Tuesday, October 25, 2022

2022 Hobart Council Count

All figures on this page are unofficial - see TEC for official results when available.

MAYOR (Incumbent: Reynolds):  CALLED (Friday 10:30) Anna Reynolds defeats John Kelly with reduced margin compared to 2018 win.

DEPUTY (Incumbent: Burnet):  Burnet leads Behrakis and will win by very large margin (Called Saturday before final exclusion)

COUNCILLORS (11 recontesting incumbents, 12 vacancies): 

Called: Reynolds, John Kelly (off initial sampling), Zucco, Burnet (off 20% count), Elliot, Behrakis, Bloomfield, Dutta, Harvey (off 50% count)

In The Mix (for three seats): Posselt, Lohberger, Sherlock (these three leading substantially), Fox, Kate Kelly, Briscoe.

Coats, Thomas, Fox, Briscoe currently projected to lose seats.

UTAS MOVE ELECTOR POLL: CALLED No has won.

Introduction

This is my specific page for commentary on the 2022 Hobart council count. Comments on other councils and general themes will be found here. Don't expect to see much on this page on Tuesday; there will be more action on Wednesday.

On Tuesday ballot papers will be removed from envelopes and there may be some computer data entry for some large councils but don't expect official figures.  I may have some indications from scrutineers depending on the pace of counting but the main counting activity for Mayors and Deputies together with the start of data entry is on Wednesday. The TEC expects to have provisional 20% or 50% distributions for all councils at some stage on Wednesday.  These provisional results are what would happen if only the votes entered to that point were used to decide the election.  Usually most of the candidates who are provisionally elected at the 20% stage end up winning, but often some of those elected to the last few positions change.  It is common to see media misreporting that candidates "elected" in these 20% and 50% interim counts have "won" but it is only when the final, 100%, count is done that the winners are official. 

Where the final few seat results in the interim counts are within 100 votes or so (depending on council) then it's possible the winners will change by random sample error alone.  They can also change if a candidate's victory depends on which of two other candidates is excluded at a certain point.  But there is a more important reason why they can change, and it is this:

Beware, Big Word: Stratification!

It's very important to be aware that interim primary vote figures for the various Councils using automated data entry won't necessarily be unbiased samples of the whole count.  Votes do not reach the Electoral Commission in random order, but rather arrive on particular days, and within each day's sample they may be further stratified by post office of origin (for instance).  There will be political differences between the pool of voters who tend to vote early in the count and those who vote late in the count. Also, campaign events that happen during the postal voting period can have more impact during some parts of the count than others.  

The TEC may well make vigorous efforts to reduce this stratification, but nothing will get rid of it completely.  It's also hard to say how compulsory voting might affect it, since the pools of early and late voters will be different.  In 2018 a "green shift" was observed in many (not all) councils, with obviously green/left candidates tending to get a final percentage that was around 1.1 times their vote in the first interim count, and righties tending to drop back accordingly.  The effect might be more pronounced, absent or in the opposite direction this time - who knows?

Hence when the TEC release primary figures for various percentages be aware that these are not true representative samples and that past experience shows that substantial changes may occur.  (For instance in 2014 one candidate for one council who was not getting elected on the 20% sample was elected in third place, though that's an extreme example.)  Any result that is even remotely close will therefore not be called on 20% of primaries. 

Please note that I only "call" a seat when I consider it virtually certain that the candidate in question has won.  I ask that people not describe me as having called any seat where I have not explicitly used the word "called" for it.  A summary of how I think the counts are going appears at the top of the page.

Hobart Lord Mayor

Tues 3:20 In early unofficial sampling Reynolds appears to be leading on primaries but I will post more when sample is meaningful.

Tues 4:50 First scrutineering sample of 258, noting we do not yet know how representative these are: Reynolds 29.8% J. Kelly 20.5 Harvey and Zucco 11.2 Bloomfield and Elliott 10.9 Bai 3.5 Coats 1.8. At this stage it is looking like Reynolds and Kelly will be the top two. Kelly could close the gap in this sample to at least some degree on preferences (three significant "blue" candidates to one Green). Have not sampled prefs yet

Tues 7 pm Preferences are showing a fair rate of exhaust and scatter - a lead of any meaningful size will probably not be caught here. 

Tues 8:30 I now have 550 votes sampled and Reynolds has a fight on her hands! (Not saying she won't win the fight, just that it's a good one). I now get Reynolds 29.6 Kelly 22.4 Zucco 12.4 Harvey 11.1 Elliot 10.7 Bloomfield 8.7 Bai 3.4 Coats 1.6.  Preferences from Harvey are favouring Reynolds but those of all others except Bloomfield are favouring Kelly. After applying my sample of preferences it's 50-50 (in fact Kelly is a very meaningless whisker ahead, given the margin of error in this sample is about 5%.)

Tues 9:35 Added another 93 votes to sample; Kelly won those 41-39. Done for the night.

Wed 11: Today's votes coming through in processing are considerably to the left of yesterday's. In another sample of 200 I had Reynolds ahead 35-15 on primaries, another scrutineer also finding Kelly not far clear in second off 100.  Across all my sampling I now have Reynolds ahead about 52-48 after preferences off a sample of approaching 850 primaries.

Wed 12: Lord Mayor votes are now being thrown into large trays and it's hard to sample anything while this occurs but I'm tracking the ratio of Reynolds and Kelly votes and that was 1.44 in a sample of 526 going to one or the other, cf 1.48 in my previous sample - still projecting to about 52-48 after preferences but a very long way to go and my sample of votes for others with preferences is only a few hundred.

Wed 4: On rough tallies of totals being added up on tables now I have Reynolds 28.0 Kelly 20.2 Zucco 12.1 Harvey 11.6 Elliot 11.2 Bloomfield 9.4 Coats 3.7 Bai 3.9 and this projects off my relatively small preference sample to 52.7-47.3 to Reynolds. I am a little mistrustful of the Bloomfield component of that sample (her preferences are favouring Reynolds) so that may yet prove generous. These rough totals are from about three-quarters of the primary votes. Final primaries should appear tonight.

6 pm: Corrected a minor error in my numbers above but in any case Reynolds improved in votes yet to be added (a very noticeable left shift in the last few thousand) putting her lead at around 28.4-19.4 which projects to about 53-47. Again I am not calling this, the preference sample I have isn't big enough.

7:40 Final primaries are up and Reynolds' lead is 28.8-17.4.  Should be enough, as that is projecting out to 54+.  Now we just wait for the preference distribution.  

9:15 "Update, 8:30pm - Some errors have been found and a recheck of first preferences is in progress with an update shortly.".  The errors probably won't be major but let's see.  There seems to be quite a substantial error here which is that several hundred votes for John Kelly are being erroneously credited to Coats, probably just a simple adding up error or a confusion of bundles during rechecking.  Coats and Bai have been in lockstep in the race for last position since counting began so there is no way Coats should be 700 up on Bai.  The numbers also disagree with rough totals I compiled together with another scrutineer as concerns Kelly.  

On the assumption that the error is what I think it is (edit: confirmed and Reynolds leads 28.8-19.9), I have run some random error modelling on my preference estimates and I still have Kelly with a significantly non-zero chance of winning this (say, 10%), so I will not be calling this tonight.  

Thursday 9:00 Bai has been excluded and exclusion of Coats is about to begin. Kelly made a slight gain (169-141) off Bai, and now trails 29.38-20.69.

Thursday 9:30 am The throw of Coats looks like closing the gap by maybe 150 (from about 2750) which may sound like very little but there are also votes flowing from Coats to Elliot and Zucco that will help Kelly later. There will also be minor adjustments to primary totals after a mis-sort spotted by yours truly (16 Elliot votes in the Coats pile); this will be patched pretty fast I think. Bloomfield probably next to go which will be a very interesting exclusion.

Thursday 10 Count suspended. Further mis-sorts have been identified and the number of votes involved is now a few dozen - unlikely to affect the eventual winner but with potential to affect the order candidates are excluded in. I am expecting a full recheck and a delay of a few hours.

3 pm: count resuming soon.

3:50 count has resumed with a re-throw of Bai. The exhaust rate off Bai is about 30%; I think that fully optional preferencing for mayors and deputies should be reviewed as I am seeing too much exhaust for my liking; perhaps semi-OPV as used in the Legislative Council would be better.

4:15 I was watching a throw of Bai but it has turned out Coats is last and is being thrown first. (The Bai throw will be a quick one.) On the recheck Kelly gained 44 to 5 for Reynolds but this was offset by Harvey gaining 114 so it won't have any real net impact on the leaders.

5:00 Bai throw on, then Bloomfield then Harvey. Tracking the gain rate Kelly needs to win it started at .175 votes per preference and these two exclusions won't change that much. In my sampling Kelly was getting approaching .4 off Zucco and Elliot but going backwards at about the same off Harvey. So all else being equal he needs to make a serious gain off Bloomfield.

5:35 In sampling Kelly does seem to be making a gain off Bloomfield but it's a very slight gain if so. The candidate making the biggest gain is Elliot who I expect to overtake Zucco and finish third. However Elliot is too far behind to catch Kelly.  Bloomfield preferences to Elliot will help Kelly down the track too (by about .25 votes/preference in my sample).  The difference to my sample takes my projection down to about 52-48, and Kelly is still (for all I know) in it.

6:00 Exclusion of Bloomfield took just under an hour; they have three to go and will try to finish tonight but there is a constraint with having to move to another centre, meaning they can't count beyond about 9. Reynolds actually gained 11 votes on Kelly at this exclusion but there are still more unfavourable votes pooling with Zucco and Elliot. I now have a projection of just 51.5 to Reynolds.

7:05 But now Reynolds is doing far better off Harvey than in my sampling, getting maybe 60% right off the bat with Kelly getting very little. That reverses what happened with Bloomfield and Reynolds comes up to about 52.7 in my projection again.

8:10 Reynolds only ended up getting 50% not 60% of that transfer and Kelly is still close enough if he can do it. He needs a .395 votes per preference gain rate off Zucco and Elliot, which he was very close to getting in primary vote sampling, but the actual flows might be a bit weaker. Still significant life in this one.

8:50 This can still get very close. On sampling Zucco's preferences I have Kelly on track to roughly hold the gain rate required going into the final exclusion. It will be harder then though as Zucco's preferences are mostly his own whereas Elliot's include a lot of votes from Bloomfield and even Harvey.

9:40 The Zucco throw is done and it all comes down to this. Reynolds 43.01% Kelly 32.36% Elliot 24.63% Kelly needs to gain at .432 votes per preference. I think that's too much and that even getting .4 won't be easy. I am pretty sure Reynolds has won now but this close to the end may as well wait for the final throw. Play resumes at 9 am at the Baptist Church Taroona.

Friday 10 am: All Elliot's votes have been thrown and they are being checked and tallied. I was only able to sample the non 1 Elliot votes but they were breaking about 60-25 which isn't enough. The size of the piles is also strongly suggesting Kelly's not getting enough and that Reynolds wins about 52-48

Friday 10:40 One small table of non 1 Elliot votes had a gain rate below .1. Votes are being tallied now.

11:30 Reynolds wins, unofficially 53.4-46.6, official figures soon.

4:00 In the end the gain rate for Kelly off Elliot was rather weak, only 0.17 votes/preference.  The obvious "blue" candidates did not recommend preferencing Kelly on their how-to-vote recommendations on Facebook - interestingly, I've had it confirmed that they did not have his permission to name him.  That said they were under no compulsion to say voters should leave other boxes blank (which they did).

Sunday: A comment on exhaust rates in the Lord Mayor contest.  4035 votes exhausted, an exhaust rate of 12.9% of the total but 25.0% of votes that were distributed.  In 2018 exhaust was 17.6% of all votes but 27.7% of votes that were distributed.  However, in 2018 there were 11 candidates not 8, which would increase exhaust rates - any impact of compulsory voting on exhaust rates will need to be checked across multiple councils (and yes I'll do this sometime!).  The number of exhausted votes from Zucco and Elliot alone was greater than the margin, but many of these voters would have exhausted their votes anyway, and many of Elliot's votes especially were votes for other candidates.  Thus, the preference recommendations issue discussed above did not decide the contest.  My estimate is that even had preferences been compulsory, Reynolds would have still won, but it would have been closer (maybe 52-48.)

Hobart Deputy

Tues 3:20 In early unofficial sampling Burnet is getting the most primaries so far followed by Behrakis but I will say more when I have a meaningful sample.

Tues 5:00 Sample of 250 Burnet 30.8 Behrakis 18.8 Dutta 12.4 Briscoe 10.4 Posselt 8.8 Thomas and Christie 6 Spender 4.4 Jackson 1.6 Davies 0.8. The votes outside the top two don't have a strong right/left split so on those numbers Burnet is in a very good position.

Tues 7 pm: high degree of exhaust, if Burnet's lead holds in further sampling she will retain.

Tues 8:45 With a sample of 504 I now have Burnet 29.6 Behrakis 16.9 Dutta 13.5 Briscoe 11.9 Posselt 9.5 Christie 6.9 Thomas 5.8 Spender 3.6 Davies 1.6 Jackson 0.8. Burnet easily beats Behrakis if they are the top two as she is beating him or level on everyone's preferences. Maybe someone else gets over Behrakis into the final two but I think they're much too far behind if they do especially with c. 30% of preferences exhausting.

Wednesday: No official counting yet. 

Thursday 10 am: Official counting is starting following the delay in the mayoral count.

3 pm: Final primaries soon and that will be it for the day.

3:30 Unofficially (edit: confirmed) it will be something like Burnet 26.4 Behrakis 16.9 Dutta 14.7 Briscoe 14.6 Posselt 9.0 Thomas 7.4 Christie 4.7 Spender 3.4 Jackson 1.5 Davies 1.4. Not as large a lead for Burnet as in my sample; she easily beats Behrakis. I did not sample contests with other candidates but she should have enough if Dutta or Briscoe do get into second. (Briscoe appears to be a ghost ship in this count having probably lost his council seat, which also suggests his flow here won't be great.)

Friday 3: Plowing through the minor exclusions and Behrakis made some gain off Spender but is still not that clear of Briscoe and Dutta. The coming exclusions are Christie, Thomas and Posselt (Posselt will be interesting.)

Friday 6: Thomas excluded (helping Briscoe and Behrakis) and the standings are: Burnet 30.00 Behrakis 21.51 Briscoe 19.18 Dutta 17.54 Posselt 11.78.  This is interesting because Posselt has run a leftish campaign and his votes could put Dutta over Briscoe (over Behrakis as well perhaps a bit hard?)  But if Dutta doesn't get over Briscoe then he could put Briscoe over Behrakis.  Briscoe preferences won't necessarily help Behrakis against Dutta and Burnet.  Not clear here who makes the final two. 

Friday night:  no more tonight but counting resumes Saturday so result tomorrow I expect. 

Saturday 11:15: Dutta gained on Briscoe off Posselt but not enough with Burnet gaining more, so Dutta is out.  Briscoe needs 2.53% off Dutta's 20.53% to overtake Behrakis.  With votes also splitting to Burnet (who will get a lot of these) and exhaust I suggest that is very unlikely and so Burnet vs Behrakis will most likely be the final two with Burnet winning very easily.  Burnet on 34.13% is way down on the 48.6% she had at the four-candidate stage in 2018 but in that case none of her opponents were incumbents while in this case they all are.  

12:50: Briscoe got surprisingly close to Behrakis but didn't get there.  Burnet will win again by heaps; I'm not even sure she needs any preferences here.  

2:00 Burnet wins 61.13-38.87.  A swing of maybe 3.5% to Behrakis from 2018 when there was no final margin because Burnet crossed 50% against two opponents.  (Behrakis was an off-council candidate then.)

UTAS Move Elector Poll

Tues 3:20 my first unofficial sample of 100 formal votes NO leads 73-27 and it is notable NO is attracting support from voters for candidates who are not clearly anti-move. On this basis looks very likely NO will win, not calling yet .

Tues 5:00 No on 74.5% with a sample size of 235. CALLED No has won 

Saturday:  No wins with 74.38%.  This was going to be delayed until after the Hobart Mayor/Deputy counts but the latter two dragged on for so long I suspect staff counting other councils switched to it.

Hobart Councillors (12 to be elected)

In a sample of around 250 votes Reynolds and John Kelly are way over quota and Bloomfield, Elliott, Burnet, Harvey and Zucco seem to be polling significantly while Thomas especially is struggling so far among the incumbents. Very early days yet. I will add more if I get to 500.

Tues 6 pm: In a sample based model of 523 I have Reynolds on about 2.2 quotas, John Kelly about 1.8. Zucco is just on quota in this sample and Bloomfield is on about 0.8 with good flows from the leaders. Burnet and Harvey get flows from Reynolds putting them up to around three-quarters of a quota each (that might rise); Elliot is in a similar position. Lohberger (!) and Behrakis are doing reasonably well in my sample. (Behrakis doing better in preferences on another scrutineer's sample than mine, by the way ) Most obviously in the mix behind them I have Dutta, Fox, Posselt, Coats, Kate Kelly, Sherlock (a noted preference sponger so my model may underrepresent how she would go) and Corr. Thomas and Briscoe are both struggling in this sample though by no means out of it yet.

Note that this is a small sample and a lot can change but I expect most or all of the first seven listed should get up, the rest is just a hint. 

Wed 11: I will have a full councillor sample when I get past 1000 votes but the left shift mentioned for mayor is on here too, especially favouring Dutta in my sampling while Bloomfield is not as high as yesterday (but still clearly at least competitive.)

Wed 12:30 20% count is up and provisionally winning are Reynolds, J Kelly, Zucco, Burnet, Elliot, Behrakis, Bloomfield,  Harvey,Dutta, Fox, Posselt, Sherlock with Lohberger and Kate Kelly 13th and 14th. Detailed comments soon.

Have looked at the provisional distribution and in it Reynolds and John Kelly win on primaries and Zucco on surpluses.  The next six are well clear but there is then a five-way fight for three places involving Fox, Posselt, Sherlock, Lohberger and Kate Kelly. In the current distribution Kate Kelly is overtaken by Sherlock and eliminated by a margin of 29 votes.  Kate Kelly's surplus then puts Sherlock over Lohberger by 14, with Posselt 21 ahead of Lohberger and Fox 25 ahead.  So any of Sherlock, Posselt and Fox could conceivably miss out to Lohberger.

We may be heading for a 7-5 left-right council here.  None of the other "blues" are in the top 14 and even if one of Thomas, Briscoe or Coats gets into that mix they don't have anywhere to get preferences from, so all these three are in difficulty.

Wed PS: Jeff Briscoe has graciously conceded defeat on Facebook after 28 years on Council, the second longest in Hobart history behind Zucco who will be re-elected.

Thurs 3 pm: 50% count coming soon.

Thurs 7:30 In the 50% count Lohberger now replaces Fox on the provisional winner list and the margin is quite comfortable (indeed he is 11th ahead of Sherlock). Kate Kelly is 76 behind Sherlock in their within-ticket battle.

Thursday late night: I have looked at the 50% count compared with the 20% count and in general in the 50% count it is Kelly and "blue" candidates who have come up and left candidates who have dropped, particularly Fox and Posselt.  Nobody has changed by more than 1% and most have changed by 0.3% or less.  Lohberger wins after using Briscoe's preferences to overtake Sherlock and Fox; Lohberger is 86 votes (0.5%) ahead of elimination behind Briscoe, so it's not completely clear he gets past that point.  I don't know if there's a chance Lohberger's votes will save Briscoe if Lohberger is excluded (Lohberger is well left of Briscoe but there is common ground on the Utas issue.)  I'm now satisfied that the top nine have all clearly won and have called them.  Incidentally if Briscoe does overtake Lohberger, this may instead cause Fox to win.

Friday 6:15 Expect it will be a few days before all the ballots are entered here.   Thomas has also now graciously conceded.  

Tuesday 10:00 RESULT CONFIRMED.  The final winners are the same as the 50% winners but in a different order.  John Kelly, Elliot, Bloomfield, Posselt and Lohberger are in and Thomas, Briscoe, Coats and Fox are out.  The order of election is Reynolds, John Kelly, Zucco, Burnet, Elliot, Behrakis, Dutta, Bloomfield, Harvey, Posselt, Sherlock, Lohberger.  None of the critical margins were close.  

2022 Tasmanian Council Counts: General And Councils Other Than Hobart

Numbers noted here based in scrutuneering are unofficial. For official results see the TEC website.

Introduction

This is my general page for commentary on the 2022 Tasmanian council counts.  Specific comments on individual councils will be added where time permits below (my main focus being on the Hobart count) and there will also be some comments on general themes.  Don't expect to see much on this page on Tuesday; comments will be added on Wednesday.  I will not necessarily cover all councils but expect to have brief comments at least on several.  

On Tuesday ballot papers will be removed from envelopes and there may be some computer data entry for some large councils but don't expect official figures.  I may have some indications from scrutineers depending on the pace of counting but the main counting activity for Mayors and Deputies together with the start of data entry is on Wednesday. The TEC expects to have provisional 20% or 50% distributions for all councils at some stage on Wednesday.  These provisional results are what would happen if only the votes entered to that point were used to decide the election.  Usually most of the candidates who are provisionally elected at the 20% stage end up winning, but often some of those elected to the last few positions change.  It is common to see media misreporting that candidates "elected" in these 20% and 50% interim counts have "won" but it is only when the final, 100%, count is done that the winners are official. 

Where the final few seat results in the interim counts are within 100 votes or so (depending on council) then it's possible the winners will change by random sample error alone.  They can also change if a candidate's victory depends on which of two other candidates is excluded at a certain point.  But there is a more important reason why they can change, and it is this:

Beware, Big Word: Stratification!

It's very important to be aware that interim primary vote figures for the various Councils using automated data entry won't necessarily be unbiased samples of the whole count.  Votes do not reach the Electoral Commission in random order, but rather arrive on particular days, and within each day's sample they may be further stratified by post office of origin (for instance).  There will be political differences between the pool of voters who tend to vote early in the count and those who vote late in the count. Also, campaign events that happen during the postal voting period can have more impact during some parts of the count than others.  

The TEC may well make vigorous efforts to reduce this stratification, but nothing will get rid of it completely.  It's also hard to say how compulsory voting might affect it, since the pools of early and late voters will be different.  In 2018 a "green shift" was observed in many (not all) councils, with obviously green/left candidates tending to get a final percentage that was around 1.1 times their vote in the first interim count, and righties tending to drop back accordingly.  The effect might be more pronounced, absent or in the opposite direction this time - who knows?

Hence when the TEC release primary figures for various percentages be aware that these are not true representative samples and that past experience shows that substantial changes may occur.  (For instance in 2014 one candidate for one council who was not getting elected on the 20% sample was elected in third place, though that's an extreme example.)  Any result that is even remotely close will therefore not be called on 20% of primaries. 

Please note that I only "call" a seat when I consider it virtually certain that the candidate in question has won.  I ask that people not describe me as having called any seat where I have not explicitly used the word "called" for it.

General Themes: Counting

Counting delays: King Island arrival of ballots has been delayed by inability of plane to fly in bad weather.

General Themes: Results

Any general comments on results will be added here.

Specific Councils

Comments on specific councils will be added here, by council in alphabetical order. All mayoral results will be noted when I've seen them 

Break O'Day 

Mick Tucker re-elected Mayor on primaries.

Brighton

No mayoral primaries yet but as Leigh Gray has a massive lead in the councillor race he will presumably be re-elected.  (edit: yep, almost won Mayor on primaries).  

Burnie

Incumbent Mayor Steve Kons is trailing Teeny Brumby by 9% on primaries. I don't have any scrutineering info but that's a lot to catch up under OPV.

Wed 7 pm: Kons now almost 12% behind with 40% to throw, almost half of which is from a female candidate.  Absent of any scrutineering data that sounds terminal.

Wed 7:30: Ouch, Kons drops to third and is defeated as Mayor, Brumby has a massive lead over Chris Lynch.  (Lynch by the way was federal candidate for Braddon and is doing rather better in the councillor race this time than his two previous very close wins; he looks comfortable in the 20% count in seventh place.)

10:15 Brumby clears the final hurdle and wins easily.  

Saturday: Former mayor Alwyn Boyd has been voted off council.  

Central Coast

Cheryl Fuller elected to vacant mayoralty.

Central Highlands

No mayoral election, Lou Triffitt reelected unopposed.

Circular Head

Gerard Blizzard elected to vacant mayoralty.

Clarence

In the 20% count Blomeley, Mulder, Chong and Ritchie all win with quotas (amusingly Blomeley and Mulder are tied and Chong and Ritchie are tied), followed by Warren, Kennedy. Hulme, Hunter, James, Peers, Darko and Walker.  Von Bertouch provisionally loses and is well down the list; Darko would be a second Green for Clarence. Emma Goyne is currently 13th, 37 votes behind Walker at the end.  

Brendan Blomeley has a very narrow lead over Tony Mulder for mayor but it would not surprise me to see it run down on preferences. In fact it would surprise me not to see that.

Wed 7:00 pm It's close - Mulder moves to a 0.55% lead over Blomeley with a massive 31% from Heather Chong to throw.

Wed 9:00 Blomeley wins 50.81-49.19 after Chong's preferences!  An interesting result given that the councillor results have taken a shift to the left.  I think there might be turbulence ahead ..

Thursday 4:20 Allison Ritchie leads the ballot for the Deputy vacancy with 20.5% followed by Wendy Kennedy 15.3 and Bree Hunter 14.1.  A Ritchie win would be a 1-2 for Blomeley's Better Clarence ticket.

Thursday 9:00 In the 50% count for councillor there is a change: Goyne is now provisionally in by a substantial margin, replacing Peers who is fighting for the last seat with James and Walker but about 70 votes behind them.

Friday 2 pm: The Deputy Mayor race between Ritchie and Kennedy (and perhaps Hunter) has been very flat sailing on preferences so far, with Ritchie holding her lead and votes going out of the system.  There are still votes from Hulme and Hunter to throw, unless Hunter overtakes Kennedy which I suspect is very unlikely.

3:50 It's looking like Ritchie is Deputy as she has increased her lead.  Only Hunter to throw and Kennedy needs to gain at .246 votes/vote; absent of party cues and with both candidates having had a high profile in the past there's no reason to think such a large gain happens.  

6:30 Ritchie wins 54.00-46.00

Tuesday: Councillors are confirmed and it's the same winners as the 50% count with Peers and von Bertouch out.  In the final count Peers was overtaken by Rainbird by 12 votes with Rainbird finishing 13th, but we know from the 50% count that had Peers survived that exclusion, Goyne would have won anyway.  

Derwent Valley

Michelle Dracoulis who won Mayor from off council in a by-election has been re-elected Mayor with a huge margin.

Devonport

No mayoral figures yet.  Former Mayor and Senator and mayoral candidate (mayoralty is vacant) Steve Martin is leading challenger Alison Jarman in the councillor race.

Thursday 3 pm: Jarman 40.5% leads Martin 36.8% in the mayoral race to be decided on Leigh Murphy's preferences.

Thursday 4: Jarman wins 55-45 so Martin doesn't get his old job back.

Dorset

Greg Howard re-elected Mayor but was a close one by 90 votes over Beth Donohue 

Flinders

Rachel Summers elected to vacant mayoralty.

George Town

Greg Kieser re-elected Mayor.

Glamorgan-Spring Bay

Wed 7 pm No mayoral figures yet but in the councillor race mayoral aspirants Cheryl Arnol (former mayor and veteran councillor) and Jenny Woods are both somewhat ahead of incumbent mayor Robert Forbes Young (who is fourth) so one to keep an eye on.  Forbes Young was elected in this by-election; Arnol was Mayor 1999-2005.

10:20 A cliffhanger for second in Mayoral race with Forbes Young leading Woods for second by two votes, which will have to be checked repeatedly before the exclusion can proceed.  However whoever survives it needs an over 70-30 flow of non-exhausting preferences to win, otherwise Arnol is back.

Thursday: Woods was indeed excluded but it was Arnol who got the massive preference flow and returns as Mayor.  

Glenorchy

Tues 7 pm I have heard that in a C. 500 vote sample of Mayor incumbent Bec Thomas is over 50 with Kelly Sims a distant second and also that Sue Hickey has a very large lead in the Deputy race with a primary vote in the high 30s

Wed: confirmed Thomas re-elected with absolute majority

Wed 7 pm: The 20% count is up for Councillor.  Incumbents Thomas, Hickey, Sims, Dunsby and King are the top five.  Currently provisionally following them are Molly Kendall, ex-councillor Harry Quick, Russell Yaxley, ex-Mayor Stuart Slade and Shane Alderton.  However Alderton's position especially is very shaky as he beats Morris Malone by nine votes in the 20% count after outlasting Josh Cockshutt by three (I don't know which of Malone and Cockshutt wins if Alderton exits at that point).  Slade is 32 votes clear of elimination at one point, though he has that sort of margin to three candidates.

Thursday 1:10 As expected Hickey is easily winning Deputy, way ahead of three opponents (update: and has won.)

Thursday 4:50 A change in the provisional winner list in the 50% count with Cockshutt now provisionally winning in 11th with 1095.7, Slade 12th with 1025.29 and Alderton missing out with 927.96. That's quite a big gap to Slade. However Alderton is only five votes over Malone so it's possible Malone might outlast Alderton (don't know if there's any reason to suggest he'd be a chance if so.)

Huon Valley

Wednesday: No mayoral figures yet but acting mayor Sally Doyle is leading the councillor race ahead of Toby Thorpe who is running for deputy; mayoral candidate Paul Gibson is a solid third there.

9:50 Wednesday: Doyle is leading Gibson by 2% on primaries.  Gibson is an endorsed Green and at least one of the preference sources (Callaghan) looks anti-Greens; others are harder to pick.  

Thursday 12:40 Doyle leads by 4.7% with only the throw of Debbie Armstrong to come; I expect Doyle will win. (3 pm: yep confirmed.)

Thursday 3 pm: optically Thorpe seems to have a good stack in the Deputy race 

Thursday 11:30 pm: I've seen commentary supported by a Facebook post screenshot that suggests that, having again not been elected Mayor, Mike Wilson may not take his Councillor post.  The count will continue and elect him no matter what his intentions, and then if he chooses to immediately resign there would be be a recount of his seat only.  The votes that would be used in the recount would be the votes Wilson had in the count at the time of his election (some of them his, some received from other candidates).  There would be a period of time for candidates to notify their intentions to contest or not contest and then the recount itself would be more or less instant (bar a programmed pause for dramatic effect; I am not making that up!)

Friday: yep, Thorpe elected Deputy

Saturday: An interesting result is the defeat of Marshall Callaghan who was provisionally elected in the 20% and 50% counts but missed out in the final result.  Callaghan ran on a "pro-business, pro-development, pro-salmon" platform and was seventh on primaries but struggled on preferences.  In the 50% count he defeated Cathy Temby for the final position by 14 votes, but in the final count his primary vote dropped from 5.2% to 5.0% while Temby's rose from 3.6% to 3.95%.  Result: Temby wins by 21 votes.  

Sunday: Having been elected as a councillor, Wilson has posted on Facebook that he has resigned.  This will trigger a recount to fill his seat probably in the next few weeks, as discussed above.  

Kentish

No mayor ballot, Kate Haberle re-elected unopposed.

King Island

Count delayed by bad flying weather.

Thursday 4:20 Marcus Blackie wins vacant mayoralty.

Kingborough

Wed 12 pm: have heard that Paula Wriedt is winning Mayor easily in sampling and topping the councillor ballot with Glade-Wright, Cordover, Richardson also polling well.

Wed 7pm: Wriedt re-elected as mayor easily, no sign of councillor counting.

8:05: The 20% count is up with Wriedt massively topping the poll, recent Liberal candidate Aldo Antolli bolting onto council second, and Mark Richardson, Clare Glade-Wright, Kasper Deane and Gideon Cordover all winning easily.  They're followed by Christian Street and Amanda Midgeley.  Currently Flora Fox (by 26 votes) and David Bain (by 8) beat Di Carter for the final two seats.  However not only could that change with further votes because the margin is so small, but Carter only outlasts Jill Hickie by 5, so perhaps Carter will exit before Hickie, which might put Hickie over at least Bain.   So at least here there is a four-way battle for these two seats, with Fox best placed.

Thursday 6: The 50% count has changed no provisional winners but stretched the margins to something much more significant with Bain over Carter by 115 and Carter over Hickie by 38. 

Friday 2: Clare Glade-Wright has won Deputy easily.

Saturday: The button's been pressed with no changes to the final winner list.  Hickie did overtake Carter but was unable to catch Bain.

Latrobe

No mayor ballot, Peter Freshney reelected unopposed.

Saturday: Another Deputy Mayor defeated with Graeme Brown beaten by Vonette Mead.

Launceston

Have heard from scrutineers that in the mayoral total primary Danny Gibson is way out in front with 36%, double his nearest rivals and will win the vacant mayoralty.

8:20 The 20% count is up and currently Launceston is on for seven new councillors, which seems unlikely to change as incumbents Paul Spencer and Krista Preece are well off the pace in this count.  The final margin is large at 60 votes for a 20% sample but the candidate in 13th, Cecily Rosol, is a Green who might benefit from any green shift in further counting.  Also Rosol at one point survives elimination over Jacob Gelston by two votes though I suspect the order of elimination here doesn't matter.  An interesting provisional addition is George Razay who ran as a tealish independent at the federal election but didn't poll that much, yet is doing very well here.

Thursday 1 pm: Confirmed, Gibson is mayor 

Thursday night: No change in the provisional winner list in the 50% count and it doesn't look close to changing at this stage.

Saturday: Yesterday an interesting Deputy Mayor result with Matthew Garwood winning from off council. Garwood was previously best known to the nation at large as a strikingly tattooed operatic and musical theatre singer who appeared in The Voice in 2014.  

Monday: Councillors confirmed, same result as 50% count.  

Meander Valley

Wayne Johnston has a massive lead and will be re-elected Mayor. [Edit: indeed, wins on primaries.]

Sunday: Johnston's deputy Michael Kelly was not so lucky, defeated by recent Liberal candidate Stephanie Cameron who performed well at the state election.  In the councillor count Kelly was tenth on primaries but got a pile of preferences from Johnston's surplus and was elected fourth, while off-council candidate Daniel Smedley was seventh on primaries, ninth after Johnston's surplus, and then overtaken by John Temple late in the preference distribution, hence missing out.  

Northern Midlands

Former Speaker Michael Polley is not currently getting re-elected in the provisional 20% count so that's one to keep an eye on . Also, Mary Knowles reelected Mayor.

Friday:  Janet Lambert, who has narrowly missed out in two state elections and for Deputy Mayor last time, has finally won one, defeating Richard Goss in a rematch of the 2018 Deputy contest.  

Saturday: Polley was indeed defeated.

Sorell

Kerry Vincent re-elected Mayor by lots 

Saturday: Sitting Deputy Natham Reynolds has been beaten by an off-council challenger, famous journalist Charles Wooley who has won very easily.  A fair upheaval at councillor level too with three of the seven recontesting councillors losing, so Sorell has five new councillors out of nine.

Southern Midlands

no mayor ballot, Edwin Batt elected to vacant mayoralty unopposed.

Tasman

The first defeat of a sitting Mayor with Kelly Spaulding losing fairly narrowly to off-council challenger Rod Macdonald.  

Waratah-Wynyard

Mary Duniam wins vacant mayoralty.

West Coast

Incumbent Mayor Shane Pitt has been returned easily.

West Tamar

Incumbent Christina Holmdahl leads Rick Shegog by 6.5% during distribution of Mayor preferences.

Wednesday 7:45 Holmdahl narrowly retains, 52-48.

Friday 2: Jess Greene who joined the council on a recount during the term has been narrowly elected Deputy Mayor, defeating incumbent Joy Allen.  Greene is a former Labor Legislative Council candidate.

Saturday: In the final Councillor count Peter Kearney has lost his seat to Julie Sladden by 3.59 votes.  Kearney was 53 votes clear in the 50% count but his primary vote declined from 6% to 5.85% while Sladden's rose from 4.66% to 4.95%.  Sladden is a doctor who is opposed to COVID vaccines.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Tenth anniversary!

Just very quickly noting that today is the tenth anniversary of me starting this site!  As noted in the fifth anniversary article I originally set up shop on Blogger to make sure I had somewhere to start posting right away, expecting that it would probably be temporary, but still here I am.  

After ten years this site has published 843 articles including this one and about 4550 comments (about a third of them mine).  It's had about 4.2 million pageviews including over 1.8 million unique pageviews.  Analytics claims there to have been about 400,000 users though a lot of those would be duplicates from different IP addresses. This is what the pageview pattern looks like for most of the last ten years (the first several months are missing but there wasn't that much happening then anyway):


A lot of the spikes correspond to the obvious elections (federal, Tasmanian state, Tasmanian councils and some other state elections especially Victoria 2018) but the 2022 federal election spike was something else entirely (more on that in the end of year stats review).  

At this stage I have no firm plans to do anything differently but I may at some stage set up a separate professional website and I've also had some money donated with a request that it be used to set up an easier portal for people to donate to thank me for my work.  The problem is that all these things take time to arrange. I've had a catastrophic shortage of spare time in this unusually election-packed year (especially after losing two months of work time to moving house and another to a non-serious but somewhat prolonged encounter with COVID). I have just today I've learned that within the next three and a half months I'll have to move house again, so things don't look like getting better there in a hurry.  

On that matter I hope to find time to send thankyous to everyone who has donated money to my site since 20 April (the last time I was up to date with the thankyou emails run), but it may yet take a while! I'm very committed to continuing to supply a public open resource provided I can manage to keep avoiding any employment constraints that would require me to stop doing it.  Thanks greatly to all of you whose support helps me to keep doing so, and to everyone reading this site for your interest.

Coverage of Tasmanian council counts will start from tomorrow with one article for Hobart and one less detailed article for various other councils.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Have Tasmanian Local Council Attrition Rates Increased?

While looking at a few of the larger Tasmanian councils in preparation for an interview I was surprised by how few incumbents were recontesting in some of the councils.  Launceston, with only seven out of 12 recontesting, and Glenorchy with only five out of ten, especially caught my eye.  Hobart with 11 out of 12 recontesting started to look unusual.  I couldn't help wondering if the proportion of councillors throwing in the towel in Tasmanian local government elections was rising, and as if I didn't have enough to do, I couldn't resist investigating it.

This is what I found.  The following numbers may have some slight errors (eg if I have been tripped up by a councillor's name changing without my knowledge) but any errors won't greatly affect the overall picture.

The 2014-8 term was the first four-year term for councils that was formed by all-in-all-out elections.  The 2018-22 term has also featured all-in-all-out elections but a noticeable difference is that in the 2022 election, voting is compulsory.  One council (Glenorchy) had its 2014-8 term shortened by several months and its 2018-22 term lengthened after an election was called early to fix a council that had become dysfunctional.  

Tasmania has 263 council seats across 29 councils.  In the 2014-8 term:

* Of the original 263 councillors, at least 24 resigned during the term, 4 died in office, one was disqualified and about 58 retired at the end of the term (at least one to contest a different council without success).  Seven resignations were because of being elected to state or federal parliament.  The retirement count includes councillors on the sacked Huon Valley council if they did not contest in 2018.  I may have also counted some very late resignations (where a councillor was not replaced) as retirements.

* 28 councillors were elected on recounts or by-elections (this number is not identical to the number of original councillors departing mid-term because not all vacancies are filled, but on the other hand a replacement councillor can also vacate and cause another vacancy).  Of these eight retired at the 2018 election and one died in office.  

* In all, 176 original and 19 replacement councillors contested the 2018 election, for a total of 195 (74.1%) (Of these, 37 original and 7 replacement councillors lost their seats.)

* Of the 29 original Mayors, four resigned during the term (including two elected to state Parliament and one to the Senate).  One died in office.  Two stood down from the mayoralty at the end of their terms but were re-elected as councillors.  Five retired from council altogether at the election.  

* In all 17 original mayors recontested (four lost) and all five replacement mayors also recontested (two lost with one losing their seat as well), so 22/29 mayors (75.9%) as at election time recontested.

In the 2018-22 term:

* At least 28 original councillors resigned during the term (including five elected to state or federal parliament).  One died in office and three were disqualified.  About 72 have retired at the election (including one elected to state parliament). I may have counted some very late resignations (where a councillor was not replaced) as retirements.

* 36 councillors were elected on recounts or by-elections.  Of these six are retiring at the election, two resigned and one was disqualified.  

* In all, 159 original and 27 replacement councillors are recontesting at the 2022 election, for a total of 186 (70.7%).  One original councillor is also contesting from off council after being disqualified during the term.

* Of the 29 original Mayors, nine resigned during the term (including two elected to state parliament and one to the House of Representatives).  Eight others are retiring at the election. 

* Of eight replacement Mayors, one is also retiring at the election, so in total 12 original and seven replacement Mayors are recontesting mayoral positions, for a total of 19/29 (65.5%) recontesting.  (NB Bec Enders resigned very late in the term and was replaced only by an Acting Mayor, who is running for Mayor, so one could say 20/29 recontesting.)

Overall therefore there has been a decline in the rate of both Councillors (especially original councillors) and Mayors (especially original Mayors) recontesting at this election.  It's not a massive difference, however, and even the difference in the rate of recontesting original councillors is not quite statistically significant.  If there is some underlying cause in the decline, there are many things it might be.  There was no change in the number of candidates running for Councils overall.  

Some examples 

At the tranquil end of the scale has been the West Tamar Council, which in 2014-8 had all nine original councillors not only serve their full terms but also be re-elected!  (And not for want of opposition either; they beat 13 other candidates.)  In 2022 West Tamar again has all nine sitting councillors recontesting (one having been elected on a recount during the term).  

Kentish 2018 (two defeated) also saw all nine original councillors see the term out and recontest.  George Town and Derwent Valley also had no retirements at the 2018 election but saw five and three sitting councillors respectively kicked out by voters.  (In general the fewer vacant seats the more one would expect some incumbents to lose, but five is a lot.)

On the other hand, Glenorchy and Huon Valley can't seem to stay out of trouble.  The original 2014-8 Huon Valley council was sacked in late 2016 and only one member of it contested the 2018 election (that one, Mike Wilson, was re-elected only to be disqualified over an enrolment issue mid-term).  The 2018-22 term has seen a major staffing scandal and seven of the nine sitting councillors have retired at the election.  

The Glenorchy 2014-8 council was suspended with an early whistle eventually being blown on its term after Kristie Johnston (now a state MP) had won the mayoralty by a large margin but lacked the support of the council.  The former old guard was the subject of an excoriating 313 page Board of Inquiry report and four councillors threw in the towel while another two were booted at the extremely lopsided early 2018 election.  Of the eight Team Kristie members elected in 2018, only three are contesting the 2022 election, and one of those (Kelly Sims) is now opposed to the Mayor Bec Thomas (one of the other two.)  At this election, several former Glenorchy councillors are also seeking to return.  This has created some surprise from observers who were not aware that zombies and skeletons are allowed to run for local council and are concerned whether other undead classes listed in the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual might also be permitted.  

The Derwent Valley Council has also seen remarkable turnover with only three of the original eight councillors lasting the term (one then retiring).  Four original councillors including the Mayor resigned for various reasons and one was disqualified, and one of their five replacements was disqualified as well, so the council has in all had six replacement processes (five recounts and a by-election).  

I will be covering the Council election counts next week with a detailed article for Hobart and a separate less detailed article covering general results and several other councils.  

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Victorian Party Policies On Fixing Group Ticket Voting

The Scoreboard - Victorian Election 2022

The following parties have a publicly documented commitment to, or position of support for, scrapping Group Ticket Voting:

* Victorian Socialists (longstanding)
* Australian Greens (longstanding)
* Animal Justice Party (added 16/11 - conditional on single statewide electorate)
* Pauline Hanson's One Nation (added 17/11)
* Legalise Cannabis (added 22/11)

See comments below for what these parties have said about the issue.  

Other parties will be listed here when I become aware that they qualify.  Parties that have publicly documented commitments to policies that would clearly significantly reduce the Group Ticket Voting problem may also be noted in this section.  

Don't take too much notice of how short this list is in the early stages of the campaigbn - but if a party has not been listed in this Scoreboard section by voting time and electoral reform is important to you, please don't vote 1 for it. 

Some voters may wish to specifically avoid parties that are part of Glenn Druery's preferencing network.  All such parties are marked with a (D) after their name for the benefit of voters who may want to put them last.

Independents:

This article covers parties, especially with reference to the Upper House.  Independents will have a range of views on the issue.  If I become aware that specific Lower House independents have a published policy they will also be added here:

* Felicity Frederico (Brighton) supports "Reform of the Upper House electoral system" (not stated what, but presumably meaning Group Ticket Voting)

Why This Article Exists

The 2018-22 Victorian parliament has completely failed to address the problems caused by preference harvesting under the Group Ticket Voting system at the 2018 election.  As noted in my Electoral Matters submission and a previous article on this site, Victoria has retained a system that:

* undeservedly (in terms of support within regions) elected between a fifth and a quarter of the Legislative Council in 2018

* elected three MLCs who polled less than 1.5% in their region, including one whose party polled 0.62% in both that region and statewide, all these defeating parties with several times their level of support

* is bad for accountability because whether or not minor party representatives are re-elected has more to do with GTV preference deals and unpredictable events in the preference distribution than whether they have any real level of voter support

* denies voters the ability to direct their own preferences between parties above the line (which they will be used to doing so having done so twice since the last state election) and throws away voters' stated preferences and overwrites them with a group ticket vote if they do.  

* can structurally disadvantage minor parties that poll too well (other parties may be reluctant to deal with them)

* is a risk to the safe conduct of elections because it creates meaningless tipping points

To be clear I am not against parties getting seats off a few percent of the vote statewide but this needs to be in a system where those parties are accountable to those few percent rather than to preference harvesters, for instance by introducing a single statewide electorate as in WA, NSW and SA (in the latter two cases in staggered form.)  Ideally this is what Victoria should do, even if it needs a referendum.  Failing that (and temporarily pending that) Victoria should switch to a Senate style system and many of the current micro-parties should merge.

The Victorian Parliament has done nothing whatsoever about the problem in its entire term or the previous term.  The Electoral Matters committee could at least have made an in-principle finding about the parlous nature of the 2018 election but passed the buck back to the parliament by recommending it authorise a separate inquiry; the parliament then never did so.  Only the Greens (the main victims of 2018) have consistently opposed group ticket voting as a parliamentary party in this term. One more party (Reason) has pursued a reform that would make it harder for a single preference harvester to monopolise making money out of group ticket voting, but would probably do nothing to stop the core problem. 

The Victorian parliament's failure to fix Group Ticket Voting is among the worst failures in Australian electoral design since the days of Sir Joh's malapportionments.  That said, the creation of the current system in the first place is up there too.  The Bracks government did at least one good thing in this field (scrapping single-member seats) but at least four silly ones: including Group Ticket Voting in the first place when some hazards of it were already known, making the district magnitude (five members per region) too small, allowing the 8x5 system to proceed although it actually somewhat favoured the Coalition, and worst of all entrenching the 8x5 setup such that it may require a referendum to properly clean up the mess.  

I could have made this article just another rant about Victoria's failure but why duplicate Antony Green's efforts, and, indeed, I've said it all before to no avail.  Instead this is a resource page that will document party policies, history and comments on Group Ticket Voting going into the election.  I suggest that any party that does not have a policy of scrapping or at least substantially curbing Group Ticket Voting and display that policy on its website has failed the most basic test of supporting democracy.  Any such party does not deserve voter support and I strongly encourage voters not to vote 1 for any such party.  If you must vote 1 for such a party in the Legislative Council, please do it below the line and distribute your own preferences rather than allowing that party to send your vote goodness knows where.  In fact, please do that whoever you vote for unless you have viewed your party's submitted ticket and agree with it completely.

Voting below the line in Victoria is easy (you only need to number 1-5 and then you can stop) but I recommend numbering as many boxes as you can.

(By substantially curbing I mean changes such as allowing and encouraging an above the line preference option, and/or introducing a primary vote threshhold)

On with the show ...

Registered parties and their positions

Notice to parties:  If your party has adopted and published a position on Group Ticket Voting I will edit this article to reflect it, provided that your position is public (preferably on your party's official online presence).  Send me a link to your position or a report of your position via email (link in profile) or notify me on Twitter (@kevinbonham).

New parties will be added after they have been registered - not before.

Some more information about the position of some parties is available via 6 News interviews.  I have referenced some of those here but am expecting to edit this article as I find or am sent detail on others.  My gold standard is that a party needs to display a policy on its webspace so that there is no wriggle room based on a member speaking without authority in an interview.  

Angry Victorians Party

Form: New party.   The Angry Victorians Party is the state branch of Heston Russell's Australian Values Party which ran in the federal election to very little avail.  

Policy: Angry Victorians does not have any known public policy on its website concerning Group Ticket Voting but the party has endeared itself to this site considerably by leaking a video of pre-negotiations with Glenn Druery before it decided not to run with him, and reporting the video to IBAC.  6 News has reported that the party does not support Group Ticket Voting.

Animal Justice Party 

Form: The Animal Justice Party has failed Victorian voters by being a party represented in the current Parliament and doing nothing during that parliament to fix Group Ticket Voting.  In the May 5 2021 debate Andy Meddick (AJP) defended the current system on the grounds that voters have a right to have issues raised in parliament even if the party they vote for has little support.  This ignores both the general willingness of MPs to allow views they disagree with to be aired via the petition process (for instance) and the fact that six parties contesting the previous election received no representation despite getting more votes than at least one party that did.  Meddick also stated that the Greens benefited from GTV in a previous election (presumably meaning 2014), which is false.  The Greens' representation in 2014 exceeded their primary vote but not because of GTV - in fact even in 2014 GTV cost the Greens two seats they would have won under a Senate-style system, while only arguably gaining them one.  The real reasons the Greens did well in 2014 were the district magnitude and the way their support was spread around the regions.  

Policy: The Animal Justice Party on its website supports reform to replace the current system with a single statewide division without group ticket voting.  They have previously appeared to support GTV, and have in the past engaged in some deals with the Druery network, but their position has shifted.   On 14 Nov 2022 (after the party hilariously ratted on a Glenn Druery preference deal) the AJP's election manager said "The Animal Justice party does not agree with the wheelings and dealings of a preference whisperer and the backroom deals of predominantly older, white males. That time has come to an end,"   Subsequently they posted the above linked discussion supporting a single statewide electorate and a referendum to achieve it on their site.  

Australian Labor Party 

Form: The Australian Labor Party has failed Victorian voters by being the government in the previous two parliaments and doing nothing to fix Group Ticket Voting.  A common theory about this is that Labor are secretly rather happy that the Greens were gutted in the 2018 upper house election and would prefer to work with a grab-bag of randoms than to have the Greens holding the balance of power alone (which is a rather likely outcome under 8x5 with a Senate-style preferencing system).  Two alternative explanations are (i) that Labor is concerned that going to an 8x5 system without Group Ticket Voting could lead to a Coaltition majority or blocking majority (although in 2010 the Coalition won a majority with Group Ticket Voting off a primary vote of just 43.2% - and major party vote shares have since decreased) and (ii) that Labor would do something about Group Ticket Voting but hasn't done so because it doesn't have the numbers.  View (ii) has some merit given the Victorian Liberals' hopelessness on the issue (see below) but if Labor were serious about reform they should have introduced legislation and pressured the Liberals to support it.

Outside Victoria the ALP has a mixed form guide on fixing Group Ticket Voting, having repealed it in three states (some more rapidly than others) but having opposed necessary Senate reform federally in 2016, making numerous incorrect arguments and since-disproved predictions in the process.

Policy: The Australian Labor Party is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting.  Labor has repeatedly been reported to have no policy of fixing Group Ticket Voting.  (This doesn't necessarily mean it won't, since in WA Labor abolished Group Ticket Voting despite going to an election saying it had no plans to fix the system.  But it does mean that it is very hard to predict whether it will ever do anything and if so what - especially as a majority is highly unlikely in Victoria.)  Following the Glenn Druery video sting scandal, Premier Andrews only flagged a further review and said the issue had been brought into "sharper focus".  This is disingenuous evasive garbage as the issue was in perfectly sharp focus after the last election's disaster yet his government did nothing,  

Companions and Pets Party

Form: New party.  The Companions and Pets Party has no known form on Group Ticket Voting.

Policy: The Companions and Pets Party doesn't have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting. It appears that it may be opposed to Group Ticket Voting but more public detail is needed. According to Leonardo Puglisi of 6 News the party is "clear that they don't support it."

Democratic Labour Party (D)

Form: The Democratic Labour Party was represented in the 2006-10 and 2014-2018 parliaments (in both cases winning by preference spirals) but not the 2018-22 parliament, until Bernie Finn (ex-Liberal) joined it.  Its representative in the 2014-8 parliament quit the party before the 2018 election.  I can find no evidence of the DLP ever supporting action to fix Group Ticket Voting.

Policy: The Democratic Labour Party is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting.

Derryn Hinch's Justice Party (D)

Form: Derryn Hinch's Justice Party has failed Victorian voters by being a party represented in the current Parliament and doing nothing to stop Group Ticket Voting.  The two DHJP representatives did not speak in the May 2021 debate but voted against Ratnam's symbolic motion.

Policy: Derryn Hinch's Justice Party is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting.

Family First Victoria

Form: New party.  Family First Victoria (a Lyle Shelton/Peter Bain outfit not to be confused with other Family Firsts that have existed or failed to exist) has no known form on Group Ticket Voting.

Policy: Family First Victoria is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting.  Family First Victoria claims to support protecting the "Australian democratic way of life" and attacks supposed threats to it but I'm not sure it's said anything about preference harvesting, which has already severely damaged Victorian democracy.

Fiona Patten's Reason Party

Form: Fiona Patten's Reason Party has failed Victorian voters by being represented in the current parliament and failing to support fully effective action on Group Ticket Voting, though it has supported action that would probably be ineffective.  Patten was initially elected by working with Glenn Druery but broke away from him and was re-elected in 2018 without his involvement.  In November 2020 Patten introduced the Electoral Act Amendment (Preference Harvesting) Bill 2020.  The text of the Bill has never been published because the Victorian Parliament seems not to publish Private Members' Bills that have only passed first reading (why?), but media reports indicated it would ban consultants from being paid by multiple sources to broker preference deals .  Druery responded that if so banned he would harvest for free.  There is no indication that the Bill would prevent parties from paying their own staff to broker deals, or that it would prevent each party from hiring its own consultant.  While this might (if effective) decentralise the organisation of preference harvesting, that wouldn't necessarily stop it from working, and might lead to an increase in wild-West harvesters who made deals with other parties then broke them.  Beyond her anti-Druery position, Patten and Reason (including under Reason's previous guise Sex Party) have repeatedly supported keeping Group Ticket Voting.

Policy: Fiona Patten's Reason Party is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting. The party supports all kinds of tealy democratic accountability stuff with colour pattern to match but for voter preferences to be sent hither and thither via unaccountable backroom deals is cool and normal, so long as you-know-who isn't involved.  

Freedom Party of Victoria

Form: New party.  This party has been involved in some argy-bargy with Glenn Druery, saying it would orchestrate its own deals and not go through him and describing past deals as "as best unethical".  However as reported by 6 News, Deputy Leader Aidan McLindon thinks preference deals between likeminded minor parties without money changing hands are OK and says, regarding dumping Group Ticket Voting, "the problem is what you're going to replace it with".  He seems in that interview to be perhaps open to scrapping GTV but not very clear on the matter.

Policy: Freedom Party of Victoria is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting. However it appears to have reservations about it.

Health Australia Party (D)

Form: The Health Australia Party has featured prominently in co-ordinated GTV preference spirals (especially in WA) but has so far never been elected.  

Policy: Health Australia Party is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting.  It has a so-called policy to " defend the political, legal, social and economic foundations of a democratic society" but apparently that doesn't include defending the foundations of democracy from parties like it being elected with next to no votes.

Legalise Cannabis Victoria

Form: Two Legalise Cannabis MLCs were elected in Western Australia by preference harvesting but subsequently voted for the reform that removed Group Ticket Voting and established a statewide single 37-member electorate.  In Victoria, the party has never been elected and has no known form on the issue.

Policy: Legalise Cannabis Victoria has issued a media release stating that they support "the abolition of Group Voting Tickets and the introduction of a rort-free system of proportional representation”.

Liberal Democratic Party (D)

Form: The Liberal Democratic Party has failed Victorian voters by being a party represented in the current Parliament and doing nothing to stop Group Ticket Voting.  The party has a long history of supporting and defending Group Ticket Voting at state and federal levels and of mobilising incorrect arguments to do so.  In the May 2021 debate, alongside some of the usual pro-GTV myths, Tim Quilty (whose comments on electoral matters are often otherwise excellent) said GTVs were "brought in by the major parties when their votes began to splinter so they did not have to change their actual policies". In fact the GTV system was invented federally because scandalous Senate informal voting rates of around 10% needed to be addressed but the Australian Democrats and Coalition would not accept optional preferencing; another benefit being it was easy to count. It was then copied by various states.  

Policy: Liberal Democratic Party is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting. Indeed, they have historically clearly supported it.  However on 17 November the LDP's David Limbrick finally issued a statement on Facebook that the LDP did not oppose scrapping GTV provided there was a NSW-style system.  I am not aware of a statement of this as official party policy at this stage.  

Liberal Party of Australia

Form: The Liberal Party of Australia has failed Victorian voters by being a party represented in the current Parliament and doing nothing to stop Group Ticket Voting.  There were initially promising signs when the Liberal Party put in an Electoral Matters submission recommending that the committee consider introducing a Senate-style system (though it was only a recommendation to consider it, not a recommendation that anyone actually do anything).  

However further output has been disappointing.  Not only has the party failed to introduce any legislation that might put pressure on the government, but in the May 2021 debate David Davis MLC made an extremely silly contribution.  He said that the party was considering moving to amend the Greens' symbolic motion to replace "remove group voting tickets" with "reform group voting tickets" and argued that this "would have in a sense pointed to what we think is important—that group voting tickets or whatever arrangement you have electorally actually direct the voting outcomes in a way that most closely reflects what the community and the people want." 

This ignored that the reason we are having the debate at all is the overwhelming evidence that Group Voting Tickets cannot do that. They in fact direct voting outcomes towards utterly unnatural preferencing patterns that do not reflect what voters want when they choose their own preferences.   Not only was the Liberals' proposed amendment craven and clueless, but they were also too gutless to even introduce their gutless amendment.  The weird thing is that the Coalition was the second most GTV-diddled grouping in 2018, losing three seats where they had large leads to GTV preference spirals, and are at big risk of suffering a similar fate again in 2022.  Federally, the Liberal Party abolished Group Ticket Voting in its first term in office following the 2013-4 Senate election farce.  

Following the Angry Victorians video link Matthew Guy said "What’s clear is having a system where people can buy their way into parliament, like a third world democracy, that is deeply concerning and that needs to be fixed, [..]  If Daniel Andrews won’t fix it, I will because Victorians deserve a democracy they can be confident about.”  However it is not clear what particular fix he supports or if his party will implement it if he is not leader anymore.  

Policy: Liberal Party of Australia is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting. On their website they for a while didn't even have a policies page at all - there was an "about us" page awash with democratic platitudes that are contradicted by not fighting Group Ticket Voting.  To find their actual policies I had to go to matthewguy.com.au where I could find policies on such things as stopping "Labor’s extermination of Victoria’s iconic brumbies" but nothing about stopping the extermination of electoral accountability.  Keeping feral pest horses is more important to the Liberals than removing pest electoral systems.  Noted.   (A policy document has since been added to the main page but it contains no mention of electoral reform.)

National Party of Australia - Victoria Division

Form: The National Party of Australia has failed Victorian voters by being a party represented in the current Parliament and doing nothing to stop Group Ticket Voting.  Like the Liberals, the Nationals proposed that the Electoral Matters committee investigate switching to the Senate system, and like the Liberals they have done about a tenth of sweet stuff-all since.  I will however mention that in February 2019 Danny O'Brien (South Gippsland) spoke very well in the parliament on the need to abolish Group Ticket Voting.

Policy: National Party of Australia is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting.   Like many parties the Nationals claim to support "Preservation of democracy in Australia through the Westminster Parliamentary system." but don't lift a finger for more than five seconds regarding the parliament containing parties that would not get elected in any other parliament of comparable size on earth.

New Democrats (D)

Form: New party.  The New Democrats are a vehicle for Kaushaliya Vaghela, an ex-Labor MLC who has quit the party pending imminent expulsion for crossing the floor. The party has no known form on group ticket voting although Vaghela voted against the Greens' symbolic motion on the issue while still a Labor MLC.  

Policy: The New Democrats are currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting. I can find virtually no documentation of what this party stands for at this stage (14 October).

Pauline Hanson's One Nation

Form: One Nation has not been represented in Victoria before.  Historically One Nation was often a victim of Group Ticket gangups but over time its notoriety faded and it won seats under GTV at the 2017 WA election.  

Policy: Pauline Hanson's One Nation has issued a press release calling for an inquiry into preference gaming and stating that "Elections should be open contests of ideas and policy, not a free-for-all where votes are scattered to the winds. Victoria needs to have a good hard look at electoral reform after this election, particularly with respect to group voting tickets."

Restore Democracy Sack Dan Andrews (D)

Form: New party with no known form on Group Ticket Voting.

Policy: As of mid-October I can't even find a website for this party, only a social media presence for its founder.  Restore Democracy Sack Dan Andrews is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting.  Restore Democracy Sack Dan Andrews is a fake party started by Glenn Druery to attempt to take votes away from "cooker" parties like Freedom Party.  

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party Victoria (D)

Form: Shooters, Fishers and Farmers have failed Victorian voters by being a party represented in the current Parliament and doing nothing to stop Group Ticket Voting. The party are veteran GTV junkies, having won five seats by preference harvesting in the WA and Victoria upper houses, most of them totally undeserved.  However in the only case of them winning enough votes in a GTV contest to clearly deserve a seat by actual voter support (Northern Victoria 2018), they were out-harvested by the Liberal Democrats and DHJP and lost.  The Shooters are almost as keen on GTV as they are on guns, openly supported it during the May 2021 debate and state that they will "deal with everyone and anyone except the Animal Justice Party".  (The diversity argument they advance is fair enough but the solution is a single statewide electorate.)

Policy: Shooters, Fishers and Farmers are currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting. Indeed, they clearly support it.

Sustainable Australia - no I will not print its full silly name (D)

Form: Sustainable Australia Party has failed Victorian voters by being a party represented in the current Parliament and doing nothing to stop Group Ticket Voting.  The party was elected by one of the more ridiculous preference spirals and it too has danced with the one that brung it, openly supporting GTV during the May 2021 debate including with a spurious football analogy.  (Clifford Hayes suggested winning by preference snowball was like winning an AFL game where your side has enough behinds to overcome having fewer goals.  It more resembles a game where if a team is losing badly, other teams run onto the field and try to score at both ends but whatever the other teams score at either end is credited to the team that was losing.)

Policy: Sustainable Australia Party is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting. Indeed they support it.  Yes that's right, a party that rails against whatever it thinks corruption is in its full party name still thinks that parties with no real support buying seats in parliament through preference harvesting (with a little bit of luck) is fine!  That said Hayes does say he supports GTV "until we have a more democratic method of doing it" and says he is "happy to look at all of those systems that give a good range of opinions in the upper house" (like a single statewide division.)   Well in that case why not have a policy of abolishing GTV and replacing it with a single statewide division? 

The Australian Greens - Victoria

Form: When discussing the Greens' position on Group Ticket Voting it is important to distinguish between the party's position on the system and its willingness to try to "play the game" to get elected.  There is ancient history of the Greens sometimes leapfrogging other parties on Group Ticket preferences (most infamously NSW 2001, beating the Democrats on One Nation ticket preferences) and there are far more recent cases of the Greens making flaky or dangerous preference order decisions under GTV, and hence risking electing people their supporters would not want.  However, a party doing what it takes to try to get elected under a system is not inconsistent with it wanting to change the system.

Federally, the Greens have a long history of opposing GTV and were supporting scrapping it before the 2013 Senate debacle.  Unfortunately at Victorian state level the party was utterly asleep at the wheel during the 2014-8 term.  After winning 5/40 seats (one fewer than it would have won in a Senate style system on the same votes) the Greens do not seem to have raised the issue in that Parliament at all, not even with it being a major issue federally mid-term.  They do not appear to have even put in an Electoral Matters submission.

At the 2018 election the Greens were the main victims of GTV preference spirals, losing at least three and perhaps as many as five seats they deserved to win based on actual voter support.  Since this wake-up call the Greens have prominently and frequently argued against Group Ticket Voting.

Policy: The Greens have an explicit commitment to "Put the power to elect MPs back in the hands of voters by banning dodgy preference deals and by allowing voters to number preferences above the line." The Greens have also supported a motion to call on the Parliament to remove Group Ticket Voting, and moved to empower the Council to consider amending a regulatory bill in a way that would remove Group Ticket Voting.  (In both cases theirs was the only vote in support.)

Transport Matters Party (D)

Form: The Transport Matters Party was the most undeserving Group Ticket spiral winner at the 2018 election, being elected with 0.62% in its region and statewide.  That's not to say Rod Barton is a bad MP, just that he's one who has no mandate.  Actually, he is a bad MP where this debate is concerned, because his contribution to the May 2021 debate was among the worst.  He claimed that the introduction of GTV in 2006 was a deliberate anti-majority strategy (it was proportional representation that was the anti-majority strategy and indeed at the first two GTV elections micro-parties won just 1 and 0 seats) and also claims that the Greens won five seats by "backroom deals" in 2014 (false; see Animal Justice Party section).  

Policy: Transport Matters is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting. Indeed, it appears to support it.

United Australia Party

Form: The UAP was not elected in the previous parliament.  Three UAP (then PUP) Senators were elected in 2013 (only one of them clearly on merit) but by the end of the term there was only one left, and that one voted against the abolition of Group Ticket Voting.  Clive Palmer seems to not be very aware of how the Victorian system works since he recently argued that Ralph Babet's victory under the non-GTV Senate system meant the party should win the sixth seat in every Victorian region.  (Each region has five seats, just for starters.)

Policy: United Australia Party is currently failing Victorian voters by failing to have a prominently displayed policy to abolish Group Ticket Voting.

Victorian Socialists

Form: At the 2018 election the Victorian Socialists spoke out against GTV preference deals and also ordered their preferences in a principled manner based on their own political views.  They outpolled Reason in the division that Reason won in but had much poorer GTV preference flows as punishment for their principled stand and did not get near to winning.

Policy: The Victorian Socialists have an explicit policy to "Replace group ticket voting for the Victorian Legislative Assembly [sic - should be Council] and give voters full control over their preferences."

Monday, October 3, 2022

How To Make Best Use Of Your Vote In The Tasmanian Council Elections

I had a request for information about this, so here is a quick primer on how I think voters should make best use of their votes in the current Tasmanian council elections.

Note that I have a very detailed guide to Hobart City Council and a slightly less detailed one for Clarence.  Kingborough voters may find this guide to party affiliations prepared by Lara van Raay (recent Local Party candidate) and based on responses from an impressive 15/16 candidates useful.

How many boxes to number?

For the Councillor elections, you are required to number the boxes from 1 to 5 (exception: King Island) each once and once only for a valid vote.  If that's all you feel you can do, fine.  But if you want your vote to be more powerful then the more boxes you can number the better.  If two candidates are competing for a position and your vote numbers neither, then your vote can't help decide between them and the decision will be made by other voters.  If you have numbered one ahead of the other, or one and not the other, then your vote may help if it happens to be still active in the preference process at that time.

Often people stop when they run out of candidates who they like.  If there are any candidates you are strongly opposed to, then it is better to keep going so that you can put other candidates who you might dislike slightly or have never heard of ahead of those you really cannot stand.  

Some voters are afraid of doing this because they think that numbering a candidate you don't much like might help that candidate beat one of your top picks.  That's not the way it works.  Your vote only affects one candidate at a time - your number 1 vote stays with your number 1 candidate until they are elected or excluded.  If they are excluded, it then passes to the next remaining candidate on your list at full value.  If they are elected, it may pass to the next remaining candidate at a reduced value.  If you rank candidate X ahead of candidate Y, the fact that you have ranked candidate Y at all can never help candidate Y beat candidate X.  

Numbering more boxes also makes it more likely your vote will appear in future recounts if councillors quit partway through a term.  

For the Mayoral and Deputy boxes, you only have to number 1, but again, your vote is more powerful if you rank as many candidates as possible.  I recommend numbering all the boxes (or leave the last one blank if you like, it makes zero difference.)  

I personally always number all the boxes for all three ballots.  That's a big ask for Hobart where there are 44 candidates, some of them very obscure. 

Which votes should I give the most thought to?

As a general rule who you put in your highest councillor positions, and the order you put them in, will make the most difference. If you vote all the way through, your vote could be still active at full value in a contest between the candidates you put last and second-last, but that's not that common.  Usually it will have used most or all of its value electing someone further up the list, or else one or both of your least-liked candidates will have got elected or excluded before your vote gets near them.  

There's apparently a misconception out there that your vote works as, say in the case of Hobart, 12 votes, and that if you number 12 candidates, thereby picking your desired Council, you've effectively "voted" for all of them.  In fact you have one vote for Councillor*, which starts with your most preferred candidate and then moves down the chain once they're excluded, or may move down the chain at a reduced value if they're elected.  Every vote after your first is a preference, to be available to the next candidate if available.  The order that you put your most liked candidates in matters.  Voting 1 to 12 and stopping is a lot better than voting 1 to 5 and stopping but it is better still to keep going!

(* Unless you're one of those people who has two votes via corporate voting, but that's another story).

Should I vote for different candidates for Mayor, Deputy and Councillor?

A person who is elected Mayor or Deputy has to also win election as a Councillor to take their place on Council.  So if you think someone would be the best possible Mayor/Deputy and the best possible Councillor, you should generally vote 1 for that person for both positions.  There has never yet been a case where someone was elected Mayor without also winning as a Councillor, but there have been a few cases where elected Deputies were not elected as Councillors and failed to take their seat.

On the other hand, it seems that some voters are voting 1 for a candidate who is not their most preferred Councillor candidate just because they have also voted 1 for that person as Mayor and realise their preferred Mayoral choice has to also win as Councillor.  Especially in the cities, this is unnecessary - it's extremely unlikely that anyone elected Mayor in a city won't also bolt in as Councillor.  Most Mayors top the Councillor ballot.

In general I recommend this: put the Councillor candidates in order of your preference for them as Councillors, and do the same for the Mayor and Deputy candidates for those positions.  In thinking about where to rank the Councillor candidates, ignore what else they are running for.  (I generally do the Councillor ballot first.)

If you're tossing up the first position on your Councillor ballot between a lesser known candidate who you think will be a great Councillor and a prominent Mayoral contender who you think will be just as good as a Councillor, I recommend voting 1 for the lesser known candidate.  They might need your first preference more.

Where can I find out about the candidates?

Outside perhaps of the very small councils where everyone knows everyone, candidates should have taken advantage of the free chance to submit a website link with the online version of their candidate statement.  However a lot of city candidates will at least have Facebook pages even if they didn't submit a web link.  I often find that candidates are evasive or too modest about their work backgrounds in candidate statements (eg saying they are in "small business" and not saying what sort it is) and I frequently find linkedin far more useful to get a view of what candidates have done and are currently doing professionally.  

It is up to candidates to inform you about who they are and what they've done.  If you feel you don't know enough about a candidate, that's on them, and it's a good reason to mark them down if you feel so inclined.

I recommend reading the candidate statements, but reading them critically.  A good statement tells you about what the candidate's background is, about how this will make them a good councillor and about how they intend to approach the role (or have approached it if they are an incumbent).  There are a lot of meaningless cliches - "common sense", "balance", "progressive" and so on.  

What are tickets?  Are they the same as parties?

Despite predictions of mass party infiltration, the candidate mix at these elections seems pretty similar to normal.  Most candidates are not party-endorsed though some are party members or have backgrounds of running for parties (especially the case in the cities).  

Sometimes candidates run on tickets where members of the group campaign together using common branding and cross-endorsements.  These tickets have no actual formal status, they are just groupings of convenience. Often the candidates who run together on tickets agree broadly on their approach to council politics, but even that's not guaranteed.  I recommend ignoring what ticket a candidate is on and judging them as a candidate, but for voters who don't have time for that, ticket cues can be useful.  

How councillors behave on councils doesn't always have a lot to do with any party connections they might have.  Greens will tend to vote a certain way, but when there are multiple Greens on a council they won't necessarily vote together all the time, and it's fairly common for endorsed Greens who get elected to councils to later become independents.  Labor members can slot in on either the left or right sides of their councils, and some Liberals can be hardliners while others will be Council centrists.  

More answers may be added to this guide later.