South Australia 2018

South Australia is holding a state assembly election on 17 March that ABC and others are describing with words like “unpredictable”. My favorite kind of election.

17 thoughts on “South Australia 2018

  1. Let us not forget the election is also for half the 22 seats in the legislative council as well as all 47 seats in the house of assembly. The council system is single transferable vote with the whole state as one electorate.


    • Indeed, and this election is the first with group voting tickets having been abolished. After some clumsy suggestion by the state Labor government of a party-list system, the federal approach of allowing voters to preferentially vote above the line, with only one mandatory preference, was adopted. Parties are allowed to display how-to-vote cards in the voting booths (Labor’s card, asking voters to give their third preference to the hard-right Australian Conservatives, is perhaps an apt demonstration of the problems of group tickets).


      • And lest it be thought that Australians are a coarse and unlettered people, the first literary reference to a poke in the eye with a burnt stick comes from The Odyssey, Book 9, where Odysseus administers such a poke to the cyclops Polyphemos.


      • Should read ‘as exciting as falling off a log’. It has roughly the same meaning as being better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick.


  2. Boo Who, I am so disappointed that there were no surprises just an ordinary election where the incumbent government was defeated. However if the lower house had use an STV system or MMP SA-Best would have hold the balance of power. Both large parties Liberal and Labor lost votes. The alternative vote is very unforgiving to centrist parties. That may be why the Liberals in Canada do not want such a system.


    • In retrospect it doesn’t seem that surprising. The Liberals won the 2PP for the last two(?) elections and didn’t seem to really drop back. The Xenophon group would see most of its votes go to the Liberal candidate once its candidate was excluded. With only one winner per electorate, going from 0% to 50+% in one go over your own voters’ likely second choice is hard.


      • If you look at election results a few years back, the majors would get over 40 per cent each without too much trouble — most recent elections in SA have got about 80% for the big two.

        Now you’re getting elections where they comfortably win most or all of the seats, but they’re only attracting about 70 percent between them, and we act like the people are issuing a thumping to the minors.

        It’s the electoral system that’s defeating the voters. I don’t think that’s an invitation to business as usual.


    • “The alternative vote is very unforgiving to centrist parties, That may be why the Liberals in Canada do not want such a system.”

      I think we’ve gone back and forth on this topic, but I still find myself unconvinced that lessons from a political party formed months before an election which polled 13.7% of the vote (tho with an incomplete slate) can be transferred to the Liberal Party of Canada. In Queensland, One Nation (also with an incomplete slate of candidates) polled 13.4%, and secured only one of 89 seats. This seems to me to be more a small parties in single-member electorates problem than a centrist party problem.


      • Yes, I was under the impression that the standard anti-AV argument was that it was TOO good for a centrist party. Versions of that have been made in both Canada and the UK.

        Perhaps the more generalizable claim would be that AV is good for a centrist party that can finish first or second in many constituencies. If you’re generally coming in third, it just might not help you.


      • Though the Liberals stopped advocating for AV as soon as they realized that they could much easier win a majority without the NDP under FPTP.


  3. Pingback: Preference flows under STV: An interesting case from Tasmania | Fruits and Votes

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