ACT election: late counting

Sunday 26/10. Final result: Labor 7, Liberal 6, Greens 4.

The count has now been finalised and the Greens have indeed won a fourth seat in Molonglo, their candidate leading 9457 to the third Liberal’s 8536 at the key point in the count. As I should have noted in the previous entry, there was also a close race between the second and third Greens candidates which has in fact been won by Caroline Le Couteur, who overtook Elena Kirschbaum late in the count. Kirschbaum had 4203 votes at the point where she was excluded to Le Couteur’s 4285.

Saturday 25/10

In Molonglo, we now have a preference count for 62,577 out of 88,291, and Antony Green’s assessment is that “the Greens are starting to be favourite for the final spot”. On the present projection, second Greens candidate Elena Kirshbaum leads third Liberal candidate Giulia Jones 6660 to 6166 at the relevant count. The Liberals are likely to close the gap in what remains of the count – the primary votes that have been admitted to the preference count have gone 31.3 per cent Liberal and 18.5 per cent Greens compared with 31.4 per cent and 18.2 per cent from the total – but my back-of-envelope calculation tells me they will only be able to close the gap by perhaps 200 votes.

Tuesday 21/10

The count in Molonglo is getting progressively more interesting, with second Greens candidate Caroline Le Couteur just 49 votes behind third Liberal Jeremy Hanson at the crucial point in the count. Le Couteur herself leads the third Greens candidate, Elena Kirschbaum, by 49 votes at the relevant earlier point of the count. So the result could yet be Labor 7, Liberal 6, Greens 4, rather than 7-7-3.

Sunday 19/10

This post will be updated progressively with details of late counting in the ACT election. Two results remain in play: in Molonglo, which could either go Labor 3, Liberal 3, Greens 1 or Labor 3, Liberal 2, Greens 2, and in Ginninderra, which could either go Labor 2, Liberal 2, Greens 1 or Labor 3, Liberal 1, Greens 1. The most likely results will produce an outcome of Labor 7, Liberal 7, Greens 3, but other possibilities are for the Liberals to win as few as five, Labor to win eight or the Greens to win four.

In Molonglo, the Liberals are on 2.48 quotas on the primary vote and the Greens are on 1.48, so whoever does better on preferences will win the final seat. The problem for the Greens is the 2.7 per cent recorded by Liberal-turned-independent Richard Mulcahy, which based on pre-poll votes looks likely to go about 35 per cent to the Liberals and maybe 10 per cent to the Greens. Against that is that the Greens can hope for a strong rate of preference leakage from Labor. There is also an outside chance that independent Frank Pangallo could sneak through and take the seat if he receives enough preferences from minor candidates, but it would have to be rated a long shot.

In Ginninderra, Labor are on 2.41 quotas and the Liberals are on 1.64, the risk for the Liberals being that Greens preferences after the election of their candidate will push them ahead. However, the gap is probably wide enough to get endangered Liberal incumbent Vicki Dunne home.

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.

326 comments on “ACT election: late counting”

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  1. Of course, it was the rise of Labor that forced the prior two-party system known as “Tories v Liberals” together here in Australia.

    Wouldn’t rule it out! 🙂

  2. [The nonsense we put up with for 11 years under Howard is enough to scare anyone.]

    Why do you think there would be anything similar to the Howard regime and a government in the ACT, 60% Liberal and 40% Green, relying on Green support for passing supply and on issues like no confidence and with possibly two Green cabinent ministers?

  3. Well I’d like to be pleasantly surprised but somehow I doubt I’d ever enjoy a Liberal Government. I’m also not too sure how thankful Canberrans will be to the Greens if that’s what they give us. A no-confidence motion wouldn’t in itself bring about a fresh election would it?

    It’ll certainly be interesting.

  4. The Greens don’t HAVE to side with anyone. When the Assembly votes to elect a new CM, they can abstain. Stanhope then wins by default, but the Greens are not tied to him. They have a veto over all legislation, and with the Libs they can set up inquiries into anything they want, censure any minister they dislike, or vote no confidence in the government any time they like. They can even initiate legislation and pass it if they get support from the Libs. That would be a position of great power (relative to the Liliputian world of ACT politics of course), and with no dirty deals done with the Libs.

  5. Good point. On an objective viewpoint it would seem the best way for the Greens to go would be to do just that. However, I suspect the chance of real executive power may be too tempting for them.

  6. Malcolm McKerras has an article in today’s Canberra Times on reform of the ACT electoral system. He floats the idea of resdistribution of the 3 electorates, and electing 7 members from each electorate.

    He also suggests the following wording on all ballot papers:

    “Number seven boxes from 1 to 7 in the order of your choice”. It should go on: “You may then show as many further preferences as you wish by writing numbers from 8 onwards in other boxes. On the bottom of the ballot paper it should read: “Your vote will not count unless you number at least seven boxes.”

  7. 7×3 in a good idea.

    But if it is only the ALP in government then there won`t be anyone to replace a censured minister will there? (ALP 7 and Cabinet 7)

  8. LTEP: Why’s that an “oh dear”? The Greens have never been huge on having leaders at all anywhere in the country, and I suspect the only reason they bothered here this time was because of the likelihood that one of them might end up Deputy Chief Minister. It’s hardly surprising that, having had to choose one person against precedent, they’d then play down the role as much as they could.

  9. It’s just utterly pretentious, what is the difference between a ‘leader’ and a ‘parliamentary convener’? If the party knows what her position is what does it matter what her title is?

  10. Because she is not in fact a “leader” she is merely the one person who gives the “casting vote”. There’s no top-down pressure in The Greens, unlike Labor and Liberal.

  11. Hey LTEP

    difference is simple – a convener facilitates, a leader directs. The Greens – party and parliamentary – operate by consensus. Of course there are Parliamentary Leaders at Federal and State level (i.e. Tas) but this is the minority case.

  12. A leader doesn’t need to direct. A leader could ‘lead’ by supporting and promoting the consensus view and helping the party to reach a consensus.

  13. I suspect the Greens have also learnt that when a leader falls, so does the party. And the Greens are far more in to ideology than leaders. So if a ‘convenor’ stuffs up, no big deal, it’s about the party and not the leader, oops, convenor, and they can move on.

  14. [A leader doesn’t need to direct.]

    In Australia, a leader always directs. It’s usually Rudd and Turnbull, Stanhope and Seselja that come up and announce plans, policy ideas, etc.

    The Greens are a grassroots party who reject that view of “directing” party direction. Calling the position a ‘convenor’ is to demonstrate that distinction between The Greens and the old major parties.

  15. They may announce plans and policy ideas but it’s no necessarily just them directing that that be the case. It’d be the same with the ‘convener’. The whole thing is quibbling on a minor detail that no member of the public will care about.

    Here’s betting the media will just refer to Ms Hunter as ‘Greens leader’.

  16. @271

    She’s already said that much.

    Ms Hunter conceded she would have “a leadership role”, but said the Greens would act as a team and that she should be called the convenor, not the leader.

    “We’re the Greens and we do politics differently,” Ms Hunter said as she announced her new position.

    “We’re not the old parties, we don’t do things the old way.”

    When told by journalists that she would be called the leader, Ms Hunter replied: “I can’t control that, can I?”

  17. [Here’s betting the media will just refer to Ms Hunter as ‘Greens leader’.]

    They already said that they would, but there’s still a significant difference that I think you’re overlooking.

    #266 put it better than I did. Meredith Hunter won’t override her caucus and consult directly with bureaucrats and other party leaders unilaterally as is done by both Labor and the Liberals. The Greens structure is based on consensus decision making and the position of “convenor” reflects that more appropriately than “convener”

    The average public may not care, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attempt to state your position.

  18. Yes, well it’s that level of pretentiousness that infuriates me about the Greens. They seek to be taken seriously as an alternate government of the future without acknowledging that if they ever reach the level of being able to form government in a state with a susbtantial number of members it will require strong leadership as the party will contain too large a number of views to decide everything by consensus.

    Also, the idea that everything CAN be decided by consensus really is something that should be questioned. In matters where there is a large degree of disagreement between members of the party how can consensus be used to reach a decision? Are we suggesting that the Greens members could never have an issue that there would be a susbstantial amount of disagreement on?

    It’s all needless symbolism as far as I’m concerned.

  19. [Also, the idea that everything CAN be decided by consensus really is something that should be questioned. In matters where there is a large degree of disagreement between members of the party how can consensus be used to reach a decision? Are we suggesting that the Greens members could never have an issue that there would be a susbstantial amount of disagreement on?]

    It’s about building consensus, not hoping that it exists. The current system of decision making at party and parliamentary level has served the Greens well thus far and there’s no indication that it’s not working.

  20. A leader doesn’t need to override caucus and consult directly with bureaucrats and other party leaders. I don’t understand exactly why you would think they need to, nor do I understand why you think titling her ‘leader’ would result in her taking those actions?

    If she wanted to she could attempt to do those things with the title of ‘convener’ but it would get her nowhere. Similarly if her title was ‘leader’ she wouldn’t be able to do it. Her position as leader would be known to be based upon her promoting the ideas of the party speaking as one voice if you want to put it that way.

  21. [A leader doesn’t need to override caucus and consult directly with bureaucrats and other party leaders.]

    Except that’s what leaders in recent Australian politics, at state and federal level, do. Calling yourself “leader” would reinforce that idea.

  22. ltep @ 280

    Since when is the focus of the party on such inconsequential matters? The media made a deal of of it, not the Greens. They’re more interested in gaining policy outcomes and using the balance of power to do so.

  23. It is symbolism, but I don’t think it’s “needless” nor irrelevant. I also don’t know why you think their “focus” is on that. They needed to decide who their ‘leader’ was going to be, waited for their last member to get elected, decided who it was, organised a press conference, the end.

    During that period they continued to engage with Labor and Liberal and are doing so again tomorrow. It seems that that’s their “focus” but the leadership question was one that needed to be decided.

  24. Another thing I notice is some of the attitudes toward the Greens… read the comments at the bottom of

    And why do I feel the need to notice it? That ranting that Christine Milne had about going federally from a few MPs, to the balance of power, then to government, in the footsteps of early Labor.

    Those rantings at the bottom of that article are just like what people first said about Labor! People called them weird, kooky, out to destroy the economy, bizarre policies forced upon us etc, but look what happened to them. The first federal majority government, and coincidentally also the first Senate majority, at the 1910 election.

    But again, that said, it won’t happen. Different times, different situation, well entrenched parties etc etc.

  25. I think we’ll agree to disagree on this one. I presume you mean their ‘convenership’ was an issue that needed to be decided Oz.

  26. If the Greens make it to Government (which I don’t think they ever will in a majority partner sense) I imagine they will be substantially different. At the moment they appeal to only a small section of the community and appear to not be particularly interested in even attempting to broaden their base.

    I’d imagine issues such as ‘conveners’ would be quickly out the door should they reach government status as well.

  27. Yep, too narrow, focussed on sectional interests, incapcable of seeing big picture, the national interest, unready to govern – this was precisely what the Tories said about the nascent labor parties from 1891- 1920. You’ll still hear the echo of that in the “labour cant manage money” line.

  28. The Labor Party had the trade unions behind them. A significant support base. The Greens don’t have such a base. Unless the union movement swings behind them. Which seems unlikely, even though they have far more pro-union policies than Labor.

  29. Oz @ 290

    The Greens have a significant portion of the trade union base behind them since Labor’s move to economic neoliberalism, evermoreso in the 21st century (WorkCover in SA comes to mind), not to mention environmentalists, and disaffected ALP/Lib voters.

  30. Sure bob1234, but I mean in terms of public union endorsement, Sharon Burrows has applauded the Greens for their policies in IR but the more powerful unions still continue to fund and support the Labor Party.

  31. bob1234, well if the ‘new’ way is just a symbolic gesture I’m not surprised! I’m a fan of consensus, as far as it can go. Unfortunately once a party reaches a certain parilamentary membership it’s hard to reach. I still am not of the view that a party that reaches a consensus cannnot have a leader. In fact the Nunuvat Parliament runs by consensus and they manage to still have a Premier. Perhaps they should instead name him Prime Convenor.

    lefty e, the difference is Labor, although stacked with a lot of union officials is a far broader ‘church’ than the current membership of the Australian Greens. There’s really not a whole lot of diversity going on there for a left wing party.

  32. Oz @ 292

    The right-wing unions you mean.

    It will be interesting to see how the whole WorkChoices campaign heading our way from the unions AGAINST the ALP will play out. Who knows, by the end of the Rudd Labor government, union support might be spliced down the middle, half ALP half Greens.

  33. Well it depends on whether the unions can take some control over the Greens. If they can’t then I doubt they’ll see the point in switching allegiance. Why buy the cow when you get the milk free?

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