Saturday, August 27, 2016

NT Election 2016: How Badly Will The CLP Be Beaten?

Final result 18 ALP 2 CLP 5 IND.  Result will be declared and winners seated subject to any challenges.

Because of fieldwork I have not had much time to follow the Northern Territory election to be counted tonight.  I'll use this thread to post comments on any aspect of the count of interest either while the count is going or in the following days.  The ABC has some very comprehensive coverage (and will have more on News 24) and there is also coverage and discussion at The Tally Room and Poll Bludger.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Majors Stitch Up Senate Term Lengths, Film At 11

When the Senate resumes at the end of the month, one of its first items of business will be to allocate the Senators to six-year and three-year terms.  Today both major parties indicated that they will use the order-of-election method, under which the first six Senators who were elected in each state's cutup will receive six-year terms and the remainder three-year terms.  Special Minister of State Mathias Cormann has stated:

 "The important point is obviously this is a function of how many votes and how many preferences you are able to attract. If you are elected in the first six out of 12 then it stands to reason that you were elected earlier and as such you qualify for the longer period."

Labor's Penny Wong has issued a statement saying Labor will support the order-of-election method and saying that it "reflects the will of the voters".

The Electoral Act requires the AEC to conduct a "Section 282 recount" to simulate which Senators would have filled the first six places at a half-Senate election based on the same votes, as an alternative to using the order-of-election method.  However there is no requirement that the Senate use the recount to decide the order.  While the Senate affirmed in both 1998 and 2010 that the recount should be used, those decisions were not binding on the current Senate, and were under the old system anyway.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Senate Reform Performance Review Part 2

In this piece I continue the roundup of the performance of the new Senate voting system that I started in part 1.  Part 1 covered proportionality, half-Senate projections, winning vote shares, the impact of preferencing, just-vote-1 rates and exhaust.  This part covers  informal votes, the One Nation question, below the line rates, the two most unusual victories (Lisa Singh and Malcolm Roberts), the impact of the fixed quota, the question of verification and areas for improvement. (There's also a brief note about Inclusive Gregory that isn't relevant to reform, but that I thought I should mention anyway).  Anything else I think of may be tacked onto the end.  I have already discussed donkey-voting, proximity preferencing, the abject failure of most parties' how-to-vote cards, and preferencing patterns by state on the Button Press Week thread. Also, lots of Tasmanian-specific stats can be found on the Tasmanian button press thread.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Senate Reform Performance Review Part 1

The results of the Senate election are all in and so it is timely to review how the new Senate system performed in full detail.  No system should be expected to perform flawlessly on its first attempt.  However, the new system has generally exceeded the expectations of its most ardent supporters (save any who supported it for the wrong reasons) and made its opponents' pre-election arguments look very silly indeed.

Two major models of reform were canvassed in the Senate reform debate that ran through the last term of parliament.  The original JSCEM model released in 2014 allowed for fully optional preferencing above the line with semi-optional preferencing (six squares for a half-Senate election, twelve for a double dissolution) below the line.  The revised model released in 2016 initially allowed for semi-optional preferencing (1-6) above the line, but essentially maintained compulsory full preferencing if voting below the line.  After many complaints from the psephosphere (and I especially give credit to Michael Maley and Antony Green here) the final version as amended allowed semi-optional preferencing (1-12) below the line as well.  This change, in the end, allowed Tasmanian voters to overturn the contentious demotion of a sitting high-profile Senator.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Gaynor's Clueless Call For Senate Recount

A reader today drew my attention to this piece by Bernard Gaynor claiming apparent irregularities in the Tasmanian Senate count, and calling for a recount, even including a petition to the AEC to that effect.  Gaynor's concern is that as a result of this outcome Australia will have one less Pauline Hanson and one more Sarah Hanson-Young.  Luckily for those who think one of either or both in the Senate is one too many, both these Senators are actually unique. Neither is affected by the outcome in Tasmania.

In this piece I'll examine the basis for Gaynor's call in some detail, but firstly I should point out that the call for a recount is in itself misconceived.  The reason for this is that it comes too late.  The time for calling for a recount in a seat is before the declaration of the poll (S278 Commonwealth Electoral Act).  In 2013, requests for a recount in Western Australia were granted (on appeal) because of a much closer apparent margin (14 votes) at a tipping point during the preference distribution and the declaration of the poll was delayed while the recount was conducted.  I followed the progress of that recount in an article at the time.

The Senate: Button Press Week

This week if all goes according to plan, the buttons will be pressed on the remaining Senate races in ACT, WA, SA (Tuesday), Victoria (Wednesday), Queensland and finally NSW, and the makeup of the Senate should be known.  I'll be posting some comments about these races and the results as time permits, but I'm rather busy this week, so feel free to add thoughts about any of the races in comments.

I haven't had the time I would have liked to analyse these races in detail, and really you have to sample preferences in scrutineering to have a really confident handle on what's going on in a given state under the new Senate system.  You also can't do it on the night, as you have to know what the main races are to know what you need to look for.  I used scrutineering-based modelling to successfully predict the result in Tasmania (though there was very nearly an upset for the final seat) and it surprises me that I have not seen any detailed public attempt at a scrutineering-based model for any other state.