Hockey And Robb Release Liberal Party Election Costings

Two days before the federal election, the Liberal Party has released its election costings.

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey and Shadow Finance Minister Andrew Robb held a 22-minute press conference in Melbourne to announce a further $9 billion in budget savings.


The centrepiece of the costings is a $4.5 billion cut in the growth of foreign aid that will be used to fund infrastructure. [Read more…]

Kevin Rudd’s Pre-Election Address To The National Press Club

With two days until the election, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has made his final address to the National Press Club, in Canberra.

Rudd’s speech consisted of a detailed account of the achievements of the government since its election in 2007. There were no new policy announcements.

The Labor leader took a series of questions from journalists and seemed in good cheer, despite the ALP’s position in the published polls. [Read more…]

What Is An Informal Vote?

An informal vote is one that has been incorrectly completed or not filled in at all. They are not counted towards any candidate.

According to Section 268 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act (1918), a vote is informal if: [Read more…]

What Happens To Donkey Votes?

One of the most frequently-asked questions I notice in the search queries on is about donkey votes.

For example, as I began to write this post the real-time log showed someone had searched for: “Where do donkey votes go?”

There is much confusion about donkey votes. You often hear it when someone says something like this: “I’m not happy with any of them so I’m voting donkey this time.”

For some reason, many people think that a donkey vote is the same as an informal vote. IT’S NOT!

Definition of a donkey vote: A donkey vote occurs when a voter numbers every box on the ballot paper in order from top to bottom, without regard to the logic of the preferences. In some cases, a voter might start at the bottom of the ballot paper and number them in order to the top.


It’s as simple as that. A donkey vote is just another vote. It counts. It’s not informal.

Definition of a formal vote: A formal vote must have the number 1 against a candidate’s name and must number the other candidates in numerical order.

For a vote to be informal, it might:

  • be blank
  • not have a number 1
  • have defective numbering – that is, numbers are not sequential
  • use ticks and crosses instead of numbers
  • identify the voter in some way
  • not have been initialled by an Australian Electoral Commission worker

In practice, most informal votes are either blank, only have the number 1 marked, use ticks and crosses, or have some kind of defective numbering.

In other words, even if you have cast a donkey vote and your preferences don’t look very logical, as long as you have put the number “1” against one candidate and numbered the others in sequential order your vote will be counted and will go to whoever got the number “1”.

Many people also don’t seem to understand that it’s not always possible to tell whether a vote is a donkey vote.

For example, if the ALP candidate is first on the ballot paper, followed by the Liberal candidate, Family First and the Greens, it’s probably a donkey vote because it’s not very logical for an ALP voter to give their second preference to the Liberal and Family First candidates ahead of the Greens.

However, if the order of candidates on the ballot paper is Greens, ALP, Liberal, One Nation, then it’s perfectly logical for a Greens voter to give their second preference to the ALP ahead of the Liberals and also perfectly logical to put One Nation last.

In truth, we can never be sure whether someone has cast a donkey vote on purpose or not. What might look illogical to one person could actually reflect how the elector intended to vote.

For the political parties, being first on the ballot paper is regarded as a good thing because they get the benefit of the donkey vote. Opinions vary but the donkey vote could be worth 1 or 2 per cent to the candidate at the top of the ballot paper. It can be more important when there are a lot of candidates contesting the election. However, most Australians use the how-to-vote cards issued by candidates at the polling booth and these are far more important than donkey votes.

So, if you really want to express your disgust or disappointment and not vote for anyone, don’t cast a donkey vote because if you do you will be voting for someone!

Reserve Bank Leaves Interest Rates On Hold

Four days out from the federal election, the Reserve Bank of Australia has left the cash rate unchanged at 2.5% at its monthly meeting.

The bank lowered the cash rate at its last meeting in August, two days after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called the election.

The bank increased the rate in November 2007, during the election campaign which led to the defeat of the Howard government.

Text of statement by Glenn Stevens, Governor, Reserve Bank of Australia.

At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 2.5 per cent.

Recent information is consistent with global growth running a bit below average this year, with reasonable prospects of a pick-up next year. Commodity prices have declined from their peaks, but generally remain at high levels by historical standards. Inflation in most countries remains well contained. [Read more…]

Into The Final Straight, Rudd Interrogated On Q&A

Kevin Rudd has confronted a forthright and critical audience on the ABC’s Q&A program tonight in what was most likely one of his last set piece performances as prime minister.

Rudd faced some severe questioning on issues such as election promises, nurses, Newstart for single parents, gay marriage, superannuation, education funding and the state of the economy.


One questioner wanted to know whether Rudd would create a by-election in his seat of Griffith if he loses Saturday’s election but the prime minister would not accept the bait and refused to make any commitments based on an assumption of losing. [Read more…]

Tony Abbott’s Pre-Election National Press Club Address

The Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, has made his final pre-election appearance at the National Press Club, in Canberra.

With victory in sight, Abbott’s address contained nothing new. The Liberal leader repeated his assertion that the nation cannot afford “another three years like the last six”.


Journalists’ questions often focussed on what he would do in office, reflecting the mood that Abbott is just days away from becoming Australia’s 28th prime minister. [Read more…]