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”

  1. Victoria @ #1301 Monday, July 8th, 2019 – 11:24 am

    C@t

    Yep. Although Labor will still need to be strong on border controls, cos that is what the majority of the electorate supports.

    Yep. In a federal government they want to elect a party that keeps the borders watertight and keeps their bank balances from going backwards.

    It seems like they are okay with treading water financially though.

  2. Cat

    You have already identified yourself as a Liberal lite.
    You are a right wing warrior. Promoting tax cuts and economic conservatism.

    It’s Labor that’s been the taxes pay for services party.

  3. guytaur @ #1310 Monday, July 8th, 2019 – 11:28 am

    Cat

    You have already identified yourself as a Liberal lite.
    You are a right wing warrior. Promoting tax cuts and economic conservatism.

    It’s Labor that’s been the taxes pay for services party.

    Bullshit guytaur. Keep telling yourself that though and you will become even more irrelevant to the broader debate than you already are.

  4. C@t

    That was also my thinking. But despite police calling off search, volunteers are still searching today. They obviously think otherwise. Hence why I am wondering if there is more that is not known to the public.

  5. Victoria @ #1312 Monday, July 8th, 2019 – 11:29 am

    C@t

    Unfortunately, Australians can be a self centered lot.

    In uncertain times. Which have been expertly crafted by the Neoliberals to make them fear that penury is just around the corner if they elect a Labor government. When it has been the Neoliberals who have fostered the Precariat.

  6. Remember according to Labor right Labor wins by copying the Liberal economic agenda. To be left gets you ridiculed as a radical and labelled Green or living in a bubble from the comments here today.

  7. Victoria @ #1315 Monday, July 8th, 2019 – 11:31 am

    C@t

    That was also my thinking. But despite police calling off search, volunteers are still searching today. They obviously think otherwise. Hence why I am wondering if there is more that is not known to the public.

    I thought the volunteers were just people who thought that he might be somewhere they haven’t yet looked. However, the professional searchers, the SES and the Police, have called off their searches.

  8. I seem to recall that in 1999, Bracksy ran on a fairly economically conservative platform, with promises to be more progressive in other areas around social policy etc. He certainly wasn’t promising lots of new taxes and spending.

    “In opposition the party had crafted a conservative financial policy, drawing readily on the advice of neoliberal economic think tanks. It had done so in the belief that Labor needed to distance itself as clearly as possible from the perception that the former Labor premiers, John Cain and Joan Kirner, headed big-spending and high-taxing governments that liked to borrow money to pay for their promises. The strategy seemed to be to emulate the Kennett government as much as possible on financial policy in order to highlight the significant differences between Labor and the Coalition on issues to do with democratic rights and social policy.”

    https://insidestory.org.au/victorias-unexpected-minority/

  9. guytaur @ #1317 Monday, July 8th, 2019 – 11:32 am

    Remember according to Labor right Labor wins by copying the Liberal economic agenda. To be left gets you ridiculed as a radical and labelled Green or living in a bubble from the comments here today.

    Call the wahmbulance!

    Lol, guytaur, if you think calling realists, who live and work in the real world, ‘the Labor Right’ is going to embarrass us, not that it is even correct, then you are one seriously deluded dude.

    The electorate has just spoken. They don’t want what you’re selling.

  10. Barney in the rabbit hole of fuckwittery @ #1244 Monday, July 8th, 2019 – 11:23 am

    Boerwar says:
    Monday, July 8, 2019 at 11:17 am

    BiM
    God instructed Cory’s followers to vote for the High Priest of the Happy Clappers, and Lo!

    But Cory was there first.

    Why did doG forsake him in such a way?

    Maybe Happy Clappers have factions?

  11. This.
    I seem to recall that in 1999, Bracksy ran on a fairly economically conservative platform, with promises to be more progressive in other areas around social policy etc. He certainly wasn’t promising lots of new taxes and spending.

    Economically conservative. Socially progressive. This is the space in the electorate that Labor needs to fill as the Authoritarian Conservatives move Far Right.

  12. C@tmomma @ #1241 Monday, July 8th, 2019 – 11:22 am

    As some here may not have noticed but the ‘Liberal’ Party is morphing at warp speed into The Authoritarian Conservative Party. And Labor will never be that.

    Counterpoint:

    – Labor voted for authoritarian laws allowing the government to order private companies to break encryption technology.
    – Labor voted for authoritarian laws requiring Australian ISP’s to collect and retain metadata about what each and every one of us does online and make it available to the government.
    – Labor voted for the repressive Australian Border Force Bill 2015 which made whistleblowing (or even just discussing normal goings-on) a criminal offence for anyone directly or indirectly involved in Australia’s detention centres.

    I think an authoritarian Labor party is not that far-fetched. The recipe seems to be as simple as saying (no evidence required) that “if [X] isn’t done boats and/or terrorists will flood into Australia” and then sitting back and watching how fast Labor does [X].

  13. victoria

    Labor voters did not vote for tax cuts of the third tier.
    Labor voters did not vote to end the progressive tax system

    Labor is supposed to oppose

  14. Cat

    You are of the right. To you centre left is far left.
    I say that because you have accepted tax cuts are the core economic agenda

  15. Labor’s main priority will be, after the last election polling debacle, to be as far behind in the polls as they possibly can. If they are sitting on 2PP 40 to the Libs 60 in the week prior to the next election they may have enough of a buffer to be in with a fighting chance.

  16. A reminder for Labor people.

    You have moved so far right the Greens are now promoting themselves as the real opposition. To the media and the public. Think about the change that signifies.

    Just a week ago even after the election loss they could not do that

  17. a r,
    That is a very convenient argument to make, absent a, ahem, counterpoint.

    I wonder, for example, how those new laws you have decried, enabled the AFP to disrupt the terrorist cell which was apprehended last week?

    You may cavil and say they were just a bunch of zealous amateurs, but I would contend that, even if they weren’t going to blow anything or anyone up here in Australia, though from memory I think they had plans to, and just go overseas and join ISIS, then that is also something I would prefer not happen because ISIS are all about killing as many infidels as possible, and as one of my sons is just about to go travelling I would kind of hate it a real lot if he was one of those infidels targeted for killing by one of these guys. However, my position applies to anyone that may be killed overseas by them.

    Also, you have failed to mention the hard fought battle Labor did wage to get Amendments to those Bills. Also, that the last parliament was more favourable in the Senate to the Coalition. And, as usual, Labor + The Greens didn’t have the numbers to outright block government Bills. Also, when they did, with the appearance of Kerryn Phelps and Julia Banks on the Cross Bench, they went for it to do good.

  18. guytaur says:
    Monday, July 8, 2019 at 11:41 am

    victoria

    Labor voters did not vote for tax cuts of the third tier.
    Labor voters did not vote to end the progressive tax system

    Labor is supposed to oppose

    So if the Libs do something good like they have with vaccinations or cancelling paedophile’s passports, Labor should oppose. 😆

    The World is not black and white.

  19. guytaur @ #1333 Monday, July 8th, 2019 – 11:48 am

    A reminder for Labor people.

    You have moved so far right the Greens are now promoting themselves as the real opposition. To the media and the public. Think about the change that signifies.

    Just a week ago even after the election loss they could not do that

    😆 😆 😆 😆 😆

    You live in political La La Land, guytaur.

  20. a r says:

    ………….I think an authoritarian Labor party is not that far-fetched. The recipe seems to be as simple as saying (no evidence required) that “if [X] isn’t done boats and/or terrorists will flood into Australia” and then sitting back and watching how fast Labor does [X].

    The Labor Party would be on The Authoritarian Labor Party train in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.

  21. Barney

    A good cop out typical from the right. It was good policy to vote for an increase to Newstart.
    It was bad policy to vote for the end of progressive taxation.

  22. The Labor Party would be on The Authoritarian Labor Party train in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.
    __________________
    Conroy’s internet filter!

  23. Cat

    You are. I know the Greens are now calling themselves the real opposition. Last week they would not have dared.

    That’s political reality for you.

  24. guytaur @ #1341 Monday, July 8th, 2019 – 11:51 am

    Barney

    A good cop out typical from the right. It was good policy to vote for an increase to Newstart.
    It was bad policy to vote for the end of progressive taxation.

    The increase to Newstart vote was a stunt from The Greens. As per usual. Labor weren’t going to be sucked into it.

  25. Madcyril at 11.34am & C@t at 11.38am – I like the economically conservative & socially progressive spot, if only because it is where I find myself. But the Tory government’s tranches of tax cuts are somewhere between woefully inadequate and fiscally reckless in the current climate. Moreover the flat income tax regime they are propelling the country towards is economically reactionary, ie not at all economically conservative. We should have vigorously opposed the third tranche at the very least.

    Just to repeat. These Tories are not economic conservatives. They are economic reactionaries, as well as social reactionaries.

  26. Cat

    Yes the Newstart thing was a stunt as it was never going to win. A good argument as to why Labor should have voted for it.

  27. C@tmomma @ #1270 Monday, July 8th, 2019 – 11:38 am

    This.
    I seem to recall that in 1999, Bracksy ran on a fairly economically conservative platform, with promises to be more progressive in other areas around social policy etc. He certainly wasn’t promising lots of new taxes and spending.

    Economically conservative. Socially progressive. This is the space in the electorate that Labor needs to fill as the Authoritarian Conservatives move Far Right.

    Economically conservative/Socially progressive is a nonsense. Totally illogical in practice. It’s a Lib lite fraud on the electorate.

  28. The ALP is a rump. I’m starting to agree with Lars that the ALP should be wound up. ALP members should then join their local Liberal branch and attempt to change the Liberal party from within. It might lead to a schism in the Liberal party and the emergence of a Centre-left Liberal Party and a Conservative Party. 🙂

  29. Mr Hanna rights on the general political situation with respect to whether governments can act. He describes the current situation as stasis. His theory is that governments can no longer act.

    My view is that Hanna is a first class fool. The Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison governments have been phenomenally successful is increasing the wealth gap, in bastardizing the Underclass, in subsidizing crony capitalists, in preventing action on the Underclass and in fucking over civil society.

    Turning that into Lib Lab same same is a fool’s game.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/07/should-we-have-more-plebiscites-anything-seems-preferable-to-the-current-political-malaise

  30. guytaur @ #1343 Monday, July 8th, 2019 – 11:52 am

    Cat

    You are. I know the Greens are now calling themselves the real opposition. Last week they would not have dared.

    That’s political reality for you.

    😆 😆 😆 😆 😆

    The Greens can call themselves Father Christmas if they want. All that means is that delusional numpties like you will believe it.

    They’ve had 27 years to get the electorate interested in the bag of goods they are selling. And virtually no one is buying. Two months ago the electorate were offered it again. Again only about ~10% of the electorate were interested.

    Now you can carry on like The Greens are the way and the light. But no one much cares besides you and a few others.

    You, like many other Greens supporters, appear to have the financial luxury to be able to support them and their goals. The other 90% of the electorate aren’t in that fortunate position and vote accordingly.

  31. “Conroy’s internet filter!”
    ___________________________

    it’s passing strange how some purported leftists here obsess about a Labor brainfart 10 years old from someone who has left Parliament but are totally silent about brutal decisions by the current government.

    But then it’s pretty much par for the course for these weasels.

  32. Rex Douglas @ #1347 Monday, July 8th, 2019 – 11:55 am

    C@tmomma @ #1270 Monday, July 8th, 2019 – 11:38 am

    This.
    I seem to recall that in 1999, Bracksy ran on a fairly economically conservative platform, with promises to be more progressive in other areas around social policy etc. He certainly wasn’t promising lots of new taxes and spending.

    Economically conservative. Socially progressive. This is the space in the electorate that Labor needs to fill as the Authoritarian Conservatives move Far Right.

    Economically conservative/Socially progressive is a nonsense. Totally illogical in practice. It’s a Lib lite fraud on the electorate.

    Keep grinding your axe, Rex Douglas. It doesn’t mean you have a clue though. 🙂

  33. For those buying Cats it’s just a stunt argument a reminder. The traditional tradition is opposition needs to do vaudeville to get voters attention

  34. TPOF @ #1351 Monday, July 8th, 2019 – 11:59 am

    “Conroy’s internet filter!”
    ___________________________

    it’s passing strange how some purported leftists here obsess about a Labor brainfart 10 years old from someone who has left Parliament but are totally silent about brutal decisions by the current government.

    But then it’s pretty much par for the course for these weasels.

    Yep. Professional axe grinders.

  35. Cat

    Your delusional denial doesn’t help you at all.

    The fact is that as recently as last week the Greens callingbthemselves the real opposition was so laughable the Greens would not have attempted it.
    Today they are.

    I am not the one denying the political shift that represents

  36. After the election, I had unblocked some posters who I previously felt were too negative, argumentative, or too hard to read.

    Over the past two days I have regretted this.

  37. In the current macroeconomic conditions there is ample non-inflationary fiscal space to lift the Age Pension and to provide the Age Pension to everybody of retirement age.

    Particularly if we also make superannuation optional and abolish the regressive tax deductions for superannuation.

    And after enacting these reforms and allowing several years for people to appreciate the peace of mind and security that they bring, another thing that we can do is to tackle the separate issue of income inequality. Part of the problem is that the income tax structure is too flat. There aren’t enough income tax brackets, the higher rates apply too high, and the highest rate is too low. That kind of income tax structure encourages employers to pay excessive compensation packages to CEOs and other senior staff.

    If we had an income tax structure in which any dollars above 20 times the full-time annual minimum wage are taxed at 90 percent, it becomes illogical to pay obscene compensation packages to the highest paid. The ratio between the earnings of the highest paid and the earnings of the lowest paid becomes reasonable and healthy, instead of the excessive and unhealthy mess we have now.

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