Voting reforms and a double dissolution election have put Pauline Hanson in a “seat-winning position” for the first time in more than 10 years.
A review of the senate by The Australian Institute has highlighted that the number of seats up for grabs when the whole senate is dissolved is doubled thereby halving the percentage quota required to win one. What this means is that Hanson, and other small players on the senate stage, could win just as many seats as they currently have — there are eight independents.
Predicting no less than five seats, this is good news for Pauline Hanson who says the new senate voting system will give voters more control over preferences and restrict the big parties’ capacity to do preference-swap deals to lock her out.
While she has the support of broadcaster Alan Jones, not everyone is thrilled with this news.
And so, with the shrill support of The Parrot, the perennial Pauline Hanson is sticking her snout in the electoral trough again…
— Mike Carlton (@MikeCarlton01) April 23, 2016
Qld. Seriously. Pauline Hanson for the Senate? Again. Give us a break. #ausvotes2016
— Janet M (@cinderella_oz) April 23, 2016
She’s certainly persistent.
“I keep having a go, don’t I? I keep putting my hand up,” she says.
“I think the difference this time is the voters are in control of their votes. I don’t believe I’m going to be cheated out of a seat this time in where they direct their preferences.”
Under the previous senate voting system, people could either vote below the line — numbering every box — or above the line, numbering just one. More than 90 per cent of voters usually chose the second, easier option. It meant they handed control of their preferences to the party of their first choice.
But not anymore. Those preferences won’t flow beyond candidates from the same party or group unless voters expressly order it by numbering further boxes.
Hanson says her strategy for preferences is simple.
“Liberal voters might not give me their No. 1 vote, but they might give me their No. 2,” she says. The same goes for Labor voters… and the Greens.
With such a simple plan, voters who follow her suggestion would ensure she receives their overflow preferences, and that could be enough to get her elected.