Photo finish: Herbert

This post will not be further updated. Results below are not final. For up-to-date results visit the AEC’s Virtual Tally Room site.

2007 2004
Booths 34,624
Pre-Poll 2,103
Absent 1,395
Postal 1,738
Provisional 68
Total 39,928 49.82 40,221 50.18 34,155 43.80 43,828 56.20 6.02
ALP (adjusted) 49.8
LIB (adjusted) 50.2

Saturday evening. This post will be used to follow the final stages of the count in Herbert, where at the close of election night counting the ABC computer has Labor’s George Colbran 0.1 per cent ahead of Liberal incumbent Peter Lindsay. On raw figures Labor is 0.4 per cent ahead, but the Liberals had a relatively stronger performance on absent, pre-poll and postal votes in 2004.

Sunday evening. With a bit under half of the pre-polls counted George Colbran’s lead has narrowed by 40 votes in absolute terms, but he is in fact picking up a very substantial swing on these votes from 2004 and his adjusted lead has thus increased from 0.13 per cent to 0.23 per cent.

Monday 8pm. A second batch of pre-polls has broken 581-533 in Lindsay’s favour, following the pattern of 1007-961 from the first batch. While this narrows the lead in absolute terms, it follows the 2004 pattern of strong pre-poll performance for Lindsay and thus does not change the swing, hence Labor’s undiminished lead on the adjusted figure above. Comments thread chat tells us that postal votes are going 58/42 in Labor, which if accurate should seal victory for George Colbran.

Tuesday 3pm. The counting of 984 postal votes, about a fifth of the total, has added a handy 168 votes to George Colbran’s existing 460-vote lead, breaking 576-408 in his favour. This is a swing of 16 per cent on the 2004 postals figure, although there might be some procedural factor at work here. This blows the adjusted swing out to 6.46 per cent, compared with the seat’s post-redistribution margin of 6.1 per cent.

Wednesday 5pm. I gather Defence Force votes have something to do with the remarkable 992-468 split in Lindsay’s favour from the latest batch of postal votes. Presumably the remaining postals will come from different sources and thus boost the extremely slender swing to Labor on postals recorded in the table above. Colbran’s lead has been cut from 528 votes to just 36. Labor can take encouragement from its relatively strong performance on absent votes in 2004, which are yet to be counted this time.

Thursday 8pm. Colbran’s lead is now just 10 votes after a better-than-expected performance on the first batch of 1635 absent votes (probably about half of the total), which have gone 877-758 Lindsay’s way. Re-checking of earlier votes has boosted Colbran by 27.

Friday 3pm. Lindsay has now taken a 64-vote lead after another 1387 votes broke 739-648 his way, which was the same proportion as the last batch. Colbran can still place hope in the general rule that the last postal votes to be counted are usually the best for Labor, and he will perhaps recover 50 votes from provisionals. However, there look to be quite a few more pre-polls and perhaps a small number of absent votes to come, which have not favoured him.

Friday 10pm. This one’s a real heart-stopper. What am told will be the final batch of postals has gone 495-481 in favour of Lindsay, while minor adjustments have been made to the booth figures. This puts Lindsay’s lead at just 60 votes. A commenter tells me there are only provisional votes to go, so no pre-poll and absent votes remain to boost Lindsay as I suggested in the previous entry. Provisional votes just slightly favoured the Liberals last time, but that was in the context of the 2004 election disaster.

Monday 3pm. It was evidently not the case that only provisional votes remained: Lindsay has received an invaluable 61 boost from the counting of a further 487 postal votes. Re-checking of booth votes has cost Lindsay 18 votes and Colbran five. Lindsay now leads by 108.

Monday 8pm. Further rechecking of ordinary votes has been bad news for Colbran, costing him 53 and Lindsay only 22. Lindsay now leads by 139.

Tuesday 2pm. A further 1359 pre-polls might prove decisive, favouring Lindsay by 743 votes to 616. After further adjustments to booth results, Lindsay’s lead is now out to 270.

Friday 8pm. Late results have removed any lingering doubt here: pre-polls went 418-399, postals 251-222 and absents 204-193, all in favour of Lindsay. With the lead now at 352, this post is closing for business.

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.

26 comments on “Photo finish: Herbert”

  1. Excellent result for Peter Lindsay considering the other NQ results and that this seat is 62% ALP on state figures – the highest in the state and probably the country. I was counting on this one and done quite a bit of dough on it…oh well, I’ll still come out ahead overall (sighs). Pity about Colbran though, he’s background is sorely needed in the ALP.

  2. So Peter K you’re writing if off even though at this stage it’s still Labor ahead (50.33%)? I also had some money on it though my larger bets on Leichhardt, Longman, Petrie and (hopefully) Bennelong are covering it quite comfortably.

  3. Does anyone know if any Townsville-based army units are serving overseas at the moment? If so, their votes could just about decide this one.

  4. I live in Townsville and Peter Lindsay isn’t “disliked” but he is not a very good member… he is a bad speaker and always seems nervous.

    I’m pretty Labors got this seat in the bag though.

  5. I have today spoken with an insider in the Lindsay camp who has advised me that they are not confident of being returned. The info I have is that there are 349 absentee votes from deployed ADF personnel which are expected to break heavily to Labor and approx 1500 postal votes which have been going 58/42 to the ALP. On this basis they do not expect to retain the seat.

  6. Now only 36 in it. Liberals behind.

    Liberals will most probably win this seat now with the remaining postals. The Defence Force Personel serving overseas will favour the Liberals heavily.

  7. Guru – postals all counted (incl defence votes) and Labor 136 ahead. Irregularities discovered in some booth counts and only absentees to come – prepare for a recount with a strong possibility of a Labor win.

  8. William – they got 100 votes back which haven’t been posted by the aec yet on a booth recount. ALP votes from one booth went on the Lindsay pile.

  9. Cannot believe Bob from Bonner and LaborVoter would dein to criticise Lindsay’s speaking. I’ve met Colbran professionally many times, and he cannot even make eye contact when introduced to people. Lindsay has, and hopefully will continue, to be an excellent local member. Colbran is playing politician, and for him it is all about ego.

  10. I must say, I’d struggle to cast a vote for a bloke who runs a chain of McDonalds’, no matter what party he represented. Labor certainly needs business people, but all businesses are not equal.

    I am a bit surprised that the defence vote is apparently still strongly favouring the Coalition in Herbert and Solomon, despite the Iraq disaster, and Rudd’s promised of free medical care to the families of defence personnel.

  11. AEC update, Dec 3 11:20 am

    Lindsay (Liberal) now in front by 121.

    Another 487 postal votes counted which split 274:213 to Lindsay (a 61 vote gain).

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