Saturday, December 23, 2006

Victorian Election November 06 - Final Results

On November 24 I ran an introductory post on the Victorian elections followed on 26 November by a report on the preliminary outcomes. I then had to do a hasty part recant on 28 November as some apparently certain results became uncertain.

I thought that I should round all this off by providing the final results as I understand them drawn from the Victorian Electoral Commission.

Lower House Results

The ALP ran in all 88 Lower House seats, gained 43.06 per cent of the vote (previous 47.95) and won 55 (previous 62) seats, thus comfortable retaining Government if with a significantly lower vote.

The Liberal Party ran in all 88 Lower House seats, gained 34.44 per cent of the vote (previous 33.91) and won 23 (previous 17) seats.

The National Party ran in 20 regional seats, gained 5.17 per cent of the vote (previous 4.30) and won 9 (previous 7) of the seats.

The Greens ran in all 88 seats, gained 10.04 of the vote (previous 9.73) but failed to win any seats.

Family First running for the first time ran in all 88 seats, gained 4.29 of the vote, but also failed to win any seats.

The number of independents in the Lower House fell from two in 2002 to one.

In the Lower House the big winner was the National Party whose previous decline in seats had put them at risk of losing official party status. Labor will be happy to be back in Government, while the Greens will be disappointed at their failure to win a seat.

The Liberals will not be happy at their vote with Family First siphoning off votes that would otherwise have gone to them. On the other hand, they also ended up with more seats than first appeared might have been the case on election night.

Upper House

After a very long and incredibly complicated count culminating in several recounts, the ALP won 19 seats in the Upper House, the Liberals 15, Greens three, Nationals two and Democratic Labor Party one, the first time that this last has held a seat in Parliament for decades.

While the ALP and DLP are traditional enemies, the winning DLP candidate has indicated that he proposes to support the Government because he was elected on ALP preferences.

The Upper House count was an incredibly messy if interesting process.

Keeping it very simple, under the proportional representation system you have to get a quota to be elected. Preference votes are distributed via a complex process until the requisite number of quotas have been achieved.

Each party nominates a preference list. Voters have two options. They can vote above the line, simply ticking a relevant party box. In this case, their preferences simply flow through as determined by the party preference list. Alternatively, they can vote below the line. In this case, they number individual squares to indicate their personal voting preference.

Most people vote above the line. This makes preference deals between parties extremely important in determining outcomes, leading to some very strange bed fellows indeed. A and B may hate each other but still combine against C if C is perceived as a threat to both.

A much smaller number who do not like being dictated too - me included in Senate voting- vote below the line. Normally this has little impact. However, in very close elections like some of the Victorian Upper House contests, the small number of below the line votes can suddenly become critical. Now the problem here for Party organisers is that it almost definitionally follows that below the line votes do not follow tickets and hence can go all over the place.

We saw all this worked through in the Victorian voting.

Finally, congratulations to Evan Thornley for finally making it through and upon his appointment by the Premier as Parliamentary Secretary for the National Reform Agenda. I suspect that Evan will make a major contribution here.

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