Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Do Taswegians have two heads? Watch the possum.

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-11-30

We all know the Taswegian jokes, … about sisters running faster than brothers, that they have two heads… Now Australian Electoral Commission results suggest this may be true: two brains might have helped them be the state with the lowest informal vote in the House of Reps.  (Yes, I’m cheating, the ACT is not a state).

The average NSW voter has much more difficulty counting from 1 to 10 than the average voter from any other state or territory!

House of Reps % Informal

  • ACT: 2.36
  • Tas: 2.92
  • Vic: 3.09
  • Qld: 3.48
  • WA: 3.67
  • SA: 3.73
  • National Average: 3.84
  • NT: 3.88
  • …big gap here!!!!…
  • NSW: 4.86

It’s a bit different in the Senate, where Vic and Tas have relatively high informal, probably because many more attempted to fill the ballot fully – although I can’t seem to find a list of how many people attempted the full senate vote.

For the House of Reps, I was looking through and felt there was a correlation between the swings and percentages to the "anti-intellectual-elite" parties (e.g. Pauline, Family First, and the like) in a seat and the swings and percentages of the informal vote.

I’m sure that there will be some giggles out of implying the intelligence of voters for different political parties by looking for correlations between party popularity and % of informals.  Last time, Higgins (a moderately wealthy suburb with lots of older graduates with kids, and Doctors Wives) was one with well over 10% Green, and barely 1% family first. The high-Family First, low Green/Dems seemed to be high informal.

Well, I’m not the statistician, so I flick-passed such thoughts over to the
psephological possums who said that once all the data is in, they be looking for answers to such questions.  So, keep an eye out.


  • Informal House of Reps by Division
  • My suspicions about Family First voters were really raised when I looked deeper into the divisions in the ACT:
    • Canberra, 2.35% informal, 0.00% Family First.
    • Fraser, 2.38% informal, 0.00% Family First


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