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. BigBob @ 2122

    [ Abbott’s swing was far from being anywhere near some of the swings achieved by other opposition leaders.

    The problem for the ALP was a smaller buffer than other previous first term governments had, in terms of the majority and seats with relatively safe margins. ]

    When it came to the coverage of the most recent election, these facts somehow managed to fall through the cracks. Instead, we got a whole lot of blather about how the swing against the first term Labor govt was “unprecedented”.

    There was a huge swing against Howard in ’98, amounting to a loss of 20 seats (including one minister), and the loss of the 2PP. Howard had a big buffer, because of the huge gains in the landslide of ’96. The anti-Howard swing in ’98 was absorbed across many seats on safer margins. Gillard didn’t have any cushion at all in 2010; the 22 seats gained in 2007 included many of those lost by Latham in 2004.

  2. Yes Puff, according to the Australian Tea Party:

    [GetUp is funded by unions, in possible breaks of the law, and is masterminded not by its public leader but by ALP spin doctors and a PR firm.]

    That site is compelling awful reading.

  3. [Of course you exclude LNP from the numbers in QLD.


    So you want their votes counted twice then huh Truthy? Typical. Why am I not surprised?

    They were included in the Liberal vote you knob.

  4. Good on you Rod.

    I wonder if they’ll correct their story, or simply reply with the usual ‘we know best’ form letter they usually send back to complainants.

  5. Seems we have a new definition of grateful and we can only hope we never see the NSW definition of ungrateful.

    [2.31 However, Mr Grant Heaton, Representative of the NSW Teachers Federation and Principal of Hasting Public School, asserted that: ‘[O]ne should not confuse gratitude with satisfaction.’52
    This was supported by Mr Gary Zadkovich, Deputy President, NSW Teachers Federation, who said: … just because a school is grateful and just because a school community is pleased about having a brand new building under this program, that does not mean that there are not concerns in such a school community about what they might have got if a different approach had been adopted.53

  6. [Abbott surely is keeping his job at the moment because there’s no candidate fit to replace him. He’s got cachet because he got them so close,]
    Agree with this and to give Tone his dues he did pick up 16 odd labor seats and came within an Undie of being PM.

    Similar to the Bomber who picked up 16 seats in 1998 and we kept him for the next election.
    I think Tone is pretty safe at this stage (but anything could happen with Malcolm lurking 😉 ),_1998

  7. Great letter to the ABC Rod.
    [The article accordingly breaches clause 3.2 of the ABC’s Code of Conduct which states: “3.2 Every reasonable effort, in the circumstances, must be made to ensure that the factual content of news and current affairs is accurate and in context.”]
    No doubt they will respond to this point by suggesting that they were factual in reporting what Morrison said.
    Your very specific points will make it difficult for them to answer in a pro forma way.
    No doubt you will advise us of the response.

  8. Switched on the TV while having an early lunch and thought I’d see what was on A-Pac (Kev being OS and all 🙂 ) but who did they have on?
    The Poison Dwarf and he was still raving on about kev and the faceless men!
    I switched to Bargain Hunt before I was turned off my tucker.

  9. [LIBERAL leader Will Hodgman has moved decisively to seize control of the party in Tasmania, throwing down the challenge to powerbroker Eric Abetz.

    Mr Hodgman yesterday said he could no longer stand by and watch ultra-conservatives within the Liberal Party lead it into oblivion and irrelevancy.

    Instead he wants to bring the Liberals back to the “middle of the road”.

    “I’m grabbing this by the scruff of the neck. I’m quite prepared to stake my leadership on it,” Mr Hodgman told the Mercury in an exclusive interview.

    And he is determined to stamp out the perception the Liberal Party is a closed shop for any potential candidates not approved by senior Tasmanian senator Abetz. ]

    Good luck with that. Abetz seems to have a vice-like grip on the party in Tas, practically single-handedly killing the Liberal party down there.

    Incidentally the SMH had an article yesterday about Keneally doing and saying exactly the same things, only it was reported as her “hitting the panic button” rather than “moving decisively”.

  10. Yes confessions, I was thinking reading that that Hodgman’s days are numbered as Tasmanian Liberal leader. Abetz will just install someone else.

  11. [
    Abbott certainly has confounded me by being allowed to stay on after losing an election. The Liberals would have replaced any other loser at the first party room meeting in the past

    My general impression of the Libs was that they usually got rid of Leaders straight after election losses, but not so.

    Hewson stayed on after the Liberal’s 1993 election loss. He didn’t lose the leadership until the following year, to Downer. Peacock resigned straight after his 1990 loss.

    Howard stayed on after 1987 until he was dumped in 1989. Peacock retained the leadership after the 1984 loss ultimately resigning the leadership in 1985. Even Billy Snedden hung on for a while after his loss to Gough in 1974. He lost the leadership in 75 to Fraser. So if history is a guide, Abbott is toast by the end of next year 😀

  12. Pegasus
    Clause 17

    “abolish MANDATORY (and indefinite) DETENTION of asylum seekers.”

    So stop trying to hide that fact , ie Greens oppose mandatory detenton of A-S

    Mandatory detain is simply detainment to CHECK FIRST that a boat person is a true refugee , check for there health issues and check for there national security , and THEREAFTER they enter oz commiunity

    Youse lot want A-S in community whilst such checks is being done , otherwise you would not be objecting to th 3 above checks being done beforehand

    You then quote a series of Greens web site clauses that is very careful spun & quite wordy to simply again camoflage Greens polisy is effective “open door”:

    “· house asylum seekers who arrive without a valid visa in publicly owned and managed open reception centres, where entry and exit to these centres are unrestricted except where prohibited for medical or security reasons specified in clause 28. “

    which is per clause 28:

    “· deny an AAV if security checks demonstrate the person poses a serious criminal threat to the Australian community or if the person has not remained housed in the reception centre while the medical and security checks were completed. !!!! “

    join th above dots

    “· grant asylum seekers an asylum application visa (AAV) and assist without delay their move into the community provided medical and security checks are satisfied or after 14 days has passed !!! , whichever occurs first.”

    your site words is indeed quite pretty , but written to hid what your polisy is actualy saying , and reason is is cause most people would regard such polisy as lunasy and disowning of a Govt’s role to protect its citazens

  13. [Made a mistake Bomber picked up 18 seats not 16 doh!]

    How do you figure that, vera? The coalition had 65 seats in the old parliament. They now have 72 (or 73 if you “stretch” it and accept the WA Nat as amember of “Abbott’s”)

    That looks to me like a “pick up” of 7, or, at best, 8.

    If you want to look at it in terms of the “seat margin” I can see the reasoning, but even then two of Labor losses weren’t to Abbott, but to a Green and an Independent, so your old figure of 16 is the more accurate I would think.

  14. Rod Hagen #2145

    Congratulations on your steriling work in getting to the bottom of the numerous breaches of the ABC’s Charter and Code of Conduct.

    I’m aware you’ve sent it as formal complaint to the ABC. May I suggest you also send a copy to Greens Senator Scott Ludlum, who it is believed is coordinating the pursuit of full Parliamentary Inquiry into the behaviour of the mainstream media.

    Thanks again for the good work. The more evidence that can be collected of poor behaviour by (in particular) the ABC the stronger the case for formal parliamentary investigation.

  15. confession
    The SMH has another story today about KK having a cleanout, it was headed;
    [Labor calls time for some MPs]
    [”Look, if 15 MPs leave, of that number, 12 will choose to go and three will be pushed,” one backbencher said. ”People like Dr Andrew McDonald (Macquarie Fields) and Frank Sartor (Rockdale) would probably go.

    ”Others like Ninos Khoshaba (Smithfield) and Nick Lalich (Cabramatta) haven’t really made much of a contribution and should move on, along with the likes of Noreen Hay (Wollongong), Cherie Burton (Kogarah), Kevin Greene (Oatley) and Verity Firth (Balmain). Others like Phil Koperberg (Blue Mountains) will go, with question marks over people like Jodi McKay (Newcastle), who are disillusioned.”]

  16. After an entire month of being distracted by this excellent blog, I had a flash of inspiration and decided to register. It already feels like I’m in a room of wise old friends, and I’ve even developed an indulgent affection for Truthie. Great post by Rod Hagen earlier, re “compensation” to “asylum seekers”. I wish my frequent complaints to Auntie were as well researched and reasoned. Perhaps then I’d get some sort of response.

  17. Rod Hagen
    I think I made another DOH!!! though
    Abbott only picked up 12 including the WAnat and Labor picked up 2
    So we’re even 😀

  18. BigBob @ 2122, and kakuru @ 2151. I’ve been banging on about this furphy since the election. Twice on Q&A last week, Clive Palmer went unchallenged in claiming that Abbott achieved the greatest swing ever by an opposition leader. Disturbing that these falsehoods quickly become the accepted truth.

  19. AS continue to be a big issue. This is very sad.

    [ IMMIGRATION authorities are investigating the death of a detainee at Sydney’s Villawood detention centre, who refugee advocates say leapt from a roof.

    The Department of Immigration and Citizenship said the 36-year-old Fijian national had been held in Villawood since August 17.

    He was named by Fiji democracy activists as Josefa Rauluni, who they said feared he would be persecuted if returned to Fiji.

    Refugee advocate Sara Nathan said the man was due to be deported to Fiji today, and this morning had climbed on a roof at the detention centre, in Sydney’s west.

    “He was given deportation papers this morning,” Ms Nathan said.

    “About 15 minutes before he was due to be handcuffed, he climbed the building where he pleaded to be allowed to stay in Australia, even if it is in detention, as he feared persecution if he returned.”]

  20. [Disturbing that these falsehoods quickly become the accepted truth.]

    You can only fool some of the people some of the time thou8gh Spray. Can’t say I’ll be accepting Abbott as a legitimate Opposition Leader till he is pitted against some viable opposition in a Party room spill.

  21. via twitter

    TurnbullMalcolm #nbn characteristically levelheaded commentary from @1petermartin

    Is it just me or does anyone else get the feeling that this praise for Peter Martin implies what he thought about the Coalition’s election costings? …

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