Antony Green, ABC Electoral Analyst, has produced another article on Green preferences in his blog but had failed to address the issue of optional preferential voting and the method of counting the Senate vote
As a Party the Greens can not direct preferences in the lower house, in the upper-house yes, but only thanks to the above-the-line voting system, below-the-line voting they have no say.,
What is untested and a real potential problem, not just related to the Greens but for all parties including the ALP and the LNP is optional preferential voting. What happens if a party advocates to not preference anyone, and the voter only preferences the candidate/party of their choice without expressing a continuing preference? The system becomes by default a first-past-the-post ballot.
Analysis of the 2010 Victorian State upper-house vote shows that a number of exhausted BTL votes from the party votes does have a significant impact on the election outcome. IN Western Metropolitan for example Bob Smith lost his seat because a significant number of Family First, DLP and Liberal party votes exhausted and did not flow on to other parties, This gave the Greens a hidden advantage in that these votes did not flow on to the ALP as was the case with Ticket ATL votes
The Senate vote and party preferences
The other issue that also is a considerable concern is the method of counting the Senate vote., The System itself disports the outcome of the election and voters intentions.
In Queensland 2007 Larrisa Waters should have been elected to the Senate, the only reason she was not was due to the method of segmentation in the way the votes is counted., a system that was designed to facilitate the manual counting of the vote.
In Victoria 2007 David Feeney could have lost his seat, not because of the voters intention, but due to the method used in calculating the surplus transfer value.
Had Pauline Hanson's One Nation preferenced the Liberal Party, before the ALP and ahead of the Greens, David Feeney would have been defeated, contrary to the voters intentions. The system having delivered an additional value of 7000 votes to the Liberal Party ticket vote which favoured the Greens ahead of the ALP.
The value of the minor parties (The DLP, Family First and One Nation) was devalued and the Liberal party vote increased disproportionally). The system used to count the Senate vote is in need of serious overhaul. We no longer need to take short cuts to facilitate a manual count, short cuts that make the system inaccurate and unfair.
Whilst Antony Green has agreed with the analysis of the Victorian 2007 Senate count he continues to avoid undertaking a review of the 2007 Queensland Senate count. If you recount the 2007 Queensland vote and exclude all candidates except the last seven candidates remaining in the count and redistribute the preferences accordingly, Larrisa Waters should have been elected ahead of the Labor Party's 3rd Candidate. The reason she was not was due to the method of segmentation in the way the vote is counted.
If you use the the same procedural methods that apply to the lower hose single member preferential count, and on exclusion of a candidate from the count and restart the count afresh the method of segmentation does not distort the outcome of the election result. A re-iterative counting system is more accurate and with the aid of computer technology should be implemented.