preference whispering
Leader of the Reason Party Fiona Patten. (Image: AAP/Julian Smith)

Three years after Senate electoral reform brought the merry-go-round to a halt at federal level, the game of micro-party preference manipulation is in ruder health than ever in Victoria.

Together with Western Australia, Victoria is one of two jurisdictions where parties still get to corral the overwhelming majority of their upper house votes in their chosen direction as preferences, thanks to the magic of group voting tickets -- a system that has progressively fallen by the wayside in New South Wales, South Australia and federally.

Next Saturday’s state election has brought forth a record 380 candidates for the eight Legislative Council regions, with ever more micro-party chancers hoping to strike it lucky.