Senate – New South Wales – Australia 2019

Incumbent Senators

Term due to expire 2019 Term due to expire 2022
Brian Burston (United Australia)4 Concetta Fierravanti-Wells (Liberal)
Doug Cameron (Labor) Kristina Keneally (Labor)2
Mehreen Faruqi (Greens) 3 Jenny McAllister (Labor)
Jim Molan (Liberal)1 Deborah O’Neill (Labor)
Duncan Spender (Liberal Democrats)5 Marise Payne (Liberal)
John Williams (Nationals) Arthur Sinodinos (Liberal)

1Jim Molan replaced Fiona Nash on 22 December 2017 following the High Court ruling that Fiona Nash was ineligible to sit.
2Kristina Keneally replaced Sam Dastyari on 14 February 2018 following Sam Dastyari’s resignation.
3Mehreen Faruqi replaced Lee Rhiannon on 15 August 2018 following Lee Rhiannon’s resignation.
4Brian Burston resigned from One Nation in May 2018, and then joined Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party on 18 June 2018.
5Duncan Spender replaced David Leyonhjelm on 20 March 2019 following David Leyonhjelm’s resignation to run for the NSW Legislative Council.

History
Dating back to 1951, when the Senate for the first time was entirely made up of Senators elected by proportional representation, Senate representation from New South Wales has been relatively stable. Up until 1958 the numbers remained steady with 5 ALP senators, 4 Liberal senators and 1 Country Party senator. 1958 saw the Country Party win a seat off the ALP, giving the Coalition a 6-4 majority amongst NSW senators. The ALP gained two seats in 1961, giving them a 6-4 majority. The Country Party recovered a second seat in 1964, restoring an even balance of ALP and Coalition senators. In 1970, the sitting Country Party senator was defeated, as was the Country Party senator who had filled a casual vacancy, meaning that the party lost both its seats, while the Democratic Labor Party won a NSW senate seat for the only time. The result produced a 6-4 majority for the ALP over the right-wing parties.

The 1974 double dissolution restored the 5-4-1 balance between the Labor, Liberal and Country Party, which was maintained in 1975. 1977 saw the ALP lose one of its five senate seats to the Australian Democrats. This 4-4-1-1 balance was maintained in 1980. The 1983 double dissolution saw the Liberal Party lose a seat to the ALP, seeing five ALP senators, three Liberals, and one senator each for the Democrats and National Country Party. This result produced a 6-4 majority for parties of the left for the first time 1970. The ALP and Democrats collectively maintained a majority in the NSW senate delegation for the entirety of the Labor government.

The 1984 election saw the Senate’s size increased, with New South Wales gaining an eleventh and twelfth senator. The Democrats and the National Country Party each maintained a single senator whilst the ALP gained a sixth and the Liberals a fourth. The 1987 double dissolution saw the ALP lose its sixth senator to the Nuclear Disarmament Party. The 1990 election saw the ALP and Democrats each gain a senator, at the expense of the Liberals and NDP, producing a result of 6 ALP, 3 Liberals, 2 Democrats, 1 National. This gave the ALP and Democrats an 8-4 majority. In 1993 the Democrats lost a seat, with the Nationals gaining a second senator in NSW for the first time since 1970.

In 1996, the ALP lost a senate seat to the Liberals, producing an even split between the ALP and Democrats and the Coalition. The left gained a majority again, however, in 1998, when the Nationals lost a senator to the Democrats. In 2001, Democrat Vickie Bourne was defeated by Greens candidate Kerry Nettle, maintaining a 7-5 left-right split.

The last Democrat, Aden Ridgeway, was defeated in 2004, replaced by Nationals candidate Fiona Nash, restoring a 6-6 split between the ALP and Greens and the Coalition. The 2007 election saw the ALP win a sixth senate seat at the expense of the Greens. This was the first election since 1975 to result with NSW having no minor party senators, with a 6-6 split between the ALP and the Coalition.

In 2010, the Greens won back a single Greens seat, with former state MP Lee Rhiannon moving to the Senate. The ALP lost one of their three seats to the Greens, while the Liberal Party maintained their three seats.

In 2013, the Coalition maintained their three seats, while Labor lost their third seat to the Liberal Democrats’ David Leyonhjelm. The LDP benefited from a massive donkey vote thanks to a good ballot position on an extremely large ballot, polling 9.5%. Labor was reduced to four NSW senators for the first time since the Senate was expanded.

The 2016 double dissolution only produced one change in the party balance. Labor maintained four seats, while the Greens and the Liberal Democrats held on to their single seats. The Coalition lost one of their six seats, which went to One Nation.

2016 result

Group Votes % Swing Quota
Liberal/Nationals 1,610,626 35.9 +1.7 4.6610
Labor 1,405,088 31.3 -0.3 4.0662
Greens 332,860 7.4 -0.4 0.9633
One Nation 184,012 4.1 +2.9 0.5325
Liberal Democrats 139,007 3.1 -6.4 0.4023
Christian Democratic Party 121,379 2.7 +1.0 0.3513
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers 88,837 2.0 +0.7 0.2571
Nick Xenophon Team 80,111 1.8 +1.8 0.2318
Health Australia Party 53,154 1.2 +1.2 0.1538
Family First 53,027 1.2 +0.8 0.1535
Democratic Labour Party 51,510 1.1 -0.4 0.1491
Animal Justice 37,991 0.8 +0.4 0.1099
Sex Party 30,038 0.7 -0.4 0.0869
Liberty Alliance 29,795 0.7 +0.7 0.0862
Marijuana (HEMP) 29,510 0.7 0.0 0.0854
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party 26,720 0.6 +0.6 0.0773
Others 218,532 4.9

Preference flows
Eight seats were won on primary votes – Labor and Coalition each won four seats.

The Greens’ Lee Rhiannon came very close to a quota, and passed a quota when lead Arts Party candidate Barry Kerdoulis was excluded, with twenty-two candidates still in the count.

The count was very long, but we can fast forward to the final ten candidates in the count for the last three seats:

  • John Williams (NAT) – 0.7399 quotas
  • Brian Burston (ON) – 0.7078
  • David Leyonhjelm (LDP) – 0.4543
  • Nella Hall (CDP) – 0.4015
  • Karl Houseman (SFF) – 0.3421
  • Aidan Dalgliesh (NXT) – 0.3106
  • Phil Jobe (FF) – 0.2263
  • Lynda Stoner (AJP) – 0.2159
  • Ross Fitzgerald (SXP) – 0.2132
  • Andrew Patterson (HAP) – 0.2112

Patterson had the donkey vote, and half of his preferences flowed to Family First, who were quite close on the ballot. Following the exclusion of Patterson and Fitzgerald, this is where they stood:

  • Williams (NAT) – 0.7724
  • Burston (ON) – 0.7368
  • Leyonhjelm (LDP) – 0.4747
  • Hall (CDP) – 0.4076
  • Houseman (SFF) – 0.3777
  • Dalgliesh (NXT) – 0.3332
  • Jobe (FF) – 0.3257
  • Stoner (AJP) – 0.2835

Stoner’s preferences scattered, with One Nation doing the best:

  • Williams (NAT) – 0.7958
  • Burston (ON) – 0.7651
  • Leyonhjelm (LDP) – 0.4858
  • Hall (CDP) – 0.4162
  • Houseman (SFF) – 0.3963
  • Dalgliesh (NXT) – 0.3533
  • Jobe (FF) – 0.3524

Family First preferences scattered amongst a range of conservative candidates, with Leyonhjelm doing best:

  • Williams (NAT) – 0.8446
  • Burston (ON) – 0.7996
  • Leyonhjelm (LDP) – 0.5468
  • Hall (CDP) – 0.4447
  • Houseman (SFF) – 0.4389
  • Dalgliesh (NXT) – 0.3587

Xenophon Team preferences favoured the Nationals:

        • A – Maree Nichols (Rise Up Australia)
        • B – Andrew Katelaris (Help End Marijuana Prohibition)
        • C – Molly Knight (Health Australia Party)
        • D – Liberal/Nationals
          • Hollie Hughes
          • Andrew Bragg
          • Perin Davey
          • Jim Molan
      • E – John August (Pirate)
      • F – Andrew Potts (Affordable Housing)
      • G – Mehreen Faruqi (Greens)
      • H – Brett Cooke (Shooters Fishers & Farmers)
      • I – Steven Georgantis (People’s Party)
      • J – Labor
        • Tony Sheldon
        • Tim Ayres
        • Jason Yat-Sen Li
      • K – Susan Price (Socialist Alliance)
      • L – Mark Swivel (Together Party)
      • M – Sophie York (Conservatives)
      • N – Matthew Hopkins (Great Australian)
      • O – Carolyn Thomson (Conservative National)
      • P – Silvana Nile (Christian Democrats)
      • Q – Rod Bower (Independents for Climate Action Now)
      • R – Duncan Spender (Liberal Democrats)
      • S – Kate McCulloch (One Nation)
      • T – Divvi De Vendre (Women’s Party)
      • U – Paul Gerantonis (Seniors United Party)
      • V – Richard Phillips (Socialist Equality)
      • W – Mark Ptolemy (Australian Workers Party)
      • X – Jewell Drury (Better Families)
      • Y – Michael O’Neill (Involuntary Medication Objectors)
      • Z – Brian Burston (United Australia)
      • AA – Daniel John Hanna (Democratic Labour)
      • AB – Nick Debenham (Climate Action)
      • AC – Angela Pollard (Animal Justice)
      • AD – Ben Rushton (Flux)
      • AE – Andrea Leong (Science)
      • AF – Ann Lawler (Citizens Electoral Council)
      • AG – William Bourke (Sustainable Australia)
      • AH – Pete Mailler (Democrats)
      • AI – Angela Vithoulkas (Small Business Party)
      • Ungrouped
        • John William Carmichael (Independent)
        • Chifley Haddad (Independent)
        • Phil Baker (Independent)
        • Graeme Barry Doyle (Independent)
        • John John Romanous (Independent)
        • Hussein Faraj (Independent)
        • Russell Barber (Love Australia or Leave)
        • Sandra Lazarus (Independent)
        • Glenn Wagner (Independent)
        • David J O’Brien (Independent)
        • Wayne Lyndsay Bell (Independent)
        • Michael Kirkwood (Independent)
        • Pamela Johnstone (Independent)
        • Carolyn J Crossman (Independent)

Assessment
Most major party senators elected in New South Wales in 2016 are not up for election until 2022. The remaining senators include the incumbents from One Nation, the LDP and the Greens, along with only one Labor senator and two Coalition senators.

You would expect that Labor would regain a second seat, possibly at the expense of the Greens, but more likely at the expense of a conservative candidate.

The Greens failed to win a seat in 2013 and would have been very close to losing in 2016 if there were only six seats up for election. They still have a decent chance at winning a seat. If they don’t, it’s conceivable Labor could win three (an increase of two). The Greens have replaced their incumbent senator Lee Rhiannon with state MP Mehreen Faruqi, who could inject a different dynamic into the Greens campaign.

You would expect Burston, One Nation and the Coalition to be competing for the third right-wing seat.
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66 COMMENTS

  1. Molan has a real chance in senate from number four position as they are promoting him on sky tv and 2GB to vote below line and put one next to his name

    I have never voted liberal in my life but will give him one and will ignore other libs and Nats since Wacka Williams is retiring

    There is a push this time to vote below the line usually only 4 percent do this but people are now being encouraged to actively participate in democracy by choosing there own preference in senate and not leaving it up to party if the push is successful the results are much harder to predict and anyone could gain the final couple of seats

    I will take my time and do my homework on deciding my vote in senate individually marking every candidate below the line in order of preference rather then allow some party hack deciding on how to distribute my vote preferences

    I think Pauline will miss out on a NSW senate spot even though she got two in state upper house in favour of Clive Yes people have short memories don’t they Greens to lose a spot too

    Lib dems and outside chance of getting last seat

  2. “rather then allow some party hack deciding on how to distribute my vote preferences”

    Astounding how many people out there still don’t realise that Group Ticket Voting has been abolished.

  3. I remain fairly sceptical.

    The Liberals should get something close to three quotas.

    The first two spots are elected leaving number 3 with depending how Jim Molan goes something between 0 and 0.8 of a quota.

    I can see both benefiting a bit from preference flows, but Im inclined to imagine the number 3 receiving these a little better.

  4. I don’t get it

    Even if every single one of the 60,000 people that watch sky after dark switch their vote from ONP/LDP/LIB over to a BTL for Jim Molan, that still doesn’t get him anywhere unless he gets to … 300k votes (maybe)?

    He isn’t winning any votes outside of the right-wing cesspool, and he isnt winning enough of those votes to make a difference and he isn’t really that popular even amongst most libs… so I don’t get it.

    Seems like a lot of ego, even for a politician.

  5. Molan has no chance of getting elected below the line in a half Senate election in one of the big states. I’ve seen that the Nats are apparently furious about the whole ordeal in that it may cost them the third seat, especially if a lot of people do just vote 1 for Molan like some of his posters have been saying and there’s a whole bunch of liberal votes for Molan that exhaust or whose preferences fly off everywhere.

  6. The only incumbent likely to be reelected is Mehreen Faruqi and it’s pretty clear why if you think through the numbers.

    ALP and L/NP tickets will each get two quotas and a bit over, leaving two seats to be decided on preferences (or, less likely, a fifth entire quota on first preferences): one on the left and one on the right. The Greens will probably get 7-9% which will give them half a quota and will probably keep ahead of the Labor surplus which will be enough to win the third left-wing seat. If the Greens vote is much lower, and/or the Labor surplus is much higher, Greens preferences will instead elect Jason Li as the third Labor Senator. I don’t think there’s anyone else in a serious position to win this seat, although I’m still uncertain as to how much support Rod Bower is likely to get so I could be surprised there.

    On the right, the L/NP surplus will likely be high enough that Molan, Burston, and Spender will all face uphill battles to get over it and each other, to say nothing of new challengers like One Nation. By far the favourite for this seat is Perin Davey but in the event that the L/NP surplus is weaker than expected then it will be Brian Burston, not Jim Molan, who is most likely to benefit. Molan would have to hope to draw enough Coalition votes such that not only does the ATL primary fall behind his personal vote, but that it also falls behind the Palmer/Burston vote, *and* is sufficient to win the seat in combination with Molan’s vote. That’s a balancing act I don’t think is possible no matter how many Sky News endorsements he has.

    Anyone who imagines it is possible for Molan to win and also for a right-wing minor to win a seat should run the numbers again, and explain how you did it. I can’t see any way there’s enough space for that to happen.

  7. Absolutely right about Molan. If he somehow got in (very unlikely) then its at the expense of Hanson/Palmer/LDP.

    I can see outside, very outside, chance of three Coalition, 2 Labor 1 Palmer/Hanson, but that means the Nat gets up. Molan is out in that scenario.

    Still I really think it splits 3 right 3 left.

  8. Any scenario in which a right-wing minor wins a seat at the expense of the Greens would require such an implausibly large polling error at this point that we may as well imagine Molan winning a seat legitimately off L/NP preferences.

  9. Dryhad
    Molan is part of L/NP team therefore the only preferences he can get from L/NP are below the line votes. It is only a matter of semantics but above the line voters vote “preferences” are in fact transfer votes. If people understood this we would not have had the screaming about a candidate winning with only 17 votes.

  10. Think there’s more than enough support for the Greens in Inner City Sydney and up around the seat of Richmond for the Greens to get a seat, it’ll more than likely be 2 for the majors, 1 GRN and probably the last seat going to the 3rd LNP candidate or possibly another RW minor.

  11. Boatswain
    Inner Metropolitan seats make up 29% of NSW voters. Therefore to get a quota out of 29% of area a party would need in excess of 48% of votes. in Inner Metropolitan seats to get 1 quota. I am not saying Greens will not get a quota but inner metropolitan is a minority and Greens are a minority even in these inner circles. AEC seats defined as inner metropolitan are about 900 square kilometres in area. Therefore areas 17 km from CBD are classified as inner metro. Has suburbia started 17 km from Sydney CBD. If Yes if Greens vote will decline.
    Once someone settles down and starts a family they are more likely to revert to ALP or Lib voting than remain loyal to an extremist party of eco-fascists. Cost of living issues push them towards ALP and taxation towards Liberals
    A quota is 14%of statewide vote.

    It is delusional to think that a Senator can be elected with sub-statewide support. Therefore the Greens are probably on on their way out.

  12. Andrew
    I understand that, the suggestion I was trying to make was that we could imagine a scenario in which the L/NP polls more than three quotas (including both above and below the line, but at the point it won’t make a difference) at which point Molan will receive preferences/transfers from above the line L/NP votes. Obviously that won’t happen but neither will the scenario in which One Nation outpolls the combination of Greens+Labor surplus.

    You’re obviously taking some exception to the phrasing I used, and I admit “legitimate” probably wasn’t the best word to use (although I think you’re being a little pedantic in suggesting that “preferences” is an inappropriate term in this context) but whatever you’re reading into what I wrote, I assure you I do understand how the Senate vote is counted, at the very least better than anyone who thinks Molan has a real chance of winning.

  13. Andrew:
    I wouldn’t so so sure about your generalisation. It’s true I found having a family did reset my values a little – but now with less selfishness, a stronger emphasis on fairness and the environment (and the planet our children inherit).

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