2016 Senate Votes: A Higher But Fragmented Vote For Minor And Micro Parties

Aside from the Coalition, ALP and Greens, 47 parties contested the Senate at July’s double dissolution election.

Just 8 of the 47 parties polled above 1% nationally. Five of these 8 parties elected senators: Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (4 senators), Nick Xenophon Team (3), Liberal Democrats (1), Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party (1) and Family First (1). The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, the Christian Democrats and the Animal Justice Party did not elect any of their candidates.

There were 39 parties that nominated candidates in at least one state or territory but failed to poll above 0.74%. Fourteen failed to even reach 0.1% nationally and did only marginally better in individual states. Another 25 polled between 0.14%-0.74%.

The Jacqui Lambie Network was the only party in the latter group that managed to elect a senator. Lambie polled just 0.50% nationally, but she only ran candidates in three states and polled a full quota in her own right in Tasmania. With 8.30% of the vote, Lambie won a place in the first group of senators who will receive six-year terms.

The election of Derryn Hinch in Victoria is somewhat comparable to Lambie. His party only polled 1.93% nationally, and less than 1% in all states except Victoria, where Hinch secured election off a primary base of 6.05%.

The combined Coalition-ALP-Greens vote was 73.62%, down 2.85% from the 2013 result. This delivered 65 of the 76 Senate positions (85.5%) to these three groups.

The remaining 26.38% of the vote was split between 47 parties. These parties won the remaining 11 seats (14.4%).

Independent and ungrouped candidates below-the-line received just 0.18% of the vote.

The figures in the table below are consistent with the previous election. In 2013, there were 46 parties that polled less than 1% each.

The overall proportion of the vote flowing to the Coalition, ALP and Greens fell once again at the 2016 election. It fuels the argument that voters are disillusioned with the major parties and looking for alternatives. However, the figures indicate that this is a simplistic analysis.

Voters have failed to coalesce around more than a handful of minor and micro parties. Outside the top 11 groups, the votes for other parties are derisory. The so-called fragmentation of support for the major political groups is more than matched by a fragmented voter rebellion.

Group voting tickets were abolished for this election. Without them, all but a handful of parties were incapable of winning seats. Those elected more closely represent the parties with the highest primary votes. The Family First party in South Australia elected Bob Day from the lowest primary vote of 2.87%.

Preferences were crucial to the success of One Nation, Family First and the Liberal Democrats. The analysis of preference flows shows that voters have largely ignored how-to-vote cards. At the very least, they have been followed only haphazardly. Left to their own devices, without the manipulation of group voting tickets, voters tended to move towards parties of the right.

*
The table below shows all the parties and groups that contested the 2016 federal election. It shows the actual number of votes each group received nationally, as well as the national, state and territory percentages. Parties are listed in order of their national vote percentage. Coalition parties have been itemised and grouped.

2016 Senate Election – Votes for Parties/Groups by States/Territories
Party/Group Total Votes National
%
NSW
%
Vic
%
Qld
%
WA
%
SA
%
Tas
%
ACT
%
NT
%
Liberal Party 1,066,579
7.71
38.49
32.58
32.53
33.21
Liberal/National (Joint Ticket) 2,769,426
20.01
35.85
33.11
Liberal National Party (LNP-Qld) 960,467
6.94
35.27
Country Liberals (NT) 37,156
0.27
36.42
The Nationals 34,618
0.25
2.53
Liberal/Nationals/LNP/CLP Coalition 4,868,246
35.18
Australian Labor Party 4,123,084
29.79
31.28
30.73
26.35
28.26
27.32
33.59
37.94
37.44
Australian Greens 1,197,657
8.65
7.41
10.87
6.92
10.53
5.87
11.16
16.10
10.78
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation 593,013
4.29
4.10
1.81
9.19
4.03
2.98
2.57
Nick Xenophon Team 456,369
3.30
1.78
1.57
2.04
2.17
21.74
1.51
Liberal Democrats 298,915
2.16
3.09
1.59
2.85
0.79
0.65
0.49
2.93
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party 266,607
1.93
0.59
6.05
0.52
0.74
0.22
0.43
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers 192,923
1.39
1.98
1.05
1.09
1.86
0.74
1.38
Family First 191,112
1.38
1.18
1.14
1.93
0.64
2.87
1.97
Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) 162,155
1.17
2.70
0.27
0.27
1.01
0.26
0.84
1.21
1.63
Animal Justice Party 159,373
1.15
0.85
1.74
1.19
0.93
0.85
0.70
1.67
Australian Liberty Alliance 102,982
0.74
0.66
0.66
1.08
1.11
0.42
0.33
Democratic Labour Party (DLP) 94,510
0.68
1.15
0.52
0.57
0.69
Australian Sex Party 94,262
0.68
0.67
1.55
3.96
Health Australia Party 85,233
0.62
1.18
0.49
0.37
0.35
Sex Party/HEMP 76,744
0.55
1.11
1.83
1.14
1.32
4.86
Jacqui Lambie Network 69,074
0.50
0.37
0.34
8.30
Australian Christians 66,525
0.48
0.99
0.36
1.62
Drug Law Reform 61,327
0.44
0.46
0.67
0.63
Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party 53,232
0.38
0.36
0.91
0.48
Katter’s Australian Party 53,123
0.38
0.10
1.79
Glenn Lazarus Team 45,149
0.33
0.44
1.66
Marriage Equality 44,982
0.33
0.49
0.87
0.38
The Arts Party 37,702
0.27
0.26
0.22
0.41
0.22
0.32
0.21
Rise Up Australia Party 36,424
0.26
0.17
0.29
0.21
0.27
0.99
6.63
Pirate Party 35,184
0.25
0.25
0.38
0.38
Renewable Energy Party 29,983
0.22
0.20
0.25
0.23
0.34
0.40
Science Party/Cyclists Party 29,934
0.22
0.41
0.33
Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) 29,510
0.21
0.66
Sustainable Australia 26,341
0.19
0.17
0.30
0.20
1.05
Palmer United Party 26,210
0.19
0.06
0.30
0.18
0.37
0.07
0.70
UNENDORSED/UNGROUPED 25,280
0.18
0.15
0.18
0.21
0.23
0.08
0.15
0.39
1.01
Australian Cyclists Party 24,276
0.18
0.73
0.20
0.16
Voluntary Euthanasia Party 23,252
0.17
0.34
0.16
0.22
Seniors United Party of Australia 22,213
0.16
0.49
VOTEFLUX.ORG 20,453
0.15
0.28
0.08
0.07
0.10
0.08
0.28
Mature Australia 18,920
0.14
0.06
0.10
0.20
0.20
0.42
Online Direct Democracy – (Empowering the People!) 11,857
0.09
0.14
0.20
Secular Party of Australia 11,077
0.08
0.06
0.07
0.17
0.54
Veterans Party 10,391
0.08
0.13
0.17
Socialist Alliance 9,968
0.07
0.12
0.07
0.15
Citizens Electoral Council 9,850
0.07
0.04
0.06
0.07
0.15
0.05
0.05
1.23
Australian Country Party 9,316
0.07
0.27
Socialist Equality Party 7,865
0.06
0.07
0.09
0.06
Australian Progressives 6,251
0.05
0.04
0.06
0.04
0.11
Country Minded 5,989
0.04
0.07
0.10
John Madigan’s Manufacturing and Farming Party 5,268
0.04
0.15
Australia First Party (NSW) Incorporated 3,005
0.02
0.22
Australian Recreational Fishers Party 2,376
0.02
0.70
Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting) 2,102
0.02
0.05
Science Party 1,306
0.01
0.39

Source: Australian Electoral Commission publications.

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