Glenn Druery

Glenn Druery is an Australian ultra-distance cyclist[1] and an electoral campaigner and political strategist.[2][3] He has played a leading role in the electoral success of various micro and minor parties in Australia since the mid-1990s.

He acquired a reputation through his Minor Party Alliance as the "preference whisperer" of Australian politics.[4][5]


After overcoming a serious illness in his 30s,[6] Druery competed in the Race Across America (RAAM) four times, in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2012.[7] In 2009 his four-man team, Team RANS, won the 5,000 km event in 6 days 3 hours and 40 minutes. During his 2012 RAAM Druery won his race category, generated media attention for victims of the HIV virus, especially in the third world and raised money for HIV research.[8]

In 2003 and 2007 he participated in the 1,200 km Paris–Brest–Paris (PBP) cycling event.[9][10]


In 1996 Druery was instrumental in the formation of the Outdoor Recreation Party, and initiated a strategy to try to ensure the election of a party member to the New South Wales Legislative Council. This involved the manipulation of the party ticket system used to elect the Council from the single, statewide, multi-member electorate by single transferable vote. By encouraging, or even organising, many minor groups to contest the election, and ensuring an organised and disciplined allocation of preferences among them, candidates who only received a very small percentage of people's first-preference votes could be elected. This practice has become known as 'preference harvesting'.

Druery's scheme was first employed at the 1999 New South Wales Legislative Council election. 264 candidates from 81 different parties contested the election, which resulted in what became known as the "tablecloth ballot paper".

The NSW Legislative Council elects 21 members every four years, with a quota of 4.5 per cent of the vote. In 1999 the ballot paper had to accommodate 264 candidates and 81 parties. Druery played a key role in the election using his 'preference harvesting' strategy and supporting Malcolm Jones of the Outdoor Recreation Party. In the end Jones received preferences from 19 party tickets and won a seat, despite having attracted only 0.2 per cent of the primary vote.[11]

Druery has been a candidate in several elections. He ran for the New South Wales Legislative Council in the 1999 and 2003[12] state elections, as a Liberals for Forests candidate for the Senate in the 2004 federal election, and as a Liberal Democrats candidate for the Senate in the 2010 federal election.[13]

Minor Party Alliance

Druery formed the Minor Party Alliance which helped more than 30 minor parties and independents with advice and guidance regarding the complex political and electoral processes required for the preference harvesting scheme to work.[14][15][16] The preference harvesting deals organised by the Alliance for the 2013 Australian Senate election resulted in the election of candidates who received only 0.2 percent (Australian Sports Party), 0.5 percent (Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party) and 3.8 percent (Family First Party) of the first-preference votes.[5][14][17][18] His successes in giving effect to his scheme at that and other elections has resulted in Druery being dubbed "the preference whisperer".[16][19]

Druery became incoming Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party Senator Ricky Muir's senior adviser in July 2014,[20] but was sacked by Muir less than a month later and escorted out of Parliament. Muir informed Druery by email that "You don't get along with the staff."[21]

In late 2018, it was reported in The Age newspaper that Fiona Patten of the Reason Party had lodged a complaint with the Victorian Electoral Commission, stating that he had asked her party for an up-front fee of $5,000 to join his alliance of minor parties and to agree to a $50,000 fee for him for each member elected. In the complaint, Patten questioned whether Druery's cash-for-votes activities, as well as his activities as a taxpayer-funded adviser to Derryn Hinch, may violate state election laws. Victoria Police confirmed that the VEC had referred the matter to the crime command for assessment.[22][23]

See also


  1. "Glenn Druery taming the US by bike in "world's toughest" race: Daily Telegraph 1 March 2013". Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  2. "Tablecloth titan's comeback: SMH 18 March 2011". 18 March 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  3. "Opinion: A shoe-in but no walk in the park for O'Farrell: Glenn Druery SMH 23 March 2011". 23 March 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  4. "Federal Election 2013: issues, dynamics, outcomes". 22 January 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  5. "Preference whisperer goes fishin' in SA". 21 February 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  6. Adamski, K. Six days, 5000km and four Everests at Lifestyle, North Shore Times, 14 August 2009. Accessed 4 March 2012
  7. Team RANS at Team Velokraft blogspot. Accessed 4 March 2012
  8. Cyclist, Australian (1 September 2009). "Endure it". Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  9. Paris-Brest-Paris 2003 Non Finishers at BC Randonneurs Cycling Club
  10. Paris-Brest-Paris 2003 Non Finishers at BC Randonneurs Cycling Club. Accessed 4 March 2012
  11. Sawer, Prof M. Above-the-line voting—How democratic? Archived 4 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine pp. 4-5, Paper for Political Science Program, RSSS, ANU (June 2004). Also cited at pp. 18-19 in section Ticket Voting of Australian Electoral Commission second submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, September 2008, pp 18-19
  12. Murphy, Damien The bar-towel ballot at Sydney Morning Herald, 7 March 2003. Accessed 4 March 2012
  13. "Liberal Democratic Party website". Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  14. Bormann, Trevor (5 September 2013). "Bitter dispute erupts over Senate preferences in Queensland". Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  15. "Alliance of micro parties boosts odds for likes of One Nation or Shooters and Fishers gaining Senate spot through preferences". Daily Telegraph. 5 September 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  16. Knott, Matthew (21 February 2014). "Minor parties will prosper in WA Senate re-run, says 'preference whisperer' Glenn Druery". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  17. "Micro-manager behind independents". 10 September 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  18. 7.30 By Dylan Welch (31 March 2014). "Senate voting inquiry prompted by Glenn Druery's election tactics could put end to preference trading". Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  19. "Promoting people power or gaming the system? Meet 'the preference whisperer'". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 31 March 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  20. Knott, Matthew (9 June 2014). "Novice politician Ricky Muir undone by a veteran in the business or questionable tactics?". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  21. Aston, Heath (1 August 2014). "Senator Ricky Muir sacks chief of staff Glenn Druery". The Age. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
  22. Millar, Royce (7 November 2018). "Preference whisperer Glenn Druery faces police probe". The Age. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  23. Millar, Royce (24 October 2018). "Derryn Hinch's preference whisperer faces cash-for-votes complaint". The Age. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
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