Full Preferential Voting (or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Vote For People I Don’t Like)

This post is about why full preferential voting is good thing, why in an optional preferential voting system you should preference as many candidates as you reasonably can, and why preferencing someone you don’t like is not always a bad thing.

Mostly I am talking here about the system that applies to the lower house in Australian federal and state elections, in which one candidate is elected to represent an electorate. I’ll comment on upper house elections, which involve proportional representation, towards the end.

Basics – how does preferential voting work?

All of the first preferences are counted. If someone had over 50% of the vote they win. If not, the candidate with the least number of votes is excluded and the second preferences on their ballots are counted and their votes reassigned to those candidates. Once again if some one has 50% they win, if not the next candidate is excluded. At each stage the redistribution is based on what voters have filled in on their ballots, the candidates (or parties) have no say. If the next preference on a ballot is for someone already excluded then it just moves on to the next preference for a candidate who is still in the running.

An example: Suppose an election has five candidates A,B,C,D,E and 100 voters. A candidate requires 51 votes to be declared the winner. On first preferences the votes are

A: 39, B:35, C:16, D: 7, E:3

Nobody has 51 so the 3 votes from E are redistributed.

A:39, B: 35+2=37, C: 16+1=17, D:7

Next D is eliminated, and their preferences distributed, any with a second preference for E just move on to the next one

A:39, B:37+7=44, C:17

Now C is eliminated

A: 39+10=49, B: 44+7=51

Note that even though it looks like it is C that pushes B over the line to be the winner, some of the 7 votes B gets at this stage could well be votes that were initially for D and E, so you couldn’t just say that B won because of C’s preferences without looking at the details.

In Federal elections a valid ballot must have preference for all candidates, in some states there is optional preferential which means that votes can exhaust if no further preferences are given, at which point a winner requires 50%+1 of the remaining votes.

Why have preferences?

A first past the post system, where you just take the candidate with the largest vote, is easily seen to be unfair. Two similar candidates can split the vote, for example if A and B have policies that are generally more popular with the electorate than those of C, then with A and B both running the vote might be A:30 B:30 C:40, but if only A and C ran then it might be A:60 C:40. This election is too easily open to manipulation and does not give a fair outcome. It also tends to result in strategic voting, meaning that voters are forced to speculate on who is likely to win and perhaps vote for someone who is not their preferred candidate to get a better outcome. There are numerous alternatives to first past the post, and none are perfect (a perfect system is mathematically impossible), but preferential systems are in general much fairer.

The Two Party Preferred Vote

Often the outcome of an election is expressed in a two party preferred vote, either for a particular electorate or the overall result for all electorates. This is just the result of distributing all preferences until two candidates are left. It is a way of viewing the outcome, but is not part of the count that determines the winner. In the example above, the winner was not decided until only two candidates were left however this doesn’t have to be the case. In an election with 10 candidates where one of them gets 51% of first preferences they are declared winner with no preferences being distributed. To determine the two party preferred vote you would distribute preferences until only two candidates remain but this has no effect on the outcome and just gives a away of measuring the margin of their victory over the next most popular candidate. There is a common misconception that somehow the two party preferred count gives a built in bias towards the major parties in the electoral system but it is not part of the system, just a way of viewing the outcome, and it mostly involves the major parties because they get most of the votes. In the Federal electorate of Melbourne the two party count is between The Greens and Labor, and in the recent Vasse by-election in WA it was between the Liberals and Nationals.

Preferences don’t make Labor and Liberal win

Often people complain that their preferences end of with Labor and Liberal and so they always win. Nothing about preferential voting favours Labor and Liberal. There are other factors such as single member electorates which do have an effect, but the major parties do not win because of the preferences of people who vote for other parties – they win because most people give first preferences to one of them. In many cases one of them gets over 50% of first preferences so no preferences are distributed. In other cases the preferences of people who voted for others are used to decide between the two major parties, but in this situation the winner is guaranteed to be one of the major because most people voted for them, when your preference gets distributed to them they have already won, your vote isn’t making that happen, but it is helping to decide which one wins. Once again they haven’t already won because of the system, it was because most people voted for them.

For example, consider my electorate of Hindmarsh. At the last Federal election, the results were (in percentages)

Greens – 8.84
Liberal – 46.17
PUP      – 2.47
DLP     – 0.88
Katter  – 0.63
Labor   – 37.95
Family First – 3.05

The distribution of preferences can be seen here http://results.aec.gov.au/17496/Website/HouseDivisionDop-17496-185.htm but it isn’t hard to see that one of Labor or Liberal is going to win and preferences only serve to decide which one because neither has over 50% on first count. As it turns out most people who didn’t vote for a major preferred Labor, but not enough to get them over 50%, in this case all preferences had to be distributed before the Liberal candidate gets over the line.

Why you should allocate as many preferences as possible

In a Federal election, and some states, you have to allocate preferences to all candidates, however in some states (and other elections such as local council) there is optional preferential voting, which means you can number as many as you like. In such a system you should still preference all candidates if possible, even the ones you don’t like. The reason is simple, not allocating a preference to someone does nothing to stop them winning, only a preference for another candidate can actively work against them. If at least one of the candidates you like is popular with others as well, then they won’t be eliminated and your vote will stay with them until either they win or lose out to the eventual winner.

Suppose though that none of your favoured candidates survive to the decisive count. This has happened because of how everyone else has voted, there is nothing you can do about it, this is democracy. However if your vote exhausts you have no further say over the election, so this only makes sense if you really genuinely don’t care who wins out of the remaining candidates. Let’s say an election has a great candidate, a mediocre candidate, a bad candidate and an awful candidate. If you vote only for the great candidate, you are potentially letting a bad or awful candidate beat the mediocre one. Many people instead would vote 1 great, 2 mediocre and that’s it. This is still not a good idea though, because this means that if they get eliminated then you have no say between bad and awful. If you really think the awful candidate is much worse than the bad one then you must vote 3 bad.

It might not feel right giving a preference to someone you don’t like but the only way your vote can count for them is if all your preferred candidates have been eliminated (because not enough other people liked them, which you can do nothing about), and you are helping them to beat someone you like even less.

There is no need to guess in advance which candidates will be popular, your vote only transfers when someone is eliminated, if the great or mediocre candidates are popular enough (or if the awful one gets eliminated early) then your vote will never transfer to the bad candidate.
On the other hand what is the impact of not preferencing, i.e. let’s say you vote 1 great only, instead of allocating 3 preferences?

  • If Great wins – then it makes no difference, your extra preferences would never have been counted.
  • If Mediocre wins – then it makes no difference, either your vote would have stayed with Great until they lose the final stage, or would have transferred to Mediocre and helped them win. Either way your vote couldn’t have changed the outcome.
  • If Bad wins – If they beat Great or Awful at the last count, there is no difference, but if they beat Mediocre at the last count then your vote could have helped stop them. That is, they are more likely to win in the scenario when you use fewer preferences.
  • If Awful wins – Then if at the last stage they beat either Mediocre or Bad then you may have been able to stop them, but you can’t by voting only 1. So they are more likely to win if you don’t preference.

So failing to allocate preferences can only help candidates you don’t like to win, whereas preferencing candidate you don’t like can only help them to win against candidates you like even less.

Thus the rational choice is to preference as many candidates as possible, so you should only leave the very least favoured one blank, or any which you know nothing about (but even better is to make sure you do find out who they are). Some of your preferences will be for candidates that seem highly unlikely to win, but that doesn’t matter, if eliminated your vote just moves on to the next candidate.

Just remember that in a full preferential election you should not leave any blank.

A Disclaimer
I have glossed over the implications of Arrow’s Theorem, but with good reason. A perfect voting system is mathematically impossible. This means that it is possible to devise situations where ordering your preferences in a way which does not reflect your actual preferences can achieve a more desirable outcome. For practical purposes there is not much you can do, since manipulating the outcome requires a very specific set of circumstances and good information on how everybody else will vote. It only really comes into play when there are 3 or more candidates with a reasonable chance at winning, so it doesn’t come up so often in the sort of elections I’m talking about. As such I would say that preferencing as many candidates as you reasonably can in the order which you like them is an optimal strategy, but not perfect, in that for most possible configurations of votes it will achieve the best possible outcome however it is not always guaranteed.

The Senate and other Upper Houses
For proportional representation elections with preferential voting the principal is basically the same despite the extra complications. Some states (and quite possibly in the Senate in the future) have optional preferencing. Once again it is best to preference as many candidates as possible, including ones you don’t like if it means you get to put them ahead of ones you like even less. The main difference is that there could be a very large number of candidates so it may well be the case that there are many you know nothing about so it is reasonable to not allocate preferences to them.

The basic message is that by preferencing as many candidates as possible then you equip your vote with as much information as possible and it has the potential to achieve more for you. Putting a preference next to someone isn’t saying you approve of them, it only says you prefer them to whoever is lower in your preferences. Letting a ballot exhaust cannot achieve a better outcome than if you had kept preferencing, only the same or worse, and only makes sense if you genuinely have no preference at all between the remaining candidates. Most of all preferential voting is good thing and should be defended against those who take simplistic views like “it helps the major parties”, “it’s a scam”, “it should be one person one vote” because they are demonstrably wrong.




Wolfpanther vs Cool Jumper

Setlist from the Metro, Mon Oct 6th 2014. Wolfpanther in plain text, Cool Jumper in italics.

  • Mario Cavallero and his Orchestra – Le Bon, La Brute et le Truand
  • Pavement – Box Elder
  • Bored Games – Joe 90
  • Thigh Master – Head of the Witch
  • The Max Block – Black Fish
  • Unity Floors – Women’s Golf
  • Blank Realm – Reach You On the Phone
  • Assassins 88 – Lethal
  • Bitch Prefect – Holiday in America
  • Beaches – Send Them Away
  • JPS Experience – Slip
  • Deerhunter – Nothing Ever Happened
  • Jesus & Mary Chain – Psychocandy
  • Day Ravies – I Don’t Mind
  • Delicate Steve – Ramona Reborn
  • Peak Twins – Steppin’ Off
  • Parquet Courts – Instant Disassembly
  • Ausmuteants – Hate This Town
  • The Bats – North By North
  • Eastlink – Overtime
  • The Stones – Down and Around
  • Ivy St – Ten Ounces In the Sticks
  • Native Cats – I Remember Everyone
  • Lost Animal – (Intro) Beat Goes On
  • Superstar – Pastoral Dirge
  • Circular Keys – Eurogrand
  • Burial – Spaceape
  • Rites Wild – Rites Wild Theme
  • Julia Holter – Don’t Make Me Over
  • Old Mate – Throwin’ Down
  • Earth – From the Zodiacal Light
  • Constant Mongrel – Complete
  • Laughing Clowns – Bride of Jesus
  • Per Purpose- Bathing Suit Sand
  • The Triffids – Suntrapper
  • Twerps – Heavy Hands
  • Pentangle – Willy of Winsbury
  • Lower Plenty – Life/Thrills
  • Swirl – So Far
  • Bare Grillz – Lee Majors
  • The Fall – The Classical
  • The Stevens – Legend in My Living Room/ Challenger
  • The Wedding Present – A Million Miles
  • Old Mate – Truth Boy
  • Straitjacket Fits – Down In Splendour
  • Harmony – Cut Myself Clean
  • Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Ending It All (As I do)
  • Sarah Mary Chadwick – Steffo
  • Talk Talk – I Don’t Believe In You
  • Absolute Boys – At Lust
  • Low – Breaker
  • Liars – Can’t Hear Well
  • Brooks & O’Hagan – Mulcair
  • Atlas Sound – Logos
  • Laetitia Sadier – Between Earth and Heaven
  • Alps – I Get So High
  • Bob Dylan – Sara
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Jubilee Street
  • Serge Gainsbourg – Flash Forward
  • Silly Joel & the Candymen – Dr Suess


Wolfpanther vs d.d.lean + Chrome Dreams II setlist

Setlist from all vinyl DJ set, Sunday 7/9/14

First Part: Wolfpanther in plain text, Chrome Dreams II in italics

  • The Verlaines – Don’t Send Me Away
  • Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited
  • Parquet Courts – Instant Disassembly
  • Alex Chilton – Rock Hard
  • Toy Love – Rebel
  • Jesus & Mary Chain – Head On
  • Look Blue Go Purple – I Don’t Want You Anyway
  • Hoodoo Gurus – Poison Pen
  • Elvis Costello – Pump It Up
  • Todd Rundgren – International Feel
  • P.G. Six – Wrong Side of Yesterday
  • The Kinks – Where Have All The Good Time Gone
  • Lexo and the Leapers – Circling Motorhead Mountain
  • The Who – I Can’t Reach You
  • Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot – Bonnie & Clyde
  • David Bowie – Where Have All The Good Times Gone
  • Talking Heads – A Clean Break
  • The Ramones – I Wanted Everything
  • Proton Energy Pills – (Less Than I) Spend
  • Buzzcocks – Nothing Left
  • Black Flag – Nothing Left Inside
  • Wire – Too Late
  • Sonic Youth – Cotton Crown
  • Public Image Ltd – Bad Life
  • Public Image Ltd – This Is Not A Love Song
  • Public Image Ltd – Annalisa
  • Dr Alimantado – Oil Crisis
  • The Jam – Funeral Pyre
  • The Meters – 6V6 LA

Part Two: Wolfpanther in plaintext, d.d.lean in italics

  • Giant Sand – Stranded Pearl
  • Paul Giovanni – Willow’s Song
  • John Fahey – The Yellow Princess
  • Mike Cooper & Steve Gunn – Pony Blues
  • Giant Sand – Can Do
  • Fairport Convention – Matty Groves
  • The Beta Band – It’s Not Too Beautiful
  • Boo Radleys – 9th & Fairchild
  • Yellowman – Them a Mad Over Me
  • Sugar Minott – Jah Almighty
  • Alice Coltrane – Shiva Loka
  • Sagor & Swing – Fugan Som Förlorade Sin Orgelstämma
  • Deep Magic – Brighter Days
  • Squarepusher – Don’t Go Plastic
  • Isaac Hayes – Our Day Will Come
  • Ornette Coleman – All My Life
  • Moondog – Tap Dance / Oo Debut / Drum Suite
  • Art of Noise – Close (to the Edit)
  • Sun Araw – All Night Long
  • Boards of Canada – Seven Forty Seven
  • Multiple Man – Surface Roads
  • Pye Corner Audio – Electronic Rhythm Number Eighteen
  • Deep Magic – Alone In Her Cave
  • Richard Hewson – Deserted Starship
  • Forma – FORMA 237A
  • Echo & The Bunnymen – Killing Moon
  • Siouxsie & The Banshees – The Staircase
  • Rule of Thirds – Mouthful
  • New Order – Dreams Never End
  • Talk Talk – Give It Up
  • Burial – Street Halo


Wolfpanther vs Blast Rhombus setlist

Setlist from vinyl DJ set at the Metro, 3/8/14. Wolfpanther in plaintext, Blast Rhombus in italics.

  • Sandpit – Hold yr Horses
  • The Stickmen – Measure Your Limits
  • Galaxie 500 – Isn’t It a Pity
  • Low – Dinosaur Act
  • Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks – Out of Reaches
  • Parquet Courts – N Dakota
  • Smog – Let’s Move To the Country
  • REM – So. Central Rain
  • Guided By Voices – Game of Pricks
  • Bitch Prefect – University Fiend
  • Kurt Vile – Freeway
  • Peaking Lights – Hey Sparrow
  • Laurel Halo – Oneroi
  • Fhloston Paradigm – The Phoenix
  • Iggy Pop – Night Clubbing
  • Brian Eno – I’ll Come Running
  • John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band – Mother
  • Bob Dylan – Lay Lady Lay
  • Paul McCartney – Temporary Secretary
  • James Pants – Clouds Over the Pacific
  • Patti Smith – Because the Night
  • John Cale – Paris 1919
  • Talk Talk – Wealth
  • Julia Holter – Moni Mon Amie
  • Neutral Milk Hotel – Two Headed Boy Pt 2
  • PG Six – This Song
  • Jim O’Rourke – All Downhill From Here
  • Bonny Billy & The Picket Line – Ohio River Boat Song
  • Neil Young – Barstool Blues
  • Incredible String Band – A Very Cellular Song
  • Panda Bear – Bros
  • Pentangle – Jack Orion
  • Paul McCartney – One Of These Days
  • Melanie Oxley & Chris Abrahams – Benchtop
  • Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Menopause Man
  • Jackie Mittoo – Stereo Freeze
  • Devo – Out of Sync
  • Passage – Creature in the Classroom
  • Smog – Hit the Ground Running
  • The Verlaines – Joed Out
  • Brian Eno – The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch
  • Ceephax Acid Crew – Capsule in Space
  • Nothing People – Sickness
  • Rangda – Plugged Nickel
  • Guided By Voices – As We Go Up We Go Down
  • Serge Gainsgbourg – Sous le Soleil Exactement
  • Talking Heads – Born Under Punches
  • Daphni – Yes, I Know
  • Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Cinnamon Girl
  • Pearls Before Swine – Did You Dream Of
  • Belong – Perfect Life
  • The Cure – Untitled
  • My Bloody Valentine – To Who Knows When
  • Boards of Canada – Aquarius
  • Talk Talk – The Rainbow
  • Burial – Come Down To Us
  • Amon Tobin – Keepin’ It Steel
  • Dub Specialist- Taurus Dub 2
  • Marcia Griffiths – Mark My Words
  • Winston Edwards & Blackbeard – Whitehall Scandal
  • Digital Mistikz – I Wait
  • Sugar Minott – Hang on Natty
  • Otis Redding – Keep Your Arms Around Me
  • The Herbaliser – Unsungsong
  • DJ Food – The Crow
  • Amon Tobin – Slowly
  • Jane Birkin – Jane B.
  • Otis Redding – That’s How Strong My Love Is
  • Madtoons Beat Orchestra – Black Light District
  • Cannibal Ox – The F Word
  • The Herbaliser – Good Girl Gone Bad
  • Camu Tao – Hold The Floor
  • Alias – Angel of Solitude
  • Billy Bang Sextet – Sinawe Mandelas
  • Albert Ayler – New Ghosts
  • David Murray – David – Mingus


Wolfpanther vs Barry Handler

Setlist from vinyl DJ set at the Metro, 6/7/14, Wolfpanther in plaintext, Barry Handler in italics

  • Laetitia Sadier – Auscultation of the Nation
  • Jessamine – Your Head Is So Small It’s Like A Little Light
  • Camera Obscura – Troublemaker
  • Here We Go Magic – How Do I Know
  • Sandpit – Along the Moors
  • Youth Lagoon – Mute
  • Weekend – Nostalgia
  • Brian Eno – No One Receiving
  • Talking Heads – I Zimbra
  • Squarepusher – Squarepusher Theme
  • Amon Tobin – Easy Muffin
  • Mouse on Mars – Die Seele von Brian Wilson
  • Pablove Black – Jamrec Dub
  • Dunderhead – Black Beading
  • Miles Davis – Nefertiti
  • Sam Prekop – Little Bridges
  • The Memory Band with Grantby – The Ballad Of Imber Down
  • Fizzarum – Tond Three
  • Tim Koch – Switch Invert
  • Tangerine Dream – Church Theme
  • Ben Daglish – The Last Ninja (Wastelands)
  • Goto 80 – Come Together
  • Sagor & Swing – Ingen Vals Om Inget Alls
  • Giampero Boneschi – Cantabile For Drum
  • Incredible String Band – A Very Cellular Song
  • Vendor Refill – Pendulum
  • Magnet – Gently Johnny
  • Hrvatski – Kochen Raum
  • Jake Slazenger – Nautilus
  • Public Image Ltd – Death Disco Megamix
  • Leyland Kirby – Derelict Bar
  • Plone – Sunday Laid Moo
  • Broadcast – Unchanging Window
  • Pale Saints – Porpoise
  • A.R. Kane – Crazy Blue
  • Moose – Last Night I Fell Again
  • Look Blue Go Purple – In Your Favour
  • The Wendys – Pulling My Finger Off
  • Melanie Oxley & Chris Abrahams – Benchtop
  • Crystal Stilts – Spirit In Front Of Me
  • Laughing Clowns – Eternally Yours
  • Severed Heads – Propeller Two (Rotation Mix)
  • New Order – Blue Monday
  • Public Image Ltd – Memories
  • Black Brothers – School Children
  • Freeform – Wakker Sticks
  • James Blake – The Wilhelm Scream
  • Squarepusher – Iambic 5 Pentameter
  • Pye Corner Audio – End of All Eras
  • Brian Eno – Deep Blue Day
  • Jane Weaver with The Focus Group with Susan Christie – A Circle and A Star (Part 1)
  • Cylob – Are We Not Men Who Live And Die
  • The Beach Boys – Surf’s Up
  • Sun Electric – Tee
  • Sun Araw – Deep Cover
  • Deerhoof – Matchbook Seeks Maniac
  • Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold I/II
  • Public Image Ltd – Track 8
  • The Fall – Green Eyed Loco Man
  • My Bloody Valentine – I Need No Trust
  • Pentangle – Sally Free And Easy


Wolfpanther vs Chūshō ōkami

Setlist from DJ set at the Metro, 1/6/14

Wolfpanther in plain text, Chūshō ōkami in italics.

  • Old and New Dreams – Lonely Woman
  • Suicide – Girl
  • Kode 9 & The Spaceape – Otherman
  • Arto Lindsay/ Ambitious Lovers – Too Many Mansions
  • Brian Eno and David Byrne – The Jezebel Spirit
  • Plant Plants – Repeaters
  • Belbury Poly and Spacedog – Find Me
  • David Bowie – Stay
  • Talking Heads – Life During Wartime
  • Dinosaur L – Go Bang
  • Penny Penny – Zirimini
  • Robert Del Gado & his band – Amapola
  • Laughing Clowns – I Don’t Know What I Want
  • Sun Araw – Conga Mind
  • Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra feat. Ariel Engle – Birds Toss Precious Flowers
  • 23 Skidoo – Kundalini
  • Bill Callahan – Call It Dub
  • Jaga Jazzist – Swedenborgske Rom
  • Calvin Keys – B.E.
  • Robert Del Gado & his band – Estrellita
  • [unknown Russian children's story]
  • David Bowie – Cygnet Committee
  • Serge Gainsbourg – L’Homme a Tete de Chou
  • Cream – White Room
  • Ennio Morricone – A Fistful of Dollars
  • The Cure – Funeral Party
  • Swans – Love Will Save You
  • David Bowie – Moss Garden
  • Konx-Om-Pax – Silent Reading
  • Project D – Love Theme From Midnight Express
  • eMMplekz – Raining With Piss/AsspuMMel (must Try Ader)/ Tethered To My Hotspot
  • Demdike Stare – Hashshashin Chant
  • Dub Specialist – Spawning
  • Hailu Mergia – Laloye
  • Parquet Courts – Borrowed Time
  • The Beatles – Helter Skelter
  • Husker Du – Celebrated Summer
  • Jesus and Mary Chain – You Trip Me Up
  • Big Black – The Big Payback
  • Black Sabbath – Sweet Leaf
  • Hydromedusa – Faceless
  • Sonic Youth – Death Valley ’69
  • The Verlaines – Death and the Maiden
  • David Bowie – A New Career in a New Town
  • Cannibal Ox – The F Word
  • Hall & Oates – Rich Girl



The proposed senate voting reforms

I’ve posted about senate voting reforms before and everything I wrote there still applies, in particular I’m still in broad agreement with Antony Green who has posted about the latest proposals here. Basically the proposal is to do away with group voting tickets, and instead allow optional preferential voting both above and below the line, as well there are some extra conditions on party registration.

I think the proposals are fine. While I prefer full preferential to optional preferential, it is less of an issue in multi-member electorates. I would perhaps prefer a minimum number of votes to be formal but this does complicate things (especially as to what that number would be for above or below, and whether it’s fixed or depends on the total number), so it’s reasonable not to have it. I’m not entirely sure that above the line is still needed if you allow optional preferencing of all candidates anyway (though I think in that case you really would need a minimum number or there could be serious problems). The additional requirement on registration is to have 1500 rather than 500 unique members. I’m not completely sold on this being necessary but I don’t think it’s a particular problem either, a serious party should have no problem with this. Independents can still contest as well.

These reforms should be effective in stopping the virtual lottery that the senate election has become, where preference harvesting effectively elects candidates with very little support in the community. Furthermore this has encouraged lots of people to register parties to “enter the lottery” which only makes the vote more complicated through having massive ballot papers that further discourage people from voting below the line (and also can lead to the sort of confusion where Liberal votes vote LDP and Labor voters vote DLP, a factor which has helped both get elected). It does not stop new parties, if they have enough votes they can still get elected. On the plus side also they did not add extra costs, so a movement with genuine support has no obstacle to forming a party.

There were some proposals which I considered poor which I’m glad to see weren’t recommended. There is no minimum threshold of first preferences to get elected. This is good, because as I pointed out in the previous post, people getting elected off a small first preference isn’t the problem, the problem was preference harvesting which made this happen more often when it wasn’t really deserved. A scenario where a candidate is not the first prefence of many, but is preferred by a large number of voters who’s higher preferences get eliminated can still get elected (provided they have enough support to stay in the count). The difference now is that they win because people genuinely preferenced them, not because of preference deals.

There are many comments on this article at the Guardian complaining about the proposals. I think partly this is because the Guardian have framed it as the major parties ganging up on the micros, and lots of people just don’t understand preferences. Now of course the fact that all the large parties are in agreement rightly would raise suspicions about their motives, but claims that this is undemocratic are unsupportable. Some are accusing the Greens of selling out on this, which is crazy given that it’s bascially everyone else coming around to what are essentially proposals the Greens have been making for years. It takes the allocation of preferences away from the parties and leaves it up to voters. It gets rid of the random “lottery”, preference harvesting and the power of “preference whisperer” Glenn Druery. It removes any point to setting up fake parties to divert voters away due to a single issue.

This isn’t to say that Labor and Liberal aren’t doing this out of self-interest, but it just so happens that sometimes the self-interest of those in power happens to intersect with what is the right thing to do – after all this is how we ended up with most good features of our voting system, such as preferential voting.

Update: A couple of things I forgot to mention

– some people are claiming this is all about “maintaining the duopoly”. Rubbish. The reason most senators are Labor or Liberal is that most first preferences are for those parties, if enough people vote for other candidates they get elected (Greens, PUP, LDP, Xenophon would still have been elected in the new system, though with LDP there’s a chance that the smaller paper would mean more people would find the actual party they meant to vote for).

– It would be nice if they fixed the Inclusive Gregory issue for surpluses as well. This is a fairly technical point mostly of interest to voting nerds, but basically the way surpluses are allocated is less than ideal because they needed to simplify it when they were counted by hand, now that should not be an issue.

Wolfpanther vs DJ Radio Rodeo

Setlist from all vinyl DJ set at the Metro, 4/5/14. Wolfpanther in plaintext, DJ Radio Rodeo in italics.

  • Amon Tobin – Dropped From The Sky
  • Pavement – Silence Kit
  • Jean-Paul Sartre Experience – Flex
  • Pixies- Alison
  • The Verlaines – You Cheat Yourself Of Everything That Moves
  • Lush – Kiss Chase
  • The Gist – Love At First Sight
  • Snapper – Buddy
  • Boris – Hope
  • Pale Saints – Throwing Back The Apple
  • Ride – Sennen
  • The Beatles – If I Needed Someone
  • Belle & Sebastian – Lazy Line Painter Jane
  • Blank Realm – Cleaning Up My Mess
  • Peak Twins – China White
  • Betti-Cola – It’s Time
  • Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Oliver’s Army
  • Belly – Sexy S
  • Weekend – Drumbeat
  • Yo La Tengo – Barnaby, Hardly Working
  • Low – Always Fade
  • Hummingbirds – Tuesdays
  • Swirl – So Far
  • The La’s – There She Goes
  • Ed Kuepper – At Times So Emotional
  • Husker Du – Something I Learned Today
  • Talking Heads – Crosseyed and Painless
  • Magnetic Fields – All The Umbrellas In London
  • Serge Gainsbourg – Pauvre Lola
  • Stereolab – Tone Burst (Country)
  • Uilab – St Elmo’s Fire (Radio)
  • Nothing People – Cathode Ray
  • Pye Corner Audio – Void Bound
  • The Cure – Lullaby
  • Sugar Minott – Change Your Ways
  • The Byrds – The Bells of Rhymney
  • The Beach Boys – Heroes & Villains
  • The Carpenters – I Won’t Last A Day Without You
  • John Cale – Paris 1919
  • My Bloody Valentine – I Can See It (But I Can’t Feel It)
  • The Triffids – Raining Pleasure
  • Parasites of the Western World – Politico
  • The Wreckery – Everlasting Sleep
  • Railway Children – Brighter
  • New Order – Temptation
  • Boo Radleys – Wish I Was Skinny
  • Passage – The Unstrung Harp
  • Slowdive – Losing Today
  • Burial- Come Down To Us
  • Sonic Youth – Sugar Kane
  • Laughing Clowns – I Want To Scream
  • DJ Rashad – Let U No



Wolfpanther vs Batty Marlow

Setlist from vinyl DJ set at the Metro, 6/4/14. Wolfpanther in plain text, Batty Marlow in italics.

  • Scorched Earth Policy – Mekong Delta Blues
  • Bill Callahan – Jim Cain
  • Serge Gainsbourg – Melody
  • Scout Niblett – Just Do It!
  • Snapper – Buddy
  • Spinning Rooms – It Can’t Not
  • Bird Nest Roys – Joringel
  • Nightmarchers – Thar She Blows
  • Shellac – Boycott
  • Kasha – It Will Come Back
  • Crow – The Charley Horses
  • My Disco – Troubled Receiver
  • Steve Reid Ensemble – Don’t Look Back
  • Terrible Truths – Diamonds
  • Talking Heads – Memories (Can’t Wait)
  • Old Mate – I Think Of You
  • Ed Kuepper – Sea Air
  • Shellac – Uranus
  • Raime – The Dimming Of Road and Rights
  • Forces – Idolize
  • Burial – Rival Dealer
  • PVT – Shiver
  • Squarepusher – My Sound
  • Lost Animal – Lose The Baby
  • Delicate Steve – Ramona Reborn
  • Mogwai – Drunk and Crazy
  • Godspeed You Black Emperor! – Bleak, Uncertain, Beautiful … [Kicking Horse on Brokenhill]
  • Absolute Boys – Old Dub
  • Sagor & Swing – 16-bitarspolskan
  • Cocteau Twins – A Kissed Out Red Floatboat
  • The Gist – Love At First Sight
  • Steely Dan – Do It Again
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival – As Long As I Can See The Light
  • Neil Young – Out On The Weekend
  • Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – I See A Darkness
  • Tom Petty – A Face In The Crowd
  • Low – Breaker
  • The La’s – Feelin
  • The Smiths – What Difference Does It Make?
  • Townes Van Zandt – Loretta
  • Weekend – Red Planes
  • Fleet Foxes – Grown Ocean
  • Pentangle – Let No Man Steal Your Thyme
  • Lou Reed – Satellite Of Love
  • John Cale – The Endless Plain of Fortune
  • Leonard Cohen – So Long Maryanne
  • Pearls Before Swine – The Jeweller
  • Tom Waits – Raised Right Men
  • Magpahi – My Soul Was Lost, My Soul Was Lost & No One Saved Me
  • Bob Dylan – Lay Lady Lay
  • Ennio Morricone – Sixty Seconds To What
  • The Drones – I See Seaweed
  • Nirvana – Come As You Are
  • Slint – Good Morning Captain
  • Earth – A Bureaucratic Desire For Revenge Part 1
  • Velvet Underground – Heroin
  • Laughing Clowns – Laughter Around The Table


SA Election Result

The SA 2014 election has now been decided with the return of the ALP government with the support of Independent Geoff Brock. The final result for seats in the lower house was 23 ALP, 22 LIB, 2IND, with 24 needed for a majority.

There has been much complaining from both Liberal supporters and figures within the party that this is unfair given that the Liberals won the two party preferred (2PP) vote. Some comments on this:

  • The 2PP is an artificial construct that plays no official role in our electoral system.
  • It is a fact of mathematics that even in a simplified situation with only two parties in a first past the post election, a result based on electorates does not necessarily agree with a simple majority of the whole population, for example, take 3 equal electorates A,B,C. Suppose party P puts all their effort into A &B and win 51% of the vote, but do not contest C. Then P win the election but the other party wins the 2PP with 66%. There is no cheating, this is the system. If it were any different then no doubt P would put effort into winning votes in C.
  • Accusations of a gerrymander are pathetic, particularly coming from supporters of a party which kept in power for many years with an actual gerrymander (i.e. engineering electoral boundaries to maintain an unfair advantage). The SA electorates are redistributed between electorates by law, this is done by the neutral electoral commission and is available for public consultation. The Liberals had a chance to have input and had some changes made in their favour (in particular in Bright). Part of the complication is that they are failing to gain swings in marginal seats, it is questionable that the electoral commission should compensate for this.

Now we are starting to see the attacks on the Independent Geoff Brock.

  • In deciding whether to support a minority government an independent is under no obligation to consider the 2pp vote for their state or whether their electorate is “naturally conservative”.
  • If you do want to make guesses about the voters of Frome, it’s worth noting from Antony Green’s analysis of the redistribution that “On paper (the redistribution) reverses the two-party preferred margin in Frome, the Labor two-party majority of 0.1% in 2010 becoming an estimated Liberal margin of 1.7%.” The way some people are talking makes it sound like a safe conservative seat where it is very marginal. Given that the Liberal vote was almost 36% percent then it appears that a large majority of the people who voted for Brock would prefer the ALP, and while it is quite possible that the full preference distribution will show more preferred LIB to ALP it is unlikely to be any great majority. The fact is that if people in Frome wanted a Lib government they could have voted Lib.
  • There is all sorts of insinuation that he is selling out for personal gain. Once again, his electorate is marginal and his base is Port Pirie, where is was formerly mayor, a strong ALP area in the electorate. I suspect that his parliamentary voting record would show much agreement with the ALP in the previous term. When first elected he had how to vote cards putting Labor above Liberal. This isn’t some sort of about face, it would seem more surprising were he to support the Liberals. He has accepted a ministry for regional development, but still can vote independently on any issue in parliament, this is surely the best way to represent the people who voted for him.