Victorian upper house Warwick Gately
Victorian Electoral Commission Commissioner Warwick Gately (Image: AAP/Penny Stephens)

Readers were particularly animated yesterday in conversations about the Greens’ losses (and micro-party gains) in the newly minted Victorian upper house (which Guy Rundle and William Bowe each wrote about). Some weren’t convinced that the chaos will be as great as many predict; some found it disgraceful. Meanwhile, readers dug into rumours of National Party pork barrelling (and the need for an ICAC).

On Victoria’s upper-house results

Mark e smith writes: No matter how you slice and dice it, something is seriously wrong when a micro can get in on a few percent against a Greens 13%+. Changes to the electoral system are the trickiest to enact as they require rare confluences of political opportunism and timing. Above the line panders to stupidity and civic laziness. There’s enough already without encouraging it. Full optional preferential is the only truly democratic method.

Barnino writes: Labor will be in no hurry to change this disgraceful upper house lunacy, given that it has severely damaged their mortal enemy, The Greens.

Dog’s Breakfast writes: Props to Glenn Druery. He has just exploited a stupid system. The senate is a ridiculously undemocratic institution, more so at federal level. I have voted below the line for decades, sometimes numbering 240 odd candidates, and nobody knows where my vote ended up due to the way the quotas work.

Arky writes: Yes, as the crossbench count came in, the light went on with the polling experts but it hasn’t gone on all the way with alleged political experts in mainstream papers. Keeping group voting tickets in the upper house has turned out to be tactically and strategically brilliant whatever the arguments about democracy and chaos.

Tactically, because Labor kept crossbenchers onside in what could otherwise have been a more difficult upper house to manage for the last four years. Strategically, because now Labor is not beholden to the Greens or any other single group to pass legislation. There are multiple ways for Labor to get a majority in the upper house now, a buyer’s market and not a seller’s market able to hold Labor to ransom unless the cross bench is united. There is no freaking way this cross bench will unite about anything so that won’t happen.

On the pork barrelling in Nationals’ electorates

John Kotsopoulos writes: So it was “parity” Joyce was referring to when he reeled off a seemingly endless list of pork he said he had delivered to his electorate during the by-election. If so, the overt threat that deliveries would end if he failed to be re-elected needs some explaining.

Vasco writes: A look around National seats in NSW to see the money being handed out in grants by the local members is revealing. The weekly newsletter of the state member for Northern Tablelands and Minister for Tourism has been highlighting grant after grant around his electorate for months now. They range from around half a million to a few thousand dollars and there’s more to come apparently. The total amount is eye-watering.

zut alors writes: Shorten could win the next election with an ICAC policy alone. Sure, the voters are worried about wages, health & education but the electorate is so disenchanted that the giddy prospect of seeing compromised — and downright crooked — MPs head to jail may transcend all other concerns.

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and cock-ups to We reserve the right to edit comments for length and clarity. Please include your full name.