For the re-election, several micro-parties have directed preferences in a way that now helps Labor to reach its second quota and makes it harder for the Green’s Scott Ludlam to win without a significant rise in his vote.
The Sports Party does not receive as many helpful preferences as last September. There is a subtle shift in the structure of the micro-party alliance, with a more obvious split between left-leaning and right-leaning micro-parties.
It is likely there will be a lift in Labor’s first preference vote on April 5. Labor polled 26.59% last September and needs only 28.57% to be certain of two Senate seats. Labor has a much better ballot draw in column F rather than column Z, and seven months have passed since the defeat of the Rudd government. Even if Labor falls short of 28.57%, there are helpful micro-party preferences flows aimed at getting second placed candidate Louise Pratt elected.
Once again the Liberals and Nationals are doing a direct preference swap. Last September the Nationals polled 5.07% and the Liberals 39.20%, 44.27% in total, easily above the 42.86 that would ensure three seats for the Coalition.
The Nationals have a much better ballot draw in column B compared to column U last September, while the Liberals have only moved from column AA to R. It may be the Nationals poll slightly stronger and the Liberals weaker.
Unless the Liberals and Nationals fall dramatically short of three quotas, there are enough micro-party preferences floating around to ensure they win three seats between them. The biggest danger for the Liberals is probably losing a seat to the Nationals rather than to any other party.
If the first five seats point strongly to 2 Labor and 3 Coalition, preference flows favour the Palmer United Party to win the final seat ahead of the Greens, unless there is a rise in Green support.
Enough of the micro-parties have inserted Palmer United in the middle of their ticket to ensure it will be difficult for a micro-party to harvest enough preferences to defeat Palmer, as long as Palmer United can repeat its vote of around 5% last September.
If Palmer stays ahead of any right-wing micro-party, Palmer United can win election on micro-party, Liberal and National preferences.
The Green’s Scott Ludlam will find himself a bit orphaned on preferences. The Greens polled 9.5% last September, but have lost a couple of micro-party preferences to Labor. Ludlam’s best chance of victory is for Labor to poll more than two quotas in its own right, in which case preferences that might have helped Labor win a second seat instead flow to the Greens.
The problem for Ludlam is that a rise in Labor’s support could be at the expense of the Greens. Labor plus the Greens polled 36.08% last September, and this combined vote probably needs to reach 40% before Ludlam can be assured of victory. Ludlam will be helped by any donkey vote boost achieved by Wikileaks drawing column A.
Where last September Labor and the Greens were competing for the same seat, if Labor gets to two quotas then the Greens are likely to be competing with Palmer United Party for the final seat.
Of the micro parties, a couple such as Sustainable Population and HEMP do very well on preferences from left and right, but get shut out behind Palmer in any Liberal and National surplus. Wikileaks will stay in the count for a surprisingly long time with a significant first preference vote, but will miss out to Palmer United on preferences from the Liberals, Nationals and the Christian Parties.
Unless there is a significant rise in the combined vote of Labor and the Greens, the preferences deals mean the two parties can win only two seats, and for the reasons I pointed out above, Labor is better placed to win a second seat, putting Ludlam in the race for the final seat against Palmer United.
Of course, the larger ballot paper may play a part in the outcome. The number of columns has increased from 28 columns to 34, and the number of candidates from 62 to 77. The ballot paper will be the same length, but the font size has had to be reduced.
Of the 77 candidates , only 36 contested last September’s WA Senate contest. Eight contested WA lower house seats last September, while another eight get a second go at Senate glory after being defeated in inter-state Senate races last September.
The following parties are running exactly the same candidates on their tickets, the Australian Democrats, Liberal Democrats, Australian Voice, Family First, Australian Sports Party, Shooters and Fishers, Smokers’ Rights, Rise Up Australia and Animal Justice.
Labor is running the same two lead candidates, Joe Bullock and Louise Pratt, with new third and fourth candidates. The Liberal Party has shortened its ticket from six to four candidates but is running the same candidates as the first four nominated last September.
Four parties have changed their candidates but kept the same lead candidate. These are the Greens (Scott Ludlam), the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party (Richie Howlett) , the Secular Party (Simon Cuthbert), and the Outdoor Recreation Party (Stop the Greens) (David Fishlock).
Palmer United has mixed and matched its ticket, still led by Zhenya Wang, former lower house candidate for Durack Des Headland at number two, with number two last September in Chamonix Terblanche now at number three.
Wikileaks and the Nationals have changed both candidates on their tickets. The Nationals have replaced David Wirrpanda and David Eagles with two defeated Nationals candidates from last year’s state election, Shane Van Styne and Colin De Grussa.
New parties contesting the re-election that did not run in WA last September are the Pirate Party, Voluntary Euthanasia Party, Building Australia Party, Republican Party of Australia, Mutual Party, Democratic Labour Party and the Socialist Alliance.
Three parties that contested last year but not the re-election are the Socialist Equality Party, Australian Independents and One Nation.
Four parties run under different names. No Climate Tax Climate Sceptics have changed their name to the Freedom and Prosperity Party. The Stable Population Party has become the #Sustainable Population Party, with the ‘#’ being part of the registered name. The Bank Reform Party is now the Mutual Party, while Stop the Greens have chosen to use their full name, Outdoor Recreation Party (Stop the Greens). Presumably this longer name will take up more space at the top of the ballot paper.
As well as Headland, seven other candidates were defeated contesting WA lower house seats last September. This includes four Greens, Ian James (Durack last September), Jordan Stele-John (Fremantle), Sarah Nielsen-Harvey (Pearce) and Judith Cullity (Curtin). Ungrouped candidates Teresa Van Lieshout (Fremantle) and Kim Mubarek (Stirling) ran as Independents in the lower house last September, while new lead Katter’s Australian Party candidate Phillip Bouwman contested O’Connor last September.
One unique record lies with ex-Liberal MP and ex-Family First and Independent candidate Anthony Fels. Last September he was the lead WA candidate for Katter’s Australian Party. Now he leads the Mutual Party ticket, a party that has changed its name from the Bank Reform Party and did not contest the WA Senate last year.
The eight candidates who unsuccessfully ran for the same party but in different states last September are –
Leon Ashby (Freedom and Prosperity) – South Australia in September
Bill Koutalianos (Freedom and Prosperity) – New South Wales
Philip Nitschke (Voluntary Euthanasia) – ACT
William Bourke (#Sustainable Population) – New South Wales
James Moylan (HEMP) – Queensland
Suzzanne Wyatt (Fishing and Lifestyle) – Queensland
Fiona Patten (Sex Party) – Victoria
Joaquim De Lima (Outdoor Recreation) – New South Wales.
A number of candidates list their addresses as being in other states, and a significant number give no addresses.
Only four groups have nominated more than two candidates, Labor (4), Palmer United (3), Liberal (4) and Greens (6).