Senate

2022 Tasmanian Senate Election

  • Re-elected 1 – Jonno Duniam (Liberal)
  • Re-elected 2 – Anne Urquhart (Labor)
  • Re-elected 3 – Peter Whish-Wilson (Greens)
  • Re-elected 4 – Helen Polley (Labor)
  • Re-elected 5 – Wendy Askew (Liberal)
  • Elected 6 – Tammy Tyrrell (Jacqui Lambie Newtwork)
  • Defeated – Eric Abetz (Liberal)

Party Summary: Liberal (-1), Jacqui Lambie Network (+1)

Read More »2022 Tasmanian Senate Election

2022 ACT Senate Election

  • Re-elected 1 – Katy Gallagher (Labor)
  • Elected 2 – David Pocock (Independent)
  • Defeated – Zed Seselja (Liberal)

Party Outcome: Liberal (-1), Independent (+1)

The final first preferences table and a summary of the preferences distributions are published inside the post.

David Pocock trailed on first preferences, but with the Liberal Party having polled only three-quarters of a quota, Pocock was easily able to overtake Zed Seselja and win on preferences. Overall Pocock received around 72.5% of preferences while Zed Seselja received only 18.9% with 8.6% exhausted. Seselja finished with 0.86 quotas while Pocock was elected with 1.09 quotas.
Read More »2022 ACT Senate Election

2022 Federal Election Date Named plus links to my Election Guide

So the 2022 Australian federal election will be held on Saturday 21 May. That’s three years to the weekend since the last election.

The wild theories that the Prime Minister would delay the House election until later in the year proved to be, as expected, completely wrong.

The relevant dates for the election are:

Dissolution and Issue of Writs – tomorrow, Monday 11 April

Close of Rolls – Monday 18 April. This is Easter Monday so the Easter break will complicate people trying to enrol or update their details. You can find the AEC’s new enrolment page here, and update enrolment form here.

Close of Nominations – Thursday 21 April. Ballot draw and release of nominations will be on Friday 22 April. Postal votes will not be sent to voters until after the close of nominations, which means after the Anzac Day weekend.

Postal Vote ApplicationsCan be applied for now through the AEC website. You must apply for a postal vote by Wednesday 18 May, but you are better applying well before the close of application date if you hope to receive your postal vote pack before polling day.

Pre-poll-Voting begins – Monday 9 May. Note that the Electoral Act has been changed since 2019 to shorten pre-poll voting to two weeks instead of three.

Polling Day – Saturday 21 May.

The election period is six weeks instead of the usual five. This means there are four weeks between close of nominations and polling day. With pre-poll voting now limited to two weeks, people cannot vote in person until four weeks into the election campaign.

However, it is likely that political parties will flood the electorate with postal vote applications in the two weeks before pre-poll starts encourage people to vote by post. Read my notes on postal voting inside this port.

Inside the post I also include links to my background material on the 2022 Federal election at the ABC election website.
Read More »2022 Federal Election Date Named plus links to my Election Guide

Why the 2022 House and Senate Elections will be held on the same day

Last year I wrote a post on possible elections dates. In the post I wrote “There is a highly improbable option for a half-Senate election by 21 May 2022 and a separate House election as late as 3 September 2022.”

This improbable option keeps being re-cycled as a real possibility.

It isn’t.

If the government doesn’t call a May election for the House in conjunction with the required half-Senate election, it would be an admission by the government that it is too frit to face the electorate. There is no constitutional or public administration reason to hold separate elections for the House and half-Senate in 2022. Separating the elections would be because the government saw some electoral benefit.

In my view there is no benefit for the government in splitting the elections. In fact, splitting the election would be a terrible re-election strategy. Forcing the electorate to vote twice at most only 15 weeks apart would be deeply deeply unpopular and almost guarantee the government’s defeat.

No Australian Prime Minister has ever called a separate half-Senate election at a time when a House election was due. No Prime Minister has ever delayed a House election beyond its normal term by creating two elections 15 weeks apart. Prime Minister Morrison is not going to the first Prime Minister to engage in the folly of splitting the two elections in this way. He didn’t do it in 2019 and he is not going to do it in 2022.

The only people peddling this split election nonsense are people on twitter who hate the government. Splitting the elections would guarantee defeat. The government is not going to select the option that is its worst possible option for winning re-election.

So having vented my irritation that this nonsense is still being peddled, let me explain why the elections can be split.Read More »Why the 2022 House and Senate Elections will be held on the same day

2019 WA Senate Election – Ballot Paper and Preferences Analysis

This is my latest look back at how the Senate’s new electoral system worked at the 2019 election, how voters completed their ballot papers, what preference flows were produced, and what was the influence of how-to-vote material.

In summary, the smaller a party’s vote, the more likely its preferences will scatter widely or exhaust. The more that a party has an identifiable position on the left-right spectrum, the more likely that its preferences will flow in a particular direction.

And the more obvious a party’s how-to-vote recommendation, and the more how-to-votes are handed out, the more likely that voters will follow or guess the recommendation.Read More »2019 WA Senate Election – Ballot Paper and Preferences Analysis

Is Increasing the Membership Requirement to Register Political Parties Justified?

The government’s proposed changes to party registration rules, released last week, will increase the number of members required to register a political party from 500 to 1,500. Understandably this proposal has attracted criticism, especially from the small parties that will now have to recruit more members.

I posted on Thursday about this and other proposed changes to the Commonwealth Electoral Act.

Is this just an attack on small parties, or is it a justifiable attempt to make Senate ballot papers easier for voters to read and understand, and for the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to print and count?Read More »Is Increasing the Membership Requirement to Register Political Parties Justified?

When can the Next Federal Election be Held?

On Twitter recently, the most frequent question I am asked is when “can” the next federal election be held. Second place goes to when “will” the election be held.

This post attempts to answer both questions.

The three-part answer on “when can” the election be held is –

  • The first date for a normal house and half-Senate election is 7 August 2021, if announced this weekend and writs are issued by Monday 5 July.
  • The last date for a normal house and half-Senate election is 21 May 2022. This date gives six weeks to complete the complex Senate count and allows Senators to be declared elected and start their terms on 1 July. A mid-May election would be announced in early April 2022.
  • There is a highly improbable option for a half-Senate election by 21 May 2022 and a separate House election as late as 3 September 2022.

The short answer on “when will” the election be held is –

  • when the Prime Minister thinks his government has the best chance of winning, or
  • if prospects look grim, the last possible date.

Read More »When can the Next Federal Election be Held?

Electoral Law, Savings Provisions and Senate Reform

Someone reading my article on reforming the WA Legislative Council’s electoral system reminded me of a speech I did a number of years ago on Senate electoral reform and issues to do with savings provisions.

The speech was at the launch of a UNSW Law Journal special Issue number 39(1) with various papers on electoral law.

The Journal had several papers on different areas of electoral law. I addressed each of the papers before spending much of the speech on savings provisions and in particular looking at the issue of savings provisions with the reformed Senate electoral system.

The speech was shortly before the 2016 election, after the Senate electoral reforms had passed, but before they were ruled constitutional by the High Court.

Having watched the speech back, I thought it worth sharing and it can be viewed via the YouTube link in the post.Read More »Electoral Law, Savings Provisions and Senate Reform

WA Legislative Council Reform – The Problems of Ballot Paper Design and the Number of Preferences

The McGowan government in Western Australia has appointed a Ministerial Expert Committee to recommend changes to the electoral system for the state’s Legislative Council. (You can find the Committee’s website here.)

The Committee has a number of issues to examine. Some are controversial, such as whether to change the state’s zonal electoral system. I wrote on the zonal electoral system and its unequal enrolments two weeks ago.

The proposal that has attracted least criticism is the abolition of group voting tickets (GVTs). GVTs were first introduced for Senate elections in 1984. They were introduced as a solution to a chronic high rate of informal voting and designed to make voting easier while retaining full preferential voting.

What has not been fully appreciated is that the tickets sped up voting and also simplified the counting process. GVTs meant that less than 10% of ballot papers needed to be examined for formality and re-examined for preferences during the count. The rest of the ballot papers were ticket votes, and all ticket votes for a party being the same, could be treated as block votes.

These benefits have since been outweighed by the manipulation of results produced by GVTs giving parties almost total control over between-party preferences.

For major parties, GVTs strengthened the strong flow of preferences that parties had previously achieved through influencing voters with how-to-votes. But GVTs gave the same power to small parties that previously struggled to influence preferences due to lack of members distributing how-to-votes. Even the smallest micro-parties that didn’t bother to campaign suddenly had total control over their preferences. Over time, as participants learnt how to use GVTs strategically, the system began to elect candidate from parties with tiny votes who would never been elected had voters controlled preferences.

Three jurisdictions have now abolished GVTs. In this process, great attention was paid to ensuring voters did not have to revert to the pre-1984 situation of completing vast numbers of preferences. But a price of abolishing GVTs has been to make counting more complex. It has required a switch to scanning rather than hand counting and data entering ballot papers. Complexity has also been increased by changes to formulas calculating transfer values for surplus to quota preferences.

As the Ministerial Expert Committee searches for a replacement Legislative Council electoral system, it has the advantage of being able to draw on experience with abolishing GVTs for elections to the NSW and South Australian Legislative Councils and the Commonwealth Senate.

Two models for electing the WA Legislative Council are being discussed. One retains regions, a four region model with each electing nine members the most discussed. The second is a switch to a single state-wide model.

The state-wide model in particular requires careful design. Careful thought needs to be given to ballot paper design, voter instructions, and the counting method.

Without careful design, using a single electorate to elect the WA Legislative Council could end up producing a ballot paper that is unprintable or uncountable.Read More »WA Legislative Council Reform – The Problems of Ballot Paper Design and the Number of Preferences