Senate – Queensland – Australia 2013

Incumbent Senators

Term expires 2014 Term expires 2017
Ron Boswell (LNP)George Brandis (LNP)
Sue Boyce (LNP)Barnaby Joyce (LNP)
Mark Furner (ALP)Joe Ludwig (ALP)
John Hogg (ALP)Jan McLucas (ALP)
Ian Macdonald (LNP)Brett Mason (LNP)
Claire Moore (ALP) Larissa Waters (GRN)

For the vast majority of the time since proportional representation was introduced, Queensland has had a majority of Senators from right-wing parties such as the Liberals, Nationals, DLP and One Nation. Indeed, the ALP maintained a consistent number of senators for most of this period, holding four Queensland senators continuously from 1951 to 1984. They held a fifth seat from the 1984 election until 1990, when they fell back to four seats. They gained a fifth again in 2007.

From 1951 until the 1964 election, Queensland had four ALP senators, four Liberal senators and two Country Party senators. The 1964 election saw the Liberals lose a seat to the Democratic Labor Party candidate (and ex-Premier) Vince Gair. They won a second seat in 1967, which resulted in the Liberals, Country Party and DLP each holding two senate seats in Queensland, alongside four ALP senators. The 1970 election maintained the status quo.

The 1974 double dissolution saw the DLP lose both their seats, with the Liberal and Country parties each winning a third seat. The Queensland delegation remained steady at four ALP and three for each of the coalition parties until 1980, when the National Country Party lost one of their three seats to the Democrats. The 1980 election was the first time that the Coalition parties ran separate Senate tickets in Queensland, after running jointly for the previous thirty years. The 1983 double dissolution saw the Nationals win back a third seat at the expense of the Liberals, who by this point in time had begun to run on separate tickets. Throughout the 1980s the Nationals held more Senate seats in Queensland than the Liberals.

The 1984 election saw an enlargement in the Senate, with the ALP winning a fifth Senate seat for the first time and the Nationals electing a fourth senator. This balance of five ALP, four Nationals, two Liberals and a Democrat was maintained at the 1987 double dissolution election.

The 1990 election saw the Liberals overtake the Nationals. After the 1987 double dissolution the Senate had decided that two ALP, two Liberal and two National senators would have six-year terms, despite the fact that the Liberals had won half the number of seats of either other party. This gave them a boost in 1990, as they won two seats to the Nationals one, while not having any incumbents up for election. In practice this meant that the Liberals won two seats, one off the ALP and the other off the Nationals. The ALP was reduced back to four seats, and the Coalition again gained a majority of Queensland senate seats.

The 1993 election saw the Democrats win a second Queensland seat, at the expense of the Nationals. This produced a result of four each for the ALP and Liberal Party and two each for the Nationals and Democrats.

The 1993 election result was maintained in 1996, but in 1998 the Nationals lost one of their two seats to One Nation. In 2001 there were again no changes, and in 2004 the Nationals and Liberals each gained a seat, with One Nation losing their seat and one of the two Democrats being defeated. The 2007 election saw the defeat of the last remaining Democrat, producing an overall result of five senators each for the Labor and Liberal parties and two Nationals senators.

In 2010, the LNP went in to the election with four incumbent senators, and retained three of those seats. Labor maintained their two seats, and the Greens’ Larissa Waters won the first ever Greens Senate seat in Queensland.

Number of Queensland Senators from each party after each Senate election, 1951-2010. Click to view interactive chart.

Number of Queensland Senators from each party after each Senate election, 1951-2010. Click to view interactive chart.

2010 result

Liberal National Party1,015,06241.42+1.022.8996
The Greens312,80412.76+5.440.8935
Family First83,7863.42+1.220.2393
Australian Sex Party63,5862.59+2.590.1816
Liberal Democrats55,2222.25+2.090.1577
Fishing and Lifestyle48,5471.98+1.190.1387
Shooters and Fishers42,6691.74+1.210.1219
One Nation22,3530.91+0.740.0639
Australian Democrats19,0190.78-1.100.0543

The ALP and the Liberal National Party each won two seats on primary votes.

We enter the race when there are nine candidates left:

  • Larissa Waters (GRN) – 0.9624 quotas
  • Brett Mason (LNP) – 0.9077
  • Wendy Francis (FF) – 0.2839
  • Desiree Gibson (SXP) – 0.1848
  • Jim Fryar (LDP) – 0.1595
  • Keith Douglas (AFLP) – 0.1489
  • Andrew Peter (SHO) – 0.1237
  • Rod Evans (ON) – 0.1235
  • Paul Stevenson (DEM) – 0.1046

The exclusion of the Democrat pushed Waters just over the line, and elected the first Green to the Senate from Queensland. The other benificiaries were the LNP and the Liberal Democrats. Waters had a .0186 surplus over the quota, and after the distribution of this small surplus the race stood as follows:

  • Mason (LNP) – 0.9262
  • Francis (FF) – 0.2844
  • Gibson (SXP) – 0.1958
  • Fryar (LDP) – 0.1825
  • Douglas (AFLP) – 0.1619
  • Evans (ON) – 0.1242
  • Peter (SHO) 0.1240

At this point, the LNP is far out in front, but without any favourable preferences was vulnerable to one out of the bunch of small right-wing parties pushing into the lead. The elimination of the Shooters candidate pushed the Fishing and Lifestyle candidate from fifth to third place.

  • Mason (LNP) – 0.9273
  • Francis (FF) – 0.2858
  • Douglas (AFLP) – 0.2795
  • Gibson (SXP) – 0.1970
  • Fryar (LDP) – 0.1827
  • Evans (ON) 0.1265

The elimination of the One Nation candidate pushed the Fishing and Lifestyle candidate out ahead of the other minor parties. Three quarters of One Nation’s preferences went to the AFLP, with most of the remainder going to Family First.

  • Mason (LNP) – 0.9287
  • Douglas (AFLP) – 0.3692
  • Francis (FF) – 0.3194
  • Gibson (SXP) – 0.1982
  • Fryar (LDP) – 0.1833

Almost all of Fryar’s preferences flowed to the Sex Party, pushing them ahead.

  • Mason (LNP) – 0.9304
  • Gibson (SXP) – 0.3774
  • Douglas (AFLP) – 0.3702
  • Francis (FF) – 0.3203

The elimination of Wendy Francis pushed Douglas out to almost two-thirds of a quota.

  • Mason (LNP) – 0.9750
  • Douglas (AFLP) – 0.6426
  • Gibson (SXP) – 0.3801

At this point Mason was very close to a quota at this point, and only a very strong preference flow from the Sex Party would have elected the Fishing and Lifestyle candidate. While most of the preferences that the Sex Party had built up through the count flowed to Douglas, the Sex Party’s primary votes flowed to the LNP, and elected Mason.

  • Mason (LNP) – 1.1573
  • Douglas (AFLP) – 0.8335
Final rounds of Queensland Senate preference distribution. Click to view interactive chart.

Final rounds of Queensland Senate preference distribution. Click to view interactive chart.

The Liberal National Party is running:

  1. Ian Macdonald, sitting Senator
  2. James McGrath
  3. Matthew Canavan
  4. David Goodwin
  5. Theresa Craig
  6. Amanda Stoker

The Labor Party is running:

  1. Chris Ketter
  2. Claire Moore, sitting Senator
  3. Mark Furner, sitting Senator

The Greens are standing Adam Stone. The Pirate Party are running Melanie Thomas. Katter’s Australian Party is running James Blundell. The Palmer United Party is running Glenn Lazarus. Greg Rudd, brother of the former Prime Minister, is running as an independent. Patricia Petersen is running for her Australian Independents party. Family First are running Sally Vincent. The Stable Population Party is running Jane O’Sullivan. The 21st Century Australia Party is running Grace Cobb. The Secular Party are running Hilton Travis. The Socialist Equality Party are running Mike Head.

A swing of less than 2.3% from the LNP to the minor right-wing parties would see a minor right-wing candidate defeating the third LNP candidate. However in current circumstances it seems that the LNP is set to increase their seat and lock in their third seat.

In 2010, the combined vote for the Greens and Labor after preferences reached 3.02 quotas. The Sex Party’s preferences would have favoured the Greens and Labor, and their preferences increase this figure to 3.2 quotas.

If there is a significant swing to the LNP away from Labor (as seems likely), the ALP and Greens will fall short of winning a third seat.

In current circumstances, Katter’s Australian Party will be a serious contender to win a seat off the ALP.

If you fit the results of the 2012 state election onto Senate quotas, the LNP wins three seats with half a quota of surplus, the ALP falls just short of a second quota. The Greens would win barely half a quota, while the KAP would be well on their way to winning a seat.

It seems most likely that the final seat will be a race between Katter’s party and the Greens, with an outside possibility that the Greens and KAP could both win a seat, with Labor reduced to a single seat.

About the Author

Ben Raue is the founder and author of the Tally Room.If you like this post, please consider donating to support the Tally Room.