With the first postal votes being sent out this week, crunch time is arriving for parties to determine their how-to-vote cards, a much overrated yet not entirely insignificant feature of Australian election campaigning. First out of the block are the Liberal Party, whose how-to-votes are featured on the candidate pages of its website. These are in most cases tokenistic, since the preferences of Liberal candidates are usually not distributed, but it’s interesting to note that teal independents have been put last in Warringah, Goldstein and Kooyong, and behind Labor in North Sydney and Curtin (though not Wentworth). More consequentially, though not unpredictably, the party’s how-to-vote cards have Labor ahead of competitive Greens candidates.
The Liberal Senate tickets have the United Australia Party among the six parties recommended for numbering in every state except (wait for it) Western Australia: Palmer’s party is placed second in Victoria and Tasmania, third behind the Liberal Democrats in New South Wales and third behind One Nation in Queensland (the taboo against preferencing that party being very much a thing of the past). Pressed about the matter by The West Australian last month, Scott Morrison said: “I don’t believe there will be a deal and that is certainly not my expectation and it is certainly not my request.” However, he conceded it was a “matter for the party organisation”, and certainly didn’t stake his authority on the matter.
The party’s Queensland ticket offers a useful boost to Pauline Hanson, placing her ahead of Clive Palmer at number three and Campbell Newman at number four. Nonetheless, One Nation is directing preferences to Labor ahead of the Liberal National Party in Longman, which helped swing the result Labor’s way when the party last won the seat in 2016. Conversely, preferences are being directed to Warren Entsch in Leichhardt, contrary to suggestions he would be among a number of Liberal moderates targeted in relation for a sixth placement on the Liberals’ Tasmanian ticket. Those have turned out to be Bridget Archer in Bass, James Stewart in Sturt, Tim Wilson in Goldstein and Trent Zimmerman in North Sydney, with only the former seeming like a seat where the party is likely to attract much support. It is not clear from media reports if the teal independents are ahead of the Liberals in Goldstein and North Sydney.