Gaven by-election live

. Primary Swing 2PP Swing
LABOR 36.8 -10.8 46.6 -8.4
NATIONALS* 42.5 3.7 53.4 8.4
Greens 7.8 -0.1
Others 12.9 7.1 95% COUNTED
* Nationals swings compared with Liberal in 2004

Monday 4.00am. A slightly puzzling article from Jamie Walker and Emma Chalmers in the Courier-Mail (join in the fun and suggest your own alternative title for the paper in comments), which tells us that the swing "is expected to blow out from 7.5 per cent", and that Labor is "bracing" for it to pass 8 per cent. But the ECQ’s two-party figures, which are correctly quoted in the article, already have it at 8.3 per cent. Another eyebrow-raiser is the assertion that there are "3500 postal and pre-polling votes still to be counted", which if literally correct will mean more than 6000 non-polling booth votes have been lodged, compared with 3198 at the Chatsworth by-election and 3455 at Redcliffe. It may be that they know something I don’t, but for the time being I will conclude that the 3500 figure includes the 2692 that have already been counted. The figure of 95 per cent in the table above is based on this assumption.

Sunday 1.30pm. Might as well keep going. Postals and pre-polls are in, leaving only about 200 absent and declared institution votes remaining. Postals accounted for more than 8 per cent of the total and have run badly against Labor, the 13.6 per cent two-party swing being worse than any booth. Pre-polls have gone the other way, swinging only 1.5 per cent, but there were less than a quarter as many. My calculations have done their job, because the 8.3 per cent swing now indicated by the ECQ compares with the 8.1 per cent projected on this site last night and the 7.3 per cent you would have heard about in the media.

8.42m. You don’t get rid of me that easily. Two points worth making: first, a uniform swing of 8 per cent at a general election would cost Labor 20 seats and reduce it to 43 seats out of 89, two short of a majority. Since by-elections are always a free kick for the opposition, it does not seem that the Beattie government’s plight is severe enough to cost it power at the election due early next year. Secondly, the turnout for this by-election has been quite remarkable: 23,217 votes lodged at polling booths compared with 22,418 at the 2004 election. How often does a by-election produce a turnout higher than at the previous general election? By way of comparison, 16,381 votes were lodged at the recent Victoria Park by-election in WA, compared with 22,911 at the state election of barely more than a year ago. No doubt this is testament in large part to the continuing population explosion on the Gold Coast. Beyond that, I wouldn’t care to speculate.

8.11pm. One more thing: great job by the ECQ. Granted that they had fewer booths to keep on top of than at any by-election I have seen, but this is the first time I have seen each booth come in one at a time, and not in unmanageable and suspense-destroying spurts.

8.09pm. The ECQ has “final for election night” in big red writing at the top of the page, so I guess that’s it for the evening. You have as always been a wonderful audience, and I will continue to keep an eye out for comments thread activity for another hour or so.

8.01pm. Not sure if we’ll be seeing any pre-polls or postals this evening (we did for the Victoria Park by-election in WA a few weeks ago). I’ll hang around a bit longer to find out.

7.59pm. Notional preferences now in from Pacific Pines as well, and this time I could be bothered. A further drift of preferences away from Labor has added 0.1 per cent to the swing.

7.55pm. Notional preferences at Nerang PYC have favoured Labor less than average, but not by enough that I can be bothered altering the table at this point.

7.51pm. Still waiting on notional 2PP in Nerang PYC and Pacific Pines, but you get the picture. The Nationals have won the seat with a swing of about 8.0 per cent, similar to that achieved by the Liberals in last year’s Redcliffe by-election (8.3 per cent) but substantially less than that from the Chatsworth by-election (13.9 per cent) held on the same day.

7.49pm. The ECQ seem to have docked the Greens a vote in favour of the Nationals in the Nerang booth. Wonder what happened there.

7.46pm. With notional figures in from all but two booths, preferences have swung back a little in Labor’s favour. They now favour Labor 15.5 per cent to 14.5 per cent, with 70 per cent exhausting (compared with 60 per cent in 2004).

7.41pm. Pacific Pines is now in and has registered a fairly typical 8.6 per cent swing against Labor.

7.4opm. Unless I’m doing something wrong here, further notional 2PP results suggests that preferences are actually favouring the Nationals. The table has been adjusted again and the swing has increased further.

7.33pm. First notional 2PP results are in, and they suggest 17 per cent of preferences are going to Labor, 16 per cent to the Nationals and 66 per cent exhausting. So Labor are doing less well than suggested by my initial figures, which have now been adjusted.

7.28pm. Nerang PYC, worth 8 per cent of the total, has swung 6.6 per cent on 2PP, lower than average but still enough to cost Labor the seat if uniform.

7.26pm. In answer to an earlier question to myself, Greens candidate Glen Ryman has chipped in in comments to say Daren Riley is broadly of the right, so it’s unlikely his preferences would rescue Labor. Both his and the Greens’ vote have faded a little from the 10 per cent ballpark mentioned early, and they’re now on more like 8 per cent.

7.24pm. The only outstanding booths are Nerang PYC (8 per cent) and Pacific Pines (11 per cent).

7.2opm. The biggest booth, Helensvale North, is now in, and if there was any hope left for Labor it’s probably gone now. The swing was 8.5 per cent. The one possible wild card is that preferences will fall very differently this time, although I don’t see why they would.

7.18pm. Bit of a delay in my table update there. Booths just mentioned are now up.

7.15pm. Gaven and Helensvale have also swung against Labor by enough to cost them the seat – 8.1 per cent and 7.4 per cent.

7.12pm. Two fairly large booths may have put it beyond Labor’s reach. Nerang West and Oxenford are both worth about 10 per cent and have swung against Labor by 7.3 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively.

7.10pm. Glen Ryman of the Greens and independent Daren Riley, of whom I know nothing, are both on about 10 per cent. Preferences of the latter could prove very important. One Nation and independent Phil Connolly (who was once a One Nation candidate) are doing less well, both on 2-3 per cent.

7.07pm. Not so good for Labor in Nerang, although it’s a small booth worth 5 per cent of the vote. Labor down 10.9 per cent and the Coalition up 7.0 per cent for a 10.1 per cent two-party swing, enough to put the Nationals back in the lead.

7.05pm. Bicentennial Hall was in fact the worst booth for Labor in 2004, with a margin of just 0.9 per cent.

7.02pm. Something to chew on: when will the notional 2PP from the Brisbane booth be in? How long can it take to count 29 votes?

6.58pm. The first substantial booth is in and unless my calculations are askew, it’s a very encouraging result for Labor. Bicentennial Hall was worth 7 per cent of the total in 2004 and while Labor are down 9.6 per cent on the primary vote, the Coalition are down 2.5 per cent as well. My two-party calculation is a swing of less than 3.9 per cent, less than the Nationals will need to win the seat.

6.55pm. Another clarification while we wait: until notional two-candidate details are in from the ECQ, calculations in the above table will assume the same preference distribution as 2004 – 22 per cent to Labor, 18 per cent to the Coalition and 60 per cent exhausting.

6.48pm. Teething problem number one now sorted.

6.45pm. The first figures in are actually those lodged in Brisbane, of which there are a mere 29. So it wouldn’t do to read much into the results above just yet.

6.42pm. A caveat to the bit about early results flattering Labor: I am referring to the raw figures you will get at the ECQ. The results in the table above will be adjusted to take booth variations into account.

6.40pm. A quick preview while we wait. There are nine booths in the electorate, the smallest number I have ever encountered. Labor recorded majorities in all of them in 2004, but its majorities were noticeably smaller at the far north end (Helensvale North and Oxenford) and the far south (Bicentennial Hall and the three Nerang booths). The three best booths for Labor were the three in between, at Gaven (15.8 per cent Labor majority), Helensvale (8.3 per cent) and Pacific Pines (10.8 per cent). The two largest booths, Helensvale North (15 per cent of voters) and Nerang West (12 per cent), were also two of the best for the Coalition, with Labor majorities of 2.1 per cent and 2.6 per cent respectively. So it can be presumed that the early results will tend to flatter Labor.

6.10pm. Welcome to the Poll Bludger’s live coverage of the Gaven by-election. 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.

35 comments on “Gaven by-election live”

  1. Streaming 4BC radio while checking your election call…they just said ‘Greens have 334% of the vote’ without even bothering to explain that that reulst was from the most irrelevant Brisbane booth.

    Nice one, you’re doing a better call than them. No surprise of course

  2. Never actually sat and watched an ‘election brought to you by Pollbludger’ before, but I am fair excited by the prospect. Even though I am in SA and the prospect of a Qld by-election has about as much impact on me as the price of coconuts in Latvia.

    In saying that I have a question for whoever would like to comment. WHY WHY WHY are the Nationals running a in an urban electorate? After the defection of Julian McGuaran that party were raving on constantly about how they were the real party of the Country and they could never be compared with the Liberals in respect of their true understanding and empathy with R&R Australia. And then a couple of months later they are running for an urban electorate! Makes no sense to me.

  3. Daren will pick up most of the One Nation vote and the and some disaffected Liberal voters. He ran a strong campaign as a local and had becking from right-leaning businessmen in Nerang. It will be interesting to see how his votes holds up north of the Nerang forest.

  4. I second the ‘coconuts in Latvia’ comment – I’m addicted to elections as well. Down here in the NS of W we haven’t even heard of Gaven, let alone the by-election. Very refreshing to see live coverage.

    Only thing that tripped me up for a second was the time difference – I wish the Daylight Saving Party from Victoria Park were contesting.

    Results are sounding good for the Greens in a traditionally conservative area. Would be fun if their preferences decided a Labor/National contest.

  5. If Libs had contested this seat we’d be seeing a swing well in excess of 10%, probably up to 20% (as predicted by that old doomsayer Pete Beattie). Instead we have protectionist Nationals battling a seat full of beachside apartments. Come on! It’s the most ridiculous thing ever and let’s be clear that tomorrow’s Courier will be questioning the wisdom of the decision of the Nats to contest this one … and more to the point, the sanity of the Libs to allow them to!

  6. And while I’m whinging about this. Can we get rid of Bob Quinn as Leader sometime soon! With Latvian coconuts being a theme of the night I’d have to admit that I’m more interested in the prices of those than in Bob’s personality.

  7. Speaking of personality, I handed out how to vote cards for the greens in the Chatsworth State by-election last year. The Liberal how to vote cards had pictures of Howard, Quinn AND Lord Mayor Campbell Newman – presumably their polling shows that Newman is a very popular and recognisable politician

  8. Ok, the Nationals have won the seat, though by not nearly as much as the Liberals would have. Jump forward to the beginning of next year when Beattie takes the State to the polls. Are the Nats going to be able to hold this seat? One would presume that the Lib winners in Redcliff and Chatsworth would stand a fairly decent chance of retaining their seats, building on incumbency and a likely significant swing towards the Coalition. In normal circumstances Gaven would be a likely Liberal gain at a State election, but now it’s a Nat seat surely this improves Labor’s chances of regaining it. Anyone got thoughts on this?

  9. Interesting foreign policy views there David J?
    Final Nat vote looks same as the total of Lib and Nat votes from the first opinion poll, Lib would have done much the same if they had run.

  10. Hard to give you a direct Yes or No answer here, Dave S, but here are what I think could be some of the factors:

    Can the (presumably) new Nat MP build a local profile as a good popular local member between now and the State election?

    Have swinging voters punished Labor now and got it out of their system?

    Will the local Lib and Nat branches unite, or will they fight?

    The resuts certainly seem to show a rejection of the ALP, rather than a ringing endorsement of the Coalition.

  11. RE the Chatsworth by-election last year: the Liberals really pulled out their big guns on that day.

    Michael Caltabiano, the successful candidate, is a big mover and shaker in the Qld Libs and seemed to have a lot of activists out at the polling booth I was at.

    I also saw Bob Quinn and the candidate himself spend a fair bit of time at my booth, and the Lib volunteers were young and vigourous, not the blue-rinse set.

    Not sure if that explains the big swing totally, but may be a factor.

    Greens were also deliberately trying to stop preferences going to the ALP on that day. (Although they were doing that in Redcliffe too). The ALP was handing out a ticket asking Green voters to vote Green, then preference ALP, but their heart was not really in it and after some vigorous competition between me and them, they gave up and concentrated on their main ticket.

  12. It appears that the result is very similar to Redcliffe with a slight
    swing and a more favorable distribution of preferences
    this seat which is a naturally conservative seat can be won back by the alp

  13. William,

    I assume your 2PP figures are factoring in postals as the ECQ figures give a swing of 7.3% compared to your 8.1%

  14. That’s right Peter – I hope! Their figure is raw whereas I’ve calculated a swing by comparing booth results with booth results and adding/subtracting it from the 2004 totals. Since my swing is higher, presumably postals favoured the conservatives last time, as they traditionally do. It’s not impossible that there is a minor glitch somewhere in my calculations, but everything has run very smoothly this evening and I have no reason to think so.

  15. Nice one! The Speaker at recommended you to me and he was right. A very interesting election-watch.

    Perhaps you should prmote yourself to the people who organise election night parties for candidates? You are getting info out quicker than the ABC or anyone else, and when people are hungry for news you could be the site they turn to.

    Good work, again.

    David J

  16. Dave S, it’s catch-22 with Bob Quinn. Coalition wins and we pineapple heads have him as Deputy Premier. Coalition loses again and – being an ex school principal – there is a chance he is re-inflicted on somebodies’ children.

  17. Dammit! Poor old Bob. As the last man standing after the 2001 rout his position was inevitable and he has given the party service when it was at its lowest ebb!? So this makes it harder to find the right time to dump him. He could resign … but he won’t. Michael Cab. will oust him sooner rather than later.

  18. William, as a %ge of eligible voters, turnout at polling booths was down (from 77.2% to about 72%).

    The incease in absolute votes may be explained by the pop. boom in them there parts: Gaven’s rolls were up 11% in under 2 years.

    Overall turnout will likely be even lower since there’s no absentee voting (apart from City Hall) – conversely that’s another reason for a higher ‘in booth’ turnout as people couldn’t vote outside the district.

    Other factors explaining a still quite impressive turnout for a by-election are that this time the seat was likely to change, yet not foregone (cf the 2004 general election when a Beattie Blandslide was widely expected). Also the circumstances gave the by-election undue attention: eg front pages of the Curious Snail sporting a certain house in Thailand.

  19. Said newspaper also seems to have conveniently overlooked the fact the the Greens are ahead of independent Daren Riley, and instead report that Daren is “beating the Greens”.

  20. When Joh won his great landslide in 1974 (simialr 2PP to 2001 for Labor) he then had a 7% swing back to Labor in 1977. Despite this the Nats then remained in government until 1989. I notice the Oz is going after Beattie citing his approval ratings, but he must still be well ahead in preferred Premier stakes.

  21. Well this site has been pretty quiet – I thought I would like to mention – has anyone been watching the recent Italian Election unfold? Now I don’t know much about over there but to make an opinion [and from hearing both sides on OzPoliticsBlog] could that be a comparison to what 2007 could look like in Aussie? [the idea being the economy slowing down and perhaps Labor scraping in]…

    As to another thing…what do people reckon about the Coalition in QLD? Should Liberals go all out and make the Nationals insiginificant or does everyone reckon the Nationals could make a come back and to wishful thinking try to live the heigh days of the mid 1980s?

    And lastly – if you’re there Antony Green – when will the ABC Election site be fully updated for the final results for the Tassie and SA Elections?

    oh and one last thing – couldn’t resist – anyone taking punts yet as to how much Steve Bracks will get in by in the upcoming Victorian Election?

    Just some food for thought to keep the site alive. 🙂

  22. I reckon that Bracks will get in with between 2 and 5 seats less on current momentum. But if the Libs pick things up and there are no three cornered contests, it could get up to 10, though I really doubt it.
    For now I see a faint possibility of a Green and an extra Independent.

    ALP WILL NOT gain majority in the upper house.

  23. For now I’ll stand in agreeance with your first assessment Dave on the Lower house.

    However, with the upper house? I’m sure that Labor can still pull off a majority. In 1999 Labor only won 8 seats in the upper house. In 2002 they won 17 which gives them the current total of 25. Even if Labor was to go backwards in the upper house, they still would only need to win 6 seats to hold a majority, albiet by one. [Assuming there’s no changes to the upper house in the meantime.] If Labor does say win 6 and hold a majority, then for sure, they definetly will not have a majority in the upper house in the election following 2006 and could be in trouble if they are still in government by then.

    This raises another interesting issue. Labor [I do not know of the Liberals/Nationals having the urge to do this] seems to be the only party that raises, in respect to Upper House reform, the possiblity of demolishing the upper house. Labor succeeded with that in QLD in 1922. Labor failed with it in NSW in 1924. Now under Mike Rann that’s a possiblity and might be demolished in the next 8 years. Maybe? Maybe not? However, with Labor holding a majority in both houses in Victoria I am surprised this hasn’t been the go. Any assessment on that? Or does the various state Labor parties go on phases on demolishing their respective state upper houses? [Obviously one can tell I’m not a Victorian ha]

  24. The upper house has been reformed into 8 regions of 5 members each, all going to election at once. This means that to gain majority you have to win 3 of 5 seats in 5 regions, and 2 seats in the other two. Not impossible, but extremely improbable.
    And no, as far as I know there has been no talk about abolishing it by any party.
    Although if the Greens get the balence, I bet some will want it.

  25. I had a fair bit to say about the prospects for future Victorian upper house majorities last year. I concluded that Labor has a pretty good chance when it wins big, with Eastern Metropolitan looming as the decisive battleground for Labor’s 21st seat. The Coalition might have a harder time because there are two regions (Northern Metropolitan and Western Metropolitan) where they can normally be expected to win only one seat, and even a landslide on the scale of 1992 probably couldn’t score them a second seat in Northern Metro. However, a repeat of 1992 would probably score them one in Northern, two in Western and three everywhere else for a total of 21 out of 40.

  26. I thought the upperhouse was already reformed- the only problem using out of date figures and a poor memory 😀

    I guess it shall be interesting to see if Bracks is still popular and if the Liberals can make any head way in the next few months to see if a majority is achieved

    oh speaking of greens what shall be interesting is some of those inner city seats when the greens came second against Labor – I would be interested to see if the green vote picks up and how they go against other candidates in the field [thinking marrickville sydney here]… and also are the Democrats fielding any candidates this time or just giving up? after the got 0.01% of the vote in the lower house total statewide

  27. Queensland’s abolition of the Leg. Council required an appointed Council. A referendum in 1917 on abolition failed, and the Theodore Government resorted to advising the Governor to appoint enough Labor members to Council to ensure the passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill that abolished the council. They were aided, I think, by the Country Party who saw abolition as preferable to extending the electoral franchise.

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