There is ongoing concern about the flaw in the way the Australian Electoral Commission calculate the surplus transfer value used in counting the Senate vote. the senate uses a system of Single Transferable Voting – Proportional Representation.
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.
Analysis of the 2007 Senate vote indicated that ALP Senator David Feeney could have lost his seat had One Nation preference the Liberal Party ahead of the ALP. Feeney would have lost not as a result of the voters intention but because the system used by the AEC delivered the Liberal/National Party an additional bonus of 7,000 votes.
The formulas used by the AEC divides a candidate’s surplus by the number of ballot papers and does not take into consideration the value of the vote.
Analysis of the NSW ticket votes based on the output of ABC’s Antony Green’s Calculator shows that the Liberal National Party ticket vote increases in value by over 14,000 votes. In a close election 14,000 votes can make a big differences. the system is clearly flawed but no one is trying to fix it.
Disgraced former Queensland Democrat Senator, come failed Green Candidate for Brisbane , Andrew Bartlett, is in denial. Mr Bartlett claims the system is not flawed.
Clearly Mr Bartlett is not as well informed as he thinks he is (Too many stolen red wine bottles)
Electoral Analyst, Antony Green, wrote a paper in 2008 confirming our previous analysis of the 2007 Victorian Election. But even Antony Greens assessment and confirmation is not good enough for Mr Bartlett who still defends the indefensible current Senate voting system.
His blind support could have something to do with the fact that the Greens have been the beneficiary of the Liberal party’s Bonus vote.
Andrew Bartlett does not understand how the vote is counted.
He could be forgiven in part, because Antony Greens Senate calculator is also misleading. The Green Calc does not list out in detail the method used in calculating the Surplus Transfer Values.
Antony Green use of terminology such as “Raw votes” and “votes” is also misleading.
Under AEC rules the Surplus Transfer value is calculated by dividing the value of a candidate’s surplus by the number of ballot papers.
For the ill informed such as Andrew Bartlett this sounds reasonable but if your take the time to analyse and calculate the actual surplus transfer value you soon realise that the system is seriously flawed. the reason is simple. Not all votes that dorm part of a candidate’s surplus are of the same value. Some are allocated at a fraction of value and others may be at full value. If you divide the surplus usually based on the number of ballot papers then you are in effect increasing that value of Major Party tickets votes at the expense of minor party primary votes.
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.
As long as we have misinformed advocates such as Andrew Bartlett hope that the system will be fixed is not looking good
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.
Missing from Antony Greens Calculator is the calculation of the surplus and the Surplus transfer value. 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 Family First. 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 Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group). 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 (1,005,081 valued at 0.268313827 (value 425,253)
plus 219,941 ballot papers full valued votes) Candidates Total Value 645,194
Candidates Total 645,194
1,005,081 ballot papers at 0.268313827 = 425,253 (65.91% of 645,194)
219,941 ballot papers at 1.00000 = 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 (1,005,081 + 219,941) = 0.03621686
The LNP ticket vote is worth the value of 57,400 votes (87.81%) of 65,366
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. No Green Candidates think does not exist.