Whilst its been clear for a while what the end result would be, the official Senate numbers (and names) are now finalised. In amongst all the claims and counter-claims, there are a few straightforward facts.
After all the claims about preferences, a few points should be made:
- Pre-election warnings about the Government’s chances of winning control of the Senate proved to be true. If the Greens had swapped preferences with Family First ahead of the Coalition, as the Democrats did, then the Coalition would not have won four seats in Queensland and would not have gained control of the Senate.
- Family First won their Victorian seat on Labor’s preferences. The Democrats preferences did not impact on the result. This is easily the lowest ever-primary vote to successfully win a Senate seat in a half-Senate election. The previous lowest was the Greens 4.3% in NSW in 2001.
- Below the line votes affected the outcome in Tasmania, putting the Greens ahead of Family First and Queensland, where high numbers of votes for Pauline Hanson meant One Nation was eliminated earlier in the count, guaranteeing a win for the National Party.
In hindsight, nothing could have been done with preference decisions to stop the Coalition winning half the Senate seats, as they got well over 3 quotas in every state. Their lowest primary vote was in Tasmania, which still saw them get 3.2 quotas, and along with WA getting the highest gain in primary votes of over 7% (and easily their highest Tasmania Senate vote since 1977).
Tallying up who won and lost seats is made a bit more complicated by the fact two seats were lost by people who had been elected for one party but had subsequently quit the party to run on their own (i.e. Meg Lees originally elected as a Democrat in SA and Shayne Murphy originally elected as Labor in Tasmania).
Taking this into account as to whose seats they really were, the following points can be made about the results:
- Labor lost 1 seat in total – losing Shayne Murphy’s seat in Tasmania to the Greens and Jacinta Collins seat in Victoria to Family First, but gaining the Democrats’ Meg Lees seat in SA.
- The Democrats lost 4 seats in total – losing John Cherry’s seat in Qld to the Liberals, Aden Ridgeway’s seat in NSW to the Liberals, Brian Greig’s seat in WA to the Greens and Meg Lees’ seat in SA to Labor.
- The Greens gained 2 seats – one off the Democrats in WA (Brian Greig) and one off Labor in Tas (Shayne Murphy)
- The Coalition gained 4 seats in total – picking up Brian Harradine’s vacant seat in Tas, winning the Democrats’ NSW seat (Ridgeway), the Democrats’ Qld seat (Cherry) and the Nationals winning back the seat One Nation won off them in 1998.
- One Nation lost their only seat – in Qld – to the Nationals.
- Family First gained their first seat, winning Labor’s seat in Victoria off the back of Labor preferences.
Brian Harradine’s seat was not recontested and went to the Libs. All the independents have now gone from the Senate, with Harradine retiring and Lees, Murphy and Harris losing. The cross bench has gone from 13 back down to 9, while the Coalition has increased from 35 to 39. Labor has stayed at 28 (although they really have gone back one as Murphy’s seat was originally a Labor seat)