Winners picked: upper house edition

At long last, I present my assessment of the state of play in the upper house. I always reserve the right to change my mind up until the close of polls, and that goes double here because there are no doubt subtleties that I have missed. If anyone thinks they can spot any, please raise them in comments.

Northern Metropolitan: The key test here is likely to be the combined Labor and Greens vote, which will produce three seats for Labor and one for the Greens if it adds up to more than two-thirds of the total. Stephen Mayne of People Power has constructed an optimistic alternative scenario in which their candidate Barbara Biggs gets ahead of Family First with independent and Democrats preferences, but it would seem more likely that the latter bloc will be outweighed by the combined DLP and Family First vote, so that Biggs will be eliminated and the Labor surplus will instead go to the Greens. The more likely threat to an outcome of three Labor, one Liberal and one Greens would be an unheralded 10 per cent dive in the Labor vote which failed to transfer to the Greens, in which case the Liberals might win a second seat at the expense of the Greens. This would have to be rated as very unlikely.

ASSESSMENT: Labor 3; Liberal 1; Greens 1.

Eastern Metropolitan: With Liberal and Labor sure to bag two seats each, the final place looms as a three-way struggle between Liberal, Labor and the Greens. If the combined Liberal and Family First vote is over 50 per cent, the seat will go to Liberals. Given that the Liberals scored 44.3 per cent in this area in 2002, and the Family First 2004 Senate vote here was 2.2 per cent, the Liberals will be looking good if they are picking up a swing in excess of 3 per cent in the eastern suburbs. Otherwise, the key test will be whether the combined vote for the Greens, Democrats and People Power is greater than Labor’s surplus over the 33.3 per cent they will need to win their second seat. However, Antony Green raises the prospect of a wild card outcome, noting that the contest "gets interesting" if a) the Liberal plus Family First vote is below 50 per cent, b) the Labor plus Greens vote is below 50 per cent, and c) the combined People Power plus Democrats vote is higher than the combined Family First and DLP vote. One of the first two scenarios is plausible, but the third looks very unlikely given that the combined Family First and DLP vote in this area was 3.8 per cent at the 2004 federal election. Stephen Mayne’s scenario for a win for People Power candidate Karin Orpen puts the People Power vote at a very optimistic 2.9 per cent.

ASSESSMENT: Liberal 3; Labor 2.

South-Eastern Metropolitan: This is the Greens’ weakest metropolitan region, so it seems very unlikely that they will poll higher than Labor’s surplus over 33.3 per cent, even after the addition of preferences from the Democrats and People Power (and especially in light of the Liberals decision to put them last on preferences, depriving them of any Liberal surplus). On the basis of the 54.2 per cent Labor scored in this area at the 2002 election (as calculated by Antony Green) it seems equally unlikely that Labor could fail to reach the 50 per cent they need for a third seat after they receive the Greens vote as preferences. For the final seat to go to either Liberal or the Greens, Labor would need to suffer a double-digit swing.

ASSESSMENT: Labor 3; Liberal 2.

Southern Metropolitan: Southern Metropolitan is Labor’s weakest metropolitan region – there is little prospect of them winning a third seat, and a slight risk that they won’t win a second. If Labor does win a second seat, the final position looms as a tussle between the Liberals and the Greens. The Liberals polled 44.2 per cent here in 2002 and will receive preferences from Family First, the DLP and an independent candidate, which the 2004 Senate figures suggest will add up to around 3 per cent. If that adds up to more than 50 per cent, the Liberals will win the seat. The Greens vote in this region was 15.4 per cent at the 2002 state election and 12.8 per cent at the 2004 Senate election; the only boosts they will receive beyond their primary vote will be preferences from People Power and the Democrats, along with Labor’s surplus over 33.3 per cent. If that all adds up to more than 16.7 per cent, the Greens will win the seat. The alternative scenario is that Labor’s vote (which was 37.9 per cent in 2002) falls well below 33.3 per cent, giving the Greens a slim chance of overtaking Labor’s second candidate (one Evan Thornley) and winning his seat, for a final result of three Liberal, one Labor and one Greens.

ASSESSMENT: Liberal 2; Labor 2; Greens 1.

Western Metropolitan: The Greens would need a big improvement on their recent performances to win a seat here, following the Liberal decision to put the Greens last on preferences. There would need to be a substantial boost in their vote at the expense of Labor, and little improvement in the Liberal vote. If that does not occur, the Liberals could win a second seat if their vote reached 33.3 per cent after the addition of Family First preferences. Otherwise, Labor would win a fourth seat and be well on their way to maintaining their upper house majority. The Liberal vote in 2002 was 25.6 per cent, while the Family First 2004 Senate vote was 1.5 per cent.

ASSESSMENT: Labor 4; Liberal 1.

Eastern Victoria: The Coalition parties have done Labor a huge favour here by preferencing the Greens last, giving them some hope of winning a third seat. Past experience suggests the Greens vote will be in the 8 per cent ballpark, which can now be added directly to a Labor vote that was 40.6 per cent at the 2002 state election and 30.4 per cent at the 2004 Senate election. If the surplus of this sum over 33.3 per cent is greater than the equivalent figure for the combined Coalition vote (47.2 per cent in 2002, 50.8 per cent for the 2004 Senate), Labor will win the seat. However, the odds are stacked against this outcome and it is more likely that the final seat will go to either the Liberals or Nationals. The determining factor here will be whether the Nationals vote (10.2 per cent on 2002 figures) exceeds the Liberal surplus over 33.3 per cent (3.7 per cent in 2002), after the Nationals receive preferences from Family First, People Power and the DLP and the Liberals receive preferences from the Country Alliance. As such, the most likely outcome would look to be two Labor, two Liberal and one Nationals. Wild card possibilities include the dim prospect of the People Power getting ahead of the Greens with preferences from the DLP, Family First and the Labor surprlus, and then coasting to victory on Greens preferences.

ASSESSMENT: Labor 2; Liberal 2; Nationals 1.

Western Victoria: Labor and the Liberals are each assured of two seats; the final seat could go to Labor, Liberal or the Greens. Labor’s vote here in 2002 was 47.3 per cent; if this falls by less than 5 per cent, they are very likely to win the final seat. The Greens have a narrow window of opportunity: they need for the combined Labor and Greens vote to be near or above 50 per cent, and for their own share of it to be greater than Labor’s surplus over 33.3 per cent. On 2002 figures, Labor and the Greens respectively polled 47.3 per cent (a 14.0 per cent surplus) and 8.3 per cent. Alternatively, the Liberals might reach the 50 per cent needed for a third seat after receiving preferences from the Nationals, Family First and the DLP. The Coalition vote in 2002 was 42.3 per cent, while preferences should boost them a further 3 to 4 per cent. The Nationals vote in this region is too low to give them a serious shot of squeezing out the Liberals. There are a couple of wild card scenarios here, one of which involves the DLP snowballing ahead of the third Liberal with preferences from Family First, the Country Alliance and People Power.

ASSESSMENT: Liberal 3; Labor 2.

Northern Victoria: The Coalition will surely improve upon its combined 49.1 per cent vote in 2002, and are thus assured of three seats. Barring a Nationals collapse, they are all but certain to win one of these three seats. The question is whether Labor can manage a second. They polled 37.4 per cent, and will only receive preferences from the Greens and half those of the Country Alliance. Even so, their vote would need to fall by about 10 per cent if they were to fall short. A possible wild card is celebrity chef and independent candidate Stefano di Pieri. If his vote breaks the 5 per cent barrier, he might get ahead of the Greens and pull off a miracle.

ASSESSMENT: Labor 2; Liberal 2; Nationals 1.

Add that all together and you get a final result of Labor 20, Liberal 16, Nationals two and two for the Greens. Look back later though and you may find I have changed my mind.

UPDATE: Be it noted that my original assessment of Liberal 3, Labor 2 in Southern Metropolitan has been withdrawn.

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.

14 comments on “Winners picked: upper house edition”

  1. William I have done my own Upperhouse analysis and only disagree with you marginally. I think the Nationals will get elected in Western Victoria with the DLP far enough away for a come from behind win to be unlikely. L would also watch out for Stefano Di Perdi in Northern Victoria as if he gets more than 5% of the vote he will win as he gets almost every minor party preference other than Family First.

    In the city I think you have drasticlly underesitmated the Green vote as on the vote that the opionon polls are showing (10-13%) they will get seats in East and South Metro at the expence of the Liberals.

    As a result the result in the upper house will be:
    20 Labor
    14 Liberal
    3 National
    3 Green

    I will also have a stab at what will happen in the Lower House.
    I think that a average tpp swing of 3-4% will occur towards the Libs. as that seems to be what the few opionon polls seem to be indicating. So the following seats will fall on that swing.
    Evelyn, Hastings, Gembrook, Kilysth, Ferntree Gully, Mount Waverley, and Bayswater.

    Now outside of that uniform swing local factor will be enough to see Prahran, Eltham and South Barwon fall. But with the news that labor how-to-vote cards are going to national no seats will fall between the two conservative parties, but with the Nationals not going back to their threat Morwell will end up in labor hands.

    Lastly I see the Greens getting their first state lower house seat in Australia today. Three of them. That’s right will the upswing in the Green vote the Greens will get Melbourne, Richmond and Northcote but with Northcote only falling because no attention has been paied to it and Mary Delahunty retiring.

  2. I think your wrong on Southern Metro. I think the Greens will win based on the improved vote in Sandringham, Oakleigh and Bentleigh where the candidates all campaigned hard. Not much to say we would go backwards.

    It will probably be 2 each for the old parties and one for the Greens. but we’ll find out tomorrow I guess.

  3. APK- greens have already got lower house seats in australia today – notably in tasmania where they have 4 lower house seats… and they held a federal lower house seat [cunningham] from a 2002 by to 2004 gen election

    will – well done mate – i pretty much agree with your upperhouse analysis

  4. Western metro could go ALP 3, Liberal 2 or as you have stated ALP 4, Liberal 2. The Greens can not beat the ALP surplus so the Greens end up toping up Labor or minor parties see the Liberals over the line Green vote in this region around 6-7%. Labor is close to 63% and the Liberals 31%

  5. Western Victoria.

    In think if we do not see an ALP win a third spot we will see either the DLP come up the middle or the NP win the fifth. The National Party pick up from the all parties and should top the Liberal surplus. The ALP prefernce the DLP before the Greens so much depends on the extent of their surplus. The DLP must be above either the ALP surplus and the Greens to win.

  6. I think one thing you’re not taking into account in Western Victoria is the Elaine Carbines factor. The first two seats are easily safe, and Carbines, who occupies the death seat, is a very popular incumbent. There’s quite a lot of local resistance to Labor’s decision to drop her to the third position on the ticket in favour of a couple of unionists from Melbourne, and the local paper has also been running quite strongly on this issue. I would expect a larger than normal below-the-line vote for Carbines, which – except in the event of a unexpectedly large swing to the Liberals – should put both the Liberals and the Greens out of reach.

  7. I loved the silents from the Green HTV person when I mentioned they had the Liberals ahead of the ALP, in the seat I voted, the other booth workers had a chuckle.

  8. William,
    You’ve done a very good job with these predictions. While it’s early days in the count, I reckon with the exception of Western Victoria (likely 3-2 Labor, rather than 3-2 Liberal) you will be precisely correct (with your amended forecast on Southern Metro).

  9. Upper-House Tally

    Victorian Legislative Council Election

    The following results of Saturday’s count produced interesting reading as the results unfolded. At one stage in the counting process it looked as though the Greens were going to lose all seats but as the count progressed the Greens, aided by People Power and Democrat feeders, crept across the line in four seats. But it is not over yet, the battle for the last position was close and will be dependent on preferences, postal and absentee votes.

    The election process was marred by the Chief Commissioner, Mr Tully, who refused to provide information on the number of postal ballot papers that had been issued for each district. This information is normally available and provides an indication of what is outstanding and whether or not it will effect the results of the election. without this information there is no way knowing if that all illusive bundle of 50 votes will appear. Mr Tully in spite numerous requests refused to make this important information available. WHY? This information is normally made available prior to the election postal vote applications closed on Thursday night. As a result of Mr Tully’s refusal he left scrutineers of Monday nights count in the dark not knowing vital information as to whether or not Bronwyn Pike was elected or not. Bronwyn according to the VEC 2CP count was on a 1.5% margin similar to the 2002 election result but without knowing the number of postal votes that has been issued and the number of absentee votes yet to some in She was left wanting. The VEC’s conduct of the count of the election was certainly left wanting and raises question why do we need to 2 electoral commission the VEC and the AEC. The VEC’s web site service was also inadequate with detailed information related to polling pace results not readily made available.

    Further there were additional concerns that the Chief Commissioner and VEC staff had undertaken a, possibly illegal, preliminary early count of the results of the election recorded at electronic polling booths. If this is true then there are a number of questions outstanding in regards to the VEC’s rights to undertake a preliminary count of the election results prior to the close of the poll on Saturday night in the absence of scrutineers. If not resolved soon this issue will be subject to review by the Victorian Civil Appeals Tribunal and with the Chief Commissioner and staff called on to give evidence as to the conduct of the election with a report being made to the State Parliament.

    Mr Tully has denied and refuted the advice provided by Glenda Fraser, Manager of Election Services, who in an email forward to the the Media on Friday indicated that the Commission had in fact undertaken a count and analysis of first preference and 2CP results of votes recorded on the VEC electronic voting system. Quote “After analysing the number of voting centre results entered last night for 1st prefs (District and Region) and 2 CP we have realised that everyone could be waiting around all night for what would be dribs and drabs that we do not anticipate would make an impact on the result” If it turn out that this account did in fact occur and the count was illegal then Mr Tully should resign or be sacked. A decision to sack Mr Tully would need to be made by the Victorian State Parliament.

    More graphs showing the preliminary distribution count

  10. We have discussed Mr Sever Tully, Chief Electoral Commissioner refusal to provide information and detailed preference data recording the transcribed ballot paper information.

    Whilst representation has already been made to the Ministers Office and other members of Parliament we will also be petitioning the Parliament to legislate to avoid this abuse of process and to ensure that this information is readily available and that all relevant and detailed data pertaining to the results of election is made public and form’s part of the requirements of the declaration of the poll.

    Robert Hulls is the Minister responsible for overseeing the actions of te electoral office and also the minister responsible for FOI legilstaion. Robert Hulls is already aware of the issues involved. We have also contacted members of the State Opposition seeking their support.

    There is nothing in statute or law that prevents this information from being published and made available to the public. Legal precedence has already been set on this issue. And the ruling by Mr McNamara, Senior member of VCAT, was clear cut this information is a public document and accessible and available to members of the public.

    There also is a legal obligation on behalf as the Electoral Office to ensure that this information is made available during the count to scrutineers. As we understand it Mr Tully has illegally refused scrutineers access to copies of this information and request made to obtain copies of the transcribed preference data denied.

    We have already lined up a members of Parliament (Both Liberal and Labor) who are willing to table our petition. We will be petitioning both houses of Parliament and seeking immediate legislative review in time for the 2008 Municipal elections to avoid a rate of this abuse of process and to ensure that future elections remain open and transparent.

    Our petition will be tabled in the Autumn session of Parliament in 2007.

    This petitioning of the Parliament will also be in parallel with an FOI application and if necessary further application to VCAT.

    A petition to the parliament only needs one signature but we hope to collect more and from all sides of the political spectrum

    We aim to put an end, once and for all, to the beuacratic obstructionist and abuse of process adopted by the Chief Electoral Commissioner.

    More information on my blog. (click on my name above).

    Anthony van der Craats
    Melbcity (AT) gmail (dot) com

  11. The other thing people have not discussed related to the recent reform of the upper-house is that the Legislative Council has changed form a house of little talent to a house of talent. No longer is it the dumping ground of political paybacks and retired political hacks. It is the place where the parties appoint some of their best and brightest. Their role will be crucial for the State Opposition and the effective monitoring and review of the Parliamentary Legislative Assembly.

    The adoption of proportional Prepresenetatio0n ensures continuity and renewal of talent. One of the positive attributes of the Bracks Government is their ability and willingness to renew their talent base. This was evident yesterday when the Premier announced his new cabinet and we saw older ministers and members of cabinet replaced with new highly skilled fresh faces. If Labor can continue to regenerate itself it and provide good government it will be in power for many years to come.

  12. bmwofoz – the greens htv was a split-ticket. the greens did not preference the liberals ahead of labor, or labor ahead of the liberals in 8 lower-house seats. The greens did not preference the liberals ahead of labor anywhere in the state.

    So… DLP to share balance of power, huh?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *