Late counting: more Senate buttons pressed

Pauline Hanson returned in Queensland, leaving on the Victorian and New South Wales results to be confirmed.

Saturday, June 18

Some discussion on Twitter in the wake of the Queensland result inspired me to consider the possibility that right-wing preference flows might yet deprive Labor of a third seat in Western Australia, a result that would appreciably weaken the new government’s hand in the Senate.

The answer is that they could if preferences indeed behave as they did in Queensland, which I have illustrated with one of two new sheets on my Senate projection spreadsheet, identified as “WA — Qld prefs”. This is because a strong flow of preferences to One Nation would give them an even chance of passing the third Liberal to make it to the final count, at which point One Nation would take the last seat on Liberal preferences. However, since One Nation got less than half the vote share in WA that they did in Queensland, it seems intuitively likely that they will also get a weaker flow. I have also included the same exercise using preference flows from South Australia, identified as “WA — SA prefs”, where the parties’ vote shares more closely resembled Western Australia. This too suggests One Nation has a strong chance of making the final count, but in this case they would fall well short of taking the seat from Labor.

It should be noted here that there is a dramatic difference between the strong preference flow to One Nation upon the LNP’s exclusion in the Queensland example and the weak flow upon the Liberals’ exclusion in South Australia — partly for the reason just noted, but also because the Liberal how-to-vote card in South Australia did not recommend a preference to One Nation, whereas the LNP card had them second. Western Australia is an intermediate case in this respect, since the Liberal card directed preferences to One Nation in nine seats but not in the other six. But in the event that minor party preferences flowed to One Nation only as strongly as they did in South Australia — and assuming this was still enough to put them ahead of the Liberals and into the final count — the flow to One Nation upon the Liberals’ exclusion would have to be fully as strong as in Queensland for them to then overhaul Labor, which hardly seems likely.

Friday, June 17

The fifth Senate button press has just been conducted in Queensland, and it’s the first that relates to a result that I considered in any way in doubt. As I thought highly probable but not quite certain, Pauline Hanson has held her seat at the expense of Amanda Stoker, the incumbent third candidate on the Liberal National Party ticket. The other seats have gone two LNP (James McGrath and Matt Canavan), two Labor (Murray Watt and Anthony Chisholm) and one Greens (Penny Allman-Payne). I’ll have more to offer on this when the preference distribution and ballot paper data are published.

Most interesting of those still to come is Victoria, where the last seat promises to be a very tight race between the incumbent third Liberal, Greg Mirabella, and Ralph Babet of the United Australia Party (a lot more on that here), which the AEC announces will happen at 10am on Monday. New South Wales, which looks certain to be three Coalition, two Labor and one Greens, will be conducted half-an-hour earlier. Still no word yet on Western Australia, which looks like Labor three, Coalition two and Greens one. No word yet on when those might be expected.

UPDATE: The Queensland Senate distribution is now up on the AEC site. It turned out that Amanda Stoker was not seriously in contention: when the exclusion of Legalise Cannabis left three remaining candidates chasing two seats, Stoker held 10.3% of the vote against 14.2% for Pauline Hanson and 13.9% for Labor’s Anthony Chisholm, who were duly elected in that order. Hanson substantially outperformed my projection based on 2019 preference flows, which only got her to 12.1% compared with 14.2% for Chisholm, with Stoker on 10.9%. This is perhaps consistent with what was seen in South Australia, where preferences among right-wing minor parties were tighter this time with less leakage to the Coalition. As noted in the previous post, this suggests Ralph Babet has a solid chance of poaching the last seat in Victoria from Greg Mirabella, contrary to what my model was suggesting.

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.

77 comments on “Late counting: more Senate buttons pressed”

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  1. A fun result in playing with Andrew Conway’s senate recount page, this time for Queensland.

    If all three PHON candidates were deemed ineligible, somehow, the final two candidates would be Clive Palmer and Amanda Stoker… and Palmer would win by just 100 votes.

  2. “sprocket_ says:
    Saturday, June 18, 2022 at 6:47 pm

    Wherto for Kristina? For whatever reasons, I can’t personally understand, but she has an issue winning Lower House seats.

    Some thoughts. There are a few Commissions of Inquiry however described on foot, KK would make an ideal Commisioner. The RoboDebt RC? Perhaps a seat on the FICAC bench?

    I think that would be a better use of her talents than some ambassadorship.”

    I couldn’t disagree more. The Liberals tried that when they appointed a sympathetic hack as the trade unions Royal Commissioner. His obvious partisanship discredited his entire operation. The same thing would happen if it appeared that the various Commissions in the pipeline had been created to provide jobs for the boys and girls.

    If the ALP wants its various Royal Commissioners, ICACs etc to have maximum impact, they should try to find some Kenneth Hayne types who may be conservative, but in the old fashioned sense of being honest and straightforward, and despising corruption of the type practised by the previous government.

  3. Does anyone care to speculate a possible pathway to an LNP victory in future if they remain as they are?

    The way I see it they’ve lost their inner city voters and are unlikely to win them back with Dutton as leader. They see themselves as US style social conservatives but that mindset has no serious traction here and leaves them more out of touch with an increasingly socially liberal electorate.

  4. @mj: I predict they will go hardcore white-supremacist as Australia moves toward 1/4-1/3 non-white. That’s typically the point at which privileged ethnic majorities start seriously freaking out about losing their dominant social position.

  5. With the Senate count completed in most states and territories Antony Green ABC Senate calculator is still reporting on 88% (QLD, WA) 91% (VIC,SA) counted.

    If the @AusElectoralCom
    Published the Senate preference data files in real time as data is being recorded than Antony Green’s Calculator would be up to date, accurate and we would be better informed as to what happening. #auspol #auspol22 @PollBludger

    There is not much to desire about the way the Senate vote is counted t is outdated and flawed ad in need of review

    We need weighted calculation of the Surplus Transfer value and a reiterative count where the votes count is reset and restated following every exclusion (The Quota re calculated on ever iteration). A single transaction per candidate. #wrightsystem

    The AEC should also publish in real time the Senate preference data files as the data s being recorded

    Try using the WA Upper house model (Weighted Transfers) with only the last 7 to 9 candidates standing. Apply a Fresh count following every exclusion until all positions are elected in a single iteration. A single weighted transaction per candidate.

  6. I see no suggestion in the Wikipedia article cited above that the “Wright” system has actually been used for a public election anywhere in the world. So adopting it would be a bit like a bungee jump with an unknown length of rope.

  7. Pedant @ #56 Sunday, June 19th, 2022 – 11:58 am

    I see no mention in the Wikipedia article cited above that the “Wright” system has actually been used for a public election anywhere in the world. So adopting it would be a bit like a bungee jump with an unknown length of rope.

    You do realise it’s just an alternative vote redistribution process, so you could easily apply it to the existing election data, and determine where changes would occur, right?

  8. Will there be a Newspoll tonight?

    What do you think will be the first approval/disapproval/net approval for Dutton as LOTO?
    Who do you think will get the first lead on Preferred Prime Minister and by how much?

  9. So, just for fun, I decided to investigate what the Senate results would look like if all Labor and Coalition candidates were ineligible – not that it would happen, but I was interested to see what the resulting winners would be, as it gives some level of insight into where the voters are, when you take away the major parties’ main pulls.

    ACT: Greens, plus Pocock.
    NT: LDP and Greens
    SA: 3x Greens, plus PHON, LDP, Bob Day
    TAS: 2x Greens, 2x JLN, plus PHON, LDP
    QLD: 2x PHON, 2x Greens, plus LCA, LDP

    Obviously, we don’t have data for WA, VIC, or NSW, so that’ll have to wait a couple more days…

  10. “GlenO says:
    Sunday, June 19, 2022 at 12:53 pm

    Pedant @ #56 Sunday, June 19th, 2022 – 11:58 am

    I see no mention in the Wikipedia article cited above that the “Wright” system has actually been used for a public election anywhere in the world. So adopting it would be a bit like a bungee jump with an unknown length of rope.

    You do realise it’s just an alternative vote redistribution process, so you could easily apply it to the existing election data, and determine where changes would occur, right?”

    Yes I do realise that. But I also realise that taking just a few sets of preference data and running them through a different electoral formula is by no means guaranteed to identify the potential for weird or paradoxical results to which that formula can give rise, especially if what you are wanting to identify is opportunities which parties or candidates might exploit to game the system. The latter, in particular, tend to be found out the hard way, as was the case with preference harvesting under the old Senate ticket voting system.

    Basically, going for an electoral system which hasn’t been used elsewhere isn’t a great idea: there are plenty of good ones, the practical effects of which are well-documented, from which one can choose. And that’s why the Wright system is and is likely to remain just a thought experiment.

  11. NSW Senators decided

    The Australian Electoral Commission has declared the winners of senate spots in NSW:

    1. Marise Payne – Liberal
    2. Deborah O’Neill – Labor
    3. Ross Cadell – Nationals
    4. Jenny McAllister – Labor
    5. David Shoebridge – Greens
    6. Jim Molan – Liberal

  12. Victorian senators decided

    And the AEC has also announced the winners of senate spots in Victoria, with the noteworthy inclusion of United Australia Party’s Ralph Babet over the Liberal’s Greg Mirabella:

    1. Sarah Henderson – Liberal
    2. Linda White – Labor
    3.️ Bridget McKenzie – National
    4. Jana Stewart – Labor
    ️5. Lidia Thorpe – Greens
    6.️ Ralph Babet – UAP

  13. Some of Deej Babet’s better lines..

    He ran on an anti-big government platform, criticising Victoria’s lockdowns and attacking the media for being alarmist on his social media page.

    He also shared posts purporting international organisations like the World Economic Forum and “global elites” were cracking down on free speech and had “toyed with ideas of global surveillance on a level not even conceived by Orwell”.

    “Bend the knee, peasants!” Mr Babet wrote on his Facebook page alongside the WEF logo and a full readout of the article.

  14. Pedant

    That just means you do not understand how the count works

    Try counting the 2007 Queensland Senate vote using the WA upper house model with just the last 7 candidates running.

    The Wright system is not new. It just uses a reiterative counting system in distributing the preferences following every exclusion the count is reset and restarted. It automatically adjust the Quota for votes that exhaust.

    Its not hard … anyone that understands how PR elections are counted would understand the count process flow chart.

    The Wright System fulfills the first of the two principles identified by Brian Meek:[3]

    Principle 1. If a candidate is excluded from the count, all ballots are treated as if that candidate had never stood.

    Principle 2. If a candidate has achieved the quota, they retain a fixed proportion of the value of every vote received, and transfers the remainder to the next non-excluded continuing candidate, the value of the retained total equaling the quota.

    The system that is current in use for the Senate is not weighted. It uses segmentation in the distribution of preferences, Skips and jumps voters preferences and in the process this distorts the voters intentions potentially producing erroneous result as was the case in QLD 2007

    The current system was designed to facilitate and provide a quick means of manually counting the vote. A reiterative count using a manual counting process would have been time consuming, But we have computers now and there is no excuse for these short coming and flaws in the count to remain. They can no longer be justified or have merit, WA made changes to the system for a reason, The wright system takes that one step further. It is a refinement and improvement in fulling the above principles. One vote one value.

  15. Re Outside Left @5:39 PM Sunday “As of now, Andrew Constance has still not conceded”

    To me that suggests that he’d reviewing his options to challenge the result in the Court of Disputed Returns. Maybe at the urging of Liberal Head Office?

  16. It’s official– Fowler will be the largest anti-Labor swing of the election (once all votes are counted– not showing as such yet because of small sample sizes for a few electorates, but there’s no way Libs pulled a 13% swing in Indi of all places):

    Late count added a dead-cat bounce of a couple of tenths to Labor’s margin, but still an 8.27% swing in the end. Absolutely gobsmacking incompetence.

  17. So ALP+Greens an absolute block on any motion.

    With +1 of any one of the following, an absolute majority to pass any motion.

    Lambie x 2
    PHoN x2
    UAP x1

    The Coalition has to get every single one of them to vote No to negative the motion.

    Unless of course the Greens vote with the coalition cf CPRS

  18. A big thanks to all who have commented on late HoR and senate counts.
    I’ve followed with a great deal of enjoyment.
    WA sure did have baseball bats waiting for Scott and the Fibs.
    Happy days.

  19. Obviously, we don’t have data for WA, VIC, or NSW, so that’ll have to wait a couple more days…

    All the Senate Preference data files have been published

    Formal preferences

    New South Wales [ZIP 43 MB]
    Victoria [ZIP 35 MB]
    Queensland [ZIP 29 MB]
    Western Australia [ZIP 14 MB]
    South Australia [ZIP 11 MB]
    Tasmania [ZIP 5 MB]
    Australian Capital Territory [ZIP 3 MB]
    Northern Territory [ZIP 754 KB]

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