Another place

There is still much counting to be done for the Legislative Council, but two clear patterns have emerged. One is that Labor has done well, winning a second seat in Agricultural for the first time and also picking up an extra seat in Mining and Pastoral, and perhaps also in South Metropolitan and South West. Under their best case scenario of 17 seats, there is also the possibility of another two Greens members producing the constitutional majority required to pass one-vote one-value legislation (outside Mining and Pastoral of course). The other pattern is of a near wipeout for the minor parties. None of the former One Nation members proved competitive, and of the five Greens members only Giz Watson in North Metropolitan can be entirely confident. They still might win as many as three seats, with Paul Llewellyn still a good chance in South West but Lynn MacLaren needing a miracle in South Metropolitan.

One exception to the latter pattern is the possibility that Keith Woollard might have pulled off Western Australia’s first successful act of micro-party preference harvesting on behalf of his Fremantle Hospital Support Group in South Metropolitan. On the current count they have just 1.6 per cent of the vote, but this will be engorged with preferences from Forest Liberals (0.4 per cent), the Public Hospital Support Group (0.5 per cent), the Democrats (1.1 per cent) and Family First (1.9 per cent). That might put them ahead of the Christian Democratic Party, who scored 2.3 per cent and stand to receive preferences from One Nation (1.2 per cent) as well as the small Liberal surplus (roughly 2 per cent). They would then get preferences from anyone inclined to put single issue minor parties ahead of the Greens, who would most likely be left behind since they have polled a disappointing 8.0 per cent. Their preferences would flow on to the FHSG candidate in turn who would then have a 16.7 per cent quota. In the other scenario, where FSHG is eliminated ahead of the Christian Democratic Party, a straight contest will emerge between Labor and the Greens in which Labor appears to be well ahead.

In the seven-member South West region, the Liberals have won three quotas off the primary vote to Labor’s two, with the Greens, the Nationals, Labor and Family First all in the hunt for the final two places. An outcome of three Liberal, three Labor and one Greens would have very interesting implications for the ultimate make-up of the chamber, since it would be the first time parties of the left had won four seats here. Agricultural appears to have delivered a heartening result for Labor, who look sure to win a second seat for the first time since the current system was introduced in 1989. On the primary vote, the Liberals won two quotas with the Nationals and Labor on one each, with the final place set to go to Labor after preferences. This is a straightforward case of the combined Labor and Greens vote adding up neatly to two quotas; since the Greens’ vote was only 3.8 per cent there was little doubt which of the two would take the second seat. Thus ends Dee Margetts’ second spell as a parliamentarian. Frank Hough’s New Country ticket also performed poorly, winning only 3.2 per cent.

Mining and Pastoral reverted to type, returning three Labor and two Liberal members with the defeat of John Fischer and Robin Chapple of the Greens. There were status quo results in seven-member North Metropolitan, with Liberal and Labor each winning three quotas on the primary vote and the Greens set for the final seat after receiving Labor’s surplus as preferences; and in East Metropolitan, where Labor are poised for a clear three quotas with more than 50 per cent of the primary vote. The Liberals are falling about 3 per cent short of a second quota, but with preferences from the Christian Democratic Party, Family First, New Country and One Nation they will have little trouble getting there ahead of the Greens.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.