Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Tasmania Senate 2016 Button Press And Analysis


Order 1 Abetz (Lib) 2 Urquhart (ALP) 3 Whish-Wilson (Green) 4 Lambie (JLN) 5 Parry (Lib) 6 Polley (ALP) 7 Duniam (Lib) 8 Brown (ALP) 9 Bushby (Lib) 10 Singh (ALP) 11 Bilyk (ALP) 12 McKim (Green) 
Colbeck (Lib) was passed by McKim and McCulloch and excluded
5 Labor 4 Liberal 2 Green 1 Lambie

I would like to thank all the AEC staff in Hobart for all their help with information on the count and congratulate them on their efficient and punctual delivery of the Tasmanian outcomes.

Another great preferencing tool

William Bowe has prepared a spreadsheet that shows which parties' voters most often placed which other parties in their top six.

Just Vote 1

As already noted, hardly anyone just voted 1 for a party in the Tasmanian Senate race, despite the hysteria about people doing so before the election.  Just over 1% of all voters (this includes those who voted below the line) cast a single 1 for a party above the line.

For both major parties the share of all their ATL votes that were just-1 was the same: 1.5%, the same as the state average for all ATLs.  Parties with conspicuously high (compared to the state average) rates of just-1 were Citizens Electoral Council 3.8, Australian Liberty Alliance 3.5, Sex/HEMP 3.5, Liberal Democrats 3.3, Shooters Fishers and Farmers 2.8, Family First 2.5, Palmer United 2.3.  Parties with low rates of just-1 were the Greens 0.6, Nick Xenophon Team 0.7, Christian Democrats 1.1, Renewable Energy 1.1.  All others were in the range 1.5-2%.

Donkey Votes

A large "semi-donkey" component was obvious in scrutineering the Family First vote in Tasmania.  Some voters had picked six parties and then voted for their chosen six in order across the ballot, without realising that the order matters (or without caring about it).  But the fully-fledged above the line donkey-vote (at least 1-6 for the first six parties across the line) was very rare: 0.1% of all Tasmanian voters did this.

Section 282 Ambiguity On 3 and 6 Year Terms

There is a detailed post up by Dean Ashley (Alaric) dealing with the ambiguity of the Section 282 rules to prepare a recommendation for which Senators get 3 and 6 year terms.  The drafting of these rules is quite a mess and this was a hot topic of discussions I had with a few people following the declaration of the polls today.  There are ambiguities in the wording of Section 282 concerning, for example:

* whether votes that were informal in the original count (eg they had two 1s) can become formal in the S 282 recount (I would think not)
* whether votes that were partially formal in the original count (because of duplications of numbers) can become more formal in the recount if numbers are no longer duplicated (again I would think not but this has never been clarified)
* whether votes that were fully formal in the original count can become informal in the S 282 recount because they do not have enough preferences (again I would think not, hardly the voter's fault)
* whether a vote that has zero usable preferences in the recount because it is entirely for excluded candidates counts towards quota although it in fact exhausts immediately (this is largely a quirk of applying S282 the new system, although it could have happened in the old system too; the AEC's view as of 2011 was no; Antony Green also believes such a vote is excluded).

(PS Another one has come up, and it's a cracker:

* whether a vote that was originally formal both above and below the line, but has zero usable preferences in the recount below the line can have its above the line preferences used in the recount instead.  I think the legislation has not anticipated this application of the new system at all!)

The AEC made recommendations to JSCEM to fix this mess up in 2011 but it didn't happen.

The interesting thing is that simulations by Ashley and Grahame Bowland have found that different answers to these questions produce different 3 and 6 year winners in the case of Tasmania.  As there is no prospect of the parliament fixing this in advance of the allocation we'll just have to see what the AEC comes up with and what the Senate makes of it.

Exact Stats On HTV Follow Rates

Thanks again to David Barry's brilliant explorer function, we can find the portion of each party's above the line voters who followed each party's how-to-vote card as far as six. (Or as far as it went).  I should point out that many parties had their HTV cards online, and preference recommendations were collated by the ABC and here, so they were not that hard to find for people wanting to know what their party suggested.

These are the rates:

Liberal 11.9%, Green 7.3%, Christian Democrats 4.1%, Australian Liberty Alliance 3.0%, Labor 2.8%, Rec Fishers 2.3%, Animal Justice Party 2.0% (card preferenced 1-5 only), Shooters Fishers and Farmers 1.6%, Liberal Democrats 0.8% (card preferenced 1-4 only), Science Party 0.5%, One Nation 0.4%, Family First 0.3%, Renewable Energy 0.2%, Sex/HEMP 0.1%.

Also, 19.1% of NXT voters followed the recommendation to preference Lambie Network second.

As especially stark evidence of what I noticed in scrutineering that the gun-toting and bible-bashing parties didn't mix, both One Nation and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers preferenced the Christian Democrats second on their card.  But only 1.3% of One Nation voters and 2.3% of Shooters voters gave their second preference to the CDP!

So if anyone is doing any analysis of other states that relies on HTV cards in any way, my firm suggestion to you is to put it in the bin.  And if anyone is plotting preference deals between micro-parties for a future Senate election under this system, I suggest they give it up and take up racing model tanks.

Preference Flows: Harvesting Is Dead, Good Riddance

(Note: There is a better version of the data below at David Barry's site , with a neat explorer function, that eliminates the problem of flow between parties. But the conclusions are the same.)

The table below shows the grouped parties that left the count in order of them doing so, and the three biggest preference flows from each party.  (Exh = exhaust).  If the party issued a how-to-vote card (including online), then I show where the vote would have gone next if the voter followed that card, based on the actual count.  This is not necessarily the party shown 2 on the card, since it may by that stage have been excluded.  (The Sex Party preferenced five micros, all of which were excluded before it).  If the party shown on the card was not among the top three preference destinations then I show the percentage that went to that party in brackets.

Bear in mind that as we go down the list, the number of remaining parties decreases, so the share of preferences for each remaining party (and exhaust) goes up.  The high exhaust rates at the end are atypical; for the whole count only 2.8% of all vote-values exhausted.

Also, not all the preferences are above-the-line votes, with BTL votes a significant contaminant (especially for the Lambie Network exclusion).  And the preferences include votes that have come from other parties. (A breakdown by originating party could be retrieved from the original data to get a clear figure for HTV card follow rates but it would be a lot more work).

But even so, if voters were following how-to-vote cards in any great numbers, we would see it.  They're not.

In Tasmania, Senate reform has killed the preference harvesting model of Glenn Druery and co stone cold, spectacularly dead.  Of the bottom five parties that issued cards, in no case was the preferenced party one of the top three actual preference getters!  In one case the preferenced party received only 3.6% of preferences from the recommending party, which they surely would have got even with an open ticket.  There is no evidence preferences flowed more strongly when a micro-party had a card to when it didn't (if anything, the contrary).

In the cases where the preferenced party did receive the most preferences, this could well be explained by it being a similar party ideologically rather than by people following the cards.  Indeed David Barry has now determined that precisely two voters followed the Renewable Energy Party card from 1 to 6, whereas the other 99.8% of REP voters made up their own minds.  The funny thing is that at the booth I voted at, the REP were actually handing out, as were the Sex Party, whose votes would have all exhausted had their voters been dumb enough to follow the Sex Party card.  (Turns out they weren't.)

We can see here that the near-100% preference flows from party to party created by the old group ticket voting system were nothing but a monstrous lie, maintained only by forcing voters above the line by making below the line voting too onerous.  At least, this is so in Tasmania, and we await the verdict from the other states.

What's especially amusing here is the extremely weak flow between the Renewable Energy Party and the Recreational Fishers, since these parties swapped preferences, both ran in the Reps in an apparent attempt to boost their Senate vote, and were predicted by Glenn Druery to be a chance of fighting out the final seat.  Both got nowhere near.  Druery was obviously in cahoots with the REP folk, and though I am aware of no direct evidence in the case of the Rec Fishers, I suspect he was involved there too.

Who People Put Last

Voting all the way below the line (1-58 in this case) is the best way to make your vote as powerful as possible if you have strong views about particular candidates as opposed to just parties, but not that many voters do it.  I have done a quick sample of the top 5% of the Tasmanian data-entry voting and find that in this sample 1.8% go all the way to put someone 58th.  

Last time the honour of most last places was fiercely contested by The Greens and Stop The Greens but I had a sneaking suspicion there would be a runaway winner this time around.  It looks from the first 5% of the data-entry voting that of the few voters going the distance, a massive 35.3% have put Eric Abetz (Liberal) last.  He is followed distantly in this sample by John Tucker (bottom of the Liberal ticket) on  9%, Anna Reynolds (bottom of the Green ticket) 6%, Nick McKim (Green) 5.3% and then the bottom Christian Democrat and One Nation candidates.  For everyone but Abetz the sample size is inconclusive so I may check the full list as time allows.  (My computer is a bit old for processing spreadsheets with over 300,000 rows quickly.)

Poster Alaric, who I owe an enormous debt of thanks to for his help with the data, has since crunched the lot, and it gets worse.  Of all Tasmanian Senate voters who went all the way (2.3% of the total), Abetz tops the list with 40.3%, followed by Reynolds on 5.5% and Tucker 4.7%.  100 of the 7951 voters going all the way put Richard Colbeck first and Abetz last.

And another informant has told me that if you weed out those who didn't get from 1 to 58 without an error, Abetz goes up to 41.4%! (Some of the 58s for other candidates may be from voters who put Abetz 59th.  Some voters even voted 1-12 with a symbolic 58 for Abetz).

Twist Of Fate

I was just responding to a query on Twitter when I discovered something amusing.  It was notable while scrutineering that a lot of Richard Colbeck votes went to Lisa Singh and vice-versa; the classic up-yours-party-machines vote.

Well, strangely, those votes have ended up saving Nick McKim.  Only 74% of Colbeck's vote stayed in the Liberal ticket, with 13% "leaking" to Lisa Singh.

If we imagine instead that all that 13% had gone to David Bushby, then that would have increased the size of Bushby's surplus (which was dominated by Liberal ticket votes because of Inclusive Gregory distortion) to the point that McCulloch would have beaten McKim by about 50 votes.


There has been some speculation about the possibility of a recount in view of the 141-vote margin.

I hesitate to refer to the AEC's recount policy on Senate elections when the AEC has abandoned its own recount policy for Reps elections by fast-tracking Herbert, so who knows what might be decided?  But according to it:

* there is no specific margin of error that causes an automatic Senate recount - this differs from the House where any margin under 100 triggers an automatic recount.
* a close margin does not, by itself, establish a need for a recount.
* there must be specific reason to believe a recount could change the margin.

I would expect that unless One Nation can demonstrate something concrete and unusual, any request for a recount would be refused.  The margin is tiny, but the amount of double-checking in the system makes it deeply unlikely there would be enough errors in the same direction to overturn it.

Six Year vs Three Year terms

Commenter Alaric has very kindly posted a comment regarding three vs six year terms for the Senators elected.  The suggestion is if either the Section 282 method (which has never been actually used) or the order-of-election method are used, then the Senators receiving six-year terms will be Abetz, Urquhart, Whish-Wilson, Lambie, Polley and Parry, and the rest (3 Labor, 2 Liberal, 1 Green) will be up for re-election in 2019.  Of course the Senate may come up with some completely new way to allocate seats.  

Preference Distribution

The preference distribution is online and the key events of the count are as follows.  Richard Colbeck was eliminated after the exclusion of Peter Madden, with 16918 votes to McCulloch's 18136 and McKim's 19431.  To compare the quota scores for the contenders at this point with my model (actual with modelled in brackets):

Bushby .934 (.947)
Bilyk .843 (.904)
Singh .917 (.910)
McKim .741 (.779)
McCulloch .695 (.634)
Colbeck .648 (.632)

So both Singh and Colbeck did slightly better on below-the-line preferences than I expected, while Labor and the Greens did worse on preferences than my model and One Nation quite a lot better.  It is notable that Lisa Singh crossed the line entirely on below the line votes, with a surplus of four after Colbeck's exclusion (had Singh had five fewer votes, Bilyk may have finished ahead of her.)

After the preferences of Colbeck and the surpluses of Bushby, Singh (all four votes of it) and Bilyk, McCulluch closed rapidly but missed out by 141 votes (21247 to 21106).  The count came down to the final Bilyk surplus worth 593 votes with McKim leading by 43 before it, but the superior flow of Labor ticket votes to the Greens compared to One Nation made him safe.  The total exhaust rate was just 2.75%, way lower than many predictions from those who opposed reform. (My model had 3.2%).

From the Colbeck exclusion point my model didn't give projections since at the time I computed it Colbeck looked like outlasting McCulloch.  But McCulloch then got a 21% share of the Bushby surplus compared to McKim's 12%, which combined with her generally stronger performance on micro-party preferences than expected was almost enough to put her over the line but not quite!  So a massive upset was averted by a tiny margin indeed, but you get that.

It will be difficult in my view for One Nation to mount a convincing case for a recount, unless any errors are found.

I will be compiling more figures from the distribution and also from the download of formal votes (if my computer can open it!) later, but the first thing to know is this: everyone's preferences go everywhere!

Button Press and Outcome

The button press happened exceptionally quickly, with two draws for tied candidates early in the piece and then a list of names scrolling as candidates were elected and excluded.  Richard Colbeck was excluded behind One Nation (which according to my projection as of last night was fractionally more likely than not) and the only mild surprise in the ordering is that Lisa Singh has been elected ahead of Catryna Bilyk.  

Singh is the first candidate to buck a ticket order and win election to the Senate since Liberal Robert Wardlaw in 1955.  Australia first adopted a proportional-representation system for the Senate (without above the line votes) at the 1949 federal election, and at the first three such elections Tasmanian candidates (sometimes on both sides) bucked the ticket order - in some cases because their parties deliberately selected them down-list for strategic reasons.  However after the first few runnings of the system, this stopped happening, and under the "group ticket voting" system brought in by Labor under Bob Hawke this became effectively impossible.  The new system gives the power back to voters to overturn bad party preselections. 

The result is a complete disaster for the Liberal Party federally since Tasmania has sent an 8-4 voting block to Canberra on most core government issues (Lambie is pretty left-leaning on health and education).  Much more to say on that later.

Pre-Button Waffle

Time for a new thread for the Tasmanian Senate race because today from 2 pm it is finally upon us ... The Button! The AEC, having entered all the numbers into their computers, will conduct an automatic preference distribution that will tell us the winner (pending challenges) of the 12 Tasmanian Senate places.  The provisional result should be known over the next 30 minutes or so, and a preference distribution will follow.  Based on this distribution it will be possible to check the margins and see if there is any risk of challenge.  Full vote details will also be released to make it possible for those with a lot of time and a very good computer to verify the result.

For the second time in the last two Senate races (see 2013 button press thread) we go to this hallowed occasion without being able to know for certain who will win at least the final seat.  I've put a very large amount of work into scrutineering sampling for this count and into trying to project the outcome (see thread here) but in the end it could all be in vain; the result for the final seat is too close for my model to call with complete confidence, and scrutineering sampling for this election has been very difficult.  It being a new system, something totally surprising could even happen, and then we learn something for next time!

I will try to post the result of the button press at the top of the article as soon as I have it - this will depend on whether I'm able to update this page live from where I am while (probably) watching this event in person.

We know from the primary figures that four Senators will be re-elected by having quota in their own right: 1. Eric Abetz (Liberal), 2. Anne Urquhart (Labor), 3. Peter Whish-Wilson (Greens), 4. Jacqui Lambie (Jacqui Lambie Network).  The surpluses of Abetz and Urquhart will elect 5. Stephen Parry (Liberal), 6. Helen Polley (Labor) and their surpluses will elect 7. Jonathan Duniam (Liberal), 8.Carol Brown (Labor).  (There is a remote chance some of these orders will be reversed).

There is then a race between remaining Senators Catryna Bilyk and Lisa Singh (Labor), David Bushby and Richard Colbeck (Liberal) and Nick McKim (Green) plus all the micro-party candidates for the remaining four seats, which will be determined by the cutup of unsuccessful candidate preferences (micro-party, ungrouped and minor ALP, Liberal and Green candidates).  Based on my sampling and model I expect all the micro-parties to be excluded without rising much above their present positions on the ladder, with the exception of One Nation, whose candidate is Kate McCulloch.

The starting order of these six candidates after all the surpluses will be Singh, Colbeck and Bushby close together, Bilyk, McKim, McCulloch.  However Singh and Colbeck will move very slowly on preferences because they can only receive below-the-line preferences until Bilyk and Bushby (respectively) are elected, which takes a very long time.  Singh's primary is so high that a trickle of BTL preferences should put her in a position where she cannot be caught because of votes exhausting (indeed it's not clear that she needs any preferences at all), but Colbeck will be overtaken by Bushby and Bilyk and is defeated if either McKim or McCulloch also passes him and stays ahead.

The tipping point in the count should come after the exclusion of all micro-parties other than One Nation.  At this point I expect one of Colbeck, McCulloch and McKim to be in last place and to be excluded.  My sampling had about 21% of micro-party (excluding One Nation) preferences going to the Greens, but if they only get around say 12%, McKim may be excluded here.  It also had 19% of preferences going to One Nation, which if correct makes it impossible to say whether Colbeck or McCulloch will be excluded first.

Provided McKim gets over this hurdle, he should win, though I didn't have time to sample the scenario of a battle between McKim and McCulloch for the final seat on Liberal preferences.

In general the flow of micro-party preferences has seemed stronger for Labor than the Liberals, and not that much stronger for the Liberals than the Greens, in my sample.  This seems really counter-intuitive given how "right-wing" many of the micro-parties are, but it should be kept in mind that the Liberals have polled a two-party Reps vote below 43% in the state despite having the personal votes of three new sitting members to help them along.  Also, while people stereotype One Nation as hard-right, their preferencing behaviour normally leans only weakly to the Coalition, and in this case a lot of their supporters are just exhausting their votes.  Finally, a lot of the Family First votes are donkeys.

So my take: probably 9 and 10 Bushby and Bilyk in some order, 11 Singh and for the 12th seat lukewarm favourite McKim, realistic chance Colbeck, outside chance McCulloch, and let's not completely rule out something else happening, just in case.

All will be revealed in a couple of hours and I will post the result here as fast as I can, to be followed by analysis of the preference cut-up this afternoon or tonight.


  1. Thanks Kevin. I really appreciate the work you have put into this.

  2. Well done Kevin with your scrutineering and analysis - got the predicted result.

  3. Preferences are up : Final margin of McKim over McCulloch was only 141 votes.

  4. Thanks for your excellent coverage, Kevin. A spectacular result for Lisa Singh and (I hope) a salutary lesson to the Labor party re their invisible senators and sleazy pre-selections.

    1. I hope too that they take notice, but they seem to rarely learn. You'd think they might have learnt after the Jonathan Jackson fiasco of 2010, but they don't seem to have...

  5. Am I reading it right? The Greens beat One Nation for the 12th spot by 141 votes?

  6. I think the 141-vote margin confirms that we can not rule out the possibility of a minor party surprise in any state!

    Name recognition goes a very long way. Everyone knows who One Nation is, and even if they don't fully agree with all of their (or Wikipedia's) policies they might go ahead and vote for people they've heard of just to stick it to the bigger parties.

  7. Another thing I just noticed - the final number of exhausted votes was only about 2.8% of the total. What happened to the predicted apocalypse of exhausting votes heralded by the likes of Day and Druery?

  8. I’ve just run a section 282 count from the raw data. I replicated the full count first with one minor discrepancy that won't affect the section 282 count.

    Six year terms will go to Eric Abetz (LIB), Anne Urquhart (ALP), Stephen Parry (LIB), Helen Polley (ALP), Jacqui Lambie (JLN) and Peter Whish-Wilson (Greens). They were elected in that order with Whish-Wilson beating Lisa Singh by 6,825 votes for the last spot.

    These are also the first six elected in the original count, so they are locked in for six years unless the Senate invents a new and corrupt method of allocation.

    There were 5,616 ballots that didn’t express a preference for any of the candidates included in the section 282 count and which therefore played no part. A further 7,794 votes exhausted during the count.

    1. Huge thanks, that saves me a lot of bother, I've had questions about it already.

  9. Given the increase in PHON votes - do you think this bodes well for them in Victoria? (PHON v Lib V Green for 11th and 12th seats)???

    1. On my understanding re Victoria, PHON are not a threat to the Greens, since the Greens benefit from Labor getting elected exactly with quota (more or less) meaning left-leaning prefs should pool with the Greens (and Vic has quite a lot of left prefs).

      Whether PHON are a threat to the Liberals in that state is very well worth a closer look!

  10. Kevin you have a typo regarding the Colbeck elimination. McCulloch had 18,136 at that point, not 19,136.

  11. Umm

    5 Labor 4 Liberal 2 Green 1 Lambie

    This is what my Senate program was saying on Sunday morning 3rd July

    The new NSW LC system (Antony might correct me on this), has always shown that the candidates who end up being elected subsequent to the first counts are those are those who have the highest fractional quotas.

    You don't get a headache this way - but it's not as much fun

    1. Yes, 5-4-2-1 has looked most likely since counting night, though at times my model had not much in it, and as it turns out it was extremely close to 5-4-1-1-1.

      Re NSW LC - Hanson was leapfrogged by Liberals and Greens on preferences in 2011 and No Land Tax were leapfrogged by Animal Justice Party in 2015. So highest fractional quota doesn't always win.

  12. But people in NSW aren't instructed to vote 1-6/1-12...?

    We can see from the tiny exhaust rate that most people used their preferences somehow. Furthermore, the fractional quotas of McKim and McCulloch are a very long way from where they started, just over 0.8 each. Plenty of room for one to overtake the other and a long way from the small fractional quotas the last 2-3 NSW candidates get elected on.

  13. Nailed it! I must add my thanks to the many plaudits.

  14. I'm awaiting a cross party coalition in the Senate just setting the Senate terms anyway they like just because!

  15. Thanks Kevin. Any idea when the other state results are due?

  16. Thanks KB for all the analysis. Any idea how long the actual calculation took place after "the button" was pressed?

    1. I was there in person. The button press started on time. There were two manual draws to set the potential order of exclusion for low-ranking candidates who were tied on primaries (oddly this seemed to occur at Count 1, before it was known for sure whether they would remain tied after surpluses). The calculation itself then involved a list of names appearing on the screen as elected and excluded and I didn't time it but think it took less than two minutes.

  17. Regarding Abetz and 58th preference: of the total 7951 BTL ballots that went as far as 58, he got 3202 for 40.3%. Second place ends up being Greens #3 Anna Reynolds at 439 (5.5%) and third is Liberal #6 John Tucker at 374 (4.7%).

    There were 100 ballots that put Richard Colbeck #1 and Eric Abetz #58.

    1. Enormous thanks again. That's quite spectacular. I did have faith that Abetz would win but his margin there is quite something.

  18. thanks for your work Kevin.

    and Unachimba, if they thought the Senate was feral before, imagine how angry they would be if the major parties pulled a stunt like that.

    1. Lol

      Well, it could have just been any 50%+1 who got together and just decided that they wanted the six year terms.

      Perhaps if it had been a hung parliament some weird alliance in the Senate would be more likely.

      Id love someone to say 'Lets put Abetz on three years just because he got all those #58s!'

  19. So Abetz has blamed the Colbeck BTL push for the Libs not winning a 5th seat - is this something that can be tested in a model (Alaric?)?

    Simply replace all the Colbeck 1 BTLs with Liberal ATLs (perhaps as per HTV order for simplicity) and press the button again? Would this have resulted in the 5th Lib (ironically, Colbeck) actually being elected?

    (I am not considering the possibility of the Colbeck BTL push actually turning Liberal voters away from voting Liberal since that is purely speculative and not verifiable in a model)

    1. You don't need a model to test this claim by Abetz; it is obviously rubbish. Turn all the Colbeck votes into Liberal ATLs and all that does is send Colbeck out the door with a lower partial quota (since Bushby had not hit quota when he exited). Plus Colbeck attracted votes the Liberals would not have got otherwise.

    2. I actually ran this as an exercise a few hours ago before getting distracted. Rather than use the Liberal HTV that hardly anyone followed, I replaced each Colbeck BTL with an individual randomly selected duplicate of a Liberal ATL. No surprises for Colbeck - as expected he fell even further short of McCulloch.

      I did get McCulloch very narrowly beating McKim. However I suspect that's an artifact of the different voter pools. I figure Colbeck possibly attracts a Liberal demographic slightly less likely to preference One Nation. A better option might have been to replace his BTLs with ATLs that tried to follow his BTL preferences, but that's more work than I'm inclined to put into this particular exercise!

  20. In ancient Athens, each year the citizens would vote on who to exile. The Athenians would write the name of the person they disliked on a shard of pottery called an 'Ostrakon'. The winner/loser would then be exiled for a year. It is where we gain the word OSTRACIZE. We could institute this in a modern fashion and call it, the Abetzed.

  21. That is indeed the answer I would have expected...

  22. Kevin - is it a simple matter to sun these results to see who would have been elected in a normal half senate election?

    Is is then possible to take out Lambie (spreading her votes according to the preferences) and see who would win a half senate election without her (as the next senate vote is likely to be)?

    1. It's not simple to do it exactly. But it seems from the S 282 simulation done by Alaric that the answer should be the same as for that (2-2-1-1).

      We know that 18% of Lambie's vote leaked straight out of the ticket on her election, which puts the vote for JLN sans Lambie at 6.8%. But my suspicion is that if it was a JLN ticket sans Lambie it would not get anything like the ATL vote of a JLN ticket with Lambie, and that the results of this election as applied to a half-Senate without Lambie would be 3 Labor including Singh 2 Liberal 1 Green.

    2. I ran the numbers as if JLN were excluded first so their preferences go straight to the next person. That's as close as we can get to simulating the result without Lambie. The result is as expected, a comfortable ALP 3 inc Singh, 2 Liberal and 1 Green. The final race comes down to Singh on 45000 vs Colbert on 33000.

  23. Interesting twitter debate ongoing between myself (@deanashley004) and Grahame Bowland (@angrygoat) regarding the section 282 count. Grahame did the count and got a different answer (Singh in the six at the expense of Lambie) because he took a different position on whether there might be a new formality test on the notionally re-numbered BTL ballots. My position that there isn't has thrown up a third possibility that previously informal ballots could be revived. I don't think that is right either, but there is potentially a lot riding on the answer.

    1. Ta, I will investigate when I get back from the declaration of the polls. Michael Maley and I have also been discussing these ambiguities.

    2. While I have no intention of starting a blog, I ended up digging into this on a scale that wouldn't have fit in your comments section. My poorly edited and half-formed thoughts are here.

  24. Hi Kevin, regarding your latest update with real preference flows - could you please explain what you mean by Exhaust in the "HTV" column for Sex/HEMP? Were they the only ones advocating "1 Only" in Tas?

    1. No, they were preferencing five micro-parties, all of which were actually excluded before them.

  25. Kevin - can you have a go at explaining which votes actually get passed on in surplus votes. Eg Bilyk - Greens 39.5, ON 22.9 rest exhaust. That seems to have a bias towards later collected voters from other parties as distinct from an average of all the Labor votes plus later collected votes from elected/eliminated candidates?

  26. All votes a candidate has collected are passed on as a surplus. But because of Inclusive Gregory, the values become distorted and the Labor ticket votes swamp the surplus compared to all the other votes that Bilyk has. By weighting those are mainly 1 above the line ALP votes, but the only choices left for them are Green, One Nation and exhaust. For the original breakup of Labor votes see David Barry's explorer which I've posted a link to now above the table.

  27. Both Lisa Singh and Nick McKim are former state ministers. Why is she The Honourable and he not? AC

    1. I believe that in the federal arena the title is applied based on past federal positions and that Singh qualifies for the title (permanently) by having been a parliamentary secretary.

  28. No, she's never been a federal Parl Sec, only a shadow. Dick Adams was also "The Hon" as a result of having been a Tas state minister. I think McKim must have decided he didn't want to use the title.

    1. Correct. It's quite possible McKim decided to not use the title following the lead of David Bartlett who quite specifically refused to use it while Tasmanian Premier.

    2. I've been helpfully advised by a politically experienced reader that a former State Minister may apply to the State Governor to retain the prefix, but McKim has not applied to do so yet.

  29. I wrote this in Crikey today: "Even so, it's surprising to observe that fewer than one-in-ten Liberal voters chose to be guided by the party's card -- which, remarkably, recommended a sixth preference for Labor -- while the share of Labor voters that did so barely even registered." The reason I used vague wording at the end is that I'd done the calculation and couldn't believe my eyes. Good to have it confirmed.

  30. Given that Bartlett broke a specific commitment not to form a coalition government with the Greens, I think he was quite right not to call himself Honourable during his inglorious premiership.

  31. I await next (next) level preference games at the next election.

    1. chimba, I await many _less_ preference games at the next election. I presume some micros exist because they really think their issue needs to be pushed by a separate party, but a big part of their motives must be the hope that they can pump some preferences on to other people. Now they all know that doesn't happen, I wonder how many will quietly fold their tents? Anybody want to run a sweep on that? To start it off, I say half of them.

    2. What makes you think micros are what I meant?

      All parties are going to have to learn how to use the new system.

      I suspect a major issue next time will be how to put PHON last in an optional preferential system.

      I'll have a look at who would have won if it had been a normal half Senate election when we know the final results. That might give an idea who will get recommend in preference deals next time.

    3. OK chimba, sorry, I missed your point. But I think _you're_ missing Kevin's point - there is no longer any point in _any_ party, major minor or in-between, playing preference games because under the new voting system almost everyone (except 15% of Liberal sheeple) ignore recommendations from the parties and (shock, horror!) make up their own minds! As citizens of a democracy should do.

      The best "game" seems to be to demote a popular candidate and hope that you benefit from what Kevin calls the Gininderra effect and I call the Barnaby Joyce effect (see 2004 Queensland Senate results) where instead of getting 1.2 or 1.5 quotas you have two who each get 0.6 or 0.75. Works sometimes, blows up in the party's face other times.

    4. Well we only really have Tasmania so far to go on. Things will be a little more straightforward elsewhere because there's not the level of BTL.

      And voters can preference all over the place ATL, but if those parties have been eliminated, will easily be eliminated or your vote stays with your '1' vote what does it really matter?

      Eg if you voted 1 Green in Tasmania, and anywhere else 2 and so on it doesn't really matter because your vote went nowhere after McKim.

      That's 'almost' true for all Labor, Liberal, Green and PHON voters in Tasmania (except for the BTL stuff).

      When I talk about next (next) level it's all the parties trying to maximise any of their preferences that flow to OTHER least worst parties for them.

      I think the communication around preferencing and HTVs needs to go up a level to make parties' x% vote go further.

  32. I wasn’t able to find much analysis about difference in outcomes between the order elected method and the S282 recount method, so I’ve done my own back of an envelope look at it (based on the assumption that the AEC doesn’t have to make any silly interpretations of legislation):

    TAS: 2LIB - 2ALP -1GRN -1JLN regardless of method used.

    WA: 3LIB - 2ALP – 1 - GRN looks pretty likely with either method.

    SA: Order elected method would be 2LIB – 2ALP – 2NXT. If the S282 recount method were used then the second NXT would be well short of quota prior to the redistribution of votes from unsuccessful candidates. However, they would also start off well ahead of the 1st GRN and 3rd LIB and I don’t think either would be likely to catch up. So, most likely no differences between methods in this state either, but plausible the Greens or Liberals could take a seat from NXT.

    QLD: Order elected would be 3LNP – 2ALP – 1PHON. S282 method could have the same outcome, or could see the 3rd LNP lose out to a GRN. Prior to redistribution of votes from unsuccessful candidates those two candidates would start out pretty even. The 2nd ALP and PHON would start out below quota so would each soak up preferences before they could reach either the 3rd LNP or GRN. Could be close then.

    VIC: Order elected would be 3LNP – 2ALP – 1GRN. Again, this is a distinct possibility under a recount also. However, I think Hinch would have a reasonably good shot at depriving the LNP of their 3rd senator. Plausible he could take it from a Green instead, but doubtful.

    NSW: Order elected would be 3LNP – 3ALP. For a recount the Greens would start out well ahead of the 3rd ALP, LDP and PHON and in my opinion would likely stay there to take a seat from the ALP for a 3LNP – 2ALP – 1GRN result. However, the Green and the 3rd LNP do start out far below quota so something surprising happening cannot be entirely discounted.

    Order elected:
    16 LNP, 13 ALP, 3 GRN, 2NXT, plus Jacqui Lambie and Pauline Hanson

    13-16 LNP, 12 ALP, 3-6GRN, 1-2NXT, 0-1 Hinch, plus Lambie and Hanson

    It’s a distinct possibility then that the only difference between the two methods would be whether Lee Rhiannon or Deborah O’Neill gets a six-year term in NSW. If it came down to such a personality contest then I suspect O’Neil would win, as the ALP would back their own and the LNP are not big fans of Rhiannon. Rhiannon’s best hope then would be for differences in outcome between the two methods in other states.

    If the s282 recount method also deprived the LNP of two long-term senators, giving one each to Hinch and the Greens, then that would pose a dilemma for the ALP, who may be the key swing vote on which method is used.

    The arithmetic of the 2019-2022 Senate is likely to mean that the ALP will need the support of the Greens on any motion opposed by the LNP; The only question being how many additional crossbenchers they would need on board and the number of crossbenchers to choose from. Switching out two LNP for a Green and Hinch would reduce the number of crossbenches needed by one and increase the pool to choose from by one. The loss of O’Neil to a Green would not influence the maths of this at all. So despite loosing a Senator under the S282 recount method, the ALP would find themselves better able to achieve their legislative goals. Doing so, however, would come at quite a cost to the ALP. One less Senator for three years means less funding, staffers losing their jobs and one less Senator to do the party’s work. Personally I think the ALP would be wise to give up a Senator if it meant the LNP gave up two, but I suspect the spoils of office would be too enticing.

  33. Really interesting. Among the many disappointments for the Greens campaign, failing to hit a quota in three states is one that could hurt them here. If the only difference is Rhiannon vs O'Neill, I suspect the Coalition will back the s282 outcome, not for any practical purpose (Coalition + Greens is likely a majority in 2019-2022 either way), but because it allows them to claim moral superiority and throw accusations at Labor if they try to wind back the pro-s282 position the Senate has adopted at least twice since the last DD.


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