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”

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  1. Arbie Jay – I might just critique your percentages a bit:

    Greens – I think their vote will rise from last election. Maybe an extra 1%.
    Pauline – too low. She always does better than expected – 5.5%.
    Family First – too low. You think their vote will drop from 2004 ? 4% or more.
    Dems – too high. Same as last time I think.
    One Nation – too high. They had a senator seeking re-election last time. 1.5%
    Fishing Party – too high. Fishing and lifestyle + shooters will steal some of their vote.
    Carers – too high. Look at the “Non-Custodial Parents” vote.
    Group W, N, K – 0.1% No profile whatsoever.
    Senator Online – 0.1% No profile whatsoever.
    Group X – Higher. James Baker has a profile, he even got mentioned in William’s article.

  2. HH well it must be the propensity of H’s in your moniker that confused me. There was another irrational Christianphobe that used to carry on the same way. My apologies if I was confused.

    I find your whole “scary Christian” argument remarkably similar to the “reds under the bed” campaign in the 60s and shows precisely the same degree of xenophobia.

    Your argument about this “AOG” church thingy is, to be frank, nonsensical. According to online figures for both the “church” attendance, ABS stats for “pentecostal” Christians and the most recent results of FF in all elections since 2004, we end up with this conclusion:

    Approximately 2.5 times the eligible voters in the AOG must be voting for Family First.

    This is absurd. Even if every voter chose FFP, which is absurd in itself, it still only accounts for 40% of the vote. Your premise is not supported.

    When it comes to “political spectrum” you can only make judgments of this on the basis of a) Bills presented b) voting patterns and c) published policy. You have absolutely no understanding of politics if you are honestly suggesting that these three criteria suggest anything but a Centre-Right position. If this were the case, they should have at least voted with the Coalition more than 110 times out of 197 over the last year!

    People I respect more than you like Bryan Palmer, William Bowe and Antony Green would also place them broadly between the ALP and Libs and most certainly nowhere near Pauline Hanson!

    Now you may well be frightened out of your gourd about more FFP senators and “moralist crusaders taking over our fine nation” but this speaks more to your paranoia than sensible political commentary.. We can’t make rational judgments about “what they MIGHT do” and “this is their HIDDEN agenda!” and expect people to buy it.

    You might also want to consider grief counselling also. You are in the distinct minority if you believe that Jeff Buchanan won’t be going to Canberra next July.

  3. paranoia????

    would that be something like Senator Fielding raving on national TV saying the Greens will be making heroin available on every street corner?

    gimme a break.

    this centrist line is absurd. the public are under no illusion as to what FF stand for.

    i’ll give you a friendly wager that FF’s vote drops.

  4. Speaker

    Thanks for the reply, yes if you change the percentages you change the result, FFP get One Nation preferences but it is not enough to stop them being excluded before Pauline Hanson whose preferences eventually go to Boswell.

    Key for Family First is to keep ahead of Hanson and they do this in most scenario’s where One Nation gets a lower vote than them, but around 2% plus.

    The preference flow from One Nation to Family First boosts them above Pauline Hanson, they then get Hansons preferences which boosts them above the other parties to claim a spot.

    It will be an interesting night.

  5. i think we all agree that it will either be

    3 Coalition
    3 Labor


    2 Lib
    2 Labor
    1 Green
    1 FF

    by my reading, i think it will be the former, but either is very possible.

    there is a slight chance of

    3 Labor
    2 Lib
    1 Green

    if the FF vote drops.

    only 9 days to go now.

  6. The Speaker

    Yeah, I’d be in on that action. Actually, to be frank, I AM in. SportingBET is offering the biggest gift of a wager:

    “Will a Family First Candidate be elected at the next Federal election?” at 4:1 !!!!

    Best investment all year. Strong chance for Jeff Buchanan (QLD), minor chance for Gary Plumridge (VIC) and some chance for SA as well!!

    Also, there has not been any election since 2002, State or Federal, where FFP has not increased its vote. 5-7% is not unrealistic in QLD for the senate.

    It is ironic that Greens need FFP to get up. More ironic is that FFP does not need the Greens to do the same, if the Lib vote is simply low.

    So, the absolute irony is that for the Greens to do well, FFP needs to do well and for FFP to be eliminated and the Greens elected, the Lib vote needs to increase to just below a third quota. The Greens of course, preferenced Labor and vice versa.

    It appears to me that a Greens seat will be at Labor’s expense. Is anyone reading this differently?

  7. Q for GO or Speaker or Ray,

    If, given as you like to say, Family First are a centrist Party with centrist followers….do you think a proportion of previous FF voters will drift to Rudd?

    My feeling is that the non-radical section of the FF vote will go to Rudd.

    In the Howard-Bush halcyon years of 2001 and 2004 the momentum for a FF vote was at its peak. These years also kept the Green vote static.

    The gloss of Bush and Howard and extreme social conservatism is long gone imho.

    at the same time there is a Green momentum thru the great Climate Change question that is grabbing voters attention from the left and the right.

    It is just my opinion but i think FF will find it tough from here on in. The momentum of public interest is against them.

  8. HarryH, unless you are either:

    a) contracted to some significant poll company in Australia that we are unaware of or
    b) a bona fide psychic

    I’d think you were talking out of an orifice of your choice to say that
    “The momentum of public interest is against them.”

    What, you know a lot of people across Australia do you??

    Actually, one piece of evidence that tells me we are in for a “sleeper effect” with them, similar to 2004 is the recent Brisbane By-election.

    Over a third of the voters stayed away (36%), presumably in protest at there being no National OR Liberal candidate. Family First garnered 8% in their debut in this seat, bettering the 7% achieved in 2006, all in the Greens best state seat in Queensland.

    In fact, more perplexing was that FFP achieved 9.34% in their Methyr booth, in the heart of New Farm, where the Greens posted their highest ever booth total with 37%. This shows, to myself and some other commentators, that there is a maturing of this party, presumably with the ability to capture elements of Centre-Right and Centre-Left. Certainly the Leaders think so.

    In fact, the polls seem to be showing a tight but marginally lower vote around 5-6% nationally for the Greens, perhaps some bleed due to the fact that ALL parties must have SOME environmental platform now. To be heard above the “noise” of other parties on Climate Change, the Greens have had little choice but to go more radical on proposals to distinguish themselves. The problem with this is that you lose credibility on the Centre-Left fringe, who might prefer Labor.

    Again, we are seeing this with the Senate polling averages for 2007, with a fairly stable (but lower than 2004) Greens vote and a marginally higher ALP vote but senate predictions in most places show almost all potential Green senators at ALP expense (or, at best, no gain). You can rest assured that if Labor senators lose their seats to Greens due to preferences, ALP strategist heads will roll in December, whether Kevvie wins or loses. It was poor political strategy all round to accept a broad Greens preference deal.

    Moreso if Kevin (unlikely though it seems) lost by a single seat which FFP might well have delivered…

  9. Nice, comprehensive site and some nice calculations Speaker!

    I can’t see a lot that I’d dispute with your QLD Senate figures. It does seem as though there is a bit of an FFP media block out.. Nick Xenophon has been in everyone’s columns, yet, on Antony’s calculator.. Jeff Buchanan in QLD is a much stronger chance. Yet Nick is a quirky independent, so I guess that is a little more interesting in the tabloids.. 🙂

  10. Good luck to Senator Andrew Bartlett. Definately a good parliamentarian. It’ll be a shame for the Senate to be without him.

  11. Excellent breakdown of the Senate. Like a number of others here I am also hoping Andrew Bartlett gets back in. Until Meg Lee’s did the dirty I was a Democrat myself, but just couldn’t continue after that betrayal. Unlike some others though, as a Female & working mother, I am sincerely hoping the the figures being predicted on Family First are wrong. They are worse then the Liberals in wanting to set society back to the 1950’s.

    Queestion? Are there many others out there like me that actually number the whole senate ballot paper in the order that they want? (not just tick the top?)

  12. Kyla, have a read of Kevin 07’s piece on religion and politics. Just cos their Christians doesn’t make em suitable to hold the balance of power in Australia’s Senate!

  13. I find it interesting with the primary distributions used in this thread have The Fishing Party (TFP) higher than the Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party (AFLP). It is interesting as the AFLP were TFP (QLD) but moved away but have the same supporting base. The TFP are the NSW based party running two NSW senate candidates according to the AEC website. The same two candidates from the 2004 TFP card are on the AFLP card now (which leads me to the supporter base assumption).

    It doesn’t make much difference to the results, but its just interesting people didn’t see the change. I only noticed it when I heard on 4BC here this morning the TFP NSW taking the AEC to the Federal Court to block the senate vote for QLD, SA and NSW today over the AFLP registration; which twigged my investigation skills to work out who was what considering it was such a massive possible headache. It seems it was dismissed from tonights news report on the same channel. Thank goodness – didn’t want to go through this election advertising again.


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