Final 2PP: 50.12-49.88 to Labor

The Australian Electoral Commission has finalised the last of its two-party preferred Labor-versus Coalition counts, and it confirms Labor has won a narrow victory on the national total of 6,216,439 (50.12 per cent) to 6,185,949 (49.88 per cent), a margin of 30,490. If distinctions to the second decimal place are what matters to you, Labor did about 0.05 per cent worse than last time due to the arbitrary fact of the Nationals finishing ahead of Wilson Tuckey in O’Connor, meaning the AEC finalised a two-party result on a Nationals-versus-Labor basis where the 2007 Liberal-versus-Labor result was more favourable to them. So while I think it reasonable to cite the published figure as the definitive national result, a slight discount should be factored in when considering the matter of the swing, which should properly be rounded to 2.5 per cent rather than 2.6 per cent.

Whatever the specifics, the result leaves quite a few people looking foolish:

Barnaby Joyce: “We’d won the two-party preferred vote by the time the independents made their decision.” (Lateline, 7/9).

Andrew Bolt: “Labor won fewer votes, fewer seats of its own and less of the two-party preferred vote.” (Herald Sun, 8/9).

Alan Jones: “Is it a healthy democracy when a party wins the majority of the two party preferred, wins the majority of the primary vote and wins more seats in the Parliament than the other party but the other party forms government?” (2GB, 8/9).

Sarah Martin: “Yesterday, Julia Gillard’s Labor Party won government despite losing the primary vote and the two-party-preferred vote, or securing a majority of seats.” (The Advertiser, 7/9).

Kerry Chikarovski: “The Coalition won the primary vote, they won the two-party preferred …” (The Drum, 7/9).

Lateline: “Labor loses two-party preferred vote” (report headline, 30/8).

Kenneth Wiltshire: “It is probable that the Coalition will win more third-party preferences.” (NB: This of course is absurd – Labor got 65 per cent of third party preferences, much as they always do – but I think we know what he’s trying to say.) (The Australian 6/9).

Lisa Wilkinson (to Wayne Swan): “Now, you won fewer primary votes, fewer two-party preferred votes and fewer seats.”
(Swan explains to her that she’s wrong.)
Wilkinson: “But in the end you got 49.9 per cent of the vote and the Opposition got 50.1.”
Swan: “No, I don’t think that’s … Lisa, that is not a final count.”
Wilkinson: “Well, that’s what the AEC is saying and that’s what Australia said at the polls.” (The Today Show, Nine Network, 9/9).

No doubt there were others.

Our troubles here began on August 30, when the AEC removed three electorates from the national total on the basis that the Labor-versus-Liberal counts there had been discontinued after election night, as it became apparent the Greens (in the case of Batman and Grayndler) or Andrew Wilkie (in the case of Denison) rather than the Liberals would face Labor at the final count. As three of the weakest seats in the land for the Liberals, these were by extension among the strongest seats for Labor in two-party terms. The resulting adjustment in Labor’s two-party vote from 50.4 per cent 50.0 per cent led to a great many uncomprehending reports of a “surge” to the Coalition, which had an added edge due to Julia Gillard’s post-election claim that Labor had, apparently, won the two-party vote. Those who wanted a clear and accurate exposition of the news had to ignore, say, The Australian, and look to an evidently more reliable source of information in Bob Brown, who explained the absence of eight electorates from the published result and correctly concluded: “If you look at the whole of Australia and you treat every seat equally, when you do that Labor’s ahead and is likely to keep that lead right the way through to the finishing pole.”

Antony Green defends journalists on the basis that they were within their rights to take an official AEC figure at face value, but I’m not so kind. Even if awareness of the missing electorates was too much to ask, those quoted above should at least have been aware that the count was incomplete. As it stands, we have a result that leaves those of us who had done the sums with exactly what we were expecting, and a lot of dopey pundits and dishonest politicians with egg on their faces.

UPDATE: Morgan has published results from a phone poll of 541 respondents conducted on Wednesday and Thursday evening which has Labor leading 52-48 on two-party preferred from primary votes of 35.5 per cent for Labor, 42.5 per cent for the Coalition and 15 per cent for the Greens. The margin of error on the poll is about 4.2 per cent.

UPDATE 2: As Peter Brent points out, the 52-48 result comes from the less reliable two-party measure based on respondent-allocated preferences – going on previous elections, which the most recent election has again vindicated as the superior method, Labor’s lead is only 50.5-49.5.

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.

2,186 comments on “Final 2PP: 50.12-49.88 to Labor”

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  1. Dr Good@40

    The AEC knows who they are and will be going to collect their
    gold coin donation to the AEC shortly.

    I know we have a secret vote, but shouldn’t it be on the public record if you didn’t vote?

  2. [Commonwealth Bank of Australia senior economist John Peters says that despite the “hysteria and urban mythology” that Australia is in some sort of “fiscal train wreck” and is labouring under a mountain of public debt, “nothing could be further from the truth”.

    “Australia is second to none in terms of fiscal health,” he says.]

  3. The reality is that the liberal party on their own won 44 seats and 29 senators. They are propped up by people in the nats who actually despise most of the people in the liberal party.

    The ALP have 72 seats in their own right plus 31 senators in their own right – the liberals lost 3 senators, the ALP 1, the Greens picked up an extra 4 so the senate is now

    ALP 31, Lieberal 28, Greens 9, Nats/Country lib -6, 2 indies.

    Interesting times.

  4. So, all that is pending now is the Governors’ signatures for respective state Senate results and the Governor-General’s for the HoR’s and the Territories’ Senate seats and it’ll finally be finished.

    Good to have some final concrete numbers. It’ll give me something to play with! 🙂

  5. [ Ron
    Posted Friday, September 17, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    those gutter snip Athiests here on PB who use pedafiles as a patthetic means to attack religion as a whole , hypocritacally pretend there is no athiest pedafiles
    It is difficult to take people who believe in sky fairies seriously; it really is best to keep it to yourself.

  6. shepherdmarilyn
    [ALP 31, Lieberal 28, Greens 9, Nats/Country lib -6, 2 indies.]
    Your miss-spelt one of the parties:
    ALP 31, Lieberal 28, Greens 9, Nuts-Country -6, 2 indies.

  7. [I know we have a secret vote, but shouldn’t it be on the public record if you didn’t vote?]

    So we can’t have a secret non-vote.?

  8. [Your miss-spelt one of the parties:
    ALP 31, Lieberal 28, Greens 9, Nuts-Country -6, 2 indies.]

    Nope, still missing a “c” and the letters are all the wrong way….

  9. [those gutter snip Athiests here on PB who use pedafiles as a patthetic means to attack religion as a whole , hypocritacally pretend there is no athiest pedafiles]
    As an atheist, my concern is more that some believe their religeous rank gives them the right to protect paedophiles from criminal prosecution, and to permit them to continue offending, which must surely be close to a crime in itself. My concern is with institutionalsed religeon and the abuse of its powers, not any particular quacky belief.

    Also, people are free to believe whatever they wish, but I’d prefer if they did not seek to have their beliefs enshrined in the laws of my country, or promoted in its schools.

  10. What we need is an official ‘concession’ speech from Mr Rabbott, which admits the loss of the 2PP.

    I know, ‘pi*ing in the wind’.

    BUT, perhaps we should launch a ‘letter writing campaign’ demanding all those above to print/give retractions over the 2PP since most stated ‘ALP lost the 2PP’ not ‘appear to have lost’ or it ‘looks like ALP lost’ — each stated it as if it were a fact … and some made a big fuss of Julia saying ALP will win the 2PP … eggs should be cracked over all those faces!

  11. Laura Tingle has a go at some NBN furphies (well, hypocritical, two-faced double standards actually) today. After quoting Tony Windsor on the $43bn or maybe $27bn government cost with the $40bn tax cuts in the last 3 years…
    […Its funny how no one ever asks for a cost benefit analysis to be done on personal tax cuts.

    For that matter, until Labor came to office in 2007, governments rarely asked for cost-benefit analysis on infrastructure projects.

    For example, there was never any analysis to justify the projects in the Howard government’s $12 bn Auslink program, nor with its $10 bn Murray Darling plan.

    Then there was the Darwin to Alice Springs railway. On the eve of elections in SA and NT, John Howard led a push to put $559m of government money into a $1.2bn project which no one thought had a chance of making a buck…

    The opposition, and the broader conservative establishment {is this code for NewsCorp?? :-)} has got quite excited about the need for a cost-benefit anaylsis on the NBN, despite the fact that such things wern’t needed when they ran the country]

  12. Yep Laura is a bastion of journalistic integrity. Stands out like dogs balls compared to the rest of them.
    bloody good sort when she was younger too.

  13. C’mon Ron we all know the Church shuffled known sex offenders around from parish to parish before they cut them loose – this is not a matter of faith or believers versus atheists – it a matter of vile human abuse and the foetid human corruption in the upper levels of the church that sought to hide/deflect/distance itself from the abuse.

  14. [those gutter snip Athiests here on PB who use pedafiles as a patthetic means to attack religion as a whole , hypocritacally pretend there is no athiest pedafiles]

    a pedophile is a pedophile no matter one’s religion. As for religion itself? People are free to believe in whatever fairytale they wish

  15. Hey all!

    Ah the AEC count. It was a pretty funny the day when they pulled those seats. Thanks WB for telling us almost immediately what was going on. It was amusing watching truthy and friends having a go, one at a time to “rub it in”.

    I think that anyone who said that the coalition won the tpp should be sacked. Accuracy would have produced this most extreme interpretation “The coalition appears to have pulled ahead in the tpp”.

    Anyone involved in reporting politics in Australia knows PB (if not why not?). There was no concern here at the time from lefty posters once they knew what was going on. Not even nostrils used this argument once informed. (Nostrils, your crystal ball runs with an active neutral, that’s why you were usually 180º out with your predictions, dumbass.)

    If a political journo ignores PB, then they are unprofessional. It’s time for some journos to face some backchat. Let’s see if any have courage for a retrospective of their work. We have a good amount of information about them now. I would like to understand the personal views and histories of opinionated journos so that I can make better choices regarding who to listen to.

    Some sort of public rating system for journos would be good.

    (journos shudder – Muhuhuhahahahah!)

  16. [ Socrates 62

    Also, people are free to believe whatever they wish, but I’d prefer if they did not seek to have their beliefs enshrined in the laws of my country, or promoted in its schools. ]

    Well said teach ethics in schools and save the imaginary friend teachings for the adults.


    I am a Lefty
    I am an Athiest
    I am 48 yrs old
    I live in a de facto relationship
    I follow football

    I am not Julia Gillard but it’s the first time in my life I have had the opportunity to vote for someone of a very similar demographic to myself. I even nicked a coreflute sign of JG from polling day and hung it in my garage.


  17. [How can we get Laura out from behind the AFR paywall?]

    Don’t know, but I pinched my employer’s copy this morning just to look for her contributions. I also make a point of listening to Late Night Live every second Monday.

  18. [Dr Good
    Posted Friday, September 17, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Permalink
    The AEC knows who they are and will be going to collect their
    gold coin donation to the AEC shortly]

    the fine should be much higher people have to realise it is a privilege to vote.
    I bet they turn up for the privileges that go with it, such hospital care education
    pensions etc. bit like non union members who accept pay rises..

  19. More on the leak….

    ABC Radio news had a long interview with Andrew Robb in which he said he spoke to the Australian Federal Police and they told him, they knew who had leaked the Opposition document and when Robb asked who it was the Feds said, we will not go there…I invite you to listen to ramblings and stupidity of Andrew Robb, who needs immediate medical assistance.

  20. Blue-Green

    2PP swing +/- 2.58%

    Australian Labor Party 4,711,383 37.99 -5.40 72 seats
    Liberal 3,777,384 30.46 +0.76 44
    Liberal National Qld 1,130,525 9.12 +0.60 21
    The Greens 1,458,998 11.76 +3.97 1
    The Nationals 462,387 3.73 +0.16 10
    Country Liberals 38,335 0.31 -0.01 1
    Indies 4

  21. Ron

    Predators will prey on the vulnerable where they can and abuses can occur in the home and where pedaphiles can get access to children – eg schools, orphanages, scouts etc.

    I know of no other organisation though that protected the perpetrators at the expense of the victims as much as the Catholic Church and they stand condemned for their (criminal) complicity after the fact and for their hypocrisy.

    Similarly apologists who argue for the church at the expense of innocent victims also stand condemned.

    Exercises in relativism between secular and theological criminals are nonsence.

  22. [as any one read crickey to day to see how many newspapers are given away

    why would they do that any ideas]

    To get people into the habit of reading papers?

    At one stage years ago my mother received a free subscription for 6 months to get The West Australian delivered. As soon as the 6 months were up she cancelled.

  23. The Australian gives away a lot of newspapers mysay which gives a big boost to their circulation and then hopefully, also their readership. A lot of hotels and qantas give away a free Oz to the punters.

  24. THe next election is certainly going to be interesting, with 23 Coalition, 1 independent (Wilkie) , and 19 Labor seats held by less than 5% margins. Even a uniform 2% swing would give Labor ten additional seats.

  25. [I know of no other organisation though that protected the perpetrators at the expense of the victims as much as the Catholic Church and they stand condemned for their (criminal) complicity after the fact and for their hypocrisy.]

    While I quite disagree with the MO of the Catholic church in this, it is consistent with teaching — i.e. repentance = absolution.

    It is a laughable concept, of course, but if they didn’t protect the priests, one of the main foundations of their belief system would be destroyed, and thus the church would lose even more credibility.

    The catholic church has always been a refuge for so-called ‘sinners’ because of this ‘get-out’ clause. Many criminal societies from western culture (e.g. Mafia) are full of ‘devout’ catholics who can afford to maintain their criminal activities, even if they go against the basic edicts of their religion, simply because they know that confession and penance will make the ‘sin’ go away.

    Thus pedophiles are likely attracted to the church. It provides a way for the priest to succumb to their sinful thoughts/compulsions and be absolved for the sin at the same time. It also provided ‘ready-made’ fodder for their sin in the children of their flock who were powerless — afterall the priest is the go-between by which a person has contact with God (thus holds all the power in the relationship). And since the clergy is answerable to God before anything else, the church is duty bound to protect them.

    Sickening rationale — but effective if you’re a pedophile.

  26. Wilkie holding his seat actually involves a statistically unlikely
    conjunction of their being hardly any swings in any
    directions in first-preference votes amongst 3 parties
    and his own voters.

    Eg, even if Wilkie manages to be more popular next time
    he will still probably lose if the Greens pick up a few
    votes from the Liberals and the ALP have only a small
    swing either way.

  27. By the way Ron, you would be including me in you 80% culturally christian, as well as probably a lot of athiests.

    I am not a christian. This tripe that you present is weak.

    Everyone knows that congregations are diminishing. Sunday traffic in Melbourne does not turn to shit when people go to mass, because hardly anyone goes.

    Ron, if you think that you can convince people with your inaccurate and degrading arguments here, you need to understand this audience a little better.

    If any religious person has a problem about athiest attack, just be thankful it doesn’t end in with the water wheel or stoning. Athiests have a very legitimate axe to grind.

  28. [why would they do that any ideas

    To get people into the habit of reading papers?]

    Yeah, good move! With 60 per cent of the newspapers on Australian newsstands being run by Murdoch the chances are 6 in 10 that the punters so induced woould be subject to News Ltd pro-Liberal manipulation. Good thing there’s still the ABC which can be relied on to run an independent news service not influenced by News Ltd slant.

    … Oh, wait, hang on, scrub that last bit…

  29. for those of us born and rared catholic and who may or may not attend church any more.
    It alwasy fascinates me how so many people think they know everything about the church.
    Yes we criticize it as well but we dont criticise you for being atheist so please dont criticize me for being a catholic . Frankly people who have dont pray and and dont feel a connection to anything spiritual i often wonder how they cope in times of distress.
    I actually feel sorry for you and hope one day you may find the type of inner peace that i know comes with knowing there is more to the life than just birth and death.

  30. My Say

    I am glad you find comfort in your beliefs.

    However your third and fourth paragraphs of post 92 are indicative of the problems people of faith have in connecting with people of reason.

    It probably doesn’t even register with you how patronising and ill informed those comments are.

    Then again the church does specialise in dispensing misinformation in a patronising manner.

  31. @ My Say

    I was a practising Catholic for over 30 years untill I gave it way for reasons I won’t bore you with but I will say that I have a spiritualistic view of the world that is far removed from the Catholic church. And I have never been more at peace with myself and the world around more than now.


  32. I agree with Ron on one point.

    Oz culture is ‘broadly’ based within a system of Christian values and norms.

    What we think of as ‘being a good person’ is Sermon-on-the-Mount-Lite.

    We are not really an old testament sort of place like the South in US can sometimes be.

  33. It alwasy fascinates me how so many people think they know everything about the church.

    That’s true. I get most of my info on Catholicism from old Father Ted episodes…

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