How the Liberals got everything they wanted in NSW, but not what they asked for

Tony Abbott asked the population of Australia to “vote for one of the major parties”. It’s a strong statement. He doesn’t want to be dealing with the minor parties to pass legislation through the senate. But, little did he know, a disregard for this message by near 6%* of the population of NSW has advantaged him greatly in his quest for passage of legislation through the Senate.

The worst case scenario for the Liberal-National Coalition government, after the senate changes hands next year, would be ALP and Greens senators numbering 38 or more. With that, they need bipartisan support with either the Greens or the ALP to pass any legislation. Although the ALP and Green senators have taken a hit from Palmer United (amongst others), the biggest one was the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in NSW.

If the LDP had polled 6% less, and the LNP had polled 6% more (i.e. if Liberal voters had bothered to find the Liberal-National ticket on the gigantic senate paper), then the Greens would have most probably (~52%) picked up a senate spot in NSW. Similarly, it would have left Pauline Hanson with a 10% chance of getting a seat against either the Greens or Arthur Sinodinos (sitting Liberal Senator, up for Re-election, third on the ticket).

As it stands, this is the best possible outcome the Coalition could have hoped for in the Senate. Bleeding some Liberal votes towards the LDP, and taking out a Greens senate spot with Arthur Sinodinos polling just enough to keep ahead. They could not have asked for a better result in NSW.

We will find out in the days to come what the true Senate composition will be. But without the need for Nick Xenophon, The Greens or The ALP; the Coalition will be able to pass legislation with minor Libertarian, Conservative and/or Right Wing parties.

Note: All of the above analysis assumes that the current count (as of 4pm 8th of September, 2013) is accurate and reflects the newly elected Senators.

*The number 6% is derived from the primary votes gained by the Liberal Democratic Party in 2010. With little additional media attention since then, I am making the assumption that true Liberal voters saw the word “Liberal” and voted above the line, or that many voters made a donkey vote and voted for the first party on the ticket.

Why the Animal Justice Party is clearly a Right Wing Party in Disguise

I have been doing my tactical voting analysis for a few states and territories, and there's been a clear trend for minor left wing parties to preference other minor parties, including minor right wing parties, before the votes get back to their clear ideological preference; The Australian Greens.

The Animal Justice Party has taken this too far in all senate elections they are contesting, handing their votes to their ideological opposites, and adding real risk to the election of arguably the wrong people on the back of Animal Justice votes.

This could have been easily avoided: by not doing preference deals with right wing parties that have a genuine chance of being elected, and doing deals with the rest. This would have been a smart Left-Wing tactic, but is clearly not what they have achieved. Nor, I assume, what they wanted to achieve.


The Animal Justice Party has preferenced One Nation (specifically Pauline Hanson) before the greens. This has improved her chances greatly when she is poised to win a seat off Arthur Sinodinos.


The Animal Justice Party has preferenced Family First before the Greens. Although some might say Family First winning was inevitable, these, amongst other minor parties, has effectively sealed the deal.


The Animal Justice Party has preferenced Family First before the Greens. Family First has a slight chance of getting up in QLD, but this has been massively helped by the Animal Justice Party getting drawn as the first group on the ballot. To be clear, preference deals could be changed after the polling order was found out. The Animal Justice Party had to know their high polling was going to FF.


Fortunately The Animal Justice Party is not on the ballot here. If they had preferenced FF in TAS, it would have increased their already high chances drastically.


Although Family First is preferenced higher than the Wikileaks party in WA, there's a good chance their votes will end up going to the Wikileaks party before moving on. But still, an ideologically unsound deal.


Family First is not a big chance in South Australia (but they are, and Animal Justice votes could end up there again), but they have preferenced the No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics (after Nick Xenophon's running mate). So it's hard to say how this election will play out, and whether or not they will end up preferencing climate change deniers. Given the unfortunate nature of preference deals towards Nick and away from his running mate, it's unlikely that the Xenophon group will get two candidates elected. If they don't, the Animal Justice Party moves straight to climate change deniers.


Perhaps the most well known (but arguably least severe) of their blunders was to preference the Liberal candidate in the ACT over the Greens candidate. This probably won't affect the outcome, given a notional swing towards the LNP, but it shows a key lack of recognition of the bigger picture. Turning local issues with kangaroos into giving the LNP one more vote towards their senate majority.

Too many people will enter the polling booths with no idea of what the parties, or their votes, represent and think, "Hey, I like the Greens but this Animal Justice Party is really the issue I care about" and vote for them. In effect, they are voting for right wing senators. And they don't even know it. I strongly encourage Animal Rights activists to look into the preference deals above, and make the correct choice for your vote in the Senate.

So please, Animal Justice Party, stick to your ideology. Don't stick to preference deals. You were never going to win that game.