Niddrie by-election

UPDATE (6.07pm). With two booths counted, Ben Carroll is travelling nicely on 52.2 per cent, with the Sex Party (9.4 per cent) leading the Greens (8.6 per cent) for second place.

The Queensland election is not the only electoral game in town tomorrow: voters in the north-western Melbourne suburbs seat of Niddrie, which covers suburbs south of the airport from Niddrie itself west to Keilor and south to Avondale Heights, go to the polls to choose a successor to former Deputy Premier Rob Hulls. The Liberals, rather weakly, have opted to sit this one out despite Labor’s solid but by no means overwhelming margin of 6.9 per cent. There is nonetheless a large field of nine candidates, but there is little reason to suspect Labor’s Ben Carroll has much to worry about. A former adviser to Stephen Conroy and earlier to Steve Bracks, Carroll won preselection ahead of Jaclyn Symes, a former electorate officer to Hulls, and solicitor Sebastian “Sam” Agricola. Carroll in fact came third in the local branch with 35 votes to 46 for Agricola and 43 for Symes, with Moonee Valley councillor John Sipek on nine. Agricola, who according to an entry in Crikey’s not-always-reliable “tips and rumours” section is not a member of Labor Unity and hence never had a serious chance in the factional bailiwick of Niddrie, then withdrew before the party’s Public Office Selection Committee added its 50 per cent share of the vote. Labor Unity was split over which of Carroll and Symes to support, with Conroy and Bracks supporting their former employee but John Brumby and Rob Hulls backing Symes. However, John Ferguson of The Australian reported that the factional vote produced a strong 20-4 victory for Carroll, ensuring him an easy victory when the votes from the POSC ballot were added. The Moonee Valley Weekly reports Symes might be a prospect to replace Justin Madden in Essendon, should the eventuality emerge.

The candidates in ballot paper order are Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka (Independent), Ben Carroll (Labor), Andrea Surace (Independent), David Hugh Linaker (Independent), Josie Lester (Greens), Michael Deverala (DLP), Amy Myers (Sex Party), Jim Little (Independent) and Frank Papafotiou (Independent).

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.

25 comments on “Niddrie by-election”

  1. So a labor victory here is an endorsement of the carbon tax?

    The Vic liberal govt accepts that a carbon tax and mining tax is good which is why they are not running a candidate.

    Is that the way Tone is spinning it?

  2. Completely irrelevant and useless bit of trivia – Schorel is the village in Holland where, as children, we used to go and play on huge sand dunes.

  3. The only thing that is guaranteed about this election is that the electoral commission will make a motza fining voters who forgot to vote

  4. Hmm. A look at the ABC site on Niddrie tells me that the biggest beneficiary of the Tory vote might be Frank Papafotriou of the Christian Party (Independent on the Ballot).

    But I reckon this by-election might result in a Labor victory of 60%+ on the 2pp vote. It’ll probably have a very high informal vote too, since the Moderate Liberals seem to have no candidate to vote for.

    Interesting to watch out for is how the Sex Party and DLP candidates go. A Primary Vote above 10% could fire up the base and put them in a running for a Senate seat in the 2013 Federal Election, or if not, an MLC seat at the next State election.

  5. The lack of coverage of this by election has been staggering – it may be the first election where the VEC ever turns a profit – that is if they get the fine money.

  6. Labor on 52% in Niddrie, thus providing a ringing endorsement for the carbon price, the mining tax, the PHI rebate means test and same-sex marriage. Thanks Tony.

  7. Pretty average performance for the ALP tonight considering the circumstances

    2010 – 45.68% primary
    2012 – 45.34% primary

  8. Gosh, I didn’t expect Labor’s 2pp vote to climb above 70% 2pp in even these circumstances. Labor in Victoria still seems to be going well. (Yes, I know that we’re still waiting on postal/absent voters, but 70% on the night seems to be fairly decisive). Informal votes are only 2.6% higher than the 2010 result, so that also surprises me.

  9. According to the VEC, the Sex Party’s primary vote is 8.16% at the moment.

    They didn’t run in Niddrie in 2010, so it’s hard to say what their swing is. But they did average about 3-4% in the other districts they ran in, so they did go fairly well in this by-election.

  10. I’d say the Sex Party is indeed swinging, although whether or not they have a standing member would depend on the arousal of the electorate at the next election.

  11. Von Kirsdarke, the 2PP figure is mostly meaningless as the Liberal Party did not stand a candidate in the by-election. Labor’s primary vote didn’t change much, but I’m not sure a whole lot can be read into it.

  12. The interesting thing is the Greens vote. Once again they are not seen as a viable alternative even when the major parties do not run a candidate. This happened in Kooyong when Labor did not run a candidate. So, on these examples, there seems to be a limit to the Greens vote.

  13. Well, regardless, Itep, I think Labor would be fairly happy with this result. It’s about as good as a by-election can get, even without a Liberal there.

  14. BHK
    [Pretty average performance for the ALP tonight considering the circumstances

    2010 – 45.68% primary
    2012 – 45.34% primary]
    2012 now at 46.78

    Yep, pretty average, considering the circumstances.

  15. Would they actually have been able to do a notional correct distribution of preferences on those figures? On the primaries currently showing the gaps covering places 3-8 are a few hundred votes each. When there are postals to come that exceed those gaps, any attempt to do a full distribution either relies on assumptions that postals won’t change the order or else stalls.

  16. Use the correct word, GG – it’s “Poll Blogger is“. It’s a one-man website by a paranoid conspiracy theorist, who thankfully hasn’t posted round these parts in a while. I remember him.

  17. So far the Two Party Preferred count for Niddrie is 67.2% / 32.8% to Labor, against Andrea Surace (Independent).

    I don’t think this will change much, the biggest thing that can happen here in counting is Amy Myers getting the 11 votes needed to overcome Papafotiou at the 5th count.

    Even then, she probably wouldn’t get the 1000 votes in preferences from Papafotiou to overcome the Greens at the 6th count (if she did that would be extraordinary, being a Sex Party candidate getting preferences from the CDP). So I’d say the preferences are pretty much locked in here.

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