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The labyrinth of Christian party preference votes for WA Senate Election

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Voters at the Western Australian Senate election this weekend will have more candidates but simpler preference flows by some of the “Christian” parties.

The Liberal Party is a beneficiary of a change in preference flows by the Australian Christian Party. Previously, the Palmer United Party got the benefits of the Liberal’s preference flows.

The Australian Christians preference the other “Christian Groups”, including Rise up Australia, Democratic labour and Family First, then the top Liberal candidate.

It’s an odd preference flow.

In what might be an attempt at bipartisanship, the Australian Christians preference the top Liberal, David Johnston, then the top Labor candidate Joe Bullock.

The ABC’s election analyst Antony Green points out that “It is an irrelevant preference. Bullock will already have been elected so the preference would be skipped.” This means that unless one of the Christian candidates gets up, an Australian Christian vote is most likely a Liberal vote.

Family First is preferencing the Palmer United Party second, above the other Christian Parties. If the Palmer vote holds up then these preferences could help. Otherwise they will most likely go to the Coalition.

The Rise Up Australia preference flow is similar to Family First.

There’s even an extra “Christian” Party this time around—the Democratic Labour Party (the Pirate party has boarded this election race too). Their preferences flow through a lot of other parties but head to the Coalition.

Voters who wish to vote for these parties but don’t like the party preferences can vote “below the line” numbering the squares 1 to 68. The party preferences can be found at http://www.aec.gov.au/wa-senate/gvt.htm

Given the number of votes they got last time, it is unlikely any of the Christian parties in WA can win. But their voters’ preferences could help determine the crucial last seat, and whether the Abbott Government needs to look beyond the Palmer United forces for its Senate numbers.

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