The full Senate results

The Senate contest in Queensland was formally declared today, and the results in other states and territories will be officially declared over the next week or so.  The understandable focus on who would end up forming government has mean there has been very little attention given to the results in the various Senate contests at this election, especially given it was obvious on election night that the Greens would hold the sole balance of power in the Senate. The net result of all these Senate contests is that the Greens gained 4 seats, the ALP lost 2 and won 1 for a net loss of 1, the Liberal lost 4 (including 1 picked up by the Nationals, leaving a net loss to the Coalition of 3),  the DLP gain 1 and Family First lose 1.

But the Senate result is not just about the balance of power on particular votes. It is about electing a range of individual representatives for each state and territory, and it is worth looking at which people will be coming and going as a result of the just completed half-Senate election. Those people who have been elected to the Senate for the first time will not take up their seats until 1 July 2011. Twelve people out of the 36 successful state based Senate candidates are in this position. This ten month wait is probably the longest for any Senator-elects in our nation’s history. 

The people elected to the Senate spots in both the ACT and the Northern Territory take up their seats straight after the election. These seats have always returned one Labor and one Liberal, and this time was no exception, with all four incumbents being re-elected.  Although in the ACT, the Liberal’s Gary Humphries polled just below a quota – with 32.96%– and had to rely on a few preferences to secure his election.  If the Greens had managed to win this seat, that would have resulted in an immediate change in the balance of the Senate, removing the ability of Family First’s Steve Fielding to block legislation everytime he sided with the Coalition (which he has been doing a lot). However, the bizarre decision of the Australian Democratsto direct their above-the-line Senate preferences to the Liberals ahead of the Greens and Labor – the first time the Democrats have ever done this for a Senate contest in any state or territory – means that Humphries is certain to receive the preferences he needed.

The only state where all six incumbent Senators were re-elected was Western Australia, which returned 3 Liberals, 2 Labor and 1 Green.  A quick summary of the results in the other states follows:
SA – This state provided the closest contest for the last seat. At one stage Family First’s Bob Day, who polled just over 4%, looked a chance to ge the final seat ahead of the Liberals. But Antony Green’s invaluable Senate count calculator showsthe gap has ended up being too large for their to be any chance of below the line votes changing the outcome.  There are four new faces out of six people elected in this state.  The Greens Penny Wright has won a seat from Labor’s Dana Wortley. This is the only SA seat that changes hands from one party to another, but retirements from two of the Liberals (with Nick Minchin and Alan Ferguson being replaced by Sean Edwards and former MHR David Fawcett) and one ALP (Annette Hurley being replaced by Alex Gallacher) means there are 4 new faces in the 6 elected, which breaksdown into 3 Liberal, 2 Labor and 1 Green.  

VIC – Family First’s  loses a seat, which will be won by the DLP’s John Madigan.  The DLP win this seat with a ridiculously low primary vote of 2.33%, (although that is a bit higher than the 1.88% Fielding polled when he was elected back in 2004). In an interesting piece of irony, the seat won in 2004 by the Julian McGuaran standing as a Nationals candidate on a joint Coalition ticket when he then took to the Liberals when he later defected, has returned to the Nationals with the election of Bridget McKenzie, while McGauran, now as a Liberal, has lost his seat to the Greens Richard di Natale, who has polled over a quota in his own right.  The other incumbent Victorian Liberal Senator, Judith Troeth, is retiring. All of these changes lead to a final result in this state of 2 ALP, 1 Liberal, 1 National, 1 Green and 1 DLP – with three of the six being new faces.

TAS – The ALP’s Lisa Singh (a former member of state Parliament) wins a seat from the Liberals Guy Barnett.  The (unwilling) retirement of Labor’s Kerry O’Brien, who has been replaced by Anne Urqhardt, means there are two new faces among the six, with overall result being 3 ALP, 2 Liberal and 1 Green.

NSW – Labor’s Steve Hutchins lost his seat to the Greens Lee Rhiannon.  The retirement of Labor’s Michael Forshaw, replaced by Matthew Thistletwaite, means there will be two new faces from this state. The final party breakdown of seats is 2 Liberal, 1 National, 2 ALP, 1 Green.

QLD – There is only the one new person here, with the Greens Larissa Waters winning a seat from the Liberals Russell Trood.  All the other five incumbents were re-elected, although the final Liberal, Brett Mason, had to rely on receiving Sex Party preferences ahead of the Fishing and Lifestyle Party, who managed to garner a wide range of preferences from a number of other extreme right groups.  The final result here is 3 LNP, 2 ALP and 1 Greens.

The new Senate numbers as of 1 July next year will be :
L/NP/LNP/CLP Coalition: 34
ALP: 31
Greens: 9
Xenophon: 1
DLP: 1

This will include an increase of three in the overall number of women, which rise to 30 out of the total of 76.

If you use a crude left vs right measure (Greens + ALP = left, Coalition + others = right) then this elected has produced a 3 seat shift to the left. The current 37 left vs 39 right will become 40 left vs 36 right.  With 39 votes needed to pass motions and legislation, and 38 votes needed to defeat motions and legislation, the Greens will have sole balance of power with at least 2 seats to spare in any situation.

Total Senate seats won this time –
ALP 15
Greens 6
Coalition 18
DLP 1

Senate seats won at 2007 election –
ALP 18
Greens 3
Coalition 18
Xenophon 1

The Greens won 3 seats more than the last election, Labor won 3 seats fewer, while the Coalition stood still.

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18 Comments

  1. I would have tended to count Xenophon with the left, or to revive an ancient phrase, the forces of movement. The Coalition triumphalists who are proclaiming this election a victory for Abbot really should look at the Senate results.

  2. Since the 4 new Green Senators have a long time to wait to take up their new posts, perhaps they could look into workplace abuses in Aged Care. According to a radio program with Alan Jones, The Greens are mighty keen to give unions better access to workplaces. If this is true, I think it is an excellent idea.

    The Labor govt is undermining workers’ rights again. An employee of Centrelink told me the govt was willing to pay the bills for her back injury that occurred in the workplace, but is deducting her time off from her sick leave!

    In aged care, the lowest paid workers are having to forgo their lunch breaks, because of their excessive workload.

    I think the Senate results prove that people have had enough of Liberals and Labor. Labor has suffered a net loss because they have lost sight of the needs of their voter base.

  3. As I mentioned Alan, I think any sort of left-right categorisation is bound to be fairly crude. It’s very likely the Greens and Libs will vote together on a lot of things in the Senate. And Xenophon doesn’t fit neatly into such a pigeon hole
    (although I have been surprised by some of things he has supported the Libs + Fielding on more things than I thought he would)

    Anyway, I guess putting Libs + others all on one side shows the best/worst case scenarios in balance of power situations.

  4. Without defending the Democrats’ decision in any way, they only got 2,500 above the line votes and it doesn’t look to me that that would have been enough to get the Greens candidate over the line anyway.

  5. The key thing with the ACT contest is for the Liberal to get and keep them below a quota. This is how Rick Farley nearly won an ACT Senate seat with the Democrats in 1998. The Libs polled 31.2% to the Democrats 16.9%. The Libs were below the 33.33% quota, and the Greens preferences flowed to the Democrat, and the ALP surplus would have flowed that way too, but One Nation preferences pushed the Libs over the line and into safety.

    All the ALP surplus will/would have flowed to the Greens this time (as it would have to the Dems in 1998). The issue with the 2500 Democrat above the line votes this time is that they go straight to the Liberal and push him over the quota to win the second seat.

    (it is true that chances are that Gary Humphries was close enough to a quota that he would have been pushed over the mark with below the line preferences from his Liberal running mate and the single Ungrouped candidate, regardless of above the line Group Voting Ticket preferences of the Democrats, but it would have been close.)

    And as you say, none of that excuses the Democrats decision to preference the Liberals (or even Labor) ahead of the Greens for the first time in a Senate contest in the party’s history – especially given the ACT Democrats would have been very aware of the significance of giving even a tiny extra boost to the Liberal in this contest.

  6. Andrew Says:
    Senate contests at this election, especially given it was obvious on election night that the Greens would hold the sole balance of power in the Senate.

    It looks as though Australia is looking towards a very hostile Senate over the next few years.
    Never has such an extreme left (or right for that matter) party such as the greens held such power in this country and Industry is already licking its wounds.

    I think the Coalition really needs to take it up to the Green controlled Senate and see if there are any ALP’ers left that will stand up for their country.

  7. Have you taking more lessons from the Wilson Tuckey School of Balanced Statements, Tony? The current Senate has been hostile for most of the life of the previous government – and may well remain so until July. There was a big jump in the number of Bills and other government proposals blocked, and an unprecedented level of refusal to even allow time for debate on much of the government’s program.

    As is self-evident for anyone with basic knowledge of politics (or maths) for that matter, the Greens don’t “control the Senate”. Neither does anyone else, which is as it should be. The Greens will have balance of power in the Senate when Labor and Liberal/National disagree (which is nowhere near as often as is assumed).

    What is yet to be seen is how much of a role the power-sharing House of Reps will play in assessing and amending/improving legislation before it gets to the Senate.

  8. Don’t worry, guys. Probably nothing will make it out of the lower house, so why worry about the Senate?

    Surely John Madigan from the DLP will vote with Labor and/or Greens at least some of the time anyway. A good idea never cared who had it.

    No one appears to want to talk about anything in the parliament. No matter who is in power, they just want to railroad their own agendas through, and block anything they didn’t think of themselves.

    I thought Kevin Rudd had at least a couple of good ideas knocked on the head with a sledgehammer by those who only cared about empowering the wealthy. When there was an opportunity to save money, Liberals weren’t interested.

    I just heard that Aged Care is now up for its 5th review (with absolutely nothing changing so far), and the National Seniors suggesting that everyone needs to pay extra in superannuation to cover their aged care needs.

    I used to like Wilson Tuckey. He was less boring than some, and was really vocal in objecting to ideas he didn’t like. I like a person who speaks his/her mind, instead of just kowtowing to someone else’s bloody stupid agenda.

  9. Odd to see the DLP back in representative politics (nationally anyway, not sure if they’ve had a presence in Victoria). Andrew Norton was saying that they partly achieved this on the back of LDP preferences, which seems to be one of those odd things given their diametrically opposed policies. I had a bit of an interest in the LDP but they ended up turning me off with their immature and simplistic approach and this appears to be an example.
    When the Democrats exited the senate there was worry among some that the long knowledge and experience of the party in effectively and responsibly managing the balance of power in the senate was lost. I know you’re a Greens member Andrew but how well do you think the Greens have stepped up to the mark in this sense.

  10. Matt Says: Odd to see the DLP back in representative politics (nationally anyway, not sure if they’ve had a presence in Victoria). Andrew Norton was saying that they partly achieved this on the back of LDP preferences, which seems to be one of those odd things given their diametrically opposed policies

    The preferences that really helped were CDP, One Nation, LDP and then Family First and the overflow from Julian McGuaran.
    (One of the last three like minded candidates were the popular choice and we were lucky that the DLP polled better than expected).

    After the greens and the ALP formed the Green Alliance that virtually ended any hope of ALP Senators third on the list getting over the line many minors opted to overcome this.

    Family First had done serious deals with the coalition so to win the DLP had to get in Front of Family First. The LDP thought they could knock out the Green in NSW so deals were done amoungst minors with those aims in mind.

    Family First in SA also received favourable swaps as did the CDP in Wa.

    After the greens did better than expected in Victoria the battle than went to 6th or 3rd coalition seat.

    All in all the electorate won out and especially in Victoria they received a candidate (DLP,FF and McGuaran) who were all like minded candidates in that race.

    FF just missed out in SA.
    The CDP missed out in WA.

  11. Yes Matt, if the Liberal Democrats (LDP) had preferenced the Liberals ahead of the DLP, the Liberals would have won.

    The DLP in Victoria polled 2.33% in primary votes (Family First polled 2.64%). The DLP received preferences from Building Australia, One Nation, Fred Nile’s ‘Christian’ ‘Democrats’, the Climate Sceptics, ‘Family’ First, the Liberal Democrats, Senator Online – this combined to get them ahead of the Liberals, who preferences then flowed to them, along with those of the Citizens Electoral Council and the Shooters & Fishers.

    This clustering of preferences from a wide array of far right parties was followed in most states (and it is a shame that the LDP seems willing to position itself towards some extremely anti-liberal groups in that part of the spectrum).

    In Queensland Senate contest we saw the Family First/Shooters & Fishers/DLP/One Nation/Fishing & Lifestyle/Australia First/Climate Sceptics/’Christian’ ‘Democrats’ alliance of the extreme right.

    Hopefully for the DLP’s sake (and the Senate’s), their new Senator is more capable than Steve Fielding. I think his very obvious inadequacies is a key reason why Family First’s vote has not grown at all nationally since they first appeared in 2004. Family First’s vote in South Australia has held up better because to date their Parliamentary representatives at state level have at least been able to demonstrate some basic competence.

  12. I think it was good to see people who are actually patriots of this nation, and who uphold a reasonable set of values, forming an alliance in the Queensland Senate contest.

    But I don’t think they can be accurately portrayed as the “extreme right”. The Liberal Party is at the extreme right, possibly with Family First coming next. One of their former candidates (retired public school teacher) lives 5 doors away from me, and I think he is a decent sort of man. I met him when he was collecting donations for the National Heart Foundation.

    There is no mention here of the Save Australia Alliance, whose candidates mostly run as Independents. They seem like fairly good people, but are a bit too “pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen” for some people’s tastes.

  13. I don’t think any side of politics has a monopoly on patriotism.

    And given the multitude of sins committed in its name, I’m instinctively wary of anyone conspicuously flaunting their patriotism: there are too many evil historical precedents for comfort.

  14. Andrew Says: In Queensland Senate contest we saw the Family First/Shooters & Fishers/DLP/One Nation/Fishing & Lifestyle/Australia First/Climate Sceptics/’Christian’ ‘Democrats’ alliance of the extreme right

    Lorikeet Says: But I don’t think they can be accurately portrayed as the “extreme right

    Lets face it with Andrew anything right of the absolute extreme left is considered extreme right.

    Or any party that doesnt agree with the extreme left gains that title from yourself/

    DLP extreme Right ? I dont think so
    Climate Sceptics extreme right … I dont think so
    (Both are mixed economy models with a social justice standing and couldn’t possible be referred to as extreme right.

    With the LDP’s heavy free market policy one could consider them a bit to far to the right but Andrew says:
    (and it is a shame that the LDP seems willing to position itself towards some extremely anti-liberal groups in that part of the spectrum).

    Its amazing how Andrew failed to mention Australia First or the Citizens Electoral Council….or even the LNP.. Where do you put them Andrew ?

    The Green Alliance or Watermelons as they are known know only one spectrum and that is extreme left. Lets have a look at their policies.
    If climate is problem… tax it and control it
    If congestion is a problem …..tax and control it
    If people inherit money… tax and control it
    If water is a problem… Lets stop having dams.

    Lets create crisis and control….. Very socialist/communist dont you think

  15. Feral:

    Perhaps you could also look at what is happening in our own country, before forming an opinion on patriotism, particularly as it relates to democracy.

  16. Words like “patriot” tend to mean different things to different people, but looking at the context of their usage is important. It is a word being used more and more by far-right and racist groups, often paired with far more toxic and loaded terms like “traitor” to describe anyone who disagrees with them or calls them on their racism – the ‘logic’ goes along the lines of “I am a ‘patriot’, therefore anyone disagrees with me must be a ‘traitor’.”

    This piece from Australia First is a good example, and the racial underpinnings of the message is pretty obvious.
    http://ausidentity.blogspot.com/2010/09/cr-goodlass-needs-to-realise-that.html

    Tony, you demonstrated during the campaign you had no interest in truthfulness, preferring to just shovel out an endless stream of gross misrepresentations and baseless accusations. I am always interested in engaging in discussion with people of differing views – hence this blog – but I have no interest in wasting my time engaging with people who have no interest in facts.

    No one is “creating” any crisis, although you are certainly persistent in trying to misrepresent existing ones. I note that well known socialist/communist Marius Kloppers from BHP has called for a carbon tax

    The LDP is very economically liberal and socially liberal – whether to call that right wing or not is a matter of debate, but it is the exact opposition of the highly protectionist, socially reactionary policies which the modern day DLP now espouses (as well as far right groups that espouse racism or bigotry like Australia First, the CDP, One Nation and (some of) Family First) – all groups the DLP chooses to ally with.

    Of course, as with most parties, the LDP would in part have made Senate preference decisions based on prefertences deals or swaps with other parties despite having significant philosophical differences with them – an incentive created by our current Senate voting syste

  17. That Australia First link is an eye opener. I forget sometimes just how different an Australia some people live in to me. I’m pretty supportive of increasing the role of smaller parties and independents in our political system but do hesitate when I remember that it also means these types of groups. Unfortunately they’re often more likely to attract active support than people/groups who are more intelligent.

  18. This fellow from BHP has a vested interest in supporting a Carbon Trading Scheme. He wants to make money from nuclear energy. It’s a bit of a yawn that yet another communist is calling for an ETS.

    A scheme requiring a 90% reduction in everyone’s carbon footprint has the potential to de-industrialise the developed nations, particularly if the third world is spared.

    The link to Australia First raises some real truths about what is happening to our country. Instead of paying Aussie workers a fair rate of pay, farmers and large employers (e.g. The Macquarie Group) get the govt to bring in visa holders who will work for dreadful wages.

    This creates conflict between Australian citizens and visa holders, because they won’t join a union or stick up for their workplace rights, for fear of compromising their permanent residency.

    A patriot will complain with good reason when his/her country’s workers are losing their jobs due to foreign imports, or farmers are going broke for the same reason.

    A traitor is a person who damages our war planes, or enters our Defence security facilities without an invitation. A traitorous government sells out its own workers and farmers, while allowing visa holders to be abused.

    A patriot does not behave like a traitor. While he/she may be willing to help people of other races and countries in various ways, he does not damage his own economy or his own people in the process.

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