Photo finishes: Brisbane

Friday, August 27

Rechecking of ordinary votes has cost Labor 87, and for the first time a batch of absent votes has favoured the LNP, albeit slightly – 622-613. LNP lead now 839, which should quite comfortably be enough.

Thursday, August 26

7pm. Another 1145 absent votes have gone 599-546 to Labor: very slightly good for them in absolute terms, reducing the margin to 743, but Labor’s 52.3 per cent share compares with 56.5 per cent in the first batch. A better portent for Labor with Antony Green apparent confirmation that today’s LNP-friendly batch of postal votes came from the Enoggera army barracks.

4.30pm. The LNP have moved another 112 ahead with the first 596 pre-polls breaking 354-242 their way: margin now out to 796.

3pm. Lucky I advised that caution yesterday, because a second batch of postals has been wildly unlike the first, favouring the LNP 1686-1384. This has widened the lead from 382 to 684 and slashed the overall ALP share of postals from 56.4 per cent to 47.8 per cent. My projection now has the LNP prevailing by 403, and I suspect that might flatter Labor with respect to the absent votes which are probably unlikely to continue splitting 56.3-43.5 to Labor. Pre-polls remain a wild card, but the LNP are back in the box seat.

Wednesday, August 25

11pm. Hmm. The first batch of 961 postal votes has heavily favoured Labor by 542 to 419, cutting the margin to 382. This is a swing in Labor’s favour of 0.8 per cent against the postal vote total in 2007, compared with a 4.9 per cent swing the other way on ordinary votes. Two questions arise: will this prove typical, and how many postal votes will there be? The scrutiny progress sheet says 602, which is obviously wrong because 961 have just been added to the count and a more typical amount is 5000 (UPDATE: And I now note that informed sources in comments are saying to expect exactly that). If you project Labor’s share of the first batch over the latter figure – which still seems intuitively optimistic from Labor’s point of view – they end up in front. If the 5000 outstanding absent votes also follow the trend of those already counted – ditto – Labor ends up winning quite handily, by about 500 votes. Caution advised at this stage.

5pm. Absent votes continue to flow heavily to Labor, raising their hopes of a late boilover. 1182 were added today, breaking 671-511 in favour of Arch Bevis and reducing his deficit from 657 to 490. My projection is for an LNP win by just 195 votes, but this is based on the AEC’s figure of 602 postal vote envelopes issued which is surely much too low. If you assume about the same many postal votes as last time (about 5500), the LNP winning margin blows out to about 400.

Tuesday, August 24

The first 978 absent votes have split 549-429 in favour of Labor. Comparing relativities of ordinary and absent votes from 2007 and 2010, this is a reversal of nearly 10 per cent. What this probably tells us is that these absent votes are from booths in Labor-leaning areas slightly outside the electorate’s boundaries, and the remaining 5000 or so absent voters are unlikely to be as favourable for them.

Saturday, August 21

This post will be progressively updated to follow late counting in Brisbane, where Liberal candidate Teresa Gambaro finishes the night with a lead of 858 votes (0.68 per cent). This narrows to 0.2 per cent on Antony Green’s projection.

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.

184 comments on “Photo finishes: Brisbane”

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  1. “Are you inferring the ABC is anti-Coalition?”

    Completely tongue in cheek of course. They must have been watching this discussion because they updated a few minutes later.

  2. I’m sure the ABC has nothing better to do than watch latte-sipping lefties posting on poll bludger.

    Anyway, I think it’s clear that Bevis is too far behind to catch Gambaro now. Antony Green has now awarded this as an LNP gain.

    Now it’s up to the three amigos to decide who forms government.

  3. As Julia would say. “Scoreboard, scoreboard” .
    Can anyone verify whether Mark Arbib, Carl Bitar and Bill Shorten have at least apologised for blowing the ALP up months before an election.
    The True Believers are looking for answers as they sip their chardonnays and chastise QLD and NSW. Apparently their votes don’t count.

  4. Mmm. I think we need to see the pre-poll absentees first, but Gambaro certainly should be favoured.

    THe local Pre-polls seem to have diverged widely. BRISBANE PPVC returned a major vote for Bevis (a swing to him of nearly 10%) . The smaller number of Divisional Office Pre-polls, however, went equally solidly to Gambero.

    If the current Absentee vote ratio holds, and the Absentee Pre-polls are similar, this is still a very close ball game.

  5. The other notable thing about this seat is that the counting seems to be glacially slow and yet despite this we have already seen a couple of significant “corrections”. Coupled with the sometimes bizarre scrutiny counts that have been provided it makes you wonder about the reliability of the result in toto if it gets closer again.

  6. When I say “Glacially slow”, between 4 PM yesterday and the latest reported count today we have moved from to 78.5% counted to 81.26%. Around 2500 votes in 24 hours. That still leaves one heck of a lot of outstanding votes.

    Anyone have any inside info on just what is going on with this particular count?

  7. The rechecking of votes from election day has remedied what had seemed to me to be a very anomalous result at the Clayfield booth. The original tally for the Greens of 2.9% has been adjusted to 13.74% (which I’m pleased about, as I grew up in Clayfield and I was wondering what I could possibly have to offend so many people there when all the surrounding booths were over 10% (apart from Ascot, which was almost 9%)

    I’m not if fixing this counting error is what cost Bevis another 87 votes in the TPP count – if that ends up being the losing margin, I’d be happy to hand them back (though whilst I agree it can’t be definitively called yet, the fat lady is certainly warming up, and I suspect he’ll fall much further than 87 votes short.)

  8. Rod, I’ve watched plenty of close vote counts as closely as probably most of the commenters here have. This is the first one where I’ve had a bit more of an ‘insider’ perspective, but basically we are all just spectators, including the scrutineers.

    It is slow, but it has to be – every vote outside of the ‘ordinary’ ones on polling day or in electorate pre-polls has to be checked for validity of the voter first, which is a very slow process (esp when it’s a seat in doubt).

    It might make people worried that a bundle of votes on election night were placed in the wrong pile, but that is why rechecks are done afterwards. On election night, the imperative is speed – now, more than ever, given the demands of online reporting and the TV networks – so it is not surprising some mistakes are occasionally made.

    IF it ends up being very very close, the votes will be rechecked again (and maybe again again). It might seem archaic in our computerised age, but I sense that most people are far more comfortable with a pile of papers where everyone can see the pencil marks on them, compared to a bunch of numbers that just appear when someone presses a button.

    I’m sure it’s not as smooth as the AEC would like in an ideal world, but these sorts of glitches happen al the time – people only notice when it’s a seat in doubt. (and I would point out that I drew attention on my own blog a few days ago to my suspicion that the figures for the Clayfield booth just didn’t seem right.)

    I think the AEC is close to as good as it gets when it comes to running an election, compared to just about every other nation on Earth, so I’m not going to complain.

    And besides, it provides some great drama for political tragics like us to agonise over.

  9. Andrew -were you recommending a preference order? The leakage, I guess, is about 10% – which is slightly less than I would expect

  10. If those “Early vote pre-polls” are representative, then I agree, Oakeshott. And with around a third of them counted, then I suspect they are. They will completely overwhelm Bevis’s big win on the regular absentees.

  11. [I think the AEC is close to as good as it gets when it comes to running an election, compared to just about every other nation on Earth, so I’m not going to complain.]

    Many thanks for the comprehensive response, Andrew, and yes it is very hard to find any election authority in the world that does its job as well as the AEC. I’ve long thought that the USA would look far more like a real democracy if they got the AEC to run their own elections 😉 !.

  12. I received this response to my email ex[ressing concern at teh “Quailiy” opf ten AEC declaration satistics where the number of votes counted exceeded the number recived and issued.

    Mr van der Craats
    The figures displayed in the Virtual Tally Room are drawn from data individually entered by staff in our divisional offices around the country. Staff are currently very focused on the counting process, in order to finalise the results of this election, and not all have data entered other figures, such as envelopes issued and received, used for balancing purposes.
    As necessary data entry is progressively undertaken over the coming days, figures in the VTR will reflect fully the numbers of declaration votes on hand.
    Roger Wills | Assistant Director
    Voter Services Delivery
    Elections Branch
    Australian Electoral Commission</i<]

    In reply

    Wayne Seymour, Thanks for your reply.

    Much more needs to be done by the AEC to fix this glaring omission and errors in its reporting. This issue was also addressed and raise in my previous submission to the JSCEM (Joint Select Committee on Electoral Matters). Nothing was done to fix it.
    This makes the declaration statements virtually useless and unreliable.
    Surely the AEC knows who many ballot papers have been issued and hopefully returned as a result of the polling place/divisional returns on election day. Without this information how do you know what is outstanding and still to be accounted for.

    The collection of this data iuf not difficult and should be via an on line reporting system and should also provide a means of check balancing back to the returns. It should also be possible to get a breakdown as to from where and who issued the ballot papers

  13. Virtually impossible to know how many votes are outstanding. Scrutineers are well advised to request a reconciliation report that detail in full the number of votes used and received back to ensure that no votes go missing or are added into the count unexpectedly. Open and transparency is the key. I recall that in Victoria 500 odd votes disappeared between count A and Count B and that copies of the relevant data files where deleted (Overwritten) in relation to eastern Metro. The outcome of the election changed as a result with a margin of less then 15o votes

    Given the descrepany in the number of declaration votes reported as being issued. Received and counted a closer scrutiny fo the ballot may be justified.

  14. It’s goodnight Bevis! If there are any hopefuls who are still hanging out for an ALP comeback, this can only be described as religious faith. If you really think the ALP are a chance here, then the Liberals are still a chance of winning marginally-held ALP seats.

  15. Meh, who cares anymore. (poor old Arch!)

    Its level at 72 + 1 guaranteed extra MP each, and the ALP is ahead on the national vote.

    Good position to be in going into negs….

  16. True one seat is not going to break the nexus.

    Gillard is in an overall better position and secretly I think the Liberals would find it a good outcome no matter which way the Three Amigos lean. if the lose out now,in 14 months time, they will be in a better position town government, if they are elected they in the risk of being the target and cause for instability. I guess Tony could just remain in office and do nothing. Dead buried and cremated.Better to be at the helm of a steam cruiser then in the row boat towed behind.

  17. Looks like there was a big stuff up on the original count, as Gambaro is now out to a 1500 vote lead on the original count, whereas before it was 800-odd.

  18. This one is well and truly gone now – the margin is so big it’s hard to believe it was ever so close. Only uncertainty now (apart from the minor detail of who ends up forming government) is in the results of 2 or 3 of the Senate counts (which I’ll go talk about on the Senate thread).

    Oakeshott @162 – the example on the Greens how to vote cards in Brisbane favoured Labor. It was also a vote straight down the ticket, which may have helped strengthen the preference flow a bit more. I don’t think we’ll know precisely how strongly Greens voters preferenced Labor until the AEC shows the full two candidate preferred preference count, but my guess is that it is around about 85%.

  19. [Looks like there was a big stuff up on the original count]

    The AEC record keeping was not the best. More votes returned and counted then issued. But yes the lead is insurmountable unless they did a Tully and have double counted or recorded the wrong data. Hopefully the data has not been deleted in a cover up. Bartlett should ask fro a reconciliation report to ensure all votes have been accounted for.

  20. I’m really looking forward to the Victorian election where I can read 58193 posts from D@W about how useless and incompetent the VEC is.

  21. I find it a VERY pleasing prospect. It brings Tony Abbott one step closer to becoming Prime Minister and Australia one step closer to the removal of one of the most incompetent federal governments in recent memory.

    Good job Gambaro on taking the seat from Bevis!

  22. Adam. Here a thought. If a fresh half senate election is helfd David Feeny will lose his seat. (Assuming he will remain in the third place) not on merit but due to the flaw in the way the AEC counts the vote. in 2007 The Greens should have won the sixth Senate spot, but again denied the right of representation due to the way the AEC counts the vote. Its not proportional only semi proportional. NOPW what did you or Feeney do to fix the flaw? ZIP.

    On a good note the AEC has finally published the stats on the number of votes issued and returned to date. (Better late then never – not)


    Declaration Vote Scrutiny Progress Absent Provisional Early Vote (Pre-Poll) Postal Total
    Envelopes Issued 5,551 1,205 4,167 8,783 19,706
    Envelopes Received 5,557 1,205 3,888 7,436 18,086
    Rejected at Preliminary Scrutiny 600 0 137 283 0
    Ballot Papers Counted 4,792 0 3,411 6,833

    Two Candidate Preferred Result by Vote Type Candidate Party Ordinary Absent Provisional Early Vote (Pre-Poll) Postal Total
    Votes % Votes % Votes % Votes % Votes % Votes %
    HENDERSON, Sarah Liberal 38,500 49.23 1,985 43.06 0 0.00 1,791 53.78 3,767 56.39 46,043 49.60
    CHEESEMAN, DarrenPrevious Member Australian Labor Party 39,708 50.77 2,625 56.94 0 0.00 1,539 46.22 2,913 43.61 46,785 50.4

  24. Intersting artcile on QLD minor party politics. 2004 Interview The World.

    Andrew Bartlett was baring his soul at a press conference in Canberra, revealing his struggle with alcohol and depression.

    Senator Bartlett stood aside from the leadership at the end of last year after he became drunk, took some bottles of wine from a Liberal Party Christmas function, then abused and jostled a female Liberal Senator.

    He now says he wants to get the Democrats back on track, reasserting their balance of power role in the Senate and defending their positions in the coming election.

  25. Maybe you could tell us who you are , DemocracyATwork? You obviously have an absolute fetish about Andrew Bartlett. Pretty dirty stuff you are dishing out. Not very brave either, when hidden behind an anonymous posting name, is it?

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