Full house?

The Poll Bludger’s lower house predictions left a bit to be desired – I underestimated the Nationals, failed to spot Labor’s troubles in Gippsland, missed Russell Savage’s defeat in Mildura, punted on some roughies that failed to come home (Eltham and South West Coast) and got suckered in by some faulty conventional wisdom (South Barwon and Melbourne). However, I can claim to have salvaged some pride with my upper house predictions, all of which are looking good except my call of three Liberal and two Labor in Western Victoria, which will likely be the other way round (UPDATE: See below). Given that my prediction was for a total of 20 seats for Labor, the Western Victoria bonus would give them the magic 21 seats and an absolute majority in the 40-seat chamber. Bearing in mind that the VEC still only has results in from 1744 out of 2416 voting centres, the picture appears as follows in the eight regions listed in rough order of interest (if any).


1. David Davis (Liberal)
2. John Lenders (Labor)
3. Andrea Coote (Liberal)
4. Sue Pennicuik (Greens)
5. Evan Thornley (Labor) leads David Southwick (Liberal)

Labor is coming perilously close to having its star candidate Evan Thornley lose to the third Liberal. The Greens have a quota without much room to spare after preferences from the Democrats boost them from 15.64 per cent to 17.31 per cent, above the magic number of 16.67 per cent. Similarly, Evan Thornley starts out with Labor’s 14.98 per cent surplus over the first quota and just gets there with preferences from independent Rita Bentley (0.38 per cent) and People Power (1.37 per cent), boosting him to 16.73 per cent. He will further get the Greens surplus if he needs it, which on current figures will boost him 0.60 per cent to a total of 17.33 per cent. That gives him an uncomfortable lead of 0.66 per cent; if this lead evaporates, Family First preferences will put the Liberals’ David Southwick over the line. It is interesting that Rita Bentley is giving Thornley such a valuable boost, as her preference ticket singles him out for special treatment – Thornley is in third place behind Bentley’s running mate Geoff Taylor, while the other Labor candidates are behind the Liberals.


1. Jaala Pulford (Labor)
2. John Vogels (Liberal)
3. Gayle Tierney (Labor)
4. David Koch (Liberal)
5. Elaine Carbines (Labor) leads Peter Kavanagh (DLP)

With Labor and Liberal winning two seats each, the final seat has emerged as a contest between Labor and the Greens with the tide continuing to flow to Labor. At the critical point of the count, Labor leads 9.13 per cent to the Greens’ 8.46 per cent (their 8.17 per cent primary vote plus preferences from the Socialist Alliance). Whichever of the two emerges in front will get to a quota on the preferences of the other, leapfrogging either the Nationals or the DLP. (UPDATE: The previous statement was based on the erroneous assumption that Labor preferences would go to the Greens rather than the DLP. In fact, if Labor falls behind the Greens – which is reckoned to be at least possible by those in the know – their preferences will deliver the seat to the DLP).


1. Justin Madden (Labor)
2. Khalil Eideh (Labor)
3. Martin Pakula (Labor)
4. Bernie Finn (Liberal)
5. Henry Barlow (Labor) leads Colleen Hartland (Greens)

After the first four seats go three Labor and one Liberal, Labor is leading the Greens in the race for the fifth seat. Labor has 9.31 per cent over the third quota against the Greens’ total of 9.14 per cent. Labor is then boosted by preferences from People Power (1.24 per cent) and the DLP (0.99 per cent), while the Greens get preferences from the Democrats (0.94 per cent) – leaving Labor with a lead of 11.54 per cent to 10.08 per cent at the critical point of the count. Whichever of the two ends up behind here will propel the other over the second Liberal candidate (7.80 per cent boosted to 11.72 per cent after Family First preferences).


1. Richard Dalla Riva (Liberal)
2. Shaun Leane (Labor)
3. Bruce Atkinson (Liberal)
4. Brian Tee (Labor)
5. Jan Kronberg (Liberal) leads Bill Pemberton (Greens)

After the election of two Liberal and two Labor candidates, the fifth place emerges as a close contest between Liberal and the Greens. The Greens appeared to have the edge earlier in the count, but the tide has continued to flow in the Liberals’ direction. The Liberals are currently on 11.72 per cent above their second quota, with the Greens on 10.30 per cent. With the Liberals further boosted by 4.36 per cent from the strongly performing Family First, the current result at the final count is Liberal 17.48 per cent and the Greens 15.86 per cent – surely an unbridgeable gap.


1. Theo Theophanous (Labor)
2. Jenny Mikakos (Labor)
3. Matthew Guy (Liberal)
4. Nazih Elasmar (Labor)
5. Greg Barber (Greens)

The remarkable thing about the DLP’s near-miss was that it was not entirely down to the strength of their preference arrangements, which were inferior to those of People Power and the Democrats. Their vote of 4.85 per cent may well have been boosted by their position on the far left of the ballot paper, echoing their strong 2.3 per cent Senate vote when they were similarly placed in 2001. It was suggested on that occasion that they had benefited from confused Labor voters. However, the miracle ultimately failed to eventuate because the Greens vote has steadily increased to 16.09 per cent as counting has progressed, lifting them above a 16.67 per cent quota with the addition of 1.13 per cent from the Democrats as preferences.


1. Candy Broad (Labor)
2. Wendy Lovell (Liberal)
3. Damian Drum (Nationals)
4. Donna Petrovich (Liberal)
5. Kaye Darveniza (Labor)

The collective Coalition vote was 50.54 per cent, or a clear three quotas. With the Liberal vote on 28.65 per cent (11.98 above the first quota) and the Nationals on 21.89 per cent (5.22 per cent), these seats went two Liberal and one Nationals. Labor polled 30.05 per cent (13.38 per cent over a quota) to the Greens’ 6.86 per cent; to that the Greens could add only a tiny Coalition surplus plus further preferences from some surprising sources, with the Christian Democratic Party and the DLP both putting the Greens ahead of Labor. That still left them well short of a quota, with Labor coasting home on preferences from Family First (3.66 per cent) and the Country Alliance (2.32 per cent).


1. Philip Davis (Liberal)
2. Matt Viney (Labor)
3. Edward O’Donohue (Liberal)
4. Peter Hall (Nationals)
5. Johan Scheffer (Labor)

A straightforward result with a clear two quotas to Labor (35.36 per cent) and three for the Coalition after the addition of Family First preferences. The Nationals polled 9.70 per cent against the 4.65 per cent Liberal surplus over the second quota, and thus emerged with the third Coalition seat.


1. Gavin Jennings (Labor)
2. Adem Somyurek (Labor)
3. Gordon Rich-Phillips (Liberal)
4. Bob Smith (Labor)
5. Inga Peulich (Liberal)

Another refreshingly straightforward outcome with Labor on just over three quotas (50.72 per cent) and the Liberals just over two (33.50 per cent).

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.

274 comments on “Full house?”

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  1. Melb City – I agree with Antony – the measuring device in the 2000 Florida Presidential elections wasn’t accurate enough to determine the result of the election, whether or not the electoral officials did their job correctly.

  2. So are we any closer? Thornley has been given a a cabinet secretary roll as has Carbines. did carbines fight off the DLP, and id Thornley going to win?

  3. Re south metro

    The green are not doing badly at postal. It is just per the election result which was 40% labor, 40% lib and 10% green

    The were always going to do worst when the postals start coming in, it is just whether they are close enough to a quota to begin with, that they still fall over the line.

    The greens might end up with jjust 1 senate seat, which would be a disastrous result for the greens

  4. It is very interesting Southern Metro. Southwick made up 1.6% on postals and pre-polls after the Melbourne Ports Federal Election. On the evening of the vote, the margin had fallen from 5.6% to 4.9% By the end of counting Danby held the seat by 3.3%. The point, Southwick does well in pre polls and postals. In fairness of course that area only represents Albert Park and Caulfield predominantly and there are 9 other lower house seats to deal with here. All up Southwick should scrape home for 4th or 5th

  5. Evan,
    The reason people are pre-occupied (obsessed?) with the fate of the final seat in Southern, is that in Tim Lane’s terminology “the close one”. More significantly, it seems likely to determine whether Labor has 21 seats – an absolute majority – in the new LC. The fact that your high profile namesake is the candidate twisting in the wind adds some piquancy to the mix.

  6. Western Victoria has counted most of their vote over 80% not sure how much is left but she is looking pretty safe.

    Southern Metro is still listed as very close and could be ALP+Lib or ALP + Grn or LIB + Grn for the fourth and fifth spot. Its a close race and someone ends up being whats referred to as the wasted quota 16.66% (-5)

    I am told by scrutineers that they have closed up the count more or less and will count the remaining postals on Monday with data-entry starting on Tuesday. I am also told by one scrutineer who was working in South Melbourne that not that many votes opted for 5 preferences only. Not sure if that was the case across the board.

    Big question is can the Liberal and ALP secure enough votes from the remaining (estimated to be somewhere between 30-60,000 votes to be counted. I am told Monday is the last date for portals to be returned and they must be date-stamped prior to the election date. Absentee votes still are being cross checked off the roll today I think.

    Problem is no one seams to know how many votes are expected or how many were issued. Scrutineers from all sides are trying to obtain this information. Information we sort prior to Saturday’s poll but was refused by Mr Tully. So we will be left waiting until next week.

  7. Disasterboy says:

    I agree (for Multimember elctorates), but there is a reasonable compromise. One could blend the current system with what you suggest. (also allow ordering within each group list too). When the voter’s intent is unclear then the first prefernce “group ticket vote” can be applied. That way you would not get exhausted votes, but people could optionally detail theit list of prefernces to the level they “care”.

    I think you’re talking about a “savings provision” like South Australia has for the lower house.

    Whilst I can understand the notion that exhausted votes are undesirable. I fail to see how directing one’s vote (preference) to a party the voter never indicated any desire for is somehow better.

    I also think quotas should 1/n rather than 1/(n+1). That way less voters are unrepresented, and at least the last elected is even those voters least disliked.

    Here’s where you’re wrong. If 1/n is the quota, then (n-1)/n of the vote elects n-1 candidates.

    That leaves 1/n of the vote and means the last elected candidate just needs a majority of the remaining vote. So the last quota in effect
    becomes 1/2n.

    Remember that in single member seats, up to half the voters are “unrepresented” as you put it.

  8. disaterboy if it get down to one vote I am sure there will be many challenges. There is a good reason for there being a quota of 1/(n+1)+1 which I do not have time to go into here. More important issues is to have the remainders remain with the candidate/ scrap the calculation of the surplus based on the number of ballot papers and base it on the value of the ballot paper/vote. And revise the segmentation rule.

    I most certainly do not favour a party list system with an artificial fecondation quota threshold. Optional Preferential voting does not appear to be a major issues in this ballot. Most people are too use to the old rules and not many know that you only need to number 5 BTL.

    I have Southern Metro only up on the topcities web page up will soon post other regions.. feedback welcomed. I could put the spreed sheet there as well if people are interested.

  9. Adam, too true!
    It’s heaven right now for political watchers all over Australia!
    So, who do you all think will win on Monday? I’ll predict Beazley wins by a nose(even though Rudd gets my vote).

    Peter: thanks for the explanation! I’m wishing my namesake all the luck in the world: we need at least one Evan in parliament somewhere.

  10. I think while I am in my current employment I have no opinion on that. Ask me on the 24th when I will be gloriously unemployed.

    We used to have Evan Walker, he was good value.

  11. It has probably been written earlier but in any event its worth repeating. If Southwick and Thornley both get in, Thornley will get in on Liberal Party preferences. The ALP as a result will have a majority in the Upper House becuase of the Liberal Party. You couldn’t have scripted that one.

  12. The Federal ALP is known for mass stupidity – Mark Latham is a prime example! I expect most of them to reelect Beazley and get hammered again by Howard in 2007.

  13. For what it’s worth I think Labor and the unions really believe they have to win the next election and will do anything to win. I’m tipping the “dream team” to get up. If not they can kiss the next election goodbye.

  14. SOUTHERN METRO: As of 5:00PM today Thronley has taken the lead over Southwick. It is a neck and neck race to the finish better then the best Melbourne to Hobart Yacht races. Some people like to read about the result at the end of the journey but it much better to watch the race in progress. I will update the Southern Metro count sheet shortly. Any errors please report to my blog.


  15. If the first duty of oppositions is to oppose the government of the day…amd an Upper House in which the Government of the day lacks a majority surely is the most useful tool in an opposition’s bag of tricks,…then the Victorian Liberals are Prize Chuckleheads,as their first strategy should have been to devise a preferences allocation which would have meant ,that Labor would have been in the minority in the Upper House.
    Even if that had meant a Green-Lib-Nat controlled House so be it.
    In the lifetime of any government,things arise that they don’t want aired in either House.
    A House controlled by parties other the A,L,P may in the future , have suited the Liberals purpose. If they have thrown that chance away and given the Labor Party a majority there,they are more inept and stupid than I gave them credit for,

  16. MelbCity, the quota totals after preferences appear to be exactly the same as yesterday:
    ALP 1.99
    Lib 3.00
    Grn 1.01
    What are you basing your new assessment on?

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