Full house? (part two)

By popular demand, I hereby open a new thread for discussion of the extraordinarily tight three-way race in the Victorian upper house region of Southern Metropolitan. Earlier expectations that the final seat would come down to a race between Labor’s Evan Thornley and the Greens’ Sue Pennicuik have been undone by an unexpectedly strong performance by the Liberals on postals, which has strengthened the hand of their third candidate David Southwick. Remarkably, the current result in quota terms is 3.00 for the Liberals, 1.99 for Labor and 1.00 for the Greens, making it a near-perfect three-way tie in the race for the final seat. The Greens have suffered the worst in late counting, such that the possibility has emerged of the Liberals winning the seat with a tiny surplus that helps elect Thornley, who will receive it as preferences ahead of the Greens’ Sue Pennicuik. The irony of Liberal preferences delivering Labor an upper house majority is being widely remarked upon, though their decision to put the Greens last always meant it was a serious possibility. Antony Green explains in comments that this is a rare occasion where below-the-line votes will prove decisive, so that "the models where you treat below-the-line votes as ticket votes" – such as the calculators at Upperhouse.info – "are too crude in such a close count":

What you need to do now is break the count into above and below the line votes. Add the tickets of Family First and the DLP to the Liberal vote. Add the Democrat ticket to the Greens, and People Power and Group C tickets to Labor’s vote. At this point, none of these three totals reaches a full quota, though the Greens are the closest. The balance is determined by the below the line votes. Unless the relative percentage of Labor, Liberal or Green increases against the other, none of these totals will reach a quota. The real unknown is what happens if enough BTL votes drift to the Greens. If this happens, then the Democrat ticket will elect the Green, and release a small number of ticket preferences for Labor … What Labor needs to win the last spot is for as many BTL votes to drift to the Greens before the Democrat ticket is distributed. Unless the relative %’s of the party change again, on the current count Labor will need a surplus from the Greens to win the last spot.

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.

252 comments on “Full house? (part two)”

Comments Page 5 of 6
1 4 5 6
  1. One very rough and ready simulation is to use Dinesh’s flow numbers to subtract the appropriate BTL primaries from #1 of ALP and DLP (FFV doesn’t matter, they won’t get cut up probably) and add them to GRN1. This doesn’t change the final result but it gives the ALP a bigger margin by virtue of raising the TV of the GRN Ticket. But the big killer is still the 2000 PPV BTLs. One would have to suppose that some at least would favour GRN1 over ALP2, this would reduce the ALP’s cushion by devaluing these to the GRN TV. If they ALL did this, the ALP would still be elected, but probably without a quota.

  2. Re Western Metro, it is my understanding that PP are preferencing ALP. If this flow holds, I don’t think the ALP will come in behind the Greens for the 5th seat, and therefore will be elected on Lib prefs. Is this what others think?

  3. A slight correction to my first post and a response to Brian.

    In Western Metro it looks like the Greens lead candidate will sneak ahead of the fourth (not the third) Labor candidate. Simply going by the tickets and the latest VEC figures, the Labor candidate will have 10.1% with PP preferences, and the Green will have 10.38% with Democrat preferences. The second Liberal will be on 12.87% after DLP and FF preferences. The Labor candidate will then go out and their preferences elect the Green.

  4. Paul, that’s not right in Western Metro. The DLP have split the candidates, so their ticket goes 10th preference to the first Liberal Bernie Finn, then 11 to Labor’s fourth candidate Henry Barlow, then the rest of the Liberal ticket. So when Family First go out, the DLP preferences flow to Labor not the Liberals. That puts Labor ahead of the Greens with some ease.

  5. Geoff, I have a smaller surplus on the Greens because MelbCity is correct. The Victorian count has a variant on the Senate count that the Democrats primary vote will go out and put the Green over the quota, but any BTL votes received by the Democrats as preferences go in the second bundle, by which stage the Green will have been elected and cannot receive more preferences. I think you’ll find that’s why I have a smaller surplus. I’m only calculating on ticket votes from minor parties.

  6. Re West Metro, It looks like Barlow will win the last seat ahead of the Greens by .5% once all the vote is counted. While this doesn’t take into account all the BLT’s this seems a big enough margin not to matter.

    And does anyone know how much of the vote is left to come in?

  7. Brian, In Western Victoria, the key point is DLP ahead of Nationals and the DLP has increased that on every count this week. Perhaps there will be a big whack of postals from a seat contested by the NATs to reverse this, but we don’t know the source so you just have to wait. But the NATs have been slipping all week, which has been a slight surprise to me.

  8. Just doing a ticket only calculation in Western Met, Labor is 2,000 ahead on guaranteed tickets with about 3,000 BTLs in play. On the current %’s, the Greens couldn’t close that gap. It would require a shift in %s with the vote to be counted, but it’s getting a bit late in the count for that. All the shifts in South Metro, with a lower count, have been in the order of a few hundred, not 2,000.

  9. Antony, thanks for drawing my attention to the nuances of DLP preferences in Western Metro. Barlow will win unless there are a lot of polling day absent votes still to be counted, as Greens do very well and Labor less well in this category of votes. In the 2002 State election Greens candidates’ final vote was typically between half a per cent and one per cent higher than their vote at the close of counting on election night, largely on the strength of polling day absents.

  10. Well, they need a full 0.5% and its there’s more than three-quarters of the declaration vote already counted. Not sure there’s enough left to come to close that gap.

  11. Geoff, I have a smaller surplus on the Greens because MelbCity is correct. The Victorian count has a variant on the Senate count that the Democrats primary vote will go out and put the Green over the quota

    Errrr….. yes, that’s what I’m doing too. The way my crunching works out is that prior to the exclusion DEM have
    , but any BTL votes received by the Democrats as preferences go in the second bundle, by which stage the Green will have been elected and cannot receive more preferences. I think you’ll find that’s why I have a smaller surplus. I’m only calculating on ticket votes from minor parties.

  12. On that basis I’d say Barlow’s in.

    On a more general point, the flip side of the Green vote improving as absents, postals, etc., are counted is that the Green vote on election night will understate the eventual Green vote by a non-trivial amount. The problem for the Greens is that most media commentary on how well or badly a given party may have done is based on the election night figures – as indeed are many of the media and popular myths about who did well or badly in the election, and why. By the time the results are finalised (some weeks later) the media has largely lost interest, and only professional political wonks take an interest in the election studies (such as the Australian Election/Referendum Studies) which come out some months later.

    Thus, we have seen a pattern of media commentary about Green “flops” in recent Federal and State elections, based on election night figures, which was not subsequently corrected when final results showed that the Greens had done reasonably well. For example:

    * The claims on the Monday after the 2004 Federal election that the Greens had fallen 250,000 votes short of Bob Browns prediction of “one million votes”, which was not corrected when the Green vote subsequently rose to 920,000 in later counting.

    * The claims about the Greens losing one and possibly two of their four seats in the most recent Tasmanian election based on election night figures, which provided the evidentiary basis for much gloating commentary in the Murdoch press which was not recanted when the Greens retained all four seats in the final count.

    * The claim by one Age journalist that the Greens “flopped” in the Victorian state election on the basis that their vote on election night was lower than their overall 2002 vote – a claim which I don’t expect to be recanted now that the Green vote has increased over 2002 in later counting.

    * One lazy hack in the Australian (I forget who) writing in an op-ed piece that the Greens had not increased their Senate representation in the 2004 election, when they had doubled it from 2 to 4.

    I confess to having something of a professional interest in this issue. I have had an article published in the latest Australian Journal of Political Science which contests, I think on a sound evidentiary basis, much of what has since become the received wisdom about the 2004 Federal election.

  13. I have been following this blog closely but some of the technical discussion is now getting beyond me! Would appreciate a thursday arvo update as to probable winners in western metro, southern metro and western victoria.

  14. Paul – as an example of particularly lazy journalism, I remember a large article on the popularity of Jim Bacon in the Australian once – part of the evidence for his popularity was supposedly that the ALP had won 13 seats in the 1998 state election and 14 in the next. Of course, it won 14 in both elections (in ’98, it was 14 ALP, 10 Lib, 1 Grn – in 2002, it was 14 ALP, 7 Lib and 4 Grn). I wrote to the editor but there was no reply, unsurprisingly. I mean, any political junkie knows these results, and the journo couldn’t even run it past anyone who knew.

  15. Geoff, I’m excluding the Democrat BTL votes in calculating the Green surplus. Only the 900 votes for the first candidate would be in the first bundle, the other 300 Democrat primary in the second bundle as they were for the second and third Democrat candidate. Quite a few of these 900 would flow to the Green, whioch would increase the surplus but I’m not factoring them in. If you are factoring in BTL’s flowing to the Greens, remeber any that leak to the Greens that go through the Democrats will not in fact get to the Greens.

    On 6 Dec 5:53pm figures, quota is 58901. Greens total vote (assuming no BTL leakage) is 55617, + DEM ticket 4757 = 60374, surplus of 1473. The minusses on this are any Green BTL’s lost, the plusses any BTLs gained from other parties, plus any of the 923 Kavanagh (Dem) BTL votes. That increases the Green surplus. As the Green would be elected at this point, the Green surplus cannot include any BTL preferences from Kavagh that were originally for the other two Democrats, or for any other candidate on the ballot.

  16. I’m having a bad hair day today, pressing the Submit too early, then losing the correction.

    But, in reply to Antony, my cut-up of the DEM producing a surplus for the GRN only involves the primaries of both. The gist of the lost message was that we must be starting the DEM cut-up with different starting values…. I can’t easily allow for BTLs of 2,3,4,5 candiates to leak away, so I just hypothesise that they are similar to Tickets.

  17. But now I see how Antony does it (above). That’s a rather cool approach, would probably be the safest one when BTLs are all over the shop.

  18. Re Western Vic, thanks Antony. It also seems to me that FF are close to overhauling the DLP at an earlier cut. If that were to happen, the Greens wd win if they stayed head of the ALP. Assuming the figures are as on the VEC website, DLP win, but I guess the BTL unknowns make that still uncertain when the margins are so close. There are not many votes between FF/DLP and DLP/Nat. Added to that, the Greens and Labor are close. Am I a fuddy duddy, or am I entitled to the view that this count is taking an inordinately long time? Have they got all the votes into the one room?

  19. So where abouts are we now if someone would like to comment on Western Vic and Southern? (had day off yesterday for the wiggles)

  20. Imagine a room full of all the votes and suddenly a window opens, blowing the votes all around – some out the window! Now there’s a court case!

  21. Upper House counts are always slow. They used to allow 6 weeks for the NSW Senate before computerisation of the count. They have it down to about 3-4 weeks now. The delay used to be the tedious distribution of preferences. Now the delay is data entry of the BTL votes. Unusually, there is heavy scrutineering in South Metro region, which is slowing the count. Normaly upper house counts whizz by without much scrutineering because everyone has worked out the result. This time its close so there is scrutineering, everyone taking a good look at the ballot before data entry.

  22. # Sacha Says:
    December 7th, 2006 at 2:34 pm

    Imagine a room full of all the votes and suddenly a window opens, blowing the votes all around – some out the window! Now there’s a court case!

    Stuff Happens

    April 1999…. huge hailstorm hits the Rosebery SEO counting warehouse (NSW), punches through the plastic roof and destroys innumerable ballots stacked on the trestle tables underneath. Then it rains and on all those ballots where the voter has used her water-soluble ink pen, all the numbers blurred…..

    Luckily, most had already been counted.

  23. Or the Tasmanian state electorate of Bass in 1929. Under Hare-Clark, all ballot papers are retained for by-elections which are conducted by re-count. However all the ballots were lost in a flood, and then a vacancy occurred. Fortunately, only one candidate nominated.

  24. 3pm update. Position in Western Vic almost unchanges, with the DLP staying ahead of Family First and the Nationals, and the Greens still just ahead of Labor by around 130 votes.

    Southern metro sees a tiny improvement for the Greens and for Labor.

    Not many votes counted in either. Looks like they’ve been going through and putting in the E-Centre votes.

  25. The Democrats decision to only lodge one GVT in Southern Metro, contrary to past practise and what they did in three of the other seats they ran in, could turn out to be quite crucial. Anyone know why they did this?

  26. ¿Que?

    The vote in WMet has gone down. Not by much (224), a minor adjustment of trim perhaps. No change in the result of course.

  27. Things were much easier in the old days. At Old Sarum, there were five voters (none of whom lived in the borough, which was uninhabited), who nominated two MPs from among their own relatives. At Dunwich, the town had fallen into the sea and the nominal landowners (seaowners?) elected the MPs at their London club. At Sutherlandshire, the Duke of Sutherland owned the entire county and nominated the MP himself. At Grampound the MP took corruption to its logical conclusion: he bought all the voters for five pounds each and elected himself.

  28. Guys. I have updated my count sheets last night. It wilol show you how close teh result is I ahave also included an analysis of teh BTL vote but I am not sure if it will come into effect for Southeren metro.

    I need to update for todays counting.

    But will do that later. When I am back at home. Currently in an internet cafe in Istanbul.


    I also have teh DLP ahead again in Western Victioria and with over 90% of teh vite counted I do not think it will change. The NP needs to climb ahead of the DLP which is unlikely at this stage I think. Again I need to look at todays results. Some of you might be familar at looking at the count sheet. It shows a partical segmenation which is important to take into considereation when teh elections are tight.


  29. I was wondering about the Democrats decision also. I still find the information or lack there of provided by the VEC appalling. There is a lot they can do to improve on their system. Publishing polling place details and return statistics would help. I am concerned that because of their stupid secrecy (It protects their technocratic position I guess). Information is the key to understanding the system and hopefully improving it.

    I was thinking more about the segmentation and optional preferential voting and the more I think about it the more I think a reiterative count would be best. every time a candidate is excluded the count is reset and the counted again (In cyberspace) with provision for bulk exclusion where the aggregate does not effect the position of the subsequent candidate. This would automatically adjust the quota and account for exhausted votes.

  30. SMET simulation

    Using Dinesh’s scrutineered GRN-favouring leaks of various parties’ BTLs (except for PPV, which I had to guess that 30% might not go to ALP before GRN), it is possible to set up a simlated cut-up with the “notional tickets thus created, while still utilising the same number of primaries (¿Que?)

    Anyway, believe me that it has worked in the past in such tricky situations, although sometimes I had to create 8 different patterns of BTL flows for some Groups.

    Anyway again, doing this for SMET still produces the same result of LIB ALP LIB GRN ALP, with a final ALP surplus of 1375.

  31. Geoff keep in mind though this was either Brighton, Sandringham or Bentleigh booths (I suspect Sandringham or Brighton). So can’t comment on other postals etc.

  32. On 6.12 Ray commented:
    “If West VIC goes to the DLP, assuming ET gets up in SMET, then if the ALP want to legislate to the right, they have the DLP option. If they want to legislate to the left, they team with the Greens. Sounds like a smart choice, and much better than being a slave of the left with the Greens holding the BoP”

    This is nonsense. If the Greens and/or DLP have the BoP, then they must share it with the Libs and Nats too. So if the ALP want to legislate to the right, there are plenty of options on that side of the chamber. People who claim a Bracks govt will be slave to the Greens if the greens get the BoP dishonestly ignore the fact that 21 votes are required to pass legislation. if the greens dare to insist on inappropriate amendments to legislation then the ALP can always get their bills passed with Nat or Lib support, because they too hold the BoP. The major parties like to scare everyone with claims that minor parties will take control of the state, when in fact power will always remain with the major parties because 2 major parties can always pass legislation without any input from the minors.

  33. The more perties the more options to negotaige agreement. Best noty top be hand to ransom by teh Greens. No one party holds the balance. This is good. lthough I would expect that the DLP will causus with the NP and Liberal Party

  34. Melbcity, what ransom? Labor/Liberal combine together 80% of the time. That is rubbish Labor politikspeak.

    The scary thing for Labor is, when the swing happens against Labor, there are about 3-4 seats that might swing the Greens way. These seats have never been a potential loss for the ALP. now it’s a slow burn. It also distracts the ALP in having to attack another party than the Libs.

    Now for the NSW election where there probably will be a swing away from the ALP.

    By the way, Adam, it looks like the 10% ceiling you predicted for the Greens has been already broken by counting of absentees/postals and pre-polls. 🙂

  35. We don’t know that the DLP will actually get up in Western Vic yet do we?

    If they do, then at last we will be able to get reality instead of myth about what they stand for, and that will be revealed in who they team up with on different matters, eg. no doubt with ALP on industrial relations, Greens on some environmental matters, bargain with Libs on some minor issues etc.

    For those with memory or who read history instead of repeating myth:

    we have to admit the DLP were the first to push for an end of the White Australia policy and they had to beat the conservatives about the ears to get their way, while unfortunately ALP was last to respond;

    and they were first to move on environment and equal pay for equal work.

    We will have to wait and see if they win a spot, and then if they choose to be as creative as they were, or whether they oblige the myth makers and mold themselves to the stereo type, which would be convenient but a loss to Vic.

  36. Dear Lloyd Labor, interested that you say DLP was first to move on the environment. I have not heard this claim before. What historical event or stand does this refer to? All the best.

  37. Brian,

    I cannot confirm that the DLP was the first party to promote the environment, but I can give evidence that it did so early in the piece.

    In August 1974, the Central Executive adopted a new statement of principles. I proposed the environmental one, which read:
    ‘The protection and conservation of the natural environment and the planned use of natural resources in recognition of the close relationship between man and nature and the finite nature of the earth’s resources.’

    In the statement of principles at the head of the DLP’s environment policy was the following:
    ‘The Democratic Labor Party believes that the world environmental crisis arises from:
    o The affluent society’s abandonment of the virtue of frugality;
    o The continuance of too much of the attitude of “taming the wilderness” coupled with insufficient appreciation of the value of unique flora and fauna; and
    o A failure to recognise the interdependence of men and nature.’ (The DLP Looks Ahead, 1/5/1977)

    The policy went on to call for such things as 5 per cent of the country to be national parks, taxes on environmentally damaging products, research into solar energy, fusion energy, etc. No doubt, it would be found wanting 30 years after it was written, but it was a serious attempt to face environmental degradation at the time.

    The Victorian DLP records (and thus pre-Split ALP records) are available at the State Library.

  38. Thanks, Chris. Lloyd may have had something further in mind, but reflecting on the DLP principles set out above: whilst few would criticise these principles, August 1974 came after years of the environment being a major issue. This was 2 years after the flooding of Lake Pedder, which had caused the United Tasmania Group (the world’s first Green party) to be formed, it was 2 years after the election of the Whitlam government, on which Moss Cass as Minister for the Environment had been working tirelessly and prominently for the environment, and it was also some time on from Dick Hamer becoming premier of Victoria, his government featuring protection of the environment and expansion of the national parks system. But if the DLP are successful in Western Victoria it would be good if they adhered to these principles.

  39. Brian,

    I have done some more research on the claim by Lloyd Labor that the DLP was the first political party to promote the environment. I still cannot say if this claim is true, but I can quote the following:
    ‘The lungs through which Melbourne breathes will be destroyed, and Melbourne will suffocate as these magnificent rural and seaside areas become built-up red brick…All of the millions spent on freeways do nothing but provide temporary relief to road congestion. Air pollution, although it has not reached the disease-ridden proportions of some American and Asian cities, is ever on the rise with its threat to the health of individuals and families.’ (Hon. Jack Little, The Policy for the Democratic Labor Party for the Victorian Elections April 29, 1967, 10/4/1967)

    (In the same speech, Jack Little committed the DLP to a legal maximum class size of 30 pupils. This may not sound much today, but this is in 1967 when classes of 40 were not unusual.)

    I can also quote this:
    ‘The threat of massive oil pollution is real and is provided by the presence of the major oil refineries on the shores of Port Philip Bay and Westernport Bay…The D.L.P. is strongly of the opinion that when private enterprise is allowed to develop industry, provision for town planning, provision for effluent water treatment plant, planning for air pollution control, analysis of traffic requirements and control of sound, are inescapable parts of the total bill, and must be provided for in the original estimates….Victoria should immediately appoint a Director of Air Pollution Control…’ (Frank Dowling, We’ll keep the Government Honest, The Policy of the Democratic Labor Party for the Victorian State Elections, May, 1970, 6/5/1970) (We now know the origin of the Democrats’ well-known slogan.)

    (In the same speech, Frank Dowling called for the mandatory reporting of child abuse. How many years did we have to wait for that to happen?)

    None of this shows that the DLP was the first party to promote the environment, but it does show that the environment was an issue of concern to the DLP forty years ago. I will now leave it to Lloyd Labor to prove his case.

Comments are closed.

Comments Page 5 of 6
1 4 5 6