Senate – Western Australia – Australia 2016

Incumbent Senators

Term due to expire 2017Term due to expire 2020
Chris Back (LIB) Michaelia Cash (LIB)
Mathias Cormann (LIB)Pat Dodson (ALP)2
Sue Lines (ALP)1David Johnston (LIB)
Rachel Siewert (GRN) Scott Ludlam (GRN)
Dean Smith (LIB)Linda Reynolds (LIB)
Glenn Sterle (ALP)Zhenya Wang (PUP)

1Sue Lines replaced Chris Evans on 15 May 2013 after Chris Evans’ resignation.
2Pat Dodson replaced Joe Bullock on 28 April 2016 after Joe Bullock’s resignation.

Western Australian Senate races were dominated by the Coalition from 1951 until the beginning of the 1980s. The 1951 election produced a result of four ALP senators, four Liberal senators and two Country Party senators.  The 1953 election saw the ALP win a seat off the Country Party, but the previous result was restored in 1955. The 4-4-2 result was maintained at every election throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The 1970 Senate election saw the Liberal Party lose one of its four seats to independent Syd Negus, who was elected on a platform of abolishing death duties.

The 1974 double dissolution saw Negus defeated and the Country Party lose one of its two seats. The result saw five Labor senators alongside four Liberals and one Country senator. The 1975 double dissolution saw the Coalition regain its majority in Western Australia, with the ALP losing its fifth senate seat to the Liberals. The 1977 election saw the National Country Party lose its senate seat to the Liberals, producing a result of six Liberals and four Labor senators.

The 1983 double dissolution saw the Liberals lose their majority, with five Liberals, four Labor and one Democrat elected. The 1984 election saw Labor gain both new Senate seats while the Democrats lost their seat. In addition to 6 ALP and 5 Liberal, the Nuclear Disarmament Party’s Jo Vallentine was elected. At the 1987 double dissolution, Vallentine was re-elected as an independent along with a Democrat and five each for the two major parties.

The 1990 election saw the Liberals win six seats, along with five Labor and the re-elected Vallentine, who was re-elected as a Green. The Liberals have maintained six WA seats ever since. The 1993 election saw the Greens win a second seat off the ALP. From 1993 until today, WA has been represented by six Liberals, four Labor senators and two minor party Senators from the Greens or Democrats.

In 1996, the Greens lost one of their seats to the Democrats, losing their other seat in 1998. The Democrats held onto their seat in 2001 before losing one of their seats in 2004. The last Democrat was defeated by the Greens candidate in 2007.

The 2010 election was a status quo result. It was the third election in a row which saw three Liberals, two Labor and one Green elected.

The 2013 election produced a bizarre result, where a tiny vote margin between two nonviable candidates decided whether two seats would go to the Palmer United Party and Labor, or the Greens and the Australian Sports Party. A recount reversed the result, but also saw a large batch of ballot papers go missing, forcing a re-election.

At the 2014 re-election, large swings to the Greens and the Palmer United Party saw both parties win one seat each, with the Liberal Party retaining their three seats and Labor limping in with only one seat.

2013 result

Liberal 513,63939.2-3.82.7440
Labor 348,40126.6-3.11.8613
Greens 124,3549.5-4.50.6643
Nationals 66,4215.1+1.60.3549
Palmer United Party65,5955.0+5.00.3507
Liberal Democrats44,9023.4+3.10.2401
Australian Christians21,4991.6-0.20.1148
Sex Party19,5191.5+0.30.1043
Help End Marijuana Prohibition13,9731.1+1.10.0749
Shooters and Fishers13,6221.0-0.10.0728
Wikileaks Party9,7670.8+0.80.0525
Animal Justice Party9,7200.7+0.70.0518
Smokers Rights8,7190.7+0.70.0469
Family First8,7830.7-1.60.0469
Motoring Enthusiast7,7480.6+0.60.0413

2014 re-election result

Liberal 435,22034.1-5.12.3842
Labor 275,09421.5-5.11.5071
Greens 199,35815.6+6.11.0920
Palmer United Party157,74012.3+7.30.8638
Liberal Democrats23,2511.8-1.60.1274
Australian Christians19,6491.5-0.10.1078
Help End Marijuana Prohibition13,5791.10.00.0742
Shooters and Fishers13,1621.00.00.0721
Sex Party12,1091.0-0.50.0665
Family First9,4710.7+0.10.0518
Voluntary Euthanasia Party8,5980.7+0.70.0469
Animal Justice Party8,2880.7-0.10.0455
Wikileaks Party8,0620.6-0.10.0441
Motoring Enthusiast6,9950.60.00.0385

On primary votes, the Liberal Party won two seats, and Labor and Greens each won one, leaving two seats to be decided.

Let’s fast-forward until there were ten candidates left:

  • Zhenya Wang (PUP) – 0.9177 quotas
  • Louise Pratt (ALP) – 0.6070
  • Linda Reynolds (LIB) – 0.3883
  • Shane van Styn (NAT) – 0.2181
  • Jim Fryar (LDP) – 0.1720
  • James Moylan (HEMP) – 0.1583
  • Christine Cunningham (GRN) – 0.1425
  • Murray Bow (SFP) – 0.1412
  • Ray Moran (AUC) – 0.1361
  • Peter Strachan (SPP) – 0.1170

Preferences from the Sustainable Population Party pushed up HEMP and the Shooters and Fishers:

  • Wang (PUP) – 0.9187
  • Pratt (ALP) – 0.6079
  • Reynolds (LIB) – 0.3891
  • Moylan (HEMP) – 0.2319
  • van Styn (NAT) – 0.2189
  • Fryar (LDP) – 0.1765
  • Bow (SFP) – 0.1743
  • Cunningham (GRN) – 0.1442
  • Moran (AUC) – 0.1365

Most preferences from the Australian Christians flowed to the Liberal Party:

  • Wang (PUP) – 0.9202
  • Pratt (ALP) – 0.6091
  • Reynolds (LIB) – 0.5036
  • Moylan (HEMP) – 0.2323
  • van Styn (NAT) – 0.2211
  • Fryar (LDP) – 0.1913
  • Bow (SFP) – 0.1751
  • Cunningham (GRN) – 0.1451

Most Greens preferences favoured Labor’s Louise Pratt:

  • Wang (PUP) – 0.9221
  • Pratt (ALP) – 0.7029
  • Reynolds (LIB) – 0.5051
  • Moylan (HEMP) – 0.2402
  • Fryar (LDP) – 0.2279
  • van Styn (NAT) – 0.2235
  • Bow (SFP) – 0.1758

Shooters and Fishers preferences tended to scatter, but favoured HEMP:

  • Wang (PUP) – 0.9662
  • Pratt (ALP) – 0.7038
  • Reynolds (LIB) – 0.5313
  • Moylan (HEMP) – 0.3207
  • Fryar (LDP) – 0.2501
  • van Styn (NAT) – 0.2251

Nationals preferences mostly favoured the Liberal Party’s Linda Reynolds:

  • Wang (PUP) – 0.9697
  • Reynolds (LIB) – 0.7427
  • Pratt (ALP) – 0.7090
  • Moylan (HEMP) – 0.3218
  • Fryar (LDP) – 0.2536

LDP preferences mostly flowed to HEMP, but enough flowed to Palmer United to bring Wang close to election:

  • Wang (PUP) – 0.9936
  • Reynolds (LIB) – 0.7600
  • Pratt (ALP) – 0.7112
  • Moylan (HEMP) – 0.5318

Preferences locked up with HEMP split reasonably evenly between Liberal and Labor, with enough going to PUP to elect Wang:

  • Wang (PUP) – 1.1057
  • Pratt (ALP) – 0.9590
  • Reynolds (LIB) – 0.9308

And Wang’s surplus elected Reynolds:

  • Reynolds (LIB) – 1.0308
  • Pratt (ALP) – 0.9644


  • A – Mark Imisides (Christian Democratic Party)
  • B – Andrew Skerritt (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers)
  • C – Luke Bolton (Nick Xenophon Team)
  • D – Labor
  • E – Jean Robinson (Citizens Electoral Council)
  • F – Kado Muir (Nationals)
  • G – Kamala Emanuel (Socialist Alliance)
  • H – Nicki Hide (Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party)
  • I – Zhenya Dio Wang (Palmer United Party)
  • J – Greens
  • K – Katrina Love (Animal Justice)
  • L – Stuart Donald (Mature Australia)
  • M – Robert Buratti (The Arts Party)
  • N – Peter Mah (Cyclists Party)
  • O – Pedro Schwindt (Renewable Energy Party)
  • P – Debbie Robinson (Liberty Alliance)
  • Q – Anthony Hardwick (Rise Up Australia)
  • R – Rod Culleton (One Nation)
  • S – Michael Balderstone (HEMP/Sex Party)
  • T – Fernando Bove (Democratic Labour)
  • U – Samantha Tilbury (Health Australia Party)
  • V – Stuey Paull (Unaffiliated)
  • W – Lindsay Cameron (Australian Christians)
  • X – Liberal
  • Y – Lyn Vickery (Australia First)
  • Z – Graeme Klass (Liberal Democrats)
  • AA – Richard Thomas (VOTEFLUX)
  • AB – Linda Rose (Family First)
  • Ungrouped
    • Kai Jones
    • Tammara Moody (Antipaedophile)
    • Julie Matheson
    • Peter Castieau
    • Susan Hoddinott (Katter’s Australian Party)
    • Norm Ramsay

Recent polling suggests there has been a large surge in support for Labor in Western Australia since the last election, which should help bring the state back to parity between left and right in the Senate.

Labor and Liberal should both win at least four seats each, and the Greens win one. It seems likely that the Liberal Party and the Greens will each win an additional seat, with the last seat being a contest between Labor and a minor party candidate, possibly Zhenya Wang of the Palmer United Party or the Nationals.


  1. The Nats are a fair chance for a seat here. Interestingly they had a 2% swing against them at the by-election, I dare say that may have been due to PUP’s higher support, especially around GST and Mining.

    My guess would be 5 Lib, 4 Labor, 1 Green. The 11th seat should go to the Greens on Labor preferences, although that could be close, and the last seat i’d expect the Nats to win on Lib preferences.

    Interesting to note that the Nats candidate has been a Greens candidate in the past. The Greens may leach a few votes in better areas around Pilbara and Kimberly, but not enough to hurt their chances.

  2. I argue that the presence of Scott Ludlam will guarantee the Greens getting two quotas in their own rights or very close to it. Labor will probably get 5 seats, the Libs 4 (their level of support in WA has sunk significantly), with the last seat being a toss up between Labor and whichever minor parties have the most primary votes.

  3. It’s hard to see the ALP and Greens combined getting 7 seats – even with the current big swings away from the Liberals in WA they’re only just dipping under 50% on the 2PP, so a 6/6 left-right split looks most likely. I think if the Greens do get 2 it will be at the expense of the ALP.

  4. Yeah I agree with kme. WA has always been a weak state for Labor, the strong polling has put them a chance of getting a good result. But getting 5 senate seats is a stretch. On the progressive vote it will be four senate seats to Labor and two senate seats to the Greens.However for WA Labor because the bye-election senate result was such a disaster they can still count this as a good result and will likely see Louise Pratt back into the senate.

  5. This would be one of the ALA’s best chances for a win (alongside QLD and NSW). The fact that their candidate is also the party’s president (and arguably the de facto leader) would help in the allocation of resources towards the West.

    I predict she’ll battle with Wang and Reed for the last seat.

  6. The Liberal vote should be sufficient for 5 seats and the Nationals are best placed to claim the sixth “right” seat. I can’t see any of the minor right getting a look-in in WA.

  7. Tim Mackie
    You are spot on. Even if the ALP vote surges dramatically in the Hof R it is huge stretch to assume that will follow to the senate. IMV the Nats, & ALA will be the big beneficiaries.

    If i had to make a prediction
    4 ALP
    1 Green
    1 Nat
    1 ALA.

  8. I doubt that ALA could actually pick up a seat, although this would be there best chance because of the smaller amount of votes needed to make a quota compared to Qld, NSW and Vic.
    I just don’t think they have the name recognition or the political machine to have a serious impact.

  9. ALA is literally massive circlejerk, an echo chamber, and I highly that they will poll anywhere near enough to win anything. Facebook likes do not translate to real world support.

    I argue in the same vein of One Nation’s electoral chances as well.

  10. It looks likely that there will be 5 Lib, 4 Lab and 2 G’s returned, the last seat is hard to predict, but the Nats don’t seem to be running anywhere near as strong a campaign in WA as they were at the last election thought they may win the last seat on Lib preferences.

    Wang has been an invisible MP with little chance of being reelected and the ALA has virtually no profile in the wider electorate.

  11. Unless I’m reading it wrong, the last two Ipsos polls have the Greens at 20% in WA;
    June 4:
    May 21:

    That would put them at slightly over 2.5 quotas and in the running for a 3rd seat, according to AntonyGreen’s “quota ready reckoner”

    Given that Greens got 9.5% at the last election in WA (increased to 15.6% at the re-election), and that the national average is polling at ~13% (again, according to Ipsos), 20% seems improbably large! Has anyone else noticed this, is there an explanation (other than ‘ludlam factor’), and am I reading this right?

  12. Labor has been hideously unpopular for progressive voters in WA as of late. I don’t know how much of a stench for Labor still hangs in the air for parachuting Joe Bullock into the Senate ahead of Louise Pratt – I’d expect a few people would still be dismayed. Meanwhile, the stench of the WA state government is swinging people from the Coalition to Labor in large numbers. Bludgertrack is showing that the Coalition is bracing for a huge (10%+) swing against it on TPP numbers.

    Still, I expect the 20% Greens vote is way overblown, but I still expect them to poll more than enough to get 2 quotas in their own right in 2016.

  13. If WA had a homegrown Nick Xenophon equivalent, they’d probably be doing better than NXT is in SA. The level of dissatisfaction with the major parties is enormous. Labor has never really recovered from WA Inc, despite the efforts of Beazley and Gallop, and the state Liberals are suffering from the classic ‘two terms and you’re out’ syndrome. Add to this the fact that WA voters are the most inclined to loathe federal politics anyway, and you’ve got a recipe for unhappiness.

    As it is, there is no equivalent, so the Greens will get a lot of votes back from PUP, and get some more votes from elsewhere too.

  14. I think that popular Labor MP’s could have held the Greens vote back in the past. I can imagine Melisa Parke and Alannah MacTiernan were/are popular with Greens leaning voters for their advocacy on human rights and public transport respectively. Could mean a decent swing since they are retiring, though 20% does seem a bit too high.

  15. 20% for the Greens feels a little odd, maybe something in the range of 14-16%. They’ll probably gain significantly in seats like Perth and Fremantle due to progressive members leaving which would have taken some of their votes. They’ll probably gain in Curtin as well but it really wouldn’t be hard to beat Labor into second there.

  16. Good work on this. I’ve noticed that you’ve included the second candidate on the Nationals’ ticket (Nick Fardell), but not the lead candidate (Kado Muir) or the third candidate (Elizabeth Re). Might be worth updating, though I’m sure you’ll get to that tomorrow.

  17. I’m going to predict an 18% Greens vote at this election. Why? I think the polls are overestimating the result, but when polls give the same results repeatedly, you have to start thinking that it’s unlikely to be accidental.

    20% is probably a little TOO big, but at the same time, they managed 15% on the re-run, and that was with PUP also getting over 12% of the vote. I’d expect the PUP vote to redistribute around, with maybe 3% being kept by PUP, 3% flowing to Greens, 3% (net) to Labor, and 3% to other minor parties. Note that the ALP flow is factoring in that I see a flow from Lib/Nat to Labor, so anything that flows from PUP to Lib/Nat will be invisible.

    The polling seen in Ipsos suggest that Labor+Greens is on about 57% of the vote – I’ll adjust it to 55% to account for my 2% reduction in Greens numbers relative to the poll – which is enough to comfortably get 7 seats between them. So I see Greens getting 2.34 quotas in their own right, and that would mean Labor would get 4.81 quotas.

    And because Greens are likely to be preferenced above Labor by a lot of minor parties and voters, I’d call this a close race for the 7th seat, with Greens being just a little bit favoured (despite needing about 2.5 times as many preferences).

    Of the remaining seats, I’d say that Liberals are guaranteed 3, and may get 4 in their own right. The remaining seat will probably end up being a race between PUP, Nationals, and Liberals, with a small possibility of another minor party. PUP will probably get about 3% primary, so they’ll need about 0.6 more quotas – they’re the longshot, but they may gather a lot of preferences from the other minor parties. I see Liberals/Nationals getting about 35% of the vote (matches up with the Ipsos results), which is 4.55 quotas. The exact balance will decide how this plays out.

    There is also an outside chance that vote exhaustion on the right (because of right wing people unwilling to vote for Lib/Nat) will benefit the left more, and they pick up 8 seats. It’s unlikely, but it could happen with the new rules. In this situation, Greens get 3 and Labor gets 5, with Liberals getting 3 and the remaining seat being either Liberal or National.

    Because let’s be honest, it’s definitely believable that a significant contingent of those who would vote for One Nation, Christians, Hinch, Rise Up, LDP, ALA, or CEC may preference only the others of this list (except Christians, which will probably flow to FF before exhausting), or even just vote 1, resulting in many of those votes ending up exhausting before they elect anybody. I don’t see this combination as having enough to get to a full quota (I’d say about 4-6% total, they need 7.7% for a quota), and if we suppose 50% exhaustion as a result, then they only provide 2-3% contribution to the effective right wing vote. If the Coalition gets 35% of the vote between them, then they need another 3.5% to get them to 5 quotas, and the remaining PUP voters may actually direct their preferences to Labor rather than Liberal or National.

    As I said, it’s an outside chance. I wouldn’t call it likely.

  18. ALA a serious contender? They are competing for the same demographic that Hanson, Australia First and Rise Up are competing for, and it looks like none of these parties heard of the Senate voting reform otherwise they wouldn’t all be clambering to split each other’s votes. Preferences won’t accumulate, they’ll leak away to nothing. No chance.

  19. In HOR seats O’Connor and Durack (and Murray) the Labor party is preferencing the liberals over the nats. So of course it is logical that Labor would have the Nats as 6 on their HTV in the WA senate and not list the Libs at all……. And the Nats have Labor as 5 on their HTV – Libs 2.

  20. David Crowe of The Australian apparently (I’m reading this via PollBludger) claims that NXT have a good chance at a seat here (and in Victoria).

  21. “20% is probably a little TOO big”

    Yeah, just a tad – they’re under 11%! 1.4 quotas means Siewert could be in trouble. She’ll probably get there with preferences from HEMP, AJP etc, maybe short of a quota due to exhaustion. Meanwhile Labor are on 3.7, which should be good enough for 4 (their #4 is Louise Pratt, who should do OK on BTL votes after last time).

    On the right: The Libs are pretty much bang on 5 quotas, so seeya later David Johnston. One Nation (oh shit!) have almost half a quota, far ahead of the Nats, and adding Shooters, ALA, Rise Up and Australia First gets them up to about 0.9 quotas.

    So, 5 Libs, 4 ALP, 2 Grn, 1 ON. Gulp.

  22. I agree that Greens did worse than I predicted. But we do need to be a little patient on Senate numbers, before declaring numbers, especially for a state like Western Australia. If WA follows patterns I saw earlier in the QLD count, Greens will gain a little more, ONP will lose a little, due to which booths have been counted, etc.

    Let’s drop Group V as unpredictable, and same with ungrouped and VoteFlux. I’ll send CEC directly to ONP and Socialist Alliance to the Greens (by HTV). Mature Australia doesn’t have a HTV, but I’d expect their voters to split a lot, so I’m just going to treat them as exhausted. Cyclists merges into Arts (by HTV) which pushes Arts up. Australia First will probably pass through some others (like Rise Up), but for simplicity, I’ll send them straight to ONP.

    Rise Up goes to SFF (by HTV), REP goes to HEMP (by HTV), Health will be treated as exhausting due to no HTV and no obvious path, I’ll send PUP half to ONP and half to NXT as the most obvious “protest” vote flow, I’ll send Arts to AJP along with Cyclist 3rd preferences.

    FFP goes to SFF (by HTV). DLP has no HTV, and I’ll assume exhaustion again. Hinch’s ticket is open, and I’m going to send it half to Xenophon and half to AJP. LDP goes to Nationals (by HTV), CDP has no HTV but I’ll assume it flows to Christians, while ALA goes to SFF (by HTV).

    We are down to 10 parties represented: Liberal, Labor, Greens, ONP, SFF, Nationals, NXT, Christians, HEMP/Sex, and AJP. All of these have over 17,000 votes at this count point.

    For simplicity, I’ll assume AJP (lowest remaining) all goes to Greens (AJP and Cyclists have HTV favouring Greens, Hinch and Arts don’t give preferences). Next is HEMP/Sex (and REP preferences), which also flows to Greens (HTV).

    Christians are next, and their remaining HTV preference is Liberals, which pushes the Liberals over into the 5th seat (I’ll assume CDP also flows like this).

    Most of the overflow will then go to Nationals, with a small fraction exhausting.

    Xenophon is next one dropped, and this is one that is hard to predict (no HTV preferences to use). I do see them preferencing a lot of the remaining parties in various proportions. By my own instinct, I’m going to give 20% to each of the parties – the only way they significantly impact the remaining counts is if they have significantly more flowing to SFF and not ONP, or massively flow to ONP (which I doubt).

    This pushes Greens into their second quota. Greens’ meagre overflow will mostly go to Labor, with maybe 20% exhausting.

    Now, SFF and flow-on Rise Up will favour ONP, but FFP and ALA to SFF votes will exhaust.

    This actually gives Nationals and ONP the final two seats, due to exhaustion… but it assumes no leakage of votes, so Labor only got a few votes from Greens above their first preferences. With some leakage, and some preference flows from the parties I sent to “exhausted” directly, I’d expect Labor to come out ahead of Nationals… and possibly also ONP. And I suspect Nationals will pick up some more, too.

    So I’m actually going to predict that Labor and Nats pick up the final two seats, on less than a quota each. Why? Because I don’t see any ONP preferences beyond those predicted, whereas I could see Nats and Labor, for instance, picking up from DLP, SFF, and Mature, between them (SFF to Nats, Mature to Labor, for instance).

    So my prediction is Liberals 5, Nationals 1, Labor 4, Greens 2.

    But ONP is definitely in the running to steal one from either Nationals or Labor (more likely from Nationals).

  23. The above post by Glen is a valiant attempt at analysis and in the absence of firm information it’s probably as good as anyone can do.

    However my theory is that the majority of HTV-based assumptions may fall over as:

    a) Most minors/micros had nobody at booths delivering HTVS (or had them in only a few places)
    b) They may have had ads in newspapers or online, but it takes a committed voter to clip out the coupon and bring it along
    c) A lot of the people voting for the small parties aren’t committed at all

    So I think preferences for the smaller parties will go one of three basic ways:

    a) Spraying all over the place, in such a diffuse pattern that they don’t materially boost any of the smaller parties
    b) Exhausting, with lots of people only voting 1 or less than 6 (although as I understand the talk about preliminary counting, lots of 1-only votes would have been initially marked as informal by the day staff and will likely be rescued by AEC counters – so this may be small)
    c) Voters will gravitate to the names they recognise – and this is where a party like Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (decades of headlines) would likely have a distinct advantage over parties chasing the same voter profile (Australian Liberty Alliance, Australia First etc.). The same deal could happen on the left or the right (e.g. someone who voted for Renewable Energy or Animal Justice might instinctively preference Greens whether or not they saw a HTV).

    A and B have similar effects – the small parties fizzle and don’t get a critical mass of preferences to stay in the game. I would say don’t underestimate C.

    What does all of this mean…? I say we will all just have to wait until the button is pressed. This time around there’s no TruthSeeker Monte Carlo prognostication device to satisfy the hordes.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here