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. Michelle Grattan@michellegrattan
    25m25 minutes ago

    Can someone please ask the PM about advice he sought on Pyne/Bishop

  2. Guytaur
    The ALP did the right thing on this occasion as they didn’t have the numbers to block it and since the bill wasn’t split as the ALP actually wanted then to oppose it would have been seen a vote against a tax cut for lower to middle income earners despite promising those groups a tax cut.

  3. Mexican

    Remember also my comment about higher taxes is that Labor has failed on the lower tax route they get the disadvantage of the scare campaign anyway.

    It’s why the LNP won. Death Taxes Boo!!!

  4. BB
    “Like it or not, agree with him or not, Folau has a perfect right otherwise to both hold and express his religious opinions, as long as he’s prepared to accept the consequences”

    I’m afraid I agree with BB here. Alas, Folau won’t accept the consequences. He wants his cake and he wants to eat it too. He wants to exploit his fame and fortune to advance his anti-gay cause, but he doesn’t want to abide by the contract which gives him that fame and fortune.

    Folau can believe whatever ignorant horseshit he likes. He’s welcome to share it in private. But when he broadcasts it in public, then there are consequences. He has a right to free speech, but not a free ride.

  5. guytaur says:
    Monday, July 8, 2019 at 12:50 pm
    My advice to Labor is to run on how cruel and lacking empathy the LNP have been.

    The LNP regard their demonstrable lack of empathy – their conspicuous cruelty – as a strength. Every display of inhumanity illustrates to the electorate that they are strong enough to deal with the ‘aliens’ and the ‘illegals’.

    They welcome criticism. The more vocal the criticism, the better. In their book, it is praise. It is also engagement on ground where they are strong – on ground they share with the Greens.

  6. Mexican

    Labor did the wrong thing they rolled over scared of a future campaign.

    They voted for the end of progressive tax.

    That should have been a red line. A principle for a progressive party.

  7. The Greens favour the use of the tax code to further the repression of labour. They have this in common with the Liberals.

  8. Briefly

    Trump does exactly the same.

    Instead of rolling over the Democrats have stood up. They won well in the Midterms and polling shows them going well for the General. It’s not all about immigration. Opposing did not hurt the Democrats

  9. Guytaur
    The ALP has made it clear they didn’t support the third part which doesn’t come into until well after the next election so the ALP if it wins next time can strike it out just as Howard did in 1996 to the Keating tax plan.

  10. Guytaur
    Midterms need to be treated with caution as they pretty much always swing against the party holding the white house.

  11. If you disagree with Folau you can:

    ● try to change his mind,
    ● ignore him and get on with life,
    ● leave the country,
    ● insult him and/or those who do agree with him.

    All of which may not change his opinion one iota.

    Only one of which gives you some peace.

  12. sprocket_ @ #1349 Monday, July 8th, 2019 – 1:15 pm

    Already at the printers….

    ” rel=”nofollow”>

    I want someone to protect my freedom of non-religion.
    With all these religious freedoms flying around I’m feeling a bit exposed.
    Maybe the Greens could take it up.
    I’m serious.
    I’m a non-theist and I’m scared.

  13. BB

    This is only an issue because Folau is trying to avoid the consequences of his free speech. Eg. The GoFundMe terms of service operate in the US with its First Amendment Rights.

    Here Folau has even less ground to stand on.

  14. C@tmomma @ #1278 Monday, July 8th, 2019 – 11:48 am

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

    I’d doubt they had anything to do with it, personally, but it’s besides the point. I decried those new laws as authoritarian, not ineffective. I said that I could see Labor getting behind authoritarian legislation, and gave some examples where they did exactly that.

    I never claimed that authoritarian things can’t be effective. Spying on the Internet usage of 24.6 million Australians is just as authoritarian and does create exactly the same surveillance-state whether or not you catch a terrorist with it.

    Your position seems to be that because the authoritarian thing is possibly effective it’s okay for Labor to back it. Which is pretty much the original point; tell Labor you’ll catch a terrorist and they’ll get right on board with whatever authoritarian nonsense the Coalition wants to pass. So I guess, thanks for making my argument for me. 🙂

    Also, you have failed to mention the hard fought battle Labor did wage to get Amendments to those Bills.

    Good for them, but it all counts for nothing if the Amendments fail and then Labor supports the bill anyways. What matters is what gets passed and who voted to pass it.

    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.

    In the case of the metadata retention legislation, Lambie, X, and several other crossbenchers voted against it. Labor easily could have blocked it.

    Same goes for the encryption bill, too.

    These things passed because Labor wanted them to, not because the government had a majority in its own right.

  15. ar

    In the case of the metadata retention legislation, Lambie, X, and several other crossbenchers voted against it. Labor easily could have blocked it.

    Same goes for the encryption bill, too.

    These things passed because Labor wanted them to, not because the government had a majority in its own right.

    Labor+Greens+Crossbench could’ve easily amended the TPP Bill to remove ISDS clauses, as is Labor’s stated policy. Labor instead chose to have these clauses included, for reasons that have never been explained by the Labor party members on here, or in parliament.

    One can only deduce that:
    a) Labor, despite stating they’re opposed to ISDS clauses, really support them;
    b) Labor is receiving donations from entities that will benefit from ISDS clauses;
    c) Labor doesn’t really stand for anything other than getting their arses on parliamentary leather;
    d) ?????

  16. d) ?????

    d) Labor stands for depriving the Coalition of hypothetical campaign material?

    Can’t face a scare campaign on boats; get behind Border Force.
    Can’t face a scare campaign on terrorism; get behind metadata and encryption.
    Can’t face a scare campaign on tax; get behind tax cuts for the rich.
    Can’t face a scare campaign on the economy; get behind the TPP.

    It’s all about not letting the Coalition campaign on all the things they’re going to campaign on anyways. You know it makes sense. 🙂

  17. Bushfire Bill @ #1365 Monday, July 8th, 2019 – 1:31 pm

    If you disagree with Folau you can:

    ● try to change his mind,
    ● ignore him and get on with life,
    ● leave the country,
    ● insult him and/or those who do agree with him.

    All of which may not change his opinion one iota.

    Only one of which gives you some peace.

    You could just tell him to go to hell.

  18. The Liberals generate wedge material for the Greens all the time. They never fail to make use of it. They run a tandem act. The day the Greens turn around to the Liberals and say ‘thanks but no thanks, we’re going to oppose you instead of riding shotgun for you’, that will be the day dysfunction on the Left is dissolved. That will be the day the Left-of-centre can look forward to winning again.

    This day will never come.

  19. Listened to a discussion on economic policy on the ABC radio this morning… take away s. There is a need for a stimulus wages too Low.. welfare payments too Low especially new start… affordable housing. Will be out of the reach of a lot of people. . Tax cuts and interest rate cut s will not really stimulate demand any where near enough…
    No such thing as a self funded retiree ….young people gen X? Will never afford a home

  20. Mexican, at 11.34am you wrote “The ALP needs to show a cynical public how they will better manage the economy and services”. I am in 100% agreement with you.

    Whatever we in the ALP do will be lied about; dammed if we vote for the reactionary tax package and dammed if we don’t. So therefore, we need to act like a loyal Opposition and, like, oppose things that are bad for the country, such as the third tranche tax bonuses. Just because the Government wouldn’t split the bill is not a good reason to roll over and simply wave through the total package.

    Good policy is good politics and it is the long game, and economic responsibility is the hill we should choose to die on every single time. Failing to oppose the economically reckless and reactionary third tranche tax bonuses is the very opposite of showing a cynical public how we would do things better. It also is not part of a program to defend and promote our legacy of superior economic management. Letting the Government get away with its cheap legislative opportunism in tying all the tax measures together is bad politics.

  21. ar
    “And if you’re his employer you can fire him”

    Ordinarily, yes. Unless your offensive opinions have a basis in religion, then apparently you can claim religious discrimination.

  22. a r @ #1371 Monday, July 8th, 2019 – 1:51 pm

    d) ?????

    d) Labor stands for depriving the Coalition of hypothetical campaign material?

    Can’t face a scare campaign on boats; get behind Border Force.
    Can’t face a scare campaign on terrorism; get behind metadata and encryption.
    Can’t face a scare campaign on tax; get behind tax cuts for the rich.
    Can’t face a scare campaign on the economy; get behind the TPP.

    It’s all about not letting the Coalition campaign on all the things they’re going to campaign on anyways. You know it makes sense. 🙂

    Lib lite have only Chalmers and maybe KK who can string two words together to sell or defend a position. They have a critical shortage of MP talent. It’s not by accident they avoid political combat.

  23. lizzie says:
    Monday, July 8, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    Important question: Should “atheists” register as a religion?
    ______________________
    That would be the same as forming an apolitical political party.

  24. Ooh, I just found this. But y’all need a name.

    Paul Barratt@phbarratt
    20h20 hours ago

    The largest single “religious” group in this country is the 30% of us who responded “no religion” in the 2016 census.

    We should register ourselves and claim tax deductibility.

  25. While we are obsessing over the nasty rantings of an almost washed up Rugby player who has been sacked for breech of Employment contract what nasties have the govt been doing while we are distracted?

    Barney in Makassar I believe the increase in prison numbers in Victoria is because when a person with a precarious housing situation appears before the court the court has no other option than remand them in custody. If they have stable housing they will go home ie increase in prison population due to increase in homelessness

  26. I assume an employer wouldn’t be able to sack an employee for posting what Folau did without a specific clause in their contract. Lots of people liked the post and I’m sure none will have any problems with their job.

  27. It’s interesting to read all this adulation of Gough Whitlam here from self-professed lefties.
    I remember when (here I go again) Gough was first Labor leader and how, back then, he was vilified by many on the left, including inside the Labor Party.
    That was certainly the case in Victoria, where many of the Socialist Left faction attacked Gough for allegedly taking Labor to the Right and who claimed he had sacrificed Labor “principles” for power. I was even assured by one son of Socialist Left operatives that Whitlam would keep Australian troops in Vietnam if he won the next election.
    Well! Whitlam introduced universal health care, abolished university fees, boosted funding to public education, abolished the last remnants of the White Australia Policy, abolished military conscription and freed draft-dodgers from jail, and developed a more independent foreign policy.
    All of this should have been obvious to these self-righteous lefties as such policies had been stated by Whitlam time and time again. But they were more interested in form than substance.
    I predicted at the time that Gough would one day become a patron saint of Labor.
    So all you self-righteous out there take note: you don’t achieve things without winning elections and you don’t win elections by saying things that only make you feel good.

  28. Lizzie,

    Important question: Should “atheists” register as a religion?

    As Ricky Gervais put it…suggesting that atheism is a religion is a bit like saying that not playing golf is a hobby.

  29. Jolyon Wagg

    Oh, I don’t know about that. Atheists seem very proud of their position, they feel above the common herd, they’re special, mention it often, wear the label as a badge of honour. How is that different from a professed religious?
    Agnostics are more humble. 😉

  30. The Queensland Productivity Commission is making a recommendation to the government to treat drug users not as criminals, more a mental health issue due mainly to the fact that Queensland gaols are overcrowded to the extent of 25% over the number of available beds, it costing the taxpayer over $100,000 pa for each prisoner, with tensions high, and prison officer assaults on the rise.

    Also, voluntary assisted dying (VAD) is being considered, with a report due to be handed to the government in November, based, it would seem, on the Victorian model, with minor variations

    If both come to fruition, I say well done Annastacia, well-done Labor.

  31. Sir Henry Parkes,
    I’m guessing one of those Victorian Lefties was Moss Cass, plus various Left Union bosses? 🙂

    Although, I must say that my own grandfather was a Union Organiser from the 1920s on, and a former member of the Communist Party of Australia, who only reluctantly joined the Labor Party after the Communist Party of Australia imploded and Stalin was not putting his best foot forward over in Russia.

    At the end of the day it’s all relative, and as Gough himself said, the pure are impotent. You need to win elections and that only occurs by convincing a plurality of voters in a majority of Lower House seats.

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