Vic 2018 – group voting tickets triumph over voters

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The button was pushed this afternoon in the eight Victorian Legislative Council contests, producing provisional results (subject to any possible challenges where the race might be close.

The seat count by party is:

  • 18 Labor (+4)
  • 10 Liberal (-4)
  • 1 Nationals (-1)
  • 1 Greens (-4)
  • 3 Hinch’s Justice Party (+3)
  • 2 Lib Dems (+2)
  • 1 Reason (-)
  • 1 Shooters (-1)
  • 1 Sustainable Australia (+1)
  • 1 Transport Matters (+1)
  • 1 Animal Justice (+1)

There was a slight increase in the non-Greens minor party vote, from 19.7% to 22.1%, but this doesn’t explain the big increase in members from these parties, from five to ten.

I don’t have any particular problem with minor parties getting elected. Indeed I’m a fan of proportional systems which make this possible. But the group voting ticket system has seriously distorted the result to favour certain minor parties over others, and has allowed Labor to divert its voters’ preferences to parties more likely to be pliable in the balance of power, and away from the Greens.

The arguments in favour of abolishing the group voting ticket system are strong, and we don’t have any particularly new evidence coming out of this election result, but all of the usual arguments still apply.

In this post I will run through some of the biggest problems with this election result.

The following table compares each parties’ vote to their seat share:

PartyVotesPercentSeatsLargest remainderD’HondtSaint-Laguë
Labor1,406,12239.218161816
Liberal1,054,98029.411121412
Greens331,7519.31444
Hinch’s Justice134,4133.83212
Shooters, Fishers & F108,3123.01111
Liberal Democrats89,4412.52111
Animal Justice88,5302.51111
Democratic Labour75,2942.10101
Patten’s Reason49,0081.41101
Vol. Euthanasia42,7301.20101
Aussie Battler33,2340.90000
Victorian Socialists32,6140.90000
Sustainable Aus.29,8660.81000
Health Australia28,1900.80000
Aus. Country Party24,3740.70000
Transport Matters22,2280.61000
Aus. Liberty Alliance20,1310.60000
Hudson 4 NV6,4380.20000
Others7,9290.20000

While the Greens did suffer a negative swing, they still polled more than twice as many votes as the next most popular minor party, with Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party polling 3.75%, and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers polling 3%.

If you look at the ratio of votes to seats, the discrepancy is massive. Transport Matters won one seat off a statewide vote of 22,228, while the Greens only won one seat off 331,751 votes.

My objection is not to small parties winning seats – but to the arbitrary and undemocratic way that this is decided. If the Victorian upper house was elected by the Saint-Laguë method (a variation on D’Hondt which gives a boost to smaller parties) we would have seen two less Labor members, one more Liberal, and three more Greens. But we would have still seen two members of Hinch’s party win seats, along with six others. This would have included members of the Democratic Labour Party and the Voluntary Euthanasia Party, both of whom received more votes than Sustainable Australia or Transport Matters but missed out thanks to unfavourable preference flows.

One of the most extreme results was Transport Matters in East Metro. They won off 0.6%, thanks to preferences from almost every other group. Eleven other candidates started ahead of them in the race for the final seat, with the Greens leading on 9%.

It’s also worth looking at the result in the South-Eastern Metro region, where the Liberal Democrats won off 0.84% of the primary vote. If every vote flowed according to the group voting tickets, the Transport Matters party would have won a second seat off 1.3%, but enough below-the-line votes flowed elsewhere to knock out TMP before the Greens, at which point preferences instead favoured the Lib Dems.

Not every minor party candidate was elected on such a tiny vote. Catherine Cumming of the DHJP polled 6.8% in West Metro, and her fellow Hinch Party MLCs both polled over 4% in Northern Victoria and Western Victoria.

I’d like to finish by discussing below-the-line voting. There was a concerted online campaign to encourage voters to opt out of the GVTs by choosing their own preferences. About 9% of votes were cast below the line (up from 6% in 2014).

While group voting tickets still decided most of the seats, there were some crucial moments where below-the-line votes did come into play, specifically:

  • Below-the-line votes accelerated Greens leader Samantha Ratnam getting elected in North Metro, which meant that Socialist preferences flowed in full to Fiona Patten, favouring her over the DHJP’s Carmlea Dagiandis.
  • Vern Hughes of the Aussie Battler Party was expected to narrowly win on group voting tickets, but dropped behind Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party thanks to some of those preferences leaking as below-the-line votes. The Shooters then benefited from the released preferences and won.
  • As mentioned above, Transport Matters were knocked out in south-east metro as many preferences flowed in other directions, but this just allowed the Lib Dems to win on the back of the votes that would have otherwise gone to Transport Matters.
  • The Greens came a lot closer to winning in South Metro, losing by only 2755 votes, not the 23,516 predicted by the calculator.

I’ll leave it here, but I’ll come back later in the week with some maps showing the final results. In the meantime, I recommend checking out Kevin Bonham’s analysis for more details of the final upper house count.

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42 COMMENTS

  1. Great result with many cross bench MLC’s. Lets hope that there is more of them next election and the two major parties are made less powerful.

  2. Since 22.1% of voters preferred not to vote Labor, Libs or Greens it’s proportional that ‘others’ should elect 9 out of 40. So the actual 10 is not unreasonable. I’m unaware of how the St Lague system works but it does seem to give the closer fit to the voter’s intentions. Even so either outcome will play out much the same in the next term of regarding getting bills passed in the upper house. Labor has a choice between the lefties or the righties in getting the 21 votes required. Seems like stable government to me.

  3. I have written still more about this election here:

    https://kevinbonham.blogspot.com/2018/12/group-ticket-voting-wrecks-victorian.html

    The seat share of “others” shouldn’t necessarily be proportionate to their vote because the vote for “others” is not for a single thing, it’s for a range of different ideas that in some cases are completely opposed to each other. Voters for some of the small left-wing parties tend to strongly dislike the small right-wing parties and vice versa. Once those “other” parties that have too few votes to reasonably win a seat are eliminated (under a fair system rather than this silly one where some can win off <1%) their voters will scatter their preferences with many going to the bigger parties, as was seen in the last Senate election. If voters for smaller parties strongly preferred other small parties to the big ones when asked to choose then it would make sense for the Others seat share to match the Others vote. However, they don't. It is better to consider them individually, on which basis DHJP (Druery-linked), LDP ($$$), SA and TM each got seats they didn't deserve and only LDLP and arguably VEP were short-changed. The Greens however were massively short-changed.

    Whether the new MPs are any good and whether the parliament is stable are different questions to the question of whether it was fairly elected.

  4. In practical terms Fiona Patten is very close to Labor and usually votes with them, and Labor should have very little trouble finding a 20th vote (Greens and/or AJP for progressive legislation, countless others for other legislation). All these micro parties will be quite irrelevant to the course of Victorian politics.

  5. It would have to very ‘progressive’ legislation indeed to make Labor source its 3 upper house votes from the bloc of Greens/Pattern/AJP. Much easier to find them from among the other 8.
    Regarding abolishing GVT’s – Only the Greens would benefit. With the possible exception Hinch in WM, the minor parties would be wiped out. No matter who forms government the Greens would always hold the balance of power. Labor has found that to be rather difficult. For the Libs it would be impossible.
    So how will you get 39 turkeys to vote in favour of Christmas?

  6. Graham, weren’t you the one who predicted that the Coalition would win a Senate majority if there was a DD under the new voting system? Not sure why anyone would listen to your predictions about how a changed voting system would work.

    If you move to a system which encourages preferencing, like we now have for the Senate, you could easily see other minor parties win seats. And party systems evolve. Undoubtedly we’d see some consolidation of those other minor parties, and more of an effort to encourage preferencing. The difference being that these parties would actually need to convince voters to go along with it.

  7. As someone who has voted for minor parties since 1972 I agree with Kevin Bonham His mistake is to maintain that minor parties are only on extreme. I agree that “extremism in the pursuit of freedom is no vice and moderation in the struggle with tyranny is no virtue” . In effect I am as far from the neo-fascists and neo- communists as it is possible to get. This puts me in the middle not on the extremities. One factor that seems to have been forgotten in this debate is that Group Voting Tickets were introduced after a massive NSW Senate ballot paper and a resulting massive Informal vote that resulted from ALP voters being unable to number from 1 to 212?? without making a mistake. System as is is fair but the problem has been Parties not passing votes on basis of ideology.

    I have been a participant in preference negotiations for DLP 1971- 1975 and 2007- 2012 and KAP 2013- to 2016 and at no time have Iknown these parties to allocate preferences on anything other than an acceptable basis. Ie Acceptable Minorsfollowed by Majors followed by unacceptable minors therefore Greens Have been last in 95% of cases, ex NAZI on one occasion and PHoN last or second last in nearly every case.
    Shame on minor party negotiators who have not placed ideology ahead of electoral victory.

  8. No I wasn’t.
    If you abolish GVT’s in Victoria you don’t have to encourage preferencing, it’s enforced unless you allow a just vote 1 as in NSW. Then it becomes almost a ‘first past the post system’ which in the current electoral landscape would be even more beneficial for the Greens.
    After another two full Senate elections there will be only Greens (but fewer), Xenophon (as long as he is still attached) and One Nation (as long as Hanson is still there). Hinch might hang in for another term. Again, remove the personality then the party withers. I suppose the Libs could split.
    The GVT system allowed the Greens to arise from being a less than 4% party. Abolishing them removes that avenue for new entrants in the future because it’s nearly impossible to jump straight to the necessary 1/2 a quota without spending money Clive Palmer style. Of course if the Green vote keeps contracting, as it has post Bob Brown, they too may eventually go the way of the Democrats.

  9. “Regarding abolishing GVT’s – Only the Greens would benefit. With the possible exception Hinch in WM, the minor parties would be wiped out.”

    Not true at all. Shooters would be likely to win easily in N Vic where they polled 7.85% – an excellent result, only to be unfairly jumped by preference-harvesters. Shooters might also catch the Greens in E Vic, and parties could adjust their strategy by merging or not all running in the same region in order to boost their primary votes to compete with the Greens. Also both the majors (especially the Coalition) would be less likely to be beaten by preference-harvesters under a Senate style system. I acknowledge that for Labor it’s not as simple as just how many seats they win, but they may also prefer having fewer seats and working with a crossbench of randoms to having more seats and more Greens.

  10. “The GVT system allowed the Greens to arise from being a less than 4% party. ”

    Don’t see how. You hit on the far more likely cause later on – the demise of the Democrats as a centre-left force, partly because of internal tensions and sellouts and partly because of the Greens having a more dynamic image and competing with them vigorously.

    “After another two full Senate elections there will be only Greens (but fewer), Xenophon (as long as he is still attached) and One Nation (as long as Hanson is still there). Hinch might hang in for another term.”

    Too soon to know. Lambie might get back in in Tasmania for instance. But if there are only a few because the people don’t vote for any particular minor party and don’t cross preference between minor parties, so be it.

  11. The Greens first mainland Senator, Kerry Nettle in 2001, who starting with 4.1% overtook the Democrats Vicky Bourne on 6.2% because of more astute preference dealing. Before that in 1999 the NSW State Greens doubled their representation the Council by using GVT’s to build a starting primary of 2.9% to two quotas (9%). Neither would have happened without GVT’s.
    I’m happy to put money on against Lambie’s resurrection.
    ‘Internal tensions and sellouts’ – sounds a bit like today’s Greens.
    But back to my original point. Why would the current Victorian Legislative Council vote for a measure which can only advantage the Greens?

  12. Woah Andrew Jackson How old are you? You have been voting for a long time! I didn’t think people in their 60’s and over were into politics, But on the other hand, It should come to no surprise that more Rrossbenchers were elected, the Coalition vote was down and not all of those voters went to Labor, The green voters must have went more to Labor, and some coalition votes went to minor parties, This should fix in 2022 (Maybe)

  13. That is just a whinge. So minor parties have got elected under a system that the Parliament has made and somehow that is undemocratic?? What nonsense!! So what if group voting saw these parties elected that is what a preferential system does. If the Greens couldn’t attract support from other minor parties then that is up to the Greens to address not the fault of the electoral system!!

  14. “The Greens first mainland Senator, Kerry Nettle in 2001, who starting with 4.1% overtook the Democrats Vicky Bourne on 6.2% because of more astute preference dealing. Before that in 1999 the NSW State Greens doubled their representation the Council by using GVT’s to build a starting primary of 2.9% to two quotas (9%). Neither would have happened without GVT’s.”

    At the time of the 2001 election the Greens already had close to 5% nationwide, a vote that was increasing fast. The Democrats cooked themselves in the following term, the Greens would have kept increasing whether Nettle won that seat or not. And I can’t see anything special about the Greens winning a seat in 1999 (in fact three parties with much lower votes won) nor any connection between that and the 2003 vote, in which again the collapse of the Democrats was a partial factor.

    “But back to my original point. Why would the current Victorian Legislative Council vote for a measure which can only advantage the Greens?”

    I’ve already refuted this point, so why do you want to go back to it?

    I’m also doubtful that Lambie will be elected again. But I cannot claim to know she won’t.

  15. ” If the Greens couldn’t attract support from other minor parties then that is up to the Greens to address not the fault of the electoral system!!”

    No, actually it is the fault of the electoral system, as I discuss in my article. Because the Greens tend to be excluded late in the count (if at all) there is generally no point in the little parties dealing with them. They need to deal with someone they can easily overtake. Preference swapping with someone they probably won’t overtake makes them more likely to be eliminated early in the count.

    Secondly the preference flows from many of the other minor parties were determined and networked by Glenn Druery. Once he had some parties on board there was a big incentive for others to jump in. Surely whether or not the Greens (or for that matter the Shooters) get elected should be based on something other than their ability to read the mind of Glenn Druery and cut deals with him.

    And no, this isn’t a proper preferential system. A good preferential system is one where the result is decided by the preferences of the voters. This election was decided by people whacking 1 in a box and parties allocating their preferences for them, generally without the voters knowing what their vote was doing.

  16. Graham, the Greens did not win two quotas in 1999. They won one quota. Anyone who knows anything about ticket voting knows that it can help you get to a quota, but it can’t get you more than a quota of preferences!

    Since NSW abolished GVTs, parties that have polled around 2.9% usually have gone on to win a seat. The Shooters won a seat on 2.8% in 2007 and 2.05% in 2003, and the CDP won a seat off 3.1% in 2011 and 2.9% in 2015. Indeed it was a surprise that Hanson didn’t win off 2.4% in 2011, thanks to very unfavourable preferences. The Greens winning a seat off 2.9% in 1999 is not evidence of preference harvesting. I find it strange that you don’t understand this.

    Yes it’s true that preferences favoured Kerry Nettle in 2001 but in that same election Rachel Siewert missed out thanks to those same GVTs, and it’s famous that the Greens in Victoria were knocked out in 2004 by Labor preferencing Family First.

    At no point did the Greens win seats off tiny votes like Steve Fielding, Ricky Muir or Transport Matters. Bob Brown in 1996 polled over 8%, as did Jo Vallentine in 1990, who was the Greens’ actual first mainland senator.

  17. You haven’t refuted anything. Why would the minors want to swap 10 reasonably sure seats for 2 or 3 maybes? Why would the ALP want to return to a permanent coalition with the Greens straight after they’ve finally found the courage and made a considered decision to cast the Greens adrift to good effect? Why would the Libs want to face some future government with the Greens holding the balance of power? Abolition of GVT’s won’t happen in this parliament.

  18. It will admittedly be difficult, and I don’t think anyone expects most of the minor parties to vote to abolish GVTs (although Patten may well support reform). But the Labor and Liberal parties are clearly concerned about the impact of GVTs, which explains why the federal JSCEM report on GVT reform was unanimous, why the Libs moved to abolish it federally, and why Labor did in SA.

    And your insistence that GVT reform would lead to a permanent Greens balance of power is just complete nonsense.

  19. As Winston Churchill advised a new conservative member of the British Parliament. ‘On this side you are surrounded by enemies. On the other side is the opposition’. Labor and the Greens are extremely fractious bedfellows. The same Victorian ALP numbers man who torpedoed you in 2004 is the one who ditched you this year. Both were reasoned decisions.

  20. Kevin that is absolute nonsense what you say. I didn’t see the Greens or anybody else complain when they won 5 upper house seats in 2014 with GVT yet all of sudden because they lost 4 upper house members its the fault of GVT and the electoral system. I thought you were a better electoral analyst than that, rather than take a blame the system approach, blame the Greens for the inability to negotiate a better outcome for themselves.
    Whats more the Greens when they had 5 members could have used their leverage to change the system if it was that bad, but they didn’t because they were happy to use GVT when it worked to their advantage but now they got wiped out GVTs are all of sudden undemocratic and the system is rigged against them.
    Rather than being apologist for the Greens, maybe you could teach them some negotiating skills rather than blame the system that once suited them.
    I honestly thought you better than just having a whinge Kevin because the Greens lost 4 seats.

  21. Me, an “apologist for the Greens”, Jody? Try checking your facts about me and my past relationship with said party before jumping in with presumptions that if I defend the Greens against electoral injustice I must be their supporter. I’m not, no more than I am a supporter of the Shooters or the Coalition who I have also pointed out were ripped off in this election. I am not a supporter of any party. If you think the worse of me because I stand up for electoral fairness whatever I think of the party concerned, that just reflects badly on you.

    I explained in my article linked above why there are differences between 2014 and 2018. However it is also worth noting that the Greens were short-changed in Victoria for different reasons under the same system in both 2006 and 2010. Nobody complained that they won five seats in 2014 because that was only trivially above their vote share and was therefore not unfair. But people were complaining about GVTs in general then and even before.

    “Whats more the Greens when they had 5 members could have used their leverage to change the system if it was that bad” . Well I think they should have tried this, but they didn’t, and it may well not have worked if they did. They would have needed Coalition cooperation at the least, which the Coalition may have been reluctant to attempt because they would have been accused of helping the Greens obstruct the Government over an issue of Green policy. But just because the Greens seem to have made strategic errors does not mean they deserve to be under-represented. The system should reflect the intention of the voters, not someone’s idea that if a party made a mistake it is its own fault if it gets far less seats than its vote deserves. All parties make mistakes.

    And no, I have no interest in providing free advice to the Greens! I’ll give you some though: improve your tone and lose the twaddle about your supposed view of my analytical skills.

  22. Graham: you say “You haven’t refuted anything.” but you ignored my comment about the Shooters for starters. As for the rest, I already commented about how Labor’s position cuts both ways. However, it is indeed nonsense that a fair system would leave a permanent Greens balance of power – using the Senate system with the current votes it would probably be shared between the Greens and the Shooters and/or DHJP, with at least two pathways to passing bills. Moreover, parties would adapt to the different system and that could well help smaller parties win more seats than the three or so they would get under a Senate style system.

    As for the Coalition, there are two different contexts of “advantage” here and the fact is that GVTs cost them seats at this election. In terms of them facing a future government with a Greens BOP, even that would be better (if it happened at all) than a possible future government with weak seat share and a crossbench where they always needed support from both left and right micros. The AJP for instance are a lot more radical than the Greens are! Coalition and Greens can work together, and when they don’t then the Coalition gets to pull the old John Howard trick of blaming the upper house for not being able to fully pursue their agenda.

  23. Daniel
    Yes people in their 60’s are still interested in politics and I hope to still be active in 30 yrs time. I was DLP candidate in Moreton 1972 if you doubt my credentials, DLP candidate Yeronga 1974 DLP candidate Qld Senate 1975 and DLP Candidate Longman 2010. Most of DLP candidates in 1970’s had stood at every election from 1955/ 57 till 1970’s. Most of them knew they had not the slightest chance of winning but knew that their candidacy was a matter of right or wrong.
    If I made the same comment about 20 Yrs old candidates , homosexuals or women I would be labelled ageist or sexist. You do not get rid of old Groupers till they kick the bucket and even then we will have our influence.
    Our motivation is ideological and you can not wipe that out by failure to be elected. Today the only party representing these values is Katter’s Australian Party.
    Andrew Jackson
    apjackson2@bigpond.com

  24. At 66 I am more interested in politics than when I was in the Army (1972-1995), except when supply may have been withheld by the Commonwealth Parliament in 1975 until the so called “dismissal” by the then Governor General Sir John Kerr. A few weeks later the Liberals swept to power so I assume Kerr got it correct and we in the ADF got paid before Xmas leave.

    Kerr’s predecessor had been idle in not signing ADF officers commissioning certificate but Kerr and new Defence Minister Jim Killen cleared the back log. I was commissioned in June 1973 but the back log went back earlier than that. The Army Minister (each service has a minister back then) was named Katter and he was a relation of the current Bob Katter who is in parliament

  25. It’s a ridiculous system open to manipulation, Victoria is a small state so why not vote for state MLC’s on a proportional basis at-large or on a regional and Melbourne electorate. If any party earns more that 10% of the vote they should be expected to win a similar proportion of seats.

  26. Voters should be the only ones in control of their preferences – parties should have no say in where preferences go. The current system allows for indirect party control of preferences.

  27. Andrew Jackson, Did you believe the Labor party was turning Communist since you stood for the DLP? (At least Today the real Communist’s are the Greens), And im surprised you didn’t win the election because you have a Famous name. (US President) Who did your preferences go too back in the day?

  28. Kevin by all means argue the point about electoral fairness but dont complain that GVTs are unfair when all parties can either benefit from them or suffer equally. Just because some parties are better negotiators doesnt make the system unfair for any party.

    And the simple reality if people dont like GVT then it is up to the Greens or whoever to encourage and get people to vote below the line and order their own preferences. The last time I looked voting above the line wasnt mandatory.

    Just because it might be convenient to number 1 box rather than a few doesnt make GVT undemocratic. For those that dont like GVT, campaign then to have people vote below the line. Pretty simple really!!

  29. In answer to Graham’s question as to why the minors might support voting reform (this is also a rebuttal to Jody’s point about the better negotiators):

    The current system disadvantages those who are likely to get a significant vote but less than a quota. If any of the minor party candidates build a profile, i.e. are good at their job then they will have less ability to negotiate favourable preferences next time (with the possible exception of the DHJP candidates since Druery works for the DHJP).

    If you are a party likely to win 1% of the vote you need the preferences of people who are going to get less votes than you in order to avoid elimination. Then you need to keep getting the preferences of those with the next smaller vote share to continue to avoid elimination. You will therefore swap preferences with the people likely to receive fewest votes first.

    If you’re an incumbent you’re likely to get more of the vote because you have a higher profile which reduces your negotiating power. That’s why incumbents might vote to get rid of GVTs.

    This is why the Greens and the Shooters did worse than their vote share. The other parties (correctly) perceived their likely vote share to be fairly high, which reduced their negotiating power. Note that the region where the Shooters did actually win is the one in which their vote share was smallest, which serves to make the point.

    It should go without saying that a system that disadvantages people who consistently win more votes is undemocratic.

  30. Jody, that is complete nonsense.

    As long as one method is more convenient than the other, the majority of voters will choose the more convenient option (and fair enough). That option is grossly undemocratic because it allows votes to flow in directions that the voters would not direct them. We now know that definitively.

    GVTs are a bad system, which is why they are being gradually eradicated.

  31. “Kevin by all means argue the point about electoral fairness but dont complain that GVTs are unfair when all parties can either benefit from them or suffer equally. ”

    Well we may as well just replace our whole election system with one where we count the votes then flip a coin to decide who wins. After all any party could either benefit or suffer from that equally, so by that kind of argument it couldn’t be unfair.

    GVTs are little better than that. Even if the benefiting or suffering was distributed equally by party you would still have parties winning seats they did not deserve to win and losing seats they did not deserve to lose. The losers over and over again are the voters, who do not get represented by parties that significant numbers of them voted for, but instead get represented by parties nobody much voted for, nobody much preferenced, and who are accountable for their political future to nobody except Glenn Druery and other preference-dealing backroom individuals.

    Also it is simply not true that the benefits and risks are equally distributed by party. I have already mentioned in detail why parties with higher votes but short of quota are disadvantaged. Parties with less money to pay consultants to work preference deals are also disadvantaged. Anyone Glenn Druery doesn’t like (either politically or personally) could be disadvantaged.

    “And the simple reality if people dont like GVT then it is up to the Greens or whoever to encourage and get people to vote below the line and order their own preferences.”

    No, I have dealt with this in my article too. The system creates a structural issue in which a majority comprised of Labor voters and micro-party voters could continue using GVTs to deny the Greens proportional representation in what is supposed to be a proportional system. That issue would exist and the system would be wrong even if every voter was fully informed about what GVTs do and if Labor and micro-party voters knowingly chose to keep using them. The situation is similar to the gerrymanders that exist in the USA. One could say that if voters don’t like gerrymanders they can just vote for candidates who don’t support them. But if those who are favoured by the gerrymanders keep voting for candidates who will keep them, the problem never goes away.

  32. Wait… Where is One nation? Did they not stand? Kinda surprised, And what about Bernadi’s party? Or am i just not reading properly?

  33. I have to say Kevin, I will just agree to disagree. There is nothing to stop people voting below the line as they see fit rather than voting above the line.
    Making an assumption that they cant make up their own minds as some have whether to vote above the line or below the line is to also assume that they are too stupid to do so which I certainly wouldnt do.
    Just because the Greens or another party may poll higher than a micro party that does elected when they dont, is entirely the function of a preferential system of voting. Because the Greens may get 0.8 of a quota and dont get elected when a party of 0.1 of quota does get elected, well so what!! The Greens didnt get a quota and the minor party on 0.1 of a quota was able to get elected through preferences from a preferential system!! Well thats whats its designed to do.
    This isnt first past the post after all!!

  34. Jody, what a preference system is designed to do is return a candidate with broad support from the voters. Specifically it’s supposed to work by grouping votes for like-minded candidates together where they don’t each have the numbers to get elected outright. The aim is to avoid ‘vote-splitting’ that occurs when more candidates represent one political position than another.

    If the parties preferenced in order of political ideology then you could argue GVTs do this, but the parties are not doing that. Therefore GVTs are not doing what a preference system is designed to do. In their current incarnation you could even argue that a FPTP system would better represent the will of the voters.

  35. Kerry Nettle won a NSW Senate seat in 2001 after passing One Nation on tiny party preferences, and then receiving One Nation preferences to pass the Democrats and win the seat. It is a funny story that was all due to manners.

    The Australian Democrats, Labor, the Coalition and several other parties put One Nation last on their GVTs. So did the Greens, but the Greens were the only party to contact One Nation and tell them of the decision. So for that bit of politeness, One Nation put the Greens ahead of all the other parties that put One Nation last, and on that decision Kerry Nettle was elected.

  36. There was a funny “manners” case with the Greens getting One Nation preferences in the Tasmanian Senate race – I think it was 1998. The Greens scored One Nation preferences for nothing, with no negotiation and without any knowledge that they were coming, because the Greens operative was the only one who would let the One Nation operative even talk to him at the ballot draw. Or something along those lines.

  37. “I have to say Kevin, I will just agree to disagree. ”

    It seems you will just disagree with or without my agreement (which is hardly necessary for you to do so anyway). “Agree to disagree” is a silly expression. I accept that people should have the legal right to make incorrect arguments in favour of a perversely broken electoral system, but I don’t condone the practice in any other way at all.

    “Making an assumption that they cant make up their own minds as some have whether to vote above the line or below the line is to also assume that they are too stupid to do so which I certainly wouldnt do.”

    Not necessarily. Instead of being too stupid they could be too apathetic, too misinformed, too lazy, too loyal, too short of time … there is a long list. In my experience even highly intelligent and politically informed voters often do not understand the finer points of voting systems and do not realise what their vote does. But even if we assume none of these things and assume they actually all know exactly what their vote does and how it flows then this system is still wrong for the reasons stated.

    “Just because the Greens or another party may poll higher than a micro party that does elected when they dont, is entirely the function of a preferential system of voting. ”

    No, it is not. Group Ticket voting is an aberration. You do not see parties snowballing on preferences to beat parties with 10-15 times their primary vote in any preferential system on earth except the few relics that are still using Group Ticket Voting. Look at the Senate election, the ACT elections, the Tasmanian elections back to 1909, the Reps elections back to 1919, Ireland, Malta, Senate results pre-1984 and so on – it doesn’t happen. It could happen by voter choice in those systems if voters wanted it to, but they don’t.

    “This isnt first past the post after all!!”

    It’s more like some-random-position-that-isn’t-first-past-the-post. After the throwing of surpluses the largest remainder with less than 98% of quota lost in six of the eight regions. The highest-scoring minor or micro party was jumped in every region unless they got quota, even if their lead was massive. The Liberal Democrats won in their worst region. There is no need to even talk about FPTP-style alternatives since the Senate election showed that when preferences between parties flow solely by voter choice, parties can and do overtake others to win on preferences if the voters want that to occur. Even in the NSW system, which doesn’t do enough to encourage voters to give preferences, it still happens.

  38. A fairly long comment I’ve submitted a couple of times in reply to Jody has twice appeared and disappeared, not sure why. Probably people would be clear enough by now on why I disagree with all that for the most part but I will add that I am not assuming voters are “too stupid” to vote differently. They may instead be too apathetic, too misinformed, too lazy, too loyal, too short of time or too scared that their vote might be informal.

  39. Just having to comment on Graham claiming: “The Greens first mainland Senator, Kerry Nettle in 2001, who starting with 4.1% overtook the Democrats Vicky Bourne on 6.2% because of more astute preference dealing. Before that in 1999 the NSW State Greens doubled their representation the Council by using GVT’s to build a starting primary of 2.9% to two quotas (9%). Neither would have happened without GVT’s.
    I’m happy to put money on against Lambie’s resurrection.”
    Is WA somehow not on the mainland? The Greens had senators from WA throughout the 1990s.

  40. Jo Valentine was originally elected for the Nuclear Disarmament Party in 1987 and subsequently joined the WA Greens. Dee Margets was elected for the WA Greens in 1993 but the WA Greens did not merge with Bob Brown’s Australian Greens until 2003. So Nettle was the Australian Greens first Senator.

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