NSW Senate entrails examined

A close look at the New South Wales Senate result as finalised yesterday, plus Essential Research findings on attitudes to nuclear power.

Essential Research is continuing to provide The Guardian with polling on a fortnightly basis, but is still limiting itself to issue polling in the wake of the great debacle of last month. This week’s poll is concerned with nuclear power, after a push by Queensland MPs James McGrath and Keith Pitt for a parliamentary inquiry into lifting Australia’s nuclear power ban (showing rather unfortunate timing, in view of the runaway success of HBO’s television series Chernobyl). The poll finds a slight majority of 44% to 40% in favour of Australia having nuclear power plants, compared with a 40-40 tie when Essential last posed the question in 2015 – the kicker being that only 28% said they would be comfortable living near one, with 60% disagreeing. Among the other findings, 47% per cent rated that nuclear would be better than coal-fired power for the environment.

In election counting news, the button was pressed yesterday on the New South Wales Senate result, which, foreseeably, produced three seats for the Coalition (Liberals Hollie Hughes and Andrew Bragg, and Perin Davey of the Nationals), two for Labor (Tony Sheldon and Tim Ayres) and one for the Greens (Mehreen Faruqi). Above-the-line votes accounted for 93.1% of the total, which included more than two quotas each for the Coalition and Labor (albeit just barely in the latter case). This meant the top two candidates on the Coalition and Labor tickets were elected immediately, leaving two seats to be determined by the remainder of the preference distribution. The chart below shows how this proceeded as the last eight candidates were excluded, and also shows how the main candidates were placed after the surpluses of the first four elected candidates were distributed (Count 4).

Under the old system, the entirety of the vote was effectively divided between the sixth elected candidates and the unelected seventh, who was left with what is known as the “wastage quotas”. Now that it’s possible for votes to exhaust, it becomes possible for the count to fail to deliver quotas to six candidates, in which case the final seats go to whoever comes nearest at the final count. Such was the case with the last two seats in New South Wales – 0.39 quotas exhausted, and the final three quotas were distributed between three candidates in such a way as to leave all of them short of a full quota. Two of these candidates, Davey of the Nationals and Faruqi of the Greens, finished just short with 0.97 and 0.96 quotas respectively, causing them each to be elected well ahead of Kate McCulloch of One Nation on 0.68.

The chart illustrates exactly how far Jim Molan, shown in blue, fell short of winning the third seat through the strength of his below-the-line support, notwithstanding conservative excitement that he achieved the highest below-the-line vote in Senate history – in terms of aggregate votes, which is naturally a significant qualification when considering a result from New South Wales. Molan’s total share of the first preference vote was 2.92%, some distance behind a number of recent results in Tasmania, where the rate of below-the-line voting is particularly high. His exclusion unlocked a flood of preferences to Davey that closed the gap between her and Faruqi, who were all but level for the remainder of the count.

However, a good many of Molan’s preferences flowed out of the Coalition ticket and further to the right, with 20% going to McCulloch compared with 71.5% for other Coalition candidates. McCulloch also received a strong flow of preferences when Shooters Fishers and Farmers were the last party excluded two counts later. However, this was well short of what she needed to put her in the hunt for the last two seats, for which her share of the total vote would have had to have been about 2% higher. For more details on preferences, Ross Leedham has determined four-party preferred preference flows along the same lines as I provided in yesterday’s post on the Tasmanian result, observing how small party preferences split between the Coalition, Labor, the Greens, One Nation and exhaustion.

To get a sense of how the result might have played out under the old system, I’ve had a play with Antony Green’s Senate calculator from 2013, using the results from this election where possible and judiciously allocating the residue from new parties to old ones. This suggests One Nation would have won the fifth seat at the expense of either the Coalition and the Greens, who would have been in a very tight race for the last seat. One Nation preference feeders would have included not only Shooters and Fishers, Liberal Democrats, Christian Democrats, the Democratic Labour Party and Australian Conservatives (nee Family First), but also leftist concerns such as Animal Justice, thanks to Glenn Druery-inspired preference networks that had nearly every micro-party preferencing each other ahead of the main three.

The button will apparently be pressed on the Western Australian result this morning and Victoria tomorrow, both of which will assuredly produce results of three Liberal, two Labor and one Greens. Not sure when Queensland and South Australia will be done.

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.

442 comments on “NSW Senate entrails examined”

  1. I also don’t see the harm in Albo seeking to expel Setka from the ALP. Even better if Setka is forced out of his position with the union.

    And what better time to have that fight than immediately following an election when next to nobody is paying attention?

  2. Confessions @ #51 Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 – 9:07 am

    I also don’t see the harm in Albo seeking to expel Setka from the ALP. Even better if Setka is forced out of his position with the union.

    And what better time to have that fight than immediately following an election when next to nobody is paying attention?

    Yep. Or, if they are paying attention its to the fact you are attending to something they want you to do.

  3. Cat,

    Typically, you completely misconstrued my remark re quoting from the Australian which, by the by, was directed at frednk, and had nothing to do with you.

    As to your claims about revisionism, coming from you of all individuals, the level of irony has hit an all time high.

    Last comment from me to you on this. No doubt you will continue to self-righteously rant.

  4. zoomster @ #53 Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 – 9:08 am

    C@

    The ‘fight’ could have been conducted in a much less damaging way.

    Nothing good is ever easy. However, was it ever going to be any other way? Of course Setka et al will fight tooth and nail to hang onto their place on the ALP totem pole but the ALP have a lot more to gain than to lose by taking on these old school unionists.

    I have just read so many comments recently that support Albanese doing it. People with no skin in the game but who must have been harbouring disgruntlement with the CFFMEU way of doing their business that it, and Bill Shorten’s links to these people, must have been seriously hampering our vote at the last federal election. It’s the only conclusion I can come to.

  5. https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/no-jobs-on-a-dead-planet-warns-world-s-top-union-leader-20190617-p51yia.html

    The head of the international trade union movement has warned Australian unionists against putting coal jobs ahead of environmental concerns, as the CFMMEU pushes Adani for a commitment to long-term jobs at its controversial Queensland mine.
    ::::
    Ms Burrow, a former secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions who received the Companion of the Order of Australia in last week’s Queen’s Birthday honours, said while workers in fossil fuel industries “have brought us prosperity” and “deserve respect”, Australian unions should join the international movement in making climate change a priority as the globe was at a critical turning point.
    :::
    Working people needed to see “the kind of policy frameworks that they feel they can trust”, she said.

  6. Cat, Confessions

    I agree re: Setka. If there has to be a fight, have it now. Now that I understand the extent of Setka’s charges, he is a massive liability to Labor and the union movement.

  7. Worth considering closely:
    ‘Labor, so far, have taken the first path – placating economic elites in the hope of receiving endorsement. But the economic elites, Burke rightly observed, “never come to our defence when we have been under attack”. Labor are left advocating for a policy designed for economic elites, without elite support, having to sell it to a population whose opinions they’ve essentially ignored. They’re left, ostensibly, in no-man’s land.’
    https://www.neweconomy.org.au/journal/issues/vol1/iss3/labors-problem-too-far-right-of-public-opinion/

  8. ‘The head of the international trade union movement has warned Australian unionists against putting coal jobs ahead of environmental concerns’
    I imagine Sharan Burrow is a strong supporter of new and safe iterations of nuclear power. I imagine The Age will run a series of articles outlining the benefits and costs of nuclear power.

  9. poroti, Boerwar

    Quite apart from how easily the Israelis or Saudis could get hold of an Iranian passport, the other obvious question is – why would the real perpetrators be carrying one? If you were about to undertake a clandestine operation to mine an oil tanker in international waters, why would you first take your passport, betraying who was launching the raid, and then leave it behind? It just isn’t believable.

  10. Pegasus @ #60 Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 – 9:19 am

    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/no-jobs-on-a-dead-planet-warns-world-s-top-union-leader-20190617-p51yia.html

    The head of the international trade union movement has warned Australian unionists against putting coal jobs ahead of environmental concerns, as the CFMMEU pushes Adani for a commitment to long-term jobs at its controversial Queensland mine.
    ::::
    Ms Burrow, a former secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions who received the Companion of the Order of Australia in last week’s Queen’s Birthday honours, said while workers in fossil fuel industries “have brought us prosperity” and “deserve respect”, Australian unions should join the international movement in making climate change a priority as the globe was at a critical turning point.
    :::
    Working people needed to see “the kind of policy frameworks that they feel they can trust”, she said.

    How would the locals up in Rocky respond to Ms Burrows if she walked into a pub and said that ?

  11. Player One says:
    Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 9:17 am

    …”Well, the rest of the world seems to understand the issue a lot better than Australians do”…

    Adani was a former parrot, it was deceased.

    Campbell Newman tried very his best but lost an election, because Queensland said, piss off we ain’t paying for it.

    But then Morrison prayed to his God, and God delivered a miracle in the form of Bob fucking Brown and his convoy of fuckwits (apologies to Mavis) driving 18 mile to the gallon Toyota Landcruisers through the very heart of Queensland.

    And so the parrot lives, it was just resting, after all.

    Have I understood correctly?

  12. “How would the locals up in Rocky respond to Ms Burrows if she walked into a pub and said that ?”

    Somebody needed to explain to the locals in Rocky that the only way Adani will create jobs in Townsville is if they put mines near Rocky and Newcastle out of business. I agree the pro-planet survival forces failed to explain this. But I also think the pro-coal types stopped listening a long time ago.

  13. C@tmomma @ #57 Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 – 9:14 am

    zoomster @ #53 Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 – 9:08 am

    C@

    The ‘fight’ could have been conducted in a much less damaging way.

    Nothing good is ever easy. However, was it ever going to be any other way? Of course Setka et al will fight tooth and nail to hang onto their place on the ALP totem pole but the ALP have a lot more to gain than to lose by taking on these old school unionists.

    I have just read so many comments recently that support Albanese doing it. People with no skin in the game but who must have been harbouring disgruntlement with the CFFMEU way of doing their business that it, and Bill Shorten’s links to these people, must have been seriously hampering our vote at the last federal election. It’s the only conclusion I can come to.

    I wonder who the CFMMEU would align with if the ALP cut them loose ..?

    I’m tipping no-one will want to associate themselves with this union.

  14. Labor are left advocating for a policy designed for economic elites

    I didn’t realize that coal miners were “economic elites”.

    I mean, there’s a legitimate criticism that Labor hasn’t been going far enough to the left. But it’s not pandering to the economic elites that’s responsible for that. It’s the fence-straddling (and more recently, complete regression) on coal and climate that’s doing the damage.

    Labor needs to articulate a vision for these people that brings them into the 21st century with new industries and new jobs, not say “you guys want to vote for coal? fine, we’ll give you coal too just like the Coalition will so come back and vote for us again”.

  15. zoomster @ #53 Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 – 9:08 am

    C@

    The ‘fight’ could have been conducted in a much less damaging way.

    Why ? ..so no one notices ??

    That’s exactly the problem the ALP had with Shorten. Soft.

    Albanese should create as much hoo-haa as possible that engages the attention of the people to show them he means business.

  16. Socrates says:
    Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 9:46 am

    …”Somebody needed to explain to the locals in Rocky”…

    Preferably whilst wearing a black cashmere skivvy and nine hundred dollar shoes.

  17. a r @ #72 Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 – 9:52 am

    Labor are left advocating for a policy designed for economic elites

    I didn’t realize that coal miners were “economic elites”.

    I mean, there’s a legitimate criticism that Labor hasn’t been going far enough to the left. But it’s not pandering to the economic elites that’s responsible for that. It’s the fence-straddling (and more recently, complete regression) on coal and climate that’s doing the damage.

    Labor needs to articulate a vision for these people that brings them into the 21st century with new industries and new jobs, not say “you guys want to vote for coal? fine, we’ll give you coal too just like the Coalition will so come back and vote for us again”.

    I can just see Fitzgibbon working the numbers now to overthrow Albanese.

    It’s your time now Joel ! 😆

  18. Say what you like about the CFMMEU but compare and contrast the pay and conditions their members have compared to the rest of the nation’s wage slaves. They may play rough and dirty but so do the companies and the companies, like all companies, don’t pay higher rates out of the goodness of their hearts.

  19. poroti @ #82 Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 – 10:15 am

    Say what you like about the CFMMEU but compare and contrast the pay and conditions their members have compared to the rest of the nation’s wage slaves. They may play rough and dirty but so do the companies and the companies, like all companies, don’t pay higher rates out of the goodness of their hearts.

    I think that goes to McManus’s point that the rough and dirty takes away from the good job they do re wages/conditions.

  20. p

    Ditto ETU. Mighell was expelled from the Labor party but under his stewardship the ETU workers did very well re working conditions and pay.

  21. Many thanks BK for todays glimpse of (relative) sanity with the Dawn Patrol.

    For another glimpse —👇—

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/science-is-not-the-same-as-an-opinion-martin-van-kranendonk-says-on-qa/news-story/f80c3bba07d3dce96c8fb419d4758c4f

    A prominent professor of astrobiology and geology has warned of the dangers of listening to non-scientists critique science and targeted media personalities including Alan Jones in saying that “science is not the same as opinion”.

    The panel also featured British particle physicist and TV presenter Brian Cox, marine ecologist and TV host Emma Johnston, the CSIRO’s David Karoly and astrophysicist and science communicator Kirsten Banks.

    SCIENCE IN THE MEDIA

    The appearance of radio host Alan Jones on Q&A several weeks ago, in which he made comments that played down climate change, was referenced throughout this week’s episode.

    Professor Van Kranendonk also criticised Jones.

    “If your car wasn’t doing well would you take it to a butcher? No you’d take it to an auto mechanic.

    I found the chat about Mars very interesting. Mars was once present Earthlike with rivers and oceans and an atmosphere.

    Since the search for (extra terrestrial) intelligent life has so far returned zippo, zilch, sfa (maybe dolphins) the only known conscious life in the universe is working hard to make it’s home planet (a pale blue dot) into a true companion for mars – dead, lifeless and waiting for the Sun to engulf it.

    A good morning to all from rainy, cold Newcastle. ⛄ ☕

  22. poroti says:
    Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 10:15 am

    …”Say what you like about the CFMMEU but compare and contrast the pay and conditions their members have compared to the rest of the nation’s wage slaves. They may play rough and dirty”…

    If unions hadn’t played rough and dirty, non-unionised 8 year olds would still be down the coal mines for tuppence ha’penny and a piece of stale bread.

  23. lefty e says:
    Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 9:30 am

    Worth considering closely:

    It’s Lib-kin inspired rubbish. It is empirically wrong. It completely and totally mis-states the problems. It’s designed to make Labor look bad and to argue we should all become more like Corbyn. What a joke. It’s not worth considering closely. It should be ignored.

  24. Under McManus, the ACTU had a vote #1 Labor htv for this election just gone, a strategic mistake, one that did not occur with the Your Rights at Work campaign. There were union activists who were not happy with McManus putting ‘all its eggs in the one basket’. Labor was defeated. Where to now for the unions?

    The unions need to break their ties with the ALP and become fully functional independent grassroots organisations that can campaign for their members irrespective of who makes up the government of the day.

  25. Pegasus @ #90 Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 – 10:28 am

    Under McManus, the ACTU had a vote #1 htv for this election just gone, a strategic mistake, one that did not occur with the Your Rights at Work campaign. There were union activists who were not happy with McManus putting ‘all its eggs in the one basket’. Labor were defeated. Where to now for the unions?

    The unions need to break their ties with the ALP and become fully functional independent grassroots organisations that can campaign for their members irrespective of who makes up the government of the day.

    McManus has a very difficult balancing act to run with. Not easy.

    Essentially you’re spot on with your point re the ALP breaking their ties.

  26. So will we be hearing the following from Morrison soon?

    “Fellow Australians, it is my melancholy duty to inform you officially that, in consequence of the persistence of Iran in her invasion of Poland doing bad stuff, the United States has declared war upon her, and that, as a result, Australia is also at war.”

  27. The campaigns by Getup and the unions seemed to make almost no difference or may have been counter-productive to Labor’s support. Certainly, the campaigns by the Greens harmed Labor. Even Labor’s campaigns also harmed Labor’s vote in some places. Of course, the Liberal and Palmer campaigns also hurt Labor in the places that determined the result.

    I think we can say that the idea that campaigns don’t matter is just wrong. The recent election was decided by the campaigning.

  28. RD

    The ALP is not going to break its ties with the unions; it is too dependent on them for political donations.

    It’s the unions who need to break their ties with the ALP.

  29. The enemies of social justice and social democracy are calling for the dissolution of the Labor movement. That figures. They loathe everything there is in Labor. They are the Irregular forces of the Reactionaries.

  30. Jaykay, I watched QandA last night and was annoyed that they didn’t debunk the claim by Alan Jones, that humans only produce 3% of the CO2 in the atmosphere with the remaining 97% is produced by natural causes. I’d indicating our contribution is insignificant.

    The point that Alan omits is that that 97% of carbond dioxide in the atmosphere is TAKEN OUT by natural causes. It is like a bathtub with a dripping tap and a leaky plug. The amount of water going in equals water leaking out. The result is the level of water in the tub stays the same.

    Now humans come along and add another 3% of water that the leaking tap produces to the tub. The leaky plug leaks what it always has. The result is now the water level increases.

    So the 3% of Carbon Dioxide produced by humans is significant, particularly as it happens year after year and is cumulative.

  31. Gay Alcorn, this morning in The Guardian, reports CSIRO Futures director James Deverell, commenting on the political context in which Australian governments are currently having to craft, pitch and implement their policies:

    “While trust and social cohesion were difficult to model, they were crucial for Australia’s future, he said. Trust in governments and CEOs was low, which meant Australians had little faith that decisions were made in the long-term interest of all. Without that trust, bold decisions were more difficult.

    There was no “silver bullet” to restore trust, but efforts were needed to address policy over-promising, the perceived unrepresentative nature of politicians who came from narrow backgrounds and the perception that politicians favour vested interests over the public interest.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jun/18/call-to-arms-how-can-australia-avoid-a-slow-and-painful-decline

    —————————————

    On this last point, “the perception that politicians favour vested interests over the public interest”, if this is true, then Labor does itself a huge favour whenever it shows it can “stand up to the unions” in support of broader community interests and community values.

    Unions prosper by showing they have the “ticker” to stand up to criminally negligent bosses who trash workplace safety and imperil worker health to cut costs and save time. Indeed, we need them to do just that. A “Setka” may be suitable for fulfilling such a role. (Though perhaps one without this particular “Setka’s” problem with recognising women’s rights to their own personal safety.)

    However, many in the wider voting public want to see their Government also include the viability of businesses in their balance of policy priorities. They either own a business themselves, or are financially dependent on someone who does, or think their own continued employment is vulnerable to a downturn in their employer’s profitability (or are financially dependent on someone who is). A lot of these voters are not in the top 30% of income earners, so it might surprise some on the left that they vote Liberal out of concern for their own financial security.

    These voters would definitely be among those who think it would be a concern if Labor were just mouthpieces for the unions. And they are voters Labor must woo in order to form government. The Greens can ignore them (or even be hostile to them) and still keep or grow their vote; Labor cannot.

    I think standing strong against Setka is exactly the right thing for Albanese and Labor to do. It shows serious intent to support the principle of protecting women from male intimidation, as well as establishing credibility in being more balanced between unions and business. And that last point allows Labor to reassure a broader swathe of the electorate it can be trusted with the national economy.

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