Photo finishes: the Senate

Saturday, September 11

As you may have noticed, I have kind of dropped the ball on following the late Senate count – normally a richly absorbing pastime in the post-election dead zone, but in the past three weeks there have been bigger fish to fry than the precise make-up of a Senate that will clearly have the Greens holding the balance of power. The AEC has pushed the button on the counts in Queensland (three LNP, two Labor, one Greens) and the ACT (one Labor, one Liberal), with the others presumably to follow shortly. There has never been any doubt about New South Wales (two Liberal and one National, two Labor, one Greens), Western Australia (three Liberal, two Labor, one Greens), Tasmania (three Labor, two Liberal, one Greens) and the Northern Territory (one Labor, one Country Liberal Party). Doubt has also faded about the remainder:

Victoria. What at first appeared the quirky prospect of win for DLP candidate John Madigan has firmed. I personally anticipated the resources of incumbency might mean Family First would perform strongly on declaration votes, but they have actually gone backwards: according to the ABC projection, a 0.12 per cent deficit against the DLP at the revelant point in the count on election night has actually widened to 0.22 per cent. The Coalition have also failed to make up the ground needed to overtake the DLP at the penultimate count, with the gap now at an unassailable 0.72 per cent. That leaves us looking at a result of two Labor, one Liberal and one Nationals, one Greens and one DLP.

South Australia. There was briefly the prospect a week ago of an upset win by Bob Day of Family First at the expense of third Liberal candidate David Fawcett, but we now appear to be looking at a vanilla-flavoured three Liberal, two Labor and one Greens result. At the second last count, the ABC computer projects Fawcett to be on 8.89 per cent against 8.16 per cent for Day. With Day excluded, Family First and other right-wing preferences put Fawcett well ahead of the third Labor candidate.

There is thus little doubt that the newly elected Senators will include 18 from the Coalition, (12 Liberal, two Nationals, three Liberal National Party and one Country Liberal Party), 15 from Labor, six from the Greens and one DLP. These will join the state Senators whose terms began following the 2007 election – 16 Labor, 16 Coalition (14 Liberals and two Nationals), three Greens and Nick Xenophon – for a total result of 34 Coalition (26 Liberal, four Nationals, another three from the Liberal National Party including two who will sit with the Liberals and one who will sit with the Nationals, and one Country Liberal Party who sits with the Nationals), 31 Labor, nine Greens, one DLP and Nick Xenophon.

Monday, August 23

Kevin Bonham and GhostWhoVotes in comments note my assessment of Tasmania was mistaken, as it wrongly allocated Liberal preferences to the Greens over Labor like they normally would. There is in fact little doubt the final result will be three Labor, two Liberal and one Greens, meaning the defeat of Liberal incumbent Guy Barnett by Labor’s Lisa Singh, a former state government minister who lost her seat in Denison at the March state election.

Saturday, August 21

A brief and bleary summary of the Senate situation, based on a quick and dirty review of Antony Green’s projections. This will be progressively updated as further results come to hand. The Greens look good for a Senate seat from each state and will hold an unassailable balance-of-power position in the Senate. The best shot for a quirky result is Victoria where the Democratic Labor Party are currently in the hunt – as is incumbent Steve Fielding, despite reports to the contrary.

New South Wales. This looks like a reasonably straightforward result of three Coalition and two Labor, with Lee Rhiannon of the Greens on a 2.5 per cent lead over the third Labor candidate for the final place.

Victoria. It is widely being reported that Steve Fielding has lost his seat, based on assessments of Antony Green’s projection that went no deeper than the predicted final result. The remarkable fact of said projection is the win for the Democratic Labor Party, who would be advised not to count their chickens. Four counts earlier, the DLP emerge ahead of Steve Fielding by the narrowest of margins, resulting in the former receiving the latter’s preferences and vice-versa. The DLP then emerges ahead of the third Coalition candidate and wins the seat on their third preferences, but it could just as easily be fielding who does this. Alternatively, neither could win – Fielding or the DLP could fail to get ahead of the third Coalition candidate, who might end up taking the seat instead. Or they could get ahead, but then fall short of overtaking Labor in the final count, so that Labor wins the seat.

Queensland. Three Liberal National, two Labor, one Greens.

Western Australia. A delightfully straightforward result, with the Liberals just over three quotas, Labor just over two (a remarkably low 29.8 per cent) and the Greens almost bang on one.

South Australia. Bob Day of Family First looks like he’s come close to overtaking the third Liberal candidate, but is currently 0.4 per cent behind and likely to lose ground in late counting. That being so, the final seat looks set go to the third Liberal, who looks about 3 per cent ahead of third Labor. Result: three Liberal, two Labor, one Greens.

Tasmania. Not only has Christine Milne been easily re-elected for the Greens, the current ABC projection has their second candidate just 1 per cent short of overtaking the Liberals at the second last count, and then winning the seat at the expense of a third Labor candidate. The exclusion of the second Green instead delivers the latter a narrow win over the third Liberal candidate. However, the unusually high number of below-the-line votes in Tasmania might makes things unpredictable. Realistically, the contest is between Labor and the Liberals to take a third seat, with the former slightly ahead.

The territories. Liberal Gary Humphries has only just cleared a quota (one third) in the ACT, but will be made comfortable by Democrats preference and a high rate of leakage. Equally, Labor wasn’t too far over a quota in the Northern Territory.

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.

227 comments on “Photo finishes: the Senate”

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  1. With all respect bombuingtom analysis of the electoral system is very much part of the Analysis of the results, subjective policies or assessment of the outcome. If you do not understand the method of counting the vote then you will not be able to make an infomred assessment of the outcome.

    Victoria is decided. There will not be any change in the outcome.

    ALP: 2
    LNP: 2
    Grn: 1
    DLP: 1

    South Australia is also not a close contest

    ALP: 2
    LNP: 2
    Grn: 1
    FF: 1

    NSW is one worth watching as the Liberal Party’s Thiord canidated surplus is subject to a delayed election and as such teh distortion in tbhe way the senate vote is counted will inflate the value of the Liberal Party Ticket vote.

    * 58,282 (1.51%) votes (1,507,812 raw votes at 0.0387 value) originally from Liberal/National distributed to Liberal Democrats (LDP) (Glenn DRUERY) via preference 24.
    * 12 (0.00%) votes (308 raw votes at 0.0387 value) originally from Group K Independents (Ticket 1 of 3) distributed to The Greens (Lee RHIANNON) via preference 9.
    * 44 (0.00%) votes (1,135 raw votes at 0.0387 value) originally from Socialist Equality Party (Ticket 2 of 3) distributed to The Greens (Lee RHIANNON) via preference 13.
    * 1,384 (0.04%) votes (35,808 raw votes at 0.0387 value) originally from Family First distributed to Liberal Democrats (LDP) (Glenn DRUERY) via preference 14.
    * 202 (0.01%) votes (5,217 raw votes at 0.0387 value) originally from Carers Alliance (Ticket 2 of 2) distributed to Labor (Steve HUTCHINS) via preference 19.
    * 2,902 (0.08%) votes (75,080 raw votes at 0.0387 value) originally from Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) distributed to Labor (Steve HUTCHINS) via preference 34.
    * 3,475 (0.09%) votes (89,912 raw votes at 0.0387 value) originally from Shooters and Fishers distributed to Liberal Democrats (LDP) (Glenn DRUERY) via preference 16.

  2. Tasmania has delivered a good result. with The Greens missing out on a second Senate seat and the ALP securing three topped up by Green preferences.

    I doubt very much that the greens will be able to win over LNP preferences in the forthcoming State election battles. All ready there is a lot of angst and dispute within the LNP about preferencing the extreme left of the spectrum.

    A double dissolution is very much on the cards, if as expected the three amigos resolve to support a Gillard Government we can expect that events will pass and come July 2011 pressure will be open for a fresh election as the Greens assume balance of power. Balance only in the event that the ALP and LNP do not vote together.

    It was only six months ago that Andrew Bartlett tried pitching that a double was on the cards this election. LOL.. It never was really an option. BUT come July next year you can bet that the next election will be a double. Both the ALP and the LNP will fare better at a double dissolution at the next election. Abbott will abide his time and we will then see a repat of 1975 Fraser forced election.

  3. It was always far-fetched that the Greens would get near winning two in Tasmania once the Lib ticket preferenced Labor. There were a couple of scenarios it could have happened under if the Green vote was a bit higher, but in the context of a state swinging to Labor they were both extremely unlikely.

    I don’t see any life in Victoria (DLP too far in front) but I am not so sure about SA. It’s notable that FF have improved their position on all the non-ordinary types so far so if that continues going their way so strongly as more votes are added then they may move into an impregnable position. But if the count was done with the votes exactly as they are right now, I think FF could well be missing out. The current margin at the crucial point is 438 votes on Antony’s calculator if all votes are treated as ATL.

    But there are 3107 votes of BTL for all the third parties that feed to Family First but only 161 votes of BTL for third parties feeding to the Liberals (Carers Alliance x 1/2). Also the third-party BTLs can leak in two ways as they can also leak to Labor, but what I think is more significant is that the votes prone to leakage have the option of leaking to the Libs, who would be seen by some BTL voters for the right-wing micros as a viable alternative to FF. And every BTL that leaks to the Libs is a double hit.

    There are also 7093 votes of Liberal BTL that could leak from the party to Labor or FF rather than reach the Lib #3 candidate but (a) as this is a leak on an internal distribution it should be much lower proportionally (b) most of those votes arrive much reduced in value anyway.

    What do we know about the votes remaining to be counted in terms of possible projections of how much the notional FF lead should increase above the current 438 votes? If this can be projected out to a few thousand it’s all over, but otherwise, I’m not yet sure.

  4. Hear, hear, bomblington!

    Andrew, ignore the irrelevant flack from dAw. Your posts on the way things are heading in the Senate are much appreciated here, though.

  5. Anyway, back to examining the Senate count on the basis of how the Electoral Act is worded, rather than what some might wish it to be counted.

    I agree with you Kevin that it is too early to call South Australia, for the reasons you indicate. Plus there is still a reasonable amount still to be counted (only just over 83% of the vote so far). There is more than 100 000 Senate votes still be counted, at least 40 000 of them postals. Although curiously thus far in SA, the Liberal’s percentage of Senate postal votes is lower than their polling day percentage, and Family First’s is higher – which is the reverse of what is happening with the Senate postal votes of the two parties in the Victorian count. (that of course ignores what might be happening with the votes of the groups whose preferences feed into Family First, but it is an interesting and somewhat counter-intuitive trend). I understand Bob Day, the Family First SA Senate candidate, has a fair bit of money, so perhaps he channeled some of it into harnessing the postal vote.

    For whatever reason, SA doesn’t seem to have anywhere near as much Senate counting over the weekend as some of the other states, but Family First’s lead over the 3rd Liberal is now 438 after 83.03% of the vote counted. This has increased from 259 after 82.57%. I think this increase of 179 occurred from only roughly an extra 5400 votes being counted (over half of which were absentees), so obviously if that rate of increases continues, they will win easily win regardless of BTL votes. But given there is a high mix of postals, absentees and pre-polls in the remaining votes, I think it is too early to make definitive calls.

    VIC: The count here has increased to 85.84% over the last few days (up from 83.76% counted on Thursday night). This has been constituted over roughly 11 000 extra ordinary votes, 30 000 extra absentees, 27 000 extra pre-polls and only 4500 extra postals. The DLP’s lead over Family First has continue to increase – now up to 5369, which is a hike of almost 800. The DLP lead over the Liberal at the final exclusion is now up 19 363 (or 0.67%), which is up by about 1600. The small amount of postals being added in the this last bunch of votes is the main thing stopping me from concluding that this trend is unlikely to alter. There are at least another 200 000 votes to count, including over 60 000 postals – the Libs are polling over 5% higher in postals in the Vic Senate count, which the DLP, Family First, and most of the groups who feed into them are polling either lower or the same on postals.

    FWIW, the Greens in Victoria, are also still holding at just over a quota in their own right. (14.40%)

    NSW: With 87.43% now counted Labor’s vote relative to the Greens has continued to drop so much that they now get excluded before the LDP, which sweeps the Greens way above a quota. Only really of statistical interest to keep following this one.

    ACT: With 89.57% now counted (up from 85.04% on Thurs night), the Liberal group total is down from 33.67% to 33.51%. As 0.21% of this is for Matthew Watts, the Lib’s number 2 candidate, Gary Humphries is now just below a quota in his own right (it’s impossible to say by precisely how much, as 1.69% of the Liberal group’s has still be apportioned by the AEC – it’s possible a very small amount of this might also be for Mr Watts.). There’s probably only about 5% more left to be counted and Humphries is a certainty to win – I’m only following it to see whether he is forced to preferences or not.

  6. I’d be surprised that anyone even a modicum of intelligence would suggest it was laughable to note that a double dissolution was on the cards six months ago (which might be why I haven’t noticed anyone with intelligence suggesting this). It is a simple matter of historical record that a double dissolution was feasible six months ago, and there are plenty of political commentators – and some defeated Labor ex-MPs – who are now saying that Labor would have done better to have gone to a double dissolution at the time.

    It’s off-topic, but I think the chances of a double dissolution within the next year are minimal. Presumably whoever forms government will have given a commitment to the Independents of their intent to serve a full term – and although the Constitutional power to use a double dissolution trigger to call an early election could be used to override any such guarantee (presumably even one written into legislation), it would still be a blatant broken promise to do so. Using the excuse of an obstructive Senate before the new Senate make up takes place in July would also be of such unprecedented cynicism (not to mention an unusual Constitutional precedence of dissolving half of a Senate which has already been elected but hasn’t even had a chance to take office) that it would be unlikely to be electorally helpful to the party that tried such a stunt.

    Whoever is in government will also find it very hard to manufacture a double dissolution trigger without the support of the Independents in the House of Reps, as they will simply prevent a potential trigger Bill from passing the House a second time and being sent to the Senate. The two majors could theoretically artificially manufacture it between themselves, but again the electorate is unlikely to look kindly on such self-serving acts.

  7. I’m happy to take a bet with Democracy at Work (or anyone else for that matter) that Bob Day will not win in South Australia. If it doesn’t breach any laws I’ll put up to $5000 behind it (it anyone knows if a betting agency will take bets on this I’m also happy to go there. Failing a chance to make money I’m quite prepared to stake any reputation I may have on the matter.

    Vic is different. I can’t rule out the possibility that the DLP will win it, but I am confident it will be close (I’ll define that as less than 0.3% or about 10,000 votes seperating the candidates at the crucial elimination. I think this will happen at at least one of the close encounters between Fielding and the DLP, and the winner of that and McGauran. Most likely both. I wouldn’t want to stake my reputation, let alone much money, on the outcome, but I’d still narrowly favour McGauran.

  8. [There are at least another 200 000 votes to count, including over 60 000 postals – the Libs are polling over 5% higher in postals in the Vic Senate count, which the DLP, Family First, and most of the groups who feed into them are polling either lower or the same on postals.]

    This must be the key issue in Vic, if there is any issue left. Below the lines are not much of an issue as far as I can tell unless the current notional gaps become much smaller.

    But even on the current trend in postals, 60+K of postals improves the L/NP position vs the DLP by about six thousand votes and only harms the net position of the DLP plus feeders by hundreds (since some of the feeders are actually doing better on postals and only FF are doing hugely worse). BTLs are not a big factor on current counting either, unless or even if there are many more to be added in the Unapportioned figures. The big losers on postals are the Greens, but I don’t think that’s very relevant since if they need preferences to go over, the parties they take them from are presumably Labor feeders in the final outcome.

    Assuming the DLP stay over Fielding (and there seems little doubt about that since he’s going backwards faster than they are) it’s quite likely McGauran can greatly reduce the margin to the DLP, so that both the close exclusions go inside 10K as Stephen suggests, but it seems a very big ask for him to close down the whole 19K.

    (I’m no expert in reading these big north island senate counts where there’s a zillion parties going back and forth and hardly anybody votes below the line, so if anyone’s got a projection showing McGauran very much still in the hunt I’m interested to see it!)

  9. I can assure you no one I spoke to ever considered your suggestion that a Double Dissolution was on the cards. It was wishful thinking on your part and one that did not come true.

    I can also assure you that the next Senate election will be a double. It makes sense for both the ALP and the liberal party to have a double dissolution. Why risk the Greens increasing their representation in a Half Senate election?

    Re LUNTZ I am surprised Luntz does not understand the issue of the flaw in the way the Senate vote is counted. I am equally surprised given that it was his party in Queensland that was denied representation as a result. Maybe the reason why he is silent is because the Greens also are the benefactor from the distortion in the way the Surplus Transfer value is counted. Stephen have you tried counting the 2007 QLD result with only the last 7 candidates standing? What was the result?

    As to VIC I doubt very much that it will change. 10,000 votes is a huge margin. If it was within 1,000 and there were over 20,00o votes to count then maybe… by to say 10,000 is a close result is stretching it.

    NSW is of more interest as it will show up the distortion in the calculation of the Surplus Transfer value. (Something Mr Bartlett is in denial about, even Antony Green acknowledged that flaw). Maybe you have been stealing too many bottles of red.

    SA I agree it is possible that the Liberal party could out poll FF. There is currently less then 500 votes difference. If Family First are excluded then the ALP could have a chance of picking up a drift. But all FF first ticket votes flow on to the LNP. But yes it is close at that juncture.

  10. Next Senate election a Double.

    Take the Victorian Senate result for example.

    In 2007 the ALP and the LNP won 3 seats each oin 2010 2 each.

    If a double is held at the next election and the 2010 vote holds the ALP would win 5 seats and the LNP 5 DLP 1 Grn 1. If a half Senate was held then the ALP and LNP would go backwards.Next

  11. As an example of the flaw in the way the Senate vote is counted. The flaw that Bartlett claims does not exist.

    NSW The Third LNP candidate is elected with a 388504 surplus

    The LNP #3 vote comprises 1507812 ballot papers (LNO Ticket vote) at a value of 0.27092237 each
    and 529660 Minor party ballot papers at full value 1.00000

    Under the Senate counting rules that Bartlett supports all 2037472 ballot papers are transferred out at a new value of 0.0387.

    Minor party votes represent 26% of the number of ballot papers yet holds over 56% of the value of the vote. The ticket vote represents 74% of the ballot papers and only 44% of the value. Under the Senate counting system they are all transferred out at the same valued. Why is that?

    The LNP Ticket vote has increased in value disproportionately to their original value percentage of the total vote at the expense of the Minor value vote. Is this fair? Is it democratic? According to Andrew Bartlett it is..

    The LNP ticket vote has nearly doubled in its transfered value delivering the LNP ticket a bonus value of over 10,000 votes. Now that a significant margin don’t you think.

  12. As I mentioned above, the NSW Senate result is a certainty of 3 Coalition, 2 ALP and 1 Green. (I’ve reach that conclusion by taking what might seem to be the rather unusual approach of assuming the Senate votes are counted according to the law as it is currently outlined in the Electoral Act, rather than using a random assortment of other methods which don’t actually apply). The only thing of mild interest is whether Glenn Druery of the LDP has managed to preference surf all the way through to the final exclusion, or whether the ALP stays in the count ahead of him.

    Kevin – I think your assessment of the Victorian situation is pretty much correct. Whether or not the Greens drop back below a full quota on primaries won’t have any effect on whether or not the Libs can catch the DLP, as almost all the people they would potentially take preferences from to get over a quota ultimately flow on to ALP anyway, with the very small exception of one-third of the Socialist Equality vote, which goes to the DLP after the Greens. (this currently measures just under 3000 votes, which would be substantially diluted in value if they first went to the Greens and only got transferred to the DLP after the Greens went over quota).

    The DLP is getting fed preferences from about 10 different groups by the time of the final exclusion, where as the Libs only get fed from 4, so there is likely to a further small leakage from the BTL votes. But the 19 000+ gap is rather large, especially as it is still trending up.

  13. The Monday morning update in the SA Senate count has seen a change in trend. Family First’s (nominal ATL only) lead over the Libs at the final exclusion is now just 37, with 83.64% counted. This is down from a lead of 438 last night.

    The extra votes added this morning consisted of roughly 1500 absentees, around 1550 pre-polls and exactly 1000 postals. The unusual earlier trend I noted of the Lib’s percentage of postals being lower than their ordinary vote has also disappeared – the early postals counted must have come from a below-par electorate for the Libs.

    If the Libs do get ahead of Family First, almost all the preferences will flow to the Libs and they will win the final seat easily ahead of Labor. Only Building Australia (currently at 0.15%) and the LDP (at 0.55%) preferenced the 3rd Labor candidate before the 3rd Liberal.

  14. Another update almost immediately after I posted that last comment now has the Liberals back in front of Family First for the final spot by a nominal 145 votes with 83.64% now counted. (Antony Green’s site gets updated even before the AEC one does, which is very impressive – which is also why I wrote 83.64% counted in my post @113. At that stage it 83.43%.) Each 0.1% of the vote is about 1100 votes, so the Lib’s gained 182 votes on Family First just from the last 2300 odd votes counted (all of which were postals).

    Rather than continue to comment after every couple of thousand votes, I’ll see where things stand at the end of the day.

  15. SA again: Senate updates have been added in today from all 11 SA electorates.

    Up to 85.60% now counted and the Libs are now added of Family First by a nominal 457 votes. Around 24 000 extra votes have been added so far today. Only about 3 700 of those were ordinary votes; the rest made up of around 9 250 absentees, 1 500 pre-polls, 9 500 postals + 200 odd provisionals.

    VIC: Now up to 87.10% counted. The DLP lead over Family First at the relevant exclusion continues to rise steadily – now up to 5679. The DLP lead over the Libs at the final exclusion has shrunk a small amount, now sitting at a nominal 17 433 (or 0.59%). This is a drop of close to 2 000 from the last ~44 500 votes counted. The bulk of those have been absentees and pre-polls, with only about 12 000 postals amongst them. It’s hard to know if the closing of the gap will continue, let alone at that rate. If it does, then the Libs would still fall short, but perhaps get close enough for BTL leakages to start to matter.

  16. Democracy at work,(110)
    If there was a double dissolution using the 2010 numbers, how can you end up with 1 Grn when they Greens won one on primary votes needing twice the quota that they would in a half senate? Stop it your going blind, and making a fool of yourself.
    I realise everyone else has started ignoring DAW but sometimes!

  17. on current trends in the counting liberals are home for the third spot in SA and the DLP will win the last spot comfortably, there are not enough postals going to the libs in the counting

  18. Barking

    For a full senate election using the Victorian 2010 result, each quota is 7.69%.
    ALP at 4.95 quota
    Liberals at 4.48 quota
    Greens at 1.87 quota

    The distribution of preference will ensure either FF or DLP gets a quota, then the remainder preferences will decide whether the final seats goes to Liberal/Greens/ and the remaining FF/DLP.

    If the 5th Liberals gets eliminated prior to the last minor party candidate, their prefence distribution might elect the FF/DLP candidate prior to their preference reaching the Green

    So it is possible for the 2010 numbers to produce 5 ALP, 4 Lib, 1 Green, 1 FF, 1 DLP

  19. 85.74% counted in SA and the Lib notional lead is back to 258. If the final result is a notional Lib lead the Libs must win, and even if they don’t keep the notional lead this is all gobbling up votes that FF needed to be using to stretch their margin so this is bad for FF and it looks likely they will be eliminated from the Senate with two narrow losses (doubtless to the tears of an entire nation).

    Vic – 87.45% counted now and the DLP lead over McGauran is out again to 18 208. Just doesn’t seem to be closing fast enough.

  20. Re #110, #116, #118 the Greens would easily win two in Vic in a DD held on present figures because of Green feeder parties. The Green feeders are Socialist Equality x 1/3, Gp B, Aus Dem, SOL, Sex, SA, Sec, Gp U x 1/2. All these ATL preferences reach the Greens before they reach any of FF, DLP, ALP, Lib/Nat. Total of all this debris equals 3.37% but that takes the Green tally to 17.79 = 2.31 Q = two DD seats in a canter. Also given that FF and DLP and their feeders only get to 6.42% (less than a DD quota) at the stage where one is eliminated in the current count I can’t see how you can possibly get both over the line in a DD distribution. It would very likely be 5 ALP, 4 Lib, 2 Green and 1 DLP.

    #116 is almost right – the only catch is that the DD quota isn’t half the half-Senate quota but is actually 7/13 of it, so a half-Senate quota isn’t automatically two DD quotas.

  21. That’s the way the count folds up. The ALP and the LNP surplus are much less then with a half Senate.

    No one is suggesting that the NSW result will differ BUT it is never the less worth noting that the System that Andrew Bartlett falsely claims is not flat inflates the LIberal Party Ticket vote by 10,000 votes., Given that SA is so close the odds are this will also effect the outcome of the South Australian election. We will not know until the AEC publishes the detailed below the line preference data.

    Unfortunately Antony Green’s senate calculator is misleading in the terminology used. He refers to “Raw vote” which should read ballot papers and hat he refers to as “votes” should read the value of the vote. Antony green also fails to publish the details of the formula used calculate the surplus transfer value. You will find that when the count is properly conducted that the results of the calculator will not hold true.

    If you want to understand more on the reason why the Party ticket vote is inflated in value you can read Antony Greens submission confirming my analysis of the Victorian 2007 Senate election.

    This is a serious issue that should not be ignored. Denial of its impact if foolish to say the least. IT MUST BE FIXED.


  22. [the DD quota isn’t half the half-Senate quota but is actually 7/13 of it, so a half-Senate quota isn’t automatically two DD]

    This is the main reason why the Greens do not in two senate seats in a double dissolution. You can process the Ticket Group vote as it stands and the greens become what is referred to as the wasted Quota. Both teh ALP and the LNP maximise thier vote at a DD election.

    A half senate election would reduce the opportunities for the ALP and the LNP. BOTH will want a DD at the next election.

  23. I just ran a 12 member senate count using the publihsed Party Gorup vote data and preferences.

    The following are elected.

    Elected ID Candidate group_name
    1 46 CARR, Kim John Australian Labor Party
    2 40 RONALDSON, Michael Liberal
    3 11 DI NATALE, Richard Australian Greens
    4 47 CONROY, Stephen Michael Australian Labor Party
    5 41 McKENZIE, Bridget Liberal
    6 48 THOW, Antony Australian Labor Party
    7 42 McGAURAN, Julian Liberal
    8 49 LEWIS, Marg Australian Labor Party
    9 43 JENNISON, Susan Liberal
    10 50 FREEMAN, Shelly Australian Labor Party
    11 6 FIELDING, Steven Family First
    12 12 RICE, Janet Australian Greens

    Note that it is very close between the Greens No 2 and the LNP 5. The ALP gets 5. in a half senate elction the ALP would only sevure 4 (2 x 2) Also of interest is that FF is elected to a seat not the DLP

  24. PS The Greens #2 is elected on LNP Preferences and a BONUS value delievered as a result of the flaw in the way the Senate vote is counted. (Maybe this is why the Greens are in denial and remaining MUM about he flaw in the Counting method)

  25. South Australia

    There are over 700 votes for the unaligned independents. No one knows where they flow. Antony Green’s Calculator under these circumstances is misleading. South Australia is also likely to be deternihned on the basis of the distorition in the way the Senate vote is counted. It will have to wait until the preference data file is published

  26. ** sigh ** three years and I’m still having to deal with this drivel.

    As I’ve said every time the ABC Senate Calculator has been used, it does all its calculations exactly as specified in the Electoral Act. I suppose it could have been written to calculate based on a variety of different electoral systems. However, as none of these various other electoral systems have anything to do the the conduct of the curent count, I’ve always been of the view that providing multiple imaginary non-results was something of a waste of time.

    The calculator does not take account of below the line votes so the order candidates get excluded and the values of transfer value will vary in the real count. You can treat the calculator as a useful guide or ignore it and do your own calculations. Nobody has to use it and they are free to use whatever other calculations that anyone chooses to publish.

    The words raw vote will be retained as it provides something astonishingly trivial on which D@W can vent his rage. Small furry animals will be safer on the street.

  27. As Antony Green has also indicated, trying to respond to D@W from a reality based perspective is a futile activity. Even leaving aside interpretations of how the Senate count might progress in an alternative universe where the electoral law is different, the assessment of D@W of current reality is also barely worth paying attention to – whether it be his/her view barley 24 hours ago @101 “South Australia is also not a close contest – ALP: 2, LNP: 2, Grn: 1, FF: 1”, or the bizarre assessment @110 that the Senate result in Victoria “If a double is held at the next election and the 2010 vote holds the ALP would win 5 seats and the LNP 5 DLP 1 Grn 1”. As Kevin points out @120, basic maths (just using addition, no division or disputes over transfer values based on alternative universe fantasylands involved) shows that a repeat of the Victorian Senate vote in a double dissolution would see the Greens win two seats in a canter. We could forget all the micro preference feeders – just adding the Greens (currently at 14.51%) and the full value preferences from the Sex Party vote (currently at 2.23%) would put the Greens at 16.74% – well over 2 quotas (which is 15.38%).

    **sigh** indeed.

    Anyway, enough of such futility – back to assessing the progress of the Senate counts in the real world.

  28. SA: 86.43% counted and Family First now back ahead of the Libs by a nominal lead of 763. This has obviously ebbed and flowed a bit over the course of today – since last night (when the FF lead was 438), there has been a bit over 37 200 votes added to the count. Fewer than 6000 of those were ordinary votes, over 14 000 were absentees, over 6000 were pre-polls and over 11 500 were postals.

    The Liberal Postals are doing slightly better for them now than their ordinary votes (of which there are probably fewer than 15 000 to add in total), but not by as much as Family First’s postals are favouring them. However, pre-polls on average are favouring the Libs relative to FF, while absentees are the reverse. There are probably only around 14 000 or so pre-polls still to count, maybe ~30 000 postals and 23 000+ absentees (and 700 or so provisionals). Given the toing and froing that occurred today in gap between FF and Lib for the final spot, it probably depends which seats those votes are coming from as to how the count might progress from here.

    The SA seats which still have the most Senate votes to count are Boothby, Mayo and Grey, all of which currently have the Lib performing above the statewide average, while FF are below their average in 2 of those 3. By contrast, Kingston and Mayo have almost all their Senate votes counted, and the Libs are well below their statewide average in those seats and FF are above. That would tend to suggest that the Libs are well placed to make up ground again

  29. VIC: Up to 88.06%. All trending the DLP’s way again. The DLP lead over FF continues to grow to 5975, while the lead over the 3rd Lib has grown again to over 20 000. The majority of votes added today were absentees, with the bulk of the rest being pre-polls. Only 1500 and 1000 ordinary votes added, along with around 2500 provisionals. A big chunk of postals are still to come, but hard to see it being able to turn things around now. (And the Greens primary vote is now up to 14.53% – looking more and more likely they will get a quota in their own right)

    ACT: Now at 91.25% counted. The Libs group vote is back up to 33.61% – after taken out the share of their Number 2 candidate (now at 0.26%), it still leaves Gary Humphries at 33.35% – a tiny bit above quota in his own right.

    NSW. Now at 89.14% counted. It’s totally academic, but Labor falling further behind LDP – around 7000 votes now – on the last exclusion, which will deliver the last seat to the Greens either way.

  30. DemocracyATwork @ 121


    If this was typical of the quality of your advocacy of your new system before the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, it is hardly surprising that they chose to ignore you.

  31. i have to retract my comment before that the SA result it a foregone conclusion to the liberals. when i cheked the calculator at about 12 ther libs got in front, but we are now 763 votes behind FF so it is still in the air to what is gunna happen there but as Andrew rightly points out there are a lot of senate votes in the conservative seats still to be counted but as D@W also said thee are 700 unaligned votes to be preferenced out as well so at the end of the day who really knows whats gunna happen in Sa, could take a few more weeks. *SIGH* at least we will probably have a government of some form tomorrow

  32. aaronkirk:

    Given that all the people who are eventually confirmed as being elected in the various Senate contests across all the states won’t actually take up office until July next year, it doesn’t really matter if it takes another week or so to confirm the full results – particularly given that it is already beyond dispute that the Greens will have the clear balance of power in that new Senate with at least 1 seat to spare.

    It is very unlikely to make any practical difference whether Family First or the Libs win the last Senate seat in SA (or even whether the Libs can somehow get the final Senate seat in Victoria from the DLP). Obviously it matters to the individual people and their parties (Libs, DLP and FF) who gets these seats, but it won’t make any difference when it comes to what does or doesn’t get passed by the Senate. (which is not to ignore or deny the great vale which every individual Senator can bring to the Senate proceedings, particularly when it comes to Committees – and on that basis, having the DLP person win the last Senate seat in Victoria couldn’t possibly deliver less to the body politic than the FF or Lib Senators who are both looking likely to lose their seats).

  33. [but as D@W also said thee are 700 unaligned votes to be preferenced out as well so at the end of the day]

    Is there any reason to believe those will flow strongly in any direction when the choices are Liberal vs Family First?

  34. Kevin @134 – This ‘D’@W comment seems to have no purpose or substance beyond trying to take a puerile shot at Antony Green and his Senate count calculator (even though he/she/it relies on Antony’s calculator to make their assumptions and still can’t get it right when they do).

    The SA Senate ballot paper only had the one Ungrouped candidate (currently with 788 votes), and the Family First group – at Group R – is the very last one on the ballot paper prior to this, so it is reasonable to assume that FF (Group R), will get more than the Libs (Group D), although some will also end up parked with the ALP candidate (Group C) as the other one left in the count. Probably R will end up with a bit more than D+C, but I doubt it would be by very much.

    But no doubt ‘D’@W will still say it’s all due to a ‘flaw’ in the way it was counted and FF “should” have ended up with all of them (and probably more on top to compensate for the ‘flaw’)

  35. I am a very rare poster to this site, which is probably a wise thing for all concerned.

    So I am allowed one gush.

    Doesn’t it make us all proud that we can have a debate including people of some prominence (however minor – and I can’t think of anything more minor than a former Democrat Senator and someone who works for the ABC *ducks*) . In public. Without fear of censorship (thanks, William) or reprisal.

    What we have here, as we comment on our democracy, really is magnificent.

  36. [Is there any reason to believe those will flow strongly in any direction when the choices are Liberal vs Family First?]

    Michelle Drummond is an ex-Democrat & ex-Green turned Independent.

    She had no HTVs anywhere and her few friends and supporters who put her first would definitely put the Greens high above anyone else relevant in this count such as the ALP, Libs or FF.

    For those that voted for her for what she believes in, I think her preference value will be infitesimal and would go ALP ahead of either Lib or FF and after that I am guessing.

    Of course as she got 800 votes I am sure a lot of those are people who just decided to be different. so who knows what they wanted for preferences.

    The fact that FF were second last on the ballot paper before Michelle makes me think they will get a fair slice of this as a reverse donkey vote but I could be wrong.

  37. While we’re all waiting to find out who will be PM ….

    The SA Senate count continues to fluctuate. An extra 5 150 votes added so far today – all of them ordinary votes – and Family First’s lead has been trimmed back from 763 to just nominal 71 votes. That’s quite a big shift for such a small amount of extra votes.

    The seats where Senate updates have occurred so far this morning have been Grey, Sturt (both above average for Libs and below average for FF), and Wakefield (which is the reverse). In a bad sign for FF, almost all the Senate vote from Wakefield has now been added to the count, while Sturt still has around another 5% to count and Grey has only just passed the 80% counted mark.

    There are perhaps about 80 000 votes left to count.

    As Kevin said @119, even if FF stays in front, they will need to stretch their nominal lead to cover for BTL leakage. The more votes get counted, the fewer they have left to get that nominal lead out to a safe(r) level.

  38. Just another 588 more votes added in SA – all but 6 of them pre-polls – but that’s been enough to shift the Liberal back into the lead by a nominal 34 votes (with 86.95% now counted).

    That’s an overall shift of 105 votes to the Libs in just that small bundle – the variation based on which electorate the votes are coming from is clearly quite marked, but based on the seats which have the most votes left to count, it’s looking much rosier for the Libs.

  39. At least following the Senate count pointlessly closely fills in time while waiting to hear who ends up as government….

    Another 1371 votes added in SA, all of them absentees. The Lib lead increases minimally to a notional 39.

    In Victoria, after 88.60% counted, the nominal DLP lead over the Lib at the final exclusion is now 18411 (or 0.61%). That’s down about 1500 from last night

  40. The outcome of the final seat in Vic and SA in this election may be crucial in the 2014-2017 Senate but I don`t think it will be because I think that the Coalition will not take any Senate Seats of the ALP or Greens (unless there is a political landslide in their favour in the next 3 years or so). The Greens would likely get 5-7 seats (NSW and ACT being the variables). The ALP would likely get the same number as this time unless the X factor in SA drops them too far bellow 2 quotas now that the SA Green vote is higher.

  41. These all look settled now.

    SA: With nearly 90% of the vote counted, and some of the remaining to come from the Lib’s stronger seats, the Libs now lead Family First for the final seat by over 2500.

    VIC: As Kevin notes, the DLP lead over the Libs for the final seat is now over 22 000. Whilst the gap has occasionally narrowed a little bit as counting has progressed, the overall trend is a widening gap. With 90.18% counted, the gap looks too large to bridge, even taking into account that there are more postal votes left to count than anything else.

    The gap between the DLP and FF at the earlier crucial exclusion has also slowly but consistently grown as counting has progressed and is now over 6600. (and Labor has made up no ground at all in bridging the 1+% shortfall on the final quota that they’ve had throughout the count). With the Greens primary vote now at 14.52%, they seem sure to get a quota in their own right.

    NSW: Labor continues to fall further behind and now looks very unlikely to even survive to the final count, which the Greens will any case win by a mile.

    ACT: With 93.25% counted – and more than 5% not voting – there is not much left to count; perhaps 3000 at most. The Libs as a group have now fallen just below a quota at 33.30%. Their number 2 candidate, Matthew Watts, has at least 0.37% (and probably also a decent chunk of the 0.39% of the Libs vote which is still unapportioned). The Liberal’s Gary Humphries will probably end up about 1% short of a quota in his own right and will be forced to rely on preferences to be returned. He would probably get there on BTL votes in any case, but the Australian Democrats decision to preference him first, means that the 1.09% of ticket votes they have will guarantee Humphries’ re-election regardless of what happens with BTLs.

  42. A quick summary of what all those results add up to:

    ACT & NT – no change, with 1 ALP and 1 Lib in ACT, and 1 ALP and 1 CLP in NT.

    WA – The only state which returned the status quo. 3 Lib, 2 ALP and 1 Green incumbents all returned.

    SA – The Greens gain a seat from Labor. 3 Lib, 2 ALP, 1 Green. Retirements from 2 of the Libs and 1 ALP means there are 4 new faces in the 6/

    VIC – Family First loses a seat, which DLP takes (with a primary vote of 2.32%). The Libs lose a seat to the Greens (and the seat won in 2004 by the Nats which Julian McGuaran took over to the Libs when he defected returns to the Nats with the election of Bridget McKenzie – while in a sign there is some justice in the world occasionally, McGauran is the Liberal who loses their seat). 1 Lib, 1 Nat, 2 ALP, 1 Green, 1 DLP – with 3 of the 6 being new faces.

    TAS – ALP (Lisa Singh) takes a seat from the Libs (Guy Barnett). 2 Lib, 3 ALP, 1 Green. The (unwilling) retirement of Labor’s Kerry O’Brien (replaced by Anne Urqhardt) means there are 2 new faces among the 6.

    QLD – Greens (Larissa Waters) wins a seat from the Libs (Russell Trood) 3 LNP, 2 ALP, I Greens.

    Net result: Greens make net gain of 4, ALP net loss of 1, Libs net loss of 4, Nats gain 1, DLP gain 1 and Family first lose 1.

    New Senate numbers as of 1 July next year:
    L/NP/LNP/CLP Coalition: 34
    ALP: 31
    Greens: 9
    Xenophon: 1
    DLP: 1

    If you use a crude left vs right measure (Greens + ALP = left, Coalition + others = right) then there has been a 3 seat shift to the left. The current 37 left vs 39 right will become 40 left vs 36 right.

    With 39 votes needed to pass motions and legislation, and 38 votes needed to defeat motions and legislation, the Greens have sole balance of power with at least 2 seats to spare in any situation.

  43. As a final thought –

    The election result is currently being almost universally portrayed by the Coalition and a large cheer squad as having shown a huge surge in support for the Coalition. The far more proportional nature of the Senate shows a rather different story, with the Coalition losing 3 seats, and Labor a net loss of 1.

  44. Yes Andrew, but the change in the Senate is a comparison of 2004 and 2010 rather than 2007 and 2010, as it is with the House of Representatives.

  45. Fair enough point ltep:

    Senate seats won this time –
    ALP 15
    Greens 6
    Coalition 18
    DLP 1

    Senate seats won at 2007 election –
    ALP 18
    Greens 3
    Coalition 18
    Xenophon 1

    or Greens win 3 seats more than the last election, Labor wins 3 seats fewer, Coalition treads water. (and the historic Senate high water for the Coalition of the 2004 election is washed away, as the freak Qld result of winning 4 seats out of 6 is confined to history, and the 2007 result of only managing to win 2 out of 6 seats in two of the states is repeated)

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