Victorian election minus nine days

Four fun facts:

Roy Morgan has exposed itself to ridicule by not only publishing a phone poll of the four Labor-versus-Greens seats from a sample of just 276, but also purporting that meaningful conclusions can be drawn from the seat-by-seat breakdowns (“Greens set to win Inner Melbourne seats of Richmond & Northcote; Vote in Brunswick & Melbourne ‘too close to call’”). The best that can be done with the poll is to combine the results and compare them with the 2006 election, which shows the Greens up 17 points on the primary vote, Labor down 16 points and the Liberals up three, with a two-party swing to the Greens of 8 per cent – and even then a margin of error approaching 6 per cent must be taken into account. For what very little it’s worth, a uniform 8 per cent swing would deliver the Greens Melbourne, Richmond and Brunswick, but not quite Northcote. We aren’t told how preferences were allocated, but clearly it wasn’t on the basis of the last election – the Greens’ preference share has gone from 74 per cent to 41 per cent.

SportingBet has the Liberals short-priced favourites to take Mount Waverley, Gembrook and Forest Hill, narrower favourites in Mitcham, South Barwon and Mordialloc, and even stevens in Frankston and Prahran. A little surprisingly, Labor are short-priced favourites to retain all seats reckoned to be under threat from the Greens. Taken together, this points to Labor winning a reasonably comfortable victory with between 49 and 51 seats out of 88.

• Antony Green’s upper house calculators are now open for business. Antony’s own experiments with various plausible scenarios have raised at least the possibility of boilovers in Eastern Victoria, where Family First, the Democratic Labor Party or (most likely) the Country Alliance might be a show, and Northern Metropolitan, where independent carers’ advocates have drawn first spot on the ballot paper and done well out of preferences.

• The Victorian Electoral Commission has upheld a complaint against Democratic Labor Party material purporting to provide instructions on how to vote “Labor for Northern Victoria”, but in doing so has ruled that the Australian Labor Party too is forbidden from identifying themselves simply as “Labor” on how-to-vote material.

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.

182 comments on “Victorian election minus nine days”

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  1. [The Greens polled 20% in Southern Metro at the Senate Election in August.]

    The combined vote of the Liberal party, DLP, FF and CP will see the Liberals over quota. The Liberals polled over 46% in 2006. I suspect the Greens vote will be much lower.

    [This time they don’t have the Bay side dredging to whip up a false issue and pull in votes.]

    Yes, voters will not forget the lies and more lies pumped out by the Green camps poor science scare campaigns can only work once.

  2. I may be giving too much credit to the number-crunchers in the Liberal Party, but I think what they are doing is “Tit-for-Tat”. This is a game theory strategy from about 30 years ago. A computer competition was held for strategy programs for a multiplayer iterated version of the famous “Prisoner’s Dilemma” problem.

    A Russian-born mathematician Anatol Rapoport entered the simplest program by far (four lines of code) and won the competition. His algorithm was simple – you started by co-operating, then did whatever your opponent did on the previous “turn”.

    The funniest part of the story is that the next year they ran the competition again and you were allowed to enter anyone’s algorithm from the previous year if you so wanted. But everyone else thought they had brand new programs that could beat all comers, even taking everything from the first run into account. Rapoport entered “tit-for-tat” again and won again!

    So here the Liberals started by co-operating (preferencing Adam Bandt in the Federal election), but the Greens gave nothing back. Thus on the next “turn” – the Victorian election, the Liberals “retaliate” and give the Greens nothing. The Greens are likewise giving the Liberals nothing, so at the NSW election the Liberals would again give the Greens nothing. If this is truly what the Liberals are playing (and if it wasn’t midnight I’d probably say there is little chance that they are!) – then the Greens should give the Liberals something at the NSW election, and then the Liberals will “repay” the favour and they may both get into a “happy” cycle of co-operation. Otherwise they will stay forever in a cycle of “retaliation”.

    Labor’s dealings with the Greens could also be thought of as a sort of “tit-for-tat” – Labor offered the Greens second preferences in all lower (symbolic only really) and upper house seats in exchange for the same in return. Whether it was because the Greens were in some sort of bargaining with the Liberals or whatever, they turned down Labor, and said they’d only preference Labor in 15 seats. So Labor “repaid” them by not preferencing them second in all the upper house regions (partial retaliation for partial retaliation).

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next few elections – of course the Liberals may feel the “reward” they get elsewhere (not offending the Nationals, maybe doing better in some outer-suburban seats) outweighs the whole preference thing so we may never really see the “game” played at its purest.

  3. [Southern Metro – Group A preferences the Greens and vice-versa so the question is whether the no. 2 Green will beat Group A and get their primary or will it be the other way around?

    Group A [Sex Party] picks up no preferences from anyone other then Group E. Combined they can not out poll DLP, FF and CP. Sex Party tops up the Greens if they are not elected on Primary vote. If the Greens are elected then the result is Liberal 3, ALP 1 Green 1. The only chance for a upset is if the Green vote falls below 14%. Check out Antony Greens Calculator

  4. Rocket The Liberal party heard the message from its members and others supporting it, including the DLP, FF and CP. They Greens were holding back the Liberal party, they had nothing to offer them. Since making the decision to place the Greens last the Liberal Party vote has increased 2% and minor party vote including the Greens has dropped. Apart from Gary Morgan’s dodgy phone poll I doubt the Greens will have a chance other an an outside punt on Melbourne

  5. The Greens will not get a vote bellow quota let alone bellow 14%. If the Green surplus (and therefore 2nd Green candidates vote) is above the Group A + Group E vote (quite possible) then the Group A vote goes straight to the Greens.

  6. [Make no mistake; the Greens are the left. They are socialists. Their policies are mostly puerile, the stuff you would expect from a socialist political club at a university. Their policies are totally uncosted. They are, for the most part, utter nonsense, but they are a very, very dangerous form of nonsense…]


  7. I’ve been a member of the ALP going on close to 20 years, but just about to resign. I’ve been voting Greens for a while now but figured it was better to stay around to try change from within. I am no longer convinced that the ALP is any better than the Coalition, and certainly not at state level. The Libs have a better public transport policy, better open government policy, and no James Merlino (et al, but IMHO the Hon Merlino deserves a special place in hell). This election I’m seriously considering giving my second preference to the Libs. It’s going to be hard, but the ALP is lazy, complacent and genuinely incompetent. Of course, the opposition aren’t much better, but if we keep voting the factional hacks out each election cycle maybe the majors will either change or get replaced with something better. I haven’t posted here since Howard had his arse kicked, mainly because the rabid ALP boosterism in these threads is just tiresome – seiously, I can masturbate in my own time without sharing it with the rest of you. Anyhow, I figured that what I would share with the ALP fan boys is that you can no longer count on this little Green duck’s preferences in future.

  8. [If the Green surplus (and therefore 2nd Green candidates vote) is above the Group A + Group E vote (quite possible) then the Group A vote goes straight to the Greens.]

    Hmmm. [Group A] plus [Group E] plus [Greens Surplus] is not where near a second quota. By the time Group A is distributed the Liberal party would be above 3 quotas and the Count is finished. It is impossible for [Group A] + [GROUP E] plus [Greens Surplus] to outpoll [Group H surplus] Unless you nhave over 100% of the vote – Dream on

  9. The Greens have the power to decide the fate of most Labor marginal seat holders with their prefs.
    Labor had better hope they hold ‘in such seats
    Gembrook and Bendigo East are already lost without Green prefs,have no doubt of that !.
    In the Greensborough area ..Bundoora,Eltham/ and Yan Yean Labor will depend on Greens prefs…
    Yan Yean will be one to watch,where the Labor policy on some aspects of local railway development has aroused much local angst.and where the local member is not much loved either…. She could be in trouble there .
    The demonisation of the Greens by people like Bolt/The.I.P.A./G.G /Newnham and a
    host of other rather rabid attackers may make some Greens think of giving prefs to the Libs. just for the hell of it.
    If that happens Brumby is in trouble everywhere !!

  10. 107

    there is a likelihood that the Libs will make a gain in Southern Metro but the Greens have more micro preferences so they are more likely to beat the Libs if they can get past the 2nd ALP on said micro preferences.

  11. Banana Republican at 91:

    [ Spose it matters how much of Cumming’s vote is merely a Greens substitution – in which case, the Labor base in Footscray is solid enough to ride it. This would have to be the safe bet, but it’s a considerable possibility this seat could at least end up with an ALP/IND 2PP. ]

    I’ve been mentioning it a bit – I’m always interested in well-performing independents, so I’m keeping an eye on Cumming in Footscray, Phil Cleary in Brunswick (more likely to beat Labor than the Greens, due to getting Liberal preferences that the Greens might not), Stephen Jolly in Richmond (he won’t win, but his preferences may make the difference for the Greens), and Serge Thomann in Albert Park. The mayor of Mildura has also been mentioned, with Bob Katter campaigning for him.

    Strangely enough, if you actually counted out the votes in Footscray, there would most likely be an ALP/Ind 2cp margin already. Assume Cumming got 80% of Lib / FF and 50-60% of Green / SA preferences – compare with Denison (federal 2010), or Kwinana (WA 2008 – see my post at the top of the last Vic thread), that seems reasonable. If that had happened in 2006, Cumming would’ve gotten ahead of the Liberal on Green / SA prefs, with Labor winning by a 2cp margin of 11-12%. The only reason it’s an ALP/Lib margin at all is that the VEC don’t do a full preference count if a candidate gets over 50%, which Marsha Thomson just managed to.

    As for you, Ron at 100:

    [ think as Footsacray & Prahran exist margins high enuf for any swing , Labors safe there ]

    Denison was pretty safe too, until it suddenly wasn’t. Labor even got a 2pp swing to them there – cop that Libs! 😉

  12. Angora Fish

    [I am no longer convinced that the ALP is any better than the Coalition, and certainly not at state level. The Libs have a better public transport policy, better open government policy, and no James Merlino]

    Good to see a Green voter who doesn’t even pretend they’re voting on environmental issues.

    I would suggest that you have a look at history, however.

    The Liberals – whatever they may say when trying to get elected – have a very bad track record when it comes to government transparency and an even worse one when it comes to public transport.

    They also have a history of saying they’re going to fix these things when they’re in Opposition and then not doing so.

    Government has become more open and accountable under Labor than it was under the Liberals. If it’s not as open and accountable as some people think it should be, I would suggest – rather strongly – that that’s for good reasons.

    (I once heard someone from a citizens’ action group complaining that they kept putting people up for local council to ‘change things from within’ – however, as soon as they got these people elected, they didn’t change things but started behaving in exactly the same way that they had previously objected to. This was obviously mystifying to the speaker, but quite understandable to anyone who knows anything about governance).

    I can’t blame the Libs for Merlino, but given the utter invisibility of the Liberal team, whatever it is you blame him for, there’s bound to be someone at least equally bad on the other side (it’s just we don’t know anything about any of them to judge!)

    [Anyhow, I figured that what I would share with the ALP fan boys is that you can no longer count on this little Green duck’s preferences in future.]

    I’m sure that Labor’s re election strategy in Victoria has taken a major blow with this announcement.

  13. Bird of paradox

    [If that had happened in 2006, Cumming would’ve gotten ahead of the Liberal on Green / SA prefs, with Labor winning by a 2cp margin of 11-12%. ]

    Gee, Marsha has only 11% to play with? She should pack her bags at once!

    Seriously, do you follow elections at all?

    [The only reason it’s an ALP/Lib margin at all is that the VEC don’t do a full preference count if a candidate gets over 50%, which Marsha Thomson just managed to do]

    Like that’s no little achievement – not many politicians get elected on primary votes.

    Which says she’s safe as houses.

  14. AngoraFish

    you is not and never been an ALP member you amatur , th only one you convince you always been a Greens with your post is yourself, and thats as much space as you deserve

  15. The Battle for Brunswick

    THINGS are tense in Brunswick. Two weeks ago someone threw a beer keg through the window of Labor candidate Jane Garrett’s campaign office. Arriving for another day on the hustings, Garrett’s team were shocked.

    ”The start was pretty out there … but I think it’s settled down a bit. In the inner city you always get lots of bill posters and people are pretty active politically,” Garrett says.

    The seat is locked in a fierce battle as the Greens seek to break Labor’s stranglehold on the inner city.

    Greens candidate Cyndi Dawes had hoped to win with the help of Liberal preferences. While that hope was dashed when the Liberals chose to put Labor ahead of the minor party, the seat remains in play, with retiring Labor MP Carlo Carli leaving the seat on a 3.7 per cent margin.


  16. Stephen McMahon with the latest from “party sources”

    THE Coalition may be on the verge of an upset, as Labor sources worry that up to 15 government seats are there for the taking in next Saturday’s election.

    This would put Ted Baillieu within touching distance of the Premier’s office.

    The polls show the rise of the Coalition’s support base has occurred not just in marginal outer-suburban and regional seats but also in previously safe Labor seats.

    Labor MPs say the voter anger over skyrocketing household bills, public transport problems, hospital waiting lists and crime threatens to derail Premier John Brumby’s chances of winning a record fourth term for Labor.

    “It is touch and go in a host of marginal seats,” a senior Labor source said.

    “A handful of votes will decide some seats.”

    Mr Brumby has spent a lot of time in the ultra-marginal seats of Mount Waverley, Gembrook and Mitcham to try to shore up the vote.

    But concerns about wider voter anger mean the Labor-held seats of Bendigo East, Bentleigh, Burwood and Bellarine are now regarded as being in play. This comes as Labor prepares to unveil a series of attack ads against Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu during the campaign’s final week.


  17. Ron, you’ve always been at war with Eastasia, eh?


    [ Seriously, do you follow elections at all? ]

    Yes I do. Chew on these numbers: take Footscray and the two seats either side of it on the pendulum, Williamstown and Preston. Here’s their 2006 primary and 2pp Labor vote.

    Williamstown 61.7 74.3
    Footscray 52.5 74.7
    Preston 61.6 75.3

    Spot the odd one out.

    That primary vote is similar to the twin seats of Narre Warren North and South, where Labor’s primary vote was 52.3% and 52.8% respectively; also to Northcote, where Labor got 52.6% against the Greens (probably the nearest comparison to Footscray). Sure, it’s safe, but keep an eye on it anyway – it’s not in the same rock-solid unloseable class as Williamstown or Preston. The two Narre’s were created notionally Liberal before the 2002 election, and sometime they’ll swing back that way. They probably won’t this election, and Footscray’s not the outer suburbs so it’ll behave differently, but if I was Thomson I’d be putting in a decent campaign just in case.

    As for ‘not many politicians’, a rough glance at the pendulum says most Labor MP’s with a margin over 10% (from about Niddrie onwards) won on the primary vote. That’s a couple of dozen just on the Labor side – not that uncommon.

  18. [deserve
    116 madcyril
    Posted Friday, November 19, 2010 at 8:40 am | Permalink
    The Battle for Brunswick

    THINGS are tense in Brunswick. Two weeks ago someone threw a beer keg through the ]

    i hope your premier and pollies are pointing our under the libs with no hospital agreement then the medical situation would be much worse.,

  19. deblonay @109,


    You placing me amongst such illustrious (notorious??) company is a great honour. It makes me want to try even harder.


  20. What to throw through various campaign office windows –

    Labor – Beer Keg
    Liberal – Champagne Bottle
    Greens – Fair-Trade Coffee Beans
    DLP – Communion Wine
    Nationals – Roundup
    Family First – Baby’s Bottle
    Country Alliance – Ammo

  21. ALP up to the same braindead, contemptuous tricks that saw them lose Tanner’s seat. Newnham must secretly be a Green symphathiser Id say. Our vote improves wherever he’s active.

    Warning ALP: voters arent idiots.

    Anyhow, the Greens response to latest ALP fliers:

    [Here are the two simple things you need to know:

    The Greens are not preferencing the Liberals ahead of Labor in any seats in Victoria. In some seats we are running open tickets and leaving it to voters to decide how to number their ballots, which is consistent with what we have always argued, ie. that it is up to all voters everywhere to decide their own preferences. No-one is obliged to follow any party’s How to Vote card.

    The statistic about the Greens voting with the Liberals 67% of the time is a deliberate misrepresentation. The most common voting arrangement in the Upper House (which is where our 3 Greens Parliamentarians have been for the last 4 years) is for Government, Greens and Liberals to vote together. Over the past 4 years, all three parties have voted together 88% of the time, and the Greens have voted with the Government 94% of the time. The only way the ALP can get the 67% figure is by excluding the fact that in these cases, the ALP has also voted with the Liberals. Greens have voted with the Libs AGAINST the Government only 1.9% of the time. When Greens have voted against the Government, it has been on issues like freedom of information on the desalination plant or to set up public inquiries. ]

    Let’s round that up to 2%. Scary isnt it! Greens voted with Libs against ALP *2%* of the time.

  22. [ The Libs have a better public transport policy, better open government policy, ]

    AngoraFish, The Libs Public Transport policy looks like pure bunkum to me. It is full of “feasability studies” and long delayed promises. 34 of the “40 trains” that they promise , for example will only actually be provided, they say in the fine print, if they are elected for a second term. You simply can’t believe this sort of stuff. You can bet your bottom dollar that the first “6 trains” if they appear at all , will arrive right at the end of the term, or get promised again next election, and that the other 34 will disappear off into some ghost siding in the sky, never to be heard of again.

    As for the “feasibility studies” on other lines, give me a break! Not even a whiff that even when the “feasibility study” is completed that they have plans to proceed with any real work on the matters concerned.

    ‘Feasability studies” like these are simply cheap con jobs. They don’t commit you to building any infrastructure at all and they are much easier to renege on than promises of real infrastructure development. If you don’t build a railway that you promise then that is big news. If you don’t complete a feasibility study who cares? It is certainly not going to make the headlines.

    All that Baillieu’s “Independent Public Transport Authority” will amount to is a rebadging of Metlink. Sure, there is a lot to be said for improving PT integration, but you won’t really get it from Baillieu.

    Take such promises with a pinch of salt. Anyone who believes the Libs will really deliver anything other than cost cutting on Public Transport is kidding themselves.

    Once you remove all of the guff like this there is precious little left of the Libs transport policy. They are far more likely to find ways to provide their mates with ways of building new toll ways than they are to actually address any of the real issues that need dealing with in this area.

    Oppositions always have “open government” policies, as long as they are in opposition. My bet is that you grandchildren will still be waiting for a real one in 2100, when one party or another is promising yet another “feasibility study” into a Doncaster rail connection (or maybe it will be a monorail promise or some such by then) !

  23. Rod,

    Don’t let the Greens off the hook. They’re even worse. From that earlier IPA article.

    “In Victoria, the Greens transport plan for Melbourne pours tasty infrastructure manna across the city. Under the Greens’ plan, the city would receive 10 new rail lines, nearly 40 new stations, 12 new tram lines, and 550 new trams. (Why not 650? Why not 11 new rail lines? Why stop building stations when you get to your 40th?)

    And, of course, the Greens promise to reinstate tram conductors, because, well, people say they miss the old conductors.

    This plan will never, ever happen. Not just because Greens won’t win government in their own right. But because there is no chance they’d ever be able to afford it if they did”.

  24. [
    My bet is that you grandchildren will still be waiting for a real one in 2100, when one party or another is promising yet another “feasibility study” into a Doncaster rail connection (or maybe it will be a monorail promise or some such by then) !


    I want a Monorail. I propose it be built by Lyle Lanley, of The Simpsons fame

  25. I think we just don’t “do” infrastructure well in Australia.

    I’m always amazed by the Overland Telegraph – a North-South “18th Century NBN Connection” made in 1874, 13 years after Burke and Wills. Someone said it used 60% of SA’s budget.

    “Ted the Architect” is full of good IDEAS, maybe we need a “Bob the Builder” Premier who actually builds things.

  26. The ALP are running an, Oh its close, Oh its close, campaign, why don’t they all start putting some money on the fibs. Typical ALP smokescreen. Crying Wolf. they are a shoe in and they have managed to further alienate another whole section of the electorate. The next cycle of elections are going to be quite fascinating. Newnham and crew jsut keep on giving.
    GG, I for one have know Shorten since uni days and always thought him an absolute joke. That you take him seriously, (well you take the IPA seriously) says a lot.

  27. barking,

    That’s why Shorten is a Minister in the Federal Government and you are……………????

    Says it all!

  28. A shoe in we aint. This will be a very close election very very very close. I am hoping there is a slight swing back to the ALP in the last week. We’re going to lose a swag of seats.

  29. Barking

    Bill Shorten is Labor govt Federol Assistant Tresuer with proven record of xpertise , so your cheap , unskilled , unknown unsubstanted opinon on him has no credability at all , but then coming from a fruitcake Green your opinion does not even count

    sooner Greens is destroyd , th better for oz democracy as you lot is sniping wreckers , and as eg your Transport Plan must been made up by a kindagarden , zero costed mushroom of fantasy

  30. Not sure what IPA article you are referring to, GG, but I can only count three new lines in the Greens transport policy – to Tullamarine airport, Rowville and Doncaster, not 12.

    Not sure where the story about 500 new trams comes from either! Certainly doesn’t appear in the policy, or even in the somewhat suspect PTUA policy comparison at

    Still, if a right wing think tank like the IPA says its true, I guess it must be so! I’m sure you take notice of everything they have to say about most matters! NOT.

    Perhaps you could point me to somewhere where the Greens have actually indicated that the policy they are taking to this election involves anything of the kind that you suggest?

    My own fundamental view of Public Transport is that Labor will implement some useful improvements, especially if there are a couple of Greens members in the lower house to keep them up to the mark, and the public pressure for improvements in this area continues. I don’t believe the Libs promises for a minute, though Labor might want to think about genuinely implementing some of them.

    They might also want to consider some of the other options in the Greens long term plan (which isn’t their policy for this election, but a set of options for the future).

    Just imagine where we might get to if such matters actually got debated properly and without rancour, grandstanding and false claims about the calumny of the “other mob”!

  31. Ron

    That’s right. When I quote an OO story it is anteey-laybir sniping and when you say the same as the OO, the OO is correct.

  32. Rod,

    It’s probably out of the doc that Pegasus proudly floated a week or so ago when he claimed all the Greens policies were properly costed.

    I’ve got no evidence to doubt the IPA story.

  33. Senior Labor peoples Lindsay Tanner , John Brumby , John Lenders , Graham Richo , Karl Bitar , and Bill Shorten now PUBLICLY hav exposed Greens hypocracy against Labor and/or Greens non econamic skills

    Diogenes your opinion in comparison as an aleged doctor talking econamics as an unknown identity is childish No one in voterland cares for what you say

    Bill Shorten, the Federal labor Assistant Treasurer, says:”
    “The final question for us all when considering the Greens has got to be; “What would they do in office?

    “At generous best they are the mystery bet of Australian politics. At hard headed worst they are the political party that would cut living standards rather than raise them. For example the Greens have made billions in unfunded promises in the Victorian election on November 27th.

    “Labor has a nation building record with a commonsense yet optimistic vision for the future. Yet none of these adjectives could apply to the extreme Green promises we are now hearing in Victoria.”
    ‘ Shorten’s current decision not to resile from those views but to go further is significant. He is dedicated to better standards of living for working families. Note his use of the words “commonsense” and “optimistic” as applied to Labor economic policy. His assessment of the Greens is blunt; they are NEITHER.’

    This is th view of Assistant Treasuer of Australia about Greens

    (BTW you is lying , again , diogenes , i’ve called for Greens to be destroyed (as they’re sniping & wrecking & fruitcakes) 6 mths before any newspaper made such comment , so read Bill Shorten , an expert

  34. I for one are happy at the Greens success- except I don’t like Barber, and I wish they pinched seats off the libs and not us. Apart from that they are all pretty decent.

  35. I don’t think the Libs should ever have preferenced the Greens. It would be like Labor preferencing Family First or One Nation. Or a really extreme group like the DLP.

    The Greens need to keep increasing their primary vote. There are no free rides from now on.

  36. 146

    The Greens are a left progressive party. Left progressive voters do not tend to vote for the Liberals so it would be hard for the Greens to take seats off the Liberals. There are left progressive voters voting for the ALP so there are seats the Greens can win of the ALP.

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