Thanks to the ALP and the Democrates giving their preferences to Family First, it looks like they are going to pick up a seat in the Senate. Hard to believe that a right-wing party that got such a low percentage of the vote could actually win a seat. I found an article in The Age that explains exactly how it happened.
How party preferences picked Family First
By Tim Colebatch
The Age – October 11, 2004
How can Steve Fielding of Family First win one of Victoria’s Senate seats with just 45,260 votes?
In short, because virtually every other party – including Labor and the Democrats – preferred Family First to the Greens and practically every other party.
STEP 1 1st preferences
Family First 45,204
Liberals for Forests 41,289
and many smaller parties with a few thousand votes.
The first five seats are won by the Coalition’s Michael Ronaldson, Julian McGauran, and Judith Troeth, and Labor’s Kim Carr and Steve Conroy. Each of them uses up a quota (339,925 votes) and the remaining votes
end up with the next candidates on their list.
The board now shows
Risstrom (Greens) 205,920
*Collins (ALP) 193,799
Fielding (Family First) 45,204
Healy (Democrats) 44,099
Mulholland (DLP) 44,084
Clancy (Lib-Forests) 41,289
de Marchi (Lib) 28,397
and a lot of candidates with fewer votes. It looks like a clear battle between Greens and Labor. But then . . .
STEP 2 Minor parties are eliminated from the bottom, and their preferences distributed.
Now Family First starts to accelerate away from the other micro-parties.
It seems almost everyone wants to give them preferences: Meg Lees’ group, the Christian Democrats (Fred Nile group), the Aged and Disability Pensioners’ Party, the Non-Custodial Parents Party, One Nation, Liberals for Forests.
By the time we get to the final five, the board looks like this:
Family First 125,694
STEP 3 Democrats eliminated. Their preferences go to Family First rather than Greens. Bad luck for Democrat voters who prefer the Greens.
STEP 4 DLP eliminated. Its preferences also go to Family First, along with the Liberal preferences that went via the DLP. The board now reads:
Family First 242,274
STEP 5 And now the big one. ALP eliminated. And it turns out that Labor too would prefer Family First to win the seat than the Greens.
Family First 436,500
Only one in 10 of these voters actually voted for Family First. But the other parties voted for it, and that – and above all, Labor’s choice – decided the seat.
* Sitting member