Aside from the Coalition, ALP and Greens, just five parties were able to poll above 1% nationally in the last Senate election.
The Palmer United Party, Liberal Democrats, Nick Xenophon Group, Sex Party and Family First each managed to reach 1% nationally in the 2013 federal election. They polled higher numbers in particular states and managed to win seats. Only the Sex Party failed to elect a senator.
A further 46 groups polled less than 1% each. Nineteen of these failed to make it to 0.5%. Twenty-five groups failed to poll more than 0.66% and will not contest this year’s election. Only Ricky Muir from this group of 46 managed to win election to the Senate and that was due to group voting ticket preference deals which have now been abolished.
It’s a cautionary tale worth keeping in mind when numerous micro parties are named as being in the running to win seats in this year’s election.
The table below shows all the parties and groups that contested the 2013 federal election. It shows the actual number of votes each group received nationally, as well as the national, state and territory percentages.
The results of the 2014 Senate election in Western Australia are also shown. The 2013 result (invalidated by the High Court) appears on top, the re-run result below.
Parties are listed in order of their national vote percentage. Coalition parties have been grouped. The table indicates those parties and groups that are contesting the 2016 election.
|2013 Senate Election – Votes for Parties/Groups by States/Territories|
|Party/Group||Total Votes||National||NSW||Vic||Qld||WA||SA||Tas||ACT||NT||Running in 2016|
|– Liberal Party||1,006,710||
|– Liberal/National (Joint Ticket)||2,853,905|
|– Liberal National Party (LNP-Qld)||1,084,299|
|– Country Liberals (NT)||42,781|
|– The Nationals||69,523||
|Australian Labor Party||4,038,591||
|Palmer United Party||658,976||
|Nick Xenophon Group||258,376|
|Australian Sex Party||188,731||
|Shooters and Fishers (now Shooters, Fishers and Farmers)||127,397||
|Katter’s Australian Party||119,920||
|Democratic Labour Party (DLP)||112,549||
|Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP)||95.430||
|Animal Justice Party||93,280||
|The Wikileaks Party||88,092||
|Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group||72,544|
|Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party||67,560||
|Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party||59,907||
|Rise Up Australia Party||49,341||
|Voluntary Euthanasia Party||21,854||
|Bullet Train For Australia||19,377|
|Stop The Greens||19,013|
|No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics||17,959|
|Secular Party of Australia||12,704||
|Stable Population Party (now #Sustainable Australia)||12,671||
|Drug Law Reform||10,189|
|Australia First Party (NSW) Incorporated||10,157|
|Australian Voice Party||10,057||
|Socialist Equality Party||9,774|
|Senator Online (Internet Voting Bills/Issues)||9,625|
|Building Australia Party||7,890||
|Country Alliance (now Australian Country Party||6,440|
|Uniting Australia Party||5,423|
|Future Party (now Science Party)||4,243|
|Australian Protectionist Party||3,379|
|Australian Sports Party||2,997||
|The Australian Republicans||2,997|
|Outdoor Recreation Party (Stop The Greens)||2,753||
|Bank Reform Party||1,828|
|Citizens Electoral Council||1,708|
|Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)||1,357|
|Freedom and Prosperity Party||837||
|Republican Party of Australia||743||
What happened in 2013?
The Coalition polled 37.71%, the ALP 30.11% and The Greens 8.65%. These parties won 33 of the 40 available Senate positions.
Only 4 other parties polled above 1% nationally:
- Palmer United Party won 3 seats with 4.91% nationally – 9.89% in Queensland, 6.58% in Tasmania and 12.34% in WA secured three senators
- Liberal Democrats won 3.91% nationally – won a seat with 9.50% in NSW
- Nick Xenophon Group secured 1.93% nationally, but this was actually 24.88% in South Australia and resulted in the election of one senator
- Sex Party polled 1.37% nationally but did not win a seat
- Family First secured 1.11% nationally – won a South Australian seat with 3.76%
A further 46 groups polled less than 1% each. 19 of those failed to make it to 0.5%. 25 groups failed to poll more than 0.66% and will not contest this year’s election.
Ricky Muir of the Motoring Enthusiast Party was elected to the Senate with 0.51% of the primary vote in Victoria. His election was entirely due to preference deals via group voting tickets. Unless he can dramatically increase his primary vote, he has no hope of being re-elected.
What is likely to happen on July 2, 2016?
In the 2016 double dissolution election, the quota for election to the Senate is 7.7%. In the absence of group voting tickets that previously enabled micro parties to elect senators via preference deals, it is estimated that a party will have to get at least 3% of the primary vote to have a chance of winning a seat.
Any group that can make it to 3% will also require a strong flow of preferences to make it to a quota. The abolition of group voting tickets and the introduction of optional preferential voting above and below the line makes it near impossible to predict the preference flow or the number of exhausted votes. The inability of micro parties to staff polling booths and hand out how-to-vote cards also inhibits their ability to reach a quota.
Jacqui Lambie, Derryn Hinch, Glenn Lazarus, Pauline Hanson and others have been mentioned as possibilities for election to the Senate on July 2. Nick Xenophon is expected to bring two other members of his party with him into the Senate.
Most predictions assume a much higher vote than past experience suggests is likely. As Antony Green said in this very useful piece: “The new electoral system is likely to give the final seats to the parties with the highest partial quotas at the start of the count.”