2001 Primary Vote Winners, Preference Vote Losers

There were 6 seats in the 2001 federal election where the primary vote leader was defeated after the full distribution of preferences.

Primary Leads Overturned After Preference Distribution
House of Representatives – 2001
No. State Division Incumbent Leader Primary % Successful Candidate Primary % Two-Party %
1
NSW Cowper Gary Nehl (NP) Jenny Bonfield (ALP)
32.31
Luke Hartsuyker (NP)
29.89
54.73
2
NSW Paterson Bob Horne (ALP) Bob Horne (ALP)
40.75
Bob Baldwin (LP)
39.91
51.42
3
VIC Chisholm Anna Burke (ALP) Ros Clowes (LP)
43.58
Anna Burke (ALP)
42.44
52.77
4
VIC Melbourne Ports Michael Danby (ALP) Andrew McLorinan (LP)
39.71
Michael Danby (ALP)
39.36
55.69
5
QLD Brisbane Arch Bevis (ALP) Seb Monsour (LP)
39.32
Arch Bevis (ALP)
38.23
53.13
6
WA Hasluck new seat Bethwyn Chan (LP)
39.33
Sharryn Jackson (ALP)
38.23
51.78

These statistics show the full force of the preferential voting system. Luke Hartsuyker won Cowper, despite polling only 29.89% of the primary vote, because he gained the majority of second preferences from the Liberal candidate. The Liberal candidate polled 15.95%.

Overall, there were 87 electorates (58%) where preference distribution was required to obtain a winner in 2001.

These 6 electorates where the primary vote lead was overturned after preferences indicates that a primary vote lead is the best position to be in to be sure of success. It is apparent that whilst a party or parties can win seats and elections on preferences, there is no substitute for being ahead in the primary vote.

Some people argue that these statistics demonstrate that we may as well introduce first-past-the-post voting, since most candidates who lead on the primary vote ultimately triumph. This argument fails to take account of the possibility that electors may cast different votes if they knew that their preferences did not matter.


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