In the weeks leading up to the election, Tasmanian senators from both the Labor and Liberal parties were campaigning for below-the-line votes to try to leapfrog over party colleagues who scored a higher ballot spot. Labor’s Lisa Singh, who was relegated to sixth place, and Liberal Richard Colbeck, relegated to fifth place, both mounted concerted campaigns in Tasmania to increase their visibility, with Colbeck even releasing a newspaper ad asking for voters to put him first, and then vote 2-12 as they liked — ignoring his Liberal Party colleagues. According to the The Advocate, counting on below-the-line votes has barely started (you can read more about the Senate counting system here), and last night, with less than 100 below-the-line votes counted in Tasmania for each of the major parties, “Singh had received 41 of 76 first preference below the line votes received by Labor candidates with Senator Colbeck receiving 44 of 85 below the lines votes received by Liberal candidates”. Will it be enough? We’ll find out in a few weeks.

Peter Fray

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