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. 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?

    This anecdote is not really comparable to spreading the view that homosexual people are going to Hell.

    Spreading that view definitely contributes to depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicide among gay people, particularly young gay people who are vulnerable.

    Saying that Australia’s indigenous people arrived on this continent about 40,000 years ago is not a value judgement – it is a statement supported by substantial scientific research.

    I doubt that anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicide among indigenous Australians is related to hearing the statement about indigenous people arriving on this continent 40,000 years ago.

    The university edict on this matter sounds silly and unduly sensitive.

    But the Folau issue is deadly serious because it concerns suicide risk and the significant cultural stigma and related psychological suffering experienced by LGBTI people.

  2. Nicholas

    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.

    __________________________________

    Talking about ‘personal time’ is totally simplistic. If I’m a shop assistant, waiter or mechanic working fixed hours providing specific kinds of labour the idea of what you do outside work hours applies. But if you are engaged for who you are, not just to do specific work, then what you do can outside your employment can be circumscribed – especially when addressed in the contract.

    This is not about what Folau says and does outside hours – it’s about whether he has breached a contract – especially in circumstances where the term of the contract reflects the way Australian Rugby presents itself to sponsors, players and the general public.

  3. TPOF

    Folau is the Trojan horse to drive the continuing discrimination allowed to religion. It’s notable the discussion about sacking teachers nurses etc due to their sexuality or views accepting that view has disappeared from the public debate.

  4. But if you are engaged for who you are, not just to do specific work

    The question is whether it is a good thing to allow employers to say, “We are engaging you for who you are, therefore when you speak or use social media in your personal time you cannot say anything that we consider controversial. You are effectively on the clock constantly and we get to control your public statements at all times.”

    There is a strong argument that it would be better to simply let the employer use their speech and any megaphones that they have at their disposal to counter the speech that they deem controversial.

  5. ‘Nicholas says:
    Monday, July 8, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    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?

    This anecdote is not really comparable to spreading the view that homosexual people are going to Hell.’

    I don’t think I said that it was comparable. What I am concerned about is the multifarious ways in which people are being shut up in various domains. Examples include the huge increase in the legal power and practical ability of our state to enforce silence. The include the ability of billionaires to narrow debate to tens of thousands of social media hits/ads/posts/texts. How ARE the Chinese going to invade Australia now that the Labor Party is in Opposition. They include what is happening to academic freedom in our universities. That letter is just an example. They include the national shit storms when some fuckwit declares that he believes gays will go to hell because that is what doG told him so.

    ‘Spreading that view definitely contributes to depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicide among gay people, particularly young gay people who are vulnerable.’

    I accept this as a premise. I just don’t think shutting Folau up is the most effective response. Do you really think the national martyrdom of Folau has helped young gays? I don’t.

    ‘Saying that Australia’s indigenous people arrived on this continent about 40,000 years ago is not a value judgement – it is a statement supported by substantial scientific research.’

    (1) All science is based on value judgements. (2) I don’t know of anyone who thinks it is 40,000 years. (3) The point here is not what research says, the point is, I would argue, the same point as that being made in relation to young gays: some Indigenous young students are hurt because their culture is being called into question.

    ‘I doubt that anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicide among indigenous Australians is related to hearing the statement about indigenous people arriving on this continent 40,000 years ago.’

    This goes to another couple of issues. The first is whether we stop all public statements that may or do hurt somebody or some group, causing anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide.

    The second issue is who decides. For example, you have just taken it upon yourself to judge the harmful impact on Indigenous young people.

    The third issue is who validates. Just because someone says that they are hurt, is that good enough?

    Finally, sometimes hurtful things are good and useful. For example, the chants at the FIFA womens world cup presentations.

    But who decides which hurt is good, and when?

  6. it’s about whether he has breached a contract

    Obviously he breached a contract. Should it be lawful to insert that kind of clause into an employment contract in the first place? That is a contentious question.

    The fact that Folau is very wealthy and is not the most sympathetic character shouldn’t be allowed to obscure the fact that it is giving employers a lot of power to let them say, “We are employing you partly for who you are, you are an ambassador for us, you need to project the image we want, therefore we get to control any public statements that you make even in your personal time”. There are many, many people who are not as well-paid as Folau and who would definitely be exploited by employers who had that power. It is important to put very tight restrictions on what employers can do.

  7. Has it not occurred to anyone that Bill Shorten lost not just because he got the politics wrong, but because he was so obviously thinking, all the time, about the politics of everything he did and said?

    Called it, repeatedly.

    See also: fence-sitting, pointlessness of.

    The debate last week suggests the habit might have spread.

    Spread nothing. It’s gone full-blown metastatic.

  8. BW
    speaking of hurtful things by soccercrowds. I hope you saw the Fox video from France Women’s World Cup and that’s what you are referring to

  9. Yep, Folau has the right to say what he wants….and his employer has the right to sack him, if saying what he wants impacts upon their business.

    As a school teacher, there are things I’m not allowed to say in class. There are things I’m not allowed to say about my students or the school in public. I’m not allowed to run for political office.

    If I want to say or do these things, I either don’t take the job to start with or accept the consequences when I do and then disciplinary action is taken.

    I once did a stint of work as a field worker, cleaning up farms which had been quarantined. For a minimum wage job, I had to sign a confidentiality document, which was so severe I wasn’t even allowed to tell my husband where I’d been working or what I’d been doing.

  10. ‘The question is whether it is a good thing to allow employers to say, “We are engaging you for who you are, therefore when you speak or use social media in your personal time you cannot say anything that we consider controversial. You are effectively on the clock constantly and we get to control your public statements at all times.”’

    I can’t walk out of a classroom, go on to twitter, and say “X told me in class today that his mother is a drug addict” or “Y is a little sh*t and no one in this town should ever employ him” or even “The school is a hellhole and you would be much better sending your child elsewhere” and expect the school to dismiss that with “Well, it doesn’t matter, she wrote that after hours.”

  11. ..or, alternative universe stuff, Shorten had policies which meant some people would be losers, and they voted against that.

  12. FMD
    Shorten went to the election with a high revenue, fully-funded, totally ambitious suite of policies that would have led to systemic improvements for those who needed it most.
    Fence sitter?
    Shorten will be the last candidate for PM who does anything like that again.
    What about the fence hider behinder: Morrison?
    Whose agenda is starting to appear AFTER the election?

  13. Nicholas @ #1456 Monday, July 8th, 2019 – 5:47 pm

    Obviously he breached a contract. Should it be lawful to insert that kind of clause into an employment contract in the first place?

    Of course it should, provided there is no coercion or duress involved and the compensation offered reasonably accounts for the encumbrance imposed by the clause.

    We are employing you partly for who you are, you are an ambassador for us, you need to project the image we want, therefore we get to control any public statements that you make even in your personal time”.

    Your mistake is assuming that this doesn’t already happen all the time, without specific clauses enabling it. People get fired all the time for saying and doing stupid shit in public.

    There are many, many people who are not as well-paid as Folau and who would definitely be exploited by employers who had that power.

    Nah, you can’t make a valid comparison between someone earning at or close to the minimum wage to perform a non-public-ambassador-of-the-sport kind of role and someone who’s earning millions of dollars to do just that. Apples vs. oranges.

  14. BW

    I agree with you Shorten was no fence sitter.

    I don’t think having tax cuts helped him because it helped make the message messy and complicated.
    Fence sitter does apply if you are mistakenly only viewing through the eyes of Adani.

    Maybe that’s it as elections are about values not really specific policies or personality

  15. Has it not occurred to anyone that Bill Shorten lost not just because he got the politics wrong, but because he was so obviously thinking, all the time, about the politics of everything he did and said?
    ____________________
    Yes I think that was part of it. He was not trusted by enough voters and that hurt in the marginals. The puppy event with KK was beyond cringeworthy. I can just imagine some idiot PR person saying, ‘lets get Bill and KK with some puppies’.

    #puppygate2019

  16. I don’t know how the religious freedom act is going to work with the current equality act and anti discrimination act.

  17. Really? To play football with us (and therefore for your country) you have to agree not to say certain things.

    He can play AND say what he likes… In church. With his friends. At home. In a cafe. But when he uses his very public platform as a prominent public figure, that comes with some responsibility. You can use the platform for political or social purposes if you are careful. You can not use it to denigrate vulnerable people. Rugby Australia has recognised it has responsibilities towards its gay players, especially young gay players – and young gay people more broadly.

    It is important to put very tight restrictions on what employers can do.

    Yes, and I hope this gets thrashed out and codefied in a judgement. The Folau case has two distinct differences to most other cases I think you might be referring to. 1. He has a very prominent position representing Australia and the broader Rugby community and he said these things on a very public social media platform (same issue would come about if he said it in an TV interview). 2. He said things that are perpetuating an acidic cultural environment that denigrates a vulnerable minority (being in a minority for preference that does not cause anyone any harm) to the point of not only self harm but harm by others.

    I know we want easy simple catch phrases to make sense out of the chaos of life. Well, I am sorry, but “free speech – full stop” is just a shortcut that ignores the real world complexity and the real harm that can come from that.

  18. zoomster says:
    Monday, July 8, 2019 at 5:53 pm
    ..or, alternative universe stuff, Shorten had policies which meant some people would be losers, and they voted against that.

    _____________________________

    Yep, yep, yep.

    Labor lost because they dared to propose closing unsustainable and unmerited tax loopholes and use the money for health and education – opening the way for a vicious lying misinformation campaign.

    The only way forward is to do the same to the government.

  19. You haven’t been plonkingly put down by a pontificating pissant until you’ve been on the receiving end of one of Psyclaw’s withering denunciations.

    Apparently only he – and perhaps Guytaur and Horsey – have the authority around here to make moral rulings and psychiatric diagnoses with as little unself-conscious chutzpah. It really does take yer breath away how they just KNOW how right they are.

    Throughout my life I’ve been condemned to hell by experts, for everything from self-abuse, to fornication, to skipping mass on Sundays. And I’m still here to tell the tale. Because I’ve learnt the trick of not giving the bastards the satisfaction.

    If the words of Israel Folau (and nutty churchmen in general) still have any effect in these modern times, self-hatredwize, then it is as nothing compared to the trouble that comes the way of gay people when their self-appointed champions get on their high horses and start calling other people bigots, douchebags and homophobes simply because they open their mouths to express some small sympathy with The Other Side.

    You don’t have to be a twisted, bitter, repressed homosexual, full of self-loathing and sexual hangups to observe that, in a liberal society, there really ARE many irreconcilable sets of beliefs, and that condemning people to Hell for condemning yet other people to Hell goes down as one of Life’s more pointless exercises; right up there with forcing bigoted straight bakers to make cakes for equally bigoted gay wowsers.

  20. Those were the puppies of desperation and defeat. 40 years of plotting, knifing, ego mania all reduced to a desperate half hour of puppy time. He couldn’t even sell the idea that he liked dogs. I feared for those puppies in his grasp.

  21. ‘Simon² Katich® says:
    Monday, July 8, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    Really? To play football with us (and therefore for your country) you have to agree not to say certain things.

    He can play AND say what he likes… In church. With his friends. At home. In a cafe. But when he uses his very public platform as a prominent public figure, that comes with some responsibility. You can use the platform for political or social purposes if you are careful. You can not use it to denigrate vulnerable people. Rugby Australia has recognised it has responsibilities towards its gay players, especially young gay players – and young gay people more broadly.’

    If I have it right you are saying that Folau has been censored from saying certain things in a certain public domain but that that is fair enough for reasons you identify.

  22. I’ve been thinking about this “have a go get a go” Morrison philosophy.

    I always thought “having a go” meant trying to con someone or pull a swifty.

    Makes sense with this government!

  23. zoomster says:
    Monday, July 8, 2019 at 6:04 pm

    nath

    Thanks, that’s a gorgeous photo. I missed it the first time.
    __________________
    glad to assist. Print it out, hang it up with the caption. Two time loser gets what he deserves.

    #chiquitamushroomworkersgettheirrevenge

  24. zoomster says:
    Monday, July 8, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    nath

    How’s you’re “I’m not really obsessed with Shorten, honestly I’m not” thing going?
    _______________
    momentary relapse. All good now. 🙂

  25. BB

    You can try and deny the lived experience of those that have survived suicide attempts all you like as documented by experts.

    It doesn’t change that reality. Just as you can’t tell us the day you decided not to be gay.

  26. BB

    Your prejudices as an OWM have once again ensured that you have totally missed my point.

    Then again, over 10+ years since I’ve lurked here you have never been wrong, and often been a hypocrite .

    You, of all people, who has written hundreds of very lengthy treatises on this blog and other blogs have no right to condemn a slightly long post written by another poster about a topic that has been their professional area for half a century. Such an open mind you do not have.

    Shame on you.

  27. If I have it right you are saying that Folau has been censored from saying certain things in a certain public domain but that that is fair enough for reasons you identify.

    Shit, I feel like you are setting me up here.
    Yes. Only if he wants to keep his contract and only as he is a prominent figure and only as those certain things cause (or perpetuate an environment that causes) harm, not just offense.

    Frig. There you go. Pick holes in that swiss cheese of an argument.

  28. I can’t walk out of a classroom, go on to twitter, and say “X told me in class today that his mother is a drug addict” or “Y is a little sh*t and no one in this town should ever employ him”

    Those statements are not at all comparable to Folau’s.

    It is reasonable to require teachers to protect the privacy and reputations of their students and their students’ families.

    It isn’t reasonable (in my view) to require teachers to refrain from political and religious statements IN THEIR PERSONAL TIME that the school principal happens to dislike or happens to consider at odds with the “image” or “tone” that he or she wants to uphold for the school.

    Also, the requirement that teachers, as “officers of the Crown”, can’t run for office unless they take a leave of absence comes from the Commonwealth Constitution, not from schools. It isn’t really an employment law issue. It is a dumb requirement, to be sure, but getting rid of that clause in the Constitution is a separate debate.

    It speaks volumes about how heavily most people have been conditioned to accept vast employer powers as normal and legitimate that even supporters and members of a nominally labour party passively accept the idea of an employer getting to control an employee’s public statements of political and religious beliefs when they are not at work.

    A good book on this subject is

    Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (And Why We Don’t Talk About It)

    https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/are-bosses-dictators

    It is interesting that people who are extremely concerned about the possibility of governments abusing their powers do not realize that in practice, in a country like Australia most people’s experiences of subjugation relate to how their employer treats them, not to anything that governments are doing. A lot of the governing of people’s lives occurs in workplaces. In many respects, employers have been granted powers that are excessive, unnecessary, and that would not be tolerated from a public office holder.

  29. If, as a direct result of reading Folau’s comments, you attempted suicide but then survived, could you sue Folau on some existing legal basis?

  30. ‘Simon² Katich® says:
    Monday, July 8, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    If I have it right you are saying that Folau has been censored from saying certain things in a certain public domain but that that is fair enough for reasons you identify.

    Shit, I feel like you are setting me up here.
    Yes. Only if he wants to keep his contract and only as he is a prominent figure and only as those certain things cause (or perpetuate an environment that causes) harm, not just offense.

    Frig. There you go. Pick holes in that swiss cheese of an argument.’

    Not really. I am sort of thinking my way through all of this. The argument seems to be that there is good censorship and bad censorship.

  31. It’s sobering to contemplate the reach of private government. Anderson focusses mainly on the exercise of corporate power within the workplace, and for good reason—that’s where the most egregious abuses happen. But private government can also stretch to encompass our off-duty lives, shaping and proscribing our activities as “private” citizens. In a 2015 article, “A Chill Around the Water Cooler: First Amendment in the Workplace,” Jeannette Cox, a professor at the University of Dayton School of Law, rounds up many cases similar to Storey’s, including that of Lynne Gobbell, who, in 2004, lost her job at an insulation-manufacturing company after her boss, a supporter of George W. Bush, saw a John Kerry bumper sticker on her car. Polls show that most Americans believe that they enjoy First Amendment protections at work—“We repeat, and cherish, the aphorism: ‘I can say what I like. It’s a free country,’ ” Cox writes—but, in fact, the First Amendment only stops the government from interfering with our speech; except in certain narrow circumstances, such as whistle-blowing, companies can punish us for what we say. Cox paraphrases Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., who explained that an employee “may have a constitutional right to talk politics, but he has no constitutional right to be employed.” Legal scholars say that this doctrine rests on the “right–privilege distinction.” Michael Italie, a sewing-machine operator, had the right to run for mayor of Miami, on the Socialist Workers Party ticket, in 2002. His campaign, however, cost him the privilege of a job at Goodwill, where he worked sewing military jackets. (According to Italie, his boss told him that his socialist views were a “disruptive force” at work.)

    These firings trample on the division we imagine exists between the “private” and “public” spheres.

    https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/are-bosses-dictators

  32. Off topic but I am watching The Drum and Bornstein has just provided an excellent summary of the effect the LNP govt has had (over the years) on Unions, their declining membership and their bargaining power.
    But Stan Grant just loves the sound of his own voice.

  33. Psyclaw @ #1428 Monday, July 8th, 2019 – 4:52 pm

    Psyclaw in a post about empathy and understanding outlines the psychology of Reaction Formation –

    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.

    – and blow me down if B B doesn’t pop up and give us what looks to me, amid the vitriol, as another example of it. Reaction Formation that is.

  34. It isn’t reasonable (in my view) to require teachers to refrain from political and religious statements IN THEIR PERSONAL TIME

    Isnt this the crux? Most people have social media accounts (except me it seems) and the people who read that are their family and friends. Some have 400,000 people who will see their posts. Does this make a difference?

    On a side note – if this goes against RA, will they think twice before giving contracts to ‘high risk’ players?

  35. I see nath is putting in another Trojan effort posting here all day.

    Don’t you have anything better to do? Other than telling us about how awful Shorten/unions/ALP/other contributors to this blog are?

  36. Also looking forward to the Greens review of the election debacle which sees them with 1 out of 151 HoR seats, and fully 90% of the electorate rejecting their virtue signalling Adani convoy purist beliefs.

    And will the Greens make their review public? So we can see the internal bullying, personality cults and red vs treehugger tensions? Looking forward to it being leaked.

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