Preferences in Brunswick

Preferential voting explained.

The Greens are expected to come first or second in Brunswick. Whether or not you vote 1 Green or Labor, the way you order those two parties in your preferences will be your most important decision in this seat.

We get a lot of questions about preferences, so here’s a short guide to how it works and what we’re doing.

How preferences work in the lower house

When ballot papers (votes) are counted they are stacked on the table according to:

  • The first preference. So when you vote 1 for Tim Read (Greens) your ballot paper goes onto the Tim Read stack. If there are eight candidates, there will be eight stacks.
  • Once this is done, the smallest stack is picked up and the votes are given to the other stacks according to the second preference of those votes. Then the next smallest stack is distributed, and so on.
  • As the small stacks are eliminated, the other stacks grow as second preference votes are added to them.
  •  This is repeated until just two stacks remain and they come first and second.

If you voted for either of the two candidates who came first or second, your vote stays with them because they are not eliminated from the count.

In the lower house seat of Brunswick, the top two places are expected to be taken by the Greens and Labor. If this happens and you vote 1 Green or Labor, your preferences will not go to another party because the votes will not be moved to another stack.

At the last two elections, the Liberals came a distant third and their preferences were distributed. If you vote 1 for an independent, a small party or the Liberals, whether you put Green above Labor or vice versa will be your most important decision in Brunswick. Your vote is likely to finish in one of these two stacks. 

You, the Greens and Preferences

  • I recommend that you decide your own preferences by numbering the boxes in the order you prefer. This gives you complete control over who gets your vote.
  • If you’re not sure how you want to distribute your preferences, you can follow your preferred party’s how to vote card. The Greens generally preference progressive parties and independents ahead of conservative parties (Labor ahead of Liberal). We did this in the seat of Wills for the Federal election last year.
  • You can view and/or download a copy of the Brunswick Greens How to Vote card here.
  • To find out where your preferences will go if you vote Green above the line in the Upper House, visit this guide on the VEC website and go to page 14. 

Examples of How to Preference in the lower house seat of Brunswick

If you Preference Labor ahead of Green:

it will look like this:

1 – Independent or small party or Liberal
2 – Labor
3 – Green


Your vote is likely go to Labor as the independent will probably get a smaller vote and be eliminated. Those votes will go to the second preference, which is Labor, and it will stay with them because they will not be eliminated.

Voting Labor and preferencing the Greens will not help the Greens get into parliament.

If you Preference Green ahead of Labor:

It will look like this:

1 – independent or small party or Liberal
2 – Green
3 – Labor


… your vote will go to the Greens and help us get into parliament. 

If you vote Green, and you preference anybody else you choose:

It will look like this:

1 – Green
2 – anybody else you choose


Your vote will stay with the Greens and help get the first Green into the lower house of the Victorian parliament.

A vote for the Greens is a vote for action you can trust. I’m asking for your support in this election so we can restore integrity to our Victorian parliament.