Photo finishes: the Senate

A review of the Senate election results, to be updates as late counting progresses.

Progressive updates of the long and laborious Senate count.

Still in play

Western Australia

Monday 23/9. The ABC computer projection today flipped to show the last two seats going to Louise Pratt and Zhenya Wang at the expense of Scott Ludlam and Wayne Dropulich, the decisive change being that Australian Christians have fallen behind Shooters and Fishers at “Count 21”. This deprives Dropulich of the Shooters and Fishers preferences he needs to survive the subsequent counts.

Tuesday 17/9. The most excellent Senate modelling of PB regular Truth Seeker illustrates the delicate balance of the count here, and the stars that need to remain aligned if Wayne Dropulich of the Australian Sports Party is indeed to find his way to the Senate off 0.2% of the vote. Key to the outcome is Dropulich remaining ahead of the Rise Up Australia party after distribution of preferences from Australian Voice, after which his snowball builds all the way to a quota. This might yet be undone by a gentle trend towards RUA on late counting, together with the unknown quantity of below-the-line votes. Should Dropulich fall short, not only will his own seat instead go to Zhenya Wong of the Palmer United Party, but the complexion of the race for the final seat between Scott Ludlam of the Greens and Labor’s Louise Pratt will change. This is because the comfortable win presently projected for Ludlam is achieved off Palmer preferences, which won’t be available to him if the votes are used to elect Wong. Truth Seeker’s projection is that Pratt will “almost certainly” defeat Ludlam on a scenario in which Wong is elected.

Monday. Together with the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party in Victoria, the other freak result being projected is that someone called Wayne Dropulich from something called the Australian Sports Party is projected to win off 0.22% of the primary vote. However, there are two points in the projected count where Dropulich narrowly escapes exclusion after finishing slightly ahead of the No Carbon Tax and Rise Up Australia parties. Those hurdles cleared, he harvests almost the entirety of the micro-party vote along with the Liberal Party surplus. If he drops out, it looks like another seat would be in the bag for the Palmer United Party, whose candidate is the little-known Zhenya Wang. The other point at issue is whether the second “left” seat goes to Labor’s number two candidate, incumbent Louise Pratt, or Greens Senator Scott Ludlam. If Zhenya Wang drops out, Ludlam looks the certain winner as he stands to receive the Palmer party’s preferences. But if the Palmer candidate is elected and has no preferences to spare, the result between Ludlam and Pratt at the final count becomes very close, though with Ludlam still appearing better placed.

Election night. One of a number of freakish outcomes currently projected by the ABC computer is that something called the Australian Sports Party wins a seat off 0.22% of the vote. However, there’s a very good chance that they will not in fact make it through the early rounds of the count. It does appear though that a micro-party seat is up for grabs to join the three for the Liberals and the two for Labor and/or Scott Ludlam. As best as I can tell, the only danger to Ludlam is that a share of the Palmer United Party vote might get used to elect one of the micro-parties candidates who are above the Greens on their preference order, which include the Liberal Democrats, the Australian Christians and Family First, perhaps depriving him of the preferences he needs to defeat Louise Pratt at the final count. It is also problematic for him that the PUP, being largely a phenomenon of the late campaign, may fade as pre-poll and postal votes are added.


Tuesday 24/9. The AEC yesterday announced that the computerised preference distribution will be conducted tomorrow, and the result declared on Thursday.

Tuesday 16/9. With two seats each for Labor and Liberal and one for the Greens assured, there are three scenarios for the final seat which could variously see it go to third Liberal candidate Sally Chandler, Jacqui Lambie of the Palmer United Party, or Canberra resident Robbie Swan of the Sex Party. The ABC computer is presently intriguing journalists by giving it to Swan, based on him finishing ahead of Labor at Count 21 by the grand total of 14,275 to 14,274. That sees Swan soak up the Labor/Greens surplus to finish ahead of the Liberal Democrats, whose preferences then put him ahead of Lambie and on to victory with Lambie’s preferences. But if the situation at Count 21 was just one vote different, Swan would be excluded and his preferences distributed in such a way as to leave Lambie about 1000 votes behind the Liberal Democrats, and thus be excluded. Lambie’s preferences would then flow to the Liberals and deliver the seat to Sally Chandler. A win for Lambie thus looks the least likely of the three possible scenarios, although the high rate of below-the-line voting in Tasmania is such that I don’t think it should be entirely ruled out.

Thursday. The ABC projection in Tasmania no longer has Jacqui Lambie of the Palmer United Party winning a seat, as she now finishes behind the Liberal Democrats (28,114 to 27,234) after the Greens surplus is distributed at Count 24. I earlier presumed that this scenario would deliver the seat to the Liberal Democrats, but Palmer preferences are in fact going to the Liberals and, unless Lambie can recover, will deliver the final seat to the third Liberal candidate, Sally Chandler.

Monday. Labor and the Greens have won over three quotas between them, securing two seats for Labor plus the re-election of Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, despite a headlong plunge in the Greens’ statewide vote from the historic high of 2010. On the right, the Liberals have won their obligatory two seats, but the last is a close-run thing between the third Liberal, Palmer United Party candidate Jacqui Lambie (who unsuccessfully contested Liberal preselection for Braddon) and Clinton Mead of the Liberal Democrats. All three are between 9% and 10% at the second last exclusion, Mead having preference-harvested off a base of 2.29%, Lambie having received the Labor and Greens surplus, and the Australian Christians and Rise Up Australia feeding preferences to third Liberal candidate Sally Chandler. The high rate of below-the-line voting makes this particularly hard to pick.

Election night. Neither Labor nor Liberal appears to have the firepower to get a third member up, leaving Labor preferences to re-elect Peter Whish-Wilson. The last seat, I believe, is a toss-up between the Palmer United Party, currently projected to win the seat, and those pesky Liberal Democrats.


New South Wales

Monday. David Leyonhjelm of the Liberal Democratic Party is currently on 8.9% of the statewide vote, which is almost certainly an accidental consequence of his party being the first listed on the huge ballot paper, and hence the first most voters encountered with the word “Liberal” in its name. The party also receives the preferences of the Democratic Labour Party, which is on a not insubstantial 1.5%. The DLP too did handily on the ballot paper draw, securing the third position out of 44 groups, and similarly owes some of its vote to those who thought they were voting for the other Labor party. A further 0.4% was funnelled to the party by the snappily named Stop the Greens, Smokers Rights and Australian Republicans, whose links to the LDP have been reviewed by Crikey’s Andrew Crook . Other micro-parties feeding Leyonhjelm preferences, either due to their general hostility to larger parties or because they hoped to be the ultimate beneficiary of the preference network, include Katter’s Australian Party, Shooters & Fishers, the Fishing & Lifestyle Party, the Christian Democatic Party, One Nation, the Sex Party, Wikileaks, the Animal Justice Party, HEMP and the Drug Law Reform Party and the Stable Population Party. Not too many of these parties’ supporters would have cast their vote with the intention of electing a party that trades in Ron Paul-style low-tax libertarianism. When combined, Leyonhjelm emerges with a 14.3% quota with at least 4% to spare, and no need for any surplus from the major parties.

Election night. Notwithstanding a sadly typical flurry of excitement based on a meaningless early projection, Pauline Hanson’s chances have been negated by the phenomenon of an accidental 8.9% vote for the Liberal Democrats. This has probably secured a result of three Coalition, two Labor and one Liberal Democrats, although the Greens would be a chance of nabbing one of the Coalition seats if they or Labor improved in late counting for some reason.


Monday. Despite picking up a swing in Victoria, the Coalition has for the second election running failed to achieve a Senate vote sufficient to ensure a third seat. Last time this caused them to lose out on a third seat which instead went to the Democratic Labor Party. However, the DLP’s vote in Victoria was well down this time, mostly no doubt due to the proliferation of competition. Based on Antony Green’s calculator, Ricky Muir of the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party stands to win the final spot, simply because the Coalition doesn’t have three quotas in its own right and very few parties are favouring it ahead of Muir, who fortuitously outperformed other micro-party candidates due to the way preferences were allocated. As far as I can see, the most likely scenario to thwart Muir involves him falling behind Australian Christians and the Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party at a point where one of three must be excluded, though this would be easier to envision if Muir had to fall below two candidates rather than just one. If he does fall short, it appears that the last micro-party standing would be Family First, who would not match Muir’s preference firepower owing to the Sex Party (polling close to 2%) putting the Christian parties last. The upshot would be that Liberal incumbent Helen Kroger could get up after all, leaving the Abbott government with one less cross-bencher to worry about.

Election night. The ABC calculator currently projects a win for the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party off 0.52% of the vote together with two Liberal, two Labor and one Greens, but I wouldn’t stake the mortage on that. However, the Coalition has fallen short of a third quota and doesn’t get many preferences, helping to explain why the preselection stoush between second placed Scott Ryan and third placed Helen Kroger was so willing. In Kroger’s stead, the final seat would go to some or other right-wing micro-party. Unlikely to be in the hunt are the “DLP Democratic Labour Party”, whose vote from from 2.33% to (on current numbers) 0.69%. This was no doubt partly due to the greater competition for the micro-party vote, but I also suggest it was a bad idea to subtly rename themselves from “Democratic Labor Party (DLP) of Australia”, which I suggest was easier to confuse with the Australian Labor Party.


Monday. Here at least the result is both straightforward, with the Liberal National Party winning three seats, Labor two and the other going to Glenn Lazarus of the Palmer United Party, and inoffensive on a democratic level, since a) Lazarus’s 10.3% of the vote is near enough to a full quota in his own right, and b) people were clearly voting for him on purpose.

Election night. I think you can lock in the currently projected result of three Liberal National Party, two Labor and one Glenn Lazarus of the Palmer United Party looks locked in.

South Australia

Monday. Another of the many extraordinary results was that Nick Xenophon outpolled the Labor Party in South Australia, by 25.88% to 22.78%, and finished only slightly behind the Liberal Party on 26.69%. That looks certain to limit Labor to one seat, Don Farrell’s act of altruism in conceding the top position on the ticket to Penny Wong appearing more consequential than he probably realised at the time. That leaves a decisive Labor surplus to pass on to Sarah Hanson-Young, who had wrongly been written off by many who failed to consider the possibility of Xenophon sucking up enough votes to reduce Labor to one seat. Xenophon could probably have won a seat for his running mate if he had been more ready to engage in preference deals, but very few of the minor players have favoured his running mate over Liberal incumbent Simon Birmingham. The remaining seat looks set to go to Family First, whose candidate is housing tycoon and one-time Liberal candidate Bob Day. Day polled a strong 3.77%, and the only potential roadblock on his path to victory is that he finishes only slightly ahead of the Liberal Democrats at the point where they are excluded. South Australia’s six Senate seats thus look set to be divided between five different parties.

Election night. I may need a fresh pair of eyes on this one this morning, but I think the present projection of two Liberal and one each for Labor, Nick Xenophon, the Greens and Family First is the likely outcome. The one potential disturbance I see is Count 27, where the Liberal Democrats are excluded on 3.67% only just behind 4.03% for Family First. A reversal would, I presume, give the Liberal Democrats the seat instead. Despite Xenophon’s brilliant success in scoring 1.8 quotas, I don’t believe he can secure the remaining 0.2 quotas he needs to elect his running mate. Labor’s failure to secure a second seat, as looks to have happened in Western Australia in results without historical precedent, looks likely re-elect Sarah Hanson-Young. Now recall that the Labor Party initially proposed to give Don Farrell the only winning spot on the ticket at the expense of Penny Wong.


Monday. The territories have never failed to deliver one seat each to the major parties, but Greens candidate Simon Sheikh has at the very least come extremely close to knocking off Liberal candidate Zed Seselja, the former ACT Opposition Leader making a bid for federal parliament after knocking off incumbent Gary Humphries for preselection. In the Northern Territory, there was talk that Nova Peris’s path to the Senate might be blocked by the tightness of preference flows to the indigenous rights party First Nations, but their vote was too low to put them in contention.

Election night. The Greens are making their best fist yet of winning a Senate seat in the ACT, potentially thwarting Zed Seselja’s bid to move from territory to federal politics. However, the ABC projects Zeselja holding by 34.05% to 32.62% at the final count, and my instinct is that that’s unlikely to be overturned on late counting. In the Northern Territory, the First Nations party doesn’t look like it’s going to survive the early stages of the count, thwarting a potential threat to Nova Peris’s election, which probably would have been averted anyway by a near-quota vote for Labor.

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.

191 comments on “Photo finishes: the Senate”

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  1. You falsely assume that the ALP will block all legislation. We can expect that electoral reform will receive cross party support locking out the minor parties.

    My bet is there will be a 4% representation threshold applied. Question is how will they implement it. I doubt that above the line voting will be removed.

    An increase in teh depoist paid to $5,000 per candidate with refunds paid one canidates refund per 4% of the vote. 8% two refunds 12% three 16% four…

    This will hopefully limit parties nominating more candidates then they can muster.

    4% is half of one 12th (!2 senators elected in a full senate election)

  2. As previously mentioned there are a number of serious flaws in the way teh AEC counts the Senate vote.

    1 The calculation of the surplus transfer value
    2. The segmentation distribution

    Both methods were designed to facilitate a manual count

    You could add a third if you wanted to remove the Droop quota (x/(y+1)) and adopt a pure proportional count (y/y)

    If you count the currently vote using the registered above-the-line group voting tickets you get the fillwing results

    As per current senate rules

    LNP 3, ALP 2 PUP 1

    Using a weighted Surplus Transfer value count

    LNP 3, ALP 1 PUP 1, GRN 1

    If you then remove the segmentation distribution and adopt a single transfer reiterative count which reflects more accurately the voters intentions kin the distribution of preferences. One single transaction per candidate only distributed weighted surpluses

    The result is

    LNP 3, ALP 2 PUP 1

  3. What the above analysis shows is that you can not fix the system by just applying a weighted Gregory transfer value. You must also remove the segmentation distribution.

    Both are flaws in the method of counting that were introduced to facilitate a manual count. With the use of computer aided counting we can and should adopted a reiterative weighted surplus counting system such as Meek or Wright.

  4. WA Senate

    National Party Ticket vote increases in value disproportional to original transfer value when allocated to Linda REYNOLDS and filtered through PUP

    Count 27: Linda REYNOLDS (Liberal) elected #4

    2,582 (0.20%) votes (64,034 ballot papers at 0.0403 transfer value) originally from The Nationals distributed to Palmer United Party (Zhenya WANG) via preference 15.

    Count 29: Zhenya WANG (Palmer United Party) elected #5

    2,911 (0.23%) votes (64,034 ballot papers at 0.0455 transfer value) originally from The Nationals distributed to Australian Labor Party (Louise PRATT) via preference 38.

  5. The LNP vote also increased in value when Liberal (Linda REYNOLDS) was elected and her surplus transfer value calculated She absorbed part of the National party and SEP vote which were devalued in the calculation of the Liberal Party Surplus Transfer value. The Liberal Group Ticket increases in value disproportional to its contribution to REYNOLDS surplus

    Segmentation allows the vote to skip and jump preferences even though an early preference indicates distribution to a candidate who has not been excluded.

    A reiterative count would ensure that the vote is redistributed as if the excluded candidate had not stood. It would form part of the Groups surplus value and be transferred as part of that groups overall surplus at a recalculated transfer value

    The point of segmentation plays a significant role in the distortion and allocation of the count

    We Should only be distributing surpluses on each iteration/distribution. If a candidate is excluded from the count, the count should be reset and restated ignoring preferences for excluded candidates. This way a vote at full value is always transferred to the first available continuing candidate. Surplus transfers should be weighted to the value of the vote and transferred as a single transaction.

    A liner distribution model

  6. Very interesting on that Sex Party surge. This might be up there with one of the more interesting PR counts (Molonglo ACT 2008 and Tasmanian Denison election 2010 also leaping to mind).

  7. So, right now, its looking like:

    33 LNP
    26 ALP
    9 Green
    2 PUP
    Democratic Labour
    Lib Dem
    Family First
    Aus motoring enthusiasts
    Aus sex party

    So the LNP needs 6 from the 8 (2 PUPs, and 6 others) to pass legislation*

    *or the Greens’ support of course!

  8. The AEC tweets:

    [AEC ‏@AusElectoralCom 1m
    Tasmanian Senate declaration of the poll Thursday, distribution of preferences planned Wednesday morning will tweet who’s elected once known]

  9. I still think it is more likely that PUP’s Lambie will win – I know SXP lead is increasing but doubt it will be enough. Further, I think the current numbers will be as follows:

    Dare I say, enough to give ALP/GRN/PUP combined enough to block any legislation they want!

  10. You need to ask is there a potential for a blocking interest to trigger a double dissolution?

    There is no one group that holds the balance of power. Abbott LNP can pick off each senators to secure a majority.

    I am more interested in how they will reform the senate voting system, which would need to be in place before the next election.

    The Trigger for a DD could be caused before July 1 next year

  11. Mod lib

    Its not up to the Greens or other minor micro candidates or the ALP to pass but this only comes into force is the new senators take their seats

    You need to list a before July 1 list and a after July 1 list of votes (Dont forget about the Senate President either

    The real question is will the various paries want a double dissolution?

    If the LNP think they can win a double dissolution then Abbott will call one before July 1. Carbon Tax or Mining Tax could be an issue.

    Mind you they only need a trigger they do not have to campaign on the issue used to trigger the election.

  12. National Party and Liberal party Ticket vote increases in value due to weighted Surplus Transfer Calculation

    90% Counted at as end of counting on the 23-September

    Count 27: Linda REYNOLDS (Liberal) elected #4

    2,536 (0.20%) votes (64,491 ballot papers at 0.0393 transfer value) originally from The Nationals distributed to Palmer United Party (Zhenya WANG) via preference 15.

    Count 29: Zhenya WANG (Palmer United Party) elected #5

    2,984 (0.23%) votes (64,491 ballot papers at 0.0463 transfer value) originally from The Nationals distributed to Australian Labor Party (Louise PRATT) via preference 38.

  13. Sorry meant to say due to non weight Surplus transfer calculation (Based on the number of ballot papers not the value of the vote)

    Segmentation also plays a role in the outcome. Both need review and should be scraped

    Weighted Transfer would elect

    LIB 3
    ALP 1
    GRN 1
    PUP 1

    A non segmented weighted single transfer reiterative count would elect

    LIB 3
    ALP 2
    PUP 1

    KIB 3

  14. sprocket @160 – and the Sex Party aren’t the only party with a non-trivial vote whose lead candidate isn’t Tasmanian… if I’m not wrong the Tasmanian LDP candidate lives in Campbelltown (not Campbell Town).

  15. Does anyone know if the counting in Tasmania is now complete? They seem to have allocated all the senate votes either to ticket or BTL…..and the vote is up to 95.24%. Seems like that would be about it?

  16. Isn’t there more people on the Tasmania senate paper then people who lives in Tasmania?

    It is good to see the Australian Christians screwing the Green over by getting themselves behind the Shooters and Fishers

  17. I’ve gone a bit colder on the Sex Party chances in Tasmania on looking closely at the exact votes – I think they’re close but it’s still probably not quite enough. I marginally like PUP’s chances but I’d put all three parties at between 25% and 50% probability, so no clear favourite and no-one should be confident. Tonight they go to bed with a chance and tomorrow one of the three is a Senator-elect (probably) and the other two are not.

    I believe the count is now either complete or very nearly so.

    Button is pressed at 10 am. Antony and I are being emailed copies of the preference distribution and I hope to have analysis up within hours.

    I will be starting a Senate reform thread on my site once all Senate results are known but there are two things I can guarantee will be top of my wishlist:

    1. ATL preferencing must die.
    2. Inclusive Gregory must be replaced. (WIG is tolerable to me but vanilla IG is not. It violates one vote, one value.)

    Any political party failing to agree to both 1 and 2 should be destroyed. By peaceful if preferably uncivil means. 🙂

  18. KB
    [Button is pressed at 10 am. ]

    I love that they feed everything in and then press a button to work it all out (and nominating a time adds to the tension), rather than have a progressive count as with the HoR.

  19. Kevin, by ‘ATL preferencing’ you mean the current, ticket-generated preferencing resulting from voting 1 and only 1 above the line? I’d actually prefer a system that also could be called ‘ATL preferencing’ i.e. expressing preferences by numbering every box above the line. It makes for a simpler awareness slogan without needing to change the current ballot paper layout: ‘EITHER number every box above the line OR number every box below the line’.

  20. Mark Duffett@172

    Kevin, by ‘ATL preferencing’ you mean the current, ticket-generated preferencing resulting from voting 1 and only 1 above the line?

    Yes. I think the problem with every voter numbering every box ATL or BTL is the cost involved in staff data entry since every vote would need to be processed into the computer instead of just a small minority. On the other hand many of those who currently vote full BTL might switch to full ATL instead, blunting the cost increase.

    I have posted an introduction to the button-press tomorrow, and will post the result and analysis of that result as soon as known here:

  21. Kevin Bonham

    You have to abolish segmentation as well. Nlo pint in just fixing the weighted surplus and not removing segmentation. Segmentation was introduced to limed the extent of distortion of the non weighted surplus

    A reiterative count is the best option and reflects more accurately the voters intentions

    One transaction per candidate. Only surpluses distributed in a single iteration. On an exclusion the vote is reset and restarted with votes redistributed as if the excluded candidates had not stood.

    look at the WA result This is a text book example of the flaws in the way the vote is counted as it highlights the problem with the weighted surplus and segmentation.

    You will not get rid of ATL voting. It is effectively the same as people voting HTV tickets.

    The situation that will be adopted will be imposing a 4% threshold. I would like it if they adopted preferential voting above the line. Most people vote for groups not candidates.

  22. if you want to analysis thd count you have to get a copy of the BTL preference data file. Something the AEC is refusing to make available? Wu? I intend to take the AEC to the AAT to ensure that future elections are open and transparent and that they MUST provide copies of the ATL preference data during the count not three moths after the election. This is the weakest link in the Senate counting system and the data recorded could be altered and scrutineers would have no idea.

    By publishing the data file progressively there is less chance of the data file being altered as there is a record of the preferences recorded, If the data is changed then any changes would be identifiable and would be subject to an audit trail. There is nothing in the Electoral Act that prevents or denies scrutineers access to this data. T not provide access to copies of the BTL preference data file bring the AEC into disrepute. The data file should be online and in real time similar to the media data feed published by the AEC for the Lower house and Senate Primary votes .

  23. democracy@work@174

    You will not get rid of ATL voting. It is effectively the same as people voting HTV tickets.

    No it’s not because HTV tickets have much lower follow rates which makes it much harder for micros to snowball up from nowhere.

    Plus in Tas there is a simple solution to HTV tickets: on the day, standing outside booths handing out HTV cards is banned.

  24. triton@180

    What does winning “provisionally” mean at this stage? Subject to potential re-count?

    At that stage I was not aware of the margins and whether they might be subject to recount. They are large enough to withstand it but it was very close in the case of the Sex Party/Labor exclusion with the Sex Party missing the seat by 244 in the closest finish in Tas in my memory.

  25. This is pretty ridiculous if true, but I can’t see how more primary votes can be bad:
    [geekLections ‏@geeklections 25m
    .@AntonyGreenABC If 854 people had voted Jacqui Lambie instead of voting informal, she would have lost to the Sex Party #ausvotes #democracy ]

  26. This is pretty ridiculous if true, but I can’t see how more primary votes can be bad:
    [geekLections ‏@geeklections 25m
    .@AntonyGreenABC If 854 people had voted Jacqui Lambie instead of voting informal, she would have lost to the Sex Party #ausvotes #democracy ]

  27. triton@183

    This is pretty ridiculous if true, but I can’t see how more primary votes can be bad:

    It would have increased the quota and therefore decreased the value of Labor’s surplus from its 1 and 2 candidates, causing the Sex Party candidate to catch Labor and then snowball in on Labor and other preferences. Actually it’s not as simple as that (as PUP could have caught the Sex Party later) but welcome to the wacky world of Senate preferencing.

    Likewise the Liberals would have won if more Tasmanian voters had confused them and the Liberal Democrats and voted for the LDP instead of the Liberals.

  28. That’s nuts, Kevin. And it sounds as though that problem is unrelated to the absurd consequences of micro-party preference deals and ABL voting.

  29. triton @ 185: It’s also possible for a defeated candidate to be elected through the addition to the poll of ballot papers all of which gave him or her a last preference. See Peter C. Fishburn and Steven J Brams “Paradoxes of Preferential Voting”, Mathematics Magazine, vol. 56, no. 4, 1983, pp. 207-214.

  30. triton@185

    That’s nuts, Kevin. And it sounds as though that problem is unrelated to the absurd consequences of micro-party preference deals and ABL voting.

    This kind of thing can happen in preferential elections of many kinds. A good example was the Frome by-election 2009 in which the Liberals would have won had 31 of their voters voted Labor instead of Liberal.

    There is actually no perfect glitch-free voting system but the huge number of candidates for the Senate greatly increases the chance of this stuff.

    I’ve updated my coverage ( with a list of absurdities of the Tassie count though it was a fairly lazy effort as I only found nine of them.

  31. Tasmania missed having a very anti-gay Senator (Madden) elected on the preferences of Bob Brown’s old party by only 822 votes. (Had FF got over Sex Party they would then have snowballed in.)

    It would have been a terrible outcome and I did my bit to stop it. Others in the Tasmanian left did nothing or actively facilitated it. There is something very complacently wrong with the left in Tasmania, even if they nearly did get a 4-2 split they didn’t deserve.

    *end pet rant*

  32. Your still missing the influence of the flaws in the way the vote is counted.

    Model A

    If you count the vote using AEC Senate rules with a non-weighted (Surplus Transfer calculated by dividing Surplus value by number of ballot papers) segmented distribution (distributing votes in segments based on their value, stopping mid stream of a exclusion distribution, skipping candidates remaining in the count and transferring the remaining votes at a higher value then would be the case if they were transferred as a single transaction)

    PUP and ALP take the last two spots in WA

    Model B

    If you use the Western Australian Weighted (Surplus Transfer Value based on the value of the vote spot the number of ballot papers) with segmented distribution of excluded candidates votes (as described above)

    PUP and Greens in the last two spots

    Model C

    “The wright System” If you weight it (Surplus value based on the value of the vote) and apply a reiterative count removing the segmented distribution by resetting and restarting the count on each exclusion only distributing surpluses on each exclusion, one single transaction per candidate.

    PUP and ALP win the last two seats.

    Model C (Wright System) being the preferred method as it reflects the voters intentions where first preferences form excluded candidates are distributed as if the excluded candidates had not stood

    The other alternative model is Meek which in 99.98% of the time produces the same result as the Wright System

    It will very interesting to see if the below the line vote will make any difference to the projected outcome. for one there is over 360 votes attributed to One Nation’s Robert Farmer (Most of these will be reverse donkey votes.)

    When the AEC get around to publishing the BTL preference data files, which copies have been denied to scrutineers as it takes the Big bang away from the AEC pressing of the button show and allows room for any last minute twigging of the votes as no one knows what is contained in the data file, leaving it open to possible corruption. Scrutineers prevented from being able to verify the contents of the data-file during the count.

    Some of Clive Palmer’s criticism at the way the AEC conducts election are valid. (Do not agree with his comments about pencils though – pencil markings can be used to detect possible fraud as you never completely erase a pencil mark so if there is a change it will show up)

    The refusal of the AEC to subject the count to a full open and transparent scrutiny undermines confidence in the overall process.

    The preference data-files are eventually published, months after the election has been declared and the crowd and public attention has dissipated. This adds a whole new meaning to “secret ballot” when scrutineers are denied access to copies of crucial computer data-files that are used to determine the results of the election just so the AEC can have maintain an element of surprise and leave open a window for preference data to be tweeked

  33. Now that the Tasmanian Senate count has drawn to conclusion will the AEC publish the below-the-line preference data-file or will it wait for another three months before the results of the election can be independently verified?

    If the Australian electoral commission published the data file Antony Greens Senate calculator would be accurate and we would be able to see exactly how the count unfolds and the impact of the distortions in the way the votes is counted.

    The AEC has placed more importance in the side show of the “Big Bang Button press” then the need to ensure the proper scrutiny of the ballot itself.

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