Thanks to Possum for alerting me to more strange behaviour from Newspoll, in this case the first set of state results since last September’s state election which they have snuck on to their polling archive without telling anyone. It shows the Coalition with a relatively mild honeymoon lead of 55-45 on two-party preferred, although the primary vote lead of 47 per cent to 33 per cent looks rather more impressive. The Greens are on 13 per cent, which is about what they polled at the state election. The Greens of course have been given something more exciting to dwell on with their win in Saturday’s Fremantle by-election, which puts the numbers in the Legislative Assembly at 27 Labor, 24 Liberal, four Nationals, three independents of varying political backgrounds and one Greens. This also gives the Greens the fifth seat needed for official party status, with the extra parliamentary resources this entails.
In other Western Australian news, the result of September election finally takes effect in the Legislative Council tomorrow, May 22 being the changeover date for its fixed term. This will produce an increase in the chamber’s numbers from 34 to 36, as the electoral reforms which introduced one-vote one-value for the lower house also remodelled the upper house from a combination of seven- and five- member regions to six regions of six members, half-Senate style. The rural malapportionment which gave the metropolitan and non-metropolitan regions equal numbers despite a 78-22 population imbalance remains, with the more remote Agricultural and Mining and Pastoral regions being still more over-represented than the South West region. Most importantly, the Liberal and National parties will have a combined majority of 21 seats out of 36, with Labor on 11 and the Greens on four. Previously the numbers were Labor 15, Liberal 15, Nationals one, Greens two and one independent, the latter being former Labor MP Shelley Archer who was expelled from the party as it sought to distance itself from links with Brian Burke in the lead-up to the federal election. A useful report on the changeover was featured on Stateline last month.
UPDATE: Final score from the Fremantle by-election: Carles 10,664, Tagliaferri 9,100. Margin: 3.96 per cent. I expected Labor would rein it in a little on late counting, but no.