NSW by-elections live

7.51pm. The NSWEC has all but a few booths in from Port Macquarie, and you can now clearly call it for Peter Besseling, who leads the Nationals candidate 36.8 per cent to 31.9 per cent. Elsewhere it’s clear the results are as expected: a big win for the Liberals in Ryde, and narrower wins for Labor in Cabramatta and Lakemba following swings of over 20 per cent.

7.30pm. With 22.4 per cent counted, Besseling 37.6 per cent and Nationals 31.9 per cent, so Besseling home and hosed unless these are very good Nationals booths outstanding.

7.26pm. Labor’s lead now up to 5.7 per cent in Cabramatta according to the ABC. Still no actual prefernece counts in yet.

7.24pm. Seven booths out of 21 counted on the primary vote in Ryde, and that Taverner poll is looking good: Liberal on 62 per cent of the two-party vote.

7.23pm. ABC computer has Besseling leading by 1.2 per cent in Port Macquarie, but with no notional preference counts in yet this is based on assumptions about preferences.

7.21pm. The ABC computer is now up to speed on the Cabramatta count: Labor is facing a 24 per cent swing, but that leaves them with 5 per cent to spare.

7.14pm. No real trouble for Labor in Lakemba, with 59.2 per cent after a third of the booths counted.

7.11pm. NSWEC has eight booths counted in Cabramatta, Labor leading 48.0 per cent to 40.4 per cent, so Nick Lalich is not actually in trouble. Liberals on 54.9 per cent in Ryde with over a third of the booths counted, so an obvious win for them there.

7.08pm. Comments tells me Cabramatta “tightening”, but ABC computer still only has one booth. NSWEC website most unwieldy (PDFs? Come on …).

7.00pm. Nine booths in and 6 per cent counted in Port Macquarie, and looking ominous for the Nationals, who trail Besseling 35.0 per cent to 32.9 per cent on the primary vote. Still nothing from Ryde.

6.55pm. Labor looking at an ugly swing in Cabramatta of over 20 per cent, but not enough to cost them the seat.

6.50pm. Commenter Oakeshott Country, who knows his Port Macquarie onions backwards, says the three small booths in so far suggest a very close result between the Nationals candidate Leslie Williams and independent Peter Besseling.

6.42pm. Riverwood booth in from Lakemba. Labor vote on 55.3 per cent, which suggests a 20 per cent drop.

6.20pm. Booths closed 20 minutes ago. First results should be in shortly.

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.

206 comments on “NSW by-elections live”

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  1. 99 FC – it’s pretty hard to spin this anyway that looks great for the ALP. Ok the Nats had another fail; but the ALP got smacked. Have to take it on the chin.

  2. AC (91)

    {Yeah, you’ve got to marvel at the stupidity of voters in retaining this absolute shambles of a government and voting to kick Howard out instead. Now they’re forced to live with this rabble for another 2.5 years].

    The common thread behind those two events was Workchoices. Every state government – good or bad – which had an election before Howard was finally disposed of, had a thumping great win – and workchoices figured prominently in all the campaigns. So let’s not impugn the intelligence of the voters when the responsibility clearly lies with the ideologue who tried to force that disgraceful policy on ordinary working Australians.

  3. I’ve been concentrating on the ACT until now and haven’t actually looked at the NSW figures. I must say the results aren’t quite as bad for the ALP as I expected they would be. At the time the by-elections were called I expected (as I said here) Labor to lose all three seats – Ryde to the Libs and the other two to Greens or independents. But in fact Labor has retained Lakemba and Cabramatta. In the circs I think 58% in Lakemba is quite a good effort. Just under 50% in Cabramatta is worse, and I blame Reba Meagher’s neglect of the seat for that. A big chunk of the swings in Lakemba and Ryde is the loss of Iemma’s and Watkins’s personal vote. Obviously losing a seat and getting big negative swings is a bad result, but it’s not quite as bad as it might have been, or as bad as I expected.

  4. Adam,

    I couldn’t really give a toss about what some washed up ex-ALP staffer “notes”.

    I clearly recall you creeps labelling voters ‘racist’ after the 2001 election which was decided partly on border protection issues.

    These results show that NSW voters are realising their stupidity exhibited during 2007. Simple as that. They deserve the next 2.5 years of hardship they inflicted on themselves.

  5. Darn,
    The Maldon to Port Kembla railway WAS 60% completed when it was axed by the Greiner Government.

    I am intrigued by your question.
    Tell me, how do you use a 60% completed railway?

  6. In some ways tonights result went as I expected, I have often wondered why Cabramatta was nearly 30% when similar seats elsewhere are normally around the 15% mark.

    I would imagine Ryde is historically a Liberal seat.

    All up tonight confirms what we have long known and that is the NSW Government has a touch ask in being returned in three years time.

  7. Voters deserve “hardship” because they didn’t vote for your party? That’s a tad arrogant, and I don’t know why you expect them to vote for the Libs with an attitude like that.

  8. Darn,

    Over the coming months, compare and contrast unemployment under the ‘disgraceful’ WorkChoices regime, and this current government’s policies. Come back to me then.

  9. [I clearly recall you creeps labelling voters ‘racist’ after the 2001 election which was decided partly on border protection issues.]

    Has bludgers been going that long?

  10. HA HA, just as I predicted yesterday, which makes me a better psephologist than Adam!
    The tragedy for Nathan Rees is that out of the 3 Labor candidates, Nicole Campbell probably would have made the better potential MP! The other two guys are just more factional hacks and local mayors in bed with dodgy developers – carbon copies of Joe Tripodi! I pronounce this government dead, unless O’Farrell really stuffs up in the next 2 and a bit years.

  11. A-C! I’m not sure the NSW results have any Federal implications, if anything the chances of the Liberals regaining Bennenlong will be enhanced and I don’t think the Liberals will have any trouble holding seats like Hughes and Macarthur but the Federal election is still 18 months away and with our the Economy is looking I would expect things will be very Interesting.

  12. [Over the coming months, compare and contrast unemployment under the ‘disgraceful’ WorkChoices regime, and this current government’s policies. ]

    Yep Rudd causing that damn global financial meltdown… what was he thinking?!

  13. AiC can you gissus a link to your posts on how GRN/IND would pick up Cabramatta or Lakemba.

    I think the Libs would have had to run dead as they did in the halcyon day of Cunningham and hope their voters would hold their nose and vote for the GRN/IND. Instead they picked glam candidates (- at least in Cabramatta) and so it was never “on”.

  14. I don’t think this result has any implications for Bennelong. It’s most likely a bellweather marginal seat anyway.

    Considering how Maxine McKew has been performing, I reckon there’s a decent chance it could go Liberal next time around. I’d trade another election loss to watch her go down in flames in 2010.

  15. barry 99 (106)

    Not knowing the geography of that part of NSW I guess what I’m really asking is, did they just tear up the 60% of the track that was laid or was it used to service places somewhere between Maldon and Port Kembla? From your comment I’m guessing it was the former, which would have been an appalling waste of taxpayers money.

  16. The Global Economic recession could work both ways it may on one hand wreck the Rudd Government, but if the Government can maintain a Budget surphus, have reduced Interest rates which is highly likely and as long as Unemployment doesn’t go too high and as long as House prices remain solid then Rudd could actually benefit for most people know this problem was caused by the U.S. Housing market.

    Lets remember the thing which wrecked Scullin was his policy of cutting wages and pensions which stuffled the Economy, the Rudd approach is clearly different and also Rudd is acting before the Economy changes too must this gives him the look of leading from the front.

    As long as the Economy has some growth, Rudd being a first term PM should be able to be returned, also alot will depend on the behaviour of Malcolm Turnbull.

  17. I certainly didn’t call anyone a racist in 2001. I supported Kim Beazley’s position, which was one of support for tough border protection. Everyone has conveniently forgotten that Labor actually supported nearly everything Howard did over Tampa – I certainly did.

  18. Adam! A lot of ALP wel I should say Left wing for man were Green voters but many voters did go on and on about Australians being racist, uncaring, salfash, greedy, lasy, bigoted, mean, Unintelligence etc

    I am still waiting for the Lefties to apologise

  19. AC (109)

    I was simply pointing out why Howard got the shove and the NSW government got a resounding victory. Why such an astute politician as John Howard did not see that coming is beyond me. The only explanation seems to be that he was blinded by his ideology.

    The Australian people have delivered their verdict on Workchoices and it will be a long, long time before any conservative prime minister will ever dare to try anything like that again.

  20. 105 A-C – you’re surely not using this election as a pointer to the next Federal election are you? Or are you talking about the next state election, in which case you a reasonable argument.

  21. Darn,
    The Maldon / Port Kembla railway was designed to be a Goods railway to take coal from the Southern Highlands (the area South West of Sydney) to Port Kembla (Wollongong).
    The aim of the project was to reduce the rail distance between the coal mines and Port Kembla and also to remove the coal trains from the Sydney Suburban network.
    It is my understanding that the 60% completed represents tunnels, bridges, cuttings and other earthworks.
    The coal trains from the Southern Highlands are still using the metropolitan network. These conflict with suburban passengers services from Campbelltown to Glenfield in the southwest and Sydenham to Sutherland (and on to Wollongong) in the south.

    In 1988, Bob Carr promised that the project would be recommenced when a Labor Government is elected. It hasn’t recommenced yet!

  22. Darn – the Maldon-Dumbarton line had most of the line grading was completed, but was missing a key river crossing/viaduct, nor the track and electricity lines. So the 60% really relates to the line construction and grading and other bridge works. One concern I heard expressed was that the power usage for electric loco’s using the line was going to be too large for the existing power generators at Tallawarra, but that could have been an old engineers tale! But the line would have been a great goods line and could have been used to move goods via Port Kembla, potential to the proposed truck-rail transfer site near Maldon. This would have lowered container movements through Port Botany (whether via rail or truck) – something the residents of Port Botany would have been pleased with. It also (if used as a passenger line) improved services to Wollongong, but not necessarily shortened the times. Given the ongoing issues with the South Coast line, this would have relieved pressure on it.

    Re Adam & the Greens/Independents taking Cabramatta or Lakemba – can’t say I ever thought that. 10% in those seats for the Greens is good (I thought 8% would be what we got) – the tremptation is actually for voters to punish the ALP by voting for the Libs, as it is the ALP state govt they most want to vent anger and frustration at. The interesting thing I noticed out at Canley Heights (in Cabramatta) today was the level of acceptance of the Greens by most voters. But I didn’t get a sense that the ALP was in for drubbing out there.

  23. Typo’s: “…had most of the line grading completed…” & “…would have improved services…” Barry99 is right about the coal trains!

  24. Thanks for that Stewart and Barry.

    Carr’s disposable promise to complete the railway is very similar to the many disposable promises our Labor government here in Victoria has made regarding the restoration or extension of railway lines.

  25. GB @ 125 The Ryde by-election outcome is no pointer to the likely outcome of the next Federal election. Frankly, at the moment, there are no obvious pointers to the likely outcome of the next Federal contest.

    I know the seat of Ryde reasonably well. It is populated by decent, hard working people and so what if some of them may be ‘God Botherers’ (cf. Post 98). Victor Dominello’s campaign slogan “Start the Change” was a handy one. Indeed, his new constituents have taken the opportunity to signal about 30 months in advance, the demise of the worst government at any level in this Commonwealth since the 1930s.

  26. I have to say I agree with your sentiments re the NSW ALP’s rule but the Liberals would be worse.

    We forget the mess they made of things the last time they were in power in NSW. Services run down for purely ideological reasons, the pandering to the Nats etc etc.

    And the current lot – faction ridden, just as beholden to developers and special interests as the ALP. They are lazy waiting for government to delivered to them by the people of NSW on the end of a shovel.

    You should have sen what a rabble they were in Cabramatta today. Not a local on the booths I was on, workers messing around etc, workers failing to front up, candidate (a non-local who had been a member of the party for about 5 minutes) did not visit the booth etc etc. And they want to be in government? They can’t organise themselves.

    Lalich who is yet another cookie cutter fixer should have been run a lot closer.

  27. David Charles,

    At my local polling booth today I saw one of those “start the change” posters and a picture of “stop the trains” O’Farrell.
    It reminded me of the worst Government in my living memory – the Great Greiner/Fahey disaster.
    I was inspired to vote Labor for the first time in my life!

  28. If I was Labor, I’d be shitting myself. But not because of the Libs. If the Libs got a 10% swing in Western Sydney, what are they going to get in Balmain and Marrickville? That’s the Education Minister and Deputer Premier!

    Balmain only has a margin of 7%, which normally would be considered safe, but judging by these results and those of the local government elections earlier…

    Still, two years is a long, long time.

  29. Crikey! There’s a lot of windbaggery coming from the right over state Labor losing just one seat. I suppose a starving man will grasp at anything after copping such a drubbing as the last election. I find it highly amusing that a result such as today’s in Ryde can cheer the Libs up so much. The seat was lost. We all knew that. What’s the problem? Labor will get chucked out in NSW next election. We all know that, too. Your next point is, A-C?

    To try to transfer a suburban Sydney seat to the national level, especially when all the indicators we have – the polls – are showing public confidence in the Federal government at record levels just doesn’t make any sense. It will be a long, slow road back for Liberalism in Australia. All over the country people are breathing great gulps of air, huge sighs of relief that Work Choices is not what would have been a Howard government’s first line of defence against the international economic situation. If WCs had been still in place, endorsed by the people at the 2007 election, employers would be losing their nerve all over the place, reducing wages, sacking workers for “operational reasons” and using that odious law in many other ways to sandbag their businesses.

    Instead, the country is realising that we’re all in this together, that a national effort, led by what seems to be an incredibly competent, confident and popular government will see the emergency through without the industrial law of the jungle needing to be applied to the throats of workers.

    The whole world is changing… from the corrupt NSW state government, right up to the very basis of capitalism around the globe. The dreary rightoids, like so many cultists waiting for the end of the world on a cold mountaintop somewhere, believe – or have convinced themselves into believing – that a mistake was made for which the “stupid” voters (that is, the ones they want to support them at the next election) should rightly be punished. It sounds quite fascist, as if they think the ordinary man in the street doesn’t deserve to have a Liberal government. It’d be too good for them.

    Geez A-C and the rest of you bizarre Howard cultists, until you shake off that attitude you haven’t got a snowflake’s chance in the fires of hell at getting re-elected next time, or the time after that, possibly not for a decade. I think more and stronger medicine is necessary for you to get the message, and it’ll come in bucketfulls unless you wise up to the changing times and attitudes out here in the real world. State Labor has a harsh lesson to learn. Federal Labor has learnt the lesson already. Will the Libs also pick up the vibe? At the moment it doesn’t seem so.

    Sure Labor lost Ryde, and suffered big swings in the other seats, as they deserved to do, but there’s very little connection between that and national issues. I wouldn’t read too much into tonight except that arrogance and a born to rule mentality is always sniffed out by the voters and those who practice it are booted out post haste. You might think of applying that thought to the chances of your own rabble at the federal level. It’s a two-way street.

  30. Yeah Baz -spot on.

    Greiner who got beaten in the safe Liberal seat of Willoughby by a flamin’ bus driver, Eddie Britt at his first tilt at politics and had to slink off to Ku-ring-gai.

    People around Chatswood must’ve been real impressed with his shiny new Harvard MBA (was he a classmate of “W”?).

    When he did jag the leadership (last man standing) he turned himself into a Thatchler clone (but without the gonads).

  31. Bill I would have though that if Rees can organise a few show trials and demonstrate that he is really really trying very hard to please he has a chance.

    The Libs organisation is in a shambles at the moment. Who is going to turn that around?

  32. [Bill I would have though that if Rees can organise a few show trials and demonstrate that he is really really trying very hard to please he has a chance.]

    About the same chance as an asteroid hitting the Liberal Party Picnic Day and wiping out the party. Labor’s gone, and good riddance. They’re an embarrassment to Labor voters.

  33. Yeah I’d be willing to put up with one term (only one term) of the Libs if it meant a clean out of the Labor Party.

    Something that went under-reported today – Linda Burney, who’s the Minister for Youth and Community Services, called for an end to Labor factionalism. Dunno how far she’d get.

    Rees should have gotten rid of Tripodi etc. when he had the chance. He had nothing to lose.

  34. Bill

    I thought that in March last year. And then the LGA elections this year was going to be the day of the long knives. But not so.

    I don’t know what it is but people don;t like the NSW Liberals at state level…

  35. Has anything changed?

    State Labor is still atrocious. I’m probably setting up a strawman, but are their defenders really, when it comes down to it saying we should give them another term?

    The Libs have many faults, but at least one can hope they “might” be better (since nothing is 100% certain once in power…). NSW Labor you know nothing will change

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