Senate of the day: Victoria

A simulated Senate result suggests the Greens are on course for two seats in Victoria, with Derryn Hinch among the contenders for the last seat.

Welcome to part two in a hopefully six part series on the Senate contests. My political and recent historical overview of the Senate for Victoria can be found here – in this post, I shall stick to a one-shot attempt to model the result. The basis of the model and its assumptions are mostly as they were in the earlier New South Wales post. This time there is no complication of the mistaken Liberal Democrats vote to deal with, so the guide for determining vote shares is the swings currently recorded by BludgerTrack of -4.0% for the Coalition, -0.1% for Labor, +1.7% for the Greens and +6.1% for others.

The two immediately difficulties are in estimating the base votes for Derryn Hinch and the NXT and the flows of preferences they stand to receive, since the last election does not offer a guide. State-level polling suggests NXT is on around 2.5%, so for simplicity’s sake I’ve granted that much to both of them. The flow of preferences to Hinch is based on Palmer United’s, while the NXT gets what Xenophon received in South Australia at the 2013 election divided by three. I’m afraid I haven’t provided Ricky Muir with special treatment – no doubt he’ll do better than his 0.5% in 2013, but it’s my judgement that he won’t be seriously competitive and will be excluded in early rounds.

As shown in the table below, the result is five seats for the Coalition, four for Labor and two for the Greens, with the last seat to be won by a micro-party candidate – the Australian Sex Party on my projection, by the barest margin over Derryn Hinch. However, I strongly suspect I have underestimated Hinch’s vote, whereas I’d doubt I’ve gone too far wrong with the Australian Sex Party. The Sex Party, Hinch and NXT each start in reasonably close proximity on the primary vote, so the matter then comes down to the preference flows, which in the case of Hinch and especially the NXT are highly speculative. Hinch performs more strongly than NXT partly be virtue of receiving a preference recommendation from both major parties, but less strongly than the Sex Party, which did particularly well on below-the-line preferences in 2013 (which are used to estimate preference flows in the model), and also had a preference recommendation from Labor.

The availability of a seat for a micro-party is itself a close-run thing, as illustrated at Count 45, at which point the fifth Labor candidate is excluded in a very tight result against the NXT. Had Labor snuck its nose ahead at this point, the model projects their candidate ultimately winning the seat. This is based on the behaviour of Xenophon preferences in South Australia, of which the major parties were the biggest beneficiaries. Instead, the model finds the exclusion of Labor and the distribution of its preferences nudging the Sex Party clear of Hinch. It should be noted that Labor preferences had considerably more bearing on the result than Liberal preferences, since the fifth Liberal candidate had next to no surplus to distribute at the point of their election.


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.

6 comments on “Senate of the day: Victoria”

  1. Bill,

    Although not in your list do keep an eye on the Animal Justice Party in this election for the Senate for Victoria. My understanding is they’re running in 26 HoR seats in Victoria and have sufficient people to staff polling booths on election day. If they pick up a couple of percent on making that effort alone, chances are they can snipe the last Senate position.

  2. Derryn Hinch is a very polarizing figure, almost a Pauline Hanson.
    I expect Ricky Muir to go well, he proved himself to be politically naive initially, but now i think people see him as a “normal person”, there has to be votes in that… and i do know people voting below the line to get his place right.
    I expect it will come down to Sex party and FF, with the “reforms” to senate voting, the minor party that wins will now be decided by the the LNP or ALP (grr). Which ever side (Left or Right) has the most votes to pass on will get a minor party senator.

  3. I took a look at 2013 40% Coalition, 32% Labor 10% Green, 4%PUP, 3% Family F, 2% Sex and 1% DLP. The Andrews firestorm pretty much props up the coalition. I figured the PUP vote would go to Hinch as well as a lot of preferences. I came up with 5 Coalition, 5 Labor (taking the left over Green preferences) 1 Green and 1 Hinch. Like NSW the progressive/left leaning micro parties will split the 1-6 numbering between so many parties that none will get to the critical level.
    The only thing is if the the Coalition falls short of the 5th position and then their preferences will push over Family First/Christian candidate.

  4. Handing out HTVs will mean that AJP preference advice is more followed. This could make their preference advice, which favour various left micros and then the Greens and then the ALP, more influential than other micro parties` advice.

    Animal Justice Party preference advice may have been the decisive factor in Prahran at the 2014 state election, putting the Greens ahead of the ALP.

  5. I think the Greens Upper House vote is inflated in this model, and micro parties etc will take Senate number 1 votes off many Coalition and ALP HoR voters.
    Having said that, I too suspect the AJP will poll better than predicted but the vast majority of their preferences will head to the Greens. The reason this is important is that I think the ALP leftovers will end up electing the 2nd Green after the Greens overtake the ALP’s 5th candidate in the twilight of the count, and then the micros will fight it out for the 12th spot.
    I am positive that Hinch will poll over 3% and ride on in on many preferences from Coalition and ALP voters ignoring HTV cards, leaving NXT, Sex and others in his wake.

  6. Morning all! (WA time) It’s raining in Perth but it’s a beautiful day! A bit of a late rise this morning after watching the count. Most enjoyable watching all the Libs & their cronys self destruct last night. Turnbull was eviserated by Oaks, Jones & the obscure Lib senator, what fun.
    On the booth in Curtin were a nice bunch-even the Libs were good sports. The disbelief when I told them at 1/2 past 5 that the three Tassie seats had fallen was fun to watch. O, how would you know at this stage they said. Too early.
    It will stay in my memory.
    A great campaign by everybody.

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