- A vain attempt to rescue Australian democracy with a little JavaScript

  • 30 minute talk

“Graphs are like tiny dollops of science you can hold in your hand”
- First Dog on the Moon

"Above the line" voting in the Australian Senate and most State upper houses means your favourite political party can choose where preferences will be distributed, and you may not know, or like, their decisions. In 2012, Paul Foxworthy noticed that even the “how to vote” tickets for his local Council election had a long list of single-issue candidates sending second preferences to the “real” candidate.

With some analysis, you could detect clusters of candidates that seem to be co-operating. But who has the time and patience? Paul looked for, and eventually found, a way to visualise preference data. is a web site and open source web application to visualise preference distribution in Australian elections. It aims to better inform voters where their vote might go. Knowledge is power - if voters can see what their vote is doing, we can hope they may be more careful how they exercise it.

Paul will talk about why he did it, and how it is implemented, including force-directed graphs and the amazing d3 graphing library for JavaScript.

Copyright and licences:

The source code for the site is available under the Apache Licence, version 2.0 at

The presentation will be available under the Creative Commons Share-Alike Licence.


Paul Foxworthy is an open source developer based in Melbourne. Paul is a committer to Apache OFBiz, an open source Enterprise Resource Planning system. He also currently serves as a director of Open Source Industry Australia.

When not in front of a computer, Paul teaches his German Shepherd, Ilke, about agile practices and tries to get out of town to his bush block in Gippsland.

The OSDC 2014 team is dedicated to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming conference environment for everyone. We have a code of conduct to clearly outline our expectations. Our goal is to create a safe and harassment-free conference experience for all involved, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, religion, preferred operating system, programming language or text editor.