Preferences and preselections

More data on One Nation voters’ newly acquired and surprisingly forceful enthusiasm for preferencing the Coalition.

The Australian Electoral Commission quietly published the full distributions of lower house preferences earlier this week, shedding light on the election’s remaining known unknown: how close One Nation came to maybe pulling off a miracle in Hunter. Joel Fitzgibbon retained the seat for Labor with a margin of 2.98% over the Nationals, landing him on the wrong end of a 9.48% swing – the third biggest of the election after the central Queensland seats of Capricornia and Dawson, the politics of coal mining being the common thread between all three seats.

The wild card in the deck was that Hunter was also the seat where One Nation polled strongest, in what a dare say was a first for a non-Queensland seat – 21.59%, compared with 23.47% for the Nationals and 35.57% for Labor. That raised the question of how One Nation might have done in the final count if they emerged ahead of the Nationals on preferences. The answer is assuredly not-quite-well-enough, but we’ll never know for sure. As preferences from mostly left-leaning minor candidates were distributed, the gap between Nationals and One Nation barely moved, the Nationals gaining 4.81% to reach 28.28% at the final distribution, and One Nation gaining 4.79% to fall short with 26.38%. One Nation preferences then proceeded to flow to the Nationals with noteworthy force, with the final exclusion sending 19,120 votes (71.03%) to the Nationals and 28.97% to Labor.

Speaking of, the flow of minor party preferences between the Coalition and Labor is the one detail of the election result on which the AEC is still holding out. However, as a sequel to last week’s offering on Senate preferences, I offer the following comparison of flows in Queensland in 2016 and 2019. This is based on Senate ballot paper data, observing the number that placed one major party ahead of the either, or included neither major party in their preference order. In the case of the 2016 election, this is based on a sampling of one ballot paper in 50; the 2019 data is from the full set of results.

It has been widely noted that the Coalition enjoyed a greatly improved flow of One Nation preferences in the lower house, but the Senate results offer the interesting twist that Labor’s share hardly changed – evidently many One Nation voters who numbered neither major party in 2016 jumped off the fence and preferenced the Coalition this time. Also notable is that Labor received an even stronger share of Greens preferences than in 2016. If this was reflected nationally, it’s a phenomenon that has passed unnoticed, since the flow of One Nation and United Australia Party preferences was the larger and more telling story.

Other electorally relevant developments of the past week or so:

Laura Jayes of Sky News raises the prospect of the Nationals asserting a claim to the Liberal Senate vacancy created by Arthur Sinodinos’s appointment to Washington. The Nationals lost one of their two New South Wales seats when Fiona Nash fell foul of Section 44 in late 2017, resulting in a recount that delivered to the Liberals a seat that would otherwise have been held by the Nationals until 2022. Since that is also when Sinodinos’s term expires, giving the Nationals the seat would restore an order in which the Nationals held two out of the five Coalition seats.

• Fresh from her win over Tony Abbott in Warringah, The Australian reported on Tuesday that Zali Steggall was refusing to deny suggestions she might be persuaded to join the Liberal Party, although she subsequently complained the paper had twisted her words. A report in The Age today notes both “allies and opponents” believe Steggall will struggle to win re-election as an independent with Abbott out of the picture, and gives cause to doubt she would survive a preselection challenge as a Liberal.

• Labor is undergoing a personnel change in the Victorian Legislative Council after the resignation of Philip Dalidakis, who led the party’s ticket for Southern Metropolitan region at both the 2014 and 2018 elections. Preserving the claim of the Right faction Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association, the national executive is set to anoint Enver Erdogan, a workplace lawyer for Maurice Blackburn, former Moreland councillor and member of the Kurdish community. The Australian reports former Melbourne Ports MP Michael Danby has joined the party’s Prahran and Brighton branches in registering displeasure that the national executive is circumventing a rank-and-file plebiscite. Particularly contentious is Erdogan’s record of criticism of Israel, a sore point in a region that encompasses Melbourne’s Jewish stronghold around Caulfield.

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.

1,628 comments on “Preferences and preselections”

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  1. Vic:

    Yes a royal commission is absolutely overdue for the MDB management, but I can’t see one happening with Scotty’s mob in power.

  2. Lizzie

    Yes, I know feels totally and utterly inadequate to say the least.

    As the gentleman said on the program, it is a national scandal.

  3. adrian:

    I wonder how many Nationals MPs would be elected federally were it not for the coalition agreement? There are no federal Nationals in WA; every election the Liberals and Nationals contest the rural seats.

  4. In this century, Hawthorn have had Buddy, Burgoyne, Cyril and Impey as a minimum. Before 2000 not so much. Essendon was the VFL club that supported indigenous players the most esp Sheedy.

  5. Diogenes says:
    Monday, July 8, 2019 at 11:03 pm

    Hawthorn was notorious for not playing indigenous footballers. I dont know if that is still the case.
    Yes that’s true and they’ve acknowledged that. Most clubs in the 70s and 80s were kinda similar. North Melbourne really broke out of that in the 7os with the Krakouer brothers because they were so poor and decided to get good players no matter what. It’s a sad history but thank god it changed and the whole AFL have been very good on in the past 30 years.

  6. It was something that Mick Malthouse was determined to break down at Collingwood, which had very few indigenous players before his arrival. Before 1999 and Malthouse there had been only 2 indigenous players at Collingwood, one in the 80s and one in the 90s. There have been 14 since then.

  7. Breaking: Wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein charged with federal sex trafficking crimes involving minors.

    Epstein was arrested over the weekend. He had previously pleaded guilty to Florida state charges of soliciting prostitution to resolve allegations he molested dozens of girls in an arrangement widely criticized as being too lenient.

    This story will be updated.

  8. erica ordenVerified account@eorden
    39m39 minutes ago
    SDNY is expected to unseal an indictment against Jeffrey Epstein, charging him w/ operating a sex-trafficking ring in which he sexually abused dozens of underage girls, allegations that have circulated around the politically connected financier for years:

  9. The worst story I heard about indigenous players apparently happened at Carlton many years ago when a trainer refused to rub down a player, I mean seriously what was wrong in that person’s head to think it was the right thing to do.

  10. I think the Krakour brothers started around 82, I saw a match on foxfooty of a game form around that time and they were serious talent even at that early stage.

  11. I’m glad 9Fairfax haven’t given up on hounding the AFP:

    The Australian Federal Police used national security laws to access the metadata of journalists nearly 60 times in just one year, according to a new disclosure that will be used to pressure the Morrison government to strengthen press freedom.

    As Labor demanded answers over revelations the AFP asked Qantas to hand over the private travel records of a senior ABC journalist, documents submitted to a review of Australia’s mandatory data retention regime have for the first time revealed the extent to which police have examined the communications history of reporters.

    And before The Greens’ luvvies jump in with their tired trope that ‘Labor voted for these laws’ (we’ve done that one to death, okay?), can you just note who is doing the running on this? Yes, it’s the Labor Party.

  12. Jeffrey Epstein charged with federal sex trafficking crimes involving young girls

    Federal prosecutors unsealed new sex trafficking charges Monday against Jeffrey Epstein, alleging that the politically connected multimillionaire abused dozens of female minors at his Manhattan and Palm Beach, Fla., homes and enlisted his victims to expand a network of possible targets.

    U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said at a news conference that Epstein, now 66, faces the possibility of 45 years in prison and that prosecutors will seek to have him detained pending trial.

    Prosecutors wrote in a court filing Monday seeking to keep Epstein behind bars that in a search of Epstein’s home this weekend, investigators “recovered hundreds — and perhaps thousands — of sexually suggestive photographs of fully- or partially- nude females,” some of which appear to be of underage girls. Some of the photographs were found in a locked safe on CDs with handwritten labels such as “Misc nudes 1” and “Girl pics nude,” prosecutors wrote.

    “The alleged behavior shocks the conscience,” Berman said, calling the victims “particularly vulnerable.”

  13. Oh look, Labor doing their homework and catching the government and Christian Porter in a lie:

    Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese on Monday challenged Attorney-General Christian Porter to explain whether he stood by a previous claim that there was “no evidence” ABC and News Corp reporters were the focus of law enforcement action.

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