In Australia, candidates from some very minor parties look like they'll winning some seats. For example, a candidate from the Australian Sports Party looks set ABC link to win a seat in Western Australia, which has been criticised as bad because it only got 1908 primary votes.

In order to make an informed analysis of this outcome, I'd like to understand preference flows better.

For example, if no-one voted for the Australian Sports Party, who would have been elected?

Also, which parties' preferences got the Australian Sports Party elected - were they mainly right-wing minor parties, or left wing minor parties which were more politically similar to The Greens or the Australian Labor Party than to the Australian Sports Party?

The AEC would have information on what the preferences are for each party. And there are websites that have how many votes each party got. And the ABC link has a reasonable simulation of how preferences actually flowed. But are there any websites that can help answer the above questions and any others about preference flows?

  • Wait 6 weeks for the full distribution of preferences from WA senate via the aec.gov.au website. Current data isn't a full Senate count, and below the line voters could seriously change the outcome. Sep 8, 2013 at 4:46
  • Very true; all it would take is a few hundred below the line votes for other small parties to push the sports party down and get them eliminated early Sep 8, 2013 at 23:21

2 Answers 2


It sounds like you have a pretty good grasp of how the counting system works, so I won't explain that here (unless you'd like me to, in which case I'm happy to do so).

Where did the sports party preferences come from?

I think the link you posted pretty much explains this. Basically, a lot of parties preferenced the sports party on the expectation that they wouldn't win anything! But, they got enough preferences from parties that got even fewer votes than they did to stay one step above elimination for the beginning of the count.

  • 762 votes from Australian Voice Party
  • 2,467 votes from Rise Up Australia Party (this party got eliminated despite having more primary votes than the sports party because 1908+762 > 2467)
  • 873 votes from the Stable Population Party
  • 4,856 votes from the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party (again, 1,908 + 762 + 2,467 + 873 > 4,856)
  • 5,389 votes from Family First
  • 6,127 votes from the Wikileaks Party
  • 7,920 votes from votes from the Shooters and Fishers
  • 8,857 votes from the Help End Marijuana Prohibition party
  • 6,080 votes from the Animal Justice Party
  • 12,376 votes from the Australian Sex Party
  • 2,451 votes from the Australian Independents
  • 14,037 votes from the Australian Christians
  • 881 votes from the No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics
  • 3,107 votes from the Australian Fishing & Lifestyle party

At this point in the count, the Liberals have enough votes (1.0681 quotas) to elect another senator, Linda Reynolds (the 4th senator elected). The surplus 0.0681 quotas are distributed to other parties according to the preferences specified by the party these votes were originally cast for.

  • 7,565 votes from the Liberal Party
  • 29,517 votes from the Liberal Democrats
  • 1,341 votes from Stop the Greens
  • 5,656 votes from Smokers Rights
  • 2,510 votes from the Australian Democrats

At this point, the sports party have acquired enough votes in preferences to elect their senator Wayne Dropulich in 5th place.

What would have happened if they didn't get any votes?

The ABC's senate calculator can answer this one! If you punch in the primary votes from the WA senate count into http://www.abc.net.au/news/federal-election-2013/senate-calculator/, and then set the vote for the sports party to zero, it looks like a Palmer United candidate gets elected instead. I can't send you a link to this simulation because the calculator doesn't have any kind of save button though.

Let me know if this doesn't answer your question!

  • 1
    The data in this answer uses undistributed first preferences and GVTs. Group voting tickets are on aec.gov.au. Undistributed preferences are in virtual tally room on aec. Sep 8, 2013 at 5:17
  • I would add that the preferences technically go to candidates and not parties. At the same time this does make the whole thing look very confusing!
    – needshelp
    Nov 25, 2019 at 0:06

http://www.grwpub.info/senate/ has a list of graphical representations of how the groups accumulated votes and were elected or eliminated (based on above-the-line group voting).

I suspect the numbers can be edited if desired, but I'm not certain.

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