Friday, June 27, 2014

Nil-All On Anti-Protesting

Last night the new Tasmanian state Liberal government fulfilled one of its election promises by passing the Workplaces (Protection From Protestors) Bill 2014.  This bill was mainly inspired by a desire to crack down on anti-forestry protestors who obstruct lawful businesses.  We haven't seen that much of that sort of thing lately in Tasmania, but based on the new government's attempts to rip up what it can of the forestry "peace deal" passed during the last government's rule, we may be seeing more of it quite soon. Anti-forestry protests are considered a problem not just because of the obstruction to workers they create, but also because the ease of conducting illegal anti-forestry protests greatly assists activists to gain media coverage that helps in their attempts to damage the industry's brand.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Turnbull PM: Not Likely Any Time Soon (Poll Roundup)

2PP Aggregate: 53.1% To Labor (-0.9 since mid-May)
This article will be updated through late June to about mid July.  Scroll to the bottom for the latest additions.

Just enough results of interest have accumulated to start another roundup of the federal polling information that is out there.  But there is still not a vast amount to look at since the previous instalment, so this article doubles as my thoughts on something else that was causing rather a lot of media flutter last week.  First, the basic polling:

Is The Government Recovering?

This week's polls might be taken as some mild sign that the government is starting to recover from the bad polling recorded following the federal budget.  Newspoll is back a point to 53:47 and this week's Morgan sample (54.5 by last-election preferences, 55.5 respondent-allocated) is similar once due allowance is made for Morgan's house effect.  Essential failing to move (it's still on 54) of course means very little.  (In passing, I note that it is interesting to see the massive 17% support for Others in this Newspoll being described as "support for independents and micro-parties".  Palmer United are certainly not a micro-party anymore, and much of the Coalition's recent loss of primary support seems to be going directly to PUP.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Denison Ballot Papers Damage Report Released

In the first few months of this year, this site provided extensive coverage of the Tasmanian state elections. In my Denison post-count thread I touched on an unusual incident that happened during the counting of postal ballot papers, in which the incorrect operation of a letter-opening machine damaged over 2000 ballots.  Announcements at the time said that 163 ballots (a number later reduced slightly, then increased again) were "irreparably damaged and have had to be treated as informal."

At the time there was a clear danger of this damage affecting the close contest between Madeleine Ogilvie and Julian Amos for the final seat (ultimately won by Ogilvie after two lead changes during the distribution of preferences).  In the end the margin of 331 votes was large enough that it was clear the Tasmanian Electoral Commission had dodged the 2013 WA Senate count bullet.  But this is not only clear because the final margin was of that size, but also because of some advantages of Hare-Clark over the current Senate system.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Optional Senate Preferencing: Not An ALP/Liberal/Green Stitch-Up

Advance Summary

1. This article welcomes the recent interim Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters report into the Senate voting system and generally supports its recommendations.

2. One important issue in Senate voting reform not yet adequately addressed is the calculation of transfer values for surplus votes. 

3. A recent article by Malcolm Mackerras claims that nearly all Senators elected in 2013 were elected by informed voter choice and that major parties are changing the system opportunistically while their vote is falling.

4. However, the Coalition's Senate vote only fell in 2013 because of defects in the current Senate system.

5. At least four and possibly as many as seven Senate outcomes in 2013 did not fairly reflect the will of the voters.

6. The idea that micro-parties combined should be entitled to seats in proportion to their total vote share assumes that micro-party voters very strongly prefer other micro-parties generally to the bigger parties.

7. Analysis of actual Lower House micro-party preference flows shows that any such assumption is false.