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WA SENATE BY-ELECTION April 7, 2014

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics.
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This election was always going to produce unusual results in detail, although it does not seem to have changed the post-July Senate. There are remaining 31.28% of first preference votes to count on the latest figures from the AEC.

How often have the Greens ever being as successful in a Senate, or any election, by attracting 15.88% of first preferences? The Liberal result only looks good in comparison to the ALP. PUP is the standout success. Could this be due to the advertising blitz? Whatever, has happened to the Country Party (The Nationals)?

When the “established party vote”, including the Greens and Nationals, is added together, 25.55% of first preferences have gone to other parties, principally PUP with 12.49%. I am not sure the significance of this electoral behavior. Is it due to the voting system, or is there something else going on?

It is not as though the ALP did not have a case to put to voters. The member for Perth,  Alannah MacTierman puts the argument in an empty House of Representatives:

Who gets elected is, I suppose, important, but what can be more interesting and requires more scrutiny is what is going on within the society.

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1. wmmbb - April 7, 2014

This has been a unique Senate election in Australian history. Apparently there was a Senate by election held in South Australia in 1907, but that would have been with first past the post voting.

I am sure whether or not the first preference counted include those ballots that were marked below the line, in which the individual elector set out a personal preferences numbering rather than follow a party choice.

I would be interested in knowing whether below the line voting was higher in this election than is usual, which would be surprising given the number of candidates. Of the votes counted, the informal count is relatively low, which might suggest that the below the line votes have not yet been counted. If this is correct, then it may be the case that more voters than usual have taken this option.

2. wmmbb - April 7, 2014

It begins to look as if the all first preferences are being progressively counted. There 10% of polling booths to count, and the vote, according to the SMH, was down 15%.

3. wmmbb - April 7, 2014

George Williams proposed amendments to Senate Voting seem to make sense to me. In addition I would suggest that the number of senators elected be in proportion to the population of the State or
Territory – and that would require a Constitutional change.

One suggestion, which I have not thought through, would be that parties would have to have standing, to have attracted 5% of voter support, in either a State or Local Government election to be placed on the ballot. In that way new parties would not be discouraged, but could be given the opportunity to demonstrate they have support.

4. wmmbb - April 7, 2014

I think there is a major problem of political participation in Australia. Members of both the Liberal and ALP have very little influence on public policy, and have even less influence in the selection of candidates, particularly for the Senate. Unions do not foster membership participation, rather union members are treated, if at all, like clients. Hence power, concentrated at the top, is remote from the base. This problem is not solved by voting for independents, or mirco-parties. I would get an argument from John Hatton on my last contention.

5. wmmbb - April 7, 2014

Via Brian at Climate Plus, Antony Green’s blog has the interesting 2013 General Election data based on Federal Electoral Divisions the city/country divide.

It should be revealing to compare this table with the results in the recent election. Looking at the results in Curtin for example, underlines that to ignore social class as a critical factor in Australian politics is nonsense.

6. wmmbb - April 7, 2014

Bernard Keane, at Crickey, gives thumbs up to Scott Ludlam and the lowdown on the internal ALP processes and Senator-elect Bullock, who despite personal bruskness and Union affiliation has a remarkably non-proletarian background.


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