How the Liberals stopped No Mandatory Vaccination Winning a Seat in the WA Legislative Council

The victory of the Daylight Saving Party’s Wilson Tucker from only 98 votes at March’s WA Legislative Council election has attracted much attention and derision. It has also become the justification for the McGowan government’s plans to reform the Legislative Council’s electoral system.

But Tucker’s victory was not the only example in March of group voting tickets being used to engineer results. In South Metropolitan Region, a well co-ordinated preference “harvesting” operation almost delivered the final seat in the region to Cam Tinley of the No Mandatory Vaccination Party.

These examples highlight how the manipulation of group voting tickets (GVTs) by the tactic of preference harvesting can distort the intent of voters. Voters for 19 of the 26 party and independent groups on the ballot paper had their votes delivered by GVTs to Cam Tinley.

That’s more than 40,000 voters with no idea their above-the-line vote for a chosen party or independent would be sent off to try an elect a representative from the No Mandatory Vaccination Party.

The only thing that prevented Cam Tinley beating the Green’s Brad Pettitt was a decision announced early in the campaign by the Liberal Party that it would put No Mandatory Vaccination behind Labor and the Greens on how-to-votes and upper house GVTs.

At the very end of the South Metropolitan Region count, that decision sent around 12,200 Liberal GVT preferences Pettitt’s way, delivering the Greens a seat that could otherwise would have gone to No Mandatory Vaccination. None of the 20 parties that contributed to Tinley’s final tally polled more than 1.9% of the vote, and 11 polled less than half a percent.

Despite these parties attracting few votes, GVTs delivered their preference negotiators total control over how ballot papers would have their preferences transferred. It allowed party votes to be stacked in a way that would have been impossible if voters controlled how preference were distributed.

Trying to unpick a preference count where GVTs are used is fiendishly difficult. It requires dissecting a giant spreadsheet summarising the count, and cross referencing the preference transfers with the GVTs lodged by each party.

While pulling apart the South Metropolitan Region count, I was surprised to discover that Cam Tinley of the No Mandatory Vaccination Party was only defeated because the Liberal GVT, the last bundle of votes distributed in the count, transferred to Brad Pettitt (Greens) ahead of Cam Tinely (No Mandatory Vaccination).

First preference results had Labor on 62.9% of the vote, the Liberals 17.6% and Greens 6.9%. The remaining parties had 12.4% between them, the highest polling being the Australian Christians on 1.9%. With the quota set at 14.3%, the minor parties did not have enough votes to elect one of their number without a flow of surplus preferences from one of the big three parties.

The count had begun by electing four Labor and one Liberal MLCs, leaving one vacancy to be filled by the transfer of preferences from excluded candidates and parties.

Estimates based only on ticket votes suggested Labor could win an unprecedented fifth seat on Green transfers. Once below-the-line votes were included in the count, it put the Greens ahead of Labor at a critical late stage of the count.

What I had not realised in looking at the original output of the ABC’s election calculator for South Metropolitan Region was that Liberal preferences determined that a Labor or Green candidate would win the final seat rather than Cam Tinley from No Mandatory Vaccination.

The Final Stages of the Count

Almost all minor party and independent groups had arranged their GVTs to deny preferences to the big three parties. The Greens gained a small GVT bundle of 777 votes from the Socialist Alliance, but the Labor and Liberal Parties had received none. The main source of preferences for all three parties was the small number of below-the-line votes where voters completed their own preferences.

To the point where only seven candidates/parties remained, three parallel preference harvesting operations were underway. In broad outline these were –

  • The Glenn Druery micro-party alliance made up of Health Australia, Sustainable Australia, Daylight Saving, Western Australia Party, Liberals for Climate and the Liberal Democrats. These six parties swapped preferences in each region, and in each region one of the six parties was the nominated beneficiary of the preference harvesting operation, with the Liberal Democrats the nominee in South Metropolitan Region. Five independents also helped the LDP in South Metropolitan.
  • Australian Christians, Shooters Fishers and Farmers, No Mandatory Vaccination and WAxit aligned preferences in each region. One Nation also partly contributed to this group.
  • Legalise Cannabis and Animal Justice swapped preferences with each other ahead of other parties.

Whichever of these three preference harvesting operations finished ahead towards the end of the count tended to then benefit from the GVT preferences of parties in the other groupings.

Towards the end of the count in South Metropolitan, seven candidates remained in the race for the final seat. The total votes and quotas for each candidate are shown in the table below. The column labelled ‘Transfers’ shows the change in party total vote since the first preference count, excluding the filled quotas set aside for the elected Labor and Liberal MLCs. The preference harvesting operation shows up with the vast majority of preferences flowing to the smallest parties.

The party codes in the table are – Greens (GRN), Labor Party (ALP), Liberal Democrats (LDP), Liberal Party (LIB), Australian Christians (ACP), No Mandatory Vaccination (NMV) and Legalise Cannabis WA (LCW).

Candidate (Party) Transfers Votes Quotas
Brad Pettitt (GRN) +1,314 27,571 0.5077
Victoria Helps (ALP) +57 22,097 0.4069
Aaron Stonehouse (LDP) 10,920 14,289 0.2631
Michelle Hofmann (LIB) +190 12,888 0.2373
Warner Spyker (ACP) +3,881 11,171 0.2057
Cam Tinley (NMV) +6,677 10,519 0.1937
Moshe Bernstein (LCW) +3,073 9,950 0.1832

To this point, Legalise Cannabis had benefited from Animal Justice preferences, Australian Christians from the Shooters Fishers and Farmers, and the Liberal Democrats from the parties I listed before the table plus five Independent groups. No Mandatory Vaccination had gained GVT transfers from the Great Australian Party, WAxit, One Nation and two Independents.

The next candidate excluded was Moshe Bernstein of Legalise Cannabis. His 6,631 GVT votes and and 2,843 Animal Justice GVTs had been arranged to transfer to No Mandatory Vaccination. This allowed Cam Tinley to jump from sixth to fourth, putting him ahead of both the Liberal Democrat and Australian Christian candidates, setting up the next transfers between the preference harvesting operations.

The Transfers column in the following tables have been changed to show transfers since the previous count.

Candidate (Party) Transfers Votes Quotas
Brad Pettitt (GRN) +187 27,758 0.5112
Victoria Helps (ALP) +109 22,206 0.4089
Cam Tinley (NMV) +9,538 20,057 0.3694
Aaron Stonehouse (LDP) +37 14,326 0.2638
Michelle Hofmann (LIB) +51 12,939 0.2383
Warner Spyker (ACP) +28 11,199 0.2062
Moshe Bernstein (LCW) -9,950 0 ..

Warner Spyker of the Australian Christians was now excluded. The 7,023 Australian Christian GVTs and 3,781 Shooters Fishers and Farmers GVTs had also been directed to Cam Tinley and No Mandatory Vaccination, pushing Tinley into first place ahead of the final Green, Labor and Liberal candidates. These transfers and new totals are shown below.

Candidate (Party) Transfers Votes Quotas
Cam Tinley (NMV) +10,894 30,951 0.5700
Brad Pettitt (GRN) +27 27,785 0.5117
Victoria Helps (ALP) +52 22,258 0.4099
Aaron Stonehouse (LDP) +61 14,387 0.2649
Michelle Hofmann (LIB) +164 13,103 0.2413

The remaining Liberal candidate, Michelle Hofmann, was now in last place and excluded. Hofmanns’ total included approximately 12,200 Liberal GVT votes with next preference for Liberal Democrat Aaron Stonehouse, pushing him ahead of the final Labor candidate Victoria Helps as shown below.

Candidate (Party) Transfers Votes Quotas
Cam Tinley (NMV) +73 31,024 0.5713
Brad Pettitt (GRN) +157 27,942 0.5146
Aaron Stonehouse (LDP) +12,645 27,032 0.4978
Victoria Helps (ALP) +219 22,477 0.4139
Michelle Hofmann (LIB) -12,698 0 ..

Labor’s fifth candidate Victoria Helps was now excluded, her total including around 22,200 Labor GVTs with next preference for the Green’s Brad Pettit, putting him ahead of Cam Tinley.

Candidate (Party) Transfers Votes Quotas
Brad Pettitt (GRN) +21,962 49,904 0.9190
Cam Tinley (NMV) +109 31,133 0.5733
Aaron Stonehouse (LDP) +382 27,414 0.5048
Victoria Helps (ALP) -27,032 . ..

Liberal Democrat Aaron Stonehouse was now excluded releasing GVTs from 12 different groups. Ten had next preference for No Mandatory Vaccination’s Cam Tinley and only two for Green Brad Pettit. Those two were a tiny bundle of 351 votes from Independent Foley, and the approximate 12,200 Liberal GVTs.

The Liberal votes were the very last bundle transferred, and with only Pettitt and Tinley remaining in the count, the binary choice between the two by the Liberal GVT was the final determining GVT in the contest. The ticket put Green Brad Pettit over the 54,302 vote quota required for election.

The final totals on the election of Pettitt are shown below. With Pettitt elected, 709 below the line votes remained undistributed with Stonehouse.

Candidate (Party) Transfers Votes Quotas
Brad Pettitt (GRN) +12,787 62,691 1.1545
Cam Tinley (NMV) +13,915 45,048 0.8296
Aaron Stonehouse (LDP) -26,705 709 0.0131

Discussion

The final 12,200 Liberal GVT votes were entirely responsible for Pettit’s victory over Tinley. Had the Liberal Party put Tinley ahead of Pettit, then Tinley would have won the final seat.

Had Stonehouse been in the final pairing rather Tinley, Liberal preferences would not have transferred to the Greens, but Pettitt would still have won though by a narrower margin. The Legalise Cannabis GVT had directed preferences to the Greens before the Liberal Democrats.

Had No Mandatory Vaccination Party won the final seat, it would have attracted huge attention. As Cam Tinley explained to me before the election, he was not opposed to vaccination, just mandatory vaccination. However, such subtle differences would have been entirely missed by anti-vaxxers trumpeting that a victory for Tinley sent a message to politicians about vaccination.

That Tinley came close to victory was due entirely to GVTs and had nothing to do with his party’s level of support or any other party that contributed GVT transfers to his total. We know this to be the case from observation of the Senate’s reformed electoral system where GVTs have been abolished. The Senate model, where voters rather than parties control preferences, is likely to be recommended as the new voting system for the Western Australian Legislative Council.

As we know from experience with the reformed Senate electoral system, voters do not construct endless strings of preferences for minor parties. The endless swaps of preferences between small parties can only be constructed in an electoral system that allows GVTs.

How many electors who voted for Liberals for Climate, Daylight Saving Party, Shooters Fishers and Farmers, Sustainable Australia, Animal Justice, Liberal Democrats, WAxit, Legalise Cannabis, Australian Christians, One Nation or the Western Australian Party realised that their vote would be sent to the No Mandatory Vaccination Party and come close to seeing its candidate Cam Tinley elected?

Am I Too Critical of Small Parties Using GVTs?

Using GVTs to arrange preference deals and to engage in preference harvesting is perfectly legal in a system that allows GVTs.

However, as I have demonstrated numerous times, GVTs have encouraged more and more parties to register and nominate, to roll the dice and join the lucky dip for a seat in Parliament. This has created larger ballot papers that make it harder for voters to find the parties they now. It has increased the impact of random factors on results through draw for ballot positions and attractive or confusing party names.

The growth in the size and complexity of the ballot paper has effectively herded voters into voting above the line as the only realistic alternative to numbering long strings of preferences, 64 in the case of South Metropolitan Region discussed in this post. And the more voters pushed above the line, the more control over the count that goes to the small number apparatchiks who engineer the preference deals.

Between the first preference count and the final count, Pettitt had gained around 36,000 preferences and Tinley 41,000. Nearly all of these preference transfer came via GVTs. Pettitt’s GVT sources were the Labor and Liberal surpluses, the Socialist Alliance and Independent Foley. All the other groups on the ballot paper flowed to Tinley.

So why am I so critical of GVTs putting Cam Tinley in the race for the final seat, but less critical of the Liberal Party’s GVT electing Brad Pettit? Let me explain.

Experience with the new Senate system has shown that without GVTs, parties have to actively campaign for election to increase their influence over how voters direct preferences. A party cannot just put its name on the ballot paper and expect to control preference transfers.

Parties that are known to voters, that actively campaign, that hand out how-to-votes and that have a higher share of the first preference vote, also tend to generate stronger flows of preferences. A known and actively campaigning candidate or party is more likely to influence its voters on preferences. Parties with lower profile tend to produce random preferences. (See my post analysing South Australian Senate preference flows in 2019)

In the South Metropolitan Region race, after the election of the first five MLCs, Pettitt led the rest of the field on first preferences. Labor preferences would have strongly favoured the Greens even without a how-to-vote card. Liberal preferences might have flowed to the Greens with a how-to-vote, but they would not have flown to Tinley in a way that was helpful, even if the Liberal Party had recommended preferences to him.

In the next section I list all the groups whose preferences assisted Tinley in coming close to victory. 97% of those votes were ticket votes producing a preference flow that was only possible because of GVTs.

Without GVTs, that is under a system where voters rather than parties controlled preferences, Pettitt would have won the final seat. He would have won even if every ballot paper exhausted its preferences. Without GVTs, voter preferences would have also favoured Pettitt, and the higher polling Labor and Liberal candidates, simply because those parties were better known to voters than No Mandatory Vaccination.

GVTs may allow unknown parties to harvest preferences from across the ballot paper, but unknown parties simply do not attract preference transfers where voters make the decision on preferences themselves.

And it is absolutely certain that it was only GVTs that allowed Tinley to come even remotely close to winning the final seat, where it was Pettitt’s vote that put him close to victory. That is why I am more critical of GVTs that help parties with tiny votes, because victories for such parties are constructed by parties rather than being a reflection of the electorate’s will.

The Composition of No Mandatory Vaccination’s Final Vote

The table below sets out the final tally of Cam Tinley’s votes by origin, identifying the source party/independent for all GVT votes that finished with No Mandatory Vaccination. The entries in the table are shown in the order they were received by Tinley, with the exception of the final below-the-line entry which includes votes that trickled to Tinley throughout the count.

The “% Vote” column shows each entry’s percentage of formal votes, and “% Total” is the votes as a percentage of Tinley’s final vote. “At Pref” is the preference number at which a GVT reached Tinley, and “Via” indicates another party through which the GVT total passed before reaching Tinley.

Abbreviations are WAP Western Australia Party, LCW Legalise Cannabis WA, ACP Australian Christians and LDP Liberal Democrats.

Party Votes % Vote % Total At Pref Via
No Mandatory Vaccination 3,357 0.88 7.5 1 ..
IND Rowley 205 0.05 0.5 3 ..
Great Australian Party 1,037 0.27 2.3 3 ..
WAxit 1,260 0.33 2.8 3 ..
IND Francis 153 0.04 0.3 17 WAP
One Nation 3,816 1.00 8.5 3 ..
Legalise Cannabis (LCW) 6,631 1.74 14.7 3 ..
Animal Justice 2,843 0.75 6.3 5 LCW
Aust. Christians (ACP) 7,023 1.85 15.6 3 ..
Shooters Fishers Farmers 3,781 0.99 8.4 5 ACP
Liberal Democrats (LDP) 3,199 0.84 7.1 31 ..
IND Glossop 103 0.03 0.2 35 LDP
IND Leslie 188 0.05 0.4 33 LDP
IND Kestel 344 0.09 0.8 41 LDP
Health Australia 605 0.16 1.3 10 LDP
Sustainable Australia 1,034 0.27 2.3 47 LDP
Daylight Saving 1,263 0.33 2.8 26 LDP
IND West 1,544 0.41 3.4 39 LDP
WA Party (WAP) 2,188 0.58 4.9 27 LDP
Liberals for Climate 3,167 0.83 7.0 29 LDP
Below the line votes 1,307 0.34 2.9 .. ..
Total Votes 45,048 11.85 .. .. ..

23 thoughts on “How the Liberals stopped No Mandatory Vaccination Winning a Seat in the WA Legislative Council”

  1. He did manage to pick up 1307 below the line votes. I would be interested in how all candidates went below the line. Perhaps the sixth seat should have gone to the person with the highest below the line vote.

    COMMENT: Under full preferential voting, all below the line votes have to end up somewhere. There were a total of 8,393 BTL votes in South Metropolitan. There were an unknown number locked in the Labor and Liberal tickets by the quota calculations. 709 remained as a residual with the LDP and I estimate maybe 4,000 ended up with Pettit.

  2. The No Mandatory Vaccination Party ran in every Legislative Assembly seat and got the fifth most votes behind Labor, Liberal, Nationals and Greens. They didn’t just sit back and watch it all unfold.

    What no-one has picked up is that the ALP, Greens and Liberal Party all gave their preferences to Glen Druery parties ahead of their natural allies.

    Is it a clear as day that the ALP, Greens and the Liberals wanted Daylight Saving, Liberal Democrats and Health Australia to get elected so they could engineer the destruction of a voting system that 98% of the public support and 99% if Liberal and Labor voters support.

    Ask Zac Kirkup if he spoke to Glen Druery ask McGowan if he spoke to Glen Druery and ask Luke Edmonds (Greens) if they did a preference deal with Glen Druery.

    The Liberal Party State Executive decided to give me (No Mandatory Vaccination Party) preferences ahead of Labor and The Greens, so what changed between Friday night and Sunday afternoon.

    Ask a few questions Antony and have a look at the GVT’s in a bit more detail.

    1. I have looked at the GVTs in great detail and it just confirms my view that they distort the will of the electorate. Voters should determine the preferences that fill the final seats in each region, not preference negotiators.

      I’ve heard several different versions on who ratted on who in preference negotiations, and my answer is that the best solution is that GVTs should be abolished and preferences left for voters to decide.

      No one would even mention Glenn Druery if GVTs were abolished because there would be nothing for him to negotiate and advise on.

      1. I agree with Antony Green. Glenn Druery is not an elected official so why should he dictate who is my elected MP. The GVT has to go.

      2. The point I believe Antony is trying to make is that the change of heart by The Liberals in moving NMV below their arch-rivals (The Greens) made the difference, which is why the article is interesting. And from what you are saying it was a surprise that they went back on their word to NMV.

        As a voter and a person that pays alot of tax (and hence the wages of those elected), I’d like to know how Glen Druery makes a living out of this then? Are there payments from the GVT minor parties, if not, what’s in it for Glen?

        I believe the Greens had NMV Party last on the ticket as well, so i presume the conversation with Luke and Glen you refer to, didn’t go too well.

        Didn’t One Nation and Shooters have NMV quite high on the preferences?

        1. Graham …

          1. Glen Druery makes his money by charging the minor parties who deal with him a success fee.

          2. Not all of the Minor Parties deal with Glen Druery. No Mandatory Vaccination Party, WAxit, Australian Christians, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, Animal Justice Party and Legalise Cannabis WA do not deal with him and act one their own when it comes the preferences.

          3. The major parties (Liberal, Labor, Nationals and Greens) favoured Glen Druery parties ahead of non-Glen Druery parties when they allocated preferences.

          4. The Liberal Party gave high preferences to Liberal Democrats and Liberals for Climate despite the business model for these parties being to gain Liberal Party votes through name confusion. Rather than run a campaign to educate voters about the difference between the parties, as they threatened to, they (the Liberal Party) actually gave these parties as much help to get elected as possible. This gave voters the impression that they were all one big happy Liberal family.

          5. “I believe the Greens had NMV Party last on the ticket as well, so i presume the conversation with Luke and Glen you refer to, didn’t go too well”.

          Well that raises an interesting question. The Greens said to me “Unfortunately in the context of an election being contested on public health issues we won’t be able to come to an arrangement with NMV.”

          The Greens then proceeded to give Health Australia (a Glen Druery party) their first preference in Agricultural Region … ahead of the Labor Party.

          If you can explain that one to me I’d be very interested.

          It is clear that Liberal, Labor and The Greens ALL wanted Glen Druery micro-parties to get elected. In doing so they could discredit the system and replace it with a system where all the preferences from the Minor Parties find their way to the major party stack and then it’s business as usual.

          The idea that minor parties should give their preferences to other minor parties is completely lost on the political elite.

          Prior to the election the question I was asked most often was … “How do I make sure my preferences do not go to a major party ?”.

          I made a submission to the Expert Committee on Electoral Reform and in it said that I was opposed the Group Voting Tickets, as were other minor parties. We do not want a system however where tens of thousands of votes do not get counted because they are exhausted. We want 36. 38, 39. or 42 elected in a single state-wide ballot.

          Typically the Liberal Party are opposed to this idea because they believe that such a system “is likely to result in the election of relatively unpopular single-issue Parties to the WA Legislative Council”… in their own words.(in their submission to the Expert Committee on Electoral Reform).

          The question remains, if minor parties get 20% of the vote, how many Legislative Council members should they get ? The answer is 20%.

          The major parties think it should be 0 seats because all the seats should go to them, just like in the good old days.

          Regions serve no purpose.

          The Nationals would win one seat if there was one rural region with a quota of 10%.
          They got 40,285 votes out of 340,656 or 11.83 %.

          The Nationals got 2.799 % of the state-wide vote. If there were 36 LC members elected in a single ballot, the quota would be 2.70 %. They would still only get one member elected.

          1. Your arguments just provide further evidence of why preferences should not be under the control of parties but instead left to voters to decade.

            Group voting tickets were introduced in 1984 because the Coalition and Australian Democrats would not agree to Labor’s proposal to make Senate preferences optional as a solution to high informal voting, as I explained in this old post.

            What’s happening now is a re-visiting of that argument. If GVTs are abolished, re-introducing full preferential voting is not an option that is acceptable. So it is optional preferential voting (OPV) back on the table, as the way GVTs operate now means that the larger parties will get more preferences from OPV. It will also re-weight the system to the advantage of parties that campaign and get votes over those that get few votes rely entirely on GVTs.

            1. https://www.wa.gov.au/government/ministerial-expert-committee-electoral-reform

              K113 is my submission, Antony. I think it can work. It’s new but I think it’s fair to everyone.

              COMMENT: A couple of very serious problems. Like the Commonwealth Constitution, the WA Constitution states that members must be directly elected. So voters must be able to vote for candidates, and the counting system must allocate seats to candidates not to parties. That has an impact on your proposed counting system because you couldn’t exclude the extra candidates for parties that have already been elected, and as we know from the new Senate system, preferences from small parties tend to flow to the highest profile parties. There is also no way pre-poll voting is going to be abolished.

              I know the direct election provision is a major impediment to using a single electorate for the whole of WA because it could produce an unprintable and uncountable ballot paper.

            2. Point 1: Thanks for clearing up that Glen Druery gets paid to do this, this should be transparent so the voters know. I didn’t see any voting material showing this.

              Point 2: This is great and should be advertised so people and the parties know where everyone sits.

              Point 3: You call the minor parties ‘Glen Druery Parties’ – So is that who people are voting for with the minor parties? What are Glen’s policies and why is his decisions on who gets what preference not out in the open so voters can see what is going on? (See point 5 below as well).

              Point 4: Actually agree, because they all preferenced the Liberal party anyway. So it was a win for the Liberals.

              Point 5: Note – Labor put Shooters (aka NRA) ahead of the Greens, hence why Labor where dropped down the preferences by the Greens. That’s a simple check, NOT a conspiracy theory. I don’t think Greens have many friend groups to choose from, so Health Australia probably sound closer than say One Nation, Shooters (aka NRA) etc..to their beliefs.
              I think the reason Labor went for the Shooters in Ag was because they weren’t actually sure they’d win the election, i think the landslide even surprised them. So they knew farmers don’t like the Greens so they didn’t want Labor to be associated with them, if they were to win votes in some marginal seats. It was a Labor tat-tic, that obviously upset the Greens who then had to move another party up the preference order (which happened to be Health Australia).
              It’s a simple explanation.

              Another question there’s no mention of the Legalise Cannabis party in your comments – didn’t they get a LC seat? And close to 2 seats as i recall. They are a minor party and don’t deal with Glen Druery.

              1. @ Graham … that’s right. Legalise Cannabis WA (who won two seats in the LC) were not with Glenn Druery and neither was the No Mandatory Vaccination Party. The Glen Druery parties combined only got 3% of the vote.

                Unfortunately all of the major parties gave them (the Glen Druery parties) preferences ahead of the minor parties that actually went out and ran candidates in Legislative Assembly seats and tried to get votes the old-fashioned way.

                You cannot get a quota anywhere with 3% of the vote, Mining and Pastoral included. The be successful you need to get preferences from major parties.

                Glen Dreury was successful in getting the major parties on-side because he is very good at what he does and the Liberal Party is particularly inept at what they do.

                The Liberal Party is completely out of it’s league the dealing with Glenn Druery but they still probably don’t even know it.

                The Liberal Party State Executive voted to give the No Mandatory Vaccination Party preferences ahead of The Greens and Labor. The people then trusted with the job of filling out the GVT for the Liberal Party then did the exact opposite to what they were instructed to do.

                The result is that The Greens were elected ahead of me. This situation potentially could have given The Greens the seat that tipped the balance in the Upper House however the Liberals campaign was even more deplorable that their preference negotiations and they were obliterated on Election Day.

                The rank-and-file Liberal members should be asking questions and the Liberal Part State Executive should be asking questions but it’s probably business as usual again.

                The mainstream media post election, gave Glen Druery the red-carpet treatment aa they always do, He was successful in getting Daylight Saving Party elected and was allowed to chest-beat.

                It is almost as if everyone is in on the attempt to discredit the voting system that gives minor parties a fighting chance.

                If the ABC had done their job and talked about the preference arrangements BEFORE the election, the outcome would have been different, They and The West Australian and 6PR all said nothing and then sat back piously post-election and pontificated about the disgraceful situation that they all manufactured.

                Unfortunately the major parties, Glen Druery and the Mainstream Media worked hand-in-glove.

                The Greens gave Health Australia their highest preference in Agricultural. They were Glen Druery’s preferred party in Agricultural. Greens were working with Glen Druery despite Glen Druery not delivering the anything in return apart from convincing the Liberal Party to dump No Mandatory Vaccination Party to the bottom.

                If the Liberal Party had competent people with a bit of integrity doing the job they were entrusted with, the situation Antony outline in the heading of this article would never have happened.

                1. Cam, I have several comments.

                  First, it is nice to hear all the intricacies of who negotiated with who, but elections are about who voters want to be their representatives, not who a small cabal of preference negotiators chose to arrange to be elected. Every time you discuss the various deals and who ratted and who, it is just more arguments about why the voters should decide this.

                  Second, the three regions that elected minor party candidates were the three regions where minor parties (i.e. excluding ALP, LIB, NAT, GRN) got a quota between them. They could only elect a member in the other regions with preferences from one of the bigger parties. In North Metropolitan, the Australian Christians could have won the final seat at the expense of the Liberal Party except Animal Justice and Legalise Cannabis didn’t give the ACP their ticket. Asking a voter to work out that’s how the tickets end up is almost impossible.

                  Third, the preference deals are so arcane and complex that voters cannot look at the tickets and know where their vote will end up. To do that you need to know the order candidates will finish, and from that how the links of preferences would build and build. On analysis of the tickets Labor would have beaten Legalise Cannabis in East Metro and beaten the Greens in South Metro. That they didn’t was because of the high rate of ATL voting for Labor. Once BTL votes were include, neither result occurred. How is anyone msupposed to know who their vote is electing? Better the voter fill their own preferences and their vote will be counted as they complete the ballot.

                  For all your criticism of the ABC, only the ABC publishes a calculator that lets people work out where their vote might end up and who gets elected. I developed a calculator two decades ago and have published them in the ABC website since 2007. They are unbelievably accurate, but their accuracy explains what is wrong with group voting tickets. That you can predict someone’s election from low votes reveals how much the tickets structure the filling of final seats.

                  Thirdly, I suspect the Liberal Party is entirely happy with the headline of this post because I believe they would have attracted far more criticism had they elected you in place of the Green. The Liberal Party supports abolition of GVTs.

              2. 99% of voters don’t want to distribute their own preferences, Antony. It’s only those in the political class who want this to happen.

                The only reason Glen Druery had any success is because the major parties got into bed with him.

                I’m sure that ALP voters didn’t think their preferences were going to Daylight Saving instead of The Greens, in Mining and Pastoral.

                I’m sure The Greens supporters did not think their preferences would go to Daylight Saving instead of Labor, in Mining and Pastoral.

                or that The Greens would preference to Health Australia in Agricultural.

                or that the Liberals were preferencing to Liberal Democrats ahead of Australian Christians in North Metropolitan.

                The ALP are already banning parties from speaking in government buildings if they do not support government policies.

                Google … Albany Convention Centre + Peter Abetz.

                If minor parties get 20% of the vote in the Legislative Council, they should get 20% of the seats, not zero seats.
                If the major parties with their public funding get 80% of the vote they should get 80% of the seats in the Legislative Council, not all of them.

                The major parties orchestrated this attention grabbing 98 votes for Wilson Tucker scenario to concentrate power.

                1. “99% of voters don’t want to distribute their own preferences” is an assertion, not a real number.

                  Every comment you make about all those other ticket and where preferences went is true. And that is why group voting tickets should be abolished because voters don’t know the deals that are going on. And the way to get rid of deals is to put control of preferences into the hands of voters. That’s what NSW did in 2003, the Senate in 2016 and South Australia in 2018 and I’m expecting WA will follow the same route.

              3. So, once again, we have someone who has demonstrated nothing more than their ability to read tables, setting themselves up as an authority and using that to promote their own ideology and proliferate divisive slurs on those who disagree.
                Antony Green has used publicly available and easily discernible figures to try to quell the growing rejection worldwide of Mandatory Vaccination by suggesting voters are too stupid to understand where their preferences go, and that, since a party he does not believe in played by the rules and should have won a seat, the rules must change.
                His statement: “That’s more than 40,000 voters with no idea their above-the-line vote for a chosen party or independent would be sent off to try an elect a representative from the No Mandatory Vaccination Party.” Is an affront to all voters.
                I stood all day at a polling station. The question I was most asked was about preferences.
                People are not stupid.
                Yes, the game is rigged towards the big parties and the big deal brokers, but preferences are just a small aspect.
                Green would do better if he really wants to be taken seriously, to ‘follow the dollar’ – what possible future legislation deals were made? What favours or debts were called in? Who really benefitted from the Liberals making a last-minute, and by no means uncontested, deal to give preferences to the struggling Greens?
                Watch what goes through parliament, and you will see the answers to these questions.
                I would suggest, in the long run, the Greens won’t benefit. They turned their back on their voters, who supported the No Mandatory Vaccination stance. They lost votes in droves due to their alliance with the big parties – and they know it.
                Green’s assertion “That Tinley came close to victory was due entirely to GVTs and had nothing to do with his party’s level of support or any other party that contributed GVT transfers to his total.” Is biased idiocy.
                Once again, he is trying to undermine the level of support the No Mandatory Vaccination Party has, and the intelligence of those who both voted for it and supported it.
                His bias is clearly also shown in this paragraph:
                “Cam Tinley… was not opposed to vaccination, just mandatory vaccination. However, such subtle differences would have been entirely missed by anti-vaxxers trumpeting that a victory for Tinley sent a message to politicians about vaccination.
                Maybe, instead of using biased and emotionally-laden labels like ‘anti-vaxxer’ aimed at marginalising and undermining those who do not believe as he does, Green would do well to consider this:
                How is it that a party like the No Mandatory Vaccination Party, which started a few months before the election, laboured under an almost total media blackout, could not even get their party name uttered on mainstream media – still gained so many votes, and so many preferences?
                How did they succeed in gaining representatives in every seat when those candidates had to, in many instances, pay for signage and marketing collateral out of their own pockets – competing against politicians from the major parties with $85,000 plus expense accounts.
                The answer is simple – people knew about the No Mandatory Vaccination Party, voted for them, and the preferences that were given were due to ideological congruencies – not backhanded deals.
                The same will be true in the Federal Election, only in greater numbers than Green can imagine – hence, the timing of his puerile little article.

                1. You state “Green’s assertion ‘That Tinley came close to victory was due entirely to GVTs and had nothing to do with his party’s level of support or any other party that contributed GVT transfers to his total.’ Is biased idiocy.”

                  Your comment is one of the most inane assertions on the operation of preferential voting I have ever read. Did you even read the post? Did you look at how the preferences were controlled? Did you look at the table showing the composition and source of the party’s vote at the end of the count?

                  You also say this. “Antony Green has used publicly available and easily discernible figures to try to quell the growing rejection worldwide of Mandatory Vaccination by suggesting voters are too stupid to understand where their preferences go, and that, since a party he does not believe in played by the rules and should have won a seat, the rules must change.”

                  Should have won the seat? Why? The minor party vote in South Metropolitan Region was not enough to elect a minor party without preferences from either the Labor Party, Liberal Party or Greens. Those parties chose not to give preference to No Mandatory Vaccination ahead of other alternatives. All parties in the region operated under the same rules. You state that No Mandatory Vaccination played by the rules, which given your assertion the party should have won, seems to suggest the Liberal Party didn’t play by the rules. The same rules on preference tickets applied to all the parties.

                  Read the post. Without the GVTs, No Mandatory Vaccination had no, zero, zilch chance of election. The party polled 1.01% of the vote. To get as close as it did, the party had to first collect the preference tickets from 15 groups to catch and pass the higher polling Australian Christians (1.92%), Legalise Cannabis WA (1.81%), One Nation (1.04%) and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (1.03%). That was impossible without GVTs.

                  And then you say this “How is it that a party like the No Mandatory Vaccination Party, which started a few months before the election, laboured under an almost total media blackout, could not even get their party name uttered on mainstream media – still gained so many votes, and so many preferences?”

                  They got so many preferences because of the arranged group voting tickets, not because of voters. NSW abolished GVTs in 2003, the Senate in 2016, South Australia in 2018 and Western Australia is next to see them abolished. And without GVTs, minor parties cannot send or receive preferences at the 95% plus rate we saw in WA. We know that as fact that from decades of Senate elections before GVTs, from decades of election in Tasmania and the the ACT, and from the three jurisdictions that have abolished GVTs since 2000. Voters giving their own preferences DO NOT produce the strong flows and magical mystery tour strings of preferences produced by group voting tickets. It is a verifiable fact that they do not.

                  The election of Wilson Tucker in Mining and Pastoral, and the near election of Cam Tinley in South Metropolitan, would have been impossible without group voting tickets. The assertion that he came close to victory because of voter support for the vaccination issue is as silly as saying Tucker’s victory was due to voter support for Daylight Saving. In both cases the result was due to the wheeling and dealing over group voting ticket preferences.

                2. Helen you honestly sound like someone who is from a dangerous religious cult. The NMV Party didn’t do well at the voting even though they got a lot of media attention from Sky News and Alan Jones. That’s because the scare campaign is not real, look at Europe, most people are now vaccinated and no harm came to them.
                  I hope you can access some good people around you, who can help broaden your horizons.

                  COMMENT: The No Mandatory Vaccination Party did finish fifth in the Assembly, but with only 23,178 votes or 1.64% of the vote. It contested all 59 seats and both One Nation and the Australian Christians polled more votes on a per seat contested basis. In the Council, where minor parties contested every region, NMV was the 9th placed party with 16,094 votes or 1.12%. Legalise Cannabis, Australian Christians, One Nation and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party all polled more votes. The anti-vaccination Health Australia Party was the lowest polling party that contested all regions with 3,105 votes or 0.22%.

                  1. Graham, I don’t know what state you’re in but the No Mandatory Vaccination Party got zero press coverage in Western Australia, where the election was held.

                    The name of the party was never mentioned at all until Antony made a comment on election night (after all the votes had been cast). It is difficult to not mention the name of a party that contested every seat in the state but the local media managed to do that.

                    When you say “no harm came to them” you are discounting the long-tern effects of the vaccination two, three, five or twenty years down the track.

                    Having the vaccination and successfully making it back to your car without convulsing, does not mean there are no side-effects. They just haven’t become apparent.

                    If you are getting all your information from the papers or TV, Graham you’re not going to have much of an idea of what’s going on here.

                    COMMENT: This is a blog about elections and electoral systems, not vaccination. I’ve allowed two comments that have talked about vaccination but that’s my limit. No more.

                    1. I am voter in WA, who works, has a family, pays tax and votes every 2 years (state/federal) and I just want pollies to do their job they are paid to do without abusing that power.

                      Look at Sky News, Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt, Craig Kelly etc.. all getting lots of media coverage and pushing back against lockdowns, and sowing seeds of doubt about vaccinations. Even the PM and Josh Fry… with saying there’s ‘no rush’ to get a vaccine.

                      If you don’t want a vaccine, that’s your choice but those of us who do, let that be our choice.

                      My last comment, as an ordinary voter i am obviously too beneath you. You talk to people like you are part of the ‘political elite’ (all high and mighty, like i/others are not worth your time) you often refer to.
                      Thanks for the transparency on Glen Druery though.

                  2. Just wanted to express my appreciation for your work Antony and to bring some positivity into this comment section. You really are a national treasure and I hope you continue on your quest to improve democracy in Australia.

                  3. Antony, 98.83% of ALP voters voted Above the Line and 98.33% of Liberal voters voted Above the Line.

                    Above the Line voting has increased significantly in the past two elections.

                    The public could vote Below the Line but they prefer to give that job to the party they support. The voters assume that the parties have more knowledge about what’s in their best interests than they do.

                    Of course you could FORCE the public to allocate their own preferences but they clearly prefer not to do that.

                    The preferences are public information. The fact that the media do not report PRIOR to the election, what has happened, is an indictment on the media not an indictment on the public.

                    It is not in the public interest to have tens of thousands of votes not being counted because of vote exhaustion or informality.

                    True, Glen Druery benefits from this system but he does not have a monopoly on using the system it’s just that he does it best. He wins because the major parties are out of their depth when dealing with him. The Liberal Party just happen to be embarrassingly out of their depth and every party knows it.

                    COMMENT: In every jurisdiction, the rate of ATL voting has increased as the number of candidates and groups increased. In South Metropolitan Region in 2021, the voters had two choices, 1 square ATL or 64 with no errors BTL and is it any wonder people voted ATL. The preference books are published on Electoral Commission sites and on the ABC site. They get very little access. The rate of BTL voting has increased with the abolition of tickets, and is also higher in Victoria where they have GVTs but only 5 preferences required for a BTL vote.

                    Even then, you cannot know where your preference will end up. In East Metropolitan in 2021, a close contests between Legalise Cannabis and the Western Australian Party determined whether Legalise Cannabis or Labor won the last seat. Unless you knew the order of those two parties, you don’t know where your preferences go.

                    Remember also, the elected members finish with 6/7ths of the vote with 1/7th not electing a member. With exhaustion, the exhausted preferences end up filling this seventh quota.

                    Another thing, the rise of the preference “harvesting” has meant the major parties no longer get any preferences. They do get more preferences than minor parties when voters fill them in, so you can see why the major parties have tired of the whole preference negotiation game.

                  4. Thanks Antony for your common sense refutation of absurd arguments.
                    I have always voted Above the Line but that doesn’t make me a supporter of Group Voting Tickets, whose demise can’t come soon enough.

                  5. Hi Anthony,

                    Hope you have been safe and well and what follows you can put online or not, am not too fussed about it.

                    —-start rant—-

                    If Mr. Dreary had tempered his ego and desire to be “the preference whisperer” the definition incorporating the part, to speak in hushed tones, instead his self marketing /mouthing off to the micro party players having commercialised then weaponised the stooge party approach to manipulate preference flows, who would have been the wiser?

                    For any election system to function at an optimum, then each or any system imposed, needs a well educated body of voters to deliver an optimum outcome. Instead civics education is not considered important enough, or in simpler terms, if you ain’t educated in the mechanisms of manipulation then ignorant you remain. Wonder who that serves?

                    At each election where GVTs have been in use there is a booklet (readily available) setting out each and every preference flow and yes, it is a quagmire to traverse and to eventually comprehend – but it is possible.

                    My simple 2 cents is that, yes, keep the above /below the line approach with a formal above the line being the number of positions to be filled + 1. This cancels out those who cannot make muster on popularity. With below the line lets make it twice the number + 1. Only other change is to limit candidate numbers in a group to say half -1 of the positions to be filled for where the whole of seats available are so.

                    —-end rant—-

                    Also, if the pestilence persists how best is democracy served when elections need to be held?
                    Combine in-car CoVid testing with ballot casting with a swipe of the ‘ol Medicare card to check off the roll, which is our de-facto Australia Card anway?

                  6. I have decided I support the abolition of Group Voting Tickets & the introduction of Optional Preferential Voting. What I do in the Senate is vote below the line according to my Lefty political opinions, descending in preferential order until I get to the Coalition. I leave the boxes blank for Right Wing Nut Jobs (of which there are always several varieties) and anyone for whom I can’t discover what they stand for.

                    If you understand the preferential system, you realise that maximising the power of your vote involves allocating preferences as far as you can stomach them. It’s only when they’re worse than the Coalition that I can’t make myself identify the lesser evil.

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