WA Senate election minus five days

Some updates on the campaign trail for Saturday’s Western Australian Senate election, to go with the publication of the Poll Bludger’s election guide.

A Poll Bludger guide to Western Australia’s Senate election is open for business and accessible from the sidebar, providing a review of electoral history, the candidates and preference tickets. To mark the occasion, here’s an assembly of news nuggets as the campaign enters the home stretch:

• According to today’s West Australian, advertising monitoring firm Ebiquity estimates the Palmer United Party has spent “10 times more than Labor and 20 times more than the Liberals on television advertisements”. The substance of the advertising is that Palmer United will reduce the flow of Western Australian money to the eastern states, which may have proved counter-productive to its endeavours in the recent Tasmanian election, at which a similarly intensive advertising blitz failed to yield any dividends. Former Fremantle Dockers player Des Headland, who holds the unwinnable number two position on the party’s ticket, features prominently in the advertising; the number one candidate, Zhenya “Dio” Wang, does not.

• Labor appears to have picked up the tempo of its television advertising, matching Palmer United for air time during last night’s news bulletins, or exceeding it if additional anti-government advertising from the MUA and CFMEU is taken into account. Featuring prominently are Alannah MacTiernan, who not coincidentally was promoted to the position of Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for regional development, infrastructure and Western Australia as the campaign began, and Colin Barnett, whose example in delivering “too many cuts” is allegedly set to be followed by Tony Abbott with respect to “Medicare, education, even penalty rates”.

• The Liberal campaign has so far been far more low key so far as television advertising is concerned. Its one advertisement seeks to take advantage of the confusion of the September result, warning of the “crazy deals” which sent votes “all over the place”, and throwing in for good measure the loss of the ballot papers (leaving unstated any argument as to why this might cause one to vote Liberal in particular). The party has also taken advantage of suggestions Help End Marijuana Prohibition might preference-harvest its way to victory, with a radio advertisement castigating the Palmer United Party in particular for directing preferences its way. The West Australian joined in the counter-offensive against Palmer United on Saturday, its front page headline reading “SOLD A PUP” atop a report that rounded on his promise to deliver Western Australia more GST revenue.

• The focus on Help End Marijuana Prohibition drew more publicity than one might have anticipated to the HEMP campaign launch, fuelled by media concern about the local credentials of its candidates, James Moylan and his daughter, Tayla Moylan. Both live in Lismore, and when pressed by journalists the former offered that the Premier of Western Australia might be called “Barrett”.

• The Monte Carlo simulations of Original Truth Seeker suggests Palmer United will be unlikely to win a seat if it only retains its 5.0% vote share from September, and will need to approach 7% to be a better-than-even chance. None of the scenarios played out suggests HEMP is as much of a chance as some of the commentary suggests.

• If you’re a voter in Western Australia, please take the short amount of time required to fill out the University of Western Australia’s Senate election survey, so that you may do your bit for electoral behaviour research and perhaps win “a voucher for $500 on iTunes, Apple Store or Google Play”.

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.

101 comments on “WA Senate election minus five days”

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  1. Seen this?

    [Exclusive private polling emailed by a white knight to TruthSeeker HQ has revealed that:
    – The Palmernami is seemingly true, with a high and rising vote for the billionaire’s party. This further backs a vote that may reach 10% or higher!
    – Labor Vote is weak, languishing below it’s sickly low 2013 vote
    – Green vote is strong – at levels at or slightly above one quota
    – Liberal vote is inevitably down
    – Not much decrease for the critical “others” block.]


  2. Tom, I handed out for Senators Bill Brown and Cyril Primmer, typically useless products of the Left junta that then ran the Victorian ALP. The Liberals were Margaret Guilfoyle and Ivor Greenwood, the DLP was Frank McManus, who polled the best vote the DLP ever attained.

  3. @Fredex – I’d be surprised if ALP’s primary vote is that low, although maybe the PUP advertising blitz has suck a bit of steam out of their post-election bounce. Greens with a bounce sounds reasonable – Ludham has managed to build a bit of a profile, and the Shark culling has been pretty unpopular, maybe even unpopular enough to spark a couple extra percentage points for them.

    The fact that Abbott has come out with some pretty direct criticism of PUP is probably indicative that LNP internal polling suggests that they are a threat to the LNP’s third seat.

  4. 52

    Thank-you for clarifying. I was not sure because I remember you saying you were, at some point in the 70s, a Maoist.

    I presume you also haned out for Cyril Sudholz (3rd ALP). There was a Senate casual vacancy also filled in Victoria in 1970 and the 3rd Liberal, Gorge Hannan, was the candidate who filled it.

  5. Two articles by the same author on WA. Only the first is political, but the second helps a bit with the vibe of the place for non-locals and does contain a reference to the current campaign. Also, see the links in both articles.

    [wa politics
    2 Apr 2014
    Scott Ludlam Vs The Wild West
    By Sarah Burnside

    How hard is it for Western Australian politicians to break the state’s frontier-mining self image? Sarah Burnside on Greens Senator Scott Ludlam’s ambition for a ‘WA 2.0’

    Last night in Perth, a crowd gathered in His Majesty’s Theatre to watch Scott Ludlam speak about the Greens’ vision for Western Australia: WA 2.0. There were diagrams, maps, graphs, numbers and Machiavelli quotes about the lot of the reformer: this was, in Ludlam’s words, an evening of “long form” rather than soundbite.]

    [Hipster heaven or cultural wasteland?
    By Sarah Burnside

    Not long ago, the New York Times ran a travel feature on Perth that concluded the WA capital was a ‘hipster heaven’ that embodied ‘all things right about cities’. The article was widely shared by locals on social media, with a combination of awkward pride at having been noticed by the outside world, bemusement at its overblown praise, and a comfortably distancing snark.]

  6. The second of those Burnside articles could be written about Adelaide, and I reckon I recall has been more than once, with just a few minimal changes of names.
    The envy of or snobbery by the eastern states?

  7. Leroy
    I wasn’t criticising Sarah, I was trying to point out that the image of Perth and Adelaide tends to be similar outside those cities.
    Even some in Adelaide buy the eastern version of Adelaide.

  8. is the indian ocean plane search just an elaborate election stunt for sat by abbott.
    seriously is search likely to effect votes?

  9. Everything
    Posted Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 7:59 pm | PERMALINK
    My prediction:
    3 Lib
    2 ALP
    1 Green

    (I reserve revision rights if polling becomes available)

    —–good one everything i wanted to know. abbott would then go mad if he is not already

  10. 64

    HEMP (who have the best chance of preference snowball) would be preferable to PUP. Palmer already has his voice, he does not need another Senator or an official parliamentary party to be the leader of (he has not need for the extra money), he has to much of a ‘wealth buys seats’ look and reality about him, HEMP seem more likely to be socially and economically progressive and the Coalition are unlikely to be able to do a significant deal with them of their main policy.

  11. Last election, PUP was an unknown like Katter or any other alternatives. This election PUP is seen as “a force” and has the potential to attract those who don’t want to vote for a major party (rather than being from the right).

    There is no doubt that the first 3 places will go 2xLib + 1xLab with the remaining 3 going lib/lab/gre/pup/micro

    The Micros have not combined in the same way as they did last time, splitting more left/right.

    The substantial micros from the left have gone Labor instead of Green.

    To get 3 spots, the Libs + Nats + Liberal Democrats + Christians need to make 43% which to me seems likely.
    = 3 Libs

    With significant micros for Labor, seems likely = 2 Labor

    The question seems, who can get in front Greens/PUP/Last Micro.

  12. @ ifonly 66

    Greens are polling 14% on their own in a recent poll – that’s very nearly an entire quota (14.29%). There won’t be a tossup between the Greens and PUP – rather, between the Liberals and PUP.

    If there was a tossup involving the Greens, it would, as in the September election, be between Labor’s 2nd candidate and Ludlam – this would require both Labor /and/ the Greens to shed three to five percent of their primary vote from the polling that’s been done.

  13. The SmearStralian bringing out the Liberal Party Dirt Unit material for the WA election.

    What a toadying blight on our democracy they are. I hope that young Lachlan sends it south faster than OneTel and the Ten network.

  14. tielec
    2 polls – loosely translated.

    Firstly the Newspoll quarterly has Greens in WA at 15% in Feb-March this year.
    OK that suffers from sample size and moe problems but it is an indicator.

    The second is the ‘internal secret polling’ referred to in comment #5, see link.
    It has the Greens at 13.49%
    The credibility of the poll seems to be accepted by Truthseeker.

    We’ll find out Sunday.

  15. To avoid confusion, the “Senate Aggregate” on my blog (www.originaltruthseeker.blogspot.com.au) is a combination of BludgerTrack swings, the secret internal polling and my own “common sense” estimates at the total OTH vote. The only reason there’s mixed percentages is that to get the #s back to 100% I’ve had to ratio various numbers. Given the variability I apply in my Monte Carlo sims (+/6%, for LIB), anything beyond the decimal point could easily be ignored/rounded.

  16. Talking of 1970 Senate election anti-death duties independent Syd Negus won 10% in WA & was elected personalities count in WA so good for Ludlam.

  17. If the polling is to be believed, then the result will be 3 Lib, 2 ALP, 1 Green.

    The Libs are on the cusp of a 3rd quota, ALP on the cusp of a 2nd quota & Greens on the cusp of a 3rd quota. All those cusps means as soon after some micros start being excluded the 3rd Lib, 2nd ALP and Green are going to be elected leaving Mr Palmer’s man stranded on a healthy but ultimately unrewarded vote and undistributed preferences from other micros.

  18. If Wikileaks can secure 3% of the primary vote and the Greens fall below 10-11% then Wikileaks could be elected

    They are the only upset in the election that I can find.

    I expect the result to be 3 NLP 1 ALP and 1 Grn

    But we should not assume the Green vote will climb above 10%

    Wikileaks has the left party listing which should help them. I would not expect much change from the ALP vote.

    What is crucial is that many of the minor parties have gone to the ALP and or Liberals before the Greens and other minor parties

  19. From what I can interpret [and I’m happy to be corrected] preferences to the Greens can be expected to flow from these micro parties.
    Voluntary Euthanasia
    Sustainable Population
    1 ticket of the Animal Justice, the other ticket to the ALP
    Socialist Alliance

    That would possibly give the Greens 1-3%.

  20. The moving force appears to have been PUP, who are likely to peel support away from both Labor and the LNP, while not affecting Green support at all. There has to be a very good chance that PUP will displace the third LNP prospect while Labor will win 2 and the Greens 1.

    I have no knowledge of how long it is since the LNP won just 2/6 seats in a WA half-Senate election but if it happens it could be without precedent.

  21. I played with the calculator giving numbers according to [a]truth seeker estimates
    [b]2013 results
    [c]newspoll quarterly
    [d]bits and pieces that make little difference, mainly putting the good guys down a teeny weeny bit from the above and the bad guys up the same.

    These were the main numbers:

    Lib 37.5 [according to truth seeker]
    ALP 25.5 [rounding everything to 100, being pessimistic]

    Greens 11.5 [halfway between truth and 2013]
    PUP 7.7 [bit more than truth]

    Nats 4.3
    Christians 1.6 [according to ‘reliable source’]
    Lib Dem 1.4 [not sure how I got this]
    Sex 1.4 [between truth and 2013]
    Wiki 1.2 [ditto]
    Shoot/Fish 1.0 [why not?]
    A bunch < 1.0 each

    Results :
    Lib – 3 quotas
    ALP – 2
    Greens 1 ahead of PUP.

  22. Libs plus Nats need to fall to about 39% before Libs realistically lose third seat. Possible but unlikely.
    HEMP need about 3% to get up – unlikely.

  23. Fredex,
    You got there but it requires
    Greens + 2% pup +2%
    The harder part is
    – Nats to drop from 5% to 4%
    – Lib Dems changing from 3.4% to 1.4% -2%
    – Wiki from .75 to 1.2 +.5%

    Whilst possible it seems very difficult. Given that it is very hard, it makes the result pretty much 3 2 and PUP.

  24. Wakefield@85

    Libs plus Nats need to fall to about 39% before Libs realistically lose third seat. Possible but unlikely.
    HEMP need about 3% to get up – unlikely.

    I have got HEMP up with 2% in some of my simulations. This however (a) is still unlikely in my view (b) requires a generally higher vote for minor Others (excluding Lib/Nat, ALP, Green, PUP) than I think will occur.

    And it’s a calculator win only. There won’t be a lot of BTL voting but what there is could undo such a scenario.

  25. William

    Thought you did an excellent WA Senate analysis on RN this morning. Good interview if you can provide new information with each answer, rather than repeating stuff.

  26. If the LDP get over 1 % by intent and a couple of % from being earlier on the ballot than the Liberal Party, are they in with a preference harvesting chance? have those who thought wikileaks or HEMP have a harvesting (cute pun) chance, factored that possibilty in?

  27. Scott Ludlam seems to have a momentum now, so don’t listen to the two major parties who are trying to keep your mind inside the box, voting green is not a waste of your vote, it could make a difference!
    Let me first say that I do not agree with the greens on every single little issue, however this is besides the point because voting green is all about the bigger picture. Its about one single fundamental fact and stating your position in regards to this; the environment is real, money is only a figment of our collective imagination, and absolutely nothing more. To illustrate this point: a long time ago money was made from metal and could perhaps be melted down to create something actually useful, so back then one could argue that money had imaginary value and some real value, not so anymore! Hypothetically we could snap our fingers, or a very ingenious computer hacker could perhaps let their Trojan run free, and (the imaginary value of) money could be wiped out. Now ponder that for a minute. It may sound dramatic, but you know what?! The sun will still rise the next morning, the flowers and the bees will still do their thing! Now reverse the scenario, and you will see that it’s not difficult to see what is actually more fundamental to our existence. Once you’ve cleared your mind of the nitty gritty details of ordinary political debate you will understand what voting green is really about!
    Even if you don’t believe in global warming, our current way of life with its aim of unsustainable continued and largely pointless economic growth, at expense of just about everything else, does without a doubt, put a massive strain on the things we actually do need for survival; such as clean water and fresh air. Just look at China and what the export of our western lifestyle has done to the air and water quality there in a very short amount of time! Because the effects of global warming are still rather intangible, for us non-scientists anyway, it has become an easy target for corporate interests to focus on, with the aim of instilling doubt in the population about green issues at large. The other green issues I mentioned don’t even appear on the agenda. Probably because they are so obvious, to everybody, that not even the money-driven interests that control the media dare attempt denying them, so they are swept under the carpet, out of sight out of mind. But when I vote, this is exactly what’s on my mind. In the future, would my kids prefer money in the bank OR food, clean water and fresh air? And if you’re still a bit uncomfortable about not voting for one of the two established party, this could be an easy introduction. A first taste of stepping outside the box, after all you’re not selecting the government it’s just a matter of putting some brakes on their money first, environment last policies!

  28. Informed speculation:

    Big win for Scott Ludlam, maybe with a full quota in his own right.

    Labor in the low 20s – maybe the very low 20s – but still more likely than not to scrape home for a second seat, thanks to left preferences staying left this time around. Very low turnout could thwart them though.

    Palmer United to poll very strongly, but the danger to them is that they finish stranded in seventh place as both Liberal and Labor-Greens do just enough to make it to three quotas each.

    The Liberals, nonetheless, in big danger of losing a third seat to Palmer.

    A path to victory remains open for HEMP if the Labor vote falls low enough that they can’t cobble together a second quota. One possible scenario is Liberal 2, Labor 1, Greens 1, Palmer United 1, HEMP 1.

  29. Well, Bullock’s little foot-in-mouth certainly won’t help him.

    Sent him to the very bottom of my BTL vote.

  30. @ William 93

    Ludlam bringing home a quota in his own right would not be surprising, considering how hard he’s been campaigning in the last month.

  31. AS @95 I’ll be interested to see where the Greens got their money from this time – never seen such a well funded Greens campaign in WA before.

  32. @ CC 97

    Agreed. I suspect a good chunk of it came from everyday donors, but there were probably a few big donors too.

  33. Troy Bramston:

    I’m told @LiberalsWA polling has given Coalition confidence it will win 3 seats #wavotes ALP in danger of not winning 2. Greens likely 1.

    Samantha Maiden:

    Liberals in WA pessimistic of chances of snaring three out of six Senate spots with likely outcome 2 Lib, 2Lab, 1Green, 1 Clive Plamer PUP

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