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. Just heard a rumour that Newspoll has just finished its latest poll to be published next Tuesday. On the Preferred PM stake: Rudd 90% Nelson 10% but Shannana’s commentary piece will scream it is narrowing. He expects Nelson to overtake Rudd by 2012 as the PPM.

  2. There definitely appears to be something fishy going on in McEwen, they only received back 5900 postals, but they have counted 7000, am I missing something here?

  3. Ladies and gentlemen, your alternative PM:
    “Yes, I come out of a Labor family. My dad was a Labor man. And taught me that basically you should be supportive of the Labor movement, and then as I graduated from medicine, I spent some time in the work force selling doors, curtain fittings, and so on, I did medicine.”
    “Symbolism is extraordinarily important. But I think we need to remember, and I think most people know that I have the greatest sympathy and respect for Aboriginal people. I have a portrait of Neville Bonner in my office on the wall opposite me, twice the size of a standard door”

    He has decided that he isn’t going to let Abbott get all the laughs.

  4. This classic Nelson comment was on ABC online a couple of days ago:
    “You’re going to see me all over Australia doing all kinds of things relating to all kinds of Australians, particularly those who feel they have neither power nor influence, because I will be their voice,” he said.
    Er… thanks for reassuring us on that, Brendan.

  5. Maybe Brendan Nelson is an ALP plant?

    I think the ALP now realises the value of a good postal vote campaign. A final ALP seat count of 84 looks good, though a late boilover in McEwen and Dickson would be nice. The result is good in that the amount of low hanging fruit for both sides will keep them on their toes, but it might also encourage excessive shameless populism.

  6. Helen,

    Hi, have only recently started blogging here (so far, infrequently), but I’ll call myself Helen 2 now – unusual to find two of us!


  7. Kirribilli Removals, your first post at this morning ( 2/12/07) is truly magnificent, especially considering your other responsibilities – I am a true ‘bludger’ in every respect by comparison with your good self. You should read what you’ve written again yourself to know how profound it is ( I am not being a sycophant, as I don’t know who you are, other than that you are a hard-pressed parent with a great sense of humour, but that contribution is truly poetic). Congratulations. If you are not a published writer, you should seriously consider it, IMHO. Whilst you invariably talk sense, this time you have excelled with a truly original and entertaining contribution. Bravo.

    Brian Toohey was his cynical self this morning on Insiders in criticising Rudd’s direction to Labor MP’s to visit two schools in each Labor seat. Surely Labor supporters should be allowed to celebrate for at least a week that the hated Coalition is gone, before the Left gets stuck into Rudd’s expected timidity re: Work Choices etc.
    I otherwise enjoyed Toohey’s shiacking – loves to be controversial, which is fun for political junkies like me on a Sunday morning – what else do we have in our ‘miserable’ lives but politics?
    The demise (for the moment) of Deputy Dawg is also like backing the Daily Double at very good odds ( and I wonder what odds would have been on offer that he would not contest the leadership?) . The spectre of Tony Abbott declaring he will have another go at the Lib leadership also warms my heart – stand in line behind Turnbull and Bishop. The Bishop is just as crazy as you Tony, just as ruthless and no doubt also has ‘God on her side’, as she comes from WA, which is the only place the Coalition went close to winning a seat from Labor. That blazing blue stare she has is truly scary.
    The Libs leadership instability will serve Rudd well in looming difficult times – if only the Libs keep tearing themselves apart Labor will rule for at least two and perhaps three terms, depending on how long Rudd wants in the job – I get this feeling he won’t want to stay in it for as long as Howard, but time will tell if megalomania grips him. PM’s often find the job doesn’t turn out to be what they expected, but Rudd has the advantage of intimate knowledge of how bureaucracies work ( and fail), so he won’t be the worst PM we’ve ever had by a long margin. He has some bright people behind him – especially Faulkner. Very happy to see the Senate Bureuacrat ‘killer’ back in the thick of the action.
    I just love Rudd’s comment about policies ‘disappearing in bureaucratic sludgeland’. It shows he is determined to change the country, just as Garrett ‘joked’. He’s invested a lot of faith in Julia – I reckon that’s justified as she is clearly a bright and tenacious person. If anyone can handle a mega-portfolio like the one she’s been allocated, she can. I sure hope she has a good break over Christmas, as I think she’ll need it, as will many of us after a year heralding much change.
    Managing expectations for change will be very difficult, but if anyone can do it I think Kevvie can. He’s a class act and just mad enough to have the drive to get things done. It’s a bit of a romantic story really, the ‘boys’ from Nambour – they seem to have grown up pretty tough.
    Re: the Toohey comments again – there obviously are votes in education, but there aren’t a lot in homelesss shelters and Rudd sent Labor MP’s to report on them as well. I find that very encouraging, but then if I wasn’t encouraged and excited by the end of The Rodent, what could possibly encourage me, as a loyal Left ( God Help Me) Labor party member?
    I can think of some other things which have in the past excited me, like Shane Warne’s bowling, which truly transcended sport and became ‘art’, but the end of the Rodent/Dawg ‘team’ prompts the question: “Can it get better than this?”

    Looks like I’ll be sending William less than $100, as Labor looks like it will win only 84 seats -I said I would send Mr Bowe $20 for each Labor seat over 80 – I might make it a round ton anyway, as a token of my appreciation for his efforts, especially during the campaign itself, when things at times got a little heated here, not to mention the technical difficulties he had to overcome.

  8. Billybob

    If Cheeseman doesn’t comply, he’s being very obtuse. KR has clearly stated that he’s looking for the best advice from the administration and the best performance from his Cabinet – benchmarked and accountable. The “homework assignment” is like the pop quiz you give to a class on the first day: you want to find out where the talent is for future reference. The choice of schools, the information gathered by the MPs will be carefully examined: has KR asked for a written report? KR just doesn’t want numbers of computers needed (that could be learnt with a quick phone call): he’ll want to know what the MP has gained from the experience, and the sharp cookies will have taken the assignment seriously, especially as it’s the targeted central focus of KR’s platform. So, an MP will have a carefully thought out series of questions he wants to explore during each visit, apart from the rapport he’lll want to foster with the local schools. The second assignment is even more interesting and challenging for the MPs: they’ll have to come up with a series of questions/observations which will tests their mettle and comfort zones. KR believes strongly in meritocrasy, and so DC will need to perform if he plans to stay more than one term.

  9. If Peter Lindsay wins again in Herbert we will miss out on the V8 supercars for another 3 years!!!!!

    This is the worst possible scenario! ARGH!

  10. There’s plenty of upside for Labor in 2010. To begin with, remarkably, Labor will only hold 4 out of 15 WA seats. But it’s not as though sandgropers are inherently anti-Labor. They have a state Labor government.

    Come 2010, Western Australians will realise that their fears will have been unfounded and, with suitable lashings of pork spread their way over the next three years, look to Labor to win at least 4 seats in the west at the next election.

    The Liberals are set to give vent to their fratricidal tendencies, with Turnbull already undermining Nelson. (Who leaked the story about Turnbull marching into Nelson’s office and ordering him to toughen up? Not Nelson.) The NSW Liberal Right are about to unleash on the moderates, with a witchhunt on the for Liberal insider who leaked the Lindsay pamphlet affair to the Labor Party. And the moderates are going to relish to opportunity to fight back. There is no way a weak character like Nelson will be able to stop them. It will be like Lebanon, circa 1981.

    Add the mopping up on seats that have just fallen the wrong way and the second Rudd government should have 95 seats in the House.

  11. tweetie pie… i assume you are taking the mickey…. rudd’s ‘homework assignment’ was nothing more than a stunt for the tv news….

    he is not going to formulate policy based on what his MPs ‘learn’ in these visits… seriously, if he does not know what public schools are like now, how credible a candidate for PM was he?

  12. 10pse,

    KR might know what public schools are like, but other elected MPs may not. And you cannot know absolutely everything there is to know about particular topics. The way I interpret it is that he wants his team to get right down to basics and then once they have the basics down pat, they then have a foundation on which to implement the policy.

    This is just the way I see it, anyhoo.

  13. Cheesman doesn’t have a Car LOL

    How th heck can he get around a seat with next to no Public Transport, o wait I’m sure someone in his office can drive him around.

    I would be curious as to what is the punishment for not doing your homework!!

  14. 10pse. I can only agree with you. I mean politicians visiting schools for local fact finding mission. God forbid.
    What we need are those ‘know it all’ political types who live in ivory towers in Canberra. Similar to those from the previous Howard Liberal government. Now thats a team that got things done!! NOT!!

  15. Re Nelson’s portrait of Bonner in his room; isn’t that nice. I bet he also regularly says that some of his best friends are Aboriginal people

  16. Likewise Crikey Whitey!! Not surprised, given how much I enjoy and am informed by your posts!

    Few years ago went ‘cold’ to a meeting at State Library, hung about outside being slightly invisible so as not to be first in the door. The next four women who arrived hovered outside too, and we started chatting. They were all Helens, and none of us knew each other before!

  17. # Jasmine Pierceon 02 Dec 2007 at 1:06 pm
    “Ruddock has quit the frontbench. Good riddence!”

    Apparently the cadaver will be donated to science so they can determine how it survived for so long without a heart or spine.

  18. WA is odd, wasn’t there a statewide swing to Labor but a net loss of one seat?It should bounce back as it did in 1974 after a notably bad performance in 1972. Barring some disaster Bass & Braddon will consolidate. The interesting by-election will be Lyne test for Nelson as to how actively support a Liberal.

  19. Phillip Ruddock can finally be laid to rest. Eleven years of being undead is surely enough.

    Given that Ruddock and Stewart McArthur are both – to varying degrees – politically dead, Kevin Rudd has at his disposal two cryogenic freezers.

  20. Blimey – Ive given up follwing the senate count, and now am watching grass grow; owing to the more exciting developments and regular updates there.

  21. Brendan Nelson on Insiders this morning referred several times to ‘average Australians’. At one point, he strengthened the description with ‘fair dinkum’. This is stirring language, dazzlingly employed by the man responsible for a generational shake out of his party.

    And I’m being only slightly facetious when I say that we should all look forward, under his alternative governorship, to the triumphant return of Patrick White’s ‘exaltation of the (fair dinkum) average’.

    2010 – fair dinkum average (Coalition loses, Nelson learns to fly jets)

    2013 – fair dinkum true blue average (Coalition loses, Nelson masters Mandarin)

    2016 – fair dinkum true blue dinky die average (Coalition loses, Nelson changes gender and contemplates gay marriage)

  22. Must go now. Another party, sigh. A tribute.

    Reprise Triomphant sans Honte.

    Non, Jeanette. Rien!

    Dedie a Maxine La Magnifique.

  23. Seriously improving the health system and hospitals? It can be done.

    Controlling petrol prices with consumers not being ripped off? It can be done.

    Labor delivering budget surpluses? It can be done.

    And the liberal party knows it! That’s why they (liberal) are sh*tt*ng themselves. The massacre at the ballot box will come at the next election.

    We should become a republic in the PMs second term. I believe it is fitting that Kim Beazley be Australia’s first president. Poor Glen would be absolutely beside himself. LOL

  24. Unfounded rumour. If Pyne doesn’t get Foreign Affairs or an equivalent shadow ministry, he will bail before the next election and move into State politics.

  25. Geoff R

    Yes, its a very good return for the coalition in WA.

    I think WA is the next (only?) state up for election in 2008. This should remove the rather smelly state ALP govt and enable ALP to be less encumbered at the next federal election.

    So WA should be easy pickings for the ALP at the federal next election.

  26. [I think WA is the next (only?) state up for election in 2008. This should remove the rather smelly state ALP govt and enable ALP to be less encumbered at the next federal election.]

    No, it’s 2009, and while there is Liberal in-fighting and the lack of a good opposition leader, plus 1 bote, 1 value – the Carpenter Govt will be re-elected 🙂

  27. Re envelope discrepancies in McEwen.

    There are two Declaration tables- one for the Division, one Nationwide. From reading both of these, you can see that:
    Absents issued are Absent papers for OTHER Divisions
    Absents received are those counted so far for their OWN Division
    Pre-poll issued are for their OWN, plus OTHER Divisions.
    Pre-poll received are those counted so far for their OWN Division
    Postals issued are for their OWN Division
    Postals received are those that came in the mail and have been counted for their OWN Division, so far.

    Apart from the possibly strayed ballot papers and the amazing Primaries and TPPs in the ALP Absents, there do not appear to be any discrepancies in McEwen.

    They are not entering data today.

  28. If Carpenter gets re-elected it will only be because the State Liberal Division is incompetent but to vent their anger at the failures of Alan Carpenter the Liberal vote will hold up in 2010 IMHO, especially since Julie Bishop is now deputy leader. The Sandgropers are as parochial as the Queenslanders.

    The trouble is Nelson isn’t a media ‘w%$*e’ like Rudd and so he’ll not get the dream run Rudd got in his first year as Opposition Leader, Nelson needs a chance and he deserves it IMHO.

    Oh and that Rudd 90% Nelson 10% is bull butter even if that was put out by the OG nobody would believe its accuracy, and the people are so used to Howard anyway Nelson will probably start off in the 30s but if he does well he could get into the 40s.

    Dickson should remain in Tory hands though Bowman is probably gone IMHO.

  29. Chrissy Pyne in state politics is something I would not enjoy,its bad enough seeing him when Federal Elections come around ,would see his swarmy puss everyday if he went local,not good.

  30. I wonder how General-General Jeffery Jefferies feels about having to swear in a bunch of deadbeat anti-war Socialists.

    Lowitja O’Donahue for GG!

  31. Lowitja O’Donahue has the same problem as the late Kath Walker – both decided to adopt an Aboriginal name for political reasons and it backfired on them – you see conservative commentators continually pointing out that “Lowitja” sounds like a rare neurological disorder – while Kath Walker’s Aboriginal name is difficult to spell or remember easily – hence 99.9% of people still call her Kath Walker.

  32. Dear Lady i will list several for you to go through. One of the main reasons why the Tory vote held up in WA is thanks to Alan and his mob Jasmine.

    The Carpenter Government has failed to fix the health system as only 87 of the 344 Key Result Area targets set for July 2007 – just 25 per cent – were completed.

    Of the 23 targets set for clinical services, that is, making sure people receive their operations within set timelines and ensuring people do not wait more than eight hours in an emergency department, only a staggering two (eight per cent) were completed.

    Of the commitments given for new and upgraded hospitals and health facilities by July 2007, only 17 of 68 were completed.

    Among the most disgraceful failures was the fact that 19 of the 28 mental health facilities were being delayed.

    Oh and Jasmine how could i forget good old Neale Fong.

    Aboriginal leader says WA Government has failed indigenous communities

    “Mr Quartermaine says the State Government has not addressed alcohol, gambling, sexual abuse or violence issues which he says are rife across communities in WA.”

    Kim would never get elected as President anyway, i say Don Burke for President before Big Kim. But i’d rather Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Australia as our head of State IMHO.

  33. Did some of the Liberal/ National candidates whose seats have not been decided vote in the Liberal leadership contest, people like Wilson Tuckey who most likely voted for Nelson and if he loses along with a few other candidates would the result have been different?

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