upper house

2022 SA Legislative Council Result

Update on when the count will finish – While the lower house count is complete, the time-consuming scanning of Legislative Council ballot papers takes time. The button push for the distribution of preferences is expected around the Anzac Day weekend.

Update: With every vote now counted, there are some slight changes to the partial quota values. One Nation is 0.51, Labor 0.42, LDP 0.39, Family First 0.37. I still stick to my view in the post that Labor’s position will improve with scrutiny of BTL votes, with preference flows from the Greens, Animal Justice and Legalise Cannabis, and with the general leakage of preferences to the larger parties. But there is a chance the gap could close if there are any significant preference flows between the LDP and Family First. And there is still a chance that order could alter.

Original Post Follows

With the lower house counts being finalised today, it is time to take a closer look at the upper house election for the Legislative Council (LC).

Almost all Legislative Council first preference votes have been counted. The process of scanning and data entering ballot papers is underway. Once that is completed, the distribution of preferences will be undertaken very quickly by computer.

Nine seats are clear, electing four Labor MLCs, four Liberals and one Green. The final two seats look likely to go a fifth Labor MLC and the state’s first One Nation MLC.

If the election finishes as set out in the previous paragraph, the new Legislative Council will be 9 Labor, 8 Liberal, 2 Greens, 2 SA Best and a One Nation member. Assuming Labor appoints a President, then Labor would need the votes of three of the five cross bench members to pass legislation.
Read More »2022 SA Legislative Council Result

WA’s Zonal Electoral System and the Legislative Council Reform Debate

This post is a detailed look at Western Australia’s zonal electoral system ahead of a major review of how the Legislative Council is elected.

The malapportionment that applied to lower house boundaries was abolished with the introduction of one-vote one-value electoral boundaries at the 2008 election.

But malapportionment remains for the Legislative Council, and was in fact made worse by changes to region representation in 2008.

The bias in the electoral system against Perth has drifted out from 2.80-to-1 when the current system was adopted in 1989, to 3.07-to-1 in 2021.

But this hides another developing bias, an increased weighting against voters in South West Region. Where in 1989 average enrolment per MLC in the three non-metropolitan regions was equal, by the 2021 election, average enrolment in Agricultural Region and Mining and Pastoral Region had blown out to a ratio of 2.81-to-1 against voters in South West Region.

Western Australia’s current electoral regions defined by land usage rather than population is unsustainable given demographic trends.

The McGowan government has appointed a Ministerial Expert Committee chaired by QC and former WA Governor Malcolm McCusker to examine reform options for the Legislative Council. The existing malapportionment of the Legislative Council’s electoral system is one amongst several issues it will be addressing. (You can find details of the Committee here)

In this post I set out in detail the problems with the current malapportionment. In future posts I’ll return to other issues such as whether Western Australia should follow the Commonwealth, New South Wales and South Australia by abolishing group voting tickets for elections to the upper house.
Read More »WA’s Zonal Electoral System and the Legislative Council Reform Debate

How to Vote in the Western Australian Upper House

It is VERY important that voters understand that the rules for voting in the WA upper house, the Legislative Council, are not the same as those used at the last two federal Senate elections.

Ahead of the 2016 Federal election, the rules for Senate voting were changed. Party control over preferences was ended by the abolition of group voting tickets (GVTs), previously used by parties to control preferences. The new system put control over between-party preference entirely in the hands of voters, the same as applies at lower house elections.

But these changes do not apply for WA Legislative Council elections.

This post is a Q&A explaining the differences and giving some hints on how to complete your Legislative Council ballot paper.Read More »How to Vote in the Western Australian Upper House