The voting system used to determine members of Victoria’s Upper House throws up anomalies when there are lots of micro parties, but it is the fairest option, according to Bendigo-based La Trobe University honorary associate of politics Ian Tulloch.
The Greens have declared the system undemocratic and want it changed.
The Labor party has conducted a social media campaign urging voters to tick all 45 boxes below the line for Northern Victoria so that their vote is a true reflection of their preferred candidates.
Looking through the group voting tickets of all 18 parties running in Northern Victoria, Greens’ candidate Nicole Rowan and Labor’s Mark Gepp feature only six and five times respectively in the top half of the tickets.
The preference order of these tickets are followed when voters vote above the line.
Josh Hudson, from micro party Josh Hudson for Northern Victoria and Democratic Labour Party candidate Chris McCormack feature in the top half of 17 and nine respectively.
ABC election analyst Antony Green has said the system can elect a micro party candidate with less than one per cent of first preference votes from a major party candidate who attracts as much as eight per cent, once preference votes come into play.
Complicating the issue is the activity of the so-called preference whisperer Glenn Druery, who has accepted money for preference deals and against whom a complaint has been lodged with the Victorian Electoral Commission.
The VEC has passed that complaint on to Victorian Police.
Faced with 45 boxes to tick below the line on the ballot paper, for convenience sake some voters will put one number against a party above the line, Mr Tulloch said.
“But they don’t actually know what their final preference will be when a proportion of that vote is redistributed to someone else,” Mr Tulloch said.
“But I don’t think it matters so much, if we go back to the old preferential system, that was just a nightmare, and totally unfair.”
He said the current system produced the best outcome because it allowed parties to get elected more or less in proportion to the percentage of the vote they get.
“It does produce anomalous outcomes because when you get a huge number of minor party candidates, all swapping preferences, you can get someone elected with just one or two per cent of the primary vote,” he said.
“They attract the preferences of all the others in the deal and that could knock off one of the major party candidates in one of the eight districts.
“The more the merrier from my point of view, if they have got the support they get elected, if they don’t they lose their deposit which most of the micro parties do.”