The Senate: Queensland

With two remarkable exceptions, Queensland has produced the same result at each half-Senate election since the first for six seats in 1990: two Labor, two Liberal, one Nationals and one Democrat. The first exception was in 1998, when One Nation overcame the punitive preference treatment that has thwarted them every other time by scoring a quota off their own bat. The winning candidate was Heather Hill, then a close confidante of Pauline Hanson, who foolishly sought re-election in the lower house rather than take the Senate seat herself. However, Hill’s election was overturned when the High Court ruled by a 4-3 majority that her dual British citizenship made her ineligible. A recount gave the seat to One Nation’s number two candidate, Len Harris. The One Nation seat came at the expense of young Nationals Senator Bill O’Chee, who was left stranded when a third of the Nationals vote went to One Nation and the Liberals failed to deliver him a surplus. Democrats candidate John Woodley won the final seat after absorbing the Labor surplus and preferences from the Greens.

The second exception was the 2004 election, the only time a six-seat half-Senate election has delivered four seats either to Labor or the Coalition in any state. This triumph belonged not to Barnaby Joyce and the Nationals, whose vote fell to 6.6 per cent from 9.1 per cent in 2001, but to the Liberals, who were up from 34.8 per cent to 38.3 per cent. The decisive point in the count came with the exclusion of Len Harris, who narrowly failed to overtake his former mentor Pauline Hanson. Had it been otherwise, the Fishing Party preferences that pushed Joyce clear of Hanson would have stayed locked up with One Nation. In that case the seat would have gone to Greens, giving effect to the Coalition parties’ decision to put Hanson and One Nation last. Joyce pulled ahead of the Liberals at the last count to take the fifth rather than sixth seat, a result decided by a large number of Hanson’s below-the-line votes going against the ticket.

The Coalition will be running a joint ticket in Queensland for the first time since 1977, with the Nationals taking the third position. The arrangement caused great friction within the Nationals, with Senator Barnaby Joyce among the opposed. The two Liberal places go to Ian Macdonald (left), who has been in the Senate since 1980, and Sue Boyce (right), who filled the casual vacancy when Santo Santoro resigned in March following revelations of undisclosed share trading. Macdonald served as minister in portfolios including local government, fisheries, forestry and conservation from after the 1998 election until his demotion in June 2006. Boyce had been preselected for the number four position before the joint ticket arrangement, behind Macdonald, Santoro and Mark Powell. Her success in leapfrogging Powell marked a double victory for state party leader Bruce Flegg over the Santoro faction, which switched its backing from Powell to former state party leader Bob Quinn in a failed bid to thwart Boyce. Powell suffered the further indignity of being knocked into fourth place to accommodate the Nationals.

Nationals candidate Ron Boswell is a 66-year-old veteran of 24 years in the Senate. His decision to again seek preselection surprised many, given suggestions he had only contested in 2001 to help the party see off the challenge of Pauline Hanson. Popular enthusiasm for Barnaby Joyce had many calling for renewal and greater assertiveness within the Coalition, which was seen to be personified by rival preselection candidate James Baker. Boswell won the day, and Baker has quit the party to run as an independent.

The top two positions on the Labor ticket are unchanged from 2001. Number one is John Hogg, a former official with the Right faction Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, who I am surprised to learn has been in the Senate since 1996. The Left’s Claire Moore retains the position she assumed at the 2001 election at the expense of incumbent Brenda Gibbs, who fell foul of a complicated factional quarrel sparked by the ultimately worthless Petrie preselection. The third position has gone to Mark Furner, vice-president of the National Union of Workers.

Democrats incumbent Andrew Bartlett (left), an active player in the blogosphere and very occasional commenter on this site, is seeking re-election after a sometimes torrid six-year term. Like all his party colleagues, his chances of success are not rated highly. The Greens candidate is environmental lawyer Larissa Waters (right), who won preselection ahead of Juanita Wheeler, a two-time state election candidate who had taken on the role of state party spokesperson.

The lists below lay out the order of each party’s preference ticket when reduced to its essentials. Family First will harness the entire right-of-centre vote if they get ahead of Pauline Hanson, which might be enough to win them a seat at the expense of Nationals Senator Ron Boswell. Hanson herself has little chance of success despite reports she has been “boosted” by Family First and Climate Change Coalition preferences. The real significance of Hanson is that her preferences will, eventually, end up with Labor’s third candidate ahead of the Greens and Ron Boswell. The remaining preferences will split in an orderly fashion, at least if Family First has excluded: religious, populist and recreation parties will go to the Coalition, while the Democrats, Climate Change Coalition, Socialist Alliance and What Women Want (along with the Carers Alliance) will go to the Greens. Once those three blocs are added together, it will be a question of which out of Labor, the Coalition and the Greens misses out on one of the final two seats.

WHAT WOMEN WANT: Greens; Democrats; SA; Labor; DLP; Carers; CCC; SOL; LDP; Fishing; Coalition; CDP; Shooters; Lifestyle; One Nation; Pauline Hanson; Family First; NCPP; CEC.

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

CLIMATE CHANGE COALITION: Democrats; Greens; Pauline Hanson; Labor; Family First; NCPP; Shooters; Lifestyle; Fishing; SA; Carers; LDP; Labor; SOL; WWW; DLP; One Nation WA; Coalition; CDP; CEC.

CARERS: Greens; Pauline Hanson; Family First; SA; Democrats; WWW; CDP; Lifestyle; CEC; NCPP; DLP; CCC; Fishing; LDP; SOL; Shooters; One Nation; Coalition; Labor.

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

SOCIALIST ALLIANCE: Greens; WWW; Labor; Democrats; Carers; CCC; SOL; Coalition; LDP; NCPP; Fishing; Lifestyle; DLP; Shooters; Family First; CDP; CEC; One Nation; Pauline Hanson.

FISHING PARTY: Coalition 3; LDP 9; CDP 10; NCPP 11; Carers 12; Family First 13; Shooters 14; SOL 15; CCC 16; WWW 17; One Nation WA 19; SA 20; CEC 24; Pauline Hanson 30; DLP 31; Lifestyle 38; Labor 59; Democrats 61; Greens 63;

FAMILY FIRST: Lifestyle; Carers; CDP; One Nation; DLP; CCC; Fishing; Shooters; NCPP; Coalition; SOL; Pauline Hanson; LDP; WWW; SA: CEC; Labor; Greens; Democrats.

DEMOCRATS: CCC; Carers; WWW; Greens; SA; LDP; SOL; Lifestyle; Labor; Coalition; Fishing; DLP; Family First; NCPP; Shooters; CEC; CDP; One Nation; Pauline Hanson.

COALITION: Family First; Lifestyle; Fishing; CDP; NCPP; Shooters; Carers; LDP; WWW; CCC; SOL; CEC; SA; Democrats; Greens; Labor; Pauline Hanson; One Nation.

SHOOTERS: Lifestyle; Pauline Hanson; CDP; Family First; Coalition; One Nation; DLP; NCPP; CEC; Carers; CCC; SOL; WWW; LDP; Fishing; Labor; Democrats; Greens.

GREENS: Carers; WWW; CCC; SA; LDP; SOL; Democrats; Labor; DLP; Fishing; Lifestyle; CEC; NCPP; Shooters; One Nation; CDP; Family First; Coalition; Pauline Hanson.

LABOR: Greens; Democrats; SOL; CCC; Lifestyle; WWW; Carers; Shooters; SA; DLP; CDP; Family First; LDP; Fishing; NCPP; Coalition; CEC; One Nation; Pauline Hanson.

AUSTRALIAN FISHING AND LIFESTYLE PARTY: Family First; Coalition; Shooters; Pauline Hanson; Fishing: Labor; CDP; One Nation; NCPP; LDP; Carers; DLP; SOL; CCC; WWW; CEC; SA; Greens; Democrats.

ONE NATION: Family First; Fishing Party; CEC; Carers; WWW; Shooters; SA; CDP; NCPP; Lifestyle; DLP; SOL; LDP; CCC; Coalition; Pauline Hanson; Democrats; Greens; Labor.

PAULINE’S UNITED AUSTRALIA: One Nation; CCC; Carers; Shooters; Lifestyle; CDP; NCPP; Fishing; CEC; WWW; Family First; LDP; SOL; Democrats; DLP; Labor; Coalition; SA; Greens.

CEC: Coalition; Democrats; CDP; One Nation; Pauline Hanson; Fishing; Shooters; Carers; NCPP; SOL; WWW; Family First; Lifestyle; DLP; SA; Labor; LDP; CCC; Greens.

CDP: Coalition; DLP; Family First; NCPP; Carers; Shooters; Lifestyle; Fishing; Pauline Hanson; One Nation; LDP; CEC; CCC; SOL; Democrats; WWW; SA; Labor; Greens.

NON-CUSTODIAL PARENTS PARTY: Pauline Hanson; Carers; half (Family First; Fishing; One Nation; CDP), half (Fishing; CDP; Family First; One Nation); CCC; SOL; CEC; Shooters; DLP; LDP; Lifestyle; Coalition; Labor; Democrats; SA; WWW; Greens.

DLP: CDP; Coalition; Family First; Shooters; Fishing; NCPP; Labor; Lifestyle; LDP; Democrats; Pauline Hanson; One Nation; SOL; Carers; CCC; Greens; CEC; WWW; SA.

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.

70 comments on “The Senate: Queensland”

Comments Page 1 of 2
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    Bragging rights to he/she who can predict how many seats Labor finishes with after the election, what Labor seat/s will fall (if any) at the election and the closest exact margin (and winner) of the seat of Bennelong.

    Post your entries to by midnight Sunday to be in it for a bottle of plonk and a framed version of my favourite election cartoon caption.
    which is JWH and Rudd wearing long trench coats flashing each other. The caption reads “Thats not a tax cut, this is a tax cut”.. and at the bottom “Its the little things that count”.

  2. Riveting. Why watch soapies when you can just watch where election preferences go? If the swing to Labor is on, as it appears to be, it looks like 3alp-2lnp-1?

  3. None of this analysis seemed to rate the chances of Family First winning a seat.

    Given the preference arrangements and the large swing to Labor evidenced in the polls, FFP need merely retain their debut vote from 2004 to put Jeff Buchanan in the Senate.

    I expect their vote to increase as they are fielding candidates all over the state this time.

    They will harvest One Nation + AFLP to leverage above Hanson.
    Harvest Hanson to leverage above the Coalition.
    Harvest the Coalition to leverage to the Senate.

    The final seat will be taken by Labor or the Greens.

    Even if the swing to Labor is reduced substantially, this will see the coalition vote increase to surpass the Green vote. The elimination of the Greens will elect the 3rd ALP candidate and the surplus will be delivered to FFP and Jeff Bucchanan will take the final seat.

  4. Democrats believe Bartlett is their best chance of getting re-elected. A vote of 4.5% would put him in good stead to take the seat.

    I think Family First is likely to get a seat, with a possible upset by Bartlett.

  5. Apologies if this has already been raised elsewhere…
    I am constantly surprised to learn WHAT WOMEN WANT – I certainly don’t usually have a clue about what my wife and two daughters want at any given time.
    I am, however, somewhat more than typically surprised at WHAT WOMEN WANT in this election.
    I had very little notion that WHAT WOMEN actually WANT is to vote for the SOCIALIST ALLIANCE over either of the majors, that they are more concerned with FISHING than FAMILY FIRST, and that they are more into SHOOTing than NON-CUSTODIAL PARENTS issues.
    Ok, obviously there are some outside factors in play but, like I said, I never know what women want anyways!

  6. Hey, Bluebottle.

    You should post our predictions on a graph. It looks like a perfect bell curve almost. Since you’d have to say this site has the highest concentration of poll watchers in the country, I reckon our group prediction is most likely:

    1 – extremely accurate
    2 – extremely accurate of what the general consensus of the political class thinks this election.

    From “our” graph, it looks roughly like there’s a 95% chance of a Labor victory between 79 seats and 94 seats. That’s interesting.

  7. (Cross posting from the SA Senate thread)

    In an ironic twist, the Greens need Family First to do well in order to win a senate seat in Queensland.

    The key exclusion in the Queensland race is between Family First and Pauline.

    The Greens need Family First to beat Pauline, otherwise her preferences go to Labor and push them ahead to take the sixth seat, while FF elect Boswell and we end up with a 3-3 result.

    If FF beat Pauline they receive her preferences, which keeps the Greens ahead of Labor, and we end up with a 2-2-1-1.

    This also relies on the Coalition vote falling below 43%, which seems probable at this time.

    Working with Fargo61, we were experimenting with the below numbers in the ABC calculator.

    1 MACDONALD Ian Douglas Liberal Party
    2 HOGG John Joseph Australian Labor Party
    3 BOYCE Sue Liberal Party
    4 MOORE Claire Australian Labor Party
    5 WATERS Larissa Australian Greens
    6 BUCHANAN Jeff Family First Party

    Party Total Votes % Votes Quotas
    Family First 356,115 15.15% 1.0602
    Liberal/National Coalition 315,612 13.42% 0.9396

    Party Total Votes % Votes Quotas
    Liberal/National Coalition 941,133 40.03% 2.8021
    Australian Labor Party 820,288 34.89% 2.4423
    The Greens 147,176 6.26% 0.4381
    Pauline’s United Australia 126,487 5.38% 0.3765
    Family First 100,625 4.28% 0.2995
    Australian Democrats 50,548 2.15% 0.1505
    One Nation 34,560 1.47% 0.1028
    The Fishing Party 23,040 0.98% 0.0685
    What Women Want 23,040 0.98% 0.0685
    Group X Independents 11,520 0.49% 0.0342
    Climate Change Coalition 9,404 0.40% 0.0279
    D.L.P. – Democratic Labor Party 9,169 0.39% 0.0272
    Carers Alliance 7,993 0.34% 0.0237
    Australian Fishing &Lifestyle Party 6,818 0.29% 0.0202
    Australian Shooters Party 6,818 0.29% 0.0202
    Liberty and Democracy Party 5,172 0.22% 0.0153
    Group W Independents 4,937 0.21% 0.0146
    Christian Democratic Party 4,702 0.20% 0.0139
    Group N Independents 4,701 0.20% 0.0139
    Non-Custodial Parents Party 4,466 0.19% 0.0132
    Citizens Electoral Council 3,526 0.15% 0.0104
    Group K Independents 2,586 0.11% 0.0076
    Socialist Alliance 2,351 0.10% 0.0069

  8. I wouldn’t wrote off Family First’s chances so quickly either. As Ray says, even retaining their 2004 vote of around 3 per cent would put them in with a chance, depending on what other micros get. The vote of the DLP and CDP this time could m a difference this time.

    Hanson still gets Shooters and one of Fishing Parties – if her primary is high and Coalition crashes and FF is low, she would get FF preferences.

    As for the Democrats, apart from the issue of whether their primary vote can get near the Greens, there is also the issue that her preferences come to the Democrats (if FF have dropped out) before they go Labor and Coalition preferences also go to Democrats next if FF have dropped out.

    As Antony Green’s preference calculator on the ABC website shows, there are a range of possibleoutcomes here.

    But the eimple rule is the higher the primary vote the better the chances.

  9. Maybe Labor should take a minute to highlight Fielding’s terrible voting record in the Senate? I can’t imagine that anyone wd vote for Family First if they knew what they were letting themselves in for.

  10. Pauline isn’t running in NSW, Mr Speaker, she’s running in Queensland, and you may have noticed that this thread is about Queensland. In any case, it is patently false to say the Democrats are preferencing Hanson in NSW – her party is 69 and 70 on the Democrats ticket, out of 79 candidates, with only Family First, CEC and Fred Nile lower.

    You also neglected to mention (as did the main post) that Hanson’s preferences flow to the Democrats before Labor in Queensland. If the latest Morgan Senate polls from today were repeated at the election, the key exclusion is likely to be between Hanson and the Democrats (both polling at 5.5% with the Greens at 6.5%). Hanson’s preferences would flow to the Democrats at that stage, as Family First would be out of the count by then (polling 2.5% which is consistent with what they have shown all year), putting the Democrats well ahead of the Greens and probably elected on their preferences. Alternatively, if the Democrats dropped out at that stage, then their preferences would flow to the Greens – the Democrats in Queensland put Pauline 65th out of 65.

  11. With all due respect to you Mr Bartlett, and I dont know you at all so I shall be careful in my comments, I for one will be glad to see the back of a Party that sold out the electorate for thirty peices of silver in return for their vote of the GST and other Coalition policy introductions {IR et al} that which turned my stomach. I say goodbye to ‘The SelloutOcrats’: you reap what you sew sir.

  12. Andrew @ 15

    The senate calculator at the ABC site is fascinating.

    Of the various scenarios I put in it shows that the democrats will get a spot if they stay ahead of Pauline Hanson, and ironically it would be Hansons preferences that leapfrog them past the Greens to claim that spot. The Dems need to get around 4-4.5% to have a chance.

    Conversley the Family Farce party can get elected on as little as 2% of the vote and the key to their election is One Nation preferences.

    Very ironic, Dems relying on Hanson and Family Farce relying on One Nation.

  13. What has happened to Pauline this campaign?
    The problem is she does not have Margo Kingston from the SMH as her main cheer leader and campaign director.
    Ron Boswell and his mate Tony have been strangely quiet when they should have been crowing about their efforts to sink the good ship Pauline.
    Without the oxygen of publicity and pretend media outrage stirring things up Miss Hanson will be like hundreds of other candidates not being noticed.

  14. It was Meg Lees that pushed the GST bs, and she bailed from the dems. Andrew, I admire your efforts in that god awful govt controlled Senate. If you are reelected, it will be for good reason. If not, then you can take solace in the fact that you served the Australian people well.

  15. It is very unfair that people have turned against the Democrats because of the GST. They went into the election supporting it, so why are people surprised that they – with, I think 2 exceptions – did what they promised to do and voted for it?

  16. The things going against FFP election is that the CDP & DLP will take votes off of them from the right and left respectively and deliver these to Ron Boswell.

    In addition, although they managed to get One Nation preferences ahead of Pauline !, I see that they run under the label ON WA which is sure to turn many Queenslanders off.

    So FFP will have to largely do it off there own bat. The key pivot point will be with Pauline. I can’t think of many viable scenarios where they beat Pauline and don’t get a seat.

  17. I will firstly admit my bias by stating that I intend to vote 1 for Andrew Bartlett in the Senate, with my preferences flowing in order then to the Greens, then the ALP. I will have to vote below the line because I choose to preference Family First ahead of the Coalition, whilst the registered Democrat ticket does the opposite.

    Secondly, I would like to point out purely as a mate of historical accuracy that Mr Bartlett voted against the GST legislation, and, I am sorry Bluebottle, but I have no idea what IR legislation you contend that the Democrats supported. My recollection (happy to be corrected) was that the Coalition simply used their own majority in the Senate to pass “Workchoices” which is the legislation that I and many others are the most concerned about.

    Despite my wanting Mr Bartlett to be elected however, I do think that his assessment above, and the aggregated senate poll results are unrealistically optimistic for the Democrats in Qld.

    I can not see any reason for the Family First vote to drop from 2004, and I expect it to increase. Anyone who has the time, and is interested enough to do so, might like to have a look at the discussion, yesterday, between Mr Speaker and I in the SA Senate thread, where apart from other things, Mr Speaker points out that FF will being running in all lower house seats in Qld this time, and that that should help to boost their vote. Although there are a number of highly sensitive assumptions in play, I think that the most likely option is the one Mr Speaker posted above… with FF elected sixth, ahead of Mr Boswell, with the help of One Nation; Pauline Hanson; ALP, and Greens preferences. The other highly possible outcomes are for either the National Party or ALP to take the sixth seat.

    Unfortunately I can only see the Democrats being eliminated fairly early in the count, and for me the loss of Mr Bartlett (from the senate), whom I regard as hardworking, articulate, fair-minded and highly principled, will be the dark lining on what I hope will be a very silver cloud on the 24th.

  18. Thank you Fargo – I won’t rerun the GST debate here, beyond informing Mr Bluebottle that I voted against it in the Senate. In regards to IR I would only note that the ALP now supports a range of IR measures which they would have screamed blue murder about had the Democrats supported them rather than consistently blocked them over the past ten years.

    We’ll see what happens with the Family First vote but I don’t think around 3 per cent is an unrealistic prediction. It is consistent with quite a large number of polls over quite a period of time. And as Ray @22 says, the DLP and the CDP are both running this time.

    And as Arbie Jay @ 18 notes, if the Dems in Qld get at least 4.5% they are in with a reasonable chance – again a figure which has been equalled or bettered in every single published Morgan Senate poll this year.

    Whether the polls are accurate remains to be seen, but I don’t think its reasonable to just completely ignore them, particularly when there have been a fair number of them now.

  19. Mr Bartlett and “Fargo” I stand corrected on Mr Bartlett specifically supporting the GST, however I have a terrible memory of one Meg Lees and Captain Smirk {Mr Costello} standing together in a mutually congratulatory media grab moment on the GST.

    On Industrial Relations, I speak not of WorkChoices gentleman, but I go back further than that to when a certain Peter Reith was was in vogue and memories of Democrats selling out and supporting some draconian policy then_ happy to research it properly before I make this assertion again.

    Meantime, I have read and seen many good things about Mr Andrew Bartlett and his particular interest in Indigenous Affairs in this country.

    I personally think the loss of Mr Bartlett would be unfortunate to the Australian political landscape in the Senate in the same vein that respectable Independents like the one who passed away earlier this year will be sorely missed.

    If NTD was planning to hang around in SA, not for the then defunct Democrats, and Mr Bartlett ran as Independent candidates, I think both would probably get a senate seat at the next election. Xenephon will already be in the senate courtesy of SA and a similar batch of ‘also rans’ will stand for the Senate in QLD, leaving the door open for Mr Bartlett.

    I hope you find a way to continue your involvement in Australian politics Mr Bartlett- unfortunately you will probably have to sit the next 3 years out.

  20. By NTD I mean Natasha Stott-Despoja. Dosen’t she still have 3 years to go in the Senate ? Yes she does, but she said she intends to retire thereafter.

    Maybe Mr. Bartlett and Natasha could/should/would form a new Party and call it the ‘ KTBH Chips Party’ ? No, run as as Independent and create your own brand on the back of your already established integrity.

  21. The IR legislation that the Dems voted for was AWAs not Work Choices.

    AWAs had the minimum 20 basic conditions that could not be negotiated away and these were enforcable.

    The introduction of AWAs caused some problems in that some employers thought that they could put employees on a salary and save costs by not paying overtime. However there was a true no disadvantage test back then in that the hours worked could be used to calculate whether an employee had recieved just compensation.

    Of course Howards new Work Choices effectively reduced the 20 conditions to 5 and did away with any disadvantage test which saw the many documentated cases of employees forced to accept AWAs that cut their pay by thousands without giving any comparable recompense.

  22. Bluebottle

    I think Natasha ‘s term finishes in July next year when her six year term is up.

    The GST hit the Democrats hard in that it hurt their one of main support bases of students at Uni, bringing in a tax on education through text books. However Howard campaigned openly on the GST unlike Work Choices, there was a massive government funded advertising campaign for teh GST, “Unchain my heart”.

    Howard should have run a similar campaign for Work Choices as that was as a major change to Australia’s legislation as the GST, the public was fully informed about the GST and what would happen when it was introduced.

    The libs should have been running ads advising that the 20 basic conditions would be cut to 5, there would be no disadvantage test, unfair dismissal would be scrapped and AWAs would be presented on a “take it or leave it basis”. Of course it is not too late for them to run such ads now.

  23. Arbie Jay, the GST advertisements were never very accurate in any case. I remember receiving pamphlets advising us how the prices on certain things would fall after the introduction of the GST. Never happened.

  24. William and Andrew Bartlett have both got some explaining to do, particularly in the light of most likely senate results in Queensland.

    William: Where is Jeff Buchanan’s picture and commentary for this article?? FFP outpolled the Dems in 2004 and no reasonable calculations are showing Andrew a better chance than Jeff. Is this an intentional shut- out?? Given your ample reputation as a balanced psephologist I am assuming this was merely an oversight, is this correct?

    Andrew: Your Pauline cage rattling with Family First was both mischievous and highly effective in the media. Indeed, she is 47th out of 65 on the ticket and your objections about her widely reported views on immigration and refugees are quite repugnant to many Australians.

    By contrast, you are well aware of Family First’s stance AGAINST offshore detention, that killed this terrible bill for the coalition… you were in the same room when Steve Fielding voted. You also know FFP support significant increases in foreigh aid to our poorest nations and make no discrimation whatsoever according to region nor religion from which immigrants come.

    So comments here ARE valid about the Democrats choice to preference Pauline’s United Australia party AHEAD of Family First!!!!!!!! Andrew this appears intentionally deceptive and I would have thought that would be beneath a principled democrat when so obviously hypocritical to principle???

    In addition, the most pressing STATED issue from BOTH Dems and Greens is Climate Change. Given recent reviews of policy by the Climate Institute rating FFP higher than both the ALP and LIBS, if both parties are more principled with preferences than FFP then why didn’t you both put FFP straight after your own parties on all tickets???????

  25. This is the big thing to me. Since the GST was introduced (and the Democrats went to an election supporting a GST that exempted food (“No GST on food” was their slogan) nearly ten years ago, the major parties have locked innocent children away in deserts, illegally invaded Iraq, harassed innocent Muslims, deported peace activists, bribed Saddam Hussein, banned gay marriage, taken land of Aboriginal people and introduced WorkChoices, etc.

    If the worst you can say about the Democrats is they compromised on a tax bill 10 years ago, then that’s a great record, and you’re on some kind of crack if that one tax decision is making you vote for one of the majors instead of the Democrats.

  26. Dembo

    I do agree. The Dems may well not deserve their demise, though I suspect it is for more benign reasons. Firstly, that its roles (plural, since they have changed over time) have become largely redundant. Secondly, that they tend to lack one solid voter base (and associated funding).

    The Democrats have shifted substantially Left in 30 years as evidenced by a) policy b) preferences and c) voting in the house. With the rise of the Greens, the progressive Left has had a clearer “brand”.

    The initial impetus as a party to “keep the bastards honest” has also lost credibility with this shift. The Democrats, for quite a while, could not be remotely considered as a party of “balance” nor in the middle. Indeed, Bryan Palmer positions it to the Left of Labor and to the Right of the Greens and is supported by tens of thousands of survey takers on his ozpolitics political inclinations test (, which most tragics here took long ago.

    The Dems could not foresee the rise of the Greens to the Left, nor the continuing rise of Family First and its growing role as the “thermostat” between the two majors. Certainly not the Dems fault.

    Possibly the only tragedy is that they found no way to re-define itself without selling out current principles. Thus the Greens have picked up the predominantly Left issues (and these voters), the ALP has absorbed many from the right and Family First has probably rescued the last claim to any centrist tendency with the Dems position on the economy.

    The basket is empty but they didn’t prostitute themselves and for that, if nothing else, the Dems can be proud.

  27. William

    You are a star and have always known you to cloak your own preferences in abundant and well-appreciated objectivity! Much appreciated! 🙂

  28. I’m sorry, Generic O, but that’s a pretty lame effort at trolling.

    As you know, the impact of Pauline being put at 47 is measured by who is numbered 48 and lower. Apart from the Coalition, Family First has put every other likely contender – Labor Greens and Democrats – lower than Pauline. To say that they had to put Pauline this high because of their desire to keep out the Greens is simply dishonest. They can put the Greens last if they really believe this is warranted (of course they haven’t done that anyway, they’ve put the Democrats last), but to put all the other contenders below Pauline can only be justified except as a straight preference deal. And to say it doesn’t matter because she has no chance of being elected is equally dishonest – their preference decision specifically males it more possible for Hanson to be elected.

    For a religious party to do a preference deal with someone who openly promotes religious and racial discrimination is dodgy enough, but to lie about the fact that they’ve done it is worse. They did a deal with Pauline, plain and simple – which people are perfectly entitled to do, but they shouldn’t lie about it.

    Family First have clearly polled less than the Democrats in Senate polls in Queensland all year, and a simple use of the ABC preference calculator shows that the Democrats are a clear chance in Queensland in a wide range of scenarios.

    However, I agree with you (as I’ve already mentioned), that the orginal post should have noted that Family First is a genuine prospect in Queensland, in large part because of a wide range of preference deals.

  29. 98% of the Australian population will be celebrating the failure of Family First on Nov 25.

    Kerry Packer once said about Alan Bond when he sold that fool Ch 9 for $1 Billion
    “only 1 Alan Bond comes along in a lifetime”

    The same applies to FF with Steven Conroys Vic pref deal that gifted Fielding a seat with less than 2% of the vote.

  30. AB 36 :

    Here are my thoughts (you probably aren’t interested, but anyway..).

    You know, just like everyone else, that Hanson won’t get FF preferences. I haven’t run a single scenario where it’s happened. You’re exaggerating for a political purpose. (You’ll probably argue this point – but let’s agree to disagree)


    I’m a bit of a “Whatever it takes” kinda guy – If I was you I’d do the same thing.

    You could release a hundred wonderful policies on the environment, tax reform, IR etc. and the media won’t run any of them. “Yawn” – they’ll say. One nasty media release about another party – national coverage. The media love a bit of political biff.

    Below a certain percentage, say 5%, any negative media coverage will actually lift your vote. You’ve probably lifted the Democrats and Family First’s votes at the same time.

    So, The Dems and FF should co-ordinate your fights to generate more media oxygen. (I’m being slightly tongue in cheek here.)

  31. Let he who is morally pure with respect to preference trading caste the first stone.

    FFP ensured Pauline was put behind Boswell which ensures she will not be elected. They need do no more than that. They are happy to take preferences from anyone, as are all parties.

    As I heard Andrew say in 2004 in justifying their deal with Family First for which they had little idealogial common ground, “you can’t put everyone last”.

    Each party has the right to maximise their own chances of election, as the Dems have often done.

  32. AB: I just wanted to say something here to support you.

    The GST deal / Democrats thing is a bit of an urban myth. They won 4 senate seats in 2001 after the GST legislation passed.

    No one cares about the GST anymore. People just have a memory of hating it, and haven’t stopped to re-analyse their opinion.

    Does anyone really want to get rid of it and go back to a 22% tax on a hodge-podge of goods ? So why do people keep bringing it up ?

    The GST has turned out well and people should quit complaining about it. The Democrats should congratulate themselves on supporting successful tax reform.

  33. hmmm

    So Family First are now saying that morals can be temporarily placed on the shelf for a while when “want” supercedes it.

    Pity they don’t allow the public the same leniancy.

  34. Alright, two last things on the Democrats this thread.

    – I read an interesting masters thesis that analysed the political parties Libs, Lab and Dems and came to the conclusion that the democrats, as social democrats, were the most consistent in their ideology, and the application of the ideology in the 25 years preceding the study.

    – secondly, being a party of the centre does not mean you try to split the difference between Libs and Labor and aim for that. It means you independently evaluate each idea from all sides and judge it for its worth and usefulness. Being a party of the centre has nothing to do with the political beliefs of the other parties at any one time.

    The Democrats have been remarkably consistent with that approach. For example, no-one is really sure whether Labor is pro-environment or anti – it’s all over the place. No-one is really sure if the Liberals are pro-welfare or anti-welfare … and these are supposedly key planks in their respective platforms… But on most issues you could probably guess what the Democrats policy would be. So how is that not consistent?

  35. Speaker

    FFP can get Hansons preferences and can get elected on Hansons preferences.

    2nd scenario I ran showed FFP getting both One Nation preferences ( worth about 3.3%) and Hansons preferences (worth about 4.6%).

    This scenario has Hanson above FFP who are above Dems on the primary, labor primary about 36% and lib about 33.5%.

    I’m sure there are many other scenarios that show FFP benefitting from Hanson’s and One Nation’s preferences.

    I think AB was right in that the order of the preferences is crucial.

  36. For Hansons and One Nation preferences to elect FFP.

    Here is the primaries I put in.

    All quite resonable I thought.

    Key appears to be as mentioned before the order of Hanson, FFP Dems and One Nation. If the order is changed to Dems first out of these four then it changes.

    Australian Labor Party 0 875,566 37.24% 2.6068
    Liberal/National Coalition 0 813,243 34.59% 2.4213
    The Greens 0 129,582 5.51% 0.3858
    Pauline’s United Australia 0 108,887 4.63% 0.3241
    Family First 0 80,901 3.44% 0.2408
    Australian Democrats 0 76,667 3.26% 0.2282
    One Nation 0 75,256 3.20% 0.2240
    The Fishing Party 0 30,808 1.31% 0.0917
    What Women Want 0 28,691 1.22% 0.0854
    Carers Alliance 0 19,284 0.82% 0.0574
    Group W Independents 0 15,992 0.68% 0.0476
    Senator On-Line 0 14,581 0.62% 0.0434
    Climate Change Coalition 0 14,345 0.61% 0.0427
    D.L.P. – Democratic Labor Party 0 13,405 0.57% 0.0399
    Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party 0 8,466 0.36% 0.0252
    Group N Independents 0 7,290 0.31% 0.0217
    Liberty and Democracy Party 0 7,290 0.31% 0.0217
    Group X Independents 0 5,409 0.23% 0.0161
    Christian Democratic Party 0 5,409 0.23% 0.0161
    Australian Shooters Party 0 4,938 0.21% 0.0147
    Group K Independents 0 4,703 0.20% 0.0140
    Non-Custodial Parents Party 0 4,468 0.19% 0.0133
    Citizens Electoral Council 0 3,527 0.15% 0.0105
    Socialist Alliance 0 2,351 0.10% 0.0069

  37. Andrew Bartlett

    I’m a regular blogger but I actually have no idea what trolling is but I’ll let that one slide. Ok, Andrew, I understand you are pissed, FFP put you last and you and I both know you’re not going to make it. I don’t really know you but I mostly respected you until this recent last ditch effort to grab your Pauline/FFP line.

    It is a non-story. You were on the calculators with us on Antony’s site before the story broke and blind Freddie could see Pauline was going nowhere.

    This crap about moral high ground in preferencing is pure donkey vomit. It is 99% politics with Dems and FFP and who are you trying kid otherwise. Dems and Greens have a deal, pure and simple to keep the flow from FFP and you have stated this in blogs. This is not “principled”. This is “politics” and good on you. You ARE a politician and your political survival is at stake.

    You still haven’t answered the Climate Change case. Several “ratings” have now come out about parties and their CC policies as well as other related environmental stances. FFP fared better than either major on this issue with the Climate Institute, yet you guys STILL put FFP lower than almost all parties, including the ALP.

    You believe in social justice with immigration, detainees and refugees and know damn well that FFP are moderate to Left on this, yet THE DEMS prefer Pauline’s party in NSW. You have yet to answer this case, Andrew. This is politics, not principle, so you might want to get a step ladder for your high horse and put those sour grapes in the bin. In the words of Jeff Probst:

    Outwit. Outlast. Outplay.

    ..but he’s got the cup on your torch. You don’t need to try to take FFP down too. It is not your fault that the Dems are in this state. You worked hard, we all know that but FFP is not your scapegoat. They have stolen no votes. You need to look on your first 15 places on the senate ticket to see who’s stolen your people. FFP, like the DEMS are merely playing the game. No one has pure principle, pure and simple.

  38. GO

    i neither need,want or expect a reply from you. i find your wishful prophecies and hypothesis’ amusing.

    a 9 month wait huh?….i think i’ve been visiting this site for about 4 or 5 weeks….but whatever.

    actually, come to think of it, there is one answer i’m still waiting on.

    the data that suggests any meaningful support for Family First outside of the Assemblies of God Church, and hence the right to call FF centrists, which you are want to do.

    That a party like Family First is prepared to use Pauline Hanson or One Nation in a vain attempt at relevance and a snippett of power speaks volumes.

    Yes other parties do it, but they are not coming from an absolutist moral purity position that is continually pushed on others.

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