Make your Vote Count


The system of optional preferential voting in NSW Legislative Assembly is different to the Australian Federal Election for the House of Representatives.

  1. Voting is Compulsory – That means you must get your name marked off. What you put on the paper is your business.
  2. In NSW you should to place a “1” in the box of your preferred candidate.
  3. In NSW preferential voting is optional. You may number the boxes down to the total number of candidates, (or only as far as you choose).
  4. A vote is exhausted if the Candidate is excluded and there are no further preferences on the ballot paper.
  5. The candidate may suggest how voter direct preferences however the candidate does not auto direct preferences – the voter has to mark them.

This means if you vote for a minor party or an independent where there is a real chance of the Candidate being excluded your vote will also be excluded if you have no further preferences. In most cases there will be an ALP candidate, and LIB/NP, and there maybe 1 or two other candidates with real prospects, and then some others. So typically if you are voting for one of the top three likely candidates, you should probably vote 1 and 2 at least, so if your preferred candidate is not elected you have the option of being counted as to who you would prefer as a second choice.

If you want to vote for some of the minor party and independent candidates it is probably worth going all the way, so if there are 8 candidates then mark the ballot 1 to 8 ,or at least 1 to 7.

The example below comes from the electoral commission and here you can see that although Candidate A got the most primary votes they were not elected because more people expressed the view that they would prefer Candidate B to Candidate A. In this case there are 478 exhausted votes, and with a margin of distributed votes being 86, they may well have changed the outcome if they had declared preferences all the way.

Candidates Count 1
Primary Votes
Distribution of D
Preference Votes
Count 2
Progressive Totals
Distribution of C
Preference Votes
Count 3
Progressive Totals
Candidate A


250 3,274 822


Candidate B


441 2,993 1,189


Candidate C


87 2,377 Excluded
Candidate D


Excluded Already Excluded


778 8,644



Absolute Majority needed










112 112 366




890 9,034 2,377 9,034

I think the best idea is to vote all the way.

Swansea 2015

Candidate Name Party Description My Guess
CUBIS Luke CDP (Fred Nile) Luke is likely to perform as the CDP’s have in the past in the electorate. If you want to vote for Luke your vote will expire if you do not mark preferences all the way.  2%
UIDAM Johanna Liberal Johanna is a late starter, having been endorsed just before the close of nominations. She does not live in the Electorate, and is likely to attract the party line voters.  20%
AGLAND Joshua Animal Justice Party Joshua’s party is new and they have not made a great impact, nor spent a lot on advertising. My guess is that they will not make more than a blimp this time. If they can sell their story they may begin to make an impact over time.  0%
OSBORNE Chris Independant Chris is an ALP reformer who has decided to run outside the party as in his estimation there are too many blocks to reform inside the party. He is a good performer, and has a strong local identity, and likely to go well.  10%
DOUGHTY Paul No Land Tax Paul seems invisible, at least on the internet, and the party has largely been discredited for using stock art pretending to be real people and as a front for the Real Estate Lobby.  0%
EDWARDS Garry Independent Gary is the sitting member – elected as Liberal, and now expelled. He is liked as a local member and is likely to do well. I think he will go neck and neck with Johanna and preferences will be important.  21%
CATLEY Yasmin Labor Yasmin, the wife of the former ALP member has been campaigning for over a year. The ALP expect Swansea to return to them as a matter of course. She is a strong candidate for a strong traditional Labor Seat.  39%
PARSONS Phillipa The Greens Phillipa ran for the seat last time for the Greens and is like to perform close to how she performed last time. She is establishing a good local profile, however the Greens are not the most popular party of recent time.  8%

Many (the ALP included) where shock when they lost the seat of Swansea at the last election. The real expectation is that it will return to the ALP. The re-distribution will almost certainly favour that outcome. For a long time it looked like the Liberals were not going to run a candidate, and it is sad that they had to bring in someone from outside the electorate. This will split the conservative vote, however Garry has been a good local member and councillor and I imagine he will retain a deal of support on a personal level. Yasmin will be scratching her head as it is likely that Chris Osborne will split the Labor vote. Preferences in this electorate are likely to be very important. If you are not voting for Yasmin Catley then you should definitely mark preferences all the way. Voting day can always have surprises, even in Swansea as we proved last time.


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