Senate Group Voting Tickets and Preferences – Victoria

So, The Senate Group Voting Tickets are in, and available on the AEC website. There are so many candidates and groups to go through, and it will take some time to really work out what the impact of all of this could be on the results in the senate, but there are already some obvious decisions to comment on (and if you’re a progressive voter, decisions to be very concerned about).

I’m going to start with the great state of Victoria, because it’s my home, and I’m a parochial Vic.

There are 97 candidates, and a veritable cup-field of Groups above the line.
The AEC has a copy of the Group Voting tickets
here.

Probably the most astonishing event is the failure of 5 registered groups to lodge their group voting tickets, which means they forfeit their box above the line. With over 90% of voters in the larger states choosing to vote above the line, failing to get a box above the line because you didn’t get your group voting ticket can only be described as an absolutely epic fail (assuming that sheer incompetence is responsible of course).

I would be curious to find out if this has ever happened to a registered political party before. It is strange that it has not only happened in Victoria in 2013, but to 5 separate groups, and with no failures to lodge occurring in any other states or territories (as far as I’m aware, I haven’t seen the WA GVTs yet, because they weren’t on the AEC website when I last checked).

The groups who failed to lodge their tickets in Victoria were:
The Liberal Democrats (formerly known as the Liberty & Democracy party, and strong, seemingly US-style Libertarians)
One Nation
Australian Republicans (this has nothing to so with the Australian Republic Movement, and is a party fronted by Peter Consandine)
The newly registered Smokers Rights Party
The Stop the Greens Group.

It is a basic responsibility of a political party’s Registered Officer, or Deputy Registered Officer for their state to lodge their party’s group voting ticket with the AEC, 24 hours after the declaration of the ballot for the senate. The deadline was 12pm yesterday. I was the DRO for the Australian Democrats in 2007, and so I had to lodge the party’s group voting tickets for Victoria, and I made sure I got there an hour before the AEC’s office opened so I could get the ticket in, and deal with any issues that may have arisen. I wasn’t the only one there that early either, there were people from the ALP already there.
The point is, that although the actual preference negotiations are hard and incredibly stressful, it’s actually dead easy to lodge the tickets.

Or is it? The National Registered Officer for the Liberal Democrats, claimed they were “overwhelmed”, which is why they failed to lodge their ticket in Victoria. (See the following capture that was tweeted to me when I got into a twitter debate about this), and his exact words were “There were GVTs for four parties to submit in each state and the task just overwhelmed us”.

Why the hell is the Registered Officer of the Liberal Democrats involved in submitting the GVTS of *four* other parties? WTF?! It would be easy to conclude from that statement that some of these parties may not be entirely genuine?

Following this, is the, quite frankly highly dubious decision of The Australian Sex Party, which portrays itself as a socially progressive, civil libertarian party, to preference the One Nation party ahead of the ALP, the Greens and the Liberal party in Victoria.

They seem to have done some cross-state preference swaps, as they’ve preferenced both the Liberal Democrats and One Nation ahead of the Greens and the major parties in NSW, too (where One Nation leader Pauline Hanson is now in with a real shot of getting re-elected after getting a huge number of preference flows – I will blog about this when I tackle NSW next), and could have understandably expected to receive preferences from these parties in return in Victoria, where they had the best chance of winning, if only these groups hadn’t failed to lodge their tickets. In fact, the Sex Party seemed to have expected, at the very least, Liberal Democrat preferences in Victoria, with their twitter account complaining:

This means the Sex Party have preferenced the far-right One Nation for absolutely nothing, and could end up helping Hanson get back in and potentially with the balance of power in the Senate.

What is left of my former political party, the Australian Democrats, has not covered themselves in glory, either, as they have given their preferences to fundamentalist, right-wing party Family First again ahead of the Greens and the major parties. The only small consolation is that their vote is unlikely to be high enough to make any difference in Victoria, and I expect they’ll poll less than 0.5%, given their lack or lower house candidates, already tarnished brand, and poor position on the senate ballot paper.

I think the most likely result in Victoria is 2 ALP candidates, 1 Green and 3 Coalition candidates. However, there could end up only being 2 Coalition candidates with the final spot going to one of the religious right candidates (most likely the DLP, as they get Group A Rise Up Australia’s preferences, although Family First may be able to outpoll DLP and Rise Up Australia’s combined vote due to the DLP’s poor spot on the ballot paper).

If you want to vote below the line, check out:
www.belowtheline.org.au

However, it may be better to be safe & not risk a small error making your vote informal and just vote for the Greens or the ALP in the senate in Victoria. The Drug Law Reform also have a safe ticket (and preference the Greens).

4 thoughts on “Senate Group Voting Tickets and Preferences – Victoria

  1. Jordan Rastrick says:

    For your reference, for your next post – as the Registered Officer for the Future Party, I’d like to think we didn’t cover ourselves in too much shame in the NSW preference swaps. In particular we have:

    Wikleaks > Sex Party > Greens > LDP > ALP > LNP > all other remotely plausible winners including One Nation.

    Oh yeah the Democrats are somewhere relatively high on the list despite seeming to exist mainly to fight one another for control of the party, these days.

  2. Paul Kavanagh says:

    Hello Polly, hope you’re fine.

    The Democrats’ primary Senate vote is almost certain to rise this time. İt comes from a low base !

    1. As you noted, the Liberal Democrats, who may’ve attracted some Democrats voters in recent elections recorded three times the Democrats’ vote last time, is listed only below the line this time.

    2. Also, İ cannot agree with you Polly about the Democrats’ position on the ballot paper. İMHO it’s perfectly positioned at the centre-right of the wide ballot. With its team of five candidates, the Democrats really stand out and the party looks like a serious contender for once. İ wouldn’t swap the position.

    The Democrats have been well preferenced by right, left and centre parties. They have a realistic chance, as has been reluctantly acknowledged by hostile bloggers. This should attract media interest this time. İn fact the report covering the Democrats’ and the Sex Party’s chances in The Age recently was the first mention of the party for ages.

    Using the Green calculator and making very reasonable assumptions of expected voting, the Democrats can be elected with less than one percent of the vote. (whether it should be is another matter).

    On the basis of slightly different and sometimes more favourable assumptions, the result is volatile, with tiny percentage changes making major differences to the result.

    Regards from İstanbul where İ’m handing out for the Democrats at the Early Voting Centre – pity there are only 180 voters over the whole two weeks.

    A possible win as confirmed by the calculator today using very conservative figures.

  3. polly says:

    Hi Paul, I’m good, hope everything is going great for you.
    Wow, Istanbul! I’d love to go there, and am hoping to visit Turkey in the next few years (although not to hand out how to vote cards, but good on you for doing so).

    I have personally not seen anything that makes me believe the Democrats will poll substantially differently to how polled in 2010. I think if the Democrats are going to recover their vote, I still think their best chance of getting anyone elected in the next few years is the NSW upper house, however, they will have to engage in long-term grass-roots campaigning to do so.

    I would prefer it of everyone voted below the line, but with 97 candidates, it is extremely likely that 95% of Democrats votes will end up flowing to Family First when their preferences are distributed.

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