A 2019 Australian Federal Election Policy Guide








With the increasing habit of voters to preference minor parties and independents first ahead of the major parties, the guide offers a synopsis of the hopes of election or re-election for the minor party and independent candidates for the 2019 election.


Recent polls indicate the mood for alternative representatives in our government which saw around 30% of the electorate putting alternatives first in 2016 has not changed and, if anything, will go higher at the 2019 election. This chapter takes a look at the Centre Alliance party based in South Australia. It is the Nick Xeneophon Team rebranded after he left politics at a federal and then also at a State government level. 


Centre Alliance is a centrist Australian political party based in the state of South Australia. It was named Nick Xenophon Team until April 2018. It presently holds two seats in the Australian Senate and one seat in the House of Representatives.



Background 1997 - 2016




Nick Xenophon ran for election as an independent under a "No Pokies" ticket in South Australian state elections from 1997 to 2006. He was elected in 1997 and 2006.





By the 2013 Federal election, the Party platform moved beyond the single issue ‘No Pokies ‘ platform to a broader focus on the State of South Australia and a perception that this State was being neglected and overlooked by the major party leaders and Ministers in Canberra - a frequently promoted perception by this party.


The primary focus of this Party in Parliament is on South Australian issues. For example, the promotion of policy that responded to the high levels of unemployment in SA that followed the demise of several industries such as car building for Holden in Elizabeth.


Source: Sheradyn Holderhead James Gratton Newcomer Rebekha Sharkie of the NXT takes bellwether Liberal seat of Mayo from Jamie Briggs. Sunday Mail (SA)JULY 3, 2016.


Broader issues championed by the Party from an ideological focus on a combination of centrism, social liberalism and populism,- positions drawn from the Party founder Nick Xenophon- include


support for same-sex marriage,


reform of the Australian Intelligence Community,


action on climate change,


support for veterans,


affordable tax cuts,


Australian made manufacturing,


defence industry spending and


legalising euthanasia.


Source: Source: The Open Australia Foundation. How They Voted: Australia Representatives and Senators.The people who vote on your behalf in Parliament https://www.oaf.org.au/


Armed with this policy platform and excellent grass roots campaigning, the 2013 Federal election saw the ‘Nick Xenephon Group’ claim 24.9 percent of the state-wide senate vote in South Australia. They had out polled the Australian Labor Party and finished second in the SA senate race behind the victorious Liberal Party under Tony Abbott.


Xenephon was re-elected to the Senate and Stirling Griffith was narrowly out polled on second preference flows by another minor party leader, Bob Day from Family First.


Source: Australian Electoral Commission. Senators Elected – South Australia 2013 https://results.aec.gov.au/17496/Website/SenateSenatorsElected-17496-SA.htm



By 2014, the Nick Xenephon group had changed the brand name to Nick Xenophon Team (NXT). For the 2016 election, NXT announced it would field candidates in all 11 South Australian House of Representative seats and others outside the State.


Because this was to be Double Dissolution election, the Senate electoral quota of 14.3 percent was halved to 7.7 percent. Therefore, the party would field four candidates in South Australia for the upcoming Senate vote.


In the lead up to the 2016 election, ex Young Liberal Nick Xenephon, Former Liberal senator staffer Rex Patrick and former electorate officer for Jamie Briggs in Mayo Rebekah Sharkie were all singled out for vitriolic attacks from the Liberal Prime Minister, SA Senator Simon Birmingham and Mayo incumbent Jamie Briggs who reportedly claimed "I think what it reveals is you just can't trust these independents".


Former major party leader Martin Hamilton-Smith declared his support for the NXT candidate in Mayo during the 2016 federal election, stating that,


"I think Rebekha's a good candidate for Mayo, I live in Mayo so I want a candidate that's going to stick up for SA and the local district and I think she's the right person".



Source: ABC News. Election 2016: Martin Hamilton-Smith scathing of Liberal Jamie Briggs as he backs Nick Xenophon Team". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2 July 2016.


Railing against this vitriolic Liberal Party attack, the party also announced it would preference against the Liberal government in the Senate. Xenophon cited the government's ambiguity on the Collins class submarine replacement project as the motivation for the preferencing decision.


Source: Nick Xenephon Team: Policy Principles - Nick Xenophon Team .nxt.org.au/whats-nxt/policy-principles/


By the time post-election parties were coming to close in 2016, the Nick Xenophon led party had reached a high political peak climbing base camp. 


From a one policy platform responding to problem gambling in the late 1990s, the party had expanded in policy, support and public profile in South Australia to a party entering the election under a new Nick Xenephon Team brand that came away with three Party candidates winning seats in the Senate from 2016.


Moreover, the Party had won a House of Representatives seat (Mayo) in a Liberal Party blue ribbon electorate once occupied by South Australian Liberal Party royalty, Alexander Downer, and by 9,450 votes.


Sources: Parliament of Australia. Senators and Members https://www.aph.gov.au/~/media/03%20Senators%20and%20Members/31%20Senators/chamber.jpg?h=189&la=en&w=758. Australian Electoral Commission House Of Representatives Results Mayo Division 2016. https://results.aec.gov.au/20499/Website/HouseDivisionPage-20499-188.htm


Events that followed this 2016 achievement list for this fledgling minor party put the party at risk of following the way of the first foray into minor party politics of Pauline Hanson and Clive Palmer. That is,


(1) brand damaging public political suicide driven mostly by published self-destructive infighting;


(2) distinct differences of opinion, power and status leading to defections and court hearings;


(3) the expected push back from the two major political parties perplexed at the rising defection of once loyal voters to minor parties,


and (4) the somewhat abrupt and unexpected exit of the party leader.











The Nick Xenephon Team [NXT] changed its name to Centre Alliance in April 2018. CA  currently has two members in the Senate [Rex Patrick and Stirling Griffith] and one in the House of Representatives, Rebekah Sharkie in Mayo.


At the 2016 general election, NXT posted more than 20% of the primary vote in all five Liberal seats in South Australia, winning the seat of Mayo from a Liberal.


In the presence of NXT candidates in South Australia


- Both major parties recorded a supressed primary vote except the ALP in Kingston;

-Kingston recorded the highest major party primary vote of 49 percent, and 


No party won any seat on the primary vote.


The NXT primary vote was over 20 percent in both the South Australian Senate seat campaign and in the House of Representavites votes across South Australia. For the  House (SA) it was  21.3 percent and in the Senate (SA) 21.7 percent.  In individual HOR seats it was higher. 



NXT Primary vote % (SA 2016) FEDERAL ELECTION



Mayo: 34.9%


Barker: 29.1%


Grey: 27.8%


Sturt: 21.2%


Boothby 20.7%


Wakefield: 20.4%


Kingston: 17.2%


Makin: 16.6%


Hindmarsh: 15.1%


Adelaide: 12.9%


In South Australia, NXT reached the final count in 3 Liberal seats


Mayo - win for Rebecca Sharkie


Grey - lost to a Liberal by 1.9 % 2PP


Barker - lost to a Liberal by 4.7 % 2PP 










In no case can new margins be accurately determined:


- Port Adelaide is abolished;


- Grey gained territory from Wakefield, accounting for around 15% of their voters;


- Barker gained territory from Wakefield, accounting for around 8.5% of their voters; and


- Mayo gained territory from Kingston and Boothby, collectively accounting for over 17% of the voters.



 The ALP will be hoping Centre Alliance will nominate a candidate for Boothby to strip away Liberal votes in the South Australian targeted seat.



Before exploring other House of Representative seat options for Centre Alliance, a few things need to be kept in mind.


1      The Centre Alliance brand is yet to be tested in a general federal election context. Moreover, the brand is yet to be properly tested without the Nick Xenephon appeal attached to the brand because he has retired from politics all together. The only precedent indicators that can offer any insight are the 2016 election, the State Election in 2018 and a wary review of the 2018 by election in Mayo.



2        In the Federal election in 2016, NXT received 21.7 percent of the Senate primary vote and won 3 of 12 available senate seats. In the South Australian election in 2018, SA Best (CA) received 19.4 percent of Upper House first preference votes, dropping only 2.3 percent and won two of 11 available seats [Neither of them was Nick Xenephon]. 


Two years after the Federal election, the NXT/SA Best vote held up in upper house in a State election under a different brand name. This looks encourag`ing for CA senate candidates in 2019. 


3       In the Federal election in 2016, NXT received 21.2 percent of the House of Representatives primary vote in South Australia.


In the South Australian State election SA Best received 14.1 percent of the State-wide House of Assembly primary vote, a significant drop compared to the 2016 HOR results for NXT.


On the positive side, SA Best finished 2nd in the primary vote in 12 of 47 lower house seats (25.5 percent). Seven of these 12 seats were Liberal held seats.


SA Best fell just 1.8 percent 2PP short of winning Heyson (51.8) and 4.6% short of winning Finniss (54.6) from the Liberal Party.


The absence of Nick Xenephon from the brand name appears to have made no significant difference in the upper house [federal Senate-SA Legislative Council] but a significant difference in the lower houses [House of Representatives -House of Assembly] if we assume Xenephon was the main factor involved.


A drop from 21.1 percent primary votes in a federal election to 14.1 primary votes in a State election is about a 1/3rd primary vote slippage between 2016 and April 2018 in South Australia.



4      Given the slippage of primary votes in a State election in April 2018, the July 2018 federal by-election held in Mayo would test the veracity of that slippage in primary votes for the new CA brand.


The primary vote for the CA incumbent [Rebekah Sharkie] rose Centre 9.5 percent from 34.8 percent in 2016 to 44.3 percent in 2018. No sign of a Nick Xenephon factor here in this by-election.


However, not much extrapolation should be drawn from this by election for other CA House of Representatives candidates because


(a) by-elections nearly always swing against the incumbent federal Government candidate


(b) Sharkie would have received a 1-2 percent ‘somophore-surge’ and


(c) Centre Alliance candidates in other House of Representative seats are attempting to win a seat, not retain a seat already in the hand.





A.     In South Australia, those who voted for NXT in the 2016 Federal Election continued to be aware of NXT/Centre Alliance/SA Best connection in 2018.


B.  CA Senator has attempted to divorce CA from SA Best following the South Australian election for reasons inexplicable. Voters have made the connection and this connection will benefit CA campaigning in the post Xenephon era.   


C.    Moreover, these ex NXT voters retain a consistent will to vote for this party where invited to do so in the Senate and 2 thirds of them retain a will to vote for this party in the lower houses when invited to do so. To date, three candidates have been nominated for CA in the House of Representatives seats for 2019 - Mayo, Grey and Barker. 



Footnote:  In comparison, the two Family First [FF] incumbents who switched to the Australian Conservatives party [ACP] brand under Cori Bernadi prior to the State election were less successful. One lost his seat and other defected to the Liberal's immediately after the election. The ACP received a first preference vote of just 3.0 percent in the Legislative Council. FF had achieved 6.2 percent in 2014.


In the Lower House, the ACP received a vote of 3.5 percent. FF had achieved 4.4 percent in 2014. ACP stood candidate in 33 Lower house seats and none of them came close to being elected. ACP walked away with no State Government representatives after the election after going into the election with two.


Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/image/7799060-3x2-940x627.jpg



Rebekah Sharkie was announced as the CA candidate for Mayo once again    


Noting this by-election occurred before the August leadership spill in the Federal Government, the by election result must be put in the context of a ‘sophomore surge’ where the 2PP swing towards Rebekah Sharkie was 2.5% 2PP.  


The Mayo By-Election:2018



First Preference count for the Division of Mayo (SA) 2018 By-Election  


Party                                                     Votes %             Swing (%)  


Centre Alliance                                     44.3                     +9.5                  Elected  


Liberal                                                    37.4                      -0.3  


The Greens                                             8.90                    +0.8  


Australian Labor Party                         6.05                    -7.4  


Christian Democratic Party                 1.52                    +1.5  


Liberal Democrats                                 0.91                   -0.30  


Australian People's Party                     0.81                   +0.81  



Two candidate preferred (TCP) for Mayo (SA) 2018    


Candidate  Party                       Margin (%)                2016              Swing (%)


SHARKIE   Centre Alliance         57.5                          55.0                      +2.5


DOWNER    Liberal                       42.5                          45.0                      -2.5  

The South Australian redistribution left the Mayo 2PP margin unchanged. 

Forecast:  Sharkie has established herself as the member for Mayo in two elections and will do it again in 2019.  She beat Liberal Party royalty in South Australia [A Downer family daughter] in the by-election with a 9.5 percent surge in her primary vote. 


A 9.5 % primary vote surge for the CA candidate [44.3 PV] in this by-election and the recent State election indicate the new name party can attract and maintain strong support in Liberal held seats at the upcoming federal general election specifically in South Australia where candidates are offered to the electorate. 



Kelly Gladigau was announced as the CA candidate for Barker.    



First Preference count for the Division of Barker (SA) 2016


Candidate                Party                   Votes       %      Swing (%)   Status


Tony PASIN             Liberal                44,001    46.5     -6.02         Elected


James STACEY      NXT                    27,452    29.0    +29.0


Mat O'BRIEN           ALP                    14,363     15.2     -3.16


Yvonne ZEPPEL     Family First          5,458      5.7     -2.18


Mark KEOUGH       The Greens           3,171      3.3     -2.29


N/A                          Others                      000       0.0    -18.9


Formal                                                                   95.7 


Informal                                                                   4.2


The Liberal candidate took a 16, 549 vote lead over the NXT candidate in the first preference count.


Two Candidate Preferred reference flow for Barker (SA) 2016 


Party                                 Nick Xenophon Team                 Liberal


                                           Votes          %                                Votes        %


Australian Labor Party 10,445       72.7                               3,918      27.2 


Family First                      2,516       46.1                                2,942     53.9


The Greens                      2,334       73.6                                   837     26.4


First Preferences           27,452      38.4                                4,001     61.5


Total                                42,747      45.2                              51,698     54.7  


The NXT candidate pulled back 7,598 votes from the Liberal candidate from second preference flows.  


Two Candidate Preferred (TCP) for Barker (SA) 2016  


Candidate              Party        Votes        Margin   2016   2013 Swing Status  


Tony PASIN            Liberal        51,698    8,951      54.7     66.5    -11.8   Elected  


James STACEY     NXT             42,747  -8,951      45.2     N/A     +45.2    


Source: AEC. https://results.aec.gov.au/20499/Website/HouseDivisionPage-20499-180.htm  


The redistribution in South Australia cut the Liberal v NXT 2PP lead from 4.7% to 3.4%.


Source: ABC news. 2017-18 Federal Redistribution - South Australia   https://www.abc.net.au/news/elections/federal-redistribution-2018/sa/  


Forecast: CA is hoping to take advantage of any anti-Liberal brand swing in South Australia, especially given the recent poll results suggesting habitual Liberal voters are looking for a palatable alternative to vote for at this election. Labor and the Greens would be bottom of the list, so CA would present an attractive party to vote for in Barker. Given the poor showing in the State election, the Australian Conservatives party do not appear to be an attractive alternative.  


Given that CA take a 14.2 percent primary vote advantage over the ALP candidate coming into this election, I think the ALP are out of the race for Barker because they are very unlikely to make it to second spot on first preferences ahead of 2nd preference flows.  However, the 2nd preference flows of the ALP will be critical to final outcome.


Can CA pull back the Liberal primary vote from 46.5 percent to around 41.8 percent to be in a competetive 33.7 % primary vote position after first preference votes are alloted ? This would only take 4,475 voters to switch from the Liberals to Centre Alliance. 


Conclusion: I think that Centre Alliance will win this seat in 2019 if the pre election polls in SA are tracking accurately. If this seat was in WA or Qld I would be much more circumspect. Kelly Gladigau needs to go shopping for 'power suits' to wear as she takes her seat alongside Rebekah Sharkie in the House of Representatives. 







CA had not announced a candidate for this seat as of 31/1/2019.


First Preference count for the Division of Boothby (SA)


Candidate                 Party           Votes       %        Swing (%)


Nicolle FLINT                Liberal          39,298      41.2          -9.1 


Mark WARD                  ALP                23,366     24.5          -6.2


Karen HOCKLEY          NXT               19,688      20.6       +20.6


Jane BANGE                The Greens     8,001       8.0           -3.7


Gary WHEATCROFT    Family First     2,477       2.6           -1.3


Evellyn CARROLL        Animal Justice1,356       1.4         +1.4


Jamie ARMFIELD        Independent       664       0.7         +0.7


Robert DE JONGE       Independent       438       0.6         +0.6


N/A                                PUP                      000.     00           -3.1


Formal  Votes                                        95,288 



The Liberal candidate took a 15,932 vote lead over the ALP candidate in the first preference count.


Two Candidate Preferred preference flow for Boothby (SA) 2016



Party                                       ALP                     Liberal


                                              Votes          %            Votes       %


Nick Xenophon Team 11,886     60.3        7,802    39.6


The Greens                     6,990     87.3        1,011    12.6


Independent                       388    58.4           276    41.5


Family First                         592    23.9        1,885    76.1


Animal Justice Party         868    64.0           488    35.9


Independent                        218    49.7           220    50.3


First Preferences           23,366 37.2         39,298    62.7


Total                                 44,308 46.5         50,980    53.5


The ALP candidate pulled back 9,260 votes from the Liberal candidate from second preference flows.



Two Candidate Preferred (TCP) for Boothby (SA)


Candidate           Party Votes Margin 2016 2013   Swing     Status


Nicolle FlINT    Liberal 50,980 6,672    53.5 57.1   -3.6         Elected


Mark WARD     ALP      44,308 -6,672   46.5 42.8  +3.6


Source: Australian Electoral Commission: https://results.aec.gov.au/20499/Website/HouseDivisionPage-20499-182.htm


The redistribution in South Australia cut the Liberal v ALP 2PP lead from 3.5% to 2.7%.


Source: ABC news. 2017-18 Federal Redistribution - South Australia https://www.abc.net.au/news/elections/federal-redistribution-2018/sa/


Forecast:  CA would be unlikely to win if it ran a candidate in this seat- it is probably going to be a Liberal v Labor contest once again.


However, I would have thought CA would want to take advantage of any anti-Liberal brand swing in South Australia, especially given the recent poll results suggesting habitual Liberal voters are looking for a palatable alternative to vote for at this election. 


Labor and the Greens would be bottom of the list, so CA would present an attractive party to vote for in Boothby. Stock piling votes in Boothby for 2022 without having to spend many resources in this seat in 2019 would seem a logical thing to do. 




Andrea Broadfoot was announced as the CA candidate for Grey  


First Preference count for the division of Grey (SA)


Candidate                             Party                    Votes         %          Swing (%)


Rowan RAMSEY                  Liberal                 38,409      42.7          -12.9


Andrea BROADFOOT          NXT                     24,936      27.7         +27.7


Scott MARTIN                     ALP                      19,373      21.5            -5.7


Jillian MARSH                     The Greens           2,304        2.5            -1.1


Cheryl KAMINSKI                Family First          3,710        4.1            -1.3


Phillip GOURLAY                  Independent       1,144        1.2           +1.2


Others                                                                 0.000        0.0            -7.2


Formal                                                               89,876       96.1         


Informal                                                               3,619        3.8 


Total                                                                   93,495


The Liberal candidate took a 13, 743 vote lead over the NXT candidate in the first preference count.


Two Candidate Preferred preference flow for Grey (SA) 2016


Party                                               LIBERAL                      NXT 


                                                      Votes      %            Votes       % 


ALP                                               5,321   27.4        14,052    72.5


Family First                                  1,938   52.2          1,772    47.7


The Greens                                     597   25.9           1,707   74.0


Independent                                   427   37.3              717   62.6


First Preferences                      38,409   60.6         24,936  39.3


Total                                           46,692   51.9         43,184   48.0


The NXT candidate pulled back 9,965 votes from the Liberal candidate from second preference flows.


Two-candidate preferred (TCP) for Grey (SA)


Candidate                       Party      Votes     Margin   2016 2013   Swing Status


Rowan RAMSEY            Liberal    46,692    3,508     51.9    63.5   -11.6   Elected


Andrea BROADFOOT NXT            43,184  -3,508     48.0     N/A    48.0


Source : AEC https://results.aec.gov.au/20499/Website/HouseDivisionPage-20499-183.htm

The 2018 redistribution reduced the 2PP margin from 1.9 to 1.0 % v CA. 



At the outset, I am going to assume the Liberal candidate is gone here. Rowan Ramsey only holds a 1.0 percent 2PP vote lead over the CA candidate coming into the 2019 election. If the SA pre-election polls are any where accurate, this paper thin 2PP margin will not be enough to retain the seat for the Liberal Party in 2019. 

The ALP will have to overcome a 5,563 primary deficit (6.2%) to the NXT candidate in 2016 to jump ahead of the CA candidate into second place after the first preferences are alloted in 2019.

The ALP would be hoping that the 7.0 percent drop in the NXT/Sa Best lower House primary vote in the State election of 2018 - down from 21.1 percent to 14.1 percent - is mirrored here in Boothby. It would propel the ALP to second spot after first preferences are alloted in 2019. 

I would not think that this ALP scenario of jumping to second spot after first preferences is likely because any  anti-Liberal brand vote from habitual Liberal voters in this seat will overwhelmingly favour the CA brand party above the ALP or even the Greens. Then again, stranger things have happened in South Australia [eg Mayo in 2016]. 

Conclusion: I am going to sit of the fence and conclude that this seat will be lost by Liberals, but to whom is too close to call. If i was a betting man, I'd go with Centre Alliance in this seat. 






As of March 1 2019 CA had not announced a candidate for the seat of Sturt.


First Preference count for the division of Sturt (SA) 2016

Candidate              Party     Votes              %               Swing (%)

Christopher Pine  Liberal   41,351          44.4                -9.9

Matt Loader          ALP       20,653           22.2                 -6.7

Matthew WrIght   NXT      19,684            21.1

Rebecca Galdies  Greens    6,575            7.0                  -2.7

Others                                     4,768             5.1

The Liberal candidate took a 20,698 vote lead over the ALP candidate in the first preference count.

Two Candidate Preferred preference flow for Sturt (SA) 2016

Party                                    ALP                            LIBERAL

                                          Votes    %                         Votes   %

NXT                                 12,597 64.0                       7,087  36.0

Greens                            5,748   87.4                          827  12.5

Others                             2,036   42.6                       2,733   57.4

Total                               20,381  65.7                      10,647 34.3

The ALP candidate pulled back 9,734 votes from the Liberal candidate from second preference flows.

Two-candidate preferred (TCP) for Sturt (SA) 2016

Candidate               Party          Votes   2016 2013 Swing

Christopher Pine    Liberal     51,998   55.8   60.0   4.1

Matt Loader            ALP         41,034   44.2   39.9  +4.1

Source : https://results.aec.gov.au/20499/Website/HouseDivisionPage-20499-190.htm

The 2018 redistribution reduced the 2PP margin from 5.8 to 5.4 % v ALP.

Forecast:  CA would have an excellent chance of winning this seat if they stand a candidate for 2019. They came within 970 votes as NXT of winning second place after first preferences in 2016.

The retirement of long term incumbent Christopher Pine will strip 1-2 % of the PV away from the Liberals.Liberal voters in Sturt [some at least] will want to punish Morrison and Dutton for removing Pine's hero Malcolm Turnbull and ending Pines interest in continuing his poltical career. 

This seat will be a toss up between Labor and CA if they field a candidate that can hold up the 2016 PV and draw Liberal voters PV and preference flows. 


Conclusion: My analysis indicates the seat of Mayo will be retained under the new CA party brand name and a second seat in the House of Representatives (Barker) is very probable.


So, the Liberal Party is going to be reduced to one or none  of 10  House of Representatives seats (Sturt) in South Australia in 2019 after holding six of 11 seats in 2013 and four in 2016 ?  Why not - the Liberal's had three of 5 Tasmanian seats after the 2013 election and walked away in 2016 with none. 



Footnote: The Government had grown so frustrated with the French company selected to build Australia's next fleet of submarines that South Australian Defence Minister Christopher Pyne refused to meet top officials visiting the country in September, 2018. Mr Pyne would only meet the chief executive of the majority French state-owned company once a crucial document, the strategic partnering agreement (SPA), has been signed. Negotiations on that document have stalled and it is feared they may not be resolved before the federal election.


The 'well to do' patrons of the retiring Minister's seat (Sturt) may not  be overly concerned about this delay in providing much needed employment opportunities in South Australia. However, the unemployed voters in Grey, Barker and Boothby will be paying attention to this issue. 








No 1 CA Senate (South Australia) candidate ticket holder for the 2019 election at a press conference with Nick Xenephon

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/image/9179994-3x2-340x227.jpg

2016 was a Double-Dissolution election. Therefore, the normal quota required to win one of six senate seats within each State was reduced from 14.3 percent to 7.7 percent of votes received. 12 senators were elected for each State and two each for the Territories.


In South Australia, 230,703 people voted 1 for the Centre Alliance Party Senate group ticket in 2016. CA/ NXT received  21.7 percent of the quota votes. 


Source: Parliament of Australia. Senators and Members https://www.aph.gov.au/~/media/03%20Senators%20and%20Members/31%20Senators/chamber.jpg?h=189&la=en&w=758


CA was therefore entitled to almost three seats from first preference votes. Preference flows allowed CA to become entitled to three positions in the Senate from South Australia.


Getting more individual below the line votes than other candidates on the same ticket matters not. Nor does being on the party senate ticket at all at the election. It is left to the Party to decide who among the party membership will represent the Party in the Senate after the election is completed.


However, CA followed the pre-election pre-selection order in appointing candidates to the Senate. For CA, the ticket at the election was


1. Nick Xenephon (6 year term)


2. Stirling Griff (6 year term)


3. Skye Kakoschke-Moore (3 year term)


4. Tim Storer Below the 7.7 % quota.


CA Senate seats had grown from one in 2010, two in 2013 and now three in 2016 with two of those three assured of a six-year term in office before facing the electorate again in 2022.




Internal conflict within the party began when Nick Xenephon chose to resign from federal politics and turn his attention State Government political representation instead. In order to do this he had to resign from his Senate position, which he did on October 30th 2017.


Instead of passing his Senate seat on to Tim Storer who was the fourth candidate on the CA election senate ticket, the Party appointed chief adviser Rex Patrick to replace Xenephon as a CA senator 2 weeks later. Patrick was not on the 2016 election Senate ticket.


Sources: Parliament of Australia. Senators and Members. Former Senator Nick Xenephon. https://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Parliamentarian?MPID=8Iv


Parliament of Australia. Senators and Member. Senator Rex Patrick. https://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Parliamentarian?MPID=144292


Elizabeth Byrne and Matthew Doran would later report that Storer had privately lashed out at Xenephon over the decision to overlook him for the position following Xenephon’s resignation. Storer spoke to the media after he was installed as an Independent Senator, some weeks later saying he felt at the time the spot belonged to him -


"However, I decided that it would be contrary to the best interests of the NXT Party and my own personal interests to become embroiled in a public dispute about the matter,".


Source: Elizabeth Byrne and Matthew Doran. High Court rules former NXT senator cannot replace herself, Tim Storer likely to win recount . ABC News Online Feb 23 2018. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-13/skye-kakoschke-moore-high-court-throws-out-bid-senate/9431730


Storer was not about to keep his own counsel when a second opportunity came for him to take his ‘rightful’ position as NXT/CA senator.


Less than a month after the Xenephon resigned, Skye Kakoschke-Moore who was elected as a Senator at the 2016 election was forced to resign. She resigned on November 30th 2017 after it was revealed that she was a dual citizen on election day.


She had renounced her citizenship in writing, however confirmation did not come until 100 days after the election. Therefore, she was deemed ineligible to stand for the position.


Her lawyer David Jackson claimed that because she had now renounced her foreign links, she was no longer in breach of the constitution and should be eligible to be considered for the seat and 


"Mr Storer should not be considered because he had been expelled from the party, and his election would not accurately reflect the will of the voters. He has ceased to be a member of the political party for which South Australian voters voted in mid-2016,"


Storer attended the High Court hearing and claimed he should be appointed to the vacant seat on the grounds that he was next on the NXT Senate ticket at the election.


Source: Elizabeth Byrne and Matthew Doran. High Court rules former NXT senator cannot replace herself, Tim Storer likely to win recount . ABC News Online Feb 23 2018. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-13/skye-kakoschke-moore-high-court-throws-out-bid-senate/9431730


The High Court threw out Ms Kakoschke-Moore's argument and ordered the count take place immediately.


                                 High Court Judgment [2018] HCA


                “Result Kakoschke-Moore’s vacancy to be filled by a special count;                                      Kakoschke-Moore’s renunciation of British citizenship in December 2017

                 does not render her capable of now being chosen to fill the vacancy;

                 Storer should not be excluded from the special count.”


Source: The University of Melbourne High Court Blog. Re Kakoschke-Moore. https://blogs.unimelb.edu.au/opinionsonhigh/2018/03/21/re-kakoschke-moore/



The result of that recount is that Mr Storer was declared a senator for South Australia as an Independent and took his place in the Senate in February 2018. Mr Storer will face re-election as an independent in 2019 should he decide to stand for re-election. His chances of re-election are very slim at best.


This drama within NXT was not appeased by a decision to change the name of the party to Centre Alliance in April 2018. Part of the motive for the change was


(A) an acknowledgement that Nick Xenephon was no longer involved formally with the party,


(B) to show that SA Best which targeted State politics was not connected and


(c) an attempt to shake off some of the damage associated with the NXT brand after the public dispute between the party and Tim Storer was played out in the media and the High Court.



The Bottom Line – 2019 Senate Election Prospects



This will be the first federal election for this party without Nick Xenephon at the helm. He was for at least the first few years the party brand and the major source of appeal to South Australian voters.


Whether on not the CA party can maintain momentum and at least retain the gains inherited from Xenephon will not be properly tested until the 2022 election in terms of Senate seats at least.


Skye Kakoschke-Moore has a public profile in South Australia, having been a Senator for more than year before being forced to resign over citizenship issues. Skye has been announced as the CA number one senate ticket candidate for the 2019 election.


She will need the CA party to win 14.3 percent of the State-wide senate vote to make ‘quota’ and return her to a senate position.


Source: Eugene Boisvert. Skye Kakoschke-Moore preselected for Centre Alliance Senate spot, ruling out Nick Xenophon return. ABC News Online 7 September 2018.https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-07/skye-kakoschke-moore-preselected-for-centre-alliance-senate/10213138


The party would have to lose more than a third of the senate seat votes achieved under the NXT label in 2016 (21.7 percent) to fail Kakoschke-Moore’s bid. Does the loss of support that the name Nick Xenephon took from CA by resigning amount to a third of voters abandoning CA in 2019 senate votes ? I would not have thought so. It may be a different story in 2022.


CA should be confident of retaining Mayo, winning Barker and restoring the 3 member senate team achieved three years ago when the party functioned under the NXT label.