Victoria

Group Voting Tickets Published for the Victorian Legislative Council Election

Group voting tickets for the Legislative Council have been published this evening on the Victorian Electoral Commission’s (VEC’s) website.

The double deck ballot papers being used for the 2022 election are bad enough, but their use has thrown out the ticket layout of the VEC’s published tickets. You can find them at this link but they are very difficult to read or understand.

Fortunately, I’ve done a lot of the work for you. I have managed to reformat the GVT data to produce much more readable versions of the tickets for each region.

Processing the tickets to prepare my Legislative Council Calculators has taken all afternoon. As a by-product I’ve produced these easier to use versions of the tickets.

The work setting up the calculators, and preparing the data set-up for the ABC election computer, means I haven’t had time to analyse the tickets and won’t have time tomorrow either.

But I have decided to make the tickets available for others to use. Feel free to make use of the linked documents below. All I request is a credit if you make use of the documents. It’s taken quite an effort to prepare them.

Calculators will hopefully be published by mid-week and there will be html versions of the tickets on the Victorian Election site on Monday morning.

Links for each region are contained inside the post.Read More »Group Voting Tickets Published for the Victorian Legislative Council Election

Summary of Candidates and Parties Contesting 2022 Victorian Election

A record 740 candidates will contest the 88 Legislative Assembly seats at the Victorian election on 26 November, well up on the previous record of 543 candidates in 2014.

The average of 8.4 candidates per lower house vacancy is the highest ever recorded at an Australian election, beating the previous record of 8.0 at the Federal election in May.

There are also a record 454 candidates contesting the Legislative Council, up from the 380 candidates in 2018. The number of candidates in every region is between 54 and 62. There are 24 groups in Western Metropolitan Region where two Independent groups have joined the 22 groups that have nominated for every region. Counting the Nationals’ joint ticket with the Liberals in three regions, all 22 registered parties have nominated in all regions. The number of columns means that all Legislative Council ballot papers will be printed in a confusing double-deck format.

The table and graph below gives the numbers of candidates contesting lower house elections since the current 88 seat chamber was first used in 1985.Read More »Summary of Candidates and Parties Contesting 2022 Victorian Election

Should the Victorian Liberal Party Change its Lower House Preference Policy?

(Two updates to this post – The Australian is reporting that the Liberal Party is considering the tactic I describe in this post. Second, the Liberals are using a lot of “Put Labor Last” slogans. In an era when fewer voters see how-to-votes, planting a “Put Labor Last” message can influence a voter, which as a by-product produces stronger flows of Liberal preferences to the Greens.)

During the 2010 Victorian Election campaign, the Liberal Party sprung a surprise by announcing that it would recommend preference to the Labor Party ahead of the Greens on Liberal how-to-vote material.

At the time it seemed an odd decision as it ensured that the Labor Party would not be under threat from the Greens in inner-city seats.

I’ve heard alternate views on whether the decision was a clever tactic to win the election or an admission the party didn’t expect to win. Either way, the decision was definitely in line with what many party members wanted. Many had been unhappy that Liberal preferences elected Greens’ candidate Adam Bandt as the new member for Melbourne at the August 2010 Federal election. Bandt polled 36.2% on first preferences to Labor 38.1%, an 80% flow of Liberal preferences responsible for Bandt winning.

It was becoming hypocritical for the Liberal Party to criticise Labor for being too close to the Greens when Liberal how-to-votes were actively helping to elect Greens in both upper and lower houses.

So the decision made for the 2010 Victorian election, and repeated at Victorian and Federal elections since, put Liberal preferences in ideological alignment with the position of the three parties on the political spectrum. Labor was put ahead of the Greens because the Greens were further to the left than Labor.

Putting the Australian Democrats ahead of Labor had always made sense for the Liberal Party. The Democrats were a more centrist party on many issues than Labor, and were also a party the Coalition could negotiate with in the Senate.

There have been rumours that there may be a change of strategy for the coming Victorian election.

If so there is logic as to why. It comes down to deciding whether strategy or ideology is the better tactic for deciding on preferences.Read More »Should the Victorian Liberal Party Change its Lower House Preference Policy?

The Victorian Legislative Council’s Rotten Electoral System – part 1

Victoria is the only Australian jurisdiction that continues to elect its upper house using the discredited Group Voting Ticket (GVT) system.

GVTs in Victoria give parties almost total control over the distribution of preferences, which flows through to controlling who wins the balance of power in the Legislative Council.

GVTs have been abolished in every state and for the Senate because they can be manipulated to elect parties with only a tiny percentage of the vote, a result that distorts the intended proportionality of the chamber’s electoral system.

In the lower house voters control preferences. Parties and candidates can only try to influence voters in how they complete their preferences. It is the same for the reformed Senate electoral system where voters now control the flow of between-party preferences, not parties.

As I explain in this post, the rottenness of GVTs is revealed when you examine the proportion of ‘above-the-line’ (ATL) votes that are under party control at Victorian Legislative Council elections compared to the related data for non-GVT Senate elections.

In Victoria, 100% of every ATL vote for every party, whether big or small, flows according to the party ticket.

In contrast, the 2022 Senate election saw major parties lucky to influence even the second preference of 50% of ATL votes, and the rate dropped precipitously for smaller parties.

It is without doubt that the reformed Senate system delivers an outcome that reflects the preferences of voters, where in Victoria the use of GVTs means the result reflects the decisions made by the tiny cabal of officials who negotiate the preference deals.Read More »The Victorian Legislative Council’s Rotten Electoral System – part 1

Voter Preferences set be Ignored at the 2022 Victorian Legislative Council Election

After three successful Senate elections where results were determined by voters controlling their own preferences, November’s Victorian Legislative Council election will return to the dark ages with upper house results determined by ‘preferences whisperers’ and backroom show-and-tell preference deals.

Even worse, hundreds of thousands of Victorian voters, maybe even millions, will have their Legislative Council preferences ignored and replaced by party tickets.

This is because Victoria is the only Australian jurisdiction that still uses Group Voting Tickets (GVTs), a form of party determined preferences.

The problem for November’s state election is that Victorian voters have used the reformed Senate electoral system at the last three Federal elections.

The reformed Senate system allows voters to determine their own between-party preferences above the line on the ballot paper.

In Victoria voters can’t.

Why this matters is clear when you look at how Victorians completed their ballot papers at May’s Senate election.

Overall 92.7% of Victorian voters completed their ballot papers by numbering preferences for parties ‘above the line’. That’s more than 3.5 million voters marking how they wanted their ballot paper preferences distributed.

If that figure were repeated at the Victorian election, that would be 92.7% of votes going by the party ticket with all other voter preferences ignored.Read More »Voter Preferences set be Ignored at the 2022 Victorian Legislative Council Election

Seat Numbers and Margins for the 2022 Victorian Election

When preparing for an election coverage, my first step is always to compile a set of last election results as history for the ABC’s election website and election computer.

The data includes historic votes by candidate and party for each electorate. To enable more complex analysis on election night, the same historic data is collected for each polling place.

When there has been a redistribution, I also re-calculate last election results to match the new electoral boundaries. Those calculations become the stored history for use in analysis.

Another important job is to give all electorates an initial party classification. On election night, party classification is combined with results to label seats as either “gains/losses” or “retains”.

Normally I classify seats based on last election votes. But sometimes I depart from this practice when by-elections, candidate defections and redistributions complicate analysis. Relying too strictly on past votes can make it hard to explain a result on election night.

A prize example is Novembers Victorian election. A major redistribution since the 2018 election has left a number of seats as unclear on how best to allocate an initial party classification.

Recently the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) released estimated margins for all seats. You can find the estimates on the VEC’s research and publications page at the link named “Methodology of estimating 2018 election results on new electoral boundaries”.

The table below shows the seats won by party at the 2018 Victorian election on the first line. The second line shows the seat holdings if you strictly apply the VEC’s estimated margins. The third line is the seat holdings I have advised the ABC to use for the Victorian election site (coming soon!) and in the ABC’s election computer.

Victorian Party Seat Holdings – Redistribution Estimates
ALP LIB NAT GRN IND
2018 Election result 55 21 6 3 3
VEC party seat totals 58 19 7 3 1
ABC party seat totals 56 21 6 3 2

A two-page pdf with a new electoral pendulum and alphabetic list of seat margins can be found via this link.

The VEC totals explain why the Labor Party has been reported as having gained two seats through the redistribution. In my view that is not the case. Labor does have two more safe seats than it did on the old boundaries, but at the expense of some marginal Labor seats. The two possible extra Labor seats come about through VEC estimated margins that flip two Liberal seats on fewer than 70 votes.

Whether these two seats are classed as Labor or Liberal held, it has no impact on the swing of around 9.6% needed for the Labor Party to lose its majority

The ABC will be using the same margins as the VEC in most seats. The VEC’s estimates have only minor variations from the estimated margins I published last year. (My original estimates can be found in this post).

The ABC and VEC party totals differ because the ABC is choosing to classify ultra-marginal Caulfield and Hastings as Liberal held (the VEC suggests Labor held) and to keep Mildura as Independent held (the VEC suggests National held). How these seats are classified has no impact on the swing needed for Labor to lose its majority.

There are also four seats where the ABC and VEC agree that party status has changed because of the redistribution.Read More »Seat Numbers and Margins for the 2022 Victorian Election

New Victorian State Electoral Boundaries Finalised

Last week the Victorian Boundaries Commission released its final determination of the state’s new electoral boundaries. The new boundaries will apply for the next Victorian election in November 2022.

The draft boundaries were released at the end of June and I analysed their political impact in a previous post. There were major changes to the boundaries used at the 2018 election.

Of the 88 districts proposed at the draft stage, 56 remain unchanged in the final version.

I’ve prepared a listing showing the composition of all new electorates based on movements between old and new electorate. You can find it at this link.

Maps of all new districts, details of changes, and the Commissioner’s reasoning for the changes can be found on the Electoral Boundaries Commission website.

Political summary in a paragraph – a permanent shift of two seats from Liberal parts of Melbourne to Labor parts as a result of differential population growth rates. But it is not electoral boundaries but the scale of the Liberal Party’s 2018 defeat that is the bigger problem for the Coalition at the 2022 state election.

In this post I’ll analyse the political impact of the final boundaries.
Read More »New Victorian State Electoral Boundaries Finalised

Party Vote by Vote Type – 2018 Victorian Election

Back with another graph of the day post.

Every election held in Australia post the arrival of Covid-19 has seen a sharp decline in voting on election day and a surge in postal and especially pre-poll voting.

Last October’s Queensland election saw only 27.6% of votes cast as within-district polling day votes, with 43.6% of votes cast as pre-polls and 23.8% as postal vote. (See this post)

March 2021 saw a similar surge in Western Australia with polling day ordinary votes falling to 38.0% compared to 40.2% for pre-poll votes and 14.8% as postal votes. (See this post)

At the November 2018 Victorian election, polling day ordinary votes represented only 48.3% of all votes, the first Australian state election where less than half of votes were cast on the day in district. The rate of Early/Pre-poll voting was 36.8%, then the highest recorded at an Australian election, having quadrupled in 12 years.

Given the trend to voting before polling day has been stronger in Victoria than anywhere else, and given the state’s experience with Covid-19, one can only guess how low the rate of polling day voting will be at the 2022 state election.

The graph below shows the percentage vote by vote type at Victorian elections since 2006.Read More »Party Vote by Vote Type – 2018 Victorian Election

Victorian State Redistribution with Major Political Implications Starts this Week

The Victorian Parliament began its final sitting week today after a year where the parliamentary schedule has been heavily interrupted by Covid-19.

Parliament rises for the year on Thursday just as a major electoral event gets under way that will have major consequences for the November 2022 state election.

Thursday’s Government Gazette will carry the formal notice triggering a redistribution, a re-drawing of the state’s electoral boundaries.

It is a process with major implications for the electoral prospects of the Andrews Labor government and the Liberal and National opposition.

The scale of Labor’s victory in November 2018 always meant it would be difficult for the Liberal and National Parties to make up enough ground to win the next election.

The redistribution will make that task even harder.

On current enrolments, the redistribution will abolish several seats in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, the Liberal Party’s traditional electoral heartland.

Those seats will be replaced by new seats on Melbourne’s south-east, western and north-western fringe, areas that have been dominated by the Labor Party at recent elections.

Barring events that alter traditional voting patterns, prospects are that the redistribution will buttress the Andrews’ government hold on office, and make victory for the Liberal and National Parties in 2022 just that little bit harder.
Read More »Victorian State Redistribution with Major Political Implications Starts this Week