Candidate numbers Archive

5

Major parties go to QLD election missing candidates

I have been compiling a list of candidates for the Queensland election as I always do, regularly updating the lists on each seat guide.

I ran an update last night, after the Premier’s election announcement, and was surprised at the number of vacant spots on the major party candidate lists, with Labor in particular still lacking candidates in a large number of seats. It is possible I am missing some candidates, but I searched for each seat lacking a major party candidate and only found a handful of extra candidates.

According to my current list (which you can view here), the numbers for each party are:

  • Greens – 87
  • Liberal National Party – 84
  • Labor – 78
  • One Nation – 55
  • Katter’s Australian Party – 6
  • Independents – 6

I should note that where they have not otherwise announced their retirement, I have counted all sitting MPs as running. It’s not entirely clear if Billy Gordon (for example) is planning to run as an independent in Cook.

It is quite shocking that the Labor Party, despite having the choice of election timing and deciding to go early, is still lacking candidates in 15 seats. It is true that most of these seats are in areas the party has no chance of winning, but they have no candidate in Hinchinbrook (3.4% margin) or in Burnett, Ninderry, Gympie and Southport, all of which have margins between 6.6% and 7.8%. Not likely Labor wins, but not complete write-offs either.

The LNP is doing better, but still have nine seats without candidates. Maryborough (margin 1.1%) is a particular surprise.

It’s not shocking that One Nation has only nominated 55 candidates. For a party that has only emerged as a major force in the last eighteen months, it’s impressive to manage candidates in almost two thirds of the state. There are a handful of seats (for example the seats held by KAP) where the party has deliberately chosen not to run, and the party has also had issues with candidates being disendorsed. But I think we need to assume that One Nation will not close to running a team in every seat, and thus we’d expect a lower total statewide vote than the polls suggest (but if the party has good coverage in its best seats, that may not matter).

When I rank seats according to the One Nation vote in Alex Jago’s analysis of the 2016 Senate result, most of the missing candidates make sense. One Nation are only running candidates in six of the 25 seats with the lowest Senate vote, which explains half of the missing candidates. They are running in most seats with a stronger One Nation vote, but with some glaring exceptions.

The party is deliberately not running against KAP incumbents in Traeger and Hill, but they are also missing candidates in Warrego, Condamine, Gladstone and Thuringowa – all in the top twenty One Nation seats in 2016.

Finally, let’s take a look at the gender breakdown for each of these parties.

Party Women Men Women %
Greens 39 48 44.8%
Liberal National Party 21 63 25.0%
Labor 30 48 38.5%
One Nation 10 45 18.2%
Katter’s Australian Party 1 5 16.7%
Independents 1 5 16.7%

The pattern is consistent with other recent elections. Overall a majority of candidates for all parties are men, with the Greens closest to parity, with Labor not far behind. The LNP and One Nation have much lower proportions of women amongst their candidate lists.

Please feel free to download and use the spreadsheet listed above. If you are aware of any candidates I’ve missed, or if there are any errors in the data, please post them as comments under the relevant seat guide, and I will make an update later this week. Nominations close next week, and after that I will make one last update.

1

Nominations close for WA state election

Nominations closed yesterday for the Western Australian state election, to be held four weeks from today.

415 candidates have nominated for the lower house. Labor, Liberal and the Greens have each nominated a full team of 59 candidates. The Micro Business Party (no I hadn’t heard of them either) have nominated candidates in 46 seats, with the Australian Christians running in 45. One Nation have 35 candidates nominated.

There are 31 independents, and Julie Matheson’s party is running twenty candidates.

Interestingly the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers are running nineteen candidates. The Shooters have traditionally been an upper house-only party, although they broke that trend when they ran in (and won) the Orange state by-election in New South Wales last year.

There are on average seven candidates per seat. Only four candidates are running in the seat of Vasse, while ten candidates are running in Darling Range.

A record number of candidates are running in both houses, as documented by Antony Green. Antony’s data shows that the number of lower house candidates peaked at 375 candidates in 2005 (an average of 6.6 per seat).

The number of candidates in the upper house has also increased substantially, with twice as many groups as in 2013. This was partly caused by an increase in minor parties running full tickets across all six regions, including the Australian Christians, Daylight Saving Party, Family First, Fluoride Free Western Australia, Flux, Julie Matheson, the Liberal Democrats, the Micro Business Party and One Nation. It’s worth noting that Western Australia’s upper house still uses the group voting ticket system that was abolished last year for Senate elections, allowing for the type of preference harvesting once so critical to the Senate. Each group’s voting tickets will be published on Monday afternoon.

Candidate lists have been updated on all 59 lower house profiles and all six upper house regional profiles.

3

Nominations announced – final update

Nominations were declared at midday yesterday, and I’ve just finished updating the candidate lists for each seat and the eight Senate races.

I wrote speculatively about the number of candidate nominations on Thursday in the Guardian. At the time of writing, 772 House of Representatives candidates had been identified, and I suggested that the final number would likely be one of the smallest in recent years.

The number jumped to 994, but this is still relatively low. Over 1000 candidates nominated for the lower house in 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2007, before dropping to under 900 in 2010 before a record number of candidates nominated in 2013.

The median number of candidates per seat dropped from eight to six, with twelve seats having three or four candidates on the ballot.

In the Senate, most states will have slightly smaller ballot papers than in 2013. Ballots in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the territories have each shrunk slightly, while they have grown slightly in Western Australia and Queensland.

The size of the ballot paper has some relationship to the population of the state, with bigger states having more parties running. South Australia was an outlier in 2013, and we’ve seen a drop in groups running in South Australia.

Despite the steady number of groups running, a record 631 candidates are running, thanks to parties running more candidates for the double dissolution.

While some may argue that the large ballot papers indicates that Senate voting reform failed to limit the increase in ballot sizes, I would argue that Senate ballots would have likely grown even further in 2016 without the reforms, and we should see smaller ballots at the first half-Senate election in 2019.

One interesting element in the Senate nominations was the large number of ungrouped candidates.

Ungrouped candidates have been largely a relic of an earlier era – candidates relegated to the end of the ballot paper, and not able to receive above-the-line votes. Generally ungrouped candidates have received extremely small votes, and are largely irrelevant to the contest.

While most commentary on the recent Senate reforms focused on changes to above-the-line voting, the laws also made it significantly easier to vote below the line. It was previously necessary to number at least 90% of boxes. Any below-the-line vote numbered 1-6 will now be formal (although voters will be instructed to number twelve boxes).

Now that below-the-line voting has become significantly easier, we’ve seen a response as a large number of candidates have nominated as sole ungrouped candidates. Before this year, the record for the most ungrouped candidates was 37 in 1990, and this number declined until only eleven nominated in 2013. This year that number is 79 – more than twice the previous record, and seven times the 2013 figure.

Of course, all serious parties are running in groups, and will benefit from above the line voting. It’s still substantially easier to make sure your preference count by numbering boxes above the line, and I expect these ungrouped candidates will still poll poorly, but it’s an interesting trend.

3

Candidate numbers update

I’ve written a piece for the Guardian going through the numbers of candidates running at this point.

Since I wrote that piece yesterday afternoon, I’ve identified nineteen more candidates:

  • The Nationals candidate for Hunter
  • The Labor candidate for Moore
  • And seventeen (!) Liberal Democrats lower house candidates.

The candidate list is now up on the Guardian website, and will be updated when the final list is released tomorrow.

I’m not making any more updates to candidate lists until nominations are declared – I’ve already found another 66 lower house candidates since my last round of updates.

I wanted to refer to one statistic which didn’t fit into the Guardian piece.

While nominations are down, there has been no decline in the number of registered parties.

In 2013, I blogged repeatedly about how the number of registered parties shot up to 54, up from 25 in 2010, and easily breaking the record of 40 parties in 1998. (Here, here and here).

This year it’s 57 parties, breaking the high number from 2013.