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.


  1. That is a pretty reasonable analysis Glen. I think the LNP vote is a little low, but it is plausible and I have got similar results often. Try shifting one percent off each of the ALP, Greens and Katter and giving 1% to PUP and 2% to the LNP to see how that alters the vote (if at all). I think the Greens won’t be up at 11% – probably 9% or 10% at most.

    Katter – anywhere between 6-8% is my guess.

  2. I can’t recall exactly what I allocated each party (it was a couple of days ago), but I think I had the LNP, ALP and Greens all down on 2010 (1-5%), so the LNP got 2 and ALP got 1 off primaries.

    I think I have overstated support on the minor right (I don’t think FF will realistically gain a seat), but I don’t think the left/right split is too far off the mark (considering KAP takes more votes from Labor than then LNP).

  3. QO – I tried as you said, and it’s a similar result, with the primary difference actually being that the Greens get their seat before ALP gets its second seat, rather than being last to get their seat.

  4. Good, that is similar to what I had, but the lower the Greens vote the more likely something strange happens (Family First and Fishing and Lifestyle). I think that is where we are getting our differences in results.

    As previously said after two Labor and two LNP I get combinations of LNP, Katter, Greens, Family First, Aus Independence and yes on rare occasions Fishing and Lifestyle for the last two seats.

    If the LNP takes three seats it is a completely different ball game with Family First and Katter fighting for a seat.


  5. I don’t think there is any question that the LNP will get 3. If they got 3 in 2007, they will get 3 here.

    I also have no doubt that the Coalition will win seats of Labor in the HoR in QLD. Rudd can’t run around QLD fast enough at the moment. He knows he is in trouble. He has just about given up hope in NSW (hence discussion on Naval base redeploy to QLD), so QLD is the desperate ploy to retain some sort of base.

  6. DB – I think it’s very silly to assert that, for no particular reason, the LNP will get three seats now just because they did in 2007. In 2007, the only real substantive competition for the LNP in the senate came from Labor and the Greens (and the Greens only had 7% support). In 2013, there’s the KAP, and the PUP, which are likely to capture a significant amount of support. And when you consider that, in 2010, LNP support only increased by about 1% (despite Labor losing 10% of the vote), I see it as likely that LNP support in the senate will drop as a result of a swing towards the ALP, more dissatisfaction with the major parties in general, and two new significant minor parties on the right that are likely to capture extra vote, particularly in Queensland.

    It might play out differently in the house, but in the Senate, people want a variety of players – not just Labor, Coalition, and Greens. More and more, people are voting for minor parties in the senate.

  7. DB, I haven’t been following all these threads, but do you mean you expect a NET gain of seats in Queensland for the LNP? Or they will win some but lose others?

    I’ve seen your comments at Mumble where you predict high 80s or low 90s seats. Do you stand by that?

  8. Mark – I’d say a net of zero, but it wouldn’t at all surprise me if the Newspoll in last Saturday’s paper of 60/40 to the Coalition in their 9 most marginal QLD seats is in fact right (despite other polls showing about a 2% swing to the ALP in QLD from the last election). I know the Coalition are strong chances in at least 3 ALP QLD seats.

  9. If both the 60/40 to the Coalition in those 9 seats and the 2% statewide swing to the ALP have some truth to them, then there’s going to be some Coalition seats on bigger margins that surprise with a large swing away from the incumbent. There could be some interesting results in QLD come election night.

  10. I said: Labor will get 1 in the Senate and 1 in the Lower House. They will be lucky to poll 18% in the Senate. The Libs will get 3, Labor 1, Greens 1 and someone else the 6th in the Senate. The Greens will get elected on Labor preferences.
    I now say: Labor will get 1 Senate seat. Libs will get 2. Katter, Australian Independents, Greens Fishing and Lifestyle and Family First will pick up last three seats.
    Have a look at Antony Greens Senate calculator.
    The Greens probably won’t pick up a seat in QLD.

  11. Katter and Australian Independents are very likely to pick up seats in QLD according to my calculations. If it ends up being 2 Labor, 2 Libs, then the other two seats will fall to Katter and Australian Independents.

  12. If recent polls are anywhere near accurate, then either the Greens or Palmer’s candidate will be elected on the preferences of each other.

    It is still possible that Katter’s mob or another micro could pick up a spot at the expense of the 3rd Liberal. The drop in Katter’s vote will give hope to the micros… though they may not have enough of a primary vote given the rise of Palmer’s protest vote.

  13. I just re-ran my Qld Senate calculator numbers (roughly) mentioned above, except with 4% of the vote I gave to KAP shifted over to PUP (so 4% KAP, 7% PUP).

    I was surprised. The result was actually that the Fishing and Lifestyle Party got up, and did so before the Greens. So in this case, it goes LP, ALP, LP, ALP, F&L, Greens.

    If PUP manages to get another 2% at the expense of the Greens (in terms of numbers, not necessarily literal shifting of votes), then PUP and F&L get up. Note that F&L get there from just 1.5% of the vote.

    So from what I can see, F&L are the beneficiaries if KAP doesn’t get enough votes. If I move a bit from each of F&L, S&F, ON, and AF, to bump KAP up 1% to 5%, then PUP and KAP each get one seat.

    It looks like Greens need to get about 11% to get a seat; if they do, the Fishing & Lifestyle get the extra seat if PUP do better than KAP.

  14. Have just punched in the figures from the AEC.
    Results: 2 Liberal. 2 Labor. 1 Australian Independents. 1 Palmer’s United Party.

  15. I suspect that, despite being an ex-footballer, Lazarus is probably smarter than people give him credit for. Mind you, if he gets in, he’ll probably be smarter than his “boss”.
    Still, I can’t believe the extent to which Katter’s mob would seem to have crashed and burned.

  16. Hmmm…Glenn Druery didn’t stick to a preference arrangement with Australian Independents which has cost Petersen (Australian Independents) a Senate seat in Queensland. So, it’s 2 ALP, 3 LNP and one PUP. It should have been 2 ALP, 2 LNP, 1 PUP and 1 AIN

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