Higgins and Bradfield by-elections live

O’Dwyer (LIB) 34764 54.4% 0.2% 59.6%
Hamilton (GRN) 20778 32.5% 22.2% 40.4%
Australian Sex Party 2084 3.3%
Liberal Democrats 311 0.5%
Australian Democrats 1455 2.3% 1.1%
One Nation 199 0.3%
Democratic Labor Party 2452 3.8%
Independents 1828 2.9%
TOTAL 63871
COUNTED: 72.5%
BOOTHS (OF 38): 38
Fletcher (LIB) 39159 56.3% -3.2% 63.8%
Gemmell (GRN) 17608 25.3% 14.4% 36.2%
Democratic Labor Party 1477 2.1%
Australian Sex Party 2222 3.2%
One Nation 450 0.6%
Liberal Democrats 561 0.8%
CCC 702 1.0%
ENE 719 1.0%
Independents/CDP 6646 9.6%
TOTAL 69544
COUNTED: 73.1%
BOOTHS (OF 40): 40

Tuesday. 3726 postals from Bradfield, massively favouring the Liberals (75.4-24.6 on 2PP).

Sunday (9pm). Turnout on ordinary votes was 88.8% of the 2007 election in Higgins and 95.9% in Bradfield, compared with 89.3% at the Mayo by-election, 93.2% in Lyne and 89.4% in Gippsland. So it was actually quite high in Bradfield and only slightly below par in Higgins. Part of the reason in Higgins might be that it’s not a growth area. We could equally get a high number of pre-polls and postals bringing the number closer to average. I suspect we’ve seen half the pre-polls counted so far (the rest should come in quite quickly) and a third of the postals (which should dribble in over the next week).

Sunday (7.30pm). 2938 postals from Higgins added. Error in my Bradfield table corrected.

Sunday (4.30pm). 5841 pre-polls from Higgins and 3765 from Bradfield added. These have been particularly strong for Kelly O’Dwyer, increasing her two-party margin from 8.3 per cent to 9.1 per cent. Special hospital team (about 500 votes) also added from Bradfield; not yet available from Higgins.

Sunday (early). The AEC has seen fit to publish booth results, so too late to be any use, I hereby reinstate the table. Also, here’s a revised version of my regional Higgins breakdown. I’ve abolished the distinction between the “pink-green” area of Prahran-Windsor and “red” Carnegie – notwithstanding that there’s some distance between the two, the figures were near identical. The other distinction is between “deep blue” Toorak-Kooyong and the “light blue” bulk of the electorate.

Light Blue 52.76% -1.2% 24.4% 58.5% 1.1%
Deep Blue 61.13% -2.9% 19.8% 65.3% -0.7%
Marginal 41.03% 2.1% 27.9% 48.6% 6.8%

And here’s the Bradfield breakdown, the “marginal” area being what I described previously as “pockets on the edges of the electorate in the north-west at Asquith and Hornsby and in the south at Chatswood and Willoughby”.

Deep Blue 58.0% -5.6% 25.2% 66.0% -1.7%
Marginal 48.4% 0.2% 28.9% 57.1% 4.1%

The general impression is that while the Greens absorbed most of the missing Labor vote across the board, some of it leaked either to the Liberals or to other minor parties (the DLP in particular polled 6.6 per cent in the marginal areas of Higgins, and scored double the vote in the marginal areas of Bradfield compared with the rest of the electorate) and thence to the Liberals as preferences. This counterbalanced a fall in the Liberal primary vote in the deep blue areas of both electorates, which proved nowhere near the magnitude required to put them in danger. It’s interesting to note that this fall was lower in Higgins than in Bradfield, which it’s tempting to put down to resistance to Clive Hamilton among those at the highest end of the income scale.

9.20pm. I’ve performed a similar exercise in Bradfield. There are marginal pockets on the edges of the electorate in the north-west at Asquith and Hornsby and in the south at Chatswood and Willoughby. These areas swung to the Liberals 4.7 per cent in two-party terms. However, the wealthy Liberal heart of the electorate, from Killara north through St Ives, swung 5.1 per cent to the Greens.

8.40pm. Psephos in comments notes the trend detectable from Higgins in the table below (which I’m continuing to update as the last few booths come in) is reflected in Bradfield: “Hornsby Central, Labor’s best booth in the seat: Liberal primary vote up 5.9%.”

8.20pm. I’ll keep that coming in tabular form. “Light blue” zone is the bulk of the electorate; “deep blue” the riverfront from South Yarra through Toorak to Kooyong; “pink-green” Prahran/Windsor; “red” the Carnegie area.

Light blue zone 0.9% 20 out of 21
Deep blue zone -0.8% 6 out of 6
Pink-green zone 6.3% 6 out of 6
Red zone 7.1% 3 out of 3

8.02pm. While I’ve been quiet, I’ve been calculating the Higgins booth results provided by Antony into four zones. While this has been happening the Liberal-Greens margin has blown out to 9 per cent. All four zones have swung to the Liberals: the normally Labor-voting area in the south-east around Carnegie by 9.3 per cent; posh Toorak/Kooyong has swung 1.7 per cent; pink-green Prahran/Windsor 4.3 per cent; and the middle-Liberal balance, from Armadale to Glen Iris and Camberwell to Malvern, by 1.1 per cent. That’s assuming my calculations are correct, which I can’t state with total confidence.

7.38pm. Twelve booths now in from Higgins, swing steady at 5.4 per cent, Kelly home and hosed. Props though to the 400 or so voters of Toorak West for the short-lived entertainment they provided.

7.32pm. Another booth pushes Liberal two-party lead in Higgins to 5.4 per cent. Antony has abandoned commentary, but if he hadn’t I’m guessing he would be calling it now.

7.30pm. No alarms for the Liberals in Bradfield: projected margin 12 per cent.

7.28pm. Antony nonetheless says Higgins “can’t be called yet”.

7.27pm. Antony Green has eight booths in from Higgins and 9.2 per cent counted – O’Dwyer with an almost certainly sufficient 4.8 per cent two-party lead.

7.22pm. Possum, who took about 10 seconds to call the US election for Obama, says on Twitter: “Shorter Higgins – Greens went well with wealthy Lib voters but not so good with middle income Libs. Failed with ALP voters. game over”.

7.19pm. I’ve abandoned the table – it is not possible to keep up with the furious number crunching I needed to do to keep track as each new booth reported. Head to the ABC for elucidation on what’s happening.

7.15pm. That Toorak West result looking quirkier after Gardiner booth reports, but it’s still close. Having trouble keeping up due to AEC failure to report individual booths, so double check anything you see above.

7.13pm. Better result for Liberals in Higgins from Kooyong Park.

7.05pm. Both the booths have 2PP votes in, so my 2PP figures are now less speculative.

7.02pm. First Higgins booth is super wealthy, super Liberal Toorak West, and it shows a very interesting plunge in the Liberal vote.

6.49pm. Unless I’m mistaken – please let it be so – the AEC are not providing individual polling booth figures, which means I might as well pack up and go home.

6.46pm. Lady Davidson Hospital booth in from Bradfield – only 293 votes, but no evidence of a remarkable result.

6.36pm. Still nothing. These are urban electorates so there are no small booths that report quickly; the large number of candidates, particularly in Bradfield, might also be slowing things down.

6.20pm. Until I get notional 2PP counts, my 2PP will be based on the following preference estimates:

HIGGINS: ASP 80-20 to Greens; LDP 80-20 to Liberal; Dems 70-30 to Greens; ONP and DLP 80-20 to Liberal; all others 55-45 to Liberal.

BRADFIELD: DLP 80-20 to Liberal; ASP 80-20 to Greens; ONP and LDP 80-20 to Liberal; CCC and ENE 50-50; all others 75-25 to Liberal.

# and % primary vote figures are raw; primary vote swing and 2PP figures are based on booth matching.

6pm. Welcome to the Poll Bludger’s live coverage of the Higgins and Bradfield by-elections. First figures should be in in about 20 minutes.

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.

1,328 comments on “Higgins and Bradfield by-elections live”

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  1. The MSM might be trying to soften Abbott’s image with the female voter but two of the sisterhood aren’t going to give him an easy ride. Good thing too!

    Stephanie Peatling had this comment at the end of her piece and the second one is by Virginia Haussegger who presents ABC TV News in Canberra.

    [Nevertheless his minders would probably prefer if he didn’t repeat his comments to Sarah Murdoch after she launched Battlelines.

    The pair knew each other through their mutual support of the Manly Sea Eagles.

    Abbott said he asked Murdoch because at least one person on the platform should be attractive and because his daughters were more interested in seeing her than him.

    What happened next was a classic Abbott moment. He praised Murdoch for her many achievements, particularly her charity work. Then he thanked Lachlan Murdoch for “allowing” Sarah to launch the book.]

    [This is not a “red-fanged rage” against Tony Abbott, by “aggressively secular, paelo-feminists” as columnist Miranda Devine shouted. In fact, no one is shouting but her. This is simply a broad rejection by Australian women of old-fashioned patronising and a daddy-takes-charge style of politics. Daddy is no longer in charge. Nor is mummy, for that matter.

    What we have in political leadership circles now is an emergent understanding that a diverse range of women have taken a place at the top table. And they’re not all “working mothers”. They can be single, childless, lesbian, Asian and atheist. The world has moved on since the conservative chorus — with Abbott’s mindset — was in charge. Women know that. Pity the federal Liberal caucus hasn’t worked it out.]

  2. Psephos – 1293

    [ are you the Peter Young who was the Labor candidate for Lowe in 1969? (I guess you’d be getting on a bit now.) ]

    Good no-god, that question is out of left field.

    Was he the guy who stood on the platform ” Billy I want your seat !”

    Unfortunately, the short answer to the question posed by you is NO.

  3. [Barnaby is a beer-garden polly…..loud, exaggerated, the grog doing all the thinking…]
    I daresay- not that I have always avoided that convivial scenario out of hand…

    I think the difference between Barnaby and other beer-garden bombasts like myself is that Barnaby forgets to identify and marshall a few ideas BEFORE he gets on the grog.

    I’ve always thought that if you are a speaker on an issue and you reduce it to 3 key points then you can take it anywhere – even to the bottom of a bottle of Ron Zacapa XO without losing your cogency. (‘Ron ‘- That’s Caribbean for rum, not our erstwhile r/Ron.)
    Barnaby clearly can’t do that. He needs coaching in having, and holding, ideas. And also in expounding on ideas after a long lunch. Otherwise, he’s perfect for the front bench. 😉

  4. I thought this was a good comment on Virginia’s piece also!

    [Virginia – good article. I heard exactly the same from my wife when Abbott was elected. The squeeze and comment for Julie Bishop made my wife, who is not madly feminist, yell at the telly.

    She also made the comparison between Julie Gillard and Penny Wong and how well they handled their press conference.

    Only part of your article I disagree with his your description of Kevin Rudd. I agree with Professor Chris O’Brien who said before passing away that Rudd is intelligent, articulate and compassionate and he was proud to have Rudd as his PM.

    I think that goes for a lot of us.]

  5. The Lib experience since Turnbull took over is a bit analogous to a start-up coffee shop. The first owner is meticulous in staff selection, training, customer service, and builds up the customer base over 12 months, eventually getting the figures up to, say, ’44 points’. Then the cafe is sold at its peak returns to a big-mouthed abrasive chap from out of town. How’s it going to go?

  6. Is this the first election where everyone loses?

    1. At an election where the Liberals are wondering if their new leader is any good, the Liberal booths swung away from them, an ominous sign for the next election.

    2. Labor turned out to be a bunch chicken-sh*t wimps and ran away from the good fight. I think they could’ve won.

    3. The Greens couldn’t crack it, despite favourable conditions and a high profile candidate, and ran an extremely lacklustre 20th century campaign.

    4. The Sex Party didn’t make 4%

    5. All the other minors were just that … minors.

    No wonder everyone is grumpy here today. After all that build it was most unsatisfying!!!

  7. I dont understand this comment:

    “This counterbalanced a fall in the Liberal primary vote in the deep blue areas of both electorates, which proved nowhere near the magnitude required to put them in danger. It’s interesting to note that this fall was greater in Higgins than in Bradfield, which it’s tempting to put down to resistance to Clive Hamilton among those at the highest end of the income scale.”

    On the one hand you’re saying that the fall in the deep blue Liberal vote was more in Higgins, and then you say ‘its tempting to put down to resistance to Clive Hamilton’. But if the fall was greater in the Liberal vote, then it means that Clive Hamilton was more acceptable to these voters.

  8. Now even Tim Flannery admits that the warming of the previous 25 years has halted and “there hasn’t been a continuation of that warming trend … (climate scientists) work with models, computer modelling, when the computer modelling and the real world data disagrees you have a problem …” Why will not Kevin Rudd admit the same thing?

    Now Abbott tells Macquarie radio, “Notwithstanding the dramatic increases in man-made CO2 emissions over the last decade, the world’s warming has stopped.”

    Wong’s response – “He is out there publicly talking about the world cooling when we have so many world leaders … going to Copenhagen because they are concerned about climate change.” In other words, she will not actually challenge what Abbott said! Surely if he was wrong she would have said so emphatically.

    Can’t wait for Rudd to comment as well.

    Also, how are Rudd and Wong going to distance themselves from the fraud-ridden IPCC when they play an integral part of the Copenhagen limo/lear jet festival?

  9. Ok, but your comment says “this fall was greater in Higgins than in Bradfield” so the liberal vote dropped more in Higgins, which means more of these deep blue voters went to Clive Hamilton than in Bradfield.

  10. [Labor turned out to be a bunch chicken-sh*t wimps and ran away from the good fight. I think they could’ve won.]

    Ho hum. It is now the established view in both parties that you do not contest Opposition held seats at by-elections when you are in government. The likelihood of a news-positive outcome (“Labor wins Bradfield!”) is very small, the likelihood of a news-negative outcome (“Setback for Rudd!”) is very high. That’s why the Libs didn’t contest Blaxland, Fraser, Holt, Isaacs, Cunningham or Werriwa when they were in office. Labor did contest Gippsland, and duly got a news-negative outcome when they failed to win a seat they’ve never won in 108 years since Federation. By-elections nearly always swing against governments, even popular ones. The notion that Labor should have wasted money and political capital contesting two blue-riband Liberal seats, seats which Labor has come close to winning, is absurd. There might have been a case for contesting Higgins had Labor known in advance of the Liberal meltdown, but of course they didn’t know that at the time the decision was made. Even with the Liberal meltdown Labor would not have won Higgins.

  11. Labor was never going to contest these seats in the circumstances as they were at the time of Abbott and Nelson’s resignations, for the reasons Adam states. If they had somehow had the psychic foresight to know that the Liberals were going to engage in the most spectacular implosion in recent memory in the meantime, they might have taken the risk. Without that, though, it would have been a stupid decision.

  12. So why did the Bradfield informal vote go up 5% when the 1992 Wills by-election saw no change in the informal vote despite fielding 22 candidates too?

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