Posted 23/11/06


Preferences: Curse or bonus?

In the Upper House, when you put "1" above the line, who are you really voting for?


Upper House: Northern Victoria Region Preferences

Upper House:  Western Victoria Region Preferences



Why All The Carry-on About Preferences?


On Saturday, who is elected to the Victorian Upper House will be decided for the first time using the 'Proportional Vote Counting System'.  


With this system of vote-counting,  a candidate doesn't have to have just over 50% of the total vote to be elected (as is the case in Lower House Preferential voting), they only need around 17% (a quota) of total formal votes cast. 


Once a candidate has a quota of 17% of the total votes, they are declared elected and any votes they have 'left over' (above 17%) go to whichever candidate is your next choice (preference) on your ballot paper. 


You can go to the Victorian Electoral Commission's website and go to State Elections, then Upper House to see an excellent slideshow of how proportional vote counting works.


With proportional vote counting, preferences play an absolutely critical role in outcomes


Someone who doesn't get many preferences from other candidates needs a huge amount of primary votes (i.e. the voters' first choice) to win. 


As we saw in last year's Council election, one particular candidate who received the most primary votes of all candidates in one ward still didn't win.  That high primary vote wasn't enough to be elected outright (a quota) and the candidate didn't get enough preferences from other candidates to reach a quota and be elected.


Another example of the 'quirkiness' of proportional vote counting is where a candidate can get very few primary votes (say 3%), but win because other candidates pass their votes over to that candidate through preferences.  This is how Family First's Senator Stephen Fielding was elected to Federal parliament in 2004.


It pays to know where your vote will go because if the candidate you put first is eliminated, they pass your vote on to someone else, potentially to someone you didn't want to vote for!  


That's because under the proportional vote counting system, your vote can be transferred on to other candidates several times.  With each transfer, your vote will be passed on to the person you put as your next preference, and if this happens often enough, your vote may eventually get to candidates you put as your least preferred (although the Victorian Electoral Commission says votes are never distributed to the person named last on a ballot paper).



So How Do I Vote For Upper House Candidates?


There are 3 ways to vote for candidates in the Upper House:


First, you can put a "1" above the line on the ballot paper.  That means you are voting for the party/candidates that appear under the "1" you have marked.  It's an easy way to vote but... you are leaving it up to others to decide who gets your vote.  That's why you usually only see how-to-vote advice for the Upper House showing how to vote above the line. The groups usually want you to vote above the line so their preference arrangements prevail.  If the party/candidates you voted for either don't get enough votes to win, or have some left over after winning, they then pass your vote on to whichever candidates they have preferenced.  That might not be candidates you prefer.


Second, you can sequentially number any five boxes below the line.  These candidates become your choices to fill the 5 vacancies in your electorate.  However, if none of these candidates are elected, your vote becomes what is known as 'exhausted'.  It doesn't pass to anyone else.  It stops where your numbers stop.


You may put a different number in as many boxes below the line as you choose or, put another way, you may choose to number the box of any candidate you prefer (as long as you number at least 5 candidates) and leave the rest blank.  Just make sure the numbers run in sequence (e.g. 1, 2, 3, etc.), and don't use any number twice!  Remember, your vote will go in the sequence you choose to the candidates you number, in the order you rank them, and won't be passed on any further than the candidates you have nominated.


This one make it easy to vote for just the people you want.


Third, you can put a different number in every box below the line.  This is very specific and, with 38 and 34 candidates in the Northern and Western Victoria regions (respectively), time-consuming.  The benefit is that you say where your vote goes.



Where Will My Vote Go - Upper House Preferences


MRRA has put together the preferences of each 'group' of Upper House candidates ('groups' consist of more than one candidate with the same affiliation, for example, a political party).  This information comes from the Victorian Electoral Commission website, and you can check any details there.


Please take a little time to check where your vote goes if you put "1" above the line.  Or you might want to take up the challenge of numbering your preferences below the line - whether its five boxes or the whole lot! 


We've included some boxes on our charts so you can choose your preferences if you want to. 


Groupings and candidates are shown in ballot paper order. 


NB. Candidates/parties who support protecting Macedon Ranges are shown in bold



Which Region Am I In?


You will vote in the Northern Victoria Region if you live in Sunbury or the southern parts of the Macedon Ranges Shire or  (e.g. Gisborne, Lancefield, Riddells Creek, Woodend, Romsey, etc.).  You will vote in the Western Victoria Region if you live in the northern parts of the Macedon Ranges Shire (e.g. Kyneton, Malmsbury, etc.).  Click here to see the electorate boundaries between the Northern and Western Victoria Regions.




Upper House:  Northern Victoria Region Preferences


A.   Aust. Greens

Preferences (1) Ind. 

de Pieri

Ind. WhelanPeople PowerALPLiberalNationalCo. AllianceDLPChristian Family First 

    Preferences (2)

Ind. WhelanInd.

de Pieri

People PowerALPLiberalNationalCo. AllianceDLPChristian Family First 

Jennifer Alden 


Jon Baly 


Jenny O’Connor 



B. Family First














Co. Alliance




Ind Whelan


de Pieri


People Power



Nathan Hulls


Mary Lou Corboy


NJ Valentine


Helen Leach


C.  Christian Party

(Fred Nile Group)



Family FirstDLPNationalsCo. AllianceLiberalInd

de Pieri

Ind WhelanPeople PowerALPGreens 

Phil Seymour

 Ewan McDonald           


D.  National Party



LiberalFamily FirstInd

de Pieri**

DLPChristianCo. AllianceInd WhelanPeople PowerInd

de Pieri**



Damian Drum












 Rachel McAsey           
 Justin Scholz           
 Robert Mitchell           
 Brian O’Sullivan           


E. Independent



People PowerInd. WhelanGreensCo. AllianceLiberalNationalsALPFamily FirstDLPChristian 

Stefano de Pieri

 Helen Healy           
 Geoff Brown           
 Joe Rocca           
 Neil Fettling           


F.  Country Alliance


Preferences (1)

Family First#DLP#Labor LiberalPeople PowerNationalsChristianInd. WhelanInd.

de Pieri


Preferences (2)

Family First#DLP#LiberalLaborPeople PowerNationalsChristianInd. WhelanInd.

de Pieri


Danny Lee


Fred Goodwin



G. People Power




de Pieri

Ind. WhelanGreensCo. AllianceNationalsDLPALP **LiberalFamily FirstChristian ALP **

Denise Allen


Phil Bachmann



H.  Independent





de Pieri

People PowerGreensCo. AllianceFamily FirstALPNationalsDLPLiberalChristian 

Laurie Whelan


Peter O’Brien



I. Democratic Labor Party (DLP)



ChristianCo. AllianceFamily FirstPeople PowerInd. WhelanNationalsLiberalLaborInd.

de Pieri


Andrew Robinson


Paul McCormack


Sharon Lane



J.  Australian Labor Party



Co. AllianceInd. de PieriInd. WhelanPeople PowerGreensDLPFamily FirstChristianNationalsLiberal 

Candy Broad


Kaye Darveniza


Margaret Lewis


Brad Dobson


Jamie Byron



K.  Liberal Party




Family FirstCo. AllianceDLPChristianInd.

de Pieri

People PowerInd. WhelanALPGreens 

Wendy Lovell


Donna Petrovich


John Lithgow


Zie Devereux


Michael Gillies-Smith


* Split ticket: two choices    ** Preferences Split Within Group   # Preferences alternate between Family First (3, 5, 7, 9) and DLP (4, 6, 8)



Upper House: Western Victoria Region


A.  Australian Greens



Socialist All.People PowerALPNationalsLiberalCamilleri +DLPCo. AllianceFamily First   

Marcus Ward


Gillian Blair


Stephen Chenery


Karen McAloon


Judy Cameron



B.  People Power



Camilleri +DLPSocialist All.Co. AllianceGreensNationalsALPLiberalFamily First   

Greg Jones


Lachlan Jones



C.  Country Alliance


Preferences (1)

DLP** KavanaghFamily First**


ALPFamily First#DLP#NationalsLiberalCamilleri +People PowerSocialist All.Greens 

Preferences (2)

DLP** KavanaghFamily First**


Lib**NationalsFamily First#DLP#Lib **ALPCamilleri +People PowerSocialist All.Greens

Miles Hodge


Ron Heath



D.  Democratic Labor Party (DLP)



Family FirstPeople PowerCo. AllianceLiberalNationalsALPCamilleri +Socialist All.Greens   

Peter Kavanagh


Clare Power


David Power


Michael Casanova


Leanne Casanova



E.  Socialist Alliance



GreensALPPeople PowerCo. AllianceCamilleri +LiberalNationalDLPFamily First   

Sue Bull


Rowan Stewart



F.  Nationals



LiberalsFamily FirstCo. AllianceDLPPeople PowerALPCamilleri +Socialist All.Greens   

Samantha McIntosh


Peter McIntyre



G. Liberal



NationalsFamily FirstDLPCo. AlliancePeople PowerCamilleri +ALP


Socialist All.    

John Vogels


David Koch


Kate Bullen


Paul Johnston


John Oxley



H.  Family First



DLPCo. AllianceLiberalNationalsCamilleri +ALPPeople PowerSocialist All. Greens   

Gordon Alderson


Monique Podbury


Michael Croot


Anna Jennings


Michael Albers



I. Australian Labor Party



People PowerCo. AllianceDLPGreensSocialist All. Family FirstNationalsLiberalsCamilleri +   

Jaala Pulford


Gayle Tierney


Elaine Carbines


Christine Couzens


Chris Papas







John S. Camilleri


* Split ticket: two choices   ** Preferences Split Within Group    # Preferences alternate between Family First and DLP    + Ungrouped