The method used in calculation of a candidates Surplus Transfer Value is derived by dividing the surplus of votes by the total number of ballot papers and not the value of the vote. This has the effect of increasing the LNP ticket vote and devaluing full valued primary votes of minor party candidates.
The Australian parliament and the AEC are aware of the flaw in the way the Senate vote is counted but to date has failed to act to correct the mistakes.
The problem with the Senate system is that it was designed to facilitate a manual counting process. The method used to calculate the surplus transfer value is seriously flawed as a result.
In analysis of the 2007 Victorian Senate Election Labor Party Senate candidate David Feeney could have been not elected as a result of a 7,000 bonus votes that would have been generated by the system currently in use. The analysis is based on a realistic hypothetical of One Nation preferencing the Liberal Party ahead of the ALP and ahead of the Greens.
In fact if you apply the 2010 Party Ticket preferences to the 2007 results David Feeney would not have been elected.The Greens candidate Di Natali would have been elected on the back of One Nation, Family First and DLP preferences, even though they opposed the greens election. Their vote was reduced in value inflating the value of the LNP ticket vote. The same situation has occurred in NSW where the system has delivered a 14,000 "unfair" vote bonus to the LNP ticket.The potential for the system to elect the wrong person was confirmed independently by Antony Green in his submission to the Australian parliament's Joint Select Committee on Electoral Matters in 2008.
Western Australia was aware of the flaw in the Senate counting rules and has legislated to correct it, Victoria's parliament has yet to address this situation which could effect the outcome of the Victorian State election to be held in November this year.
If we are to restore confidence in the way the Senate vote is counted then we MUST ensure that the system is an accurate reflection of the voters expressed intention and is fully proportional not semi proportional.
If we can not make the necessary changes and fix the system then we should abandon preferential proportional representation and adopt a party list system.
Below is the calculations that demonstrate how the Senate system works
Data presented below is based on output published by Antony Green's Senate Calculator for the State of NSW 2010 Election
[Count 1: Initial allocation]
There are 1,584,909 Primary vote ballot papers each having a value of 1 allocated to the LNP #1 Candidate: Total vote 1,584,909
[Count 2: Concetta FIERRAVANTI-WELLS (Liberal/National) elected #1]
LNP #1 has a surplus of 1,584,909 - Quota (579,828)
Surplus Transfer value = (1,005,081 divided by 1,584,909 ballot papers) = 0.634156914
1,584,909 ballot papers are transferred to LNP #2 each ballot paper valued at 0.634156914, the total value = 1,005,081 (Above quota)
[Count 4: William HEFFERNAN (Liberal/National) elected #3]
LNP #2 now has a surplus of 1,005,081 - Quota (579,828)
Surplus Transfer value = (425,253 divided by 1,584,909 ballot papers) = 0.268313827
1,584,909 ballot papers are transferred to LNP #3 each ballot paper valued now at 0.268313827, the total value = 425,253 (Below Quota)
[Exclusion of candidate process]
OK. At this stage the data is the same (But Antony Greens calculator has not published the break down or the formula used in calculating the value of the transfer value and the number of ballot papers held by the candidate. This information is sadly hidden from view - Why is that?)
[The LNP #3 candidate picks up votes from the following exclusions]
[Count 7: Meg SAMPSON (Group K Independents) excluded]
313 Primary vote ballot papers are transferred at full value on the exclusion of Group K Ticket 1 of 3 Total number of ballot papers 1,584,909 @ 0.268313827 plus 313 ballot papers at full value of 1.00000: Total value of votes 425,566
[Count 18: Nick BEAMS (Socialist Equality Party) excluded]
1,199 Primary vote ballot papers are transferred at full value on the exclusion of Socialist Equality Party Ticket 2 of 3. Total number of ballot papers 1,586,421 @ 0.268313827 plus 1,512 ballot papers at full value of 1.00000: Total value of votes 426,765
[Count 28: Greg SWANE (Family First) excluded]
38,371 Primary vote ballot papers are transferred at full value on the exclusion of Family First. Total number of ballot papers 1,586,421 @ 0.268313827 plus 39,883 ballot papers at full value of 1.00000: Total value of votes 465,136
[Count 29: Fiona CLANCY (Australian Democrats) excluded]
5,609 Primary vote ballot papers are transferred at full value on the exclusion of Austrralian Democrats. Total number of ballot papers 1,586,421 @ 0.268313827 plus 45,492 ballot papers at full value of 1.00000: Total value of votes 470,745
[Count 31: Paul GREEN (Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)) excluded]
79,157 Primary vote ballot papers are transferred at full value on the exclusion of Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group). Total number of ballot papers 1,586,421 @ 0.268313827 plus 124,649 ballot papers at full value of 1.00000: Total value of votes 549,902.
[Count 32: Jim Gerard MUIRHEAD (Shooters and Fishers) excluded]
95,292 Primary vote ballot papers are transferred at full value on the exclusion of Shooters and Fishers. Total number of ballot papers 1,586,421 @ 0.268313827 plus 219,941 ballot papers at full value of 1.00000: Total value of votes 645,194. (LNP Candidate #3 elected)
[THE DISTORTION IN THE COUNT]
The LNP#3 Now has
1,804,850 ballot papers (1584,909 valued at 0.268313827 (total value 425,253) plus
219,941 ballot papers at full value)
Candidates Total 645,194
1,584,909 ballot papers at 0.268313827 = 425,253 (65.91% of 645,194)
219,941 ballot papers at 1.0000000 = 219,941 (34.09% of 645,194)
Surplus = 645,194 - Quota (579,828) = 65,366
Under the AEC rules the Surplus Transfer value is calculated by dividing the Surplus by the total number of ballot papers
65,366 divided by (1,584,909 + 219,941) = 0.036217
The Primary Full value votes are now worth 79,66 votes (12.19% 65,366)
[The LNP ticket vote has increased its percentage of the Total value from 65.91% to 87.81%) and the Primary Full value votes have been devalued from 34.09% to 12.19%]
This represents a Bonus value of:
The LNP Ticket vote
65366 at 65.91% = 43,083
65366 at 87.81% = 57,400
A increase in value of 14,317
The Primary minor party full value vote
65366 at 34.09% = 43,083
65366 at 12.19% = 7,965
[Devalued by 14,317 votes]
14, 317 votes can be the difference in a close election.
This came about as a result of a FLAW in the way the vote is counted. A flaw that Mr Bartlett thinks does not exist. A flaw that inflated the Major Party Ticket vote at the expense of the minor party vote.
- A flaw in the way the vote is counted that should not exist.
- A flaw that needs to be corrected not hidden from view
- A flaw that some seek to hide and some who are ex members of parliament, ex Democrats, now Green Candidates think does not exist.