WA Senate election minus one day

A brief wade through the murk of tomorrow’s Western Australian Senate election.

A dedicated thread for WA Senate election discussion appears in order. First, some random chatter.

Troy Bramston on Twitter a few minutes ago:

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 on Twitter a few minutes before that:

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

Me in comments a bit earlier:

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.

Lenore Taylor at The Guardian:

Labor’s lead candidate says voters can’t trust his party, the Palmer United party (PUP) candidates have gone missing, the Greens candidate is DJing, 75 people get to vote twice and the whole thing is an unprecedented rerun because the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) messed up last time. Oh, and it could have a critical impact on how the government gets its legislation through the upper house. The West Australian Senate poll would have jumped the shark, if the state wasn’t culling them.

All right, punters – let’s get punting.

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.

145 comments on “WA Senate election minus one day”

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  1. Is anyone doing any exit polling?

    Damn it I’m impatient, you sandgropers should have been made to vote early so the polls closed 6pm AEST. 🙂

  2. mike – could take weeks etc.

    Tonight, maybe a just an indication of how things appear but not definitive.

    Lets hope AEC have their act together today.

  3. Yeah, as this is a Senate election, don’t expect anything resembling final results on election night.

    And, of course, there will be the requisite challenges to the result if the Libs don’t get 3, if Labor doesn’t get 2, if the Greens don’t get up and/or if Palmer’s candidate (Wang?) doesn’t get up.

  4. Tom the first and best@88

    Bullock is good argument for Robson Rotation in the Senate.

    Robson Rotation is not incompatible with ATL voting because ATL votes can be distributed around their party in the Robinson Rotated order shown on the ballot paper.

    I’ve been thinking about RR in the Senate ahead of my upcoming JSCEM appearance (which for anyone curious, is in Hobart on the 16th.)

    A RR system with ATL would mean that a party’s vote gets split more or less evenly across a number of candidates, since BTL voting would still be relatively rare. This could create some interesting impacts in terms of the order of candidate exclusions.

    For instance consider the following in a given state:

    ALP 3 candidates 2.58 quotas after exclusion of feeder parties.
    Lib/NP 4 candidates 3.62 quotas after exclusion of feeder parties.
    Greens 1 candidate 0.8 quotas after exclusion of feeder parties.

    In the current Senate system ALP 1, 2 are elected, ALP 3 is excluded and ALP 3’s preferences elect Green 1 for a 2-3-1 result.

    But in a RR system with ATL and assuming the BTL rate is very low (or the BTLs evenly spread) you could get three ALP candidates with about .86 Q each and four Liberals each with about .905 Q each.

    Result: Ginninderra effect; the last Green is excluded despite being closer to a quota and you instead get 3-3-0.

    The second objection to RR with ATL in the Senate is that the proportion of people voting BTL is so small in most states. So which of a party’s candidates get up would depend on which candidates happened to have the most politically literate supporters, or even the supporters with the most time on their hands to vote all the way through. Probably this is no worse than what happens at present though in that as it is the decision is effectively made by a small number of unaccountable figures. But over time it could have all kinds of impacts. It would work in favour of cult-appeal type candidates.

    I think the best way to implement RR under anything resembling the current system would be to remove ATL and instead have voting for candidates with an SA-style saving provision that automatically allocated preferences per the candidate’s selection unless the voter filled a certain number of spaces.

    That said I’d rather just kill the whole idea of any kind of automatic full distribution of voter preference completely.

    A third problem is that microparty directed preferences would become hugely influential on which candidates got up from which major party. It would add a candidate dimension to the current horsetrading nonsense between parties. A lot of people might think RR would be a great way to get Pratt up instead of Bullock but actually a lot of Christian parties would preference Bullock and such a system might even further encourage the majors to put up candidates who catch Christian preferences.

    RR without ATL (with semi-optional preferences a la Tas and ACT) would have merits but would probably be too expensive to count.

  5. [mike – could take weeks etc]

    Oh, that long. What’s Antony Green going to talk about then? See he has a slot on ABC24 from 9-1am.

  6. I think possum just answered my question.

    [Possum Comitatus @Pollytics
    Live coverage of a Senate election in one state. More power to anyone that can make that interesting over the night]

  7. Bullocks are creatures deficient in testicles and intelligence, good only for turning fodder into meat and hauling oxcarts.

    The Informal Party has been distracted or it would have run a campaign against the patent democracy theft in WA represented by:

    (1) A Liberal Party that is hiding the real news until after the election.

    (2) A PUP which is intent on buying the election.

    (3) A Greens candidate who has carefully hidden from his electorate his views that Australia should not have either an airforce or a navy.

    (4) A Labor candidate who is fit only for dragging oxcarts across sand dunes.

  8. I suggest Robson Rotation which lists candidates only without the party name. Now, that would really hit the ignorants hard and makes the parties work harder to get their candidates recognised, even making sure the candidates go out and say hello to the voters. 😀

  9. [Live coverage of a Senate election in one state. More power to anyone that can make that interesting over the night]

    I asked weeks ago whether any network would bother televising it. Seeing as one is, it’s going to be all kinds of weird viewing. For a start there’s a three hour time difference between here and the eastern states, meaning it’ll be 9pm when voting closes. And that’s before you even get to the actual counting!

  10. and/or if Palmer’s candidate (Wang?) doesn’t get up.

    I was wondering if, given the Fairfax experience, Palmer was going to insert bolshy scrutineers (lawyers or plenty of lawyer backup) directly into the initial count.

    That might cause any number of headaches for the AEC and result in a very slow initial count if Fairfax is anything to go by.

  11. Panthers are home.

    rua, have you noticed that no players are lifted off the ground in a tackle anymore since the Alex McKinnon injury?

    I’d like to see players wear headgear of leather foam and sponge as part of the game.

    Then the Greens can’t whinge 😀

  12. [
    Posted Friday, April 4, 2014 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Will you once again be campaigning to have a Labor Senator’s election invalidated and the seat given to the Greens?
    Being a right wing hack are you pleading for some help; I think Labors No1 senate pick is doing a pretty good job of campaigning for the Greens and needs no additional help?

  13. Just been and voted (below the line, of course). One volunteer at the polling place from each of Liberal, Labor, Palmer and Greens. Only the Labor volunteer (with a Gary Gray, Member for Brand shirt) offered me any material – the others were sort of standing around doing very little.

    Many banners from the Liberals, about half attacking Palmer specifically ( ).

    One banner from the Greens, but I didn’t get a look at it (it was kind of out of the way).

    A few signs from Labor, very simple ( ).

    Nothing from Palmer.

  14. CC @ 87

    don’t get too touchy … Sure Mr. “is it in writing” may not have made it “official” policy but the liar loves giving false hope to the gullible..
    “I think that it does seem quite unfair that the people of Western Australia get so little back for the GST revenue that they provide to the rest of the country,” Mr Abbott said in Perth.

    “I think that what ought to be very seriously considered by the government right now is the proposal that all the Liberal states have put up, that the GST revenue should be distributed on what is closer to a per capita arrangement.

    “This is the unified position of the Coalition premiers. I think it makes a lot of sense.”

  15. Completely off topic (because nothing happening yet).
    Fox Sport 1/2/3 has Rugby/NRL/AFL with Wanderers v Brisbane bumped to a standard definition channel. I never resented the other codes until they made my football blurry.

  16. Why on earth do ALP power brokers imagine installing the Bullocks of this world are clever choices? Just makes em look like utter hypocrites.Or did they think they’d sneak him through last time and just got caught out? Talk about further trashing a brand that is already well and truly on the nose!

  17. As a former Sandgroper of 15 years standing and fortunately under the glorious Labor tenure of Premier Carmen Lawrence, but not Brian Bourke, I have some skin in this game. Ergo, you are stuck with me for the duration. 😀

    My prediction?
    2 Liberal (due to early disgruntlement factor rearing it’s head)
    2 Labor (as I think they’ve played a canny game by putting Old Labor candidate, Joe Bullock, with New Labor candidate, Louise Pratt, thereby covering all Labor’s bases)
    1 Green (due to the inspirational Scott Ludlum You Tube it really focused the minds of the disgruntled and distilled what it is they don’t like about the new government in Canberra. Also, cannily, Ludlum played up the parochial element, as Sandgropers think of themselves as a breed apart from the rest of us and anyone who can exploit that will get extra Brownie points)
    1 Hemp Party (thanks to Glenn Druery and just to prove they aren’t all just a bunch of stoner slackers after all, and actually quite smart for deciding to give alcohol a miss in favour of THC & proving that it keeps your mind clearer).

    That is all.

    For the moment…

  18. Rod Hagen

    That’s why when Jay Weatherill politely but firmly told Don Farrell to, in essence, eff off, he did the ALP a favour in all sorts of ways.
    I think it reflected well on Jay, helped the party image and probably gave them extra votes at the election.

  19. Back from handing out ALP HTV’s.

    Think the Lib signs attacking Palmer are an own goal. Most people see the color and his picture and think its a PUP ad. They dont read it.

    Also, i suspect the turnout overall is going to be very low.

  20. Boer,

    My “bullocks” were most definitely not unintelligent, had quite distinctive personalities, were playful, affectionate and a quite obvious love of life.

  21. Rod Hagen @ 117,
    See my #118.
    I just got one of those blinding flashes of ‘Aha!’ about Bullock and it all became clear.

    So, to put it another way. Bullock is there because WA is the most conservative State of Australia. It also has a disproportionately-large Catholic demographic, which is also the traditional base of support for the Labor Party in WA. The Louise Pratt demographic is only relatively new and relatively small and fractured by The Greens’ vote anyway. So, if Labor want to get 2 Senate seats, then they had to get those extra votes from somewhere. The best place to get them from is former Labor voters, of the socially-conservative Catholic kind who had drifted to Tony ‘Captain Catholic’ Abbott. Why do you think Bullock praised him?

    I think it shows that Labor are boxing clever. About bloody time too. The Coalition have been purloining those voters for far too long. I don’t think it’s relevant to them what a Progressive like you thinks about their strategy. What are you going to do about it? Vote Liberal, instead of Labor? Or, vote Green instead of Labor? Whose preferences come back to….? But they might pick up some new votes from the Right because of Bullock, no matter how distasteful some might find him.

  22. Just on 5.30 pm local WA time and have been out for the afternoon. In doing so, have passed many polling booths – mainly at schools – and at 4 pm party faithful were taking banners down for the day in some places.

    Either a lot of people have voted early, pre-polled or gone AWOL.

    Largely a non-event by my observation in spirit and deed.

    Maybe this talk of ‘voter fatigue’ hsd some legs.

    However, purely observational from my point of view and worth about as much as to what is going on.

  23. From my #105:

    I think the best way to implement RR under anything resembling the current system would be to remove ATL and instead have voting for candidates with an SA-style saving provision that automatically allocated preferences per the candidate’s selection unless the voter filled a certain number of spaces.

    It’s been persuasively suggested to me that this would be unconstitutional at present and would hence require a referendum.

  24. Polls say in WA 63% of voters support same sex marriage. This isn’t “clever”. It sends intelligent voters to the Greens and dumb voters to Libs (why not vote for a bigot with full party support?).

    Reality is, if genuine views count for anything, a better case could probably be made for even the Lib dingbat than the lead Labor one. On a broader level, I suspect many AUS in other parts of the country see this as a wake up call. Do Labor REALLY see Bullock as a leading Labor rep.? I, for one, can easily imagine him siding with his old Lib mate Tony in any real confrontation, rather than the party he has somehow, insanely, been endorsed by.

  25. So on early signs it looks like 3 Libs, 1 pseudo ALP Lib (Bullock), 1 Green, and a free for all where, if lucky, one real ALP senator may scrape in in the last seat? Sigh.

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