I doubt a day went by during the campaign when the Democrats didn’t warn about the prospect of the Liberals controlling at least half of the seats in the Senate. The Democrats (and clearly some of Labor’s) preferences were aimed at minimising the chances of that happening, by steering some preferences from the conservative side of the spectrum away from the Liberals.
It appears that the reason why the Greens won’t get elected in NSW and SA (and if they fall short in Qld) is because the Democrats vote is too low to give them enough of a boost up to get them over the line. If they do get over the line in Qld, it will be from One Nation preferencing them ahead of the Libs, or from Libs or Nats putting them ahead of One Nation – I presume having right wing preferences elect a Green is OK with some people (as it was in 2001), but having left wing preferences elect Family First is not.
No doubt the Greens thought it was very clever to spend half their campaign trying to pull down the Democrats with dishonest and hypocritical claims, but the fact is that if it had an impact in pushing the Democrat vote down it has had the flow on effect of denying the Greens seats. Of course if the Democrat vote had been even 1% higher, that would have meant Democrats getting elected in a couple of states.
One can only assume this is even less desirable to those Greens than having Family First elected. Of course, the Greens own preferences showed they preferred having Liberals elected to the Senate rather than Family First, increasing the chances of the Libs getting control of the Senate. As we’ve seen this time (even more so than last time) preference flows and allocations are difficult to predict.
Depending on how the count progresses, its certainly possible that the Libs and Nats will get 4 of the 6 seats in Qld. The Coalition getting over 3 and a half quotas on primary votes alone in WA is quite astonishing. It certainly makes one wonder whether people have developed a different view of the role they’d like the Senate to play.