Senate results finalised

One last indignity for the Coalition as it loses its third Victorian Senate seat to the United Australia Party, while results in New South Wales and Western Australia play according to script.

All three outstanding Senate results were concluded today, leaving us with a new Senate of 32 Coalition members (including six Nationals, two elected on Queensland’s Liberal National Party ticket at one from the Country Liberal Party in the Northern Territory), Labor 26, Greens 12, One Nation two, Jacqui Lambie Network two, United Australia Party one and one independent. Today’s results in descending order of interest:

• Clive Palmer has not emerged completely empty-handed after Ralph Babet of the United Australia Party won the last seat in Victoria, unseating Liberal incumbent Greg Mirabella for a result of Labor two, Coalition two, Greens one and UAP one. I originally thought Mirabella likely to win based on how preferences flowed in 2019, but came to think Babet more likely to after seeing how preferences were flowing in other states. Consistent with the model I produced after using preference flows from the Queensland result, Mirabella actually fell to third place behind both Babet and Labor’s third candidate, Casey Nunn, after One Nation excluded, with Babet on 9.2%, Nunn on 7.9% and Mirabella on 7.2%. Babet’s lead then widened after the exclusion of Mirabella to 11.9% to 9.8%.

• The result in Western Australia was three Labor, two Liberal and one Greens, which always seemed highly probable, although I entertained vague notions towards the end that tight right-wing preference flows might result in Labor’s third seat going to One Nation instead. At the second last exclusion, third Liberal incumbent Ben Small went out with 6.5% of the vote to 10.2% for Labor’s Fatima Payman and 8.7% for Paul Filing of One Nation, but the distribution of his preferences left the gap between Payman and Filing essentially unchanged at 12.2% to 10.6%.

• As always seemed clear, the result in New South Wales was Coalition three, Labor two and Greens one. After the exclusion of Legalise Cannabis, incumbent third Liberal Jim Molan was elected with 12.3% of the vote, ahead of One Nation’s Kate McCulloch on 9.9%.

And for the sake of completeness, a summary of the earlier results:

Queensland returned two Labor, two Liberal National, one Greens and one One Nation Senator, the latter being Pauline Hanson, who won out over the incumbent third candidate on the LNP ticket, Amanda Stoker. 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%.

South Australia returned three Liberals, two Labor and one Green. The third Liberal, Kerrynne Liddle, finished with 12.4%, ahead of Jennifer Game of One Nation on 9.5%. At the previous count, third Labor candidate Trimann Gill was excluded with 8.0% to Liddle’s 9.5% and Game’s 8.7%, though Liddle would have won even if Gill had stayed ahead of Game.

• The result in Tasmania was two Labor, two Liberal, one Green and one Jacqui Lambie Network. Tammi Tyrell of the JLN was elected with a full quota after the exclusion of the incumbent third Liberal, Eric Abetz, whose preferences pushed her to 14.9% ahead of One Nation’s Steve Mav on 8.9%, with another 1.2% of the Abetz vote remaining undistributed at the point where Tyrell passed the threshold of a quota. Abetz was excluded with 6.6% in the previous round, behind Tyrell on 12.7% and Mav on 7.2%. Abetz’s campaign for below the line votes had little impact: he scored 4.27%, whereas the second Liberal, Wendy Askew, had 13.2% after the distribution of the surplus of the first Liberal, Jonathan Duniam.

• In the Australian Capital Territory, independent David Pocock was elected at the expense of Liberal incumbent Zed Seselja with 36.3% at the final count to Seselja’s 28.6%. Labor’s 33.37% share of the vote, fractionally over a quota, ensured there was no chance that Katy Gallagher was going to lose her seat to Pocock rather than Seselja, as one campaign poll suggested she might.

• The Northern Territory had an orthodox result of one seat for Labor and one for the Country Liberal Party, who fell just short of a quota on the primary vote with 32.97% and 31.70% respectively without any other party doing well enough to be threatening.

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.

54 comments on “Senate results finalised”

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  1. Paul Thomas @ 3.23pm
    Yes they (The AEC) agreed with many of the issues raised and failed to look at t n detail as it brought into question their failure to act in the past, A bit like denting the Earth revolves around the Sun

    Try counting the 2007 Queensland Senate Election.

    There are two./three broad issues.

    1. The calculation of the Surplus Transfer Value
    2. The method of distribution of preferences.
    3. Optional Preferential Voting

    1. The AEC continues to defend a system where the Surplus Transfer Value if based on the number of Ballot papers – Surplus (Total Value of Candidates Vote minus Quota) divided by The Total Value of Candidates Vote Time the number of ballot papers. When it should be based on the value of the vote. No one other than the AEC is arguing that a paper based calculation should be retained.

    2. Then there is the issue of the method of distribution of preferences. A rather convoluted process that distorts further the voters intentions.

    The principle
    If a candidate is excluded from the count, all ballots should be treated as if that candidate had never stood.

    3. Optional preferential voting further adds issues and concern as to the Quota. Under the current system the number of votes that have a full value that exhausts increases significantly. There is a clear need to adjust the Quota as the count progresses. One vote one value.

    A reiterative count where the count is reset and restarted following a candidate’ss exclusion in the past was prohibitive under a manual counting system. This is not the case today with computer aided counting. In fact it is desirable

    The system of counting the votes that are in place today is outdated. Worst still it distorts the voter’s intentions. It needs review. No one would design a system with the built in flaws in the way that Senate vote is counted today. It needs a re write. Yes there is Meek. (Used in NZ) but this is convoluted and more difficult to follow. A reiterative count is simple. Reset and restart. There is no need to skip jump or a segmented distribution.

    Try counting the vote. This would be a simple and worthwhile project for any IT Student to look at.

    If we can not address this issue than we might as well have a Party List system as once suggested by Pollblugger. .

  2. GlenO says:
    Tuesday, June 21, 2022 at 3:14 pm
    GlenO says:
    Tuesday, June 21, 2022 at 4:19 pm

    Actually the flaws in the current system do make it harder for the Greens to win a second seat in a double dissolution. The system, as it stands, gives an unfair advantage to those Parties/Groups that are below quota. for one the Majors. Labor and Liberal surplus would not be as high as they most likely would elect 5 seats on the strength of their primary vote.

    It is not a one vote – one value system. It does not reflect the voters’ intentions. The quota for a DD is 1/13th, a Half Senate election is 1/7th. In most cases the Greens fall short of a full quota – let alone two. The order of distribution becomes crucial.

    I suggest you try and count the actual vote and not rely on Primary vote analysis. You might learn something, If you want to make allowances for the fact that Labor or Liberal you can account for this but looking at where their vote goes beyond the party. Would not make a difference as the surplus is so low. Try using the WA Upperhouse electoral system with a reiterative count process,

    I am not a great fan of optional preferential voting it seams to me that if you are going to adopt it it should be fully optional. Apparently voted can just vote one above the line and their vote is formal. If we increased the nomination threshold I would be happy to abolish ATL voting provided the flaws in the way we count the vote is addressed,

  3. Given that Above-the-Line voting prohibits v0terds from voting for the ungrouped candidates which effectively excludes them from any realistic chance of being elected we might as well abolish Below-the-Line voting and just have Above-the-Line party/group voting

    Preliminary analysis of the Senate Preference Data file shows that voters have minimal understanding as to the rules and our preferential system Over 10,000 voters had votes incorrectly Below-the-line but managed to ‘Save”their vote because they marked a single preference in the Above the line boxes.This was in spite the instructions saying voters had to vote 1 to 6 Above-The-Line and 1 to 12 Below-the-line.

    Add to this the high number of exhausted votes the system needs serious review.


    * I voted Below the Line.
    * I voted 1 to 20 and left the Greens Blank
    * My vote was posted on April 29.
    * The AEC has confirmed that my vote was received and included in the count.

    Yet my vote does not appear in the Preference data file. *** It has gone Missing *** (I have photos – It was formal)

    There are a number of inconsistencies and flaws in the way the vote is counted

    We need review and reform.

    If you voted 1 “Reason Party above the line” And 1 and 2 for their candidates below the line (All other boxes left blank) your Below-the-line vote would be excluded. Your Above-the-line vote excepted (Yet they are effectively the same vote)

    Votes above the line exclude ungroup candidates.

    Over a half of a quota of votes exhausted. The UAP candidate was elected with less than a quota.

    1. The quota should be readjusted and recalculated as the count progresses.
    2. We should reset and restart the count following every exclusion.
    3. Votes for excluded candidates should be redistributed according to the voter’s nominated preferences as if the excluded candidate had not stood.
    4. The Surplus Transfer Value should be based on the Value of the vote not the number of ballot papers
    5. If we are going to have optional preferential then it should be Fully Optional.
    6. We should scrap wither Above-the-line or Below the line voting or just adopt a Party List system

    The Tasmanian ‘Last bundle’ Hare Clark system is outdated and flawed. It should be discontinued.

    We need Vote/Electoral reform.

    One vote – one value


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