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. If the CFMMEU is such a “ rogue “ union why did’t Albanese go the whole hog and announce labor would cut all ties with the union nationally ? No longer affiliate with the union and no longer accept donations. Simple.

    Instead Albanese sticks his big boof head into what had been a low profile process and derails all the behind the scenes work being done by McManus and others to remove Setka. The result of his intervention into a Victorian union matter is all of the focus nationally is now on union division and conflict at a time when the labour movement in this country needs to stand united against Morrison and his anti worker ideology.

    It did not need to get to this. All Albanese needed to do was bide his time until Setka fronted court later this month and when Setka had already confirmed he would plead guilty to at least one criminal charge.

    However, it now appears Albanese was simply looking for a fight to raise his profile so he targets one man in one state and goes after him in what he thought would be a easy PR win. Who cares about the collateral damage it would do ?

    All of the hard work by McManus and others now appears derailed and the end result is union pitted against union. All for what ?

    It did not need to be like this but perhaps this is what Albanese planned all along.

  2. Before the election I opined McManus was making a strategic mistake by ramping up the rhetoric and having unions marching in the street. The timing was not helpful at all for Labor but hubris / expectation was running high Labor would win the election.

  3. Labor could probably survive financially without unions. But it would be a different Labor. The unions formed Labor because they recognised they needed a common political instrument. That has not changed. Unions by themselves cannot achieve political success. By acting collectively they might sometimes do it. The Lib-kin hate unions. They hate Labor. They hate the very idea of a Labor movement. They are trying to destroy all of it.

  4. Pegasus,

    You are correct. The labor party needs the union movement more than the other way around.

    Perhaps now is the time for unions to re assess their connection to labor. If Albanese intends to use unions as his punching bag to build his reputation as a tough man then perhaps unions should just walk away and seek better bang for their buck in other ways.

    It is the labor party that is $1.8 million in debt not the union movement.

  5. doyley

    Spot on. Setka was a known “problem” for a decade.

    The current putsch is all about Albanese playing to the public about how strong he is in standing up to those “union thugs”.

    What a vanity project. What a mess.

  6. The Lib-kin are an anti-worker outfit. No question about that. They are even less-well-disposed to workers than are the Lib-Libs and their other clones, who at least can expect some working people to vote for them.

  7. doyley

    If Albanese intends to use unions as his punching bag to build his reputation as a tough man then perhaps unions should just walk away and seek better bang for their buck in other ways.

    That’s where I stand, with the unions.

  8. Pegasus says:
    Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 10:41 am
    Before the election I opined McManus was making a strategic mistake by ramping up the rhetoric and having unions marching in the street. The timing was not helpful at all for Labor but hubris / expectation was running high Labor would win the election.

    Yeah….could well be right. A lot of counter-Labor campaigning took place, some of it deliberate, such as from the Greens; some of it inadvertent, such as from Getup and the ACTU.

  9. PeeBee (Block)
    Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 – 10:38 am
    Comment #98

    KayJay, 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.

    How the article got into The Australian must have been an accident.

    Professor Karoly said: “Not everything he (Jones) says is factually accurate.

    “I am a climate scientist and Alan Jones is wrong.

    “We know that, yes, the greenhouse gas content in the atmosphere … is 400 parts per million. And this was the one thing he (Jones) was reasonably accurate on, that that corresponds to about .04 per cent of the whole of the atmosphere is made up of carbon dioxide.

    “All of his other numbers were wrong,” Professor Karoly said.

    He said that facts showed carbon dioxide in the atmosphere had increased by 40 per cent in the last 100 years.

    “That 40 per cent increase is due to human activity. We know that for absolute certain.”

    What benefit Mr. Jones and various climate change deniers derive from the BS I just don’t get – and I guess I never will.

    That’s just about enough from me this morning.
    Loud cheers from the madding crowd. 👏👏👏👏

  10. KayJay, I find many climate deniers are smug. I guess it is the attention they get for just being contrary.

    They dress up their arguments, with half truths, cherry picking and lies and think themselves clever, but really they are pricks.

  11. 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”.

    They did. The people said, feck off I like my mining job! I’m voting for the Coalition.

  12. Briefly @10:35
    “I think we can say that the idea that campaigns don’t matter is just wrong. The recent election was decided by the campaigning.”

    I’m sure that Palmer regards his tens of millions invested in the election as money well spent, as no doubt does Murdoch with his campaigning in his titles.

    They don’t need to persuade everying, just a percentage point of two at the margins.

  13. Albo’s claimed reason for getting rid of Setka is because Setka said something which the majority of working class men (and a large number of working class women) would totally agree with. It simply paints Labor as being ‘too PC” and out of touch.*

    The voters we need to get back aren’t inner city lefties who read and comment on articles in (former) fairfax papers. It’s the working class who feel that their issues are being neglected because Labor is being all hip and trendy.

    *Political analysis, not personal endorsement. The DV matters are a different kettle of fish.

  14. I like that the discussion on PB has moved on from the deficiencies of the Greens to what Labor should and shouldn’t do. Dissing the Greens is fun but hardly fruitful, since they will never extend their vote much beyond their current 10%. Discussing what Labor should or shouldn’t do will help them win the next election. Albo has made that much difference, if nothing else yet!

    Long may it continue!

  15. Correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t the ALP created by the Unions?

    Aren’t the Unions the biggest donors to the ALP?

    Don’t the Unions control most of the voting delegates and control the factions within the ALP? (Didn’t Shorten overstate the AWU Membership because that gave him more delegates?)

    As far as I can see – the ALP is a dead duck without the Unions.

  16. The supporters of coal, the miners, mining communities & the owners all know damned well that what they’re digging out of the ground is causing immense environmental damage and possibly could have devastating consequences for future generations AND THEY DON’T GIVE A F*CK.

    You just can’t rationalise that mentality.

  17. Z
    “Labor will get rid of Albanese before they get rid of the unions. That’s why the game he’s playing is so stupid.”
    So if this all goes to shit, who is hanging back and could lead Labor? Has Bowen or Shorten said anything?

  18. The Lib-kin campaign almost entirely consists of reproaches against Labor, of their unsolicited/self-serving, eternally repetitious sledging.

    I reckon the more that’s done to highlight their chicanery the better.

    The Greens are not a party of, for or with working people. Along with other cohorts of the elite, they aim to disable and destroy the political, industrial and social organs of working people, whom they generally thoroughly despise.

  19. Bonza @ #122 Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 – 11:09 am

    This struck me as interesting, given SA changed governments at the last election following attacks on Labor over going too hard on renewables.

    https://reneweconomy.com.au/south-australias-stunning-aim-to-be-net-100-per-cent-renewables-by-2030/

    The important word here is “net”. The SA grid will continue to be propped up by gas generation, although the percentage of gas will naturally decline over time as more renewables are deployed. It will also continue to import coal-fired electricity from the eastern states when necessary.

    For some reason, this is “news” to RenewEconomy. I guess they are feeling a little relevance deprivation these days 🙁

  20. Rex Douglas:

    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.

    See Howard, J, 2004

  21. zoomster @ #119 Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 – 11:05 am

    Albo’s claimed reason for getting rid of Setka is because Setka said something which the majority of working class men (and a large number of working class women) would totally agree with. It simply paints Labor as being ‘too PC” and out of touch.*

    The voters we need to get back aren’t inner city lefties who read and comment on articles in (former) fairfax papers. It’s the working class who feel that their issues are being neglected because Labor is being all hip and trendy.

    *Political analysis, not personal endorsement. The DV matters are a different kettle of fish.

    Wow, I didn’t know you were so out of touch with Australia in the 21st century as you seem to be! Have you not opened your eyes and seen what is going on around you? People, of good conscience, are starting Small, Micro and Solo businesses and running them from home and, as I heard yesterday, the local library! Definitely from home offices and via the internet. If not as a Franchisee. These people aren’t ‘inner city lefties who read the Fairfax papers’, they’re certainly not the people who read the Murdoch crap tabloids (though they did do their bit to ‘Save Albo’ from the idiot Socialist masquerading as a candidate for The Greens, in Grayndler). They are the people in the Regions, the outer suburbs and the satellite cities who want a political party to represent them and their lives. And it’s not a party who represents inner city construction workers and their testosterone-fuelled union.

    If you don’t wake up and get this zoomster, then that’s yet another emerging demographic that the Liberals will colonise and thieve out from under Labor’s noses as an increasingly irrelevant party stands around with their dinosaur union comrades singing ‘Solidarity Forever’ as the Coalition government dismantles them limb from limb.

  22. “Australian voters have shown they will only trust Labor with government when Labor shows them they won’t fuck up the economy.”
    – Bill Kelty, on the ABC doco, “Hawke: the Larrikin and the Leader”
    —————————————

    Some random points about the 1983 election (relevant to anyone who hopes 2022 is to 2019 as 1983 was to 1980, politically):

    A) Voters care less that they don’t trust Labor on the economy, when the Liberals preside over a smoking ruin of an economy themselves. Who here shares Frydenberg’s optimism about our economy these next three years?

    B) The cornerstone of Hawke’s pitch for economic credibility was the prices and incomes accord between government, business and unions. Convincing unions to moderate their demands on behalf of their members in pursuit of the revival of the national economy enabled him to refute accusations that Labor would send businesses to the wall by driving up their wages bills in appeasement of union demands.

  23. Bucephalus @ #123 Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 – 11:09 am

    Correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t the ALP created by the Unions?

    Aren’t the Unions the biggest donors to the ALP?

    Don’t the Unions control most of the voting delegates and control the factions within the ALP? (Didn’t Shorten overstate the AWU Membership because that gave him more delegates?)

    As far as I can see – the ALP is a dead duck without the Unions.

    And at 12% and falling, of the private sector workforce and with the Coalition coming after those areas that are still highly-unionised, they are a dead duck anyway unless they expand their purview in the Australian electorate.

  24. If you believe that CO2 is driving catastrophic climate change then you are a hypocrite if you oppose Nuclear Power. You should, in fact, be promoting it.

    Nuclear Power is extremely safe and far less damaging than coal when total health and air pollution impacts are taken in to account. Saying it is unsafe because Chernobyl and Fukushima is intellectually silly. Neither of those technologies would be used for new builds and the events that caused those incidents are not going to happen here.

    The French get 75% of their power from Nuclear and live quite comfortably with them.

    Australia should be the Saudi Arabia of Nuclear Power. We have about 30% of known global resource of Uranium and a massive, low population density, geologically stable continent on which to develop facilities and dispose waste.

    Power Generation – there should be nuclear power plants in SE Queensland, NSW, Victoria, SA and SW WA.

    The design, building, operation and maintenance of those plants would be a massive boost to our economy both initially and ongoing.

    We should have nuclear fuel processing and reprocessing plants. This would make all those who say we are hypocrites for exporting the Uranium but not dealing with the “mess” happy.

    And for those who like the Thorium idea – get on with it and produce operating commercial power plants.

    Disposal – there is the option for land based disposal in remote Australia. I personally like the idea of building inert torpedoes that get dropped into the subsiding edge of the Mariannas trench so that they are buried deep in the sea floor and then get taken down into the mantle as the plate slides downwards.

    Australia should also develop its’ own nuclear powered submarines, Ice Breakers for Antarctic work and Nuclear Powered ships for the Navy.

    We should also have our own Nuclear Weapons – which would make very happy all those who don’t like us relying on the US Alliance so much.

    Universities would benefit greatly from this as it would generate the need to develop Engineering, Math and Physicists, not to mention the enviros.

  25. Bucephalus says:
    Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 11:33 am
    “If you believe that CO2 is driving catastrophic climate change then you are a hypocrite if you oppose Nuclear Power.”
    —————————————

    You address people who “believe that CO2 is driving catastrophic climate change” as if you don’t consider yourself part of that group. Is that so?

  26. C@

    We lost the last election by alienating the very people Albo is alienating now.

    They don’t have to belong to a union to get the message that the Labor party isn’t interested in people like them.

    I’m not sure that (a) people running home businesses is that big a demographic or that (b) they’re necessarily going to be ‘at home’ with Labor.

    Meanwhile, a core Labor demographic is being further alienated.

    It is possible to deal with ‘problems’ such as Setka and avoid telling the kind of people that usually vote for you that they’re not welcome in the Labor party.

  27. zoomster says:
    Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 11:05 am

    …”The voters we need to get back aren’t inner city lefties who read and comment on articles in (former) fairfax papers. It’s the working class who feel that their issues are being neglected because Labor is being all hip and trendy”…

    Very well said.

  28. The Reactionaries use nuclear themes to deflect from the fossil/renewable choices that exist, and in the hope of stirring up trouble both in Labor and between the Lib-kin and Labor.

    The less that’s ever spoken of the uranium/nuclear story, the better.

  29. I don’t think working people object to ‘hip and trendy’. But they want their material interests to be met. In this they are no different from anyone else, including the ‘h&t’. The reality is that unless and until the material interests of working people are satisfied, nothing else can be done.

    Of course, the Liberals have set out to elevate the distress of working people. They have set out to cut wages, to extend the insecurities in the labour market, to drastically cut social spending, to increase unemployment and under-employment, to increase their indebtedness and their cost of living. These have all made life very much more difficult for working people. And the Liberals have found ways to exploit both their hopes and their anxieties. In part they use the environment to do this.

    This is the dynamic that applies in Australian politics.

  30. The thought of Nuclear power and Andrew Bolt’s article yesterday filled me with a warm inner glow that will last me for many half lives to come!

  31. The less that’s ever spoken of the uranium/nuclear story, the better.

    The debacle ending of the otherwise superb SA RC into Nuclear Fuel cycle is all anyone needs to know.

    Even when a clear cut case for a wealth producing and very low risk fuel storage facility of spent fuel was made it got smashed down by Weatherills dumbest idea of his premiership – the citizens jury.

    And the RC made it very clear that any power generation from uranium would only make financial sense if a serious carbon price AND other factors came into play. Small modular reactors could possibly maybe play a part in an integrated grid system that wants to quickly scale back fossil fuel generation. This would require political leadership that is capable of more than mere rent seeking, dog whistling, self interest and social division. In other words… a normal government. In other other words…. not this one.

  32. I used to be a fan of nuclear energy. I thought that South Australia would be the perfect place to build a couple of plants to supply Victoria and perhaps another state. I also agreed that South Australia should be the depository for all the world’s nuclear waste. The money for that would pay for the nuclear plants I thought. Now I’m against Nuclear of course, renewables and battery tech have shown that’s the way forward. I wonder why some people continue to champion nuclear.

  33. The Right in the US have prospered by attacking the living standards of working Americans. They have set Americans against each other in ways that deliver the Republicans majorities in a majority of the States. The same strategy has been used here. Life is substantially more difficult for working people now than it was 40 years ago, and yet the political organs of working people have never had less support.

    The grinding down of working people is not complete. The Reactionaries have a long way to go yet.

  34. Labor needs a message for people who think: “it’s not fair so many have so little when some have so much, but the best form of help is a better paid, more secure job. And unions, red tape and taxes stop businesses investing as much in their workers as they otherwise could.”

    I speak to a lot of hard-up people who surprise me by saying they don’t vote Labor. When they’re willing to discuss this, it is mainly because they see Labor as tending to favour any cause except that of a business owner. And they don’t see business owners as a privileged class enemy always out to exploit workers for a profit, but as supporters of those workers through the wages they pay.

    The unions are not always heroes to these people: they are often seen as having been worthwhile in the past, but sometimes overly hostile to businesses now. Labor needs to be mature and balanced in its relationship with unions, and at arm’s length from them, or they won’t be trusted by enough voters to manage the economy.

  35. If Labor “sticks with the unions”, as the unions dwindle, so will Labor.

    Unions have their place, and do a wonderful job generally (particularly in the public service, heath, education etc.), but their membership is evaporating due to changes in the methods of production and in workplace organization.

    Labor is beginning to look like a lifeboat to the unions’ Titanic: a safe haven to a better life for the (very) lucky few.

    Instead of trying to fit a major political party onto the framework of what has now become a relatively niche sector of society and the economy, Labor would do better to find a new model where it can better protect the rights of those who can’t protect themselves.

    Labor is a victim of its own success. They need to fight bigger battles on broader fronts, to seek new empires if you like. Stagnation and nostalgia for the good old days of “Us v. Them” in the workplace is nice. But Solidarity Forever is a song that needs to be sung from fresh rooftops.

  36. All along the path to the impoverishment of working people, the Reactionaries will have the obliging help of their Irregulars, the Greens.

  37. Bucephalus @ #133 Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 – 11:33 am

    If you believe that CO2 is driving catastrophic climate change then you are a hypocrite if you oppose Nuclear Power. You should, in fact, be promoting it.

    ‘Believe’ is the wrong word to use there. Science doesn’t care what any of us believe. It doesn’t produce a different outcome if you just have faith and believe really hard. Science is science; if you don’t (or do) like what it says you can either 1) accept it as valid or 2) do new science to prove why the old science is wrong. You can’t believe it away unless you live in a magical, imaginary fantasy world (D&D anyone? There’s no global warming in D&D.).

    Though anyways, yes. I have nothing against nuclear power as a general principle. It’s safe enough (if you don’t build in tsunami/earthquake zones) and though its waste products are terrible in a lot of different ways it doesn’t contribute to global warming.

    But when it comes to Australia, nuclear is a pipe-dream. It would take decades to roll out, even if you manage to overcome the NIMBY’s. And with no local expertise in nuclear power, you either send tons of money to overseas vendors and contractors or you invest serious money and time in creating that expertise locally. The latter option is better, but there’s no fucking way a Coalition government would ever contemplate something so blatantly socialist.

    So nuclear is fine, but unrealistic for Australia. Solar, wind, batteries, and pumped hydro are here now, and it makes more sense to focus on those things than it does to go chasing after nuclear. Take the time and money that you want to spend on nuclear, pour it into renewables instead, and we’ll have clean energy well before Australia’s first nuclear plant would ever come online.

  38. briefly
    says:
    Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 11:52 am
    The grinding down of working people is not complete. The Reactionaries have a long way to go yet.
    _______________________
    Yep, the conditions for working people are appalling. forced to live in Mcmansions, having to share 2 cars with free medical care, streaming services into smart tvs. What awful lives people lead this century compared to the 19th century.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *