Monday miscellany

Passing observations on the Batman by-election, the Cottesloe by-election (look it up), and the state of the Senate after Section 44.

I don’t believe we’ll be getting any sort of a federal opinion poll this week, with Newspoll presumably holding off through South Australian election week to return before the resumption of parliament next week, and Essential Research having an off-week in their fortnightly schedule. You can find a post updating progress in late counting in South Australia here; other than that, for the sake of a new general post, I relate the following:

Ben Raue at The Tally Room has a very illuminating map showing the pattern of swings within Batman, showing a largely status quo result north of the Bell Street curtain, but a quite substantial swing to Labor in the presumed Greens stronghold area in the south. I’ll have more on the Batman by-election in today’s Crikey, if you’re a subscriber.

• Lost in the excitement, the weekend’s other by-election has entirely escaped mention on this site. It was held in the blue-ribbon Western Australian state seat of Cottesloe, to replace Colin Barnett. This produced the predicted walkover for Liberal candidate David Honey, an 59-year-old Alcoa executive and former state party president. Honey finished the night on 59.8% of the primary vote, and 70.2% on two-party preferred over the Greens. At the time of Barnett’s resignation in January, it was generally assumed the party could not let pass an opportunity to add a woman to a parliamentary ranks, but Honey nonetheless won a preselection vote by twenty to eight ahead of BHP Billiton lawyer Emma Roberts. The Liberals elected only two women out of thirteen to the lower house in 2017, along with one out of eight to the upper. At the 2013 election, the party’s lower house contingent included only four women out of thirty-one in the lower house, along with five out of seventen in the upper house, two of whom suffered preselection defeats going into last year’s election.

• A reallocation of Senators’ three-year and six-year terms has been conducted after the Section 44 disqualifications, affecting every state except Victoria. This involved allocating six-year terms to the first six elected candidates in the recounts conducted to fill the vacancies, and three-year terms going to those elected to positions seven through twelve, who will be facing re-election (almost certainly) at the next federal election.

There are two pieces of good news for the Liberals, who gain a long-term seat in New South Wales at the expense of the Nationals, and in Tasmania go from two long-term and two short-term seats to three and one. Fiona Nash’s long-term vacancy in New South Wales goes to Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, whose short-term vacancy has been filled by splashy newcomer Jim Molan. The vacancies in Tasmania, Stephen Perry of the Liberals and Jacqui Lambie of Jacqui Lambie, were both long-term, and have both gone to lower order Liberals, Bushby and Duniam. The one short-term Liberal position goes to Richard Colbeck, returning to parliament after his (provisional) defeat in 2016.

In Western Australia, the Greens order shuffles after Scott Ludlam’s departure with Rachel Siewert taking his long term, and Jordon Steele-John filling Siewert’s short-term vacancy. The loss of Skye Kakoschke-Moore in South Australia has cost the Nick Xenophon Team a seat because the successor to her short term, Tim Storer, has become estranged from the party since the election. It’s a similar story for One Nation in Queensland, where Malcolm Roberts’ short-term vacancy has been filled by the party’s number three candidate, Fraser Anning, who has eventually resolved to sit as an independent after a dispute with Pauline Hanson.

South Australian election: late counting

Post tracking the progress of late counting in the South Australian state election.

Yesterday’s late counting action was limited to rechecking and adding to the count incomplete ballot papers that are “saved” under the state’s unique provision in which missing numbers get filled out according to the favoured preference order of the party who received their primary vote. This has turned the Liberals’ 67 vote lead in Adelaide into a deficit of 116, and reduced my projection of their winning margin from 447 to a dicey 192. Conversely, their lead in Newland is out from 298 to 388, and the projection from 595 to 713; and Mawson is little changed, with Labor’s lead up from 387 to 415, and my projection of the Liberal winning margin down from 239 to 205. As noted yesterday though, Labor may well do better on late counting this time than last time, as they will have put more effort in in those parts of the electorate that were formerly in Finniss. No new counting was conducted in King, which I’m still tracking although the Liberals are all but certain to win. Much more progress should be made in today’s count, as the action moves on to the very substantial pre-polls.

Third time lucky

The cards finally land in the right places for the Liberals in South Australia, despite an overall swing in Labor’s favour.

The Liberals have finally managed to piece together a victory in South Australia, at the third successive election at which they won the statewide two-party vote. The election was actually won for them in the redistribution, which made four seats won by Labor in 2014 notionally Liberal, with only one going the other way. If the 2014 election had been held under the new boundaries, the Liberals would have made it to 25 seats out of 47 (albeit with a 0.1% margin in Newland), which as likely as not is where this election will leave them when the dust settles.

The Liberals only went into the election with 20 of the 22 seats they won in 2014, having suffered two defections to the cross bench: Troy Bell in Mount Gambier, who was re-elected yesterday as an independent, and Duncan McFetridge in Morphett, whose seat has reverted to the Liberals (UPDATE: Make that 19 – I forgot about Martin Hamilton-Smith, whose seat of Waite went back to the Liberals with his retirement). To the resulting base of 21 seats, the Liberals have certain gains in two of the four notionally Liberal seats, Colton and Elder. They are ahead in a third, Newland, and are likely to go down to the wire in the fourth, Mawson. With a further gain likely in the new seat of King, they appear all but certain of making it to a majority.

However, the Liberals have once again struggled to gain decisive swings against sitting Labor members. The three actual or potential Labor casualties were all in notional Liberal seats, and there were swings in favour of two of them, albeit insufficient ones. The other very likely gain, the northern Adelaide seat of King, was a new electorate contested by a neophyte Labor candidate. Furthermore, Labor may make a gain in the seat of Adelaide, where Liberal member Rachel Sanderson ended the night 67 votes ahead.

Continue reading “Third time lucky”

South Australian election live

Live coverage of the count for the South Australian state election.

11.30pm. The Legislative Council vote has Labor and Liberal a clear three quotas each with SA Best on two, with the remaining three seats likely to land with the Greens and the number four candidates of Liberal and Labor. Remarkably, this means likely defeat for Robert Brokenshire of Australian Conservatives, which has failed where Family First succeeded at four successive elections. The party is on 3.6% of the statewide vote, compared with 4.4% for Family First in 2014, which no doubt reflects the success of SA Best in scoring 19% of the vote. This amounts to 0.43 quotas, and compares with the 0.56 quotas that will be left to Labor after the election of its third candidate. To elevate past Labor from losing twelfth place to winning eleventh, Brokenshire has to close a gap of 1% in late counting and preferences – the most likely path to which is a weak showing for Labor in late counting. Preferences are unlikely to feature, as neither Liberal nor the Greens will be fully excluded at the point where either Brokenshire or Labor’s number four are excluded.

Kelly Vincent of Dignity scored a fairly modest 2.0%, and will not be re-elected. Taking the newly elected members together with those carrying over from 2014, the numbers in the new chamber look like eight each for Liberal and Labor, two each for the Greens and SA Best, one for Australian Conservatives, and former Xenophon member John Darley, whose Advance SA party managed only 0.4%.

10.13pm. A case can be made that Jay Weatherill shouldn’t have conceded. The ABC computer now has Adelaide down as a squeaker, converting their raw 1.4% lead into a 2.4% swing to Labor and a Liberal winning margin of just 0.6%. Given the number of outstanding pre-poll votes that won’t be counted on Monday, this one is certainly in doubt. Beyond that, Labor is certainly unlikely to win King or Newland, where they respectively trail by 1.6% and 1.5%, but neither is an actual impossibility. Nor is SA Best out of the hunt in Heysen. That makes for any 21 seats that the Liberals have bolted down, and only one sure vote on the cross bench. The Liberals are highly likely to make it to 24 if not 25, but the pre-election warnings about the perils of calling the result on election night with so many pre-polls outstanding don’t seem to have been taken to heart.

9.39pm. Michael Atkinson observes that there has actually been a two-party swing to Labor in the order of 1.5%, which still leaves the Liberals with a 51.5-48.5 majority.

9.34pm. Heysen has just tipped from SA Best ahead to Liberal ahead on the ABC computer, and the Liberals have moved further ahead in Newland, where they now have a bigger lead than in Adelaide.

9pm. Slow counts in Black and Dunstan are finally gathering pace, and they have yielded no surprises. The Liberals look like they’ve done enough in Elder and King and have their nose in front in Newland. This collectively gets them to 24 even if they don’t win Heysen, although they’re not home yet in Newland. Beyond that, Troy Bell, who’s looking good in Mount Gambier, would give them any remaining vote they needed.

8.42pm. Waite no longer in doubt, according to the ABC computer.

8.30pm. There are 24 seats where the ABC computer has the Liberals ahead. It’s lineball for them in Elder and close in Newland, but on the other hand they might win Heysen. I’ve also just noticed that they still haven’t shaken Labor in Waite. Other qualifications: only early numbers from Black, although those are looking good for the Liberals; nothing in yet from Dunstan.

8.23pm. Antony Green and ABC panellists suggests Heysen more in doubt that headline numbers suggest, and it’s now clear Nick Xenophon won’t win Hartley.

8.19pm. Lee now not looking so good for the Liberals, but a small booth on two-party preferred suggests they are a chance in Enfield.

8.15pm. I’m seeing 25 seats which the Liberals can feel pretty confident about, and at least one conservative cross-bencher. So it would appear we are looking at a change of government here.

8.08pm. More substantial two-party numbers now in from Heysen, and it looks extremely close. I’m not quite sure what to make of the numbers from Hartley, in that the two-party result looks better for the Liberals than I would have figured from their 41.2% primary vote. Either Xenophon is doing poorly on preferences, in which case he’s toast, or he will lift when a few booths with primary vote numbers also report their two-party preferred.

7.59pm. Despite the fact that Labor looks like winning Mawson, some good news is poking through for the Liberals: they’re ahead in King and Lee, have clearly won Colton, are in no danger in Morphett. A lot may depend on Newland, which is lineball.

Haven’t yet made mention of King, which is looking good for the Liberals — new seat in northern Adelaide with lineball margin and no sitting member. Liberals also looking good in Lee, but not home yet.

7.54pm. SA Best have lost ground on the primary vote in Heysen since last I looked, but are still clear of Labor 24.2% to 19.2%, which should be enough. Liberal candidate Josh Teague is on 38.1%, which presumably won’t be enough if SA Best indeed finish clear of Labor. So that one’s looking good for them. However, Nick Xenophon will need to pick up the pace in Hartley: there’s 15% of the vote in, and the Liberal candidate is on 42.4%, which would likely be enough.

7.51pm. Cross bench watch: Frances Bedford a clear winner in Florey; Geoff Brock looking good in Frome; Troy Bell looking good in Mount Gambier; no results yet from Morphett. So there’s a cross bench of at least three, perhaps four or five if things go right for SA Best, and a potential one extra in Morphett. Labor’s promising early results in Colton have now washed away.

7.40pm. We seem to be looking at a status quo sort of result with both major parties on around 20 to 21. But a big variable is whether the Liberals fight off SA Best in Hartley and Heysen. The two-party count has been stuck in Heysen for a while, but the primary votes look encouraging for SA Best. Still not enough for a read in Hartley.

7.37pm. Good early numbers for Labor in Colton, and they’re looking good in Badcoe as well. Less good in Mawson though, and it’s very tight in Newland. Early alarm for the Liberals in Waite has faded.

7.30pm. Starting to look promising for SA Best in Heysen, where the Liberal vote is a dangerous 37.0%, and SA Best are well clear of Labor. Labor don’t look to be making hoped for breakthrough in the seat of Adelaide. Big swing to Labor in Waite with 15% counted, which would have seemed an unlikely prospect for them.

7.21pm. Another excellent result for Tony Piccolo in Light, where 15% of the vote is counted and he is on track for a big swing. Not looking good anywhere for SA Best that I can see — except perhaps in Hartley, where the very first numbers are lineball. In Labor versus Liberal contests, Mawson looks close; encouraging early for Labor in Newland.

7.09pm. I sadly remain preoccupied with Batman. Still too early to say much with confidence, except that SA Best are not about to do anything remarkable. Antony going through encouraging early numbers for Labor in Light, and for Troy Bell in Mount Gambier.

6pm. Polls have closed for the South Australian election. Very early results from small rural booths should start coming in shortly. For what it’s worth, an exit poll apparently finds 50.5-49.5 to Liberal, but I’m a bit lost here without further detail: sometimes this just means an opinion poll conducted on election day rather than exit polling proper; when it is exit polling, it’s usually from specific marginal seats and thus hard to say what the result means without knowing which ones they are.

Batman by-election live

Super Saturday, phase one: live coverage of the count for the Batman by-election.

10.17pm. Thornbury pre-poll also swings slightly to Labor.

10.00pm. The Bundoora pre-poll voting centre has reported, and it produced a result typical for the electorate in swinging slightly to Labor. We will presumably get a further three pre-poll voting centres this evening, and presumably also a batch of postals.

8.36pm. Only pre-poll voting centres now outstanding, on the primary vote at least.

8.27pm. Labor’s small but seemingly decisive lead is holding more or less firm, now at 2.9% on my projection. Most of what remains is the large pre-poll voting centres.

8.17pm. The tide keeps flowing to Labor, with my model (3.4%) now more bullish for them than the ABC’s (1.9%).

8.13pm. Not sure where exactly, but a very good result has come in for Labor, pushing their lead out to a near-insurmountable 2.9% on my projected measure, which now differs only slightly from the raw result of 3.2%.

8.08pm. Most of the polling day booths are in now, and I’ve got Labor’s lead firming very slightly. If the Greens have a hope, it’s that a different dynamic will play out in the pre-poll voting centres.

8.01pm. As the count slowly creeps up, Labor retains its lead of around 1.5%. The Greens will want a couple of good results to come through pretty soon.

7.56pm. With around half the booths now in, the distinction between my model and the ABC’s has all but disappeared: Labor holding in both cases with a 1.5% margin.

7.54pm. Now I’ve got Labor’s lead out to 1.4%, which is a handy place to be with 40% of the vote counted, but not yet bolted down.

7.45pm. Yet another change of lead on my projection, but I’ve got the lead at 0.9% compared to the ABC’s 1.5%. ABC still staying Labor retain, I’m still saying too early to call.

7.42pm. The ABC computer is calling it for Labor, but it’s making no effort as I am to project preference flows on to seats where only the primary vote has reported, which is around half of them.

7.38pm. My hope that this might be sorted early on and I could devote my energies to South Australia is not being realised: once again my projected lead has changed hands, in large part because Labor’s preference share has now declined to 65%.

7.35pm. Now with over a quarter of the vote counted, Labor leads on the raw vote, but I’m projecting that to come back a little. Very close, in a nutshell, but Labor slightly favoured.

7.31pm. And now I’ve got the Greens with their nose in front. There are six booths in on two-party, none of which have swung much, but big swings to Labor in some of the booths in which we only have two-party numbers. The preference flow from the latter is being projected on to the former, and I’ve got Labor getting 69.4% of them.

7.25pm. Now with more substantial numbers in, it’s looking very tight – absolutely no swing at all on my two-party projection, with 12 counted in primary and five on two-party.

7.19pm. Some better results for the Greens send the pendulum back their way. My preference model is now going entirely off results from this election, and Labor is receiving 71.9% of them — 337 to 132 to be precise, going off the three booths that are in on two-party.

7.17pm. Labor have had some thumpingly good results in Alphington North and Collingwood, such that the ABC is projecting a 6% swing in their favour, and I’m projecting 7%.

7.11pm. Been sorting through a lot of technical problems with my live reporting, and I think I’m past the worst of them. So we’ve got three booths in on the primary vote and two in on two-party preferred, and my assessment is that it’s looking tight but with the Greens with their nose in front. For the time being though, this is largely based on a preference flow derived from the Northcote state election result, and the very early indications are that they might do better than that.

7pm. A very small polling booth called Murray, with 249 votes cast, has the Greens up 8.5% on the primary vote and Labor steady.

6pm. Polls have closed for the Batman by-election. This being an inner-city seat with large booths, it should take a while for us to start seeing numbers – perhaps as long as an hour. Wish me luck with my live results reporting facility.

Click here for more detailed (and better formatted) results.

Newspoll and ReachTEL: Liberal 34, Labor 31 in South Australia

A late poll from South Australia shows only that whoever ends up governing will do so from an historically low primary vote.

First up: if you have enjoyed my South Australian election coverage, you can show your appreciation through my PressPatron virtual tip jar, which you can access at the top of the page or at the bottom of each post.

In quick succession, we have had final statewide polls from Newspoll (for The Australian) and ReachTEL (for Sky News), and they are of one mind in having the Liberals leading Labor on the primary vote by 34% to 31%, and very nearly in accord with support for SA Best, which Newspoll has at 17% and ReachTEL has at 16%. Newspoll has the Greens on 8%; no figure is available from ReachTEL. In Newspoll’s case, the Liberals are up two on the poll a fortnight ago, Labor and the Greens are up one each, and SA Best is down four. Sky News also related that the ReachTEL poll had Labor leading 52-48 in a forced preference of undecided voters, although it’s hard to say what use that figure is exactly.

Both pollsters also asked what Nick Xenophon should do if he holds the balance of power, with rather different results. Newspoll respondents broke clearly for the Liberals, who were favoured by 52% compared with just 28% for Labor. However, ReachTEL also included a “party with the most votes” option that was favoured by 33%, compared with 35% for Labor and 32% for the Liberals. This may suggest awareness that it was the Liberals twice failed to win government after scoring higher vote shares than Labor in 2010 and 2014.

Newspoll’s personal ratings find Jay Weatherill steady on 33% approval and down one on disapproval to 53%; Steven Marshall up two to 30% and down four to 50%; Weatherill with a 38-33 head-to-head lead over Marshall as preferred premier, down from 38-31 last time; and an even balance on a three-way preferred premier question, on which Weatherill is up one to 29%, Marshall up three to 27% and Nick Xenophon down four to 25%.

I have now given my poll tracker what will presumably be its final update, and its reading naturally reflects closely the consensus of Newspoll and ReachTEL, albeit that the Liberals come in a little lower. Also for your convenience, the table below shows all the seat polling conducted through the campaign for The Advertiser by YouGov Galaxy. Click on the image for a clearer look.