Senate – Victoria – Australia 2013

Incumbent Senators

Term expires 2014 Term expires 2017
Jacinta Collins (ALP) Kim Carr (ALP)
David Feeney (ALP)Stephen Conroy (ALP)
Mitch Fifield (LIB) Richard Di Natale (GRN)
Helen Kroger (LIB)Bridget McKenzie(NAT)
Gavin Marshall (ALP)John Madigan (DLP)
Scott Ryan (LIB)Michael Ronaldson (LIB)

The 1951 election, which was the first to result in a Senate entirely elected by proportional representation, gave an overall result of 5 ALP senators, 4 Liberal senators and one Country Party senator. The 1953 election saw the ALP gain a seat off the Liberals, giving them a 6-4 majority. This was the only time the ALP, or any party, won a majority of Victoria’s Senate delegation under PR.

The 1955 election saw the party that became the Democratic Labor Party win a seat off the ALP. At the 1961 election, both the DLP and the ALP lost a Senate seat, with the Liberals winning two, giving them five seats, with three ALP and one each for the DLP and Country Party. In 1964, the DLP regained their single Senate seat from the Liberal Party. In 1967, the DLP gained a second seat off the Country Party, who were left with no Victorian senators.

The 1970 election saw the Country Party regain their seat, off the ALP. The ALP was reduced to three seats, with four Liberals and two DLP senators. The 1974 double dissolution saw the ALP regain ground, with both DLP senators being defeated, and the ALP gaining two seats, bringing their contingent to five out of ten senators.

The 1975 double dissolution reduced the ALP to four seats, with the National Country Party gaining a second seat. The 1977 election saw former Liberal minister Don Chipp elected to the Senate for the newly-formed Australian Democrats. The National Country Party lost one of its senators to the Democrats. The 1980 election saw the NCP lose its other seat to the Democrats.

In the 1983 double dissolution, the ALP gained a fifth seat at the expense of the second Democrats senator. At the 1984 election, an increase in Senators saw the Liberals and Democrats each gain an extra seat. The Democrats again lost their second Victorian senator at the 1987 double dissolution to Nationals candidate Julian McGauran.

The 1990 election saw McGauran defeated, and the Democrats again regain their second seat. The 1993 election saw the Democrats lose a seat yet again to the Nationals. This produced a result of five each for the ALP and Liberals, and one each for the Nationals and Democrats. This status quo was maintained until the 2004 election, when the ALP lost one of its five senate seats to Family First’s Steven Fielding.

The 2007 election saw the ALP regain a fifth seat at the expense of the Democrats, who lost their last Victorian senator. In 2010, the Coalition lost one of their three seats, and Family First’s Steve Fielding also lost his seat. These two seats went to the Greens’ Richard Di Natale and the Democratic Labor Party’s John Madigan, shifting the split from 4-2 to the right to 3-3.

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

2010 result

The Greens471,31714.64+4.561.0250
Family First85,0582.64+0.120.1850
Democratic Labor Party75,1452.33+1.300.1634
Australian Sex Party72,8992.26+2.260.1585
Liberal Democrats59,1161.84+1.740.1286
Shooters and Fishers44,6391.39+0.720.0971

The ALP and the Liberal Party each won two seats on primary votes, and the Greens won one seat. The final seat was decided by preferences.

After most candidates were eliminated, the final seat was a race between the third Labor candidate, the third Coalition candidate, along with candidates from the Sex Party, the Democratic Labor Party, Family First and the Liberal Democrats:

  • Antony Thow (ALP) – 0.6658 quotas
  • Julian McGauran (LIB) – 0.5171
  • John Madigan (DLP) – 0.2330
  • Fiona Patten (SXP) – 0.2328
  • Steve Fielding (FF) – 0.2141
  • Ross Currie (LDP) – 0.1361

The LDP’s preferences flowed overwhelmingly to the Sex Party’s Fiona Patten.

  • Thow (ALP) – 0.6667
  • McGauran (LIB) – 0.5188
  • Patten (SXP) – 0.3606
  • Madigan (DLP) – 0.2336
  • Fielding (FF) – 0.2192

Senator Steve Fielding was knocked out, and most of his vote flowed to the DLP’s Madigan.

  • Thow (ALP) – 0.6688
  • McGauran (LIB) – 0.5267
  • Madigan (DLP) – 0.4313
  • Patten (SXP) – 0.3716

The majority of Patten’s preferences flowed to the ALP, but enough flowed to Madigan to push him ahead of McGauran.

  • Thow (ALP) – 0.8905
  • Madigan (DLP) – 0.5694
  • McGauran (LIB) – 0.5379

McGauran’s preferences flowed overwhelmingly to the DLP, and Madigan defeated Labor by a margin of .08 of a quota.

  • Madigan (DLP) – 1.0815
  • Thow (ALP) – 0.9150
Final rounds of Victorian Senate preference distribution. Click to view interactive chart.
Final rounds of Victorian Senate preference distribution. Click to view interactive chart.


The Coalition are running:

  1. Mitch Fifield (LIB)
  2. Scott Ryan (LIB)
  3. Helen Kroger (LIB)
  4. Martin Corboy (NAT)

The ALP are running:

  1. Gavin Marshall
  2. Jacinta Collins

The Greens are running former Mayor of Maribyrnong Janet Rice. The Wikileaks Party is running its leader Julian Assange. The Pirate Party are running Joe Miles. Katter’s Australian Party is running Robert Danieli. Family First are running Ashley Fenn. The Country Alliance is running Andrew Jones. The Stable Population Party is running Clifford Hayes. The Australian Christians are running Vickie Janson. The Palmer United Party are running Barry Michael. The Democratic Labor Party is running Mark Farrell. The 21st Century Australia Party is running Jonathan Horne. The Animal Justice Party is running Bruce Poon. The Socialist Equality Party is running Patrick O’Connor. The Secular Party is running John Perkins.

In 2010, the left block ended up after preferences with 3.91 quotas, including the Greens, Labor and parties that preferenced them.

It is likely that there will be enough of a swing to the Liberal/National coalition to elect a third Coalition senator.

Labor should comfortably win two seats, but in the current environment are unlikely to gain ground sufficient to win a third seat.

The final seat is likely to go to the Greens, but will be challenged by the Sex Party and Julian Assange. Labor’s preferences will be important, as they will likely have a sizeable surplus.

If the Greens’ vote is close to its size in 2010, and manage to gain Labor preferences, they should win. However it is not inconceivable that the Greens will lose ground to smaller progressive parties and could be overtaken by minor parties.


  1. Seems like your earlier ‘Dorothy Dixer’ Paul was just an excuse to spruik the Dems? I personally knew two Dem Senators from Vic, they were great people who did great work but the party has had its day after slowly imploding once they did too many deals with Howard. I doubt that many voters would see it as the same party?

    “The realistic chance of electing a Democrats Senator” Err, realistic chance??? You can live in hope I guess…..

  2. Yes right, İ am trying to spruik the Democrats as Australian politics (and İ think the quality of Australian life more generally) has deteriorated without them – and because the Democrats have their best chance for a long time to be voted back.

  3. I agree and disagree with both of you. 🙂

    Glen — I agree that 4% is a tough ask. But it’s very unlikely that the Dems could be knocked out early. There are seven micro-parties that will likely get less than 0.3% of the vote, so the Democrats only need 0.4% (or less) to start harvesting those preferences one at a time. If the Dems get 0.5% and the seven micros get just under 0.2% each, then they will get up to 1.5%. They will then need HEMP, drugs and pirate to get about 0.8% each. That’s a tough ask, but not impossible.

    One benefit they have is that the Liberal Democrats (1.8% last time) aren’t running above the line this time. Not only will that increase the Democrat vote, but it might also increase the HEMP and drugs and pirate vote (the Liberal Democrats support drug legalisation and oppose censorship). Though I imagine a chunk will also go to Sex & Liberals.

    Another possibility is that Sex/Wiki might only get 3.5% of the vote, so the Democrats would only need 3.6% to pick up those votes.

    I suspect that the Dems will fall behind Sex/Wiki and drop out. And if they do pick up Sex/Wiki then there’s also a chance they will fall behind the micro-right (FF or DLP) and be eliminated before they can get those preferences. I don’t think they’ll make it… but there is enough chance to keep Democrat fans interested.

    I don’t think that ALP/Green will get to three quotas on their own. Assuming the left gets less than 50% in total and the micro-left gets around 7%, then the Greens will be left short of a quota in the early rounds. I suspect the Greens won’t get elected until the micro-left drops out.


    Paul — I agree that a full ticket of five candidates might catch some attention, and I could believe that the Democrat vote might increase marginally.

    But I don’t think it’s true that the Lib Dems steal much of the Democrat vote. In Tasmania 2010 the LDP didn’t run and the Dems still only got 0.5% of the vote. I think they are pulling in a slightly different group. Though it might mean an extra 0.3% which could make a big difference in the preference race.

    Also, the Lib-Dem vote of 1.8% wasn’t “extraordinary”. The party regularly gets over 1% in ACT elections, which isn’t exactly a hot-bed of libertarianism. And they got well over 2% in both NSW and QLD senate race in 2010. It is almost bizarre how much commentators ignore them given their vote is regularly higher than FF, Sex, DLP, Shooters, CDP, ON, etc. The low vote in 2007 was caused by having only the acronym on the ballot paper… another unfortunate mistake.

    Also, I doubt you’ll get media coverage based on the chance of success. The LDP have had (and do have) a better chance in other states, but the media don’t care until/unless it actually happens.

  4. I used to vote democrats in the senate. I agreed with meg lees on the gst. They were an economic dry and socially liberal party. Both within reason aka with pragmatism and wiggle room. But they became the greens without the lunatic fringe. If they make a comeback i hope it is the former, not just the moderate wing of the greens

  5. It is true that the Democrats have a very good preference flow.

    I was doing some modelling last night, very rough based on Poll Bludger’s estimates of pref flows. I gave the Democrats only 0.2%, and as long as they stayed ahead of those parties that I gave even less they quickly gain votes. They ended up just getting ahead of Labor and then Labor preferences electing the Green.

    Having said that, they would need the right exclusions to be in with a chance.

  6. Ben… of course if you give ALP/Greens more than 43% of the vote then they will win those two spots. That’s possible. But it makes the maths quite boring.

    If ALP/Green get less than 43% of the vote, then the door is open.

  7. All is now well in Wikileaks. There are still 6 candidates in the states the party is standing candidates (2 each in VIC, NSW and WA) and the campaign continues. News items in yesterdays papers about Wikileaks minor personal differences will be the fish & chip wrapping papers used tomorrow.

  8. Of course, John, but in the scenario I looked at, the Democrats falling just behind Labor could have seen Labor defeat the Greens on preferences – which certainly isn’t considered likely as part of the conventional wisdom.

  9. Family First have a wonderful preference flow this election here.

    They could take the 3rd seat on the Right.

    This could be a 2, 2, 1, 1 scenario.

  10. That would require the Liberal vote to be under 36%… which I think is unlikely. The more interesting upset would have been if Sex/Wiki could get in front of the Greens… but that has been hurt because a number of smaller parties didn’t get their preferences in on time. 🙁

  11. Tony aka Patrica and Adrian,
    I’ve been at many of Glen Druery’s Minor Party Alliance meetings and to suggest this form of negotiating – educating and Glen will have a limited life is to laugh at history.
    Glen has elected more minor party candidates in the last 20 years than I can remember.
    The parties that will struggle in the future will be; the Drug Law Reform Party for not honoring deals, Australian Independents for not honoring deals – especially with the Greens, One Nation for not honoring deals and then going to the Greens in QLD. The following groups were not in the MPA but will be remembered: Katter for not honoring deals and going to the ALP, Palmer for going to the Greens, and the notorious LDP with it’s 3 front parties (Stop the Greens, Republican Party and Smokers Rights) for what it did to the Sex Party in Vic when it failed to submit ‘4’ GVT, and with its preexisting bad reputation I’d say the LDP has a serious problem.

  12. The LDP only has a bad reputation because Glenn Druery has a strong dislike for David (their Treasurer) and has said repeatedly that he is going to say/do whatever he must to try and destroy them. Unless they remove David.

    I’m not sure how many minor parties are gullible enough to believe him. Some obviously have, but I suspect that he will struggle to keep up his personal vendetta indefinitely.

  13. Should Family First’s preferences be counted, they’ll go to the Democrats ahead of almost everyone else; not only The Greens and Labor, but also ahead of the DLP, Country Alliance, Coalition, etc.

    This leakage from the right to the cenre-left may be significant because, combined with the failure of One Nation, Liberal Democrats and other right-wing parties to register HTVs, the Democrats may still be in the count at that stage. İt has extrarordinary preferences from left and centre groups. Am İ wrong ?

  14. Received email from Bank Reform Party: ‘A vote of 0.35% will put Maria in the Senate
    on preferences – that’s just 11,705 votes!’. I think this is another project of Vern Hughes once a Communist who left with the Socialist Forum group in the 80s & has since migrated to right, tried to take over DLP and has run various other fronts?

  15. I good article in the Sunday Age (01 Sep 13) on the front about how so called micro parties my take Senate seat from the major parties. Wikileaks is one of the likely contender for a Senate seat or seats.

  16. @Geoff – Vern is running on the Australian Voice ticket in this campaign – so not sure of the connection to Bank Reform Party. I remember him being in People Power in 2006 before he shifted to the DLP (immediately after the DLP won the seat in Western Victoria thanks in part to People Power preferences).

  17. At a meet the Senate candidates forum tonight (02 Sep 13) in St Kilda Town Hall the question of preference got an airing as is the case in the media ad nauseum. Fiona Patton (Sex Party) pointed out to one questioner that while the Greens had requested Sex Party preference in the other states they were not requested by the Greens HQ deal maker in Victoria.

  18. John Humphreys, The LDP has much bigger problems with its reputation now after its dishonesty and treachery in Victoria.
    The calculated move on the part of the LDP its 3 front parties – The Smokers Right, Stop the Greens and the Australian Republicans to intentionally not lodge a group voting ticket will have the desired impact – Because of what you’ve done, the Sex Party and Wiki have almost no chance of being elected. John, you and your mates have successfully blocked other Libertarian parties from winning a senate seat; you sure know how to eliminate your competition. Nice ‘Machiavelli work’ LDP, your ruthless plan worked!
    But that’s not all! The LDP has most of the minor parties as enemies now and it will be interesting to see how this dishonorable and manipulative party operates at future elections.

    Consequences. Consequences. Consequences!


  19. The only state where I tip the Greens to gain a Senate seat – their vote is up here since Rudd’s PNG solution on boat people was announced. They’ll lose Senate seats elsewhere.

  20. Yes Yappo a bit of diversity will be good for the Senate.

    As I am only 300 m from the F1-GP track in Albert Park Reserve I look forward to Muirs support for the new race contract starting in 2015. Despite what the chattering classes in the media say most people in the Port Phillip Council area like the GP and RAAF airshow fun in March every year

  21. ABC TV News tonight said that the Victorian Division of the AMEP had “disowner” Muir but that sounds like an ABC beat up. As I understand it the AMEP federal executive in Qld sacked the executive of the Victorian Division of the AMEP but Muir is the AMEP Senator elect for Victoria and who will represent my state for the next 8 years starting on 01 Jul 14.

    As for the coalition with PUP this is for a voting block and to help with administation when legislation has to be considered before a decision on it is made according to Palmers interview on ABC TV last night.

    Coalitions are not unusual as the Liberal and Nation parties have been doing it for decades and in the last ALP government they had a loose coalition with the Greens on some issues popular with the Greens.

    Things all Senators (major, minor, micro and independent) must do are represent the views of voters who voted for them, act as a house of review of legislation from the House of Reps and most importantly prompt the interests of their respective states.

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