Don’t like senators winning with 77 primary votes? Here’s how to fix it

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There’s been a lot of attention over the last few days on the newly elected One Nation senator from Queensland, Malcolm Roberts. His election was a bit of a surprise, whereas we were confident that Pauline Hanson would win her seat, and her two other Senate colleagues were predicted as likely to win since election night.

There’s a lot to pick over about Roberts’ record, but a lot of the focus has been on the fact that he received only 77 primary votes – less than any other successful candidate.

I actually think there is a real problem with our Senate voting system which is exposed by Roberts’ tiny primary vote, but it’s not the one that most media has focused on. This problem isn’t unique to Malcolm Roberts. The reality is most senators, from major and minor parties, receive very few personal votes, and rely almost entirely on voters preferencing according to their party’s ticket to win a seat.

It is remarkable that someone won a seat off only 77 personal primary votes, but I would argue that it isn’t significantly different to the many major party candidates elected on a few thousand votes in large states.

The phenomenon of unpopular candidates winning seats with no public profile is not limited to One Nation – the major parties have a history of gifting Senate seats to party hacks who couldn’t win a seat in the House of Representatives. It doesn’t have to be this way.

In this article, I’ll explain the broader issue, and what I think can solve it.

This isn’t a criticism of the recent Senate reforms. Despite some outlandish claims, the Senate reforms had a modest goal, and that goal was achieved.

The Senate reforms aimed to ensure that preferences between political parties flowed according to the wishes of the voter, not according to difficult-to-understand and hidden preference instructions, which were difficult for voters to opt out of. This goal has been well and truly achieved, and has been done while still ensuring that preferences matter in deciding Senate elections.

The recent Senate reforms was not intended to break the power of the political party in controlling who within their party receives votes or wins election, although it was made easier for voters to vote below the line in a way which gave them the option to buck their party’s preference order. While group voting tickets were difficult to understand, it was easy to understand that a vote above the line for a party would flow to the candidates printed on the ballot paper in the order they appeared.

Since 1940, Senate candidates have appeared on the ballot grouped by party, with the candidates of each party appearing in the order agreed to by the candidates. Since then, candidates ranked first on their party’s ticket have always received the lion’s share of their party’s votes. This was the case even before the introduction of above-the-line voting in 1984 formalised this practice as the preferred voting method.

Malcolm Roberts may be the most extreme example, but a majority of his new Senate colleagues are in the same boat. Only 34 out of 76 senators in the new parliament polled over 0.2% of the total vote in their state or territory as below-the-line primary votes. Apart from Tasmania, all of the candidates who polled above this threshold were candidates who were ranked first on their party ticket.

The following chart shows the personal below-the-line vote for elected candidates and their position on the ballot. Lisa Singh polled the most personal votes as a proportion of her state’s total vote, and was also the only #6 candidate to win a seat.

primaryvoteSenate2016

Only 16 candidates polled over 1% of their state’s total vote, and the table below lists them all.

While below-the-line voting has become more popular, it still makes up a relatively small proportion of the total vote outside of Tasmania, and most of those who avail themselves of this option still follow their party’s ticket, voting for the candidate ranked first. While there was a clear trend of people voting for Lisa Singh and Richard Colbeck in Tasmania, a majority of Tasmanian below-the-line voters still chose to vote for their party’s lead candidate.

So how do we solve this problem? If we aren’t happy with candidates getting elected to the Senate simply by virtue of securing a high enough ranking on their party’s ticket, the only solution is Hare-Clark.

Hare-Clark is used in Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. The counting system is similar to the Senate – each electorate elects five MPs, parties run multiple candidates, and candidates are elected when they reach a quota.

Unlike the Senate voting system, there is no above-the-line voting. In addition, Hare-Clark randomises the ballot order within each party’s ticket, so candidates appear in different orders on different ballots. Many people still choose to simply number their party’s candidates in ballot order, but since this order is randomised these votes are scattered amongst all of the party’s candidates, not concentrated on one candidate.

To win a seat, a candidate needs to run their own campaign and convince voters to give them their primary vote. No seat is safe – even if your party wins a lot of seats, you could still be vulnerable to losing your seat to one of your party’s other candidates.

If we implemented Hare-Clark in the Senate, all Senate candidates would need to have their own profile to win a seat, and we would see the end of anonymous candidates winning seats with no scrutiny.

I’m not saying Australia is ready to use Hare-Clark for the Senate. Australian voters have been trained for thirty years to just vote for their party above the line. The new Senate voting system has meant that all Australians get to choose and mark their own preferences in the Senate, many of them doing so for the first time.

The next step would be abolishing above-the-line voting, so that voters can get used to marking preferences between individual candidates. Now that the Senate voting system doesn’t incentivise the creation of splinter parties, I suspect we will see a consolidation of minor parties, which will make it easier for voters to vote below the line, and also make it easier for the media to scrutinise all of the minor party candidates with a chance of election (which has other benefits).

This won’t happen overnight, but if we are serious about a Senate made up of senators elected by voters who understand who they are voting for, we should be focusing on solutions, not just pointing the finger at one particularly odd One Nation candidate.

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44 COMMENTS

  1. I think this is a reasonable summary, and the lack of scrutiny of senate candidates on party tickets is an issue, but I’d be very cautious of making claims of how popular someone is in the current system based on their below the line vote. The fact is that almost 2 quotas worth of Queenslanders selected One Nation first or as a high preference after someone else (typically a similar right wing part), and there is no reason to believe that these people wanted anything other than whichever candidate the One Nation party selected. Also it is quite possible that many of them knew about and supported Roberts, but just preferred Hanson.

    I was familiar with all of the candidates in the party I chose to vote for, and like most, chose to vote for them in the order presented by the party, so the others all got low below the line primary votes, but I’d say that most people who voted for the party supported all of the candidates.

    Under a STV system it is quite possible for a candidate to get 0 first preference votes and still get elected and for it to reasonable. Imagine that there is a very popular party who gets over 2 quotas, and all of their voters give their first candidate their number 1 vote, and that they are familiar with their second candidate and genuinely preference them as number 2. Then it would be a perfectly good democratic outcome for both of these candidates to be elected, even though one of them was nobody’s first preference.

  2. I would think an extremely small percentage of voters are more interested in the specific candidate rather than the party: especially in the Senate when the representative is not your local member anyway.

    As an alternative solution: how about lowering the quota by getting rid of Senate election cycles? Change the constitution and have twelve seats up for election every election.

    Or even go one step further and have Senate elections country-wide instead of state-wide. With a quota of only 1.35% there would be little chance of future ‘accidental’ senators as preference flows would have such little effect.

  3. I don’t think it needs to be that big a change.
    What I think may be worth trying is that the senator that gets the most BTL first preference votes gets to be given first pick of the Group Ticket Votes.
    Using the Coalition’s NSW results as an example the following would have occurred:
    Marise Payne would still have been elected first with 39,108 BTL first preference votes.
    As candidate #7, Jim Molan finished with the second highest number of BTL first preference votes – 10,182, he would have been elected second.
    Fiona Nash finished 3rd so would have been elected 3rd.
    Arthur Sinodinos finished 4th and the last Senator for the Coalition in NSW would have been The Nationals’ John Williams.
    This would have meant that the coalition’s 4th Candidate, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, would not have been elected due to her primary vote count being only 7th highest.

  4. Ben,

    The way you propose to fix the issue is not an original feature of Hare-Clarke. Under HC all the ballots were the same and, I understand – happy to be proved wrong – the candidates were listed in alphabetical order. Anyone before Abbott? The rotation of the candidates names is due to a Tasmanian Liberal MP – Mr Robson – who devised the “Robson Rotation” and had it legislated in the late 70s / early 80s. In Canberra they copied the HC/RR hybrid.

    In Tasmania where the Robson Rotation has been a feature of elections for almost 40 years, I would agree that it works in the manner you suggest where there are a number of equally well known candidates for a party in an electorate. However, if there is one dominant candidate, for example Will Hodgman in Franklin in 2014 or Jim Bacon at the height of his powers, these candidates are likely to received multiple quotas and then the surpluses decide who is elected not who gets the most votes. Although there is generally a correlation between most first preferences and second preferences.

    So in the case of Pauline Hanson, her second in Queensland would have got elected even if he got 77 votes in the Senate election using the Robson Rotation method as a PH voter presumably would go 1 Pauline 2 Mr second regardless of which of the two was on the top position. Or if a voter was preference PHON then the preference would be 7 Pauline, 8 Mr Second. Rotating names may have more impact on the big parties. For example, Jim Moylan, Colbatch and Singh might have been elected (yes Singh did anyway) if the names were rotated.

    Regards,

    Pollster

  5. Tasmanian ballot papers were the same as in Ireland with names in alphabetic order on a vertical ballot paper until the 1940s. Grouping of candidates and a horizontal ballot paper were introduced after it was introduced for the 1940 Senate election. Names within group were in alphabetic order until the introduction of Robson Rotation. The rotations were based on an initial alphabetic order until John His Grace the Most Noble Duke of Avram was elected on Robin Gray’s surplus in 1989. Then they introduced a random draw for the starting rotation, and in 2014 they introduced a double rotation with 10 versions of the ballot paper rather than five.

  6. Nick Xenophon’s original protege Ann Bressington, a conspiracy theorist (fluoride, chemtrails, Agenda 21 etc) and sponsor of “Lord” Monckton’s last Australian climate denialist tour was elected to the SA Upper House for an eight year term in 2006 after getting just 32 votes (plus the surplus from Nick Xenophon…)

  7. I’m aware that someone could still get elected on a tiny vote under Robson Rotation, but the party donkey vote would still be expected to scatter randomly, so the person with a slightly higher vote (either as primary votes or as second preferences for the strongest candidate) would have an advantage.

    I’m also aware that Robson Rotation wasn’t an original feature of Hare-Clark, but considering that the two places which use this specific version of STV both use Robson Rotation I think it’s reasonable to include it as a feature (as opposed to other variations of STV used in Australia, Ireland, etc).

  8. “Or even go one step further and have Senate elections country-wide instead of state-wide. With a quota of only 1.35% there would be little chance of future ‘accidental’ senators as preference flows would have such little effect.”

    That is not really a solution as Senate tickets would be dominated by candidates who reside in NSW and Victoria, leaving the smaller states out in the cold without upper house representation. The way it is set up now means that every state is given the same allotted representation each (12 Senators), that garantees that the wishes of every state is represented in the Senate, which is better that way.

    Besides, changing the Senate to an at-large nationwide electorate requires changing the cobstitution, which means it’d need to go to a referendum. Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia won’t vote in favour disadvantage themselves.

  9. I think one necessary reform would be to increase the number of Senators from the ACT, which will overtake the population of Tasmania within the next two decades. There can’t be much justification for ACT having just two Senators when Tasmania has the full complement of 12.

    And perhaps consider increasing the number of representatives from Northern Territory as it grows.

  10. The Tasmanians will never vote for abolishing the equal representation of the states in the Senate and because to do so would alter the proportionate representation of Tasmania in the Senate, that means it would never happen.

    The only way to reduce the disparity between the numbers of voters per Senator in Tasmania and the larger states is to subdivide the larger states into multiple states. The only attempt, the New England statehood referendum in 1967, was defeated due to ALP opposition.

    I support increasing the number of Senators from both territories. An odd number of Senators at each half-Senate election would be good and the territories could be switched to the same half-Senate model as the states, with their current number of Senators acting as the new half-Senate number, doubling their representation.

  11. Useful piece Ben. And I agree it is an issue given the tiny numbers of party members and the relatively opaque and often undemocratic internal mechanisms for pre-selection.

    But I am a little nervous about allowing individual candidates to campaign in this way in very large electorates. In Tasmania or the ACT solid local campaigning can get you a fair way. But in the big states individuals have no real capacity to be personally known to any significant number of voters. So I imagine it would massively favour incumbency, celebrity and those with lots of their own money.

    I’d prefer some minimum standards of democracy within parties (like members get to choose the candidates).

  12. As far as I’m aware before 1947 there was no line and all senators had to be numbered. They tended to vote similarly to how they voted in the lower house.

  13. I am nop friend of ONe Nation. Their elected members were full of hatred and generally could have been convicted for SEdition if JOhn Howard had not removed this from the Crimes Act.

    However Hanson got nearly a 1/4 of a million votes in QLd. ROberts was elected on preferences from PH and FF.

    It is not a change in voting system we need but voters who understand that if they scatter their preferences like drunken urinators they will get piss all over themselves; and in electing Pauline Hanson and Roberts Queensland voters have certainly done this.

  14. “Besides, changing the Senate to an at-large nationwide electorate requires changing the cobstitution, which means it’d need to go to a referendum. Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia won’t vote in favour disadvantage themselves.”

    That might be one genuine problem with the drafting of our constitution (S. 128: No alteration diminishing …the representation of any state..shall become law unless the majority… in that state approve) . If the original constitutional starts off with privileged, cushy deals for certain states, then there is nothing one can do to in the future to correct the situation and return electoral equality (one person-one vote) to the country. Unfortunately, there are always some who will vote to put self-interest above every other consideration.

  15. Philip: Sure, but you have to remember that the other side of the cushy deal was that we got a Federation out of it.

  16. Phillip: Your other problem is that despite equal representation of the original sates, the senate has reflected the popular vote much more closely and accurately than the house since 1948.

  17. kme: We shouldn’t have had to -buy- federation. One would think that all states mutually benefit from the deal, ironically even more for the smaller states as it would have been extremely difficult for them to carry the expenses of being independent countries maintaining customs, diplomatic and immigration requirements, amongst others.

    Alan: You are quite right. And wouldn’t a one zone, one cycle Senate election reflect the popular vote even more accurately? If a 7.69% quota (when we are lucky) reflects better than a 50.01% quota, then what would that say for a 1.35% quota?

  18. Philip:

    Quite simply, no.

    You do not get significant gains in representativeness from STV above districts with magnitude 9. What you do get is significant losses of accountability because of the difficulty and cost of campaigning, size of ballot paper, number of candidates etc etc. The only examples of single national constituencies for legislative bodies are Israel, the Netherlands, and Japan. All are a tiny fraction of Australia’s area, none use STV, and the Japanese house of councillors is famous for the number of celebrity candidates elected.

    The single largest magnitude STV district in the world is NSW with 21 MLCs elected at every general election and it is an outlier. You are proposing to more than triple that magnitude across an area many times the size of NSW for no obvious benefit.

    Equal representation of regions in upper houses remains quite common, and not merely in traditional federations. The South African national council of provinces was only created in 1996 but they went with equal representation for each province and proportional representation within each province.

  19. Alan,
    Thanks for the detailed response. You seem to be a knowledgeable psephologist. Not sure what magnitude 9 means. Below a quota of 10%?

    Size of ballot paper: yes, under the present system a valid point. However, with the 1.35% quota, preference flow problems would no longer be the (alleged) significant issue, and group voting tickets could return for ATL voting. Have separate ATL and BTL ballot papers to choose from where the simpler only-one-tick ATL could even be in the form of a TAB type betting card, albeit a bit larger, which would have the additional advantage of machine reading and machine counting.

    Number of candidates: Actually I would guess there would be fewer total candidates Australia wide while still a greater choice for each voter. (ie guessing 300 +- to choose from nationally instead of the 100 average per state x 6). Parties would save money in deposit payments to be alternatively invested in advertising.

    Difficulty and cost of campaigning: Really? Doesn’t economies of scale make campaigning cheaper? The same flyers, the same ads for the whole country. Even cheaper for the AEC with the same ballot papers.

    “famous for the number of celebrity candidates elected”: Mr Charmer is still whom that quota of punters wanted. Better he than some Marise Payne type politician who never landed a candidature when appealing to the Liberal Party rank and file, but only got in by special appointment by the party hierarchy. Yes, that could still happen, but with so many viable alternative parties, the major parties would have to be more attentive to whom their supporters actually wanted.

    “You are proposing to more than triple that magnitude across an area many times the size of NSW for no obvious benefit.”: not sure what your argument is here. If it is personal constituent / polly contact then, to the degree that the email won’t do, that’s what you have the lower house for. If it is about the voter trying to find out what the candidate is selling, then, well, we do live in the 21st century communication age.

    And the obvious benefit is that the (one or many) 1.35% groupings of the population who supported a particular candidate or ideology would now have their hopes fulfilled, rather than being the frustrated losers of previous elections.

  20. Philip

    Your obvious benefit does not exist. A district of magnitude 76 would be no more representative than a district of magnitude 9. That is a basic mathematical exercise that you can find with 5 minutes on google.

    On the other hand a ballot paper containing the names of 631 candidates could be a problem. NSW senate ballots are already almost 1 metre long. I am not sure contemporary paper technology can deal with producing a 4 metre ballot.

    There are indeed economies of scale in campaigning. The major parties would have such an advantage that they would be grossly over-represented, along wth the occasional beautiful idiot from film, television and sport.

    Incidentally the quota wouldn’t be 1.35%. The correct calculation is to divide by 1 more the number vacancies to be filled so the quota would be 1.3%.

  21. In practical terms, running an STV with that many candidates is unwieldy. It would have to become a closed party list proportional system, like many countries have. That makes it more proportional, but gives voters even less ability to keep out party hacks. The country electing parties is a long way from the states electing candidates however.

    Regarding the argument that the Senate is about state representation, that rings hollow to me. Almost every senator votes on party lines, very few (none?) vote on state lines. You can see that reflected in all the balance of power discussions. No one talks about which state has the balance of power.

  22. This is a pretty silly discussion.

    I can see the benefits of a pure PR upper house if the lower house was PR districts, although it is pretty much impossible to achieve under our constitutional arrangements (and likely not a good idea).

    But if you were to do it, why would you use STV? It would make more sense to use a party list system as they do in European voting systems. Far simpler.

  23. Ben

    I agree this is a silly discussion. Philip seems to be advocating for STV in his single district senate to judge from his talk of quotas. For some reason this idea appears and re-appears on social media as an allegedly obvious reform.

    The fact that you’d have to abandon STV for closed list to make it workable is not the least of my objections. The rarity of single national constituencies is not a non-trivial fact.

  24. A single national constituency in the Senate is impractical and the voters of Tasmania, and those of multiple other states, will never allow it and so it will never happen.

    Even with strict party line following, extra representation provides benefits to smaller states as it increases their influence within parties.

  25. Off topic, but the questions around voting reform have made me consider other reforms.

    Considering the option of seats only for Indigenous and Torres Straight Islander candidates.

    Can the Federal Government add a seat to NT to give it three with the extra seat being identified as such? That would seem a much easier alternative than a referendum to change the constitution to give lower and upper house seats.

  26. I think indigenous seats on the model of the Māori MPs would be a good idea. The federal parliament could probably do it by ordinary law under the race power.

  27. Andrew’s comment yesterday reminds me of a previous government that practiced racially designated seats. South Africa had precisely this policy for twenty years they called it Apartheid, IN fact most of British Empire moved to independence under such a voting system they called it Colonialism.

    Fiji retained this policy of separation of races in Parliament until the Army Coup.

    I recall a political ally of mine when I was Secretary of the Australian Citizens For Freedom in the 1970’s Senator Neville Bonner who came to office on the back of his presidency of OPAL. (One People of Australia League) I recall him talking to the CFF of the dangers of multiculturalism and that we were “one people” and that we should all be treated equally in the eyes of the law.

    Apartheid seats would will lead to demands for separate seats for Muslims and separate seats for Chinese migrants, separate seats for women, separate seats for homosexuals. In fact I can see Pauline Hanson and her band of racial bigots quickly demanding separate seats for Whites and very soon we will be on a slippery path to Racial Segregation.

    The US for a time toyed with this idea until the US Supreme Court in In June 1996 declared unconstitutional four congressional districts that had been created for minorities.

    Andrew Jackson
    apjackson@hotkey.net.au

  28. New Zealand has had Māori seats since 1867. Can you point to a single instance of a demand for ‘separate seats for Muslims and separate seats for Chinese migrants, separate seats for women, separate seats for homosexuals’ in that country in the past 149 years?

    South Africa did not have reserved seats for indigenous people. South Africa had a racially restricted franchise that excluded all Africans from voting. I think you will find that most New Zealanders and most South Africans would regard your claims as not only wildly inaccurate but deeply offensive.

  29. Not “wildly inaccurate” Alan. Andrew simply mixed up South Africa for Rhodesia which had separate seats for the blacks.
    Despite the Neville Bonners and Martin Luther Kings of our time proclaiming we are all one nation and not to be judged by the colour of our skin, we are, unfortuntely, always gonig to get the latent racists coming out of the woodwork and declaring some people, because of their race, should be treated differently.

  30. I will stick with wildly inaccurate.

    I believe I did write: ‘on the model of the Māori MPs’. That model preserves one vote, one value and has the enthusiastic support of Māori. It is hard to imagine anything more different from the racist electoral structures of Zimbabwe and South Africa under minority regimes.

    Apartheid did not last 20 years, but from 1949 to 1994 and by some definitions from 1642 to 1994. Apartheid in South Africa, like the similar minority regime in Zimbabwe, was about creating the appearance of a democracy while excluding anyone but whites from actual power. The minority regime in Zimbabwe gave 270 thousand whites 50 seats and 6 million Africans 8 seats.

    I do not think Andrew was mixed up at all. Conflating indigenous representation (or any other form of government action to reduce disadvantage) with apartheid is a standard rightwing meme.

  31. Separate electorates for minorities are the single member electorate way of getting minority representation and/or a more balanced gender representation. It has the disbenefit of not encouraging candidates to appeal to voters not like themselves, potentially encouraging extremism. It also has a history of discrimination or divide and conquer politics in favour of ruling elites (even in New Zealand, the Maori seats were severely under representing the Maori until 1975).

    Multi-member electorates are another way of achieving a mix of representation, provided the electoral system used has proportional method and/or quotas. Proportional representation without legislated quotas is most common, is these systems, some parties may have quotas deciding their candidates. Singapore has quotas for different races in multi-member constituencies without proportional representation, although this has been accused of being a system to keep opposition candidates from being elected.

  32. This is a stupid discussion. No one should care how few personal votes are gained by individual candidates on Senate tickets. There is nothing commendable about below-the-line voting and in WA the great majority of those voting Liberal or ALP vote above the line. Below the line votes for individual candidates on tickets are an irrelevance (outside Tasmania). It was the responsibility of Mr Roberts and other such candidates to gain votes for their ticket and not themselves. He was validly elected – end of story.

  33. “There is nothing commendable about below-the-line voting”. You are correct that below-the-line votes haven’t had an impact outside of Tasmania, but as long as it doesn’t make your vote informal (thanks to the recent reforms), I think it is commendable if voters want to exercise their own judgement about candidates within each party.

  34. Indigenous people are not minorities except in the numerical sense, one reason that the NZ model did not lead to endless demands for separate representation of other groups. Proportional representation cannot accommodate the particularities of indigenous life, and indeed is simply the electoral version of the assimilationist policies that have failed and failed repeatedly since 1788.

  35. I rarely agree with the number 1(or perhaps 2,3 etc) candidate for a party. sometimes I want to put them down my order other times leave them out.

    BTL is the only way to do this and hence automatically better than ATL

  36. The main rationale for BTL voting has been removed with the abolition of Group Voting Tickets. The next reform should be to remove the option of BTL voting altogether as it creates confusion and a needless distraction. If you don’t like the candidates a party has selected, make sure your preferences don’t reach that party. I find these personality games off putting. It’s an election, not a beauty contest!

  37. The constitution requires that the Senators be directly elected by the people and that is taken as requiring that voters have a direct choice between individual candidates.

    Also, not allowing differing views within parties` candidate selections, would encourage splitting parties up into smaller parties.

  38. Jeremy:

    “There is nothing commendable about below-the-line voting and in WA…”

    In this state in particular, imagine if the current voting system had existed in 2013. How many more people would have voted for Louise Pratt BTL if it had been easier to do so? She could’ve kept her seat the same way Lisa Singh did. Instead, anyone who didn’t want to give Joe Bullock their effective #1 vote went to other parties, and Labor ended up with one senator out of six.

  39. “The main rationale for BTL voting has been removed with the abolition of Group Voting Tickets.”

    This is pretty silly and reveals a lack of understanding of the history of our system.

    BTL voting came first – ATL voting was only a simplified way to cast a vote. BTL voting still has a very important purpose – to preference candidates within a party ticket differently to what the party recommends. The Tasmanian case has demonstrated that this is important.

  40. In reply to Bird of Paradox, nothing in 2014 could have elected Louise Pratt in place of Joe Bullock, when the ALP vote fell to such a low level. It would have required below-the-line voting at an unprecedented level. Like it or not, huge numbers of voters vote for their party of choice and are far less concerned as to individual candidates.

  41. Pratt wouldn’t have been able to win over Bullock without a very high proportion of the vote. Still an argument about the likelihood of success doesn’t come close to justifying your claim that it’s not “commendable” for voters to choose their own intraparty preferences.

    But this doesn’t mean that something similar couldn’t happen in the future, if say a candidate in fourth or third spot could overtake one of their colleagues when the party’s total vote is higher (thus needing a smaller proportion).

    You say it would have been “unprecedented”, but so was the vote for Singh and Colbeck in Tasmania. We don’t know how below-the-line voting might evolve now that it’s easy and thus more viable as a strategy for a demoted candidate.

  42. Thanks Ben, good to have the Hair Clark system now being advocated for after the two enquiries and subsequent Elections – my concerns were ignored by the Liberal/Labor/Greens Junta. The Party List Vote Box is a defacto first past the post system that doesn’t encourage effective preferencing – in most cases 6 Preferences will exhaust

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