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”

Comments Page 4 of 5
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  1. [SA. 91% Counted and the Liberals are 450 votes ahead of FF.]

    I think you missed a zero there! (Had me wondering if the count had bounced back again). Current lead 4442.

  2. The terminology RAW VOTES is meaningless and misleading. You would be better off if you published the formula for calculating the Surplus Transfer value and presenting the facts as they are. whistler the result in NSW will not change the fact is the LNP ticket is inflated by over 10,000 votes as a result of the system used to calculate the Surplus transfer value. mr Bartlett may chose to call Red is Green or Black is White. Like it or not the system IS FLAWED. As to the method of distributing excluded candidates preferences th8is also is a flawed process designed as a short cut to assist in the manual counting of votes. Well we no longer manually count the votes. We do not use typewriters and or manual calculators. An excluded candidates vote should be distributed according to the nominated preferences as if the candidate that was excluded never stood. This (In Spite of Mr Bartlett’s denial and Antony Greens failure to review the issue – He never did a count)) RESULTED IN TEH GREENS NOT BEING ELECTED TO THE QLD SENATE IN 2007.

    Again if you have any doubt recount the 2007 QLD result excluded all candidates except the last seven candidates and tell us what the result is? This is how the preferential system should be counted – as if the candidates that were excluded did not stand, their votes being redistributed to the one of the last remaining candidates. It was also telling, if not misleading for the AEC to claim they could not under stake such a count. (the AEC in stating that they could not undertake this simple analysis was a lie and a deliberate attempt to mislead the parliament. surely Antony Green has the expertise to under take such a simple count. He confirmed my analysis as to the counting of the Victorian Senate vote why could he not do a simple count of the Queensland Senate. Is his integrity also compromised as a result?

  3. If the SA Ticket vote represented the outcome of a DD elction the folloing would be elected

    Elected ID Candidate group_name
    1 5 GALLACHER, Alex Australian Labor Party
    2 8 FISHER, Mary Jo Liberal
    3 22 WRIGHT, Penny The Greens
    4 6 McEWEN, Anne Australian Labor Party
    5 9 EDWARDS, Sean Liberal
    6 7 WORTLEY, Dana Australian Labor Party
    7 10 FAWCETT, David Liberal
    8 23 MONTGOMERY, Sandy The Greens
    9 11 SALU, Peter Liberal
    10 24 MILLER, Jeremy John Scoular The Greens
    11 39 DAY, Bob Family First
    12 14 RUSSELL, Paul D.L.P. – Democratic Labor Party

  4. If the Victorian Tickey vote represented the ouco0me of a DD election the following would be 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 6 FIELDING, Steven Family First
    11 50 FREEMAN, Shelly Australian Labor Party
    12 12 RICE, Janet Australian Greens

  5. If I voted 1 DLP#1, 2 ALP#1, 3 GRN#1 and 4 LNP#1 then ALP#2, ALP#3, and DLP#1 was excluded were should my vote be redistibuted/allocated and at what value?

  6. I have never said it wasn’t Antony. But you do hide the calculation in the way you present your results. You yourself know that the formula is flawed. Your submission confirmed my analysis in Victoria. if you look at the NSW result you will see a 10,000 BONUS vote added to the value of LNP. Try renaming your Raw vote and Vote description. It is misleading.

    Have you managed to do a recount of the QLD senate vote using only the last 7 Candidates left standing? What was the result? Or are you claiming as the AEC did that you are not in position to do such a a count? Do you really believe the AEC could not undertake such a simple analysis?

  7. I don’t hide the calculations. The transfer values are all published as are the totals of votes in every bundle at every point so you can easily work them out. If you can’t work it out from there, that’s your problem.

    I know the AEC weights the votes in a manner that distorts the flow of preferences in surplus to quota votes. However, there’s not much point in producing a Senate calculator if it doesn’t attempt to produce the same result as the AEC.

  8. [I don’t hide the calculation]

    I agree … (Yes minister style) but you do not publish the information as clear as you could either. Again this vote/Raw vote description is misleading and not as clear as it could/should be. You also need to slow down your refresh rate. Surly it could/should only refresh if there is a change in the data. I like the Calculator excluding the poor choice of wording and lack of the figures associated with the calculation of the transfer value.

  9. Now where is the calculation of the Surplus Transfer value. You just show the result not the calculation formula used

    Take the first line There are 1,569,421 ballot papers each originally having a value of 0.3651? with a total value of 573,031 The surplus value is divided by the number of ballot papers not the value of the vote. You do not publish the total number of ballot papers. You have to mine that data as it is not clear as to who you calculated the 0.0376 or the drive published value of 59,042 (IE it is hidden from view). What that does is hide the fact that votes with full value are devalued and votes at a fraction of the value are inflated. The bonus distortion is over 10,000 “Raw votes” value.

    It would be much better of you published your caluclations and distinguished ballot papers from the value of the vote. The legislation refers to pass not value or raw votes. A bit of clarity would go a long way in shining light on the problem as opposed to hiding it from view.

    Count 33: Fiona NASH (Liberal/National) elected #5

    * 59,042 (1.47%) votes (1,569,421 raw votes at 0.0376 value) originally from Liberal/National distributed to Liberal Democrats (LDP) (Glenn DRUERY) via preference 24.
    * 12 (0.00%) votes (309 raw votes at 0.0376 value) originally from Group K Independents (Ticket 1 of 3) distributed to The Greens (Lee RHIANNON) via preference 9.
    * 44 (0.00%) votes (1,182 raw votes at 0.0376 value) originally from Socialist Equality Party (Ticket 2 of 3) distributed to The Greens (Lee RHIANNON) via preference 13.
    * 1,422 (0.04%) votes (37,801 raw votes at 0.0376 value) originally from Family First distributed to Liberal Democrats (LDP) (Glenn DRUERY) via preference 14.
    * 206 (0.01%) votes (5,481 raw votes at 0.0376 value) originally from Carers Alliance (Ticket 2 of 2) distributed to Labor (Steve HUTCHINS) via preference 19.
    * 2,932 (0.07%) votes (77,938 raw votes at 0.0376 value) originally from Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) distributed to Labor (Steve HUTCHINS) via preference 34.
    * 3,543 (0.09%) votes (94,165 raw votes at 0.0376 value) originally from Shooters and Fishers distributed to Liberal Democrats (LDP) (Glenn DRUERY) via preference 16.

  10. [The legislation refers to ballot papers not votes or “raw votes”.]

    Votes in your description is misleading, in that it is the total value of the votes allocated to the ballot papers distributed not the votes themself.

    The Federal legislation also transfers “votes” of the same value as one transaction. They are not segmented. State legislation segments exluded candidates “votes” based on the value of Canidates Primary vote allocation and tghe value of the “vote”.

    It is the segmentation and process of distribution that adds the second issue of concern at the way the Senate vote is counted. This is where the QLD Senate result was flawed in determining the results.

    Again, your figures are correct but it does not really reflect accurately the process that is used.

    I ask once more have you tried counting the QLD Senate vote excluding all candidates but the last seven standing (2 ALp, 3LNP, 1 Grn) What was the result of your revised count?

  11. There are 1,569,421 ballot papers each originally having a value of 1, as published at count 1. They are distributed at this point at value 0.0376, which is where the value 59,042 comes from, the vote value. The transfer value has been cacluated by dividing the vote surplus by the total number of ballot papers, as specified in the Act. The Act specifies that the transfer value be calculated to eight decimal places, which the calculator also does, but it has only been published to four decimal places which means there appears to be a rounding error but isn’t.

    Under the Senate’s Inclusive Gregory Method, votes can increase in transfer value on the distribution of a surplus, but this has not occurred here. Every ballot paper has a reduced transfer value, including the Coalition’s, each having reduced in transfer value at every stage of the count. What you are talking about is the use of ballot papers as the divisor in the calculation of transfer value weights the votes in the surplus into having a higher proportion of Coalition preferences compared to other parties. The candidate is declared elected based on votes, but the surplus is distributed based on ballot papers.

    No one else reading this post will understand what this debate is about, and it is not helped by D@W’s loose use of terminology. The calculation problem is well explained in an article by David Farrell and Ian McAlister, “:The 1983 Change in Surplus Vote Transfer Procedures for the Australian Senate and its Consequences for the Single Transferbale Vote” published in the Australian Journal of Political Science, Vol 38 No. 1, November 2003. Miragliotta’a research paper for the WA Electoral Commission, “Determinning the Result: Transferring Surplus Votes in the Western Australian Legislative Council” also well outlined the problem, and led to Western Australia adopting the Weighted Inclusive Gregory Method that removed the distortion caused by the use of ballot papers in the divisor in the Senate method.

    I waste far too much time responding to D@W’s hysterical and poorly written posts and have no inention of saying another word on the subject. Stupid of me to ever respond in the first place.

  12. Antony

    Thank you for all your insight and the excellent coverage from the ABC (that really really biased Government owned TV station – LOL)

  13. Antony

    Thanks for your explanation, I am perhaps one of the rare PBers who do understand the ‘debate’ you’ve been having with D@W (well, your side mainly).

    I was made aware of this anomaly in the late 1980s by a mathematics genius and amateur psephologist – it was nicknamed by him as the “Surplus Swing Effect”.
    I am aware that the major parties were aware of this effect too by the late 80s (if not earlier).

    I think your summation suffices, thanks again.

  14. Thanks Antony. I know it feels a waste of time responding to ‘D’@W, (and it is in the sense that he/she either can’t or won’t ever understand), but it is of great benefit to others who want clarity in understanding how the Senate count works.

    There are a few others of us who understand the point you are repeatedly having to make (and even understand the issue ‘D’@W seeks to highlight, even if he/she seems incapable of accurately presenting its impact, and wants to mix it up with various other counting methods). But in a a post and a thread about the Senate vote count, I agree that it is preferable to actually stick to how the Senate vote is actually counted according to the current law.

    As for the ability of ‘D’@W to assess the progress and likely outcome of Senate counts, suffice to use their own words:

    “South Australia is also not a close contest:
    ALP: 2, LNP: 2, Grn: 1, FF: 1.”

    Well as it turned out, SA wasn’t a very close contest in the end – so I guess the first part was right.

  15. For the record, I have put DemocracyATwork in moderation – any further comments from him will only be admitted if they refrain from personal attacks, and do not involve his boring personal vendettas about fantastically trivial matters. Many apologies for not doing this sooner.

  16. William Bowe @ 172 – On a related issue, do you have any idea why it is that of all forms of proportional representation, single transferable vote seems to be the only one which gives rise to quasi-religious beliefs that some variants are “correct” or “accurate” and all others are wrong? It mystifies me that not just people like DATW, but also serious political analysts like Antony Green, and serious political scientists like Farrell and McAllister (cited by Antony @ 165), fall for this.

    There are probably more forms of List PR than of STV (d’Hondt, St Lague, modified St Lague, largest remainder (the latter with various different quotas, including Hare, Droop, Imperiali and the wonderful Hagenbach-Bischoff), but one seldom if ever sees the discussions reduced to “correct/incorrect” terms: analysts rather will say that one may be more proportional, one may be more favourable to large parties, etc, but they hardly ever say that x is correct and y is incorrect.

  17. [do you have any idea why it is that of all forms of proportional representation, single transferable vote seems to be the only one which gives rise to quasi-religious beliefs that some variants are “correct” or “accurate” and all others are wrong? ]

    if I may, the reason is because they are a minor party and minor parties preference each other before the major parties., The focus and direction of the minor party ticket is enhanced as a result of the above the line ticket vote

    It has nothing to do with the religious factor other then that those religious groups cross preference each other before any other minor parties and before the majors. Its simple addition..

    The ticket above the line vote being then main factor in giving strength to their successand ability to climb the heap.

  18. I’ll have a shot at #173. Many of the List PR forms (D’Hondt, Sainte-Lague etc) are not exactly proportional – they tend, to varying degrees, to slightly favour very popular parties and slightly obstruct the tiddlers. They also tend to require that the voter abandon the hope of choosing between candidates, and just choose between parties instead. This means that an advocate of such a system has already accepted a degree of pragmatism, which might cool the passion of the discussion somewhat, whereas an STV advocate can still pursue ideas of purest proportionality, one vote one value and so on. And so you get some posters (D@W, on my reading, an example) who are very keen on the idea that somewhere within STV lie one or more more or less ideal vote-counting systems, and that “inferior” versions of STV just don’t live up to that promise.

    Other STV supporters might not be so convinced that the mathematical Rolls-Royces like Meek or Wright have to be where it’s at. For instance one of D@W’s fundamental assumptions (as far as I can tell) is that once a vote has a certain set of alternatives available to it, it should be treated the same way and carry the same continuing value as any other vote that has the same set of alternatives available to it. That’s an assumption I’m open to being convinced of, but at this stage not yet convinced of. So I can look at Meek, Wright, Hare-Clark, Weighted Inclusive Gregory and so on and I think all these systems have their advantages and disadvantages; I wouldn’t call one of them “right” and the others “wrong”.

    But I *would* call Inclusive Gregory, the current Senate method, wrong. The reason I call it wrong is that a voter’s vote can in cases increase or decrease in its total value and this is just a violation of one vote, one value, and against the whole spirit of STV. In the other forms your vote keeps a total value of 1 through the count (in terms of its sum contribution to all candidates’ totals), although in Hare-Clark that value might be active, it might be partly active, or the whole vote might be sitting in the pile of an elected candidate doing absolutely nothing.

    Similarly I would not assume that the other commentators who are pointing out the flaw in Inclusive Gregory have quasi-religious beliefs that a given STV system is the path of righteousness and all the others are undemocratic quackery. They might hold such beliefs for all I know, but all that Antony and those cited by him above are doing is pointing out why our current Senate system is a runt of the STV litter.

  19. Thank you for fielding that one, Kevin. Getting fraught about a method which is “not exactly proportional” when the number of seats up for election is six is … well, not exactly proportional. The great absurdity of the system to my mind is how it bends over backwards to give effect to an open list system, then prevents it from working through the above-the-line option and fixed ordering of party candidates. We should either a) replace it with Hare-Clark, or b) ditch the pretence and formally move to a closed list system, which would be immeasurably easier to both operate and understand.

  20. William,

    I argue that a closed list system would be unconstitutional under Section 7 of the Constitution:

    The Senate shall be composed of senators for each State, directly chosen by the people of the State, voting, until the Parliament otherwise provides, as one electorate.

    A closed list system means that political parties determine who can be elected and the order in which they can be elected. They would therefore not be “directly chosen by the people”.

    The current above-the-line system does not offend this principle because the voter still has the option of choosing candidates in any order he or she chooses by voting below the line. One such choice is made more convenient than others by being above-the-line, but there is no compulsion to vote above-the-line, so any voter doing so is still directly choosing his or her preferred candidates.

  21. [I’ll have a shot at #173. Many of the List PR forms (D’Hondt, Sainte-Lague etc) are not exactly proportional]

    Nor is the current Senate system exactly proportional. It is at best semi-proportional as explained in the analysis as who the count/fold up is performed. In Queensland if example the system elected the wrong person in the sixth position.

    [This means that an advocate of such a system has already accepted a degree of pragmatism, which might cool the passion of the discussion somewhat, whereas an STV advocate can still pursue ideas of purest proportionality, one vote one value and so on. And so you get some posters (D@W, on my reading, an example) who are very keen on the idea that somewhere within STV lie one or more more or less ideal vote-counting systems, and that “inferior” versions of STV just don’t live up to that promise.]

    Yes this is true. A preferential STV system is designed to best reflect the intentions and represent the voter. Those that express concern that minor parties succeed in climbing above the rest to get elected conveniently forget the fact that they only do so because more people prefer them to the remnants of the Major party support. IE Family/First or the DLP out polled the LNP or the ALPs third placed candidate. As such they have a legitimate right to be elected. IN the same way that we elect members of the lower house on the basis of whoever can secure 50% or more support. A properly designed STV system is in fact an extension of the lower house preferential system.

    Suggestion of placing artificial quotas and barriers to representation denigrates the electorates democratic entitlement to choose their representative. I might not like the choices made but I will defend their right to make that choice unencumbered.

    [I can look at Meek, Wright, Hare-Clark, Weighted Inclusive Gregory and so on and I think all these systems have their advantages and disadvantages; I wouldn’t call one of them “right” and the others “wrong”.]

    Yes each one has their limits, Both Meek and Wright do reflect more accuracy the proportionality of the count. Meek as designed as a non-linear counting system to reflect more accurately the proportionality of the Count without bias of favour. Wright is a linear reiterative process reflecting the process how we currently count the lower house vote. Each ballot paper is treated in the same fashion, only surpluses are distributed in any single iteration with the election reset and recounted on any exclusion. The process continues until all vacancies are filled in a single iteration. With the use of computer technology this process is easily implemented and executed.

    Hare-Clarke is flawed in its execution and is fundamentally undemocratic as it gives greater authority and power to whoever happens to be placed as the last bundle. hy would the last group of segmented votes hold more weight ion distributing a surplus then the other votes that contributed to the surplus in the first instance?

    It was designed and implemented to facilitate a manual counting process before calculators or computers were in existence. It should and must be related to the history books along with the PDP 11 and a typewriter. To this extent I think, as Kevin has rightly pointed out there is a right and wrong in which system to adopt.

    All three, (Meek, Wright and Hare-Clarke) are in agreement that the current Senate system of calculating the surplus transfer value id fundamentally flawed.

    The method of distributing preferences from excluded candidates, as is used in the method adopted by the Senate and by the system used in Tasmania and the ACT is equally wrong. Why should a vote retain a higher value because it joined the queue at a later stage in the count? It is on this basis that the candidate elected to the sixth position in the 2007 Queensland Senate ballot was the wrong one. Larissa Waters should have been declared elected instead of the ALPs throd candidate.

    Our preferential voting system, one of the best in the world. is designed to give effect to the voter’s choice as opposed to the quick cut division of a party list system.

    Each vote must be treated equally. To this extent the best choice on offer is either Meek or Wright.

    If we can not implement or provide a preferential system that is accurate then e might as well accept William’s suggestion and adopt a party list system. I prefer to retain a preferential system but chose the system that best reflects, mathematically, the correct outcome.

    Anyone who states that the current system is not flawed is in denial of the truth arising from their own ignorance.

    The suggestion of censorship of this issue is akin to to those who wish to burning books, preventing debate or education on how our voting system works. This thread is the appreciation thread for this discussion as it deals with the way the Senate vote is counted.

  22. William

    [We should either a) replace it with Hare-Clark, or b) ditch the pretence and formally move to a closed list system, which would be immeasurably easier to both operate and understand.]

    Hare Clarke (Last bundle counting system) is equally flawed in its design and execution, It is outdated and undemocratic. Why should the last bundle/segment of the vote count determine the allocation of preferences in distributing a candidate’s surplus of votes? Should not all those who contributed to the over all surplus have equal say and weight in determining how and where the surplus is distributed?

    Hare-Clarke should be relegated to the history books along with the typewriter and PDP11.

    If we can not count the vote correctly then we should, as you advocate, abandon the open list system and adopt a party list system

    If we administered our financial system as we count the vote then our economy would collapse over night. Why should we count and value our vote any different to the way we count money or allocate dividends to share holders.

  23. 177

    The 1984 amendments to the electoral act even included a savings provision in case above the line voting was ruled unconstitutional.

  24. Sorry if this has already been noted and I’ve missed it, but there is a very cute irony in McGuaran losing his seat to the DLP. When the DLP was in danger of being deregistered by the electoral commission McGauran was widely reported to have put up the funds for them to take a court challenge. They lost, but maintained registration in other ways. Presumably this was because he hoped to get their preferences. I imagine it never occurred to him they might end up knocking him off.

  25. DemocracyATwork

    Have you run simulations for all the states for a 12-senator election, using the tickets and data from this one?
    I saw your Vic and SA ones, just wondering how a DD would have looked on these numbers for what it’s worth?

  26. According to my spreadsheets and sore eyes, the 2010 vote repeated at a DD would give:

    TAS – ALP 5 – LIB 4 – GRN3 (Shooters & Fishers stranded on apx .81)

    QLD – LNP 5 – ALP 3 – GRN 2 – FF 1 – AF&LP 1 (ALP stranded on apx .86)

  27. antony green dates
    [Under the Senate’s Inclusive Gregory Method, votes can increase in transfer value on the distribution of a surplus, but this has not occurred here]

    That is not correct. Analysis of the information provided by Antony Green (But hidden away with loose terminology of “vote”s and “Raw votes” in the NSW senate election (detailed explanation outlined here.) shows that the LNP ticket vote was inflated by over 14,000 “votes” as a result of the flawed method of calculation of the surplus transfer value. 14,000 votes can certainly deliver a winning margin. In the Victoria the outcome of the election would have been effected by less then 5,000 votes. A fact that Antony Green had confirmed in his submission to the JSCEM

    In NSW
    The LNP # 3 candidate votes comprised of
    1,584,909 ballot papers at 0.268313827 = 425,253 (65.91% of 645,194 surplus)
    219,941 ballot papers at 1.0000000 = 219,941 (34.09% of 645,194 surplus)

    When transferred out using the AEC formula

    65,366 divided by (1,584,909 + 219,941) = 0.036217

    The LNP ticket vote is worth the value of 57,400 votes (87.81% of 65,366 surplus)
    The Primary Full value “Raw” votes are now worth 79,66 votes (12.19% 65,366 surplus)

    [The LNP ticket vote has increased its percentage of the Total value from 65.91% to 87.81%) and the Primary Full value votes have been devalued from 34.09% to 12.19%]

    As to STV,. Yes Meek is a good system, but one that is technicalyl convoluted.

    A reiterative “surplus only” count, as outline in the Wright system, delivers the same outcome. It is linear and follows more or less the same procedures as used in Western Australia except that the count is reset and restarted on every exclusion. Each ballot paper is treated in the same way as if the candidates excluded had not stood. The count continues until all vacancies are filled in a single iteration. One transaction per candidate no segmentation. Both Meek and Wright are by far more preferable then the existing system used in Counting the Senate or Tasmanian/ACT parliaments.

  28. [In the Victoria the outcome of the election would have been effected by less then 5,000 votes. A fact that Antony Green had confirmed in his submission to the JSCEM]

    Referred to the 2007 Victorian senate count based in the realistic hypothetical of One Nation preferencing the LNP before the ALP (Same situation applies if you allocated the 2010 Ticket Vote preferences to the 2007 vote

  29. One interesting oddities of history is that the Senate election is conducted under the authority of the relevant State Governors with the ACT and NT election under the authority of the Governor General.

  30. No Coalition ballot paper increased in transfer value in NSW. The proportion of Coaliton votes that formed part of the Coalition’s surplus was higher under the Inclusive Gregory Method as compared to the Weighted Inclusive Gregory Method, but there was no increase in the transfer value of any Coalition ballot paper on the distribution of preferences from the third elected Coalition candidate. Votes increasing in transfer value is a fault of the Inclusive Gregory Method, but it is not what has happened in this case.

  31. [Abetz faces High Court challenge
    Senator Abetz says he renounced his German citizenship in 1993.
    The eligibility of Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz to sit in Parliament is being challenged in the High Court.] It says he was going to give a copy to a newspaper in Tas.then changed hid mind.
    is this a serious case?, and what happens if he should actually lose?

  32. highly unlikely Abetz will lose the case I am told…more a personal grudge being taken up.

    But in that unlikely case, it would be the Libs who could choose a SEnator to replace him. Not dissimilar to the situation where Heather Hill was ruled ineligible to sit in the Senate as a One Nation senator and Len Harris was chosen by ON to replace him.

  33. Psephos @190: Victoria and NSW are the only Senate contests still be formally determined/announced. Hard to see how it could be possibly any result other than DLP winning, but it’s not official as yet.

    The DLP’s winning primary of 2.33% is a bit higher than Family First’s 1.88% in 2004.

    A minor irony in DLP winning the seat off Family First this time is that the DLP (with 1.94%) outpolled Family First in 2004, while this time Family First (with 2.64%) polled higher than DLP. And the Liberal Democrats decision to preference the highly anti-liberal DLP ahead of the Liberals made the difference in the DLP winning the final seat instead of the Liberals.

    The Nationals winning back the Senate seat that Julian McGuaran took off them after being elected as a National in 2004 and then defecting to the Liberals also contains a nice combination of irony and justice.

  34. I’ve been following the Abetz case on Tasmanian Times and I think it’s a complete beatup and will fail. So this is almost certainly academic but:

    [But in that unlikely case, it would be the Libs who could choose a SEnator to replace him. Not dissimilar to the situation where Heather Hill was ruled ineligible to sit in the Senate as a One Nation senator and Len Harris was chosen by ON to replace him.]

    Is it that the Libs would choose a Senator or is the Senator selected via recount (in which case it would be Guy Barnett the defeated Liberal #3)? I believe the Senator would be selected by recount, similar to how casual vacancies are filled in Hare-Clark. I know that Irina Dunn replaced Robert Wood via recount following the ruling of Re Wood [1988] HCA 22 ( and I assume that Len Harris, who was #2 on the One Nation ticket for Queensland after Heather Hill, was also a winner by recount in the same manner. After all if PHON had their choice of replacement for Hill via the casual vacancy provision they could have replaced Hill with Hanson (who had lost her seat) and would probably have done so.

    Indeed I note that Hawkins has filed for the court to determine that the position be determined by recount if his challenge is successful. Presumably his intention there is that if he somehow wins, he would want to put Barnett in automatically and thus eliminate any chance that Abetz might be appointed to his own casual vacancy.

    By the way the SMH is claiming that NSW was done today:

    although it is not showing on the AEC site press releases section. After the deeply brainless performance of the Fairfax “staff reporters” in saying the AEC had “declared” Andrew Wilkie defeated I’ll wait for a reliable source.

    [And the Liberal Democrats decision to preference the highly anti-liberal DLP ahead of the Liberals made the difference in the DLP winning the final seat instead of the Liberals.]

    Amusing because the DLP should be far more allergic to the LDP than the Libs, given that they are considerably more illiberal on both economic and social issues, although the DLP do have some libertarian cred on anti-environmentalism. What’s interesting here is that the LDP got nothing out of it since the DLP preferenced them above only the Sex Party, so what is going on here?

  35. I presume the Libs would choose the replacement senator for Abetz until 30 June 2011 and then they’d do a recount to determine who took the seat from 1 July 2011.

    I also think the case is bound to fail. Abetz was made aware of this complaint years ago, would’ve sought legal advice and had it all sorted out by now if there was anything in it.

  36. 16 September 2010

    The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has announced that the count for the election of six Senators for New South Wales has been completed.

    The successful candidates for the six Senate vacancies for New South Wales are (in order of their election):

    1. Concetta FIERRAVANTI-WELLS Liberal
    2. John FAULKNER Labor
    3. William HEFFERNAN Liberal
    4. Matthew THISTLETHWAITE Labor
    5. Fiona NASH The Nationals
    6. Lee RHIANNON The Greens

  37. Thanks Bombinglion and Bonham for the comments on Abetz. Does that hawkins have to pay for the court case? Seems a waste of time and money if its just a grudge. anyway thanks again.

  38. Kevin @196

    Yes, Harris was elected as the One Nation Senator for Queensland on a recount following the disqualification of Heather Hill. He could have then resigned and the party could have filled the vacancy with Pauline Hanson (or Heather Hill or whoever they wanted). But no one could make him do it.

    I agree that the chances of the case against Abetz being successful would virtually nil. If somehow it did succeed, I expect the affect would be (a) Abetz’s seat would immediately be deemed to be vacant and the Libs could appoint someone to that seat for the remainer of his current term (which could be Abetz himself, assuming he had sorted out his citizenship in the meantime), and (b) Abetz’s candidacy in the just completed Tasmanian Senate election would be deemed to be void, and a recount would be conducted to determine who else would be elected instead – which would presumably end up with Guy Barnett being declared elected (which I’m sure would amuse and delight him no end). But that’s hypothetical, as the Court won’t uphold the appeal.

    suich @198 It will be up to the Court to determine who pays the costs of the court case. If they believe it is a vexatious appeal, they could order that Hwakins pay the costs of Abetz as well as himself.

    BTW, The official announcement by the AEC of the NSW Senate result is now on their website:

    No surprises in the outcome – 2 Lib, 1 Nat, 2 ALP, 1 Green, with Lee Rhiannon from the Greens winning the seat of Labor’s Steven Hutchins, and Matthew Thistlethwaite elected for Labor in place of the retiring Michale Forshaw. The other incumbents – Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, John Faulkner, Bill Heffernan and Fiona Nash – were all returned.

    The AEC still hasn’t uploaded the documents showing the distribution of preferences process for any of the state or territories Senate contests as yet – this information would all be finalised as it produced when they push the button, and is handed out in hard copy at the formal Declaration of the results.

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