Psephologist Kevin Bonham has analysed Tasmanian Senate ballot papers to find that Abetz holds a very important position in that state. Not only was he the first elected senator, but among the (admittedly very small) number of people who bothered to number every single box below the line, Abetz was also the most popular option for 58th position:

“Voting all the way below the line (1-58 in this case) is the best way to make your vote as powerful as possible if you have strong views about particular candidates as opposed to just parties, but not that many voters do it. I have done a quick sample of the top 5% of the Tasmanian data-entry voting and find that in this sample 1.8% go all the way to put someone 58th.  

“Last time the honour of most last places was fiercely contested by The Greens and Stop The Greens but I had a sneaking suspicion there would be a runaway winner this time around. It looks from the first 5% of the data-entry voting that of the few voters going the distance, a massive 35.3% have put Eric Abetz (Liberal) last. He is followed distantly in this sample by John Tucker (bottom of the Liberal ticket) on 9%, Anna Reynolds (bottom of the Green ticket) 6%, Nick McKim (Green) 5.3% and then the bottom Christian Democrat and One Nation candidates.  For everyone but Abetz the sample size is inconclusive so I may check the full list as time allows. (My computer is a bit old for processing spreadsheets with over 300,000 rows quickly.)”

Bonham’s full list of quirks and oddballs from the Tasmanian count is here.

Peter Fray

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