The federal election is in a few weeks and while there has been so much focus on Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott, don’t forget there is a Senate election.
Unlike the House, the Senate elections have been traditionally dominated with minor parties thanks to its very unique voting system. And this year’s election has seen a record-breaking number of minor parties being represented in this year’s election – namely the Wikileaks Party and Pirate Party.
So, what is the unique feature? On your Senate ballot box, you have two options – you can vote “above” the line or “below” it. Voting below that line means that you will need to write all your preferences – from 1 to whatever number of candidates (NSW, for instance, has 102 candidates), similar to the House election. This, however, is often a pain and many opt to vote above the line, since you only need to mark in one box with your first preference. The downside is that the party then gets to choose where your preferences go.
And that’s why I’m writing this post – this is basically a quick way to find out where your preferences are going once the AEC calculates the votes. If your party has been “eliminated”, then your votes will be redistributed to the second preference, then third, then fourth, etc. until six candidates have met a certain quota.
First up is the Wikileaks Party – the party founded by Julian Assange, who is also running for a Senate seat in Victoria. Where are their party preferences are going, if you vote above the line?
Note: unless specified, when a party name is listed then it is safe to assume the preferences are following the party’s order.
In Victoria, the Wikileaks Party has offered their second-party preferences to the Pirate Party; however, when looking at the list, it appears that many of the preferences are to maximise the minor parties chances – well, the ones that align to their political views – in not being eliminated if the Wikileaks Party does.
In terms of the three main parties – The Greens are preferenced first, in 24th place. This is followed by Labor, then the Coalition.
|1||AA||The Wikileaks Party|
|3||Y||Animal Justice Party|
|6||AF||Drug Law Reform|
|7||D||Senator Online (Internet Voting Bills/Issues)|
|8||F||Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party|
|9||I||Secular Party of Australia|
|12||X||The Australian Republics|
|13||AG||Bullet Train for Australia|
|14||UG||Ungrouped Independents (Gunter, L; Morrison, D)|
|17||AK||Socialist Equality Party|
|18||P||Building Australia Party|
|19||Z||Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party|
|20||L||Stable Population Party|
|22||Q||Australian Voice Party|
|23||N||Australian Fishing & Lifestyle Party|
|25||AD||Australian Labor Party|
|29||V||Katter’s Australia Party|
|30||W||Palmer United Party|
|31||AJ||Nicholls, B; Nicholls, K; Webb, P|
|32||T||Toscano, J; Matthews, B|
|33||AE||Stop The Greens|
|35||O||Shooters and Fishers|
|36||AM||DLP Democratic Labour|
|37||J||No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics|
|39||A||Rise Up Australia Party|
|40||AI||Citizens Electoral Council|
New South Wales
Similar to Victoria, The Wikileaks Party’s preferences appear to maximise the minor parties chances in still being in the running when the Wikileaks Party is eliminated. Unlike in Victoria, the Pirate Party is third, with the Future Party second. The Sex Party and Stop CSG round out the top 5 party preferences.
However, interesting thing to note is that the Shooters and Fishers and extreme far-right Australia First parties have been preferenced before the Greens in NSW. This obviously caused a Twitter storm. Wikileaks have said that this was an administrative error, and did not do a deal with the Shooters and Fishers party.
“In allocating preferences between 53 other parties or groups in NSW some administrative errors occurred, as has been the case with some other parties. The overall decision as to preferences was a democratically made decision of the full National Council of the party,” it said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“According to the National Coucil (sic) decision The Shooters & Fishers and the Australia First party should have been below Greens, Labor, Liberal.”
Also interesting thing to note is that the Wikileaks Party preferenced Family First and the DLP ahead of the Liberals and Nationals. Another administrative mistake? I’ll take them on their word.
|1||I||The Wikileaks Party|
|7||G||Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party|
|9||AA||Animal Justice Party|
|10||U||United Australia Party|
|11||E||Voluntary Euthanasia Party|
|12||AD||Drug Law Reform|
|14||X||Bullet Train for Australia|
|16||T||Building Australia Party|
|17||AG||Want, T; O’Toole, D|
|18||AB||Australia First Party|
|19||AE||Socialist Equality Party|
|20||F||Whalan, A; Cooper, P|
|22||D||Senator Online (Internet Voting Bills/Issues)|
|24||AJ||Shooters and Fishers|
|25||Q||Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party|
|26||AN||Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)|
|27||AQ||Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party|
|31||C||Democratic Labour Party (DLP)|
|32||Y||Liberals and Nationals|
|33||Z||Australian Protectionist Party|
|35||S||Palmer United Party|
|36||V||Stop The Greens|
|38||AI||Stable Population Party|
|39||AP||Secular Party of Australia|
|40||N||Katter’s Australia Party|
|41||B||No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics|
|42||L||Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)|
|43||J||Rise Up Australia Party|
|44||UG||Ungrouped Independents (Poulsen, R; Ash, D; Nathan, S; La Mela, J)|
If you thought the New South Wales Group Voting Ticket was off the scale, you haven’t looked at the Western Australian one for the Wikileaks Party. It is a very extreme oddity. The Wikileaks Party have preferenced the Nationals above the Greens – unlike in NSW and VIC where they are below. However, both The Greens and the Nationals are above a lot of the minor parties – so the tactic of just filling up the minor parties’ votes does not apply in WA.
There is also another extreme oddity where the only Ungrouped candidate has been preferenced above Labor. Why is this an oddity? The candidate in the Ungrouped section is a member of One Nation. Wikileaks Party preferences in NSW and Victoria have put them at the bottom – so it’s weird to see why One Nation has been given such a position in Western Australia. However, by the looks at the ticket – it might be a mute point since their preferences will likely flow to The Nationals.
The Wikileaks Party has not given an official statement in relation to the Western Australia situation – but it seems that the ticket goes against the full Council’s decision (see NSW statement above).
|2||X||Australian Sports Party|
|3||T||Animal Justice Party|
|6||S||The Greens (WA)|
|7||E||Socialist Equality Party|
|8||M||Katter’s Australian Party|
|9||D||Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party|
|12||W||Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party|
|13||UG||Ungrouped Independents / One Nation (Farmer, R)|
|14||V||Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party|
|15||Z||Australian Labor Party|
|16||J||Secular Party of Australia|
|21||F||Palmer United Party|
|23||Q||Stop the Greens|
|24||P||Stable Population Party|
|25||O||No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics|
|26||Y||Rise Up Australia Party|
|28||G||Shooters and Fishers|
Understandably, many people – especially in NSW and WA – are extremely pissed at the Wikileaks Party’s preferences. As stated many times, there has been a record number of candidates at this year’s Senate election. There are 110 candidates in NSW, 97 in Victoria, and 62 in WA – all vying for six Senate seats for their respective states.
Those numbers are really important when you realise that the only way to avoid the bad decisions in the Group Voting Tickets is to vote “below the line”. That essentially means that you have to fill in your preferences – like the House ballot – of all the candidates.
Wikileaks Party members and supporters can opt to use the below the line method and vote against the party’s decisions, but realistically they will not. Because the number of candidates is just too large to preference all of them – especially in NSW, where you have 110 candidates.