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 think the ALP / Greens”

    Ok, which seats? I still can’t see them. I’m most familiar with Perth. The ALP moving “left” here won’t pick them up any more seats. Moving a bit “right” might get them something like Swan, maybe.

    ( Left / right isn’t very useful, but you know what I mean)

  2. ‘Tristo says:
    Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    A Greens government being elected in 2022 is a possibility. Only if they adopted the sort of economic policies which Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Jeremy Corbyn are proposing, complete with a Green Industrial Revolution or Green New Deal. If the Australian Greens had gone down this path, in my mind they would have won something like 20% of the primary vote in the election that recently passed.’

    These are excellent points, Tristo, and you are a credit to spirit of the Greens Party. Since most of the 41% 2PP would necessarily have to come from Labor the important thing would be to keep attacking Labor rather the Coalition over the next three years. But, since that is already an ingrained habit, there will be no problems maintaining the effort.

    I particularly like your adherence to Corbyn’s policies. Corbyn’s policies are working wonderfully well in Great Britain, ATM. The result is complete dominance of the polling (and in recent bylections and Council elections) by Corbyn’s Labor. The Brits just love his policies to death. Similarly, both Sanders and COZ are fantastically popular inside the Democrats and this demonstrates the powerful pull of their policies – and only think of how this will translate into government once you move beyond registered Democrats! Out of work coal miners are reportedly queuing up to register as Democrats because of the sheer brilliance of Sanders’ policies.

    You are definitely onto something here. 27 years since the Greens formed their Party and started on their Quest for real political power and very likely only another 3 years to go! Forget the namby pamby of being in a position to ‘influence’ outcomes or to use sheer thought leadership to lead the people out of their social and economic desert! Real power comes from having 76 seats in the House and more than half the Senators.
    2022 Here We Come!

  3. SA and NSW State budgets handed down today and both (with refreshing honesty) acknowledge that they had to go into debt to maintain spending (even with some cuts) and that the slowdown in the general economy, especially housing, was hitting state revenue.
    https://indaily.com.au/news/2019/06/18/economic-growth-to-remain-slow-despite-stimulus/

    NSW here
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/state/nsw/2019/06/18/nsw-budget-stamp-duty/?utm_source=Adestra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=PM%20Update%2020190618

    It will be getting increasingly hard for Scomo to pretend that everything is rosy in the economy when even his Liberal State governments are admitting they are not OK financially.

  4. The controversial senator who once warned same sex-marriage would lead to polygamy and bestiality has left the door open to rejoining the Liberal Party after hailing Scott Morrison’s elevation as Prime Minister.

    South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi has revealed he is ready to consider a return to the fold if the Prime Minister picks up the phone and asks him.

    “I am open to having a conversation with the government about how best I can support their agenda but I’m not compromising myself,” he told Sky News.

    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2019/06/18/bernardi-rejoining-liberals/?utm_source=Adestra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=PM%20Update%2020190618

  5. @Kakuru

    I am actually being quite serious, because Millennial and Generation Z voters, who were in my opinion instrumental in success of the Same Sex Marriage plebiscite, would vote for the Greens in such high numbers that they would get achieve like 20% of the primary vote. Only if they adopted the sort of economic policies that are being proposed by Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn.

  6. It will be getting increasingly hard for Scomo to pretend that everything is rosy in the economy when even his Liberal State governments are admitting they are not OK financially.
    _____
    Socrates
    And when he does go down the same track he will be unable to truthfully point ti anything we didn’t see in economic circumstances and outlooks we didn’t know about before the election.

  7. nath

    And you’re running down someone who’s done more than you have (in that regard).

    Let’s see – your most burning political issue was payments to single mothers? And, by your own admission, you didn’t even make a phone call about it…

    Get back to me when you’ve done something more worthwhile than slagging off at posters on a blog.

  8. It’s easy being a booster, member or supporter of the two major parties as you know your party will take it in turns with the other to be in government some of the time, regardless of a lack of vision for the future, a small picture vision that does not understand the status quo doesn’t cut it anymore.

    It takes grit, stamina and a realistic optimism to be a member of a minor party that has a vision, principles and values underlying its policy platform that is routinely demonised by the ruling establishment aka both major parties and the mainstream media.

  9. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-18/adani-environment-minister-leeanne-enoch-qld/11220104

    A new video shows Queensland’s Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch telling a room full of people she has shed tears over the approval of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine, while also saying current environmental legislation is flawed.
    :::
    Her comments at the Cassowary Awards on Saturday night appear to contradict comments she made after the first video emerged on Monday.

  10. Pegasus @ #315 Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 – 5:26 pm

    It takes grit, stamina and a realistic optimism to be a member of a minor party that has a vision, principles and values underlying its policy platform that is routinely demonised by the ruling establishment aka both major parties and the mainstream media.

    Not to mention a periodic dose of hallucinogenic substances.

  11. “I’m waiting for a PB Labor partisan here to show some leadership and demand their fellow partisans pick up that bottom lip up off the ground and fire up !”

    pre-election anyone behaving like them was attacked as a bedwetter.

    now they are as weak as piss and think labor should abandon all progressive policies because the libs narrowly won an election they were expected to lose.

    the fact that no pollster has published a TPP result since the election tells me that the polling must be showing labor in front.

    Only three more years……..

  12. The sense of entitlement that the major parties ‘own’ the votes of ordinary citizens leads to complacency and corruption.

    It’s time to shake up the system. More and more people are beginning to realise they need to mobilise and take grassroots action because the major party politicians are too self-interested and only thrive on power for power’s sake to do what needs to be done.

  13. ‘…because the major party politicians are too self-interested and only thrive on power for power’s sake to do what needs to be done.’

    So vote for someone who’s happy to take the money and still not do what needs to be done, but can shift the blame on to others.

  14. ‘Pegasus says:
    Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    It’s easy being a booster, member or supporter of the two major parties as you know your party will take it in turns with the other to be in government some of the time, regardless of a lack of vision for the future, a small picture vision that does not understand the status quo doesn’t cut it anymore.

    It takes grit, stamina and a realistic optimism to be a member of a minor party that has a vision, principles and values underlying its policy platform that is routinely demonised by the ruling establishment aka both major parties and the mainstream media.’

    This is an excellent post, Peg and demonstrates the true heart and spirit and committment to principles and 100% sound policies that lies at the heart of the Greens Party march to power.

    10% in just 27 years is the harbinger of a Green government probably some time this century. Everything that will have happened before then to the environment, the climate and the Underclass will just be so much water under the bridge.

    Well done, those Greens!

  15. “Young people are the future. They will not remain silent or inactive re the ‘big issues’.”

    Yes, but like everyone they’ll vote for short term benefits for themselves, over the long term good.

    SSM didn’t cost anything, so they were free to vote for it. Threaten their trips to Paris / utes / skiing holidays / tats / jobs and watch them vote for the most right wing party you can find, if they think they’ll benefit.

    The young, in that respect, are just like middle aged dicks like me.

  16. The two major parties have been hoovering up the political donations from the spivs, shonks, and the powerful vested interests.

    The revolving door between ex-politicians and the same spivs, shonks, and powerful vested interests has greased the wheels of a corrupt system.

    The lack of trust in democracy and politicians has sunk to the lowest level yet.

    It’s all coming home to roost now.

    More and more people are not so willing to be compliant.

    Voter volatility is all the go.

  17. Ah, yes – I remember the SSM mail in. I got Miss 13 yr old to complete as she wished and mail back. No idea what she voted.

  18. zoomster
    says:
    Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 5:20 pm
    nath
    And you’re running down someone who’s done more than you have (in that regard).
    Let’s see – your most burning political issue was payments to single mothers? And, by your own admission, you didn’t even make a phone call about it…
    Get back to me when you’ve done something more worthwhile than slagging off at posters on a blog.
    __________________
    Eeek… I must have hit a nerve there. I mean you talk about respecting people who have done more than yourself, and Larissa Waters has done that, yet you were running her down, slagging her off on a blog, when she has achieved so much. Tut. Tut.

  19. peg

    Remember when the Greens got a million dollar donation from a corporate leader? How quickly they changed their rules to make it legitimate!


  20. Pegasus says:
    Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    The two major parties have been hoovering up the political donations from the spivs, shonks, and the powerful vested interests.

    The revolving door between ex-politicians and the same spivs, shonks, and powerful vested interests has greased the wheels of a corrupt system.

    The lack of trust in democracy and politicians has sunk to the lowest level yet.

    It’s all coming home to roost now.

    More and more people are not so willing to be compliant.

    Voter volatility is all the go.

    And the Greens have been hovering up donations from the ETU even though members got pissed off when they found out.

  21. nath

    No, I’m talking about your standards, not mine.

    You’re the one who implied that slagging off people who have achieved more than you have is a sign of jealousy.

    So I take it you’re hugely jealous of me, which would explain a lot.

    PS Picked up the phone yet? Sent an email? A tweet? Written a letter?

    Oh, no, the effort…

  22. Bucephalus @ 6:12pm, taking the old “cast doubt on the legitimacy of a poll by suggesting it was taken unseriously en masse” for a spin, eh? Well, at least if you either approved of SSM or didn’t care either way, you got the desired result.

  23. …I was only trying to work out how much spending I was able to secure for Indi when I was busy failing as a candidate. I know it’s well in excess of $20 million.

    Oh, that’s extra to what was being promised anyway.

  24. zoomster
    says:
    Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 6:18 pm
    nath
    No, I’m talking about your standards, not mine.
    You’re the one who implied that slagging off people who have achieved more than you have is a sign of jealousy.
    ______________________
    No, you accused me of that in my anti-Shorten activities. I find your jealousy of Larissa Waters to be highly hypocritical. She has achieved more than you, accept it. And she will be getting paid for it, which you seem to object to.

  25. nath

    No, it’s just fair political comment. I’m sorry you Greens have such thin skins. Perhaps politics isn’t really your game.

  26. The Greens take $2. 7 a vote from the taxpayer and use it for their only policy; destroy labor; talk about shonky.

    The Green; a party with less than a single issue.

  27. zoomster, I think you’ve just put together a list of things the Rudd/Gillard governments spent in Indi and claimed it as your own work…sad.


  28. Pegasus says:
    Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    The sense of entitlement that the major parties ‘own’ the votes of ordinary citizens leads to complacency and corruption.

    I wonder if those that give their first preference to the Greens realize they are not voting for the environment; they are voting for a party devoted to destroying Labor

  29. Victorian upper house MP Philip Dalidakis quits, at a possibly interesting time for a casual vacancy preselection. Though I presume his seat has the Right’s name on it.

    Philip Dalidakis @philipdalidakis
    Replying to @philipdalidakis
    Things that I’m going to do now that I haven’t for a very long time: #19 become a private citizen once more. It’s been an honour & privilege to serve the @VicParliament but now a new chapter awaits. Special shout out to my staff (ministerial & EO), family & friends #SpringSt

  30. zoomster @ #333 Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 – 6:18 pm

    nath

    No, I’m talking about your standards, not mine.

    You’re the one who implied that slagging off people who have achieved more than you have is a sign of jealousy.

    So I take it you’re hugely jealous of me, which would explain a lot.

    PS Picked up the phone yet? Sent an email? A tweet? Written a letter?

    Oh, no, the effort…

    It takes a lot less effort to slag off people he doesn’t know a damn thing about, in reality, on a blog.

    Has he had another go at me yet? I wouldn’t know. Nor do I really care. Just interested whether he’s carrying on where he left off last night, the vile pig.

  31. Periodically, as with the changing of the seasons, various individuals appear in the media extolling the virtues of nuclear energy, promising a panacea of clean and reliable electricity to solve Australia’s energy crisis. But the truth is far less rosy.

    Unlike coal and gas, no greenhouse gas pollution is created in the operation of the nuclear reactor. However, all other steps involved in producing nuclear power (from mining, to construction, decommissioning and waste management) result in greenhouse gas pollution. Greenhouse gas pollution associated with nuclear power could be similar to a gas power station, with estimates ranging from 80 – 437 kg/MWh.

    But nuclear energy is not “renewable”. Uranium is a finite resource just like coal or gas.

    Nuclear power stations require massive quantities of water to operate. In a dry continent like Australia, prone to hot summers and drought conditions which are only likely to get more severe as climate change worsens, it would be reckless to rely on a water-hungry power source like nuclear.

    https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/nuclear-power-stations-are-not-appropriate-for-australia-and-probably-never-will-be/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIk_Xs4Jrv4gIVjCQrCh0-RgiDEAAYASAAEgLm_vD_BwE

  32. Can certain commenters, who ought to know who they are but probably won’t, please not use up so much page space pursuing personal spats of no conceivable interest to anyone but themselves.

  33. ‘Tristo says:
    Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    A Greens government being elected in 2022 is a possibility. Only if they adopted the sort of economic policies which Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Jeremy Corbyn are proposing, complete with a Green Industrial Revolution or Green New Deal. If the Australian Greens had gone down this path, in my mind they would have won something like 20% of the primary vote in the election that recently passed.’

    I responded to almost exactly the same comment from Tristo a few weeks back. It might be in the category of ..”if someone says it often enough, someone else might believe it ‘ ……

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