Today’s stop in the six-part Senate tour is Queensland, for which the political and historical overview can be viewed here. Queensland was extraordinary in 2013 for the level of support for Palmer United, and it is thus notable for being the only state in which BludgerTrack has the “others” vote down from the election, by 5.9%. The Coalition is also down 2.7%, leaving room for Labor to increase 4.0% from their low base, and the Greens to improve 4.6%, after their vote fell by more than half in 2013. As in the previous posts, I will now set about attempting to project the result based on these swing figures, estimated preference flows based on how-to-vote cards and below-the-line preferences, and educated guesswork to fill a few gaps involving new parties, parties not recontesting, and the huge slump in support that awaits what’s left of Palmer United.
The big picture view of the count is that a clear two seats are available in the final stages for the remaining micro-parties. The Coalition starts the count with very near to five quotas, Labor with very near to four, and the Greens with barely more than one – the Coalition and Labor get their fifth and fourth candidates elected as the stragglers are eliminated from the count, the second Greens candidate (Andrew Bartlett, as it happens) drops out of contention at about the same time, and an array of seven micro-parties remain in the count with two seats left to spare. The three serious contenders out of the group are Glenn Lazaraus, Pauline Hanson and Katter’s Australian Party, who are respectively credited with base votes of 3.0%, 2.7% and 2.6%.
The Katter’s Australian Party total is determined by factoring the diminished projected share of the others vote on to their 2.9% total in 2013, but the scores for Lazarus and Hanson are purely based on guess work. The preference flows used for these candidates are also rather arbitrary, with a 20% bonus applied to the One Nation preference flow from 2013 in the case of Hanson, and Lazarus credited with three quarters of the flow to Palmer United. The KAP did particularly well on preferences in 2013, and on that basis its candidate is projected to pull well care of Lazarus and Hanson (both major parties are also directing a preference its way, although this ultimately doesn’t amount to much in the projection). That leaves Lazarus and Hanson battling for the final spot, with the projection calling it for Hanson by a tiny margin.
The safest way of interpreting this is that Queensland is set to return five Coalition, four Labor, one Greens and two micro-party Senators. The identity of the latter is up in the air, but there seems a strong chance that Hanson will be among them. Any candidate with a base vote approaching 3% will be very much in the game, and Hanson’s traditional stumbling block of major party preferences looks set to do her no harm at all, as the major parties will have only tiny surpluses to pass on to other candidates.