Photo finish: Swan

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

2007 2004
Booths 29,461
Pre-Poll 2,025
Absent 2,624
Postal 1,689
Provisional 69
Total 35,868
ALP (adjusted) 49.8
LIB (adjusted) 50.2

Saturday evening. This post will be used to follow the final stages of the count in Swan, where at the close of election night counting the ABC computer has Liberal candidate Steve Irons 0.1 per cent ahead of Labor incumbent Kim Wilkie. On raw figures from the AEC Wilkie is 0.2 per cent ahead, but Labor had a relatively stronger performance on absent, pre-poll and postal votes in 2004.

Sunday evening. Wilkie appears to be off to a good start on pre-polls, of which about 40 per cent have been counted, although that might be because the votes counted are from the eastern end of the electorate. They have so far divided in a similar manner to the booth votes, increasing Wilkie’s chance of maintaining his slender lead.

Monday 11pm. It appears only rechecking was done today.

Tuesday 4pm. Kim Wilkie’s lead has narrowed from 182 votes to 16 votes after a batch of 992 pre-polls split 579-413 Steve Irons’ way. Irons apparently hit a two-vote lead at one point a little earlier.

Tuesday 11pm. This race has not been made any less heart-stopping by the addition of 2013 postal votes, which have broken 1021-993 Irons’ way so that he is now 12 votes in front. For what it’s worth, there is in fact a small swing so far to Labor on postals compared with 2004, as there has been with pre-polls. If that pattern extends to absent votes, Wilkie will just get up.

Wednesday 11pm. Double blows for Kim Wilkie with the first 1257 of what will be around 6000 absent votes, which have gone 639-618 to Irons, and a further 679 pre-polls, which have gone 391-288. This extends Irons’ lead to 136 votes. Wilkie can take comfort in the knowledge that he gained one vote more than this from provisional votes in 2004, which are yet to be counted. However, he will also need a gentle change in the trend of the remaining absent and postal votes, of which there will respectively be around 5000 and 1000.

Thursday 8pm. Another 983 postal votes counted, and Irons’ lead has widened another 27 votes to 163.

Friday 4pm. Just unearthed a small error in my spreadsheet: Irons in fact leads by 186.

Friday 10pm. Another batch of absent votes has gone against the earlier absent count to further boost Irons’ lead, now out to 239 votes.

Monday 7pm. A sensational late-count development with rechecking of booth votes slashing Irons’ lead from 186 to 34. The driver of this has been the Cloverdale booth, where Wilkie has picked up 74 and Irons has lost 115. I am hearing talk of a miscounted bundle of 100 votes: presumably these were at Cloverdale, and Labor lost 26 votes and the Liberals 15 votes for other reasons. At Beckenham, Labor has lost 20 votes and the Liberals at 25; at Kewdale West it’s been Labor 16 and Liberal 26.

Tuesday 2pm. The first provisional votes have been counted, going 69-52 Wilkie’s way. However, this has been exactly cancelled out by a further 453 postal votes which have broken 235-218 to Irons.

Tuesday 11pm. A double disaster for Wilkie: 1056 absent votes have broken 622-434 Irons’ way, and booth vote rechecking has cost him 107 votes and gained Irons 27. It seems there might have been a misplaced bundle at South Perth Central, where Labor is down 71 and the Liberals up 62. Irons is now 356 votes ahead, and probably home and hosed.

Wednesday 8pm. Labor gains 14 votes from a batch of 1062 pre-polls, but loses 10 from booth re-checking. With only about 700 absent votes to come plus small handfuls of other types, and Steve Irons claiming victory, it might be time to close shop on this post.

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 “Photo finish: Swan”

  1. I believe Swan will be lost to the ALP. A good chance for a fresh ALP outlook in Swan to match the rest of the nation.

    I predicted a 0%-1% swing with ALP hanging on. It was a close prediction and the result didn’t really suprise too many people at the Hasluck party last night.

    Canning will also be very interesting next election. The Lib Don Randall is not liked and he will be under the spotlight then.

  2. Don’t hang your hat on the Swan postal vote results last time round. At the time of the postal votes last time, the Liberal Andrew Murfin campaign was imploding.

    Irons, while not spectacular, hasn’t been disasterous and should get the traditional liberal win in postals.

    Wilkie won’t survive.

  3. Whilst I concur with goat that Kim Wilkie’s postal votes will not be quite as strong this time as in 2004, I still believe he will just hold on again.

    Looking at the primaries, it’s a virtual action replay of 2004 – with only the Greens going up significantly, which has to be beneficial to Wilkie.

    As I recall, he was behind on the 2PP on the night in 2004, so this time I think he has just enough additional fat on that score to hold off a weaker postal vote flow.

    Amazing that this seat could be that close for two elections in a row. But I wouldn’t live anywhere else!

  4. Irons now up by 63 votes as postal counting continues.

    Interestingly, Wilkie is picking up swings to him in the pre-polls and postals so far. If the absentees and provisionals repeat their 2004 form and break towards him (and perhaps even increase the swing in 2007), he is still in the running to scrape back in.

    Barring some huge swing on postals to Irons, this really will go on into next week.

  5. Let me say very quickly – Murfin would likely have won this seat last time round had his campaign been better run and less accident prone.
    Beazley could see the writing on the wall when he fled Swan for the somewhat safer locales of Brand – although I understood he continued to live in Vic Park.
    Wilkie has, IMHO, been somewhat of a harmless yet ineffectual local member, leaving the door open for a strong challenge.
    At my polling booth there was a strong (and youthful) presence from the Irons camp and plenty of their advertising about. A bit of a change from last time when ALP boosters seemed to predominate.
    I have mentioned here before I think that Steve Irons actually knocked my door. I have never seen Kim Wilkie in his years representing this electorate on my doorstep.
    And from a psephological standpoint I like the fact that:
    a) WA has been so different at this election,
    b) Swan is so marginal, and
    c) WA has produced the only counter-swings and ALP losses I am aware of.

  6. Well, I enjoy the fact that Swan is so marginal too – it makes working for the ALP campaigns here more intense and meaningful than somewhere like Pearce, for example.

    There’s no doubt that the Liberal campaign organisation this time around was much better than Andrew Murfin’s efforts in 2004, and Wilkie’s was comparatively weaker and perhaps too complacent. But I think the experience of 2004 has stood both sides in good stead for the inevitable recounts to come.

    Whereabouts do you live, VPL? I think Wilkie has been a good but not great representative for Swan (though I would say that, wouldn’t I?) and I’ll be very disappointed if he misses out on being a government member by a whisker.

    Still, if the worst happens, at least Irons promises to be several leagues better than Don Randall was the last time the Liberals held this seat.

  7. According to the AEC, Irons is now 30 in front and has won the postals counted so far by 28.

    No Absentees counted yet and it’s hard to predict where they’ll go. Last time Wilkie won them by 24 votes. It would almost be appropriate for Swan if we had a similar result this time!

    You’d expect Wilkie might get a small boost from Provisional Votes.

  8. Talkon – I’m in Wilson.
    I certainly wouldn’t say Wilkie was a BAD local member, he seems nice enough – just ineffectual.
    As for your comment about Don Randall – I couldn’t agree with you more. From the brief contact I had with Steve Irons he seems like a very decent bloke – I’m sure that if he scrapes in he’ll do well.
    Marcus – by growth I assume you referring to demographic – ie number of voters (which in the case of Swan I would assume was infill into established areas). I would have thought that most of it was happening on the Belmont end rather than the South Perth end but a quick analysis of the booth-by-booth figures of this year against previous would likely give you a good idea.
    There’s no question this is going to be a seat to watch in the next and probably the next and the next elections – just a shame it didn’t all hinge on the WA results as some were intimating might happen.

  9. Wilkie now 50 behind and some (all?) of the absentee votes have been counted.

    This leaves Provisionals.

    In 2004 Wilkie won them by 130.

    In 2001 Wilkie won them by 80.

    So he is still in the race.

  10. Very interesting. Iron’s campaign was not run particularily well, if you compare it to the well oiled machine that is the Randall campaigns. I would disagree with Randall not being well liked, he is on a couple of % of personal support.

  11. I agree VPL —Holy Cow!!!

    It looks like there has been a re-count of ordinary votes and Kim Wilke did very well out of it

  12. I wonder which Cloverdale booth that was, William (there are three and I forgot to note the detailed breakdown before the re-check).

    Certainly they were backing out the door for much of the day at West and North, with the smaller and much quieter Cloverdale booth being my mother’s choice for driving all the elderly ALP voters in the Belmont part of the electorate to all day.

    I am confident Kim will win on the provisionals, so this much-needed boost could be just what he needs to withstand a possible drift back to Irons on the remaining absentees and storm home in a squeaker.

  13. The prison mobile team is because of Boronia womens prison. The votes count for where the prisoner lives not in the electorate the prison is based.

    I actually visited the prison with Sharan Burrows on the Tuesday before the election and this was discussed.

  14. AEC site is currently showing 1469 provisionals issued and received with 1099 of these rejected, which would leave only 370 valid provisionals. Yet in 2004 there were 931 provisionals accepted – anyone know the reason for this difference?

  15. Kevin I would say it has a lot to do with the new enrolment laws.

    A lot of people are finding out the hard way that they missed new deadlines or that their change of address was picked up by the electoral commisiion without them having to notify.

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