Thursday, November 08, 2007

Election: Preferences even weirder!

Further to yesterday's post, I took a closer look at how the parties are directing preferences in NSW, and came up with a couple of surprises.

For parties to specify where their preference goes, it only matters if one votes above the line - for a single party. Few have the patience to number all [79] candidates in preference order. It takes some time, and you can get it wrong and invalidate your vote. I did that once, and had to ask for a repeat ballot paper.

And those ballots which number all candidates are in practice likely to get counted last, as they are harder to distribute preferences for.

Interestingly enough, I talk to a number of people who number all candidates. I wouldn't say it's because I gravitate towards pedantic people (!), rather I would say it's because I talk to people who choose to take firm control of what little opportunity they have to exercise a voice.

And the surprises?

My understanding of the current times of the NSW electorate is that they are likely to vote for two Coalition candidates, two ALP, one Green, with the last position being up for grabs. In this case, the only two candidates that matter are the third on the ticket for each of the Coalition (Marise Payne) and ALP (Ursula Stevens). I checked the preference tickets for each party, and found two parties that vote against their ideological bent - ie their preferred third candidate between ALP/Coalition does not equate to the sides I assigned them to in yesterday's post.

The first is the Democratic Labor Party - the ultraconservatives that broke away from Labor in the 1950s. They're probably not fond of either side, but they ultimately give their last preference to Labor.

And the other one is... Pauline Hanson's party, which also directs the last one to Labor. Yes, she's not very bright, is she?

In fact, it looks more deliberate than that, as Hanson's party put Marise Payne second to last. Maybe it's another case of preference by snub. Because their last place goes to the top candidate of the Democrat's list. And you'd think the Democrats are relatively harmless. Well, they're really unlikely to get anywhere this time around anyway, since the mood of the electorate has turned substantially greener, and most Australians consider the Democrats not worth thinking about, since they committed political hari kiri a few years back.

I could be wrong about that sixth seat, although I don't think so. If I'm wrong, then the true situation would be that the two main parties get two quotas (senate seats) each, and the last two quotas are a three-way battle between the Payne, Stevens, and the top Green, Kerry Nettle. But Nettle's a Green and an incumbent, and I reckon she's a shoo-in.

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