Victoria Park by-election live

. Primary Swing 2PP Swing
LABOR 49.4 -8.1 60.5 -5.5
LIBERAL 31.0 3.0 39.5 5.5
Greens 8.4 0.2
Christian Democratic 3.5 -0.2
One Nation 2.8 0.1
Family First 1.0
Others 4.0 87% COUNTED

9.15pm. To wrap up for the evening, some recent historical perspective. In Queensland last year, Labor lost Chatsworth with a 13.9 per cent two-party swing and Redcliffe with an 8.3 per cent swing. In Chatsworth, Labor’s primary vote was down 13.8 per cent and the Liberals’ up 13.3 per cent. In Redcliffe, Labor was down 10.5 per cent and the Liberals up 5.6 per cent. Of last year’s four New South Wales by-elections, only one was contested by both parties – the safe Labor seat of Macquarie Fields, where they won easily despite an 11.4 per cent swing. Labor’s primary vote was down 10.8 per cent and the Liberals were up 7.1 per cent.

8.53pm. The WAEC has Labor’s notional two-party preferred vote at 61.2 per cent, meaning preferences favoured them slightly more than last time. Presumably some of the 8.1 per cent of the primary vote that went missing came back via minor candidate preferences.

8.45pm. Bug located. In my hurried patch-up job to include pre-polls and postals in the table, the numbers got left out of the total primary vote calculations. So it looks like Labor will definitely have to go to preferences.

8.40pm. The WAEC has the Labor primary vote at 49.4 per cent, so either they know something I don’t or there might be a little bug in my calculations. There are a few smaller deviations in our numbers for the other parties.

8.36pm. And I believe that might be it for the evening. I gather you don’t have absent votes at by-elections (correct me if I’m wrong), which just leaves provisional votes (are these declaration votes?) of which there were a grand total of nine at the 2005 election. Stay tuned though for a bit though, I might find something to write about before 9pm.

8.34pm. Homestead Seniors Centre is in, and Labor’s primary vote is back below 50 per cent.

8.32pm. That’s with just the Homestead Seniors Centre booth and absent votes to go, which as you might expect were slightly less favourable to Labor than others at the last election.

8.28pm. So I guess the big question is – will Labor need to go to preferences? Of only psychological importance, but a nail-biting back-and-forth struggle for those looking for excitement from the count.

8.27pm. East Victoria Park Primary School (9 per cent) is now in.

8.25pm. Special Institutions, Hospitals and Remotes votes (all 84 of them) are now in.

8.23pm. Gibbs Street Primary School (worth 3 per cent) is now in.

8.19pm. The WAEC now has a notional two-party preferred figure with Labor on 61.11 per cent, based on almost as many votes as are included in the table above. So the non-major party preference split was almost identical to last time.

8.16pm. I missed Lathlain Primary School (worth 9 per cent of the electorate total) when the flood came in. Added now.

8.14pm. Table updated to include pre-polls and postals.

8.01pm. As predicted, a big flood all at once lifts the count from 7 per cent to 50 per cent, with just four large booths still to go. The swings haven’t changed much, which shows you what a useful tool booth-by-booth comparison is.

7.51pm. Pre-poll and postal votes, which accounted for about 7 per cent last time, are up earlier than I had reckoned on. Labor are down 57.1 per cent to 45.0 per cent on the primary vote and the Liberals are up from 29.8 per cent to 36.7 per cent. Unfortunately, I can’t factor that into the table at this stage.

7.42pm. Actually, it’s probably more likely the ABC are referring to the primary vote when they say there is a 7 per cent swing. Two-party is looking more like 4 per cent.

7.40pm. Okay, the Queens Park Primary School booth – slightly larger than the Bentley one – is up. The swing against Labor is slightly lower here so presumably the rumoured 7 per cent swing is coming from somewhere else.

7.39pm. The commenter also says there is a 7 per cent swing with 30 per cent counted. I will remember where I heard it first.

7.33pm. Another commenter notes that Ben Wyatt has declared victory on the ABC News, though to be honest that was never in doubt. What matters is the swing and its impact on Matt Birney’s fragile leadership, on which those of us who aren’t in contact with the scrutineers are essentially none the wiser. Ready when you are, WAEC …

7.23pm. Dum-de-dum-de-dum. I had hoped booth results would come in one at a time and not in three or four rushes, as has been the case in NSW by-elections, but it looks like this hope will not be realised.

7.17pm. Vic Park Local notes in comments that turnout in the Bentley booth was down from 661 to 471 – pretty steep even for a by-election.

7.09pm. Still waiting. Daylight saving is evidently an idea whose time has not yet come in WA – the Daylight Saving Party is on one vote out of 463. Also, as Kenny Everett used to say, the revolution has had to be postponed – zero votes for John Tattersall of the Socialist Alliance.

6.57pm. Now I think of it, the 2PP figure would be better off being based on relative booth results as well – this too has been amended. No other booths in yet.

6.49pm. Okay, a bit of a correction is in order – the primary vote swings were supposed to be comparing like booths and not the total result. They are doing so now.

6.45pm. First figures are in from the Bentley Community Centre. This is the smallest and most Labor-friendly booth in the electorate – for the latter reason, the figures above show Liberal well down on the primary vote but improving on two-party preferred.

6.25pm. Welcome to the Poll Bludger’s live online coverage of the Victoria Park by-election. Figures in the above table will be updated within about a minute of booth results appearing on the Western Australian Electoral Commission website. The columns show the raw percentage of the primary vote and a two-party preferred figure that will be based on the assumption that non-major party votes will divide the same way as at last year’s election (58 per cent Labor, 42 per cent Liberal) until notional preference figures become available, and swing figures based on comparison of the available by-election figures with those from the same booths at last year’s election. Based on past experience, the first results should be in at around 6.45pm.

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.

38 comments on “Victoria Park by-election live”

  1. Interesting to see the turn-out at Bentley CC so down on the 2005 General election – 471 to 661.
    I doubt this is an isolated result. I, for one, expect to see this reflected across the board.

  2. Is it possible to get this thread refreshing every 2 minutes if you are specifically on this thread (vs the main page)? It would allow me to watch the action with even more comfort ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Sorry to see that this seat seems to be very safe retain. It would be nice to see more political pressure on the candidates in the future, which can only be done if the seat gets marginal.

  3. Firefox. I’m sure there could be a plug-in to allow me to do so, but I don’t know how hard it would be to code it into the webpage itself, considering the WAEC’s results page does so. This page has more detailed info (as far as swing prediction and such), which is why I’d prefer it.

  4. other votes and totals looking interesting. GG even managed to dominate early postal and pre-poll figures in 05. Stevenson is MUCH closer on these than a year ago.
    Also – GG never needed (or looked like needing) preferences last year. Obviously early days yet but Wyatt might just, very close, maybe be pushed to preferences.

  5. Robert: Cool! Thanks. It’s a great extension.

    At this point in time, it looks like Wyatt may need preferences. The current primary vote is 49.25%. As small as it would be, it would be terrific for Labor to require them.

  6. Matt Birney should be worried anyways but neither party really has anything to take from this result as far as I can tell.
    I thought 5% was about right and it is looking pretty close to that. The majors both came out of it about where they should have been. I don’t think that means anything good or bad for either side but it and the uniformly low turnout across the electorate does say something about Victoria Park!
    Mike Ward probably only got one thing right at the ‘debate’ and that was about how safe the seat was and what sort of candidate could win it for the ALP – no offense to Mr Wyatt. In this sense PB is absolutely right – there was never any question about who would win – just about the size of the margin.

  7. Oh, while I’m here – does anyone else think it wouldn’t kill the WAEC to distribute preferences tonight?
    Oh, I forgot – independent or not they are still basically public servants!
    ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. I agree that Labor was certain to retain this seat but it was more about margins – I guess Labor looks set for now with WA being the only chance the liberals has in the past couple of years[state election wise] to break Labor’s hold…. it looks like it’s going to be NSW in 2007 or possibly Tassie in 2007 [this is on the assumption that Labor gets a minority in Tassie which is highly likely and that the parliament will last 18months roughly due to a hung parliament]. I think Labor is well and truly set for SA in 2006 and looks like to be set for another term for VIC in 2006…unless something drastic happens. Mind you – some argue that Tassie is back to the days of Labor’s dominance… certainly under the late Jim Bacon is was… can Lennon carry the legacy? I guess the next couple of years will be an interesting one for Tasmania politically. {Which on two aside comments – a recent ninemsn article said tassie had the lowest taxes of all states in real terms or something – surprise Lennon hasn’t pulled that out of the hat and secondly – looks like tassie is the only jurisdiction in aussie that looks to be a multi-party system…loosely applying the term}… And some reckon Labor will be a minority in NSW for its next term…I guess Morris really is… Premier Dilemma.

  9. Is it worth pointing out that the big swings in NSW and Qld were coming off a much higher base (i.e. landslide elections) compared to WA Labor’s much more modest re-election last year?

    Vic Park Local – a full preference distribution can’t be performed until every last vote is in.

  10. 16k votes, down from 21k electorate-wide. I know at least three people who didn’t find the time to vote today. It seems that not everyone knew it was compulsory.

  11. quiet on here since the massive labor victory today..some thoughts tho..

    Owen (s) – Owen(s) who?? a bloke from the nothern suburbs who liked to preach about how things could be done better about the train line in cannington…yer, like we was going to win..

    margetts? say good-bye to the greens in WA..a high-profile greens member who, at best, got the same return as some unknown last year…she got some coverage with an out-house at her home and some meeting with the hoteliers cartel at the carlisle hotel…that was sure to win votes (not)

    day-light savings party – a noble issue run from a western-suburbs clique that will probably mean we wont have day-light saving for another 20 years – thanks guys!!

    the liberal party – well, an embarrasment from a kinda ok start to a totally chaotic finish…id give matt two months at best..

    one nation and mike ward and the indepedents? id rather vote for my toilet plunger..

    adam

  12. Say goodbye to the Greens in WA? Oh yeah. You just watch us pack up and go home.

    My view of a massive victory might involve the candidate breaking the 50% mark, but don’t let me take away your thrill of your massive labor victory in your safe labor seat.

  13. Great stuff PB!! The site is fantastic.

    I agree with Adam’s post on most points.

    However, we won’t be saying goodbye to the Green’s, but they need to review their campaign and candidate selection.

    In an inner city seat, in a by-election, with a high Labor Government they should have done much better, at least 10-15%.

    With due respect to Dee and her local credentials – but a former Senator and former MLC doesn’t give the punters a sense that the Greens are forward looking and future orientated.

    Given Carpenter’s newness, the implications for him were limited. D’Orazio may have paid a heavy price if the swing was bigger. The wash up for Birney will be interesting, he’s already spinning that if it was a statewide swing of 5% Labor would be out – that is a very desperate statement. The internal action is going to be in the Federal ALP and the State Libs in the months ahead.

  14. The main reason the Greens didn’t improve much, I think, is because there were so many candidates and the best performers (Owens) were all progressive. I belive the Greens will substantially improve after preferences.

  15. 30.18% of enrolled voters did so for Wyatt. 38.9% of enrolled voters spoiled or did not cast a vote. I’m seriously wondering who, or what, actually won. I would agree with Deewun’s assessment in part, but I think it’s more complicated:

    Labor lost a sizeable vote share:

    3% (maybe a little more accounting for any Liberal losses to the ALP or ALP preferences) migrated directly to a primary vote for the Liberal Party.
    Another 2.5% (myself included) voted for one of the other nine, and preferenced Liberal above Labor.

    The Christian vote (split between two but overwhelmingly in favour of the CDP) and the One Nation vote (combined with TvL) gained through their voters turning up to the polls when others didn’t.

    Owens’s 1.4% vote was clearly swiped right off the ALP’s total (knocking them below the 50%) but probably most came back to them on 2PP. The Greens gained votes at Labor’s expense but lost some to Socialist Alliance. DSP and Mike Ward were unusual in that they were one-issue candidates so probably cut into both major parties’ totals.

    As a non-professional poll watcher but dealing with marketing statistics every day of my working life, I hope I have made sense in my analysis above, others feel free to disagree or offer suggestions ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Final thought re earlier posts – It’s easy to write off progressive parties and independents, people have been doing it for years. At the debate, both mentioned candidates EASILY outperformed the Labor candidate on a range of issues, and actually answered questions from the floor coherently. I don’t think either is consigned to history by this result – a combined total of 10% against a Labor/Liberal media blitz is in fact admirable.

  17. Without having met Andrew Owens, I don’t mean to be disparaging, but being on top of the ticket has surely been of great assistance to his campaign. Andrew’s 1.4% would have been the third lowest vote for the candidate on top of the ballot paper at the 2005 state election (out of 57 seats). Only the top of ballot in Mandurah and Vasse scored lower. Given it was a by-election where independents get a fair run and with 11 candidates to confuse the punters, that result wasn’t too flash.

    Since the late 80’s around 15-25% of the electorate usually park their vote outside the major parties – Vic Park was no different.

    I repeat, this isn’t a go at Andrew, but I doubt the major parties will be giving him a seat. I am sure he’s welcome to join and try his luck.

  18. Good points, Tim..I think to be fair to Andrew he certainly threw in a lot more effort than most of the non-major party candidates, although I suspect there was more “spin” in his campaign than actual “grunt” work…his web site suggests he visited “community and service groups”; i kinda doubt that, but hey….

    as you suggest, i doubt he will be getting a call from the two main parties to run for a seat…perhaps the greens might consider him for something? he seriously needs to think about concentrating his efforts closer to where he lives..adam

  19. Hi all… I didn’t think that as a candidate it was right to post here until after the election was over, as this is meant to be a forum for poll watchers. That being said, I have been reading this and the earlier pages with interest during the campaign. Thanks in particular go to PB, Vic Park Local and Adrian as well as the many others who contributed – as far as I can find anyway, this place and the Canning Examiner were the only media sources with any serious coverage of the leadup to the poll, as even the state papers viewed it as more of a local contest.

    One thing many people asked me before the vote was why independents have a role in elections, especially in safe seats where there is little chance of them winning. Certainly the assumption exists that there are two major parties and essentially noone else matters – I’ve heard it many times before, and not just during this campaign. While of course I would have liked to win, I think anyone would have realised that with the size of my campaign in terms of both people and money, and comparing that with other contenders, it was not going to happen this time. There were plenty of things I’d have loved to have done in the last five weeks that I neither had the time nor money to do, and with the benefit of hindsight, I can see some areas in which I could have made more time although at a greater financial commitment.

    However, my standing in the election achieved several things. I believe that my participation did lead to a better quality of debate on real issues. I managed to give profile to several local issues, and two in particular, that had received no attention up to that point and would have continued in the same way had not a byelection occurred.

    I ran on four major platforms – health, education, public transport and local services – all of which are areas that I felt that Labor has let slip in VP during its five years in office. When going around the electorate, most issues that people had came back to these four areas, as well as a more general issue of community safety. I stood because I had the time and money to do so (having just come out of a contract at Curtin), because it was for an electorate that I feel close to and part of, and because I felt the electorate was being taken for granted by the ALP in its candidate selection process.

    In terms of effort – I lost 6kg on the campaign trail while out letterboxing and doorknocking – which I spent countless hours doing – and the taxi industry did quite well out of my infrequent strandings in odd locations (due in part, ironically, to one of the issues I was campaigning on!). I also had the opportunity to meet with several schools, a TAFE college, non-profit organisations, two churches, a seniors’ centre (where I lost a game of carpet bowls!) and quite a number of businesses, as well as attending the debate, organising a policy launch and two public meetings. And as Adrian mentioned, I managed to put up signs and posters at 13 polling booths on Saturday morning with my dad.

    What I have to ask myself, as well, is why major parties need to spend 6-figure sums, blitz the electorate with large quantities of pretty meaningless paperwork on a regular basis over a campaign, and plaster booths with posters (most of which end up in landfill) and volunteers when my budget was as low as it was and my bang-for-buck was fairly high. We’re supposed to be living in the electronic age, yet only 3 candidates set up websites, and a further 3 set up a webpage of some form – notably excluding both of the major parties. A couple of voters have asked me why it can’t be done on public funding of some form, with a restriction that limits candidates to use of the public funding – on hitting the net, I find this is in fact the law in many countries, and it would certainly be an interesting issue in terms of wider electoral reform.

    One obvious impediment to my campaign, which I will raise as it’s been discussed a bit, has been that while I have been in and around the electorate for close to 19 years, I presently live with my parents, and hence have an authorising address some distance from the electorate. Not an ideal situation as it’s caused some confusion both on here and, no doubt, in the minds of many voters who would have liked to see a progressive, local-issues-based independent doing well in Victoria Park.

    I agree with Adam and Tim in that I’m pretty unlikely to get a call offering me a plush position somewhere – then again, I’ve got everywhere I have thus far by hard work, and this is no different. The political world is in a slow process of change – every parliament in Australia except Tasmania (which has Greens anyway) now has elected independent lower house MPs, the rate of party commitment amongst under-40s is the lowest it’s ever been, and both parties have in the last 20 years lost that connect with the electorate that they may well need to survive the next 50 years or so. I really hope the ALP starts listening to some of its own such as Barry Jones and Carmen Lawrence as I feel that it started out as a genuine people’s movement and still has a lot to contribute if it can somehow sort itself out and go back to the people.

    Once again, thanks to PB and everyone for the considerable amount of coverage of the campaign. It’ll be a long while till the next one for me, but I may well look for quality independent candidates to support with the benefit of my skills and experience in 2007, and I also will continue to try and get action on some of the issues I found and/or raised during the 2006 Victoria Park campaign.

  20. Apologies for the occasional wandering of the last piece – I got home at midnight almost every day for 3 weeks, and after talking to a couple of the other candidates in the days since, I know I’m not the only one who’s finding settling back into normal life again quite weird ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Thanks for posting, and it’s always interesting to hear the story from the horse’s mouth. I would not doubt you’ve grown a lot from running this campaign, and no doubt the results coming back may have given you some ideas as to what worked and what didn’t. Not only is hindsight great, but an admirable first result combined with a lack of attention statewide give you plenty of chances to use these lessons to succeed in future.

    My own analysis – many older people may have questioned the ability of a 27-year-old to represent the electorate, although they may have admired your commitment and enthusiasm. Your lack of profile prior to the byelection would have led some people to feel you were an unknown quantity, whereas they know who and what the ALP is, whether they like it or not. As you said, the overall lack of media attention and your out-of-electorate address didn’t help much. In fact, I feel more media attention would have damaged the ALP candidate, as he’s one of the weakest in a winnable seat I’ve seen in years. Finally, your campaign was aimed squarely at the ALP’s voter base, and I wouldn’t doubt there are many people who feel (incorrectly IMO) that the ALP do look after the area and just need more time to fix the problems. A higher budget, prominent advertising, inviting the media to your doorknocking, all would have increased profile. Please don’t take any of these as criticisms – VP is a traditional voter base in many ways and I think if you take that into account and plan well in advance, the potential for growth is immense. Obviously, byelections don’t allow planning, so this was a good “dress rehearsal” in a sense.

    I admit to being won over at the debate, but the debate was poorly attended (40ish out of 25,000 voters and no media) – you present well and answering questions intelligently is a strong point for you, so I would suggest for future that getting to speak to already-convened groups of people may help you (I don’t think candidate public meetings attract more than the curious and the already committed). I would also suggest getting experience in public speaking to increase your confidence.

  22. about that remark an earlier poster made about the 1.4% was lower than others, problem is there was no context…

    you look at the elections WA site and every electorate except the really outer rural/mining ones had around 90% turnout, this one had just 65% so maybe the sort of people who normally donkey vote didnt vote this time around.

    also about the green vote, someone said victoria park was “inner city” its actually inner suburban, inner city would be perth or nedlands or maylands and they do get high green votes and used to be high democrat… no other party but labor and liberal has ever done that well in vic park so for the big minor parties to keep their votes steady and the new ones to take away from labor actually suggests they’re doing very well indeed.

  23. Well, I’m back, but just briefly. I wasn’t sure anyone would still be here! Interesting to read Andrew Owen’s comments – I would have though you would have been free to post here so long as you revealed who you were. Dee Margetts certainly did.
    So, I was checking the WAEC website for the distribution of preferences which I understood was to ocurr today – still waiting. But while I’m here I can make two remarks:
    1) Ben Wyatt is probably going to go down in history as the most honest politician ever elected to parliament – he promised Vic Park nothing but what they already have and that’s certainly what they’ll get.
    2) Mike Ward said at the ‘debate’ that he knew he couldn’t win but expected to get more votes than people thought he could, that he was tapping into a previously unacknowledged vein of resentment in the community and that his vote would make the majors take notice. Well, he got the second lowest number of 1st prefs (after only van Lieshout) and only 0.5% of the vote. Is that the sort of numbers he was talking about?

  24. Ok, the distribution of preferences is now up. I was just about 30 mins premature.
    Interesting. Order of knock-out:
    1) van Lieshout
    2) Ward
    3) Tattersall
    4) Greaves
    5) Dunn
    6) Owens
    7) Bateman
    8) Heggers
    9) Margetts.
    The flow of preferences were also interesting:
    1) van Lieshout’s flowed across the board
    2) Ward’s was reasonably well spread with a slight lean toward Stevenson
    3) Tattersall went overwhelmingly to Margetts… surprise
    4) Greaves not surprisingly went primarily to Heggers
    5) Dunn went fairly strongly to Wyatt
    6) Owens went chiefly to Margetts
    7) Bateman went mainly to Heggers! Those One Nationers are apparently Christian Fundamentalists too!
    8) Heggers went overwhelmingly to Stevenson, and
    9) Margetts went 75-25 to Wyatt over Stevenson.
    So, the final margin 9632 to 6111 Wyatt over Stevenson or 61.08% to 38.75% (if my quick calcs are right).
    So, yes a swing to the Libs but not a big one. Either way it looks unlikely to save Matt Birney now (see today’s West!).

  25. Oh, just noticed something else interesting.
    Wyatt started on 7786 or 49.38% of the vote.
    He needed to get to 7885 to have over 50% of the vote. A mere 99 votes.
    He didn’t achieve that until the 5th distribution of preferences.
    What does that mean? Dunno, just thought it was interesting.

  26. I suspect the fact that 11 candidates contested the VP by-election may have had something to go with Wyatt not gaining the “magical” 50 per cent that appears to bring some comfort to supporters of the other candidates…the Conservative Right were well represented and I am not aware of any party contesting the seat that actually gave Wyatt their second preference in their “how to votes” (I might be wrong on this??)

  27. Victoria Park state electorate is part of the Swan federal electorate which was the cliff-hanger in 2004 it would be interesting if someone could make a comparison between the state election of 2005 ,this by-election and a possible outcome in 2007-08 federally

  28. Swan was only a cliffhanger because of its odd construction – it’s a bit like the federal seat of Stirling as it has, broadly speaking, a wealthier, safe Liberal western half and a less wealthy, safe Labor eastern half. If anyone’s interested I have put together a quick analysis and some comparison maps (most of which I assembled long before the election) and placed them at http://www.andrewowens.com.au/misc/byelection.html

  29. An interesting bynote – I had a look (as anyone can, btw) at the disclosures for the byelection at WAEC (AXA building, Perth) and apparently nobody but myself and a couple of the minor candidates/parties got donations – something a bit not right there! Those of us who got donations received just enough to cover the nomination fee. In expenditure terms, the spending was curiously consistent with the votes, with everyone getting about 1% for each $1200 or so spent (although Labor spent over $70k).

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