Ok so there’s been a lot of pundits lately giving a crack at who they reckon has a decent chance of becoming a senator in the upcoming Federal Election. But is their analysis actually solid?

Some newcomers to the Senate Scene

In Victoria there’s talk of ballot spot 1 giving Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party featuring Derryn Hinch a seat.

In New South Wales it’s the Anti-Vaccination / All-round Science-Sceptic Health Australia Party with pole position, and that’s been given a chance too.

Queensland has the once mighty Pauline Hanson’s One Nation running for yet another election, with the LNP apparently confident she’ll do pretty well.

Some of the Old Guard ready for re-election

In South Australia it could be probably 3 and up to 4 Nick Xenophon Team Senators entering the cross bench.

The two ex-__Palmer United Party__ Senators, Jacqui Lambie (with her Jacqui Lambie (social) Network) and Glen Lazarus (with his Glen Lazarus (football) Team) in Tasmania and Queensland respectively are on the cards for re-election as well.

Sadly (because, I’ll be a bit partisan here, I really like the guy) the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts with Ricky Muir have been written off by all of the pundits with his personally loved, yet still rather poor, ballot placement and a tiny primary vote two years ago.

Did someone say, Western Australia?

I thought you’d never ask, I did some #pundit analysis and I’m thinking:

  • The Christian Democratic Party has taken first spot;
    • With a primary vote for Christian Groups in 2013 being around 2.3%, pole position might give them a chance (eh, the more I think about it, the less likely this seems, even with Family First out the back end of the ballot).
  • Nick Xenophon Team being third on the ballot;
    • They could take all of the Palmer United Party vote from 2013 and just completely rek.

Western Australia is interesting because of its distribution of votes, which means it’s less susceptible to minor party attack. On 2013 numbers alone you have:

  • ALP - 3.45 Quotas
  • LP - 5.10 Quotas
  • NP - 0.66 Quotas
  • GRN - 1.23 Quotas
    • Total - 10.44 Quotas & 11 Seats

If the state swings just right that could give the following esque numbers:

  • ALP - 4.31 Quotas
  • LP - 4.42 Quotas
  • NP - 0.41 Quotas
  • GRN - 1.30 Quotas
    • Total - 10.44 Quotas & 9 seats + 4 competitive candidates
    • Could even be a minor party lock-out
    • The LNP has lost 0.93 quotas (7.13%), but has not definitively lost a seat!

But with a swing which brings each of the parties closer to even quotas, that’s when minor parties have their best chance. But it’s hard to #pundit pick a good party to watch out for!

Where’s the numbers, though?

But these articles are long on thought, and short on numbers. I would be doing myself a disservice to not undergo some level of mathematical rigour in my analysis. No one else is bothering to really model the preference flows (please prove me wrong, it would save me so much time and effort).

But… taking a more analytical approach is taking me far longer than I had hoped. In any case, I’ve got two big problems.

  • Donkey Voting
    • Who votes for the first person on the ballot purely because of their position; and
    • How likely it is someone will vote for an adjacent party on their ballot paper
  • Strength of Micro / Minor / Major + Left / Centric / Right affiliations for preferencing
    • This changes at voter depth (how far into numbering on the ballot)

I’ve tried to overcome the latter with some NSW analysis. Then, combine that with my sick voter fatigue analysis, and some best guesses of the minor party breakdown… and we might be on to something (perhaps) predictive.

Second Preference (based on First Preference)

Somewhat dank

  • E = Extreme
  • R = Right
  • L = Left
  • N = Neutral/Middle
  • NOP = No Party Name (they love voting for each other)
  • ALP/LNP/GRN = The people running your country and/or state/territory right now.

Third Preference (based on Second Preference)

Somewhat dank


Sorry about not giving you guys numbers and stuff yet.


Thomas Clement