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Sex Party could help Pauline slip into senate

By John Mikkelsen - posted Tuesday, 3 September 2013


While Labor seems to be sailing to a fate similar to the original Titanic come September 7, a swirling maelstrom of murky Senate preference deals could provide life jackets to a very mixed bag of Senate hopefuls including Pauline Hanson.

She is just one of the strange bedfellows likely to benefit from a series of incongruous deals stitched up by party leaders at odds with their supporters.

How many rootin', shootin', cowboy hat wearin' real men in the north realize that a vote above the line for their doppelganger hero Bob Katter or his minions will flow to Labor and the Greens?

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Will those who vote 1 for Big Clive Palmer or his candidates know that they are also voting for Family First, Labor and the Greens?

And if they think that sex will always beat politics (who could blame them for that?) do they know that a vote above the line for the Sex Party will flow down and possibly slide Pauline Hanson into a NSW Senate seat against the dry odds of a six- time loser?

Sex and Aunty ABC's news and current affairs don't normally go hand in glove, but the unlikely alliance between the Sex Party and Pauline Hanson reared its ugly head in a fiery finger-waving clash between the national broadcaster's election analyst Anthony Green and News Breakfast co-host, Virginia Trioli onThursday morning http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-29/preference-deals-could-benefit-micro-parties-at/4920822

Green pointed out the 'flotsam and jetsam' swirling in the minor party preferences, using the Sex Party as an example. He was adamant its supporters would not be supporters of Hanson or One Nation, but in the event that she managed to pick up at least two percent of the vote, that is where their preferences would be directed, possibly helping her win the seat.

He conceded she would be swimming against the tide to obtain the necessary numbers with a position on the extreme right of the ballot papers (which some would say was apt), and that a magnifying glass was necessary to read all the names for the myriad of candidates and parties. The system was undemocratic and must be changed, he insisted.

Trioli said he "must have had his Wheet Bix," he was speaking privately and not for the ABC. She claimed voters may be happy to have their preferences allocated in such a way.

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The National's Barnaby Joyce would have found the exchange amusing, having been on the receiving end from Miss Trioli in an off-camera moment following an interview several years ago when the journalist pulled a loopy face (apparently) and twirled a finger alongside her head implying Barnaby was short of the full quid.

But the retiring senator who has a shoe in for the House of Reps seat of New England vacated by Labor- supporting independent Tony Windsor, is in agreement with Green about the current preference deals.

In a Canberra Times column titled 'Don't let your Senate fall prey to vultures,' http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/dont-let-your-senate-fall-prey-to--vultures-20130822-2seb6.html#ixzz2cmAYlr4b Joyce writes, "Like native bird populations during a drought, these parties disappear in between elections only to magically appear at an election to funnel votes to the party lucky enough to benefit from back-room preference deals.

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About the Author

John Mikkelsen is a long term journalist, former regional newspaper editor, now freelance writer based at Gladstone in CQ.

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