Informal hits new record

The blog speculated before the election on just how big the informal vote would be in this year’s Federal election. The 2010 informal vote was the highest since 1984 and the 2013 result looks like being an all-time record.

At the end of the weekend the 2013 informal tally was 5.9% although it may reduce somewhat as absentee and postal votes are counted. As the blog remarked the informal vote comes on top of the fact that somewhere between 500,000 and750,000 million voters are not enrolled at all. The Australian Electoral Commission ran a campaign before the election encouraging young people to enrol. The result – according to a friend who works in an electoral office – was that about 25,000 people responded. His source, an ABC report, which said the voters had not enrolled because they were ‘disinterested’ suggesting that one might despair of the ABC’s literacy along with the state of politics.

Another item of interest is the split in postal/absentee votes which, the conventional wisdom says, favour the Liberals. The conventional wisdom is based on the fact that wealthier people are more likely to be away and more likely to vote conservative. With mass travel that ain’t necessarily so and both parties work hard to garner early and absentee votes. Given the relative success of the ALP in keeping swings to below expected levels in some very vulnerable marginals the final postal vote split outcome will be interesting. A good indicator will be Eden Monaro where the sitting member, Mike Kelly, has a long family history. The odds are he’s going to lose – which is a bit of a tragedy because he’s a really good bloke – but the absentee/postal vote split might not be strongly against him. In the meantime many will be watching the postal split in Indi. Any election – whatever the overall outcome – in which Sophie Mirabella loses will bring some pleasure to some people on all sides of politics.

Meanwhile the first official decision of the new Government – to recall former Victorian Premier Steve Bracks, from his new post in New York  – is probably a good indication of the extent to which the Abbott Government will be the ‘grown ups’ they claimed to be.