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. 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?

    Those things may be common between some atheists and some of those of religion… as is red hair, moustaches and breathing.

  2. 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?
    _________________
    Sounds like Yabba and Mensa. Is that religious?

  3. Cat

    The point is Whitlam was Prime Minister. Your pure argument fails before that reality. It might say something about your attacks on Greens purity.

  4. Apparently, Albanese is “concerned”

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jul/08/labor-calls-for-explanation-after-afp-obtains-abc-journalists-private-qantas-travel-records

    The Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, has called on the government to explain why the Australian federal police was able to access a journalist’s private travel records from Qantas as the two parties square off over press freedom.
    :::
    “We’re concerned about whistleblowers, as well as journalists, being targeted in a way that is not appropriate and the government needs to explain what the circumstances of these AFP demands were.”

  5. Episode 4 of Who Runs This Place? – The People

    https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/who-runs-this-place/the-people/11229012

    Union membership is a fraction of what it was but people power is finding a voice through new platforms and movements

    People power has given us revolutions, political parties and unions. In part four we look at how people power is now helping to put a range of issues on the political agenda through new platforms, movements and voices in Parliament. We also hear how Parliament itself could be changed.

  6. Apparently, Albanese is “concerned”

    He should bloody well take action. What sort of Prime Minister does he think he is?

  7. As cat has said earlier “Sean Kelly gets it”.

    https://www.theage.com.au/national/scott-morrison-is-no-progressive-and-he-s-going-to-change-the-country-20190707-p524up.html

    There are more practical questions, too, especially about technology. This is the uncertain atmosphere in which Labor is about to conduct what, it is promised, will be a comprehensive campaign review, without a blame game. Both elements are welcome. A third element is essential: the review should be publicly released. To keep it restricted to a few key people makes change less likely, and the guarding of self-interest a certainty. And if the political side of the operation is working better, then MPs might feel more confident voting for the right reasons, knowing their decisions will be sold effectively.

    That shift needs to start sooner, not later. Morrison will work quickly. He has already delivered a radical tax plan, and promised action on industrial relations. Labor can play dead, of course, taking the political punt that the government’s plans will backfire. But in the meantime, the country will have changed. It’s not a bet you’d want to get wrong.

  8. Aaron Dodd
    @AaronDodd

    A thread.

    Result of the religious discrimination act will be that religious types will find it increasingly difficult to find employment. Employers will not hire them for fear they will offend colleagues, customers and/or suppliers . #auspol

    Secondly, employers are concerned that poorly performing religious employees may play “the religion card” when being performance managed – ie. You’re picking on me because I’m a Christian/Muslim/ Hindu/ Zoroastrian” #auspol

    This will lead to increasing sectarian segregation, as businesses owned by one faith start to employ only employees from that faith. It will be a return to the 1950s when, for example, the Seventh Day Adventist owned Sanitarium would not employ Catholics #auspol

    One can see how the religious discrimination bill, that is not needed, will increase disharmony and rancour in Australian society. Where will it end? Sectarian violence is not beyond the realms of possibility. #auspol

  9. There is a lot of anger around, but unfortunately a lot of it is directed at Labor “for letting down their supporters”. Turn your weapons on to the liars and charlatans, my friends.

  10. I am hoping the bulk of the Labor election review is released publicly as well. I would understand if not all of it was made public. A small % of really sensitive stuff.

  11. SK

    He should bloody well take action. What sort of Prime Minister does he think he is?

    Apparently Di Natale should “do things” too, according to Possum and other assorted Laborites.

    What sort of opposition does he think he is?

  12. Despite the significant contributions that unpaid work and care make to societies, it is not included in official economic measures.
    :::
    Understanding the issue of unpaid work has been patchy since the Australian Bureau of Statistics stopped collecting time use data in 2006.

    The ABS has received funding this year for a new time use survey, which will be collected during the 2020-21 financial year and released early in 2022.

    Ms Schwartz is adamant a figure should be put on unpaid work each year, at least as an addendum paper to the National Accounts. She adds that if all the unpaid work wasn’t done, the Australian economy would grind to a halt.

    “It’s an important figure that should be known and should be talked about.”

    The exploitation of undeserving unpaid workers is more acceptable than those deserving paid workers.

  13. Avril@DocAvvers
    13m13 minutes ago

    When politicians talk about the need for #ReligiousFreedom legislation, know that they are NOT talking for the Uniting Church in Australia. The UCA has always supported a comprehensive human rights act or charter, not standalone ‘religious freedom’ legislation.

  14. ‘Nicholas says:
    Monday, July 8, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    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. ‘

    I am still waiting for some figures on your comprehensive package to reform the retirement system. Apart from the infinity assertion, nothing.
    Could it be that you have not crunched the numbers?
    Why would anyone at all listen if you keep avoiding the numbers?

  15. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with an excellent textbook published by Macmillan Publishers International in 2019. The book is called Macroeconomics and it was written by William Mitchell, Randall Wray, and Martin Watts.

  16. Nicholas

    It was interesting how Andrew Yang with his UBI seemed mainstream compared to the fight for who had the most left wing policies at the Democratic debate before Busing came up as an issue.

  17. Who voted for it?

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jul/08/australias-anti-encryption-laws-being-used-to-bypass-journalist-protections-expert-says

    The anti-encryption laws passed by the federal parliament last year have been used to bypass journalist protections in other national security laws, a cybersecurity researcher has said.
    :::
    “Law enforcement’s powers granted under the Data Retention Act in 2015 were augmented by the new powers the Assistance and Access Act provided at the end of 2018, creating the framework that authorised the federal police in mid-2019 to raid the homes and offices of journalists over articles published in July 2017 and April 2018, in defiance of international norms,” she said.

    “Because parliament passed these laws, the federal police had the power to strike a chilling blow against press freedom in Australia, and call it lawful.”
    :::
    The commonwealth ombudsman, too, repeated concerns about the scope of the new laws.

  18. Dio

    The ‘indirect discrimination’ section of the Bill would make it illegal for employers to insert such a clause in the employment contract.

  19. ‘Dan Gulberry says:
    Monday, July 8, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    That would be the same as forming an apolitical political party.

    Like boerwar’s informal party?’

    Quite the reverse. The Informal Party took the view that when the two major parties run certifiable candidates (Rudd and Abbott) as their putative prime ministers then voters are duty bound not to vote for either. While it is always easy to be wise in hindsight, even a casual survey of the prime ministerships of Abbott and Rudd demonstrates that the Informal Party was well ahead of the curve. I congratulate those who took the the Informal Party’s consideration into account in the privacy of the polling booth.

    That Party has long since been dissolved but can easily be resurrected as required.

  20. I look forward to the creatively Byzantine bit of language that is going to make indirect discrimination against homophobes illegal but discriminating in employment on the basis of religious believe illegal.

  21. I have written here many times how out of touch and incorrect BB’s various pronouncements are when they are about matters sexual.

    In reference to various #metoo memes and child abuse his views are always in line with the typical old white conservative male RWNJ view.

    His offering today is also very wrong. He clearly has no idea about the psychological trauma experienced by children when they experience the first dawning inklings that they might be of a same sex orientation.

    Make no bones about it, Folau’s real message is all about homosexuality and nothing else. He, like most RWNJs and their narrow religion-based values hate and fear homosexuality. The current controversy is merely their follow up to the SSM plebiscite and their failed campaign.

    There are just a few explanations in the psych literature for why a particular individual might hate and fear homosexuality, arguably the main one being the defence mechanism Reaction Formation. This explanation suggests that when a matter causes great anxiety in an individual they deal with it by publicly and strongly assert the opposite. We have seen this countless times in politicians as those preaching “family values” so loudly are eventually caught with their pants down.

    So too, those who are significantly uncomfortable in their own skin about the very nature of homosexuality, especially male homosexuality </b are the loudest to decry it. They are unable to experience the relaxed attitude adjusted people have to gay people ie “it’s their business”, or “what goes on behind closed doors…..”, or “one’s sexual proclivities are matters of their own private choice”, or “who cares…”.

    Folau and his supporters hide the issue of homosexuality amongst a handful of other “sins”, claiming that they are all equivalent.

    But they are not !!!!

    In our society, of these “sins” only the development of one’s sexual identity (a)emerges during childhood, and (b) because of various and varying contemporary societal views about it, is laden with psychological distress for the child. None of the other Folau “sins” have such potential. We have few 13 or 14 year old for whom their own adultery, alcoholism or divorce etc causes them anxiety.

    But regarding their possible homosexuality, they are highly vulnerable. They are confused They are alone. They are highly susceptible to suicide.

    They are simply unable to avail themselves of BB’s 4 ridiculous solutions, along the lines of ignoring or laughing off Folau’s hate and the like.

  22. I must admit that I have changed my mind about Folau’s sacking.
    I now believe that the Union were correct to sack him for breaking his contract but were incorrect in inserting a clause banning him from making public statements on issues of social policy.
    IMO, people who believe that people who believe that practising abortion, miscegnation, rape, euthanasia, homsexuality, sodomy, sex before marriage, sex outside marriage, sex without the intent to procreate, masturbation, marrying a same sex partner will all go to hell should be able to state that that is their belief. Now, this might hurt the feelings of a lot of people and make them feel bad.
    Jesus Christ on a broomstick I used to believe a lot of this shit heart and soul… and it made ME feel bad.

    The notion that everyone has to think and say exactly the same thing on all moral issues and all religious beliefs is four legs good two legs bad stuff.
    It is no way to run an open, plural, multicultural society.
    Of course there are the usual party partisans and an assortment of bastard astroturfers who want to hitch a political ride on this culture war stuff!
    What a surprise!

    I note recently that a University wrote to its academics urging them not to make statements such as ‘Indigenous people have been in Australia for 40,000 years’. Apparently there is a belief that Indigenous people have been in Australia since the Dreamtime, sort of forever, and that putting a time on it conflicts with the 40,000 year theory.’ Putting a figure of 40,000 years on it could hurt some feelings.
    Crap thinking. Crap letter. Crap censorship. Crap academic freedom.
    The Dumbing of Australia?

  23. I look forward to the creatively Byzantine bit of language that is going to make indirect discrimination against homophobes illegal but discriminating in employment on the basis of religious believe illegal.

    Heads I win, tails you lose.

  24. Simon² Katich®

    That strange noise you can hear is massed ranks of lawyers drooling over lucrative possibilities that may be coming their way 🙂

  25. BW

    The test for Folau is simple. Would it be ok to say Blacks are going to hell due to their skin colour. The answer is no to avoid racism. The same applies about sexuality.

    It’s not a choice no matter how many times the religious say otherwise.
    Even those arguing environmental factors are saying it’s not a choice.

    So to say someone is going to hell solely due to being who they are is indeed homophobic hate speech.

  26. ‘Simon² Katich® says:
    Monday, July 8, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    I look forward to the creatively Byzantine bit of language that is going to make indirect discrimination against homophobes illegal but discriminating in employment on the basis of religious believe illegal.

    Heads I win, tails you lose.’

    Whoops. Freudian slip? that should read… ‘but discriminating in employment on the basis of religious belief LEGAL.’

    … otherwise we might get the Brown Bombers being infiltrated by jihadis.

  27. That strange noise you can hear is massed ranks of lawyers drooling over lucrative possibilities that may be coming their way

    Sometimes the best way to resolve uncertainty is through common law – not more legislation. Folau taking this to court may have codefied some basic principles around unfair dismissal and freedoms of speech – how the sacking of the SBS journo is different to that of Folau.

    Unfortunately (sometimes fortunately) our legal system now lends itself to deals being brokered out of court.

  28. ‘guytaur says:
    Monday, July 8, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    BW

    The test for Folau is simple. Would it be ok to say Blacks are going to hell due to their skin colour. The answer is no to avoid racism. The same applies about sexuality. ‘

    These things are never ever ‘simple’.

    My view is that a general legally coercive 100% censorship of words and thoughts and beliefs in relation to ALL social issues (whether or not some group or social section or gender or religion feels hurt by what is being said) is neither desirable, nor practical and could well be counter productive.

  29. BW

    All I am saying is religion has no exemptions for racism. It should be exactly the same for laws regarding sexuality diversity. That’s all.

    End the exemptions and the complexity just reverts to the complexity we have with racist etc. of course if we had a Charter or Bill of Rights a lot of this would be less open to a Judges interpretation.

  30. In our society, of these “sins” only the development of one’s sexual identity (a)emerges during childhood, and (b) because of various and varying contemporary societal views about it, is laden with psychological distress for the child. None of the other Folau “sins” have such potential. We have few 13 or 14 year old for whom their own adultery, alcoholism or divorce etc causes them anxiety.

    But regarding their possible homosexuality, they are highly vulnerable. They are confused They are alone. They are highly susceptible to suicide.

    This is why Folau’s statement about homosexuality was so harmful and needed to be condemned.

    Whether it should be lawful for employers to insist on contractual terms relating to an employee’s use of social media in their personal time is a separate discussion.

    Rugby Australia definitely condemned the statement. However, they could have condemned the statement and explained their reasons for supporting vulnerable young people without terminating Folau’s employment. And if he had doubled down on his position they could have continued to use their access to the media to amplify the message that homosexuality is not sinful and that it is dangerous, in the sense of increasing suicide risk, to say that it is.

  31. Nobody is censoring Folau. Rugby Australia have just taken away a platform that they gave him. He can still get his own soapbox and shout his blind belief to the masses.

    I think it is entirely appropriate for RA to remove that platform if he is going to use it to denigrate vulnerable minorities. As psyclaw has pointed out – his word can cause real harm.

    Furthermore, using pluralism as your cover when attacking pluralism is hypocrisy of the scummiest order.

  32. Nicholas

    ‘This is why Folau’s statement about homosexuality was so harmful and needed to be condemned.’

    Exactomundo.

  33. The explanation that black Africans, as the “sons of Ham”, were cursed, possibly “blackened” by their sins, was sporadically advanced during the Middle Ages, but its acceptance became increasingly common during the slave trade of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.[72][73] The justification of slavery itself through the sins of Ham was well suited to the ideological interests of the elite; with the emergence of the slave trade, its racialized version justified the exploitation of African labour.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curse_of_Ham#European/American_slavery,_seventeenth_and_eighteenth_centuries

  34. And if Folau (or say a prominent muslim football player) had made a statement that he believed that it is immoral to murder infidels.
    Or that the same person had made a statement that he believed that it is moral to murder infidels.
    Or that the same person had made a statement that infidels are going to miss out on the 72 virgins.

  35. The problem about Folau is that the argument is imported from the US. They use it to argue against rights for gay people there. Those arguments are designed to equate free speech with “deplatforming” by a business.

    It’s all a response to business responding to consumer boycotts.
    It’s still undecided Law but it does get to the whole taking a knee during a national anthem level.

  36. ‘Simon² Katich® says:
    Monday, July 8, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    Nobody is censoring Folau.’

    Really?

    To play football with us (and therefore for your country) you have to agree not to say certain things. We could give you a list of these certain things but we will be making that up as we go along.
    So just sign on the dotted line and STFU.

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