On the count so far it is looking like the new Labor Government is going to face a wide assortment of parties in the upper house. I want to look at how this has happened. This is based on the count today (day after election) so there is still more counting to go, and this is using Antony Green’s calculator so it is assuming all ticket votes. It is not unknown for the result to differ based on below the line votes (I believe this was a decisive factor in the 2013 Tasmanian Senate election), particularly since Victoria has optional preferencing below the line which makes below the line voting a less arduous task. In particular, these are not my predictions of what the final outcome will be.
The short reason why there are lots of surprising results is above the line voting. It is not preferential voting itself, which is an excellent system and much fairer than first past the post systems, the problem is that above the line votes allow for all of the votes for micro parties to be funneled together in ways that would not happen if people selected their own preferences.
Eastern Met (3 Liberal, 1 Labor, 1 Green)
This one is pretty much in line with first preferences, though a first past the post result would give a second Labor rather than Green. Only one micro (for these purposes anyone besides Lib, Lab, Nat, Grn) gets over 2% here, the DLP. The Greens get a big boost when Voluntary Euthanasia get elected, this frees up preferences from Sex, Cyclists and Animal Justice as well, giving Greens a decent lead over Labor for the last spot. It’s actually PUP preferences which put them over a quota, but by this point the Greens lead over Labor is big enough that they still win the last spot regardless of where PUP preferences go.
Eastern Vic (2 Labor, 1 Liberal, 1 National, 1 Shooters & Fishers)
There is a serious preference harvest here with Shooters & Fishers starting on about 2.4%. On a first past the post count the Greens would have the last spot. S&F get it because just about every micro preferences them, this includes all the Christian parties, People Power and PUP but also Sex and Cyclists, which is rather questionable. The cyclist numbers are so small as to have negligible effect, the Sex numbers are much larger, though it isn’t really clear that them preferencing the Greens as they did elsewhere would change the final result anyway, S&F get a lot of votes from the LDP. I’m no fan of Shooters and Fishers but a lot of people in Eastern Vic do like the small right wing/ christian parties, just about a quotas worth. The support for them from PUP was fairly important in making sure they stayed ahead of the LDP who might otherwise win off these preferences. That said, with about above the line voting I think that many of these votes would exhaust and Shooters & Fishers would not get anywhere near a winning position.
North Met (2 Labor, 1 Liberal, 1 Green , 1 Sex)
On First preferences Labor would pick up a third at the expense of Sex. The overall story here is that every small party sends preference to Sex or Family First and almost nothing goes to Labor or Liberal (the Greens primary is so close to a quota that they are out early on after electing Greg Barber), then it basically boils down to whichever of the majors having more excess surplus deciding the winner. So all the micro preferences push Family First and Sex into winning positions, and then the fact that Labor were further over 2 quotas than the Liberals were over 1 means their surplus elects the Sex candidate. Once again, without above the line preferencing neither of the smaller parties would get into that position and Labor would get the extra spot.
North Vic (1 Liberal, 1 Labor, 1 National, 1 Shooters & Fishers, 1 Country Alliance)
On first preferences Labor would get a second and the last would just got to Lib/Nat over Greens. Early in the count the Country Alliance rapidly climb to the top with LDP, FF and DLP preferences. Meanwhile Shooters are kept in there by PUP when they are on the verge of being eliminated. Once again the Shooters are about to be eliminated but this time are saved by Sex and Cyclists, to then be elected by Liberal/National preferences. So their success is absolutely down to preference deals. Finally, Labor preferences then choose Country Alliance over the Greens, I don’t know that much about Country Alliance but I’m sure Labor will find out whether that was a good choice during their term. The outcome had Sex party preferenced differently is harder to tell, they definitely would have stopped Shooters & Fishers but then their big bundle of right wing preferences would most likely elect country alliance and also give the Libs a boost, but chances are that Labor preferences would then elect a Green.
SE Met (2 Labor, 2 Liberal, 1 Green)
There are fair attempts at preference harvests by Sex and Rise Up, but they both run out of micro support. It helps that PUP preferences go to Greens, though even if they went to Rise Up they’d still fall short of a quota, though if PUP went to Sex they would possibly be elected instead of Greens.
South Met (3 Liberal, 1 Labor, 1 Green)
Quite a straightforward one, first 4 spots easily filled, and with only one left it’s just a race between Labor and Liberal who both have plenty of excess surplus to stay on top, no preference harvest really comes together, there’s not enough extra votes left out there.
West Met (2 Labor, 1 Liberal, 1 Green, 1 DLP)
I had thought the DLP success might be partly due to the ballot draw, but actually they are down the bottom, well below the ALP. After the initial quotas are distributed the Greens are in front and get over a quota with Sex, Animal Justice and PUP preferences. Without PUP it’s quite complicated (and depends where PUP preferences go) but the Greens could hang in just short of a quota while the DLP get elected, and then, if Labor is still ahead of Liberals then Liberal preferences would probably put Labor in instead. It is quite possible there would be enough extra votes here and there to see the Greens over a quota before that point anyway.
As for DLP, it’s a classic preference harvest, all the small right wing parties preference them and pretty much nobody preferences Labor or Liberal, when Liberals get eliminated their preferences elect DLP over Labor.
Western Vic (2 Liberal, 2 Labor, 1 Local Jobs)
On first preferences the Greens are favoured over Vote 1 Local Jobs (whoever that is). Vote 1 Local Jobs start with just 1.27% of the vote so if they do get through there will be plenty of commentary. There’s about 2.2 (out of 6) quotas out there with micros so it’s definitely prone to a preference harvest. After the 2 quotas each to Lab/Lib are used up the Greens are way in front for the last spot, but of course there’s a multitude of candidates in there who do not like the Greens. It’s the Country Alliance who save Vote 1 Local Jobs from being eliminated early (meanwhile Labor throw their preferences over to DLP, which previously got them elected in this region). Local jobs are once again in line for exclusion and get saved by Family First. This is the sort of point where above the line votes have such a huge effect, if FF voters chose their own preferences they would probably be spread amongst a number of remaining candidates and Local Jobs would still be eliminated next. That puts them in the big league of the micros with PUP and DLP, who are all still well short of the Greens though. Then the Liberals have a 10,000 vote surplus which puts Local Jobs ahead of the other contenders, and then Sex party preferences make them competitive with the Greens. Then PUP preferences go to the Greens but it is not enough for a quota, so when the DLP are eliminated their preferences and all the Micro right wing ones with them at this stage put local jobs over the Greens. There are some pretty tight elimination points in this count, though it seems possible that if Local Jobs are eliminated the preference harvest may be on for DLP or PUP instead.