Filling all the BTL Squares – Incidence at the 2019 SA Senate Election

As promised, here’s one of my occasional Graph of the Day posts on something I’m currently researching.

How many people voting below-the-line (BTL) on Senate ballot papers go on to fill in all the squares? Here’s the answer in a graph using South Australian Senate data from the 2019 Federal election.Read More »Filling all the BTL Squares – Incidence at the 2019 SA Senate Election

Updating the Parties Registered to Contest the 2021 Western Australian Election

News 2 FebruaryMy election guide for the WA election has now been published.

Updates

5 February – the proposal to re-name “Daylight Saving Party” as “Daylight Saving Party – the National Liberals” with ballot paper abbreviation “National Liberals” was rejected.
2 February – the first of the contentious name change applications has been approved. The Flux Party will now appear on ballot papers as ‘Liberals for Climate’.
29 January – registration of Great Australian Party and Legalise Cannabis Western Australia Party approved.
19 January – the Small Business Party name change to WAXit Party has been approved.
13 January – the No Mandatory Vaccination Party has now been registered.


In December 2020 I published posts on controversial applications to change the names of two Western Australian political parties. Both applications are attempts by minor parties to adopt ballot paper party names that could easily be confused with the Liberal Party.

The first post dealt with an application by Flux the System! to appear on ballot papers as Liberals for Climate. The second was an application by the Daylight Saving Party to appear on ballot papers as the National Liberals. There is also a good article on the applications on the ABC News site.

Both changes, plus applications to register new parties, indicate that WA voters are set to face large upper house ballot papers from a record number of registered parties. It’s all part of a typical preference harvesting strategy by minor and micro-parties, still possible in Western Australia as the state continues to use group ticket voting to elect the Legislative Council.

Such arranged preference deals were abolished federally with reform of the Senate’s electoral system in 2016.

To keep track of what’s going on as the WA election approaches, I’ll use this post to follow the late rush of applications to change and/or register parties.
Read More »Updating the Parties Registered to Contest the 2021 Western Australian Election

More Party Name Change Nonsense Ahead of the Western Australian election

Update: The proposal to re-name the Daylight Saving Party was rejected by the WA Electoral Commission.

First it was Flux trying to re-name itself “Liberals for Climate”. (See the detail in this post)

Now it is the Daylight Saving Party trying to change its name to the “Daylight Saving Party – The National Liberals”.

What in my opinion is politically scandalous is the application attempts to adopt “National Liberals” as the party name that will appear on the ballot paper.

So not only is the party trying to confuse voters looking for the Liberal or National parties on the Legislative Council ballot paper, but wants to adopt a name that does not let voters know the party’s one big policy, to introduce daylight saving in Western Australia. Voters in Western Australian have rejected daylight saving at four referendums over the past 50 years.

In my opinion, adopting “National Liberals” as the new party name to appear on the ballot paper instead of “Daylight Saving Party” is a clear attempt to mis-lead voters as to the party’s identity and policies.
Read More »More Party Name Change Nonsense Ahead of the Western Australian election

Candidates, Informal Voting and Optional Preferential Voting

In the final week of parliamentary sittings, Queensland LNP Senator James McGrath tabled the report of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM’s) inquiry into the conduct of the 2019 Federal election. (You can find the report here.)

One of the controversial proposals in the report, and one opposed by Labor and Green members of JSCEM, was a recommendation to move from full or compulsory preferential voting (CPV) to optional preferential voting (OPV) for House of Representatives elections.

The report provides few arguments in favour of OPV. The recommendation for OPV appears suddenly at the end of a brief discussion on informal voting, in particular noting the impact OPV’s use at NSW elections has on informal voting at Federal elections. Senate McGrath presented a different argument for OPV when tabling the JSCEM report in the Senate, referring to OPV as a measure “to maximise voter choice”.

I’ve written on OPV many time previously, and I would suggest reading this post I wrote in 2013 after a previous suggestion from the Coalition about introducing OPV.

Informal voting will always be higher under compulsory preferential voting because ballot papers with faulty numbering have few options for salvation available. This compares with OPV where ballot papers with incomplete, duplicate or missing numbers, or completed with a single tick or cross, can count for candidates to the extent that a voter’s intent is clear.Read More »Candidates, Informal Voting and Optional Preferential Voting

The Decline of Three-Cornered Contests at Federal Elections

This is the first post in a topic I’m calling “Graph of the Day”. It will mainly be shorter posts where I’ll graph something I’ve been researching or otherwise think is worth documenting.

This post and its graphs are about the decline of three-cornered or triangular contests, that is districts where both Coalition parties nominate candidates against the Labor Party.

The decline has been steep, from more than 40% of districts in the mid-1980s to fewer than 8% at the last six Federal elections.

The number of three-cornered contests is likely to fall further if a proposal from within the Federal Coalition to introduce optional preferential voting comes to fruition.

My prediction of a further decline under optional preferential voting is based on the record of state elections in NSW and Queensland. NSW has used optional preferential voting for state elections since 1980, and it was also used for Queensland state elections from 1992 to 2015.

That the Coalition parties actively avoid three-cornered contests under OPV is clear. There has not been a three-cornered contest at a NSW election since 1999. In Queensland, after 61 three-cornered contests at the first OPV election in 1992, the numbers declined to one in 1995, two in 1998, and six at the 2001 election. There were no three-cornered contests in 2004 or 2006, and the Liberal and National Parties merged ahead of the 2009 Queensland election.Read More »The Decline of Three-Cornered Contests at Federal Elections

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

What’s in a Party Name?

UPDATE 2 February – The name change has been approved by by the WA Electoral Commission.

For a party that argues “Australian democracy is broken”, that claims to be “Australia’s most transparent political party”, the Flux Party of Western Australia has taken a breathtakingly cynical step ahead of next March’s Western Australian election.

As shown below, the party has proposed to change its name and hopes to appear on ballot papers in March as “Liberals for Climate”.

I can’t see this as anything else but an attempt to mislead voters into confusing Liberals for Climate with the Liberal Party. It is an attempt to boost the party’s Legislative Council vote and manipulate the group voting ticket system still used in Western Australia.

The question is, will there be enough objection to this cynical name change, and strong enough legal argument against it, to prevent “Liberals for Climate” appearing on next year’s ballot papers?
Read More »What’s in a Party Name?

Will Saving the NT’s Second House Seat Cost the ACT its Third Seat?

UPDATE: The legislation has been introduced and it does not fix the number of Territory seats at a minimum of two. It instead adopts my proposal to use the harmonic rather than arithmetic mean in determining seat entitlements for the territory. However, the harmonic only applies for quotients under three. That provision might need a re-visit if the Parliament ever increases in size. The statistical error provision has been repealed. The determination in July merging the NT into a single seat has been set aside and two seats restored. Legislating backwards for the harmonic mean was too difficult but under it the NT would have been entitled to two seats.

From the next determination, to take place after the next election, the new rules will apply to the territories. The NT will be entitled to a second seat if its quotient is above 1.3333 rather than the current 1.5. The ACT will be entitled to a third seat with a quotient above 2.4 rather than 2.5. As noted above, this new harmonic mean will not apply above three seats.

The legislation and notes related to it can be found at this link.

Minister’s Second Reading Speech here.

Original post

Read More »Will Saving the NT’s Second House Seat Cost the ACT its Third Seat?

2020 Groom By-election – Rates of Pre-Poll and Postal Voting

Voting for the Groom by-election has been underway today with few surprises expected in the result.

Groom is an ultra-safe LNP seat, held with a margin of 20.5%. The by-election has been caused by the resignation of LNP member John McVeigh. Only four candidates have nominated, well down on the 14 that contested the Eden-Monaro by-election in July. That Labor nominated a candidate in such as safe LNP seat was greeted with general surprise, while the Greens have opted out of contesting a Federal by-election for the first time in a quarter-century.

The LNP’s Garth Hamilton is expected to win easily and I won’t be providing any coverage of the results tonight. The best places to follow the results are the Australian Electoral Commission’s website, and via William Bowe at his Pollbludger site.

As I have for other elections this year, I thought it worth devoting a post to pre-poll and postal voting rates. With Covid-19 still around, you would have expected a high rate of postal and pre-poll voting. In fact the numbers are only slightly higher in Groom than at last year’s Federal election.

It gives me an opportunity to raise an issue about postal vote applications that should be addressed before the next Federal election. In short, there are serious questions as to whether we should still be allowing postal vote applications as late as the Wednesday before polling day. With Australia Post scaling back postal delivery times, what is the point of allowing application for postal votes too late for the postal vote pack to be delivered before polling day?
Read More »2020 Groom By-election – Rates of Pre-Poll and Postal Voting

2020 Queensland Election – Results by Vote Type

The great unknown ahead of the 2020 Queensland election concerned what change in voting patterns would we see as a result of holding an election during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tracking the postal and pre-poll figures before the election revealed a huge increase in postal and pre-poll voting as a proportion of enrolment. Now we know the votes cast, that trend shows up in the results.

Politically Labor did much better with pre-poll and postal voting than it did in 2017. But with much greater numbers in both categories of votes, the improvement may just reflect more Labor voters voting early.
Read More »2020 Queensland Election – Results by Vote Type