The Victorian Senate Count – Why it’s premature to call the final spot for the DLP.

If the election night results for the Victorian senate are taken as indicative of the final outcome, then the DLP’s John Madigan could win the final spot. Antony Green’s site has a breakdown of the current numbers, which shows a DLP win on the current numbers, with 2 ALP, 1 Green, 1 Liberal and 1 National senators also being elected (note – that numbers and predictions in that link will almost certainly change as it’s updated with the latest results).

In Victorian Senate contests over at least the last 15 years, the DLP has doubled its vote when it has drawn a spot to the left of the ALP on the ballot paper. They have also polled significantly higher whenever they have drawn a spot ahead of the ALP in the lower house seats they have contested over that period of time. This has occurred in the 2010 election, where the DLP’s vote has more than doubled to 2.23% (on the current count).

Year DLP Victorian Senate Vote
1998 1.05%
2001 2.28%
2004 1.94%
2007 1.03%
2010 2.23%

The DLP have also shown once again what great preference negotiators they are (they won a spot in the Victorian upper house on about 2% of the vote in the 2006 election thanks to good preference deals). The DLP have a strong flow of preferences from the other right-wing micro parties.

However, it is seriously premature for anyone to call that final spot for the DLP.

Below the Line votes (UPDATE 22/08/2010) – Greens psephologist, Stephen Luntz has let me know that the initial primaries for BTL votes have already been counted, which makes this closer than I first thought – although we’ll have to wait to see how BTL preferences flow, as they could go anywhere) should favour the Greens and push them further above quota, and their surplus vote, plus the Sex party and the residual Australian Democrats vote, may end up being enough to give the ALP the final spot.

Postals and pre-poll will favour the majors, and in Antony Green’s current prediction (which shows the DLP getting elected on last night’s figures) the split between the Liberals and the DLP when the Liberals are eliminated is less than 20000 votes. This should narrow rather than increase, and it’s more likely that the Liberals will end up ahead of the DLP than behind them.

At this stage, I think its likely the DLP will end up losing in Victoria (although they could fluke it in on preferences). If I was going to make a prediction at this stage, I would pick Victoria electing the third ALP candidate to the final spot, giving Victoria a final tally of 3 ALP, 1 Green, 1 Liberal and 1 National. However, even if the ALP doesn’t win the final spot, I think the Liberals are far more likely to pull ahead of the DLP at the crucial split and take the final spot.

13 thoughts on “The Victorian Senate Count – Why it’s premature to call the final spot for the DLP.

  1. Lee Davis-Thalbourne says:

    Strangely, it looks like the big wildcard is the Sex Party – In Antony Green’s analysis, they’re hanging in quite impressively right up to near the end. If the Sex Party gets enough below-the-line votes (and admittedly, almost everyone I know who voted for Sex opted to go down below (sorry, that was terrible! And Awesome!), their preferences might shift things further towards Labour.

  2. polly says:

    @Lee – I think that that will help the ALP pick up the last spot. The Greens will also get a very strong BTL vote (they’re already over quota without BTLs). It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Greens get 15%+ after BTLs are counted. Postals also favour the majors, so the ALP could reach a quota for the final spot with Greens excess, Sex Party and Democrats preferences (the Dems in Victoria went straight to the ALP and didn’t split ticket). I also think the Liberals may pull ahead of the DLP (as they should also do well in postals) at the final split between these two parties.

  3. Jo Heard says:

    Thanks for the laugh Lee. I know all my friends who voted Sex Party did so below the line. Unfortunately we are NSW so can’t help..

  4. Stephen Luntz says:

    Repeating what I said on Polly’s facebook:

    I largely agree Polly, but there is one mistake – BTLs have already been included here. The AEC (as of 2004 or 2007 can’t remember which) counts BTLs on the night to the party that has the number one – so BTLs for Richard (or Janet, Nam etc…) are included in the 14.4 we currently have.

    At them moment the last spot looks like a 4 way contest – DLP, Fielding, McGuaran and Thow. I’d say the most likely of these is McGauran – for two reasons. Firstly I think the postals etc will favour the majors, although I should really refresh my memory on past results before saying that. Moreover, the ABC calculator assumes all these btls will go the way of the party’s ticket. BTLs from the LDP for example will bleed away from the DLP to everyone else. As they are more dependent on votes from other tickets than any of the other contenders they’re very vulnerable to this.

    At this point my order of likelihoood would be McGuaran, Fielding, Madigan and Thow last, but any of them could do it.

    Thanks for calling me brilliant 🙂 – one of my less brilliant calls recently has been that Fielding had no chance once preferences were lodged. I still think he probably won’t make it but I was clearly premature. My major mistake was that I thought the LDP would do very badly given their ballot position, but they seem strangely unaffected.

    The situation where both the DLP and LDP attract a lot of voters who think they are voting for a major party is a serious problem. In the House their votes end up where they intend, but in the Senate they can provide a couple of percent for rightwing fruitcakes.

    1. polly says:

      Yes, the ALP have clearly lost 1-1.5% off their primary, and the Coalition have probably lost up to 1% off their primary due to confusion with the LDP. It really could change the outcome this time. I think Liberals for Forests also got 2% in the Vic senate in 2001. I definitely hope the ALP win, but if they don’t, I’d prefer to see Senator McGauran returned than either of the DLP or Family First. I think both postal votes, and the fairly high vote for the Shooters and Fishers party may see the Libs pull ahead at the critical split.
      This is another clear example of why above the line voting (or at least, group voting tickets) should be abolished.

  5. Tony Zegenhagen says:

    The DLP is one minor party that seems to hold or increase their vote on postals etc.
    I think the DLP will hold on and win. Newer parties like the LDP/Sex party will drop off and all of the FF/CDP/One Nation will flow to the DLP candidate before getting to McGuaran.
    No I think his in. The team that worked on his preferences have calculated well and I have no doubts that John Madigan will be off to Canberra

  6. polly says:

    @Tony – I agree that the postals will probably tend to favour more established parties over the newer parties (although FF may do alright because they have a good position on the ballot paper). I guess the question is will they break for Senator McGauran or not? Although I *strongly* disagree with much of your party’s platform (as I’m sure you really disagree with my political beliefs which are at the Green end of political spectrum), I agree your Vic team has done a really good job with preference negotiations once again, and no one ought to be surprised if you do win after Peter Kavanagh’s victory in Western Victoria and with how close you came to victory in Northern metropolitan in the 2006 state election.

  7. Tony Zegenhagen says:

    Well Polly we might have been right with the DLP holding an old vote and getting up in Vic but I was really surprised over the last two days how quickly FF overtook the liberals in SA.
    (obviously Stephen lacks knowledge of the DLP history in Victoria hence his comparison with the LDP (who without any indication gained a large vote)

    Bob day has come from well behind to overtake that Liberals which was well discussed during the preference deals on who would go where.

    The General idea was that FF had their best chance in SA.
    The real winners are the voters though and with all the tight tussles between like minded candidates there is no doubt that proportional representation works.

  8. democracyATwork says:

    FF is losing in SA and the DLP is assured of a place n Victoria.

    What is of concern is the method used in counting the Surplus transfer value. The formula used is the value of the surplus divided by the number o0f Ballot Papers. Antony Greens Calculator is misleading in that it refers to “raw votes” which should rad ballot papers and “vote” which should read total value of votes.

    If you look at the NSW Senate the LNO ticket vote increases in value as the count progresses and the system delivers the LNP a bonus 10,000 votes (Value) above its true value. The reason is simple. They LNP 3rd Candidate has over 1.3 Million ballot papers with representing less then 46% of the surplus whilst minor party votes with 500,00 votes represent over 54%. However when they are transferred out the LNP ticket vote carries over 76% of the Surplus value.

    The way the AERC allocate teh surplus is akin to having three shareholders one with 60% shareholding and two with 20% each. When paying out any dividends the company pays each shareholder 33.3333% of the progits not 60/20/20

    A 10,000 vote bonus could readily deliver the seat to the wrong candidate.

    The other issue of concern is in the order and segnentaion of excluded candidate votes. If a Candidate is excluded then the votes should be redistributed according to the voters express preference as if the candidate excluded had not stood. The best way to achieve this is to reset and restart the count using a reiterative counting system on every exclusion. The process of iteration continuing until all vacant positions are elected through the distribution of surplus votes in a single iteration. One transaction per candidate.

    The method of segmentation and distribution from the bottom of the deck resulted in the wrong Candidate being elected to the sixth position in Queensland in 2007

    If you recount the Queensland 2007 Senate vote excluding all candidates except the last seven standing (3 ALP, 3 LNP and 1 GRN) then Larissa Waters should have been elected.

    The flaws in the Senate counting system needs to be fixed. If we can not have an accurate counting system then we might as well have a party list system and do away with preferential voting.

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