Above the Line: Changes to the way we vote for the Senate

Electoral Regulation Research Network Seminar

Thursday, 14 April 2016


  • Dr Nick Economou, Monash University


  • Paul Thornton-Smith, VEC
Above the Line 2

About the Seminar:

The Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Act 2016 is making the biggest changes to the way Australians vote in Federal elections since 1984. Group voting tickets – a key feature of Senate elections for more than 30 years – are being abolished, and there will be optional preferential voting both above and below the line on Senate ballot papers.

These changes can be expected to have profound effects on voting patterns, the vote counting process and election results. There has been an unusual line-up of parties for and against the changes. As always in electoral matters, political self-interest and democratic principle are intertwined.

In this seminar, Dr Nick Economou of Monash University’s School of Political and Social Inquiry explained the changes to the Senate system. Dr Economou also outlined possible implications for Victoria, whose Upper House has a similar voting system to the Senate.

About the Speaker:

Dr Nick Economou, a PhD graduate from the University of Melbourne, is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Political and Social Inquiry at Monash University. Nick has been teaching Australian politics and governance at Monash since 1992, and, prior to this, taught at the then Swinburne Institute and the former Gippsland Institute of Advanced Education (now Monash Gippsland).

Nick is an habitual commentator on Australian politics on behalf of a number of media outlets that have included the ABC, the BBC and various newspapers. Nick has a great interest in national and state politics, including the electoral contest and sometimes he even gets it right. His scholarly publications have included books such as The Kennett Revolution (co-edited with Brian Costar) and Australian Politics for Dummies (co-authored with Zareh Ghazarian). There have also been numerous academic journal articles on subjects ranging from Australian state and federal and even local government elections and the role and behaviour of Australia’s political parties through to analyses of environmental policy-making.

Nick Economou