Australian Senate ballots

Must-watch video!

ABC election analyst Antony Green says voters will need the dexterity of a contortionist to be able to read the Senate ballot paper which has grown to 1.02 metres in length.

4 thoughts on “Australian Senate ballots

  1. Abolish ticket voting and introduce optional preferences. Seems to me like nomination restrictions have already been tightened quite a bit, and it’s time to go for another approach.

  2. I may have said it before, but I don’t mind some elements of the current Above the Line system, but would still have some small changes.

    Split the ballot into two pages. The first page, the Short Ballot, has a list of all registered tickets and all independent candidates. A ticket is a just for one party (or a group of parties and/or independents). The Labor Ticket just has Labor candidates, for example. Voters can select one ticket or rank two or more.

    The second page, the Long Ballot, is just a listing of all candidates.

  3. The Commonwealth Electoral Act is hopelessly outdated. Step 1, surely, is to amend the act to allow decked ballot-papers as in NSW.

    Step 2 is to move to a NSW system of ticket preferences so that there is no purpose in forming microparties.

  4. Antony Green notes that the South Australian government has moved legislation to bring in closed lists with Sainte-Laguë allocation for the Legislative Council, replacing the current system of stage-managed STV (basically like the federal Senate version, 11 seats Statewide for two lower house terms).

    Several comments down, AG smacks down a commenter who protests “With Sainte-Laguë, a party can get an absolute majority of votes and not get a majority of seats. How is that fair?” by noting that “The Liberal Party polled above 50% of the vote in 1993, the only time in the last two decades a party did receive a majority of the vote, and Sainte-Laguë would have delivered it seven of the 11 seats to the party.”

    Which is sort of like saying that the US Electoral College cannot produce a runner-up winner because in 2008 and 2012 Barack Obama won over 50% over the votes and a large majority of Electors. Well, yes, but in 1993 the second-highest SA Upper House ticket (ALP) polled only 27.4% to the Liberals 51.8% so there was little chance of distortion. if the numbers are closer, Sainte-Lague can reward one side for running split tickets. If three parties poll 52.3%, 14.3% and 33.4% respectively, Saint-Lague will deliver them 5, 2 and 4 seats out of 11 respectively. Having said that, with closed lists and a relatively small district magnitude (11, only just over what is generally considered quite manageable with STV), a case can be made for encouraging the red and/or the blue sides to field separate tickets to maximise their chances and widen the voters’ menu of options.

    My own view is that D’Hondt is generally fairer when groups are able to combine (ie, political parties) but Sainte-Laguë or something similar (Huntington Equal Proportions, or Danish) is fairer when groups are not. It’s not like the two Dakotas or the Carolinas can run a joint ticket to maximise their combined total of House seats.

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