NT Fannie Bay by-election set for 20 August

Voters on the NT Legislative Assembly seat of Fannie Bay will go to the polls on Saturday 20 August following the resignation of MP and former Chief Minister Michael Gunner.

I’m unfortunately on the wrong side of the world to cover the by-election. I don’t have access to the ABC’s election site to publish a preview and will be busy cycling round Italy’s Lake Como on the day results are being reported. Understandably I’m sticking to my bike.

To fill the gap, I’ve pulled together a brief profile of Fannie Bay here on my personal site. No guarantee that I’ll have time to offer further commentary before the election.

All the official information on the by-election can be found on the NT Electoral Commission’s Fannie Bay by-election website. This includes details on when, where and how to vote.

A date for WA’s North West Central by-election has now been named – Saturday 17 September. I’ll publish information on this by-election next week when I return to Australia. Details on the by-election can be found on the WA Electoral Commission’s website. Read More »NT Fannie Bay by-election set for 20 August

Record Minor Party Vote at the 2022 Senate Election and how the Senate’s Electoral System Performed

The 2022 Senate election marked a new high point in support for minor parties and Independents. The long term trend of declining support for major parties continued and passed a new milestone. For the first time both major parties were outpolled by the combined vote for minor parties and independents.

Senate ‘Other’ vote reached 35.7% against 34.2% for the Coalition and 30.1% for Labor. Senate non-major party support has been higher than Labor’s vote at every Senate election since 2013, but 2022 was the first where it was also higher than the Coalition.

In the House of Representatives, minor party and Independent support remained in third place though at a record level. The Coalition polled 35.7% in the House, Labor 32.6% and all other candidates 31.7%. While support for ‘Others’ reached record levels in both chambers, the gap between support in the two chambers narrowed.

The one-third splits in Senate support did not translate into one-thirds representation. The Coalition elected 15 Senators, Labor 15, and all other parties 10. Within vote for others, the Greens elected six Senators with 12.7% of the vote while the 23.0% support for the rest elected only four Senators.

This discrepancy is down to the nature of the Senate’s electoral system. Support for the Coalition, Labor and the Greens was confined to a single ticket in each state and territory. (There was a second but very low-polling National ticket in SA.) Support for non-Green ‘Others’ may have been at 23.0%, but it was spread across 126 groups plus numerous ‘ungrouped’ candidates. As smaller parties were excluded, their preferences did not always flow to other smaller parties.

Under the group voting ticket system abolished in 2016, party negotiated deals allowed small parties to aggregate their vote. The abolition of tickets returned control over preferences to voters, and three elections since the change have revealed that voters make different preference choices to those produced by the now abolished tickets. The new system has essentially diminished the influence of preferences and made the system more proportional to the level of first preference vote in each state.

The Senate’s electoral system now effectively operates like list proportional representation with final seats allocated to groups with the highest partial quotas on first preferences. The election of Independent David Pocock in the 2022 ACT Senate race shows that preference can still determine who is elected. But such exceptions don’t undermine the basic nature of the Senate’s reformed electoral system – it advantages parties with primary votes over parties that rely on preferences.

Inside this post, I take a closer look at the national voting patterns, and also assess how the electoral system translated votes into the seats.
Read More »Record Minor Party Vote at the 2022 Senate Election and how the Senate’s Electoral System Performed

2022 Senate Election and Ballot Paper Completion Types

The 2022 Senate election was the third since the 2016 abolition of group voting tickets. These tickets had previously allowed parties to control the distribution of between-party preferences by allowing voters the choice of voting for only one pre-arranged party ticket.

The new system put voters in control of between-party preferences. Voters could indicate ordered preferences for parties ‘above the line’ (ATL) on the ballot paper, or for individual candidates ‘below-the-line’ (BTL).

The changes also ended full preferential voting in favour of partly optional preferential voting. Ballot paper instructions stated to mark at least six ATL or 12 BTL preferences. Generous savings provisions were adopted, with any ATL vote with a valid first preferences being saved as formal, and any BTL vote with at least six preferences also being saved.

The changes were based on similar reforms ending party control over preferences adopted in the states. New South Wales abolished upper house group voting tickets at the 2003 state election, South Australia in 2018, and Western Australian will abolish them at the next state election in 2025. Only Victoria continues to use group voting tickets.

The major difference between the state reforms and the Senate system is the states have made ATL preferences fully optional. State instructions are to mark one square above the line with further preferences optional. The number of BTL preferences required varies from state to state.

The Senate instructions state to mark a minimum six ATL preferences, though as already mentioned, any ballot paper with at least a valid ATL first preference is saved as formal.

The release of 2022 ballot paper data has revealed an unchanged pattern in how voters completed their ballot papers. As at the two previous elections in 2016 and 2019, around 80% of all 2022 Senate ballot papers were completed according to the ballot paper ATL instructions with a sequence of six ATL preferences.
Read More »2022 Senate Election and Ballot Paper Completion Types

2022 Post-Federal Election Pendulum

With 16 members elected to the crossbench in the new House of Representatives, drawing up a new electoral pendulum based on the 2022 Federal election result strains the traditionally used two-sided format.

However, I’ve gone with the traditional format with the non-major party seats separated bottom right on the opposition side of the pendulum. However, the expanded size of the crossbench means this group of seats deserves more attention than its bottom of the table position suggests.

Inside this post I provide a post-election pendulum for the House of Representatives, along with some general comments on the overall result.Read More »2022 Post-Federal Election Pendulum

2022 New South Wales Senate Election

  • Re-elected 1 – Marise Payne (Liberal)
  • Re-elected 2 – Deborah O’Neill (Labor)
  • Re-elected 3 – Ross Cadell (National)
  • Re-elected 4 – Jenny McAllister (Labor)
  • Elected 5 – David Shoebridge (Greens)
  • Re-elected 6 – Jim Molan (Liberal)

Party Outcome: Labor (-1) Greens (+1). Within the Coalition ticket, the Nationals recover the seat lost to the Liberal Party during the 2017 citizenship drama.

A full table of first preference votes allocated to ticket votes and to individual candidates is included in the post. Some analysis of the preference flows will be included once the preference distribution report is released later today.
Read More »2022 New South Wales Senate Election

2022 Victorian Senate Election

  • Re-elected 1 – Sarah Henderson (Liberal)
  • Elected 2 – Linda White (Labor)
  • Re-elected 3 – Bridget McKenzie (National)
  • Re-elected 4 – Jana Stewart (Labor)
  • Re-elected 5 – Lidia Thorpe (Greens)
  • Elected 6 – Ralph Babet (United Australia Party)
  • Defeated – Greg Mirabella (Liberal)

Party Outcome: Coalition (-1), United Australia Party (+1).

A table of final first preferences is included inside this post along with an analysis of the distribution of preferences sheets.
Read More »2022 Victorian Senate Election

2022 Queensland Senate Election

  • Re-elected 1 – James McGrath (LNP)
  • Re-elected 2 – Murray Watt (Labor)
  • Re-elected 3 – Matt Canavan (LNP)
  • Elected 4 – Penny Allman-Payne (Greens)
  • Re-elected 5 – Pauline Hanson (One Nation)
  • Re-elected 6 – Anthony Chisholm (Labor)
  • Defeated – Amanda Stoker (LNP)

Party Summary: Greens (+1), LNP (-1).

A full table of first preference votes is included in the post as well as an analysis of the preference flows.

The critical point in the count was the exclusion of Clive Palmer (UAP). More than half of his preferences flowed to Pauline Hanson (ONP), allowing Hanson to open a wide lead over Amanda Stoker (LNP) in the contest for the third conservative seat.
Read More »2022 Queensland Senate Election

2022 Western Australian Senate Election

  • Re-elected 1 – Sue Lines (Labor)
  • Re-elected 2 – Michaelia Cash (Liberal)
  • Re-elected 3 – Glenn Sterle (Labor)
  • Re-elected 4 – Dean Smith (Liberal)
  • Re-elected 5 – Dorinda Cox (Greens)
  • Elected 6 – Fatima Payman (Labor)
  • Defeated – Ben Small (Liberal) – see notes below

Party Outcome: Probably Liberal (-1), Labor (+1)

All votes have now been counted and allocated as first preferences to ticket votes or to individual candidates. A table of these votes is included min the post along with an analysis of the final distribution of preferences that elected Fatima Payman (Labor) to the final vacancy ahead of Paul Filing (One Nation).

In brief, Liberal preferences on the exclusion of the third Liberal candidate determined the outcome. On first preferences, Labor’s third candidate Fatima Payman was on 0.42 quotas to One Nation’s Paul Filing on 0.24. By the time only three candidates were left, the lead had narrowed with Payman on 0.72 and Filing on 0.61, 155,170 votes to 133,111 with the third Liberal Ben Small to be excluded with 99,327 votes. Small’s preferences split 31.0% to Payman, 29.6% to Filing and 39.4% exhausting. The final totals were Payman 185,992 or 0.8531 quotas to Filing 162,502 or 0.7454 quotas.

Read More »2022 Western Australian Senate Election

2022 South Australian Senate Election

  • Re-elected 1 – Simon Birmingham (Liberal)
  • Re-elected 2 – Penny Wong (Labor)
  • Re-elected 3 – Andrew McLachlan (Liberal)
  • Re-elected 4 – Don Farrell (Labor)
  • Elected 5 – Barbara Pocock (Greens)
  • Elected 6 – Kerrynne Liddle (Liberal)
  • Defeated – Stirling Griff (Centre Alliance)
  • Defeated – Rex Patrick (Rex Patrick Team)

Party Summary: Ex-Nick Xenophon Team Senators Rex Patrick and Stirling Griff have been defeated (-2), replaced by Greens (+1) and Liberal (+1).

Post includes analysis of the preference flows that determined who won the final seat.
Read More »2022 South Australian Senate Election