booth coverage, so we should poll significantly higher than 2004, but whether we can get our primary vote up enough to put us into contention remains to be seen. If we poll what we did in 2004, then of course we won’t have a chance. Ironically, the Greens need the Dems to poll well for them to have a shot at a seat, as it’s quite likely that the ALP will poll close to 3 quotas in the senate in Victoria, but not over 3 quotas, so the Greens won’t benefit from the national preference deal they cut with the ALP in Victoria.

    I don’t think the Family First will match their state upper house vote from 2006 (which from memory was around 3.5%), as they face a lot more competition.

  24. I like your optimism, Polly. I think FF will get 3.5% – they haven’t been rocked by scandal and the electorate has not turned on them.

    I think the Dems primary vote will surprise people. It was 2% last election (a lot people like to think it was <1% but 2% is actually still a lot of voters – eg that was the Greens average for the 90s and early 00s). Presumably it will be higher because it feels like a better campaign, and maybe even a personal vote for Lyn Allison(?). Anyway, I expect 3-3.5%, not enough to get elected, but not far short of the 4.5% needed to probably do it.

    I have never been right about these things though.

  25. The Victorian situation has been a lot more stable than states like Queensland, which, like Chris Curtis, I also commented on in “wheel of fortune 2” and won’t re-iterate here. Suffice to say that the minor parties tend to play less of a role (generally) in overall outcomes and the micros even less.

    Having said that, I probably follow the polling and media on FFP more than most here, so it is worth noting a few factors here:

    1. Gary Plumridge (FFP) is from Geelong, and has been generating a reasonable amount of media attention for a minor on a shoestring since the Cats win and is apparently prolific on the ground.

    2. The FFP vote here is certainly less than both QLD and SA, though a primary of 4% is certainly not out of the question given the last Victorian state election.

    3. Preferences have still been fairly kind to FFP and the abundance of micros and other parties than tend to put them “middle to high middle” in the flow is either testament to their policy equilibrium at a centre-right position, perhaps just left of the Libs (and some might argue and LONG way left of Kevin Rudd!!). More likely such placement though was simply strategic/FFP not seen as a threat.

    Now, on scenarios taken from polling, you can’t go past Chris Curtis’ analysis on “Wheel of Fortune 2”. I do recommend a look.

    The Greens, on this analysis, have some chance at a seat as does Plumridge but only if the LIb vote is substantially down AND FFP gains about 6% of the primary… a tall order.

    We may just see a 3-3 split and many would not be too surprised with this result.

  26. William,

    most people have missed that the CCC goes to Labor’s first candidate only. Not to the third candidate before the Democrats and Greens.

    So CCC vote will flow to Greens over Labor. This is the crucial preference. Labor 3 misses out because after Jacinta (yuk) is elected, CCC prefs go to Democrats then Greens.

  27. melbcity, as you become more and more hysterical your starting to believe your propaganda about the Greens. all the polls show that the Greens will improve the vote in Victoria.

  28. I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss FFP. I heard the other day that at the previous fed, they missed out on a senator from Tas by only 350 votes. The Greens got it instead, but it was very close.

    FFP primary polling has been increasing from their appearance on the scene (when was that? previous federal?). I believe at the Vic state election, they had more than 4%. It is quite reasonable to expect that to rise to 6-7%, within coo-ee of the Greens.

    Generic Oracle, I think FFP is closer to the “middle” than most people realize. Senator Fielding voted against 45% of Howard’s legislation, including Work Choices, sale of Telstra, and Medibank. So they’re marketing themselves as a more “main-stream” party, without the extremes of (shudder) union-dominated Labor, the (IMHO) obsolete Dems, and the utterly impractical Greens. Could work.

  29. I have used the recent Newspoll figures as a starting point for the Senate calculator. If you vote LNP, ALP, Greens, Family First or Democrats, there is a reasonable chance that you will have a local candidate to vote for. If you vote for the Senate micro-parties, you will probably not have a local candidate to vote for and so will be voting differently in the two Houses.

    Newspoll has 47 per cent for the ALP, 41 per cent for the LNP, 7 per cent for the Greens and only 5 per cent for Others in Victoria. The last Senate poll had a non-major party vote of 19.8 per cent (8.8 per cent Greens, 11 per cent Others), so I can see the Others vote doubling, but the question is which major parties lose votes and which micro-parties gain them.

    I have worked on a 5 per cent swing from the LNP to the ALP on primaries. The Newspoll figures in fact show a 10.9 per cent swing to the ALP and a 3.1 per cent swing away from the LNP when compared with the 2004 Senate result, so my initial allocation of votes is particularly harsh to the ALP as I am taking 5.9 per cent from it to cover the increased non-major party vote, but only 1.9 per cent from the LNP for the same reason. In terms of the outdated left-right continuum, left-sounding parties (CCC, WWW, SoL, SEP, SA, CA) get 0.8 per cent, centre parties (AD, FF, DLP, CDP(?), CA) get 8.3 per cent), right-sounding parties (ON, ASP, LDP, CCE, CEC, NCPP) get 1.5 per cent, and independents get .4 per cent. This does not mean that the right-sounding parties take votes from only the LNP or that the left-sounding parties take votes from only the ALP, though majorities may do so in each case. Nor is it clear from which major parties the centre parties take votes. An electorate-by-electorate analysis of Senate and House votes would be needed to determine such figures.

    I left the Greens on the 8.8 per cent they obtained in 2004. Some ALP voters will put them first in the Senate in the mistaken belief that this will help them get the balance of power (when it is LNP voters who have to do this) and some Greens voters may go for the other Climate parties. My basis for doing so can be subject to all sorts of arguments – which is fine by me. On my first run, I used the following figures:

    Primary vote

    Party % Vote

    Group A: Climate Change Coalition .4
    Group B: One Nation .4
    Group C: Australian Democrats 1.8
    Group D: What Women Want .1
    Group E: Senator On-Line .1
    Group F: Australian Labor Party 41.1
    Group G: Australian Shooters Party .2
    Group H: Liberal/National Coalition 39.1
    Group I: Group I Independents .1
    Group J: Socialist Equality Party .1
    Group K: Family First 4.0
    Group L: Liberty and Democracy Party .1
    Group M: Conservatives for Climate and Environment .2
    Group N: D.L.P. – Democratic Labor Party 2.0
    Group O: Christian Democratic Party .3
    Group P: Group P Independents .1
    Group Q: Citizens Electoral Council .5
    Group R: Non-Custodial Parents Party .1
    Group S: Socialist Alliance .1
    Group T: Group T Independents .1
    Group U: Australian Greens 8.8
    Group V: Group V Independents .1
    Group W: Carers Alliance .2
    Ungrouped Candidates (no ticket submitted)
    TOTAL 100.0

    The result was 2 ALP, 3 LNP and 1 Green (elected on Liberal preferences). If I increase the ALP vote to 41.5 per cent and cut the Greens vote to 8.4 per cent, the result is 3 ALP, 3 LNP, with the Green missing out by only 96 votes. If I leave the Greens at 8.8 per cent and increase the ALP vote to 41.7 per cent and cut the Family First vote to 3.4 per cent, the result is 3 ALP and 3 LNP, with the Green missing out by 888 votes.

    It seems to me that the contest for the last seat is definitely between the ALP and the Greens. In other words, it will have no effect on the balance of power because the Greens have to take seats from the Liberals, not from the ALP, to win the balance of power. All else being equal, if the ALP can get close to 42 per cent on primaries, it will win 3 seats. All else being equal, if the Greens can maintain their 2004 vote, they will win the last seat and cut the ALP back to 2 seats.

    The polls say the ALP will win three seats. Voters telling pollsters that they will vote ALP in the House and then vote differently in the Senate will, if their numbers are sufficient, cost the ALP its third seat.

    The irony in it all is that if Jacinta Collins were the No. 3 ALP candidate this time (as she was in 2004), DLP preferences would give her the ALP its third seat.

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