Strange thing on the scrutineering last night. Something unexpected; something which won’t show up in the official figures.
In Forde, for the House of Representatives, there were four candidates; Greens, LNP, Labor and Family First in ballot paper order. (There’s a photo of my ballot paper in my previous post.)
When calculating the Two-Party-Preferred figures (distributing Greens and Family First 2nd and 3rd preferences), about 20% of Greens second preferences went to Family First. At the same time, about 20% of Family First second preferences went to the Greens.
Now the Greens and Family First are at opposite ends of the political spectrum. It would usually be completely unexpected that anyone who voted  for either Greens or Family First would vote  for the other. The LNP scrutineer and I both spotted the trend and looked at each other in disbelief.
It was the Labor scrutineer who told us what was happening. Voters were saying “A pox upon both your houses!” They were voting for ANYONE before going to one of the Majors.
Not only are we staring down the barrel of a hung parliament, but clearly, there’s a lot of disaffected voters out there - even more than the stupidly-high 6.6% (at our booth) informal vote would suggest. I don’t think either major party can claim much of a mandate for anything after this election.
Update: Sun 22 Aug 2010 (late)
I’ve been asked to estimate the size of the “protest vote”. My calculations are based on my observations while scrutineering at one booth (Shailer Park in Forde).
- 20% of Greens primary can be called a “protest vote” because 2nd pref was directed to Family First : 20% of 13.54% = 2.71%
- 20% of Family First primary can be called a “protest vote” because 2nd pref was directed to Greens : 20% of 5.60% = 1.12%
- Increase in Informal : 6.63% in 2010, less 3.30% at the same booth in 2007* = 3.33%
- Total Protest Vote 7.16%
* Note that Shailer Park was in Rankin in 2007 and was redistributed into Forde in 2010.
Other interesting factoid: the successful LNP candidate for Forde in 2010, Bert Van Manen, stood for Rankin in 2007 as a Family First candidate.