Brisbane Central by-election live

Vote Swing 2PP
Grace Grace (Labor) 50.7 0.2 61.1
Anna Boccabella (Greens) 33.2 14.9 38.9
Mark A. White (Family First) 7.9
Ian Nelson (One Nation) 2.1
Erik Olaf Eriksen 3.2
Ronald Davy 2.8 COUNT 76 %

7.54pm. Wilston added. Labor wins. That’s me done for the evening.

7.43pm. Kelvin Grove added, leaving only Wilston.

7.30pm. St Pauls Terrace booth added.

7.29pm. As for turnout: 14,893 formal votes have been counted compared with 15,698 at the same booths last year.

7.26pm. New Farm School added.

7.25pm. Brisbane booth added.

7.22pm. Merthyr booth added. I’m also now using a real-world preference split of 27 per cent Labor, 11 per cent Greens and 62 per cent exhaust. The exhaustion figure I cited earlier was obviously a miscalculation.

7.16pm. Windsor booth added.

7.13pm. I’ve changed the Labor and Greens vote from “raw” to “adjusted”.

7.10pm. New Farm added.

7.09pm. Although there are in fact only 38 per cent exhausting.

7.07pm. Two-party results from four booths at the ECQ suggest Stephen L’s preference guess was pretty much spot on.

7.04pm. Ballymore booth added.

6.59pm. Newmarket, Newmarket South and Swan Hill booths added.

6.57pm. I have installed Stephen L’s suggested preference distribution, and corrected an error that had my 2PP calculation flattering the Greens.

6.51pm. Slightly larger Fortitude Valley has the Labor vote up a little.

6.49pm. Tiny Herston booth indicates a quite strong performance by the Greens, but with Labor still on track for a primary vote over 50 per cent.

6.43pm. Once again, above figures are for test purposes.

6.35pm. I’m just going to split non-Labor and Greens preferences 50/50. Anyone disagree?

6.34pm. Figures above are for test purposes only.

6.22pm. Welcome to my live coverage of the Brisbane Central by-election. Results should start coming in in about 15 minutes or so, time I will need to spend debugging the above table.

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.

40 comments on “Brisbane Central by-election live”

  1. alright how about a tipping competition, the labor v greens one is already known but howabout the heavyweight one.


    Personally I think someone called Erik Olaf would have no friends and thus Davy will out poll him.

  2. Neither the Greens nor Labor had preferences on their how to votes. I didn’t take the Family First one because the guy was a lunatic. At the Holy Spirit School booth, One Nation was represented only by a sign, and the independents not at all. ON were at the same booth last year and in the 2004 federal election.

    Assuming the independents’ vote is mainly an anti-Labor vote, you’d expect preferences that don’t exhaust to go to the Greens, but on the other hand I can think of good reasons why Liberal/National voters would just vote one for FF or an independent. Neither of the independents ran a campaign really.

    You’d also think FF votes which are really FF voters as opposed to disenfranchised Tories might preference the ALP over the Greens.

    Might be the only interest in the thing!

  3. Wow, looks like I was a pessimist with my 25% prediction. Almost won the Ballymore booth. Maybe we’ll pull off Kelvin Grove. I wonder if that will be the first time the Greens have won a booth in Queensland for state or federal elections.

  4. Hmm, a real possibility the ALP could slip below 50%. Not the slightest danger they could lose, but its still something of a surprise (at least to me).

  5. Overall there seems to be a surprising degree of similarity from booth to booth (Ballymore excepted).

    It looks like there has been a very low turnout, unless the remaining booths have a disproportionately large number of electors.

  6. Actually, I think the turnout’s not too bad, considering there are presumably plenty of postals and pre-polls. At the rate things are going there will be almost as many booth votes as there were last year. The absence of absentees will make the overall total down on last time, but it will be a much bigger turnout than at Albert Park, as well as far fewer informals.

  7. There are few surprises here so far. No HTVs actually had preferences listed. Greens vote being high is also unsurprising. If they can’t get 30 here with disgruntled Queenslanders in Beattie’s old seat and no coalition at all then they can’t anywhere in QLD.

    Brisbane Central is very strong progressive. Fortitude Valley, New Farm and Bowen Hills are all here, there is a very strong student population, Queensland’s highest population of Gay and Lesbian couples and a very high demographic of 25-35 singles and DINKS. It is no surprise that Andrew Bartlett’s Democrat office is right there in Brunswick St.

    Grace Grace seems well supported, though I thought she might be closer to 60%.

    Family First should finish 8-10%, they have outer booths more likely to catch coalition spill…

  8. Assuming there are not two Captain Gerrymander’s I’d say that after predicting a Green vote of 20% and ending up with 34% you might admit there is a bit of a surprise. (Granted postals may take the Green vote down a % or two).

  9. Surely this is a good result for Labor. Ordinarily a government should suffer a swing against them in a by-election for a government seat, but the primary swing is basically non-existent and the 2PP swing will be about 3-4% on William’s calculations above. Again a fairly good result.

    And again, another circumstance where the Greens are not able to really capitalise on supposed disaffection with the ALP. Why would you bother exhausting your preference in a by-election – what is the point?

  10. New Farm is an amazing place with my work/bis I run into old Italians who worked in at CSR or down near the river and they sit on double blocks (48 perches) that are worth without a view and not in a leafy street 2 to 3 million as they sit. How investors can afford buy these and then to rent them even as spilt up old queenslanders to students/ Gay les etc is beyond me

  11. Stephen L

    Hmm good call. I should say I am “somewhat” surprised that Labor is down off 60%. There should have been perhaps more flow-on from good Federal Labor polls.

    2006 also represented a great deal of anger with the Beattie government, though greater frustration at having no one else in which you would want to entrust government to.

    The Greens had an efficient booth machine, there was a good turn out, they had abundant promo materials and the booth workers where I visited were very pleasant and positive for Anne. I think that this helped.

    Yes, I agree, my estimate of 20 was perhaps low but Queensland traditionally hasn’t taken to the Greens. Even Grace Grace ran a local letterbox campaign labelling the Greens as “extreme”. Labor doesn’t ordinarily do that, so obviously they knew the threat.

    My FFP prediction was close at 10% and several booths achieved close to this, with a couple of outliers at 5%. ONP was higher than I would have thought, social progressive heartland for the entire state and ONP had no press and actually posted AEC infringing posters on the booths so.. yes, you are quite correct, a little surprised. 🙂

  12. I think we can all agree that if Queensland swings to the ALP by 0.2% on the primaries in the Federal election we won’t be happy. Let’s all hope state results can’t be transcribed federally (eg. the ’95 NSW state election). Although you’d have to at least be slightly cautious given the proximity to the Fed election.

  13. Why would we try and read anything in a by-election held in a former premier’s seat after 3 terms in government into federal politics?

    They are completely unrelated. This can only be read in terms of local QLD state politics and the dynamics of the greens v ALP in Brisbane.

  14. CTEP

    Yeah I’m inclined to agree. Admittedly, Queenslanders are the most “bipolar” in the country with State/Federal voting, though at (one would dearly hope!) is 5 weeks from a Federal election, with no coalition. Labor strategists would be thinking more cash for this part of Brissie is a good bet.

    Given that there was no coalition here, “soft Lib” voters had an FFP/GRN/informal main option. Informals weren’t up really. FFP was stable at almost exactly the % at seats contested in 2006. It is unlikely that soft Libs would normally go Green (though some would have), so we really should have seen a bulge into Labor.

    We didn’t and this wouldn’t be described as “good” for Labor, though it is no disaster either.

  15. The final 2PP looks like showing a 7% swing, which is probably a good or expected result. Of course, non-Lib/Nat/ONP/FF is 100% of the 2PP, a good result anywhere.

  16. MP

    Actually the 2PP is good at 7%, though not comparable to having a usual coalition/ALP contest.

    FFP may be pleased with the result. Cameron Eastman took 3.8% in the Albert Park by-election, though several HTVs did have preferences, Greens with FFP second last and I believe the ALP had them last. However, I still might have expected more of a coalition bleed. I wonder whether booths were all manned?


    I absolutely agree. GRN doesn’t even feature in most of regional Queensland and the large swathes of “baby towns” don’t do them favours either. These heartlands are swinging centres, so the right of Labor, FFP and Liberal are far more important.

    This includes Moreton, Bonner, Blair, Rankin, Dickson and Petrie. The Greens will struggle here, whereas the ALP may do quite well. Even Dickson (Dutton’s seat) and Petrie (Gambaro’s seat) are very much under threat. If ALP, as is expected, might preference FFP second in the senate in exchange for HOR preferences from FFP, then these are certainly in striking range.

    FFP did very well in state elections in these same regions and their voters come from both ALP/LIB voting histories, though probably at about 40/60. Their voters also tend to follow HTVs in these seats, though they haven’t been preferenced ALP before, so this is a little unknown. Though in SA, where there is a longer history of preferences to ALP and LIBs distributed on a seat-by-seat basis, up to 67% tend to preference to Labor when asked to.

    On this basis, even a 5-6% ALP swing and FFP preferences will deliver all six of these seats to the ALP. This is without even counting any increase from the Greens, which is also a possibility.

  17. Thats right, Howard is on his way to Canberra tonight, and is expected to troddle off to the GG’s house tomorrow!

    To battlestations Comrades!

  18. # 17 The Speaker Says: October 13th, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    It’s amazing to me that Labor’s primary pct is actually lower than 2006.
    It must be embarassing for them.
    This is a bad result for Labor IMHO.

    Que? Wishful thinking. It’s higher.

  19. A great set of numbers for the Coalition.

    No wonder our dear leader, the Man of Steel, will be taking a motor car journey out to see her Her Majesty’s representative in Australia whoever he is.

    On this result the Coalition will win all its own seats in Queensland and pick up two (at least) from the Kruddsters. The senate will fall 4-2.

    You heard it here first.

  20. This is actually a dreadful result for Family First. With no Tory candidate standing, they should have picked up much more normal Lib voters. 7.9% for the most Lib-like party is a disaster. For those who see it as a bad result for Labor, the Labor-Grn combined primary was 80%+, so the Left has done very well.

  21. Lord D

    No, I’d disagree on that one. This result was far better than the Albert Park by-election but the public is still largely unaware of Family First. This would be compounded by the demographics of Brisbane Central. There is a definite lack of FFPs core demographic, that is, younger and middle families. In fact it is also bi-modal, with a peak in the 18-25 bracket and another in the post 60 bracket. Neither group would be particularly sensitive to politics related to families.

    Given the low profile of FFP since the state election, their most likely Coalition grabs were in the 60+ age group, one which might have been obliviously unaware of them.

    By contrast, Climate Change/Global Warming and, by association, the Greens, has a higher public profile and my suspicion is that many older votes went this way. Again, ignorance might play a part here. This group might be largely unaware that the basis of the Greens is progressive and Left, politically a spectral opposite to the coalition. Indeed, it would make more sense ideologically for them to vote ALP, though the ALP would be seen by such voters as “the opposite” of Coalition.

    The long and short of this is that this result for FFP is largely expected, and if replicated across 29 seats and the senate in this Federal election, then Jeff Buchanan will be the second senator for Family First.

    This actually seems likely. Apparently 29 candidates will be posted for this election and the primary rise from the 2004 Federal to the 2006 State was doubled (3.58 to over 7%). The curious thing is also, that unlike every other party, FFP tends to do about as well in city, suburbs and country, though inner city (for reasons previously listed) tends to be the worst.

    Keep in mind also that FFP has never fielded a candidate in Brisbane Central before. This is a first showing at 8%. Not too shabby for a minor.

  22. Two things could have happened. Either the Lib vote went almost 50% to the Greens, with 50% split between Family First, One Nation and the two independents (a very small amount not turning up or voting informal) or some of the Liberal voters went to Labor, but the Greens picked up a similar sized chunk of Labor voters.

    In some circumstances we could know which by looking at swings by booths, but that’s hard here, because the Liberal vote was so consistent across the seat in 2006.

    If the former was what occurred what it tells us is this: Almost as many Liberals prefer the Greens as prefer FF, ON, two Independents and Labor combined. If true this tells us that in the long run the Greens have real potential to win Liberal voters, at least in seats like this, but its unlikely to mean much at all at this election with the Libs running.

    If quite a few Libs voted Labor, those votes don’t mean much (after all the Libs and ALP are much closer on most issues these days to each other than the Libs are to the Greens) but then it means the Greens were able to take a lot of Labor voters which has to be considered a good result for them coming into the election. Personally I think this one is more likely, but wasn’t on the ground.

    Regarding Family First, consider that in Albert Park they had competition from the Democrats and two independents who, while not high profile did have reasonable campaigns. It looks like the two independents here had minimal campaigns – one looks like he only had HTVs at one booth. It’s quite amazing that only a quarter of Lib voters preferred FF to their traditional enemies and the Greens.

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