Tactical Senate voting

22 06 2016

I don’t usually do this, especially as we are so fast running out of time to turn this sinking ship around, voting at elections is quickly becoming a farce…. however, having said that, and seeing as voting in Australia is compulsory, here is a little bit of information on how to vote in the most worthwhile way for our Senate that I discovered just yesterday.

As you hopefully know, the government has changed the way we may vote on our complicated Senate ballot paper, with the unambiguous ambition of getting rid of the small parties.  In my opinion, it’s the big parties we should get rid of, and here’s how we could do it, though I’m not holding my breath.Sample new senate ballot, showing voter-allocated above-the-line preferences

You can read the whole explanation here if you’re into maths (like me!) or just follow the strategic bit below……. and share as widely as possible, we need as many people as we can muster to do this and stick it to the laborals…!


What you should try to do is get your vote to the latter part of the count, where it may have significantly higher value because of the counting system deficiency. But you don’t want your vote to get there via excess transfer from an elected candidate, because that will have diminished its final value.

How? I suggest the following:

  1. Vote below-the-line. Above-the-line voting has lost all utility except for the lazy, now that you only have to correctly number six candidates with the sequence 1,2,3,4,5,6 for a below-the-line vote to be valid.
  2. Make a list of candidates whom you favour but don’t think will be elected. Vote for those first, in order from the least likely to the most likely to be elected, but respecting any candidate preference you may have.
  3. By way of insurance, and to increase the likelihood of a preferred candidate getting a six year term, make a second list of candidates you favour who are likely to be elected. After voting your first list, append your second list in order from the least likely to be elected to the most likely, again respecting any candidate preferences you may have.
  4. If you haven’t yet numbered at least six candidates, continue numbering candidates you favour until you have. Your vote will be informal if you do not number at least six candidates in the sequence 1,2,3,4,5,6. Continue numbering candidates you favour as you see fit, preferably up to at least 12 in accordance with the ballot instructions, but avoid mistakes². There are arguments for then proceeding to number candidates you don’t favour on a ‘least worst’ basis, but avoid numbering any candidate you viscerally despise; your vote cannot count towards their election if you don’t number them (‘putting them last’ achieves nothing).

Why? Voting for candidates you favour in reverse order of their likelihood of election gives your vote its best chance of making it to late in the count, where it will have most value, while respecting your core candidate preferences. But don’t forget the 6 year term effect.

Personally I’ll be voting in the state of Queensland and favouring Greens’ candidates … but, tactically, I won’t be giving The Greens’ Larissa Waters an early preference on my ballot. That’s because she’s certain to be elected and doesn’t need my vote. She will get a later preference from me by way of insurance and to increase her likelihood of getting a six year term. Instead I’ll have Andrew Bartlett (probable second on The Greens’ senate list) high in my preference list, because his chances of election are fairly small and I can vote tactically to increase them.

By the way, while I’m often a Labor supporter, I won’t be numbering any Labor senate candidates on my ballot because I strongly disagree with that party’s pro-coal policies, especially their support for new steaming coal mines.




12 responses

22 06 2016

It’s not compulsory to vote, only to get your name crossed off the rolls so you don’t get fined. For years, after I made sure my name had a line ruled through it, I put my voting papers in the nearest rubbish bin and walked out.

Now I apply for a postal vote, so I don’t have to waste fuel driving to the polling place. I post the (unmarked) papers when I go shopping (once a week ….using fuel for legitimate needs).

I don’t vote because I don’t agree to putting people in power over me. Especially not a bunch or worthless parasites who don’t produce anything of value or contribute to society.

Surprised that intelligent thinkers who know the system has failed still keep it alive by voting.

22 06 2016

Dear Foodnstuff. Don’t fall for the trap that by not casting you are not voting. No! a non vote is a vote for whoever wins. Since you didn’t help his/her opponents you effectively voted in the winner’s favour! If that matters to you then you actually must cast a vote of your choice. If it doesn’t matter you can’t then complain about the winner.

24 06 2016

But I won’t know who’s won till it’s all over! So I don’t know who to not vote for. Think I’ll stick with my present format.

24 06 2016

Of course you won’t know, but you will know eventually and you can reflect that you did nothing to counter the winner, just in case you don’t like that. The more non voters like you the more likely the winner will be someone against your interests, unless you are a toff.

22 06 2016
Dr Bob Rich

Mike, I like your idea. So, in Vic I’ll put Janet Rice first, Richard later.

22 06 2016

It wasn’t my idea, just to be clear….. 🙂

23 06 2016
Michael Davidovsky

> I don’t vote because I don’t agree to putting people in power over me.
> Especially not a bunch or worthless parasites who don’t produce anything of
> value or contribute to society.

=Idiot in the most archaic sense. There are frivolous political parties who won’t do anything at all. Do that.

I wonder if those “Don’t vote” writers are sometimes paid trolls.

24 06 2016

So I’m an idiot! Wish someone would pay me for it! I don’t vote because I have no confidence in the system any more. Is that idiotic?

23 06 2016

My representative vote is useless. I live in a save Labor seat. Only about 13% have the luxury of deciding election outcomes.


The senate on the other hand…

I vote below the line. I seek out the major parties and others that I don’t like and start numbering backwards. That way, those at the top of the groups get the least. From what’s left, I then revert to back ascending numerical order.

I also am under the impression that attendance is compulsory and voting voluntary.

24 06 2016

Ah but you appear to have missed the most salient point here…. once upon a time, you had to number every bloody square below the line… now you don’t! So don’t go numbering the major parties’ boxes at all! Since you only need to number 12 squares, work backwards from 12 only……

24 06 2016

Yes but, that doesn’t allow me to vote Penny Wong who, will be at the top of the ALP list, dead last.

27 06 2016
Damn the Brexit…….. | Damn the Matrix

[…] paper….. and boy did it feel good.  I wonder how many people will wake up to the fact that by numbering twelve boxes below the line they can actually get rid of the Laborals and retake power of their country, even if at this stage […]

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