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.

Commentary on Result

There were three Liberal, two Labor and one Green positions up for election in 2022. These were the positions allocated six-year terms after the 2016 double dissolution election.

The result saw the Liberal Party lose its third seat to Labor. This result represented a significant shift in the Senate balance of power. Rather than the traditional 3-left to 3-right split of Senate positions, Western Australia elected only two right Senators and four from the left. It is the first time since the Senate was expanded in 1984 that Labor elected three Senators from Western Australia at a half-Senate election, and also the first where the Liberal Party elected only two.

Labor’s two sitting Senators, Sue Lines and Glenn Sterle, were re-elected. Labor’s surplus was also large enough to elect the party’s third candidate, Fatima Payman.

The Liberal Party had three positions facing election. Re-elected were Michaelia Cash and Dean Smith. Defeated was Ben Small, who had been appointed to replace the departing Mathias Cormann. Small’s path to becoming a defeated Senator was complex. He resigned from the Senate before nominations closed after it was discovered he had inherited New Zealand citizenship from his father, putting him in breach of Section 44 of the Constitution. Small had to renounce his New Zealand citizenship to nominate, also forcing his resignation as a Senator. On 18 May the WA Parliament re-appointed him to the casual vacancy his resignation had caused, meaning that Small was again an incumbent Senator on election day and therefore a defeated Senator.

The re-elected Green Senator is Dorinda Cox, who was appointed to replace Rachel Siewert in September 2021.

Result Table

Enrolment – 1,773,969
Total Votes / Turnout – 1,571,899, 88.6% of enrolment
Informal Votes – 45,776 (2.9%)
Provisional Quota – 218,018
Below-the-line Vote – 4.8%
Last Update – Sunday, 19 June 2022, 08:52

Party Name (Group) Votes Pct Change Quotas % BTL
Labor (D) 527,319 34.55 +6.93 2.4187 3.1
Ticket votes 511,226 33.50
LINES, Sue (Re-elected 1) 11,913 0.78
STERLE, Glenn (Re-elected 3) 1,285 0.08
PAYMAN, Fatima (Elected 6) 1,681 0.11
HELPS, Vicki 1,214 0.08
Liberal (R) 483,364 31.67 -9.24 2.2171 2.0
Ticket votes 473,665 31.04
CASH, Michaelia (Re-elected 2) 7,389 0.48
SMITH, Dean (Re-elected 4) 1,191 0.08
SMALL, Ben 646 0.04
SUFI, Sherry 473 0.03
The Greens (A) 217,571 14.26 +2.44 0.9979 8.5
Ticket votes 199,116 13.05
COX, Dorinda (Re-elected 5) 14,626 0.96
CLARKE, River 886 0.06
COLLINS, Simone 1,415 0.09
CLARKE, Donald 291 0.02
CAHILL, Jordan 687 0.05
WALLACE, Alex 550 0.04
One Nation (G) 53,260 3.49 -2.39 0.2443 7.8
Ticket votes 49,083 3.22
FILING, Paul Anthony 3,701 0.24
MUNDY, Sheila 476 0.03
Legalise Cannabis (I) 51,568 3.38 +1.69 0.2365 5.3
Ticket votes 48,818 3.20
JOHNSON, Nicola Julia 2,484 0.16
PEET, Aaron 266 0.02
Australian Christians (B) 33,143 2.17 +0.51 0.1520 11.3
Ticket votes 29,386 1.93
CRICHTON, Mike 3,086 0.20
GROENEWALD, Maryka 671 0.04
United Australia (C) 32,543 2.13 +0.38 0.1493 7.3
Ticket votes 30,173 1.98
McDONALD, James 2,102 0.14
FORSTER, Rob 268 0.02
Liberal Democrats (L) 29,511 1.93 +1.21 0.1354 5.9
Ticket votes 27,771 1.82
FANTINEL, Kate 1,471 0.10
McLOUGHLIN, Peter 269 0.02
Western Australia Party (T) 26,555 1.74 +0.55 0.1218 6.8
Ticket votes 24,755 1.62
McDOWALL, Matthew 1,448 0.09
MATHESON, Julie 352 0.02
Great Australian Party (J) 15,958 1.05 +0.82 0.0732 19.3
Ticket votes 12,885 0.84
CULLETON, Rodney Norman 2,980 0.20
VINCI, Samantha Lee 93 0.01
Animal Justice (O) 14,186 0.93 -0.05 0.0651 6.5
Ticket votes 13,264 0.87
DORN, Amanda 834 0.05
McCASKER, Elizabeth Gay 88 0.01
Federation Party (Q) 8,339 0.55 +0.55 0.0382 17.1
Ticket votes 6,915 0.45
WILYMAN, Judy 1,328 0.09
BARRETT, Leanne 96 0.01
Sustainable Australia (E) 5,827 0.38 +0.04 0.0267 11.1
Ticket votes 5,179 0.34
OBORN, Karen 562 0.04
OOSTRYCK, Ryan 86 0.01
FUSION (S) 5,342 0.35 -0.24 0.0245 13.3
Ticket votes 4,631 0.30
VILJOEN, Tim 595 0.04
WOODINGS, Adam 116 0.01
Australian Democrats (F) 4,630 0.30 +0.30 0.0212 12.9
Ticket votes 4,034 0.26
MITCHELL, Elana 535 0.04
SIMSON, Simon 61 0.00
Informed Medical Options (M) 3,494 0.23 -0.03 0.0160 16.3
Ticket votes 2,923 0.19
KINSELLA, Michelle 540 0.04
LOCKYER, Leanne 31 0.00
Socialist Alliance (H) 2,494 0.16 +0.04 0.0114 16.7
Ticket votes 2,078 0.14
HARLEY, Petrina 379 0.02
SALMON, Alex 37 0.00
Australian Values Party (N) 2,305 0.15 +0.15 0.0106 12.8
Ticket votes 2,011 0.13
PIZZEY, Rebecca 276 0.02
FITZPATRICK, Kathy 18 0.00
Group K (K) 2,254 0.15 +0.15 0.0103 27.2
Ticket votes 1,640 0.11
GEORGATOS, Gerry 416 0.03
KRAKOUER, Megan 198 0.01
Ungrouped (UNG) 2,138 0.14 +0.14 0.0098 100.0
MURPHY, Ziggi 1,070 0.07
BUCKLE, Ashley 204 0.01
McDONALD, Peter Robert 193 0.01
VAGH, Yunous 304 0.02
BURDETT, Bob 144 0.01
PEGRUM, Valentine 223 0.01
Citizens Party (U) 1,789 0.12 +0.04 0.0082 11.8
Ticket votes 1,578 0.10
BRAILEY, Denise 177 0.01
ROBINSON, Jean 34 0.00
Federal ICAC Now (V) 1,540 0.10 +0.10 0.0071 19.9
Ticket votes 1,234 0.08
COUNT, Matthew 263 0.02
WATKINS, Dianne 43 0.00
Group P (P) 993 0.07 +0.07 0.0046 25.9
Ticket votes 736 0.05
TINLEY, Cam 211 0.01
AYRE, Tricia 46 0.00
…. (National) 0 -1.41
…. (Others) 0 -2.76

On first preferences the Greens were just short of a quota. It took until the exclusion of the low-polling Socialist Alliance at counts 173-177 for Greens senator Dorinda to reach a quota and fill the fifth seat. Being so close to the quota meant that the Greens played little role in the preference distribution required to fill the sixth vacancy.

The race for the final Senate seat was a contest between third Labor candidate Fatima Payman, who began the count on 0.4187 quotas, and a chasing pack led by One Nation’s Paul Filing on 0.2443 quotas, Nicola Johnson of Legalise Cannabis on 0.2365 quotas, and third Liberal candidate Ben Small on 0.2171 quotas. Payman led her eventual main challenger Paul Filing by 0.1744 quotas. Gaps of around 0.2 quotas have proved difficult to close on preferences under the Senate’s new electoral system.

The WA Senate distribution of preferences was the last conducted. Counts in other states had shown higher flows of preferences between One Nation, the Liberal Democrats and United Australia than had been evident at previous elections. As it was likely the more disciplined Liberal preferences could play a party, the counts in other states raised the prospect that Payman’s initial lead could be closed on preferences.

By Count 226, only nine groups remained in the race. The total votes, percentages and quotas are shown in the table below. The ‘Transfers’ column shows the preferences transferred to each party since the party totals at Count 1. The totals for Labor and Liberal exclude the votes set aside as quotas for elected candidates.

So far preferences had favoured Legalise Cannabis and Labor, allowing Nicola Johnson (Legalise Cannabis) to pass Paul Filing (One Nation). Payman’s quota lead over Filing increased to 0.1955 quotas. From this point of the count, United Australia, Australian Christian, Liberal Democrat and Great Australian Party preferences were likely to favour Filing over Payman, and it was likely that Liberal preferences would also be distributed. The question was whether Payman’s lead was enough to withstand likely hostile preference flows.

Western Australia Senate Count – After Count 220
Candidate (Party) Transfers Votes Pct Quotas
PAYMAN, Fatima (ALP) +9,069 100,352 6.58 0.4603
JOHNSON, Nicola (LCA) +11,183 62,751 4.11 0.2878
FILING, Paul (ONP) +5,067 58,327 3.82 0.2675
SMALL, Ben (LIB) +3,411 50,739 3.32 0.2327
CRICHTON, Mike (AUC) +2,470 35,613 2.33 0.1633
McDONALD, James (UAP) +2,997 35,540 2.33 0.1630
McDOWALL, Matthew (WAP) +8,461 35,016 2.29 0.1606
FANTINEL, Kate (LDP) +2,887 32,398 2.12 0.1486
CULLETON, Rodney (GAP) +5,951 21,909 1.44 0.1005
Exhausted/Loss by Fraction +3,388 3,388 0.22 0.0155

Counts 221-226 excluded Rod Culleton of the Great AustralianParty. His preferences flowed 29.0% to One Nation, 16.6% to United Australia and 16.9% to the Liberal Democrats. Filing remained third behind Legalise Cannabis but had narrowed Payman’s lead to 0.1670 quotas.

Western Australia Senate Count – After Count 226
Candidate (Party) Transfers Votes Pct Quotas
PAYMAN, Fatima (ALP) +739 101,091 6.62 0.4637
JOHNSON, Nicola (LCA) +3,134 65,885 4.32 0.3022
FILING, Paul (ONP) +6,364 64,691 4.24 0.2967
SMALL, Ben (LIB) +501 51,240 3.36 0.2350
McDONALD, James (UAP) +3,632 39,172 2.57 0.1797
McDOWALL, Matthew (WAP) +2,053 37,069 2.43 0.1700
CRICHTON, Mike (AUC) +885 36,498 2.39 0.1674
FANTINEL, Kate (LDP) +3,694 36,092 2.36 0.1655
CULLETON, Rodney (GAP) -21,909 0 0.00 0.0000
Exhausted/Loss by Fraction +907 4,295 0.28 0.0197

Counts 227-232 excluded Kate Fantinel (Liberal Democrats). Her preferences flowed 27.2% to Ben Small (Liberal), 17.6% to Filing, 15.3% to Payman and 10.1% to United Australia. These flows pushed Filing back into second place, but his lead over Payman only narrowed slightly to 0.1632 quotas.

Western Australia Senate Count – After Count 232
Candidate (Party) Transfers Votes Pct Quotas
PAYMAN, Fatima (ALP) +5,533 106,624 6.99 0.4891
FILING, Paul (ONP) +6,363 71,054 4.66 0.3259
JOHNSON, Nicola (LCA) +3,140 69,025 4.52 0.3166
SMALL, Ben (LIB) +9,809 61,049 4.00 0.2800
McDONALD, James (UAP) +3,653 42,825 2.81 0.1964
McDOWALL, Matthew (WAP) +3,004 40,073 2.63 0.1838
CRICHTON, Mike (AUC) +1,720 38,218 2.50 0.1753
FANTINEL, Kate (LDP) -36,092 0 0.00 0.0000
Exhausted/Loss by Fraction +2,870 7,165 0.47 0.0329

Counts 233-238 excluded Mike Crichton (Australian Christians). His preferences flowed 29.4% to Liberal, 26.2% to Filing, 16.2% to Payman and 11.7% to United Australia. Liberal Ben Small moved into third place ahead of Legalise Cannabis. Payman’s lead over Filing slipped further to 0.1457 quotas.

Western Australia Senate Count – After Count 238
Candidate (Party) Transfers Votes Pct Quotas
PAYMAN, Fatima (ALP) +6,207 112,831 7.39 0.5175
FILING, Paul (ONP) +10,010 81,064 5.31 0.3718
SMALL, Ben (LIB) +11,217 72,266 4.74 0.3315
JOHNSON, Nicola (LCA) +1,362 70,387 4.61 0.3228
McDONALD, James (UAP) +4,476 47,301 3.10 0.2170
McDOWALL, Matthew (WAP) +3,304 43,377 2.84 0.1990
CRICHTON, Mike (AUC) -38,218 0 0.00 0.0000
Exhausted/Loss by Fraction +1,642 8,807 0.58 0.0404

Counts 239-244 excluded Matthew McDowall of the Western Australian Party. His preferences favoured the major parties, 25.4% to Liberal, 22.3% to Labor and only 13.2% to One Nation. Payman’s lead over Paul Filing widened slightly to 0.1640 quotas.

Western Australia Senate Count – After Count 244
Candidate (Party) Transfers Votes Pct Quotas
PAYMAN, Fatima (ALP) +9,693 122,524 8.03 0.5620
FILING, Paul (ONP) +5,705 86,769 5.69 0.3980
SMALL, Ben (LIB) +11,037 83,303 5.46 0.3821
JOHNSON, Nicola (LCA) +7,075 77,462 5.08 0.3553
McDONALD, James (UAP) +3,107 50,408 3.30 0.2312
McDOWALL, Matthew (WAP) -43,377 0 0.00 0.0000
Exhausted/Loss by Fraction +6,760 15,567 1.02 0.0714

Counts 245-250 produced a major change to the count. The exclusion of James McDonald (United Australia) saw 55.3% of votes for him flow as preferences to One Nation and only 14.2% to Labor. This caused a dramatic reduction on Fatima Payman’s lead. She was now on 0.5949 quotas to Paul Filing’s 0.5258, a narrowed lead of just 0.0691 quotas.

Western Australia Senate Count – After Count 250
Candidate (Party) Transfers Votes Pct Quotas
PAYMAN, Fatima (ALP) +7,169 129,693 8.50 0.5949
FILING, Paul (ONP) +27,860 114,629 7.51 0.5258
SMALL, Ben (LIB) +4,699 88,002 5.77 0.4036
JOHNSON, Nicola (LCA) +5,095 82,557 5.41 0.3787
McDONALD, James (UAP) -50,408 0 0.00 0.0000
Exhausted/Loss by Fraction +5,585 21,152 1.39 0.0970

Counts 251-256 saw Nicola Johnson (Legalise Cannabis) excluded. 33.0% of her preferences exhausted, 30.9% flowed to Payman, 22.4% to One Nation and 13.7% to Liberal. Payman’s lead over Filing rose to 0.1011 quotas. With Liberal Ben Small with 0.4556 quotas worth of votes to be excluded next, his preferences still had the chance to push Paul Filing ahead of Fatima Payman and into the final Senate seat.

Western Australia Senate Count – After Count 256
Candidate (Party) Transfers Votes Pct Quotas
PAYMAN, Fatima (ALP) +25,477 155,170 10.17 0.7117
FILING, Paul (ONP) +18,482 133,111 8.72 0.6106
SMALL, Ben (LIB) +11,325 99,327 6.51 0.4556
JOHNSON, Nicola (LCA) -82,557 0 0.00 0.0000
Exhausted/Loss by Fraction +27,273 48,425 3.17 0.2221

Counts 257-262 excluded Ben Small (Liberal) but preferences from his votes were of no help to Paul Filing. 39.4% exhausted without choosing between Labor and One Nation, 31.0% flowed to Payman and only 29.6% to Filing. With no more candidates remaining to be excluded, Payman was declared elected with less than a quota. 0.8531 quotas versus 0.7454 for Filing. The final margin of victory for Payman over Filing was 0.1077 quotas, 1.54% or 23,490 votes.

Western Australia Senate Count – After Count 262
Candidate (Party) Transfers Votes Pct Quotas
PAYMAN, Fatima (ALP) +30,822 185,992 12.19 0.8531
FILING, Paul (ONP) +29,391 162,502 10.65 0.7454
SMALL, Ben (LIB) -99,327 0 0.00 0.0000
Exhausted/Loss by Fraction +39,114 87,539 5.74 0.4015

Between Counts 220 and 262, seven candidates/parties were excluded and 273,966 votes distributed as preferences, 18% of all votes, 1.26 quotas worth. Of these, 31.3% reached Fatima Payman (Labor), 38.0% Paul Filing (One Nation) and 30.7% exhausted without choosing between the two.

2 thoughts on “2022 Western Australian Senate Election”

  1. It’s interesting to see substantial exhaustion of votes from exclusion of LCA (0.125 quotas) and the Liberals (0.179 quotas) rather than favour any of the remaining parties and candidates in play, but I imagine quite a number of ATL votes terminating at the 6th preference don’t allow great opportunity for votes to bounce around even all of the parties of a similar political hue.

    COMMENT: I imagine there were many Liberal voters who had no desire to make a final preference choice between Labor and One Nation. There is a point in voting where voters really have no further preferences and can’t be bothered hanging around inside a voting partition moving their Senate ballot paper back and forth looking to see if there is anyone else on the ballot paper they know or might be able to express a preference for.

  2. Also, as a defeated incumbent, Ben Small needs to be added as former Senator for WA.

    COMMENT: It’s a little more complex than that so I will update the notes. Small resigned before nominating for the election so he wasn’t an incumbent at that point. However, the WA Parliament re-appointed him to his vacancy on 18 May so he was an incumbent Senator on polling day.

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