Photo finishes

I will use this post to provide ongoing commentary of late counting in doubtful seats over the coming days/weeks.

UPDATE (27/3/07): Christian Kerr points to a slow count in today’s Crikey:

The ever-protracted count for the NSW Legislative Council election is likely to be even slower this time, with the Australian Electoral Commission refusing to authorise any more overtime for the AEC staff engaged for the count. There have been unprecedented levels of cooperation between the AEC and the NSW electoral authorities this election, but after just two days of preparing for the Upper House count over the weekend, the AEC has gone into a panic about the likely level of overtime, and has literally ordered its workers to take a “rest”. Counting will now finish each day at 5pm, with no approval for overtime to complete the count. With Easter imminent, this delay is likely to push back the announcement of the Upper House results substantially. The NSW Electoral Commission is understood to have expected the AEC to finish the Legislative Council count by Wednesday. The AEC told staff that the Electoral Commissioner has been informed that he will have to adjust his timetable. No amended timeframe for the conclusion of the count was suggested. A major outcry from furious Government, opposition and minor parties about the delay in finalising the count for the Upper House count in 2003, marred by slow counting and a total meltdown in the computer software used for calculating the results, saw new procedures adopted for the 2007 election. Efficiency was supposed to have been increased by the use of AEC staff in the count.

Legislative Council

Roy Smith (Shooters) 83,320 0.61
Trevor Khan (Nationals) 57,727 0.43
Arthur Chesterfield-Evans (Democrats) 50,335 0.37
Janey Woodger (AAFI) 46,332 0.34
Robert Smith (Fishing) 45,460 0.34

Sunday 3pm. I’m not doing too well here – I now realise the Legislative Council Summary figures I was just getting excited about have been little changed in the past week. They tell us of 3.3 million votes out of roughly 4 million in total, including 293,240 "other" votes that include (I believe) both informals and below-the-lines. The progressive totals figures show us the destination of 13,566 out of a probable total of about 80,000 below-the-line votes; from these the Democrats have polled 5.6 per cent and the Coalition 17.2 per cent, bearing in mind that not all of these votes will stay within the party ticket. Using these figures to extrapolate the as-yet-uncounted votes, I have the Democrats with a fractional lead over the Nationals’ Trevor Khan, but the margin is far too close (and the method far too crude) for anything to be stated with confidence.

Saturday 11pm. Okay, turns out all that effort on the previous entry was wasted. Because as well as the daily PDF file update, the NSWEC also has on its main page a different count with 3,278,467 votes. This includes 293,240 "other" votes, which probably means about 200,000 informals plus yet-to-be-counted below-the-line votes. There would be about 700,000 further to come. These figures show that the Shooters Party are home, while the gap between the Coalition and the Democrats has narrowed considerably. If the Coalition’s share continues to decline at the same rate as it did between the 1.9 million count and the 3.3 million count, the outcome will be very close indeed.

Saturday 10pm. A further 765,023 votes have been added, bringing the total to 1,938,396 out of a likely 4 million. This has resulted in a significant shift in the aggregate vote from the Coalition (down from 35.4 per cent to 34.4 per cent) to Labor (up from 40.4 per cent to 41.4 per cent). If there was reason to think that trend would continue, Labor’s number 10 candidate Barry Calvert might still be out of the hunt. However, aggregate lower house figures (Labor 39.0 per cent, Coalition 37.0 per cent) suggest that won’t be the case, even when taking into account the Coalition’s traditionally lower vote in the upper house (33.0 per cent against 35.0 per cent in 2003). In the meantime, the drop in the Coalition vote has reduced their surplus over the seventh quota from 0.78 to 0.56, almost enough to return the Nationals’ Trevor Khan to twenty-first place, with the Shooters Party up from 0.53 to 0.55.

Friday 8pm. The NSWEC has published a group and candidate votes report, based on the results of 1,168,246 group votes and 5,127 below-the-lines. The totals in 2003 were 3,721,457 and a bit over 70,000. Ben Raue says the two combined suggest the Nationals’ Trevor Khan has moved up a spot from 20 to 21; if this continues, the final spot looms as a race between the Shooters Party (0.53 quotas), Unity (0.35), the Democrats (0.35) and AAFI (0.30), with the Fishing Party slowly but surely headed for the exit (don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out, Bob Smith).

Friday 3pm. Props to for pointing out the following message from the NSWEC: "Legislative Council progressive totals will be provided daily in this directory from the evening of Friday 30 March 2007".

Sunday 5pm. The raw numbers at present look straightforward enough: Labor 9, Coalition 8, Greens 2, CDP 1, Shooters Party 1. However, Stephen L in comments cautiously offers that the Democrats (and perhaps also AAFI and the Fishing Party) might do well enough on below-the-lines and preferences to stay in the hunt against the Nationals’ Trevor Khan, eighth Coalition candidate and Poll Bludger fan.

Lake Macquarie

Greg Piper 12,913 30.3 18,656 50.1
Jeff Hunter 17,294 40.6 18,550 49.9

Wednesday 2am. One more change of lead in the final strait has given Greg Piper a 106-vote win after the full distribution of preferences.

Monday 2.30pm. Another 940 absent votes have produced yet another change of lead, Jeff Hunter now ahead by 65 votes. Antony Green notes in comments that the closest outcome in modern times was the Liberals’ eight-vote win in Coogee in 1973; this was overturned on a legal challenge, and Labor won the ensuing by-election by 54 votes.

Monday 1.30pm. The lead changes again after the addition of 496 further absent votes, which have put Greg Piper 44 votes in front.

Friday 5pm. In an exciting late-count development, Greg Piper has done very poorly from the addition of 1,988 absent votes (23.7 per cent compared with 30.7 per cent overall), which have turned Labor incumbent Jeff Hunter’s 272-vote deficit into a 22-vote lead.

Thursday 10pm. More than 3000 postal votes and about 700 further pre-polls added; still no absent votes. Greg Piper’s lead has changed little, from 263 to 272.

Wednesday 9pm. Excellent account of today’s slow progress from Sally McEwan in comments, along with informed talk of deep Labor pessimism.

Tuesday 4.30pm. Very good call yesterday from Sally McEwan – the second batch of pre-polls has been very similar to the first, barring a slightly higher primary vote for the Liberals. This boosted Greg Piper’s lead by 243 votes; however, 122 "Dec Inst" votes have reeled him in slightly, going 59-15 in Labor’s favour. Piper’s lead is now 263, but with well over 5000 postal and absent votes pending, it’s still too close to call.

Monday 11.30pm. Sally McEwan corrects my previous description of Carey Bay as a conservative area: "Carey Bay pre-poll is different from Carey Bay conservative lakeside waterfront booth … The remainder of the pre-poll votes will favour Piper in the same proportion or greater".

Monday 10pm. Partial pre-poll results have been posted, 999 votes out of what scrutineer Sally McEwan says is about 2000. These votes are "a mix of Cooranbong and Carey Bay", which is to say they include the much touted Seventh Day Adventist community, along with another conservative area. As expected, these votes have strongly favoured Greg Piper, whose 158-vote deficit has turned into a lead of 64. This sounds a little disappointing from Piper’s perspective, because the remainder of the pre-polls will presumably be strong for Labor. Next comes about 3000 absent votes and 2250 postals – these differed only slightly from the polling booth results in 2003, though Labor’s vote was notably a little lower and the "others" a little higher.

Monday 2.30pm. Looks like those Dora Creek votes for Piper stayed missing – his tally there has gone from 533 to 508. No word yet on pre-polls.

Monday 4am. A scrutineer at the count, Sally McEwan, says in comments she can "confirm the expected advantage to Independent Piper from the pre-poll votes from Cooranbong". These votes "will be counted and distributed tomorrow". McEwan also reports that "24 or so Piper votes" from the Dora Creek booth are "missing", "leading to extra State Electoral officers being called from Sydney for a reconstruction of the Dora Creek booth tomorrow".

Sunday 5pm. Labor incumbent Jeff Hunter leads independent Greg Piper by 158 votes. That would normally be difficult to close, given Labor’s organisational efficiency with respect to pre-poll and postal voting. However, Lake Macquarie has the quirk of the Seventh Day Adventist community at Cooranbong, which produces a big flow of mostly conservative pre-poll votes due to its observation of the Sabbath on Saturday. In 2003, Labor polled 795 votes (34.2 per cent) to the Liberals’ 1173 (52.4 per cent) on pre-polls, compared with overall totals of 54.9 per cent and 30.7 per cent. Pre-polls accounted for 5.1 per cent of the total vote; also still to come are the less quirky absent (7.3 per cent) and postal (5.3 per cent) votes. The latter might go a little better for Labor than last time, as consciousness of their danger might have resulted in a better organised postal vote campaign.

Port Stephens

Craig Baumann 17,894 42.5 19,375 50.1
Jim Arneman 17,544 41.7 19,311 49.9

Wednesday 2am. The margin widened to 64 votes after completion of the full preference distribution.

Friday 3pm. The notional preference count has been completed, and it points to a 19-vote Liberal victory. However, a "proper" preference count will now follow, and these can turn up anomalies. For example, the primary vote recount cut Chris Baumann’s vote by five votes and Jim Arneman’s by six (UPDATE: And more pertinently, as Geoff Lambert points out in comments, there were variations of up to five votes at individual booths).

Thursday 10pm. Absent and postal votes are now coming in at a fair clip, and while it’s still extremely close, the trend has been with the Liberals. Antony Green‘s regular updates show how Labor candidate Jim Arneman’s lead narrowed and then disappeared in late afternoon counting, with the Liberals’ Chris Baumann currently ahead by 56 votes.

Tuesday 8pm. Not much progress today: polling booth re-check completed and 213 "Dec Inst" votes added, increasing the Labor lead from 76 to 86.

Monday 10pm. Either Port Stephens has had an extraordinarily high number of section votes, or the pre-polls have been entered on the wrong line – I will assume the latter. There are 1,244 of them and they have tipped the see-saw back towards the Liberals, whose deficit has narrowed from 153 votes to 76. However, the 2003 figures suggest Labor should do better on absent and postal votes. Slow progress on the polling booth re-check for some reason.

Monday 4am. The Daily Telegraph reports confident noises from a Liberal scrutineer, as "many votes were exhausting because of a decision by the Greens not to preference Labor". Conversely, the Australian Financial Review reports that "Labor strategists are sounding increasingly confident".

Sunday 5pm. Labor’s Jim Arneman was 153 votes behind the Liberals’ Chris Baumann at the close of counting last night, but is now 111 votes ahead. Pre-poll and postal figures from 2003 are probably no guide, as the seat was less fiercely contested last time.


Jodi McKay 12,951 31.2 13,793 50.7
John Tate 10,003 24.1 13,430 49.3
Bryce Gaudry 8,774 21.1

Friday 9.30pm. Those two-candidate figures quoted in the Herald have now been posted on the NSWEC site.

Thursday 10pm. Yesterday, the Newcastle Herald told us that "an Electoral Commission notional distribution showed Ms McKay on 13,793 votes and Cr Tate on 13,430". Today it reported that "preliminary counts show that Cr Tate would gain more than 2000 votes on McKay once preferences are distributed". On present indications, that would leave him about 700 votes in arrears.

Tuesday 2am. The NSWEC reveals nothing of the two-candidate preferred count that has evidently been conducted between Jodi McKay and John Tate, but the Sydney Morning Herald reports Tate conceding he is 700 votes behind. Morris Iemma is claiming victory.

Monday 4am. Yesterday’s recheck of first preferences from polling booths has increased Tate’s tally by 18 and reduced McKay’s by 12. The aforementioned Anthony Llewellyn says: "having reviewed the results in total now, my guess is a McKay win over Tate by around 500 … Gaudry will not pull ahead of Tate (of this I am now very confident)". The Sydney Morning Herald reports Labor "has become more confident".

Sunday 5pm. Still anybody’s guess as far as I can see. There is a 2.6 per cent gap between John Tate (24.1 per cent) and Bryce Gaudry (21.5 per cent), which might be closed with preferences from the Greens (11.2 per cent), who directed to Gaudry. Last night’s NSWEC notional preference count assumed Gaudry rather than Tate would finish second; if that is so, Labor’s Jodi McKay will win quite comfortably. If not, the race between McKay and Tate will come down to unpredictable preference flows. Last night, reader Anthony Llewellyn provided a preference breakdown from a booth at which he was scrutineering: if this is applied consistently, Tate emerges ahead with 12,792 votes to 12,327 (not counting preferences from the CDP and three other independents, who collectively account for 915 votes). However, Llewellyn also spoke of better preference flows for Labor at other less conservative booths.


Pru Goward 16,994 39.9 18,632 51.3
Paul Stephenson 10,544 25.3 17,657 48.7

Thursday 8pm. Paul Stephenson has conceded defeat after being buried by absent and postal votes, widening the lead to 975. This entry, and the figures above, will not be further updated.

Tuesday 2pm. A further 670 pre-polls have gone rather better for Goward than the previous two batches, increasing her lead by 10 votes. Even better for her are the 154 "Dec Inst Votes" (declaration and/or institution?), which have run 70-31 in her favour.

Monday 10pm. I was mistaken to say all the pre-polls were in – it was in fact only about half. The newly added second batch was not quite as bad for Goward as the first, but it still cost her another 40 votes or so.

Monday 2.30pm. Pre-polls are in (all of them, or almost all), and they are surprisingly poor for Goward – she has polled 35.7 per cent compared with her 39.8 per cent of ordinary votes, while Paul Stephenson has 30.6 per cent compared with 25.1 per cent. If preferences follow the same pattern, this will narrow the gap by 134 votes to a little over 300. In 2003, pre-polls were 5.6 per cent of the total – still to come are absents (8.8 per cent), postals (5.6 per cent) and a few others (0.7 per cent).

Monday 4am. Yesterday’s recheck of first preferences from polling booths appears to have unearthed 38 extra votes for Stephenson and only one for Goward. It appears that Goward is better placed than it seemed on election night due to an across-the-board increase in "plumped" voting (numbering one box and then exhausting) at this election.

Sunday 5pm. An updated count (polling booths only) has seen Pru Goward’s lead after preferences increase from 311 votes last night to a fairly handy 455. Talk of the Labor candidate beating Paul Stephenson into second place on preferences has faded.


Frank Terenzini 14,819 39.7 16,741 50.9
Peter Blackmore 10,093 27.1 16,157 49.1

Friday 9.30pm. The NSWEC has finally unveiled its notional Labor-versus-independent two-candidate preferred, which shows Frank Terenzini a comfortable 584 votes ahead. That wraps it up for my coverage of this seat.

Thursday 10pm. This count has stayed on ice for some reason, at least as far as the NSWEC website is concerned, but the ABC reports Labor is more than 1,000 votes ahead.

Tuesday 2pm. Very slow progress in the count, but Morris Iemma has claimed victory for Labor.

Monday 4am. The Sydney Morning Herald reports Labor "has become more confident".

Sunday 5pm. As with Newcastle, this is one that will depend on preference flows we don’t know about yet because the notional count was Labor-versus-Liberal, rather than Labor-versus-Peter Blackmore. For what it’s worth, the primary vote figures (Blackmore 27.1 per cent, Labor 39.8 per cent, Liberal 20.1 per cent) are similar to those Pru Goward faces in Goulburn (Paul Stephenson 25.0 per cent, Liberal 39.9 per cent, Labor 22.4 per cent). The difference being that Blackmore will need a strong flow of preferences from the Liberals, while Stephenson will need them from Labor. Can anyone suggest if supporters of one party or the other are more dutiful with respect to how-to-vote instructions?


Dawn Fardell 17,158 41.9 19,270 50.9
Greg Matthews 17,518 42.8 18,590 49.1

Wednesday 8pm. With most postals and about 600 absent votes now in, any remaining doubt is now gone. Fardell’s lead has now widened to 680 votes, or 0.9 per cent. No further updates will be added to this entry.

Tuesday 4.30pm. Pre-poll figures are now up at the NSWEC site, and they tell a different story to the Financial Review – 2318 for Dawn Fardell and 2177 for the Nationals, widening Fardell’s lead to a surely unassailable 521.

Tuesday 2am. It falls to the Australian Financial Review to inform us that "two-thirds of the pre-poll votes have been counted, according to the returning officer. The results have favoured Nationals challenger Greg Matthews, who garnered 1495 of the pre-poll votes on offer while 1453 went to incumbent independent Dawn Fardell". These results are yet to appear on the NSWEC site. However, this makes only a modest dent in what had been a 401-vote lead.

Monday 2.30pm. Re-checking of polling booth first preferences has now been completed, giving a 42-vote boost to Dawn Fardell. Most notably, 37 votes have been deducted from the Nationals at the Forbes booth.

Sunday 5pm. Independent candidate Dawn Fardell leads Nationals candidate Greg Matthews by 401 votes. The precedent of 2003, when then-independent member Tony McGrane did somewhat less well on non-ordinary than polling booth votes (from a near identical vote total to Fardell’s), suggests this could yet narrow.

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.

542 comments on “Photo finishes”

Comments Page 1 of 11
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  1. I think Labor has lost Lake Macquarie. As Antony notes on his site, the pre-poll goes heavily against Labor because of the sabbath keeping Seven Day Adventist community at Cooranbong

  2. Thanks for pointing that out OC; my Lake Macquarie entry has been comprehensively rewritten. I still would not write Labor off though because I expect they would have put a lot of effort into their postal campaign this time, although I am inclined to defer to your superior wisdom.

  3. Re your question about following preference instructions – having scrutineered last night, I would say Labor voters are very good at it. Liberals have a more maverick streak, particularly in Labor-held seats.

    Labor sent out at least two postal vote invitations, five weeks and two weeks ahead of the poll, and had them on all their street stalls, plus chased all the phone calls they got from little old ladies asking for help with signing them.

  4. Does anyone know anything about reports Carmel Tebutt is standing from the Ministry for “family reasons”?

  5. If true, it is sad. She is truly one of the most competent ministers in the current cabinet.

    But then it must be really hard to run a household that contains two high profile MPs, particularly in double election year.

  6. We should have a vote on the NSW Commissions web site. I am not impressed nearly as bad as Victoria’s. Why it that you can not pull down the polling booth upper-house results as one data file. At least they had a breakdown which is better the the Victorian Electoral Commission who still refuses to publish polling place results four maths after the election.

    Looking at the results of Sydney, Balmain inner city booths the Greens did well. out polling on many occasions the ALP. Maybe this is a “Gay vote” as Danish claims exists in parts of Melbourne also (but to a much lesser extent).

    Who much of the Green vote is branding as opposed to serious policy development.

    As in Victoria access to the preference data files is fundamental is and when scrutinising any electronic count.

    Any assessment on the impacts of optional voting or oddities in the NSW count system such as random sampling etc..?

  7. Having scrutineered @ Lake Macquarie today, I can confirm the expected advantage to Independent Piper from the pre-poll votes from Cooranbong pre-poll. They will be counted and distributed tomorrow.

    In other news, about 10 scrutineers arrived from Sydney ALP, led by former member for adjacent seat Wallsend, John Mills, in his second day of retirement, and there were about 5 Piper Scrutineers.

    The Dora Creek booth recount produced the most excitement, with 24 or so Piper votes missing, leading to extra State Electoral Officers being called from Sydney, for a reconstruction of the Dora Creek Booth tomorrow.

    The office will again be guarded by security officers tonight.

  8. Melb city, on the point about the gay vote, Clover Moore did very well in Surry Hills, which has got a strong gay population – she got about 50% of the primary vote (as opposed to about 40% over the entire electorate). The Greens primary vote in the seat stood still at 15% – I suspect that some otherwise Greens voters vote for Clover.

    Certainly, the Legislative Council vote for the seat of Sydney appears to show that, if Clover wasn’t contesting the seat, the Libs, Greens and ALP get roughly the same vote (although it’s hard to know how all the votes for “others” would distribute to), and it’d be a fight between Labor and the Greens.

    Just on the seat of Sydney, I’ll probably write a post about the result on my blog, but briefly, the Greens stood still, the Libs went slightly up, Clover got ~9% swing to her, and Labor got a 9% swing against, on the primary votes. Interestingly, the swing to Clover on a Clover vs ALP basis was only ~2.5% – one explanation for which could be that more Greens/Lib voters did not preference Clover this time as compared to last time. I don’t know what the HTV cards looked like last time, but I think that this time all four major candidates just suggested that voters just mark a 1.

    On my blog, someone associated with the Liberal candidate (Edward Mandla) wrote that Edward can be working very hard, that a lot of money had recently been bet on him winning and that we should get ready for an upset. Unfortunately for him, the Lib vote only slightly increased and not nearly enough to win.

    I can think of at least two reasons for the 9% swing from Labor to Clover on the primary vote. My guess is that Clover is an obvious Independent candidate to vote for by people who didn’t want to vote for Labor and didn’t want a Liberal govt – she generally supports “progressive” policies and could be acceptable to many people who might otherwise support a labor govt. Secondly, it could be that Clover has gained support from her being Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney. Some people might be quite happy with her work.

    One question in inner-Sydney state and local politics is, when will Clover not contest a state or local election? Some people have suggested that she won’t contest the next state election.

  9. William, Green preferences are going 2nd to Stephenson in goulburn, then to ALP, so their is NO WAY the ALP will overtake Stephenson. The full list of Green preferences are available on their website:

    I’d like to know which of the independents the Libs have preferenced in Newcastle, as this will decide which of them faces off against the ALP.

    I’ve checked the Lib website and there’s no info. Does anyone know?

  10. Actually Sacha, neither of your reasons are correct. Clover Moore’s 9% increase in her primary vote comes about simply because of a mathematical quirk. The swing comes about because everyone has just taken my redistribution calculations without thinking about what they represent.

    At the 2003 election, Clover Moore polled 41.6% in those parts Bligh within the new electorate of Sydney. However, she polled nothing in the areas added from Port Jackson, which means her total primary vote for the entire district of Sydney ended up at 32.4%.

    In a back of the envelope calculation, she appears to have got roughly the same vote in her old parts of Sydney, with all the increase caused by the votes for her in areas she had not previously contested. There is no mystery behind the 9% swing.

  11. Antony said: In a back of the envelope calculation, she appears to have got roughly the same vote in her old parts of Sydney, with all the increase caused by the votes for her in areas she had not previously contested.

    Yes, the swings in the “common” booths seem to average about 3%, not 9%, but even this is necessarily skewed by the different catchments for the same booths before and after redistrib..

  12. Can anyone tell me who holds the balance of power in the NSW upper house?And people on here have said the Greens never voted with the ALP on anything. What where these votes on?

  13. More (Moore?)on Sydney

    By extreme Excel lookup contortions, based on the NSWEC’s EMA file, it would seem that there was a swing against Moore of about 5.4% in the 20 booths that share a common name between 2003 and 2004. In 2005 there were 28 booths…. 8 have gone, there are 4 new ones, leaving only 20 that can be used for comparisons.

    The EMA data does have SOME uses, after all.

  14. So far the cross-benches in the Council seem to be 4 Greens, 2 Christian Fasc… oops Democrats, 2 Gun-nuts, and 1 seat in doubt, which might go to either the Democrat Chesterfield-Hyphen, or the Fish Party.

    The references to the Greens’ voting record related to Victoria, not NSW.

  15. I’ve just copied the voting figures for the Bligh 2003 and Sydney 2007 results from the electoral commission website into a spreadsheet to compare them. Comparing the booths in the suburbs that were in both Bligh 2003 and Sydney 2007, I get Moore on 41.1% in 2003 and on 42.8% in 2007. (Caveat: a polling booth called The Oval appears in the 2003 file but not the 2007 figures and I havn’t included it. Including this booth in the 2003 data gives a figure of 41% for Moore in 2003).

    Using these same booths, the ALP vote drops by 5%, the Liberal vote goes up by 1.7% and the Greens go up by 2.1%. Malcolm Duncan, this time at the top of the ballot, goes up by 0.9%.

    In the areas that were not in Bligh but are in Sydney (Millers Pt, Ultimo and Pyrmont), Moore received 32.7%, Labor 26.8%, Liberals 23.8% and Greens 12.1%.

  16. You said it Adam – to borrow/steal from Monty Python: “Fred Nile has taken Umbrage – no suprise there…”

  17. Geoff, about booth names: Plunkett St is no doubt in Woolloomoolloo (it’s probably the state school). Flinders would be Flinders St and the area is still in the seat, there’s Chippendale and Chippendale East – each would have been in both seats.

    I had mistakenly included Redfern booths in comparing the 2003 and 2007 results. Taking these out, the ALP vote drops by 4%, the Lib vote goes up by 1%, Moore’s vote goes up by 1.2% and the Greens go up by 2%.

  18. It certainly says something about the nature of this election that only one of those “seats to watch” is a contest between the major parties, and none of them are in Sydney. Goulburn is the closest to Sydney out of the bunch of seats, and Newcastle is really the only urban seat on the list.

  19. As an attempt at a summary of the Leg Council position, and the change from the pre-election Council:

    Labor: 18-17
    Coalition: 13-14/15
    Greens: 3-4
    CDP: 2-2
    Shooters: 1-2
    Democrats: 1-0/1

    Jon Jenkins (ORP), David Oldfield (ex-ON), Peter Wong (Unity), and Peter Breen will all lose their seats.

    The Fishing Party and Australians Against Further Immigration all have a chance of winning their first seat, and are up against Arthur Chesterfield-Evans (Democrats) and the 3rd Nationals candidate.

    As an attempt to analyse it, I’ll categorise people as left-wing minors (Greens, Dems, Breen) or right-wing minors, and you get this:

    Labor: 18-17
    Coalition: 13-14/15
    Minor-Left: 5-4/5
    Minor-Right: 5-4/5

    There’s also Unity, but I don’t know who you categorise them as. What it tells me is that the minor parties are being more consolidated in fewer parties, without a big change in the total number of overall crossbenchers. On the left, you could say that Breen’s seat went to the Greens and ACE is then a question mark, and on the left you could say that Jon Jenkins’ seat has gone to the Shooters Party and Oldfield’s seat is also left as a question mark.

  20. It may be 500 votes, but Collier is on 50.7%, and it is very very rare for a city electorate to turn around by that much on declaration votes. Collier would have to poll only 47% on the remaining votes to be defeated, when his declaration vote was slightly higher than his booth vote in 2003. After four more years as sitting member, it seems hard to believe he would do that badly on the votes to come.

  21. So am I correct in saying that the Liberals did not win a single seat from Labor, and have no prospect of doing so? If so, surely Debnam cannot last much past the end of the year. Decorum will be maintained until the federal election, but then the knives will be out.

  22. It looks like there is only one seat in doubt in the upper house and the Lib/Nats are a little in front of the Dems for that one, with AAFI and Fishing a little further behind. Unless there is a big swing in counting of pre-poll, postals and absentees votes then its 9 Labor, at least 7 Coalition, 2 Greens, 1 Nile, 1 Shooter, 1 in doubt.

    The Electoral Commission upper house count includes below the line (BTL) votes and informals as part of the percentage of counted vote without allocating the BTLs to any groups. This distorts the percentages of the groups especially those that polled well, significantly underestimating their percentage vote. In the case of Labor who polled the best their raw percentage on the website is about a quota less than what Labor is polling in reality.

    Also its great to see independents and minor parties upsetting the electoral pendulum. The Greens are coming second to Debnam in Vaucluse. Greens local Councillor David Shoebridge is just ahead of the Labor candidate. The Greens are also coming second in North Shore just ahead of the Labor candidate. Maintaining that lead through pre-poll and postal votes will be difficult, but the point is there are an increasing number of seats where one of the major parties does not figure in the two candidate preferred count.

    On tonight’s figures there are two Greens v Liberals two party preferred seats, and with Balmain and Marrickville 2 Greens v Labor 2 party preferred seats. There are a few other seats where The Greens are not far off toppling one of the major party candidates for second place.

  23. So how many seats are now not Labor v. Coalition contests, and is that a record?

    A quick list
    -North Shore
    -Northern Tablelands
    -Lake Macquarie
    -Port Macquarie

    That’s 16 out of 93, which is 17% of the seats. Is there any more, and is that a record?

  24. And I just remembered that ON had 11 seats in the 1998 Queensland election, which I assume means that they came second in enough other seats to beat that record, but I reckon it must be a record for NSW.

  25. Ben,

    Independents polled 2nd in Shellharbour and Willoughby.

    Although Green prefs might shoot Labor into the Willougby runoff.

  26. Geoff, why is it “great to see independents and minor parties upsetting the electoral pendulum”? Do you want a hung parliament, a weak and unstable government, being held hostage by loopy independents and their narrow barrow-pushing NIMBYism? I don’t.

  27. Hung parliaments and weak and unstable governments held hostage by loopy independents and their narrow barrow-pushing NIMBYism, I can handle. But there’s one thing I cannot stand, and that’s an untidy pendulum.

  28. Adam, it would take an essay to respond properly to your question. Whether one party control or minority goverment is better depends on the politics of those in power. Labor for example has not had a majority in the upper house in NSW in its 12 years in office, but that has not caused the sky to fall in, and in the years 1988-91 when there was no majority in the NSW lower house the independents brought about some good reforms such as fixed four year term elections to remove the undemocratic practice of the gov calling an election when it suited them. The worst legislation eg WorkChoices, has come about with one party control of the House of Reps and Senate.

    I have no time for right wing independents/parties, but most of the independents in the NSW parliament are/were moderate or progressive. We have two party dominance by two conservative parties, one less so than the other. Both are almost puppets of big business including commercial media interests, and that is not good for democracy. The best achievable outcome for NSW in the 2007 election given the politics of the independents that had a chance, would have been a minority Labor goverment. At least no one party dominates the upper house. Its not really much of an inconvenience for Labor in any case – if they want to pass conservative legislation they can rely on the Coalition, Niles and Shooters for support, and if they want to pass progressive legislation then they can rely on The Greens. And I’m sorry about the pendulum William.

  29. Geoff,

    I think it was 1991 to 1995 that independents (Peter MacDonald, Clover Moore, John Hatton & Tony Windsor) held the balance of power and brought about reforms.
    From 1988 to 1991, I believe that the coalition held an absolute majority even though there were 8 independents in a house of 110.

  30. In answer to the question about who the libs preferenced in newcastle – it was Tate. This was in my opinion a problem for Tate. He needs lib pref flows but would have been better off if this had been disguised somewhat better. Tate made a significant tactical blunder imo in returning the favour to the libs. Had Tate managed to do a pref deal with gaudry it would now be all over results wise. To give gaudry his due (which is to elevate him from rodent to reptile) he was too clever to get involved in such a deal. Having reviewed the results in total now my guess is a mckay win over Tate by around 500. Gaudry will do slightly better on green prefs than Tate will on liberal. At least a third of each of these will exhaust first. Gaudry will not pull ahead of Tate (of this I am now very confident). The nsw EC shows a high exhaust total of about 25% when its mckay v gaudry. I’d expect it to be higher with Tate v mckay as gaudry die hards were following his instruction for a 1 vote only a lot. I would expect at least half of his pref flows to go alp. A few green prefs may end up finally assisting Tate but most will exhaust. Many people will probably view this as the best result possible I.e. a new and more capable labor member in a labor govt on a tight margin.

  31. Having only made a quick glance view of the upper-house polling place results (Something Victoria use to publish but now refuses to publish and are seeking $5,000 for the information) I noticed that the Greens had out-polled the ALP on a number of inner city seats. Anyone care to provide more detailed analysis?

  32. The NSW electoral commission is responsible for a major stuffup with the vote count for Epping. On my estimation, there is no way Greg Smith had a 2PP swing to him of 10%, and Martin Levine, who only got 5% of the primary vote and came a distant 5th, would have ended up with 30% of the 2PP vote.
    Someone with a lot more knowledge of distribution of preferences might have a better idea what is going on there.

  33. Evan, weren’t you the one saying how Greg Smith would be under serious threat from Levine?

    Regardless, the count there surprises me as well – the way I can see it happening is if Levine swallows enough minor party preferences to unlock the Greens preferences, putting him ahead of Labor and receiving a few votes from Labor, giving him a result of around what we’re looking at. 2pp vs ALP definitely seems more likely though.

    Anyone else with me on thinking that Graham Annesley in Miranda may outpoll Collier on pre-polls because of desal being more prominent earlier rather than later in the campaign, and also from Green preferences in pre-polling for same reason?

  34. “a new and more capable labor member ”

    You’ll get some argument about that. I went to the candidates forum and all we got was a repeat of the mantra of the last 6 months: community, passionate about Newcastle, fight for Newcastle. Cliche after cliche. All style no substance. We’ll now see how she copes when the Sydney machine chews her up and spits her out. The most profound thing she said on the night was:

    “The future is in front of us”.

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