As mentioned on the previous post, the Queensland Senate count is now final and has been formally declared. Following are a few comments on the some aspects of the final result.
The final quota required for a Senate seat was 345 559 votes. The Greens candidate was the one left short when the final seat was won by Labor. The Greens fell 33 645 votes short (or about 1.4%).
The most obvious part of the result was 5 of the 6 seats being won by incumbents, with the final seat being lost by the Democrats and won by the Labor Party. The last two elections have seen two Democrat Senate seats lost in Queensland – one going to Labor and the other to the Liberals. This leaves Queensland’s overall Senate representation at 7 Coalition and 5 Labor.
If this result is repeated at the next election, it would see the Coalition lose a seat to Labor, as they hold 4 of the 6 Queensland Senate seats that were not up for election this team. (Labor hold the other 2). Whether this would be a Liberal or a National seat is hard to tell, as there will not be a joint Liberal-National Senate ticket in Queensland at the next election, for reasons explained in this post.
Despite the commentary about Queensland being a disaster area for the Coalition, they still outpolled the Labor Party statewide in the Senate – 40.4% to 39.2%. That left a little over 20% of the vote for minor party and independent candidates. However, that minor party vote split fairly equally between left-leaning and right-leaning parties, who then preferenced back to one or other major party, rather than (in all but a few cases) ‘across the divide’. The ‘centre-ground’ minor party vote which existed a few elections back has now all but disappeared, something which will be accentuated by the disintegration of the Democrat vote.
There was still a drop in the Senate vote for both major parties compared to their House of Representatives vote. In Queensland, the combined Liberal-National vote across all the House of Reps seats was 44.5%, and the Labor House of Reps vote was 42.9% – both roughly 4% higher than their Senate vote.
The Greens Senate vote was 1.7% higher than their Reps’ vote, and the Democrats was around 1% higher, which suggests that more than 3% of progressive people voted for Labor in the Reps but voted Greens/Democrats/Climate Change Coalition, etc in the Senate. By contrast, the combined Reps vote of Family First was almost identical to their Senate vote at around 2.2% (a drop of more than 1% on their 2004 result). No other parties contested all House of Reps seats in Queensland, making any further comparisons difficult.
Pauline Hanson was the final candidate excluded from the count, and her 91 990 above the line votes flowed to the Labor Party, which was sufficient to ensure them victory for the final seat. These votes were number 50 on Hanson’s Group Voting Ticket, but they all flowed to Labor as the only candidate left in the count from the Greens had been numbered at 63. The decision of Pauline Hanson to put Labor ahead of Greens on her effectively determined which of those two parties won the final Senate seat. Hanson’s final result of 4.19% was very similar to her 2004 vote of 4.35%.
Preferences were required to determine the winners of the 5th seat (Ron Boswell – Nationals) and the 6th seat (Mark Furner – Labor). Ron Boswell was pushed over the line by Family First preferences (as well as earlier preferences from various other right wing parties). The component of Ron Boswell’s surplus which consisted of Family First preferences then flowed on to Pauline Hanson, who was still in the count at that stage, which affirmed my pre-election statements that voting for Family First could end up meaning preferences following to Pauline Hanson (although in this case, not at full strength).
About 95% of Ron Boswell’s surplus upon his election flowed to the Greens, in line with the Coalition’s decision to preference the Greens ahead of Labor. The Coalition have always done this, but it is worth keeping in mind next time you hear a Coalition MP ranting about extremist Greens. If the Green vote had been 1.4% higher, they would have got elected on Liberal-National preferences.