Late mail

There are no fewer than seven seats which are still too close to call a week after polling day, with less than 0.3 per cent separating the two parties. The AEC’s official Close Seats list further includes Flynn and La Trobe, but these are all but certain to respectively go with Labor and Liberal. Corangamite briefly popped on to the list a few days ago, but it’s gone now. Two other seats that could be of at least theoretical interest come the preference count are O’Connor and Calare. In O’Connor, Nationals candidate Philip Gardiner (18.37 per cent) has a vague hope of getting ahead of Labor (20.42 per cent) on preferences from, among others, the Greens (6.68 per cent), and then overcoming Liberal member Wilson Tuckey (45.25 per cent) on Labor preferences. Similarly, in Calare the independent candidate Gavin Priestley (23.73 per cent) might be able to overcome Labor (24.84 per cent) with preferences from the Greens (2.60 per cent) and the Citizens Electoral Council (0.94 per cent, which was boosted by a donkey vote that will flow on to Labor) and then, just maybe, within spitting distance of John Cobb of the Nationals (47.89 per cent). For some reason only ordinary votes have been counted to this point in O’Connor.

Bowman. Labor’s Jason Young narrowly led Liberal incumbent Andrew Laming from election night until Tuesday when Laming got his nose in front on pre-polls, but this has proved to be the only close electorate where postals have favoured Labor. Young recovered the tiniest of leads and has inched slowly ahead to his current lead of 116 votes.

Herbert. Liberal incumbent Peter Lindsay leads by just 60 votes, and I have unconfirmed reports that only provisional votes remain to be counted. Last time provisionals favoured Lindsay 279-257: if there’s the same number this time and they swing the same way as the rest, Colbran will close the gap by 45 votes and lose by 15.

McEwen. Another seat where Labor was ahead on election night, but postals put Liberal incumbent Fran Bailey a very handy 502 votes up on Monday. That looked like it might be enough, but a remarkably good partial count of absent votes pulled it into 111 yesterday. Further counting of pre-polls then pushed her lead out to 150.

Solomon. Labor’s Damian Hale was a full 1.0 per cent ahead on election night, but late factors such as overseas Defence Force votes have steadily whittled it down to 262 votes, or 0.3 per cent. That leaves some hope for CLP incumbent Dave Tollner, though Hale should probably get up.

Swan. Labor incumbent Kim Wilkie had a 134-vote lead on election night, but has since had to watch as each new batch of votes has delivered a few dozen votes to Liberal candidate Steve Irons, who currently leads by 239 and is looking increasingly likely to emerge as the only Liberal candidate to topple a sitting Labor MP.

Dickson. Labor’s Fiona McNamara had reason to feel confident about her 425-vote lead on election night, but a strong performance on postals by Liberal member Peter Dutton pushed him 268 votes ahead on Wednesday. The seat has since provided Labor with some rare late count good news, absents and pre-polls reeling in the lead in to just 106.

Robertson. This one hadn’t been on my watch list, with Labor candidate Belinda Neal holding a formidable 1094 vote lead on election night. However, Liberal member Jim Lloyd has kept whittling away Neal’s lead, once again being boosted by postals which have gone 58-42 in his favour. Neal’s lead is now just 273 – too close to comfort, but probably just enough.

To illustrate the recurring theme of Liberal comebacks, here is a table comparing party support by type of vote cast for 2004 and 2007, bearing in mind that the 2007 figures are still incomplete. While there was a slightly better performance by the Coalition in declaration votes across the board, it does seem they have managed to produce their best results on postals where it has mattered most.

2007 2004 2007 2004 2007 2004 2007 2004
44.0 38.3 5.8 39.3 34.0 5.4 41.1 34.9 6.2 40.2 34.4 5.9
41.7 46.5 -4.8 40.8 44.2 -3.4 45.3 48.3 -3.0 49.2 52.9 -3.7
7.6 7.0 0.6 12.1 10.9 1.2 6.7 7.9 -1.2 5.0 4.9 0.1

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.

683 comments on “Late mail”

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  1. It’s now been fixed – quote:

    “ON Saturday morning, November 24, 2007, Caroline Overington had an encounter with the Labor candidate for Wentworth, Mr George Newhouse, in circumstances that she sincerely regrets. She hopes that she and Mr Newhouse can put this incident behind them and she wishes him all the best.

    The Australian regrets any embarrassment Mr Newhouse has endured and also wishes him well.”


    The Australian might regret any embarrassment Mr Newhouse endured, but I bet it’s not a shade on the regret over the embarrassment The Oz endured.

  2. Thanks all. Not sure about the Newhouse story, but over at the SMH…

    New leader asks Ruddock and Robb to “overhaul the party{s rules and structures”. Oh sweet Jesus.

  3. Lest we forget. Intertubes, Possum.

    Caroline Overington denies slapping George Newhouse

    By staff writers and wires

    November 24, 2007 06:29pm
    Article from:

    ONE of Australia’s most prominent newspaper reporters has denied slapping a Labor candidate at a polling station in eastern Sydney today.

    Caroline Overington from The Australian newspaper has admitted to being involved in a physical confrontation with George Newhouse outside of a polling station in Sydney’s east.

    She has said that rather than slap him she “pushed” him with an “open hand”.

    Polling booth attendants and voters said Ms Overington walked up to Labor candidate for Wentworth George Newhouse at a polling station, shouted at him and then struck him across the face before walking away.

    One witness at the Bellevue Hill Public school polling booth said Ms Overington yelled abuse and appeared furious.

    “At first we thought who was this woman yelling at Newhouse, then she slapped him and we realised it was Caroline Overington,” the witness said.

    Editor-in-chief of The Australian Chris Mitchell said Ms Overington had denied slapping Mr Newhouse and had had no idea he would be at the same voting booth she was attending with her seven-year-old twins.

    She admitted pushing him away with an open hand when he approached her, later apologised for doing so and said she regretted there had been any further contact with the candidate.

    “There was an incident and we are considering our options,” Mr Newhouse’s spokeswoman said. “It was Ms Overington.”

    Ms Overington, a Walkley-winning reporter, has been embroiled in a spat over a series of emails to independent candidate Dani Ecuyer in which she urged Ms Ecuyer to preference Wentworth Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull. Ms Ecuyer is the ex-girlfriend of Mr Newhouse.

    The drama began last month, when ABC’s Media Watch ran a segment on the emails to Ms Ecuyer.

    It was later revealed that Ms Overington also sent a series of flirtatious emails to Mr Newhouse, which were then published in rival papers.

    In one email sent on October 9, published by the Sydney Morning Herald, Ms Overington asked the candidate to meet her in Bondi.

    “Hey there … Let’s chat today, shall we? I could come out to Bondi, since I live there. And now you are single, I might even make a pass at you,” she reportedly said in the email.

    Ms Overington later explained in her blog on this website that her emails were “playful in tone”.

  4. In fact, Kenny is PERFECT for post election fever. Post Howard Government.

    A funnily Australian take on dealing with CRAP!

  5. Adam and others.

    I once had a dog that used to tear the washing off the line almost as soon as it was placed there.

    One day I decided to do something about it. I took the dog aside and gave it a lecture about its muddled thinking and inappropriate behaviour.

    For my trouble it snarled and bit me on the arm.

    The next time it it attacked the washing I swiped it across the head with a rolled up newspaper. Result -no more torn washing.

    Why are you lot still discoursing with Glen?

  6. My advice: Press charges against Overington, George. And sue the buggers! Might be nearly as profitable as a parliamentary pension 😉

  7. For anyone who is interested, here is what the Senate results would have looked like if it was a Double Dissolution:

    New South Wales: ALP 5, LNP 5, GRN 1, with the Climate Change Coalition piling on the preference to get the last spot.
    Victoria: Simply ALP 5, LNP 5, GRN 2.
    Queensland: ALP 5, LNP 5, GRN 1, and Family First getting the last spot.
    South Australia: Amazingly ALP 4, LIB 5, GRN 1 and Nick Xenophon getting 2 spots.
    Western Australia: ALP 5, LIB 6 (the only 6 anywhere), GRN 1.
    Tasmania: ALP 5, LNP 5, GRN 2.
    ACT & NT as before

    Total: ALP 31, LNP 33, GRN 8, XEN 2, FF 1, CCC 1.

  8. Oh dear… I joked a while ago that I’ll probably be in the most marginal electorate in the country after the election (Robertson) and I’m not far wrong. If only I was as good at picking the nags.

    I reckon I almost filled a complete wheelie (recycle) bin with letterbox and direct mail from both sides, gonna be worse next time ’round?

  9. Howard C,

    Fascinating! How did you work it out? Did you actually go mathematically thrugh a whole Senate count for every state? It certainly suggests the Greens would love a double dissolution, though Family First and Nick Xenophon would not.

  10. Chris Curtis – did actually calculate quotas and do the count the right way.

    A double dissolution would be good for the Greens and the other minor parties, even Family First as they would be likely to get someone up somewhere. 2004 won’t happen again anytime soon.

    Amazingly, the different primary votes for the two major parties ended up being to the LNP’s advantage, as Labor were closely beaten for about four or five spots.

  11. Counting in the Senate is going backwards, about one quarter of a million votes have been taken out of the “counted” totals in the last 24 hours. The AEC are probably discovering errors in the Saturday night booth totals. There were many errors discovered in the House vote, I am told.

  12. Howard C,

    A double dissolution is not really good for minor parties other than the Greens because it would, on your calculations, deprive Steve Fielding and Nick Xenophon of their crucial balance of power role and hand it to the Greens. Of course, the votes and the preference deals can be different, which changes things, but not in a predictable way.

  13. 619
    John of Melbourne Says:
    December 4th, 2007 at 12:15 am
    Ron Brown I wish I could believe you but I think that Keatings calander stopped in 1996, lol.

    I don’t think it is a big deal that Howard lost his seat as he lost Government and was going to go regardless.

    This has to be the quote of the year – no big deal that a PM lost his seat!

    Yeh, like that happens every election.


  14. Keating was so arrogant that he just used Blaxland as a way to further his career. I feel sorry for that electorate because it’s the poorest urban electorate in the country, and yet Labor has done virtually nothing to improve it at all (even on a state level). Did Keating even live in Blaxland as a Treasurer? It’s not surprising that he now decided to live on a WATERFRONT property in an exclusive neighbourhood – so what’s wrong with Blaxland that he can’t live in it now? Yep, just continue to use the safe electorate to further your own career Keating, good job. What a great man! [/sarcasm]

  15. McEwen is now (10.49AM Thursday) back to a margin of 90 votes!

    After additional absentee counting Bailey sits on 47,939 , while Mitchell is on 47,849

    Around 1100 absentees outstanding, plus a few hundred postals and pre-polls, and 1091 provisionals.

    This one isn’t over yet after all, it seems.



  16. The Libs had a good day in Robertson today. I haven’t been following it but they now only trail by 258 votes.

    William, Robertson isn’t in your photo finishes list but it’s the closest seat where the Libs are trailing ?

  17. Any bets on how long it will be before we really know the answer in the two closest ones (McEwen and Bowman)?

    What with recounts, disputed votes, late postals and the like it is beginning to look like those involved in these two might still be wondering well past the Christmas Pud!

  18. Anyone disagree with the view that , of the 8 AEC close seats:

    1. Flynn, Solomon and Robertson will go to Labor
    2) Swan, Dickson and Herbert will go to the Libs
    3) Bowman and McEwen are the two which remain genuinely too close to call.

  19. My own family, our closest friends in McEwen, and our next door neighbours, have come to the conclusion that we are the reason that Bailey lost McEwen.

    8 votes between us.

    And every one of us voted Green with the ALP as next pref. 😉

  20. In response to Glen (602):

    You should probably remember that Keating was PM during the time of a global recession, and despite Liberal fear campaigns managed to keep interest rates at the lowest in the western world (other developed countries would have killed for a 17% interest rate). He certainly had the economic credentials, and through his guidance Australia was well and truly out of the recession and on the road to recovery by the time he was so shortsightedly thrown out of office in 1996.

  21. What is missing from the table above is teh other minor party votes. If William had inside this information it would have shown a consolidation of the vote. the other interesting statistic in the senate votes is the reduced number in below the line votes. the only party that maintains a high BTL vote is the Greens which is a clear indication of the lack of trust in the Greens ticketing.

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