The Lord taketh away

The verdict from the McEwen recount is in: Labor candidate Rob Mitchell’s six vote win has been overturned, and Liberal member Fran Bailey declared re-elected by just 12 votes. This gives the result level pegging with the Liberals’ 1974 win in Stirling as the closest federal electorate result of modern times. Labor is still considering a legal challenge, but it’s an open question as to whether a re-match would really be in their interests. It seems very likely that we can now settle on a final result of 83 seats for Labor and 65 for the Coalition plus two independents. Two other recount demands await adjudication:

• The Greens will reportedy call for a recount for the Victorian Senate, a contentious move given that nearly 3.3 million ballots would need to be rechecked. Antony Green’s projection shows both the Coalition and Labor winning third seats upon the exclusion of eighth placed Family First, the Liberals doing so with a surplus of 21709 votes (0.68 per cent) and Labor with 6088 (0.19 per cent). At this point Greens candidate Richard di Natale is left stranded on 13.4 per cent, 0.9 per cent or 27804 votes short of a quota. This of course assumes that all votes are cast above the line, when there are in fact 65101 (2.05 per cent) below-the-line votes for which we presently have only first preference results. These are unlikely to make much difference, as most are votes for parties whose preference tickets favoured the Greens ahead of Labor. Much of the leakage would come from Liberals going below the line to ensure the Greens did not get their vote. Against this can be weighed Labor voters who gave their first preference to a Labor candidate before switching to the Greens, but past experience suggests this is unlikely to account for more than 10 per cent out of 14123. If the assumption of all votes behaving as ticket votes were to hold, the Greens would need for Labor to finish around 2000 votes below the quota after Family First’s exclusion, which is roughly 8000 less than they presently appear to have. The distribution of the Liberal surplus would then be enough to give di Natale the narrowest of victories. In support of their recount appeal, Greens spokesman Jim Buckell provided The Age with an interesting list of claimed irregularities: “309 Greens Senate votes from one booth were not recorded at all; in Isaacs 150 votes were missed; in Dunkley 173 Greens votes were recorded as 17; and in Gellibrand, some Greens votes were attributed to another minor party”. However, it seems most unlikely that the required average of around 215 votes per electorate would be found to have wrongly favoured Labor over the Greens.

• Labor candidate Jason Young’s request for a recount in Bowman following his 64-vote defeat has been knocked back by the divisional returning officer. Young is continuing to pursue his recount request further up the Australian Electoral Commission hierarchy, but one suspects he is unlikely to find any joy.

On a completely unrelated note, here is a chart I knocked together showing each state’s deviation from the national Labor two-party preferred vote going back to 1949.

The first thing to note is the hyperactivity of Tasmania, which can in large part be put down to its small population of five seats. Nonetheless, the results tell a story of a natural Labor state which turned around temporarily following the Whitlam government’s tariff cuts and Labor’s opposition to the Franklin dam at the 1983 election. The largest state by contrast has stayed within a narrow 5 per cent band on the Labor side of the ledger, dipping below the line only in 1987 and 1998. Victoria’s long-lost standing as the jewel in the Liberal crown looks very much like a symptom of the 1954 Labor split and the party’s subsequent paralysis at state level, and its Labor vote has only once fallen below the national result since 1980. The exception was the 1990 election which also proved aberrant for reliably conservative Queensland, state government factors providing the explanation in each case. It can also be seen that the Coalition’s relative strength in Western Australia at the 2007 election was matched only by 1961, there is nothing new about its conservative leaning.

On another completely unrelated note, I have just had to pay a fee to renew the domain. This wasn’t hugely expensive ($50 to be precise), but it nonetheless offers a good excuse to pass the hat around among those of you who enjoy giving me money.

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.

489 comments on “The Lord taketh away”

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  1. 398

    Crikey neophyte, they were lining up the schoolmasters against the wall too?

    “…the abandonment of any principal…”

    Sheesh, the bastards!

  2. 400

    My god Ed@B, that Piers Bufo Marinus Aardvarkman (a cross between a cane toad and an ‘earth pig’!) should talk about ‘using Asians’! Oh, it’s ok for Howard/Hanson (lovely couple, eh?) to dogwhistle all over the land, but for a candidate to whoo an ethnic minority successfully? Nup, can’t have that sort of thing in Orstraya mate.

  3. Can I award myself the most spectacularly lonely blogging award for my attempts to defend Ms Cornes, it could perhaps be named the “No-one cares about your views on Nicole Cornes we all said she’d lose and she did” Award.

    Merry Christmas and a throughly Labor 2008 to you all.

  4. KR Don’t know how legal or defamatory this copy and paste job is but these words need to be spread far and wide.

    From Piers’ blog by Stephen of Quakers Hill.

    “Maxine is spot on. You Piers, are a classic example of the toxicity of the Howard years. Your stored up anger and putrid bile overflows into your columns every week. If only one tenth of the stories about you are true you are a putrid human being who abuses a position of influence to spout your biased and misleading drivel to the public.

    This latest column of yours is another example of your inability to realise that your time has been and gone. Fear, dog whistling, straw man attacks and right wing doberman maulings with little regard for facts are a thing of the past.

    You are preaching to a dedicated band of mean spirited conservatives who believe that they are deserving of government being run for their personal gain……..the rest of us adhere to that oldest of concepts, “The majority rule and the minority rights.”

    You espouse the iron will of the majority…..and ridicule and repress the minority. You didn’t have the spine to stand up for an Australian citizen being held by a foreign power in legal limbo because YOU have no respect for human rights. Same with this article…you mistake diversity for racism.
    You, in short, are a bigot, a bully and a bullshit artist.”

  5. 405

    Wow! That sums up the Bufo marinus so well: a toxic, ugly toad!


    Yes, neophyte, I know, but you know you shouldn’t copy others’ work, so your punishment is to write out lots and lots of times:

    The principal is my pal.

    (And make sure you write it neatly!)

  6. 405 Ed -What a brilliant post. The moderator must have gone to sleep. BTW while it’s clearly defamatory in one sense (it is written to denigrate and cause an adverse opinion of Piers), it is not libellous as the facts are all correct and when it is not factual it is an opinion. Also, the DT chose to publicly report it so they disseminated the opinion, the blogger merely sent it to the website. I’m sure Willam could clarify the legals on libellous blogs but my understanding is that the site is responsible, not the blogger.

  7. dovif @ 390 stated:

    We have the highest taxing govenment becuase, a. There are more of us b. WE are also on the highest personal income in Australia’s history.

    So before you just blub out some gimmic line, know some facts

    I gave the facts in 366, along with the source: Ross Gittins quoting Warren et al “GST and the changing incidence of Australian taxes” published in the eJournal of Tax Research. To repeat:

    — Indirect taxes “rose from 9.3 per cent to 9.7 per cent.”

    — “the proportion of income paid in income tax by all households rose from 18.6 per cent to 19.5 per cent.”

    So the percentage take increased, not simply the total dollar amount, which I am aware means nothing.

    I suggest you also read this (note pdf): It explains how Costello was able to keep the budget in surplus instead of Keating’s deficits. He slugged us all more in tax.

  8. 409

    Whoa there Diogenes, waddya mean ‘not factual’? As near to it as one could get I would have said (in fully ironic mode!).

    It’s a great spray, but alas, if you read the replies to it on the rag’s blog it is only salt to the wounds of the poor Lib troglodytes. Eeek, just imagine how brain dead you’d have to be to spend your time actually supporting Piers (Bufo marinus) Aardvarkman!

    Talk about depravity!

  9. Merry Xams to you too Jas

    Shame about WA, I bombed out big time there, still the black cloud has been dispersed and there is much joy and celebration throughout the land.

    But I will think you will find there were quite a few on this site defending Nicole, especially against the feral media.

  10. #409 That slagging of Piers is not in the least bit libellous or defamatory. It is clearly opinion, and labelled as such. His columns relate to matters of public interest, and he invites comments about them. I’d say the moderator was completely awake at the time he posted this comment.

    And I thought this was a clever touch: “If only one tenth of the stories about you are true you are a putrid human being who abuses a position of influence to spout your biased and misleading drivel to the public.”

    Of course, all these stories could be absolutely untrue, and Piers is a great bloke…

  11. #409 “my understanding is that the site is responsible, not the blogger”.

    Actually, if something is genuinely defamatory, anyone could go for a row – the blogger, the moderator, the editor, the publisher…

    Most people sue the publisher, because publishers have more money, and, arguably, ultimate responsilibility.

  12. Antonio agree with you re the words but I was also thinking of the copyright aspects and quoting only sufficiently for fair comment. However, the DT may drop the post so I got in just in case.

    eg Neophyte’s 398 Crikey complete paste is probably not kosher.

  13. Yep, it was free Crikey issue, got it here for nix, so I don’t see they’d have a problem with it.

    Besides, it was great to see Brian Loughnane (aka Brain Lockdown) having his nose rubbed in it. Although listening to him drone on the other day about how they got dudded by big union money (whilst his mob raided the public purse by about a factor of ten) was such myopic braindead twaddle, he’d need a good sense of smell to realise TurdChoices for what it was, ‘coz he sure as hell can’t see it!

  14. Ruddslide=climate shift

    Adam, maybe you number crunching guys should get a book going on the odds of KR bringing rain to a town near you.

  15. Melbourne Ports is getting its quota today. That’s because we have elected a Labor member at every election since 1906. Other, less loyal, electorates will have to wait their turn. But even O’Connor will get rain eventually.

  16. Way off topic, but what the heck, it’s Xmas:

    Notice that the US banking system is in a wee bit of distress? Well, another big write down, this time from Morgan Stanley, and another big chunk sold off, this time to a state controlled Chinese Investment fund. A healthy slice too, 10%.

    Just the other day, Arab oil money bought about US$8 billion worth of Citigroup while it was languishing with subprime losses.

    See a pattern emerging here?

  17. Clearly brothers and sisters, the era of fear and famine is behind us! No longer does the Good Lord see fit to smite us with the pestilence which is called the Liberal Party and has instead forgiven our transgressions and granted us His smile – which is called Kevin. With the coming of Kevin the rains have nourished the earth and hope and freedom now abound. Yeah verily the Kevin of the Lord is upon us. Amen

  18. Oh yea of little faith!

    When St Kevin doth walk upon the waters, then verily shall you say that the geek has inundated the earth!

  19. And the Perthite shall be cast out from amongst you, and shall dwell in the land of fire and heat, and no rain shall fall upon him, for he has followed not the righteous path of the Lord Kevin, but has embraced Evil, and the doers of Evil.

  20. But never the less the Perthite will be able to afford airconditioning and innumerable desalination plants, courtesy of the riches of the land of fire and heat.

    Can’t we make ’em suffer a bit?

  21. Watched the replay on Skynews of the COAG ‘love-in’, a lot of warm & fuzzies, Brumby and Iemma both getting their cameos, and Rudd’s signature answer to a question of what happens when it all fails, of “My view is I would rather try, and fall short, than not try at all”.
    Awwwwwww…. All that goodwill and cheery back-slapping camaraderie, fair made me wanna cry.
    Seven working groups, chaired by Ministers and Treasurers, on Water, Business Reform, Indigenous, etc etc
    Unusual, walking-the-talk, with Health Ministers and all Treasurers all meeting together in January
    Extra for elective surgery waiting lists (from $100m to $150m)
    Extra for alocohol & substance abuse rehab programs (Indigenous ones)

  22. Verily did the rain clouds pass over the heads of the idolitor worshippers of the false Lord Downer in the parched lands of Mayo, to fall instead onto the good earth beneath St Kevin of Queensland and his disciples. ;(

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