Did anti-filter voters put Conroy last?

Did anti-filter voters put Conroy last?

Summary: Prior to the 2010 Federal Election, a campaign opposing the Australian Labor Party's mandatory internet filter policy was held to send Labor a message by putting Senator Stephen Conroy, the minister responsible for the policy, last on their Senate ballot paper when voting below the line. But did it work?

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Prior to the 2010 Federal Election, a campaign opposing the Australian Labor Party's mandatory internet filter policy was held to send Labor a message by putting Senator Stephen Conroy, the minister responsible for the policy, last on their Senate ballot paper when voting below the line. But did it work?

Well, Conroy's returned to the role of minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, with the additional responsibility for overseeing the roll-out of the National Broadband Network.

But, thanks to the AEC's Virtual Tally Room website and the publicly available raw data from the election, it is now possible to see exactly how every below-the-line voter in Victoria allocated all 60 of their Senate preferences in 2010.

Developer Gary Pendergast has put the results of a face-off between Victoria's two most controversial senators, Conroy and Family First's Steve Fielding, up on his website with an analysis. I have gone one step further, and used AEC's files and singled out the data on Conroy's vote distribution (see graph below).

Conroy graph

This graph shows the distribution of preference votes for Stephen Conroy. (Credit: Josh Taylor/ZDNet Australia)

The graph reveals that of the small minority of Victorians who voted below the line, the vast majority either voted Labor or Greens first. The sharp spike at number two corresponds with where Conroy appeared on the ALP ticket on the ballot paper, while the spike at number eight corresponds with voters picking the six Greens candidates and then Labor.

Those who voted the entire Labor ticket last likely put Conroy at number 57, explaining the spike there, while the data shows that around 5.2 per cent of voters put Conroy at the 60th place on their senate ballot. It's a noticeable spike, but nowhere near enough to put the minister's Senate spot in any real danger.

Political blogger Ben Raue noted during the course of the election that it would take upwards of 40 per cent of voters in Victoria to take on this campaign. Perhaps the protest vote will leave those who feel passionate about the policy knowing they have voted with their conscience and vented their spleen?

In any case, Conroy is still keen on continuing with the policy of mandatory internet service provider level internet filtering, even with the guarantee that the legislation won't pass in parliament any time soon if the Coalition and the Greens vote against it.

As Pendergast noted in his blog, this election saw an increase in the number of people voting below the line for the Senate across Australia. Thanks, in part no doubt, to campaigns such as Filter Conroy, and assisted by voting guide websites such as Belowtheline.org.au. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues, thanks to the easy accessibility of voting assistance tools like these. That's even without considering the possibility of online voting.

Topics: Government, Government AU

About

Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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8 comments
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  • Gillard keeps Conroy because Conroy's folly has now so hopelessly failed he is still "safe" and useful for the NBN, her only reason for continuing relevance ... OR ... is Gillard still a filter Queen deep down, safely undeclared and biding her time. I think its time Julia put free speach up front and personal and took control of the issue by killing it. Just because you can filter (regardless of its effectiveness) doesn't mean you should. I'm giving her two weeks to act on this before her carelessness on the issue starts to become a stain she will have a hard time shifting. Yes Julia, I'm talking about you - "It's Time".
    ptrrssll@...
  • Another analysis of the election results:
    Conjob = Crippled/censored internet
    Mad Monk = Crap internet
    Greens = No Filter & NBN scrapes in.
    grump3
  • Gillard keeps Conroy because he is a branch stacker. The only reason he has moved up through the ALP ranks is because of his unethical branch stacking skills in Melbourne's West. This has already been fairly well documented and any web search on "Conroy" and "Branch Stacker" will yield hundreds of results including major newspaper reports etc.

    Branch stacking has brought the ethics of the ALP to its knees. Ethical ALP aligned individuals who aspire to politics have no hope against the unethical branch stacking rotters who have infiltrated and taken over the party.
    Botham-2cb40
  • It doesn't surprise me that he is a behind-the-scenes branch stacker.
    This possibly explains why Gillard has persisted with him, despite his idiotic ocsession with his filter.
    He helped Shorten get nominated, who in turn helped Gillard topple Rudd, so he gets his reward. Another example of sleaze politics.
    Yoda7
  • Conboy's reputation got an undeserved boost when two of the independents gave the NBN as a stated reason for supporting Labor. Some people say that those two were always going to join with Labor, after they failed years ago to get coalition endorsement and have been carrying a bitter grudge ever since.
    gnome-8be8a
  • I agree, branch stacking and the BS that goes on in the Labor party sux.

    But let's be real, do you think behind closed door deals and power plays don't go on, in the other side of politics too?

    Perhaps you all believe, Tony got to be opposition leader, simply because he's a nice guy [sic]?
    RS-ef540
  • Yes probably right as usual gnome...

    Thing is, if these guys actually deserved endorsement (I don't know if they did - but the voters in their electorates certainly seem to think so) and they were overlooked for whatever reason, doesn't that equate to branch stacking too?

    Plus, carrying a grudge... if I were deserved of endorsement (with voters now proving it) but told to **** off by my own party (also think Rudd), I would hold a grudge too...wouldn't you?

    Seriously, imo the only thing that will fix the major parties, is an extra large enema.
    RS-ef540
  • "Seriously, imo the only thing that will fix the major parties, is an extra large enema."

    Lake Burley-Griffin will never be the same again!
    Treknology