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Preference deals could throw up surprise


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Eleven Legislative Council seats will be decided at the March 15 election – and there could be some surprises, judging by our analysis of the preference deals finalised last week.

Four seats are likely to go to each major party, leaving three up for grabs – although Adelaide University’s Clem Macintyre suggests that Labor’s dipping primary vote may only guarantee the party three quotas, leaving another seat available.

We’ve assembled the preferences on a sortable chart. By reading horizontally along a line you can see the preferences a party receives (note each party gives itself its first preference) and by reading vertically down you can see how a party has distributed its preferences. Each column is sortable by clicking the toggle at the top.

Below is InDaily’s assessment of the strength of the preference deals.

Strong performers

1. Family First Party

Family First has secured first preferences from the Katter party, the Nationals, the Liberals and Fishing and Lifestyle. Plus they get third preferences from Labor and Palmer. If their primary vote holds up expect them to gobble up those quotas and then push the Greens for the sixth spot. If they can get ahead of the Greens late in the count and eliminate them they’ll get Labor’s preferences as well, meaning if the Greens don’t win enough votes to return Mark Parnell (unlikely) Family First are likely to get that spot.

Prediction: one seat, with a possible second if the Greens poll poorly.

Last time: 4.4% primary vote

2. South Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party

The Fishers have snared crucially important second preferences from Family First in exchange for their own first preferences. Family First are likely to be the first ‘major’ party to fall; if the Fishers can hang on deep into the count and get ahead of Family First on preference flows they should benefit from any leftover Family First quota and get a seat.

Prediction: With the caveats above, one seat is possible – but their only chance is for the final seat up for grab, which is very hard to predict.

Last time: 0.73% primary vote

3. Independent Nick Xenophon Team

Some commentators have called Xenophon’s performance a poor one, with lots of last preferences. We’re not so sure. Xenophon has secured one that counts – a third preference from the Libs, after Family First and Palmer. His candidates might get a quota on first preferences alone and then could hope to snare the last seat after Family First has won its quota.

Prediction: One seat, but who knows what his first preference vote will be like?

Last time: 20.51% (2006 election)

4. The Greens

The Greens have Labor’s second preference, which is the one that counts. Along with a few other high minor-party preferences they should be able to cobble together a quota.

Last time: 6.64% primary vote

Prediction: One seat

5. Independent Powerful Communities

Here’s our minor party smoky. The party has grabbed three first preferences, two second preferences and two third preferences. They’ll get Labor’s fourth preference, although that’s after Family First, and Xenophon’s second preference after Dignity for Disability. In Mark Henley they also have a high-profile lead candidate.

Prediction: An outside chance for the last seat.

Weak performers

1. The Nationals

Shocking performance from their negotiators to not pick up a single first preference. The closest they come is Family First’s second preference, but Family First should easily outpoll the Nats.

2. Dignity for Disability

Despite being in parliament D4D’s preferences this time round look poor. They get Labor’s second preference – but it’s after the Greens – and Xenophon’s first preference. But a lack of minor party preferences means they might struggle to stay in the count that long. Still, Kelly Vincent’s high profile might give them a crucial boost to their primary vote.

3. Shooters and Fishers Party SA

Despite the alleged paid help of preference whisperer Glenn Druery, the Shooters appear to have done reasonably poorly in the wheeling and dealing of preference negotiations. A second preference from Katter comes after Family First, which won’t be much help. They do grab first preferences from Palmer and the Fair Land Tax party, and a third-preference from Fishing and Lifestyle, but it’s hard to see them building enough momentum on those preferences to gather a quota.


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