The Eee-Aws Have It

Preferential voting for the Australian Senate has the option of an official donkey vote where the voter puts a 1 in one box above the line to designate the party they prefer and lets the corresponding party effectively fill in the rest of the ballot for them by the preference tickets published before the election.

Because that is obviously easier, the vast majority of voters take that option; 1.26 million out of the 1.35 million who turned up to vote.

For the total votes, AEC publishes total, first-preference party votes from which the WA figures can be extracted.

Australian Labor Party 281291 26.77%
Liberal 407810 38.82%
The Nationals 54452 5.18%
The Greens (WA) 100869 9.60%
Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party 4205 0.40%
Australian Independents 3127 0.30%
Animal Justice Party 7308 0.70%
Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party 5905 0.56%
Shooters and Fishers 10505 1.00%
Sex Party 15371 1.46%
Australian Christians 17792 1.69%
Australian Democrats 2975 0.28%
Family First Party 6789 0.65%
Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party 10863 1.03%
Katter’s Australian Party 2862 0.27%
Liberal Democrats 36424 3.47%
Stop The Greens 1714 0.16%
Palmer United Party 54987 5.23%
Rise Up Australia Party 3095 0.29%
Socialist Equality Party 911 0.09%
Smokers Rights 7254 0.69%
Secular Party of Australia 1144 0.11%
Stable Population Party 1050 0.10%
Australian Sports Party 2280 0.22%
No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics 1099 0.10%
Australian Voice Party 944 0.09%
The Wikileaks Party 7321 0.70%
Unendorsed/Ungrouped Amalgamated 286 0.03%
WA TOTAL 1050633 100.00%

I’ve calculated the percentages to help illustrate how a proportional allocation of Senate seats could be done; approximately how it’s currently done. If there are 6 vacancies to fill, then one sixth (16.67%) of the votes is required for each vacancy.

In this case that one sixth is 175,105.5 votes per seat. If we look at the parties, then the Liberal Party automatically has 2 seats and the ALP has one, with others failing to get numbers for even one seat. But both of the parties with seats have “spare” votes floating around (57,599 and 106,185.5 respectively) and that is where preferences begin to flow in strange and wonderful ways.

Well, the result so that are known and were unpopular and unsatisfactory as several people got seats with fewer than 1000 “primary” votes, well ahead of others with more substantial, high preferences.

So back to the ticket votes, as they are called, to examine how a different treatment of “preferences” could be tallied for a more representative result. From the September 2013 polls up in Western Australia I see the above the line votes as: (I could be mistaken.)

Ticket Party Votes
A Smokers Rights 6786
B Liberal Democrats 35953
C Australian Christians 16291
D Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party 9943
E Socialist Equality Party 790
F Palmer United Party 52768
G Shooters and Fishers 9702
H Australian Voice Party 898
I Sex Party 14052
J Secular Party of Australia 771
K Australian Independents 2836
L The Wikileaks Party 6077
M Katter’s Australian Party 2565
N Family First Party 6409
O No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics 1029
P Stable Population Party 802
Q Stop The Greens 1605
R Australian Democrats 2524
S The Greens (WA) 89306
T Animal Justice Party 6759
U The Nationals 50930
V Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party 4051
W Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party 5588
X Australian Sports Party 2183
Y Rise Up Australia Party 2786
Z Australian Labor Party 274712
AA Liberal 402965

One needs to refer to the (first) preference tickets (essentially their “how to vote cards”) of the respective parties to determine how the votes would then flow to individual candidates. Fortunately, only the first 6 preferences would be significant.

The following table shows the sum of the top-20 candidates’ above the line and below the line totals after binary-weighting on preferences. The preference weight as discussed previously is also shown as it’s interesting; but only for those who missed out on the top 6 positions.

ATL+BTL Preferences
CID 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th Pweight Bweight Candidate’s Name Party
23885 407901 982 53155 671 1447 939 426724 421884 JOHNSTON David LP
24284 279983 1555 1853 5108 1346 2409 283326 282022 BULLOCK Joe ALP
23893 349 407567 935 53064 950 1511 218152 211106 CASH Michaelia LP
24289 2198 280202 1223 2368 4383 1247 144383 143214 PRATT Louise ALP
23967 102065 1621 3514 461 278627 521 159974 121242 LUDLAM Scott GRN
23901 325 367 407403 1091 53146 816 147347 105843 REYNOLDS Linda LP
24299 491 1340 280520 977 1911 4971 96123 71688 FOSTER Peter Allan ALP
23975 1268 101107 1191 3019 783 278780 99593 61257 DAVIS Kate GRN
23607 55022 601 3505 517 956 554 56904 56340 WANG Zhenya PUP
24254 55210 597 907 1001 1136 730 56410 55954 WIRRPANDA David NP
23909 166 213 534 407498 989 53105 111374 53065 BROCKMAN Slade LP
24701 36504 212 8845 212 2958 292 40252 39042 FRYAR Jim LDP
24305 382 355 794 281057 852 1703 71543 35997 ALI Suliman Mohamed ALP
23609 405 54876 251 3473 465 934 29044 28398 TERBLANCHE Chamonix PUP
24258 125 53633 244 828 857 1079 27581 27193 EAGLES David NP
23980 334 663 101576 717 3245 685 35467 26373 DUNCAN Adam Nathan GRN
23916 221 425 312 424 407575 894 82308 26066 THOMAS Steven LP
23870 7557 300 3029 90555 50993 949 41712 23000 GEORGATOS Gerry WKP
24321 6837 104 53810 260 653 256 25064 20423 ROSE Linda FFP
24705 77 36458 94 8855 169 2935 21074 19539 HAMILTON Neil LDP

Disclaimer: There are probably errors in the exact vote figures.

Remember; the weightings of preferences are arbitrary.

The only way to know how the voters value each preference, is to inform them before the election exactly how the vote will be counted, in as simple a manner as possible.

Distribution of preferences on a Senate ballot is evidently very, very

Flow of WA Senate Preferences for first 6 preferences

Flow of WA Senate Preferences of first 6 preferences

complex; almost chaotic and therefore difficult to grasp even for experts. It’s not sufficient at present to try to map out the preference flows for the first 6 preferences because (IIRC) even the 44th preference has made a difference in the past, getting the last Senator into a seat. The process is near enough to opaque to most voters; not a good look in an open democracy.

Transparency may be achieved by not distribution preferences, but by weighting them in a predictable manner; a simple formula/method that the voter can understand without much difficulty and vote accordingly.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Securing Liberty and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s