Photo finishes

Mackay (vs ALP) 10993 11199 -206
Yeerongpilly (vs ALP) 13416 12655 761
Bulimba (vs ALP) 10702 10806 -104
Maryborough (vs IND) 12028 11734 294
Thuringowa (vs KAP) 10189 9669 520

Tuesday (2pm). Pardon my recent laziness. The LNP now has Maryborough and Thuringowa in the bag: in the former case 1273 absents and 846 pre-polls have piled 178 votes on to their lead, which is now at 294 with only a late trickle still to come. The lead over the KAP in Thuringowa is out even further, from 320 to 520. However, Labor looks to be home in Mackay: with another 901 absents counted the LNP has only chipped 10 votes from Labor’s 216 vote lead. For some reason though, there has still been no progress in the two-party count in Bulimba. By my arithmetic though, Labor is in trouble: the LNP Leads by 980 on the primary vote with 2802 Greens preferences to be distributed, and if these continue to split as the booth votes did, they will land about 179 short.

Friday. The ECQ has unexpectedly come good with an indicative LNP-versus-KAP count from Thuringowa, and it confirms almost exactly the reported preference split referred to in yesterday’s entry, with the LNP leading by 320. Quite a few votes remain to be counted, but it will be very tough for the KAP to rein in a lead of that size. The other big news of the day is that a bundle of 50 votes has been identified as being in the wrong pile in Bulimba, which has cut Labor’s lead from 193 to 93. In Mackay, 282 absent votes and a some other miscellany has reduced the Labor lead from 235 to 216. In Maryborough, 432 votes have been added to the count, a mixture of postal and absent votes, and they have cut the LNP’s lead over independent Chris Foley from 162 to 116. The early trend of absent votes is encouraging for Foley, so this could go down to the wire.

Thursday. The ECQ’s Bulimba error from yesterday has been corrected: it turned out the Greens vote had been entered as the Labor vote in the relevant booth after rechecking. Otherwise no progress in the count there, which leaves 2662 primary votes still remaining to be added to the notional two-party count. I am not exactly sure whether these are booth votes, postals, pre-polls or some combination. If they’re postals, Labor should gain ground; otherwise they will tread water. In addition to this, there are absent votes of which we can expect as many as 3000. If the vote differential between booth and absent votes plays as it did in 2009, Labor should pick up at least 200 votes here. In Mackay, the first 895 absents have reduced Labor’s lead by all of one vote, to 235. Minor additions in Maryborough have increased the LNP lead by 11 votes to 193. The LNP continues to drive nails into Labor’s coffin in Yeerongpilly, where 687 absents and 199 postals have increased their lead from 440 to 470. Antony Green relates in comments that Labor’s scrutineers in Thuringowa say 70 per cent of Labor preferences are exhausting and the rest are splitting 75-25 between KAP and LNP. This would only give the KAP 1000 of the votes it needs to bridge a 1300-vote deficit against the LNP on the primary vote.

Wednesday. Something odd in Bulimba: with booth figures updated after rechecking, 691 votes have disappeared from the Labor primary vote count in the Morningside booth. This reduces the Labor vote there from normal to unbelievably low, so we can presume the original figure was not significantly erroneous. Labor has gained 37 votes there with the addition of 1696 postals and now leads by 195. In Maryborough, 565 postals have increased the LNP’s lead over independent Chris Foley from 158 to 195. In Mackay, 1002 postals have cut the Labor lead from 269 to 236. In Yeerongpilly, 494 postals have increased the LNP lead from 429 to 440. Only uneventful rechecking today in Thuringowa. Most of the absent votes – about 2000 in Maryborough and 2500 to 3000 in Mackay, Yeerongpilly and Bulimba – still remain to be counted; pre-polls should be done and postals will slow to a trickle, except perhaps in Maryborough where a few more look to be outstanding.

Tuesday. The LNP looks home and hosed in Yeerongpilly: its lead is out from 372 to 429 after the addition of 792 postals and 213 absents. Chris Foley has cut the LNP’s lead in Maryborough from 171 to 146 with the addition of 1162 pre-polls and 182 postals. There should be at least 1000 of the latter still to come, but the kicker for Foley is that there will also be about 2000 absent votes, and he did very poorly on these in 2009. The first 1010 postal votes in Thuringowa have been an eye-opener: compared with the polling booth results, they have come in 6.6% lower for the LNP, 4.1% higher for Labor and 3.5% higher for KAP. This has cut the LNP’s primary vote lead over KAP from 6.8% to 4.9%. Based on current numbers, when the preferences from Labor and other candidates are distributed, the KAP will need to outscore the LNP by 13.8% in the KAP-LNP-exhausted carve-up. Nothing today in Bulimba, and only rechecking in Mackay.

Monday 4pm. Von Kirsdarke in comments relates the notional LNP-versus-KAP count in Thuringowa has turned up a surprise with the KAP candidate 61 votes in front, but the ECQ site is not publishing the figures (UPDATE: But it turns out Antony’s results page is, and it now has the LNP 262 votes ahead) (UPDATE 2: Scratch that: those numbers are just based on Antony’s guesstimate of the likely preference flow. The ECQ is not conducting an indicative count, which means we’ll have no idea until the full preference count is conducted next week). I might expect though that the LNP will do better in late counting than on the polling booth figures, which are presumably what is being counted here. The Townsville Bulletin reports LNP figures are whingeing that the ECQ “stuffed up” by conducting the election night count on an LNP-versus-ALP basis, but they’ve no right to – any contrary decision would have been very odd indeed. In the three outstanding Labor-versus-LNP contests, the most recent counting has widened all existing leads: Labor has gained 26 votes with the addition of 489 postals in Mackay and 43 with the addition of 118 various votes in Bulimba, while the LNP has gained 52 with the addition of 675 votes of various kinds (mostly postals) in Yeerongpilly. In Maryborough, 613 various votes (mostly postals) have split almost perfectly evenly, with the LNP maintaining a lead of 613.

Sunday. This post will follow late counting in the still undecided seats in the Queensland election. I’m counting five, which leaves the LNP with 74 definite wins and Labor with six, with two independents and two for Katter’s Australian Party. The five still in play are Bulimba, where Labor led at the close of counting last night by 83 votes; Mackay, where Labor led by 239; Yeerongpilly, where the LNP led by 320; Maryborough, where the LNP led independent incumbent Chris Foley by 177; and the wild card of Thuringowa. The issue in Thuringowa is that Katter’s Australian Party candidate Steve Todeschini finished second (with 30.8 per cent) ahead of Labor incumbent Craig Wallace (27.2 per cent), with LNP candidate Sam Cox on 36.2 per cent. The indicative preference count on election night was conducted between the LNP and Labor candidates, so we do not know how Todeschini will fare after Labor preferences are distributed. The ECQ is currently conducting a LNP-versus-KAP count to answer the question for us. Wise heads who have crunched the numbers deem it very unlikely, but Bob Katter is bullish about his candidate’s chances on the basis that Labor’s how-to-vote cards directed preferences to him. However, that’s not what Labor’s registered how-to-vote card says. If Labor was indeed distributing different how-to-vote cards on the day, it has committed an offence with a $2000 fine attached. I gather we should get the results of the indicative count shortly, which may well put the result beyond doubt.

As was the case at federal level, electoral laws have been changed since the previous election to allow pre-poll votes to be admitted to the count on election night. That leaves two substantial categories of votes outstanding, together with curiosities like institution and electoral visit votes, along with rechecking which can occasionally show up bundles of 50 votes which were added to the wrong pile. Each electorate should produce as many as 2000 postal votes, of which it seems about a third are being added to the count today. These will continue to come in in diminishing numbers over the fortnight, and will be added to the count sporadically. There should be about 3000 absent votes, which past practice suggests should be admitted to the count later this week. Everything will be finalised by Friday week. Late counting traditionally favours the conservatives, but Labor would at least be hopeful of doing relatively well on postal votes as many would have been cast before things went seriously awry for them over the past 10 days or so of the campaign.

So far today, we have seen the addition of 792 postal votes which has increased Labor’s lead from 83 to 115. In Maryborough, 649 postal and other votes have been added, shaving the LNP margin from 177 to 170. Similar additions will presumably follow shortly in Mackay and Yeerongpilly.

NOTE: Can this thread be used exclusively for discussion of the count. For more general discussion of the election and its implications, please use the other threads.

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.

46 comments on “Photo finishes”

  1. So Qld is counting on a Sunday?

    Can’t remember it happening for Federal or the ACT but then, I am a bear of very little brain.

  2. It will be intersting to see the postal vote count. Commentators often speculate about the effect of election campaigns and last minute voting decisions but I don’t recall any examples where someone has actually measured the postal voting and shown a significant diffence with election day compated with the usual demographics as to who is using postal votes. Does anyone have some good examples?

    Having said that the Labor campaign seems to have been pretty hopeless.

  3. I won’t be surprised to see Mackay lost. The local campaign was quite disorganised. Tim, like a lot of his fellow mps believed he was unbeatable and hasn’t covered the basics well, like a good PV campaign.

  4. Labor retaining Mulgrave was quite remarkable – Curtis Pitt must have fought an exemplary campaign in that seat.

  5. Still no word from Thuringowa? I find that a bit slow but I’m used to the TEC and hence spoilt rotten in terms of counting speed!

    [Labor retaining Mulgrave was quite remarkable – Curtis Pitt must have fought an exemplary campaign in that seat.]

    Looks like he both did well and was lucky. The primary swing against him was about five points lower than the swing against Labor in his area, a couple of points of which could have been sophomore effect. It would still be enough to scuttle him except that either:

    (i) it went to KAP instead of LNP and then exhausted

    (ii) what of it went to the LNP was cancelled out by votes going from the LNP to KAP and then exhausting.

    Net result, ALP candidate off a primary swing of 12.9% suffers a 2PP swing of only 5.9% and holds. It looks amazing because it is so far below the waterline in terms of the state swing.

  6. According to the ABC, the LNP are only 50 votes ahead of the KAP in Thuringowa.

    Labor have also pulled ahead slightly in Mackay (now 265 votes ahead) and Bulimba (now 158), the LNP’s lead has extended in Yeerongpilly (now 351 votes), and Maryborough has hardly any change in the LNP lead.

  7. Hmm. If Thuringowa goes KAP way by a whisker, then I wouldn’t worry about summons/fines if there was unauthorised material. It will be a nuggety question for the Court of Disputed Returns if the LNP loses.

    Nuggety because if the ultimate material was the ALP’s (re)considered preference decision, then there is no breach of the substantive rule against dodgy HTV cards; merely a technical one about authorisation).

  8. I wouldn’t get obsessed quoting the minute movements in Thuringowa. The numbers on the ABC site are based on my preference estimates. The change from Katter’s Australian Party being 61 ahead to 262 behind was entirely due to me changing the formulas. We won’t know the real result until the preference distribution is conducted.

  9. Yes Antony, I just saw your most recent post and have added a clarifiation. I had the idea that the ECQ was conducting an indicative LNP vs KAP count, but I take it this isn’t so?

  10. No they are not. The ECQ are leaving it for the formal distribution of preferences rather than re-handle ballot papers for each polling place. There’s talk of a challenge so I’d imagine the ECQ are doing the count by the rule book which doesn’t give priority to notional counts.

  11. It’s a waste if Labor are going to run a virtual nobody in South Brisbane.
    I agree with Beattie – they should be grooming a potential future leader.
    I wonder if Cameron Dick could be persuaded to change his mind?

  12. TLM – It’s a factional thing apparently. South Brisbane is a left seat and Dick is from the right. Ridiculous.

    The nobody they’ve selected has been coveting the seat for some time by the sounds of things and was earmarked for taking over after Bligh retired. She had better be an amazing performer.

  13. TLM Labor have no chance in South Brisbane so it doesn’t matter who they run.

    Might as well put Easter Bunny up for nomination… everyone loves the Easter Bunny

  14. KAP to win Thuringowa I would think – very speculatively. I looked at the comparison in Beaudesert and Nanango between the primary vote and the “two parties or neither preferred” that the ECQ is showing from about 2/3 of the booths on Saturday night, and tried to “reverse model” the results. They make sense if you assume that nearly all Fundies First prefs go to KAP (their HTVs said so and they’re an obedient lot who do what the priest or pastor says, and besides there was Katter’s homophobic ad), and about half of the Greens and indies (who probably find about half of KAPs policies attractive and the other half repulsive) go to KAP and a few Greens who’d be happy in Liberals for Forests to the LNP, and the rest exhaust. If you apply this to Thuringowa the KAP would still be about 300 behind.

    But then there are the ALP prefs – many more of them in Thuringowa than Beaudesert or Nanango, and we have no history of a poll where they’ve had to choose between an LNP and a Katterite. Most ALP voters are sheep who follow the card (no worse nor better than LNP voters) but there’ll always be a few who decide for themselves. They’ll also be a mixture of those who are attracted to a lot of Katters’s policies and those who find them so repulsive they’d rather make sure the LNP wins, but up North I think there will be more of the former – so let’s say out of 6500 ALP votes 750 to KAP, 250 to LNP and all the rest exhaust. Leaves Todeschini 200 ahead.

    Up to KAP being 300 behind at the 2nd-last count, I’m pretty confident in that. After that, I admit it’s a wildly hunchy guess – but clearly it will all depend on how many ALP voters just follow the ticket (I don’t believe there was any such thing as a “vote 1 Wallace, 2 Todeschini” ticket in circulation unless someone shows me one) and how many make up their own minds. Please send fulsome congratulations and shopping vouchers if I’m right, and forget you ever read this if I’m wrong.

  15. Any idea who the Labor candidate for South Brisbane might be, now that Fraser & Dick have officially ruled themselves out of the running?

    Saw a picture this morning of the 7 Labor MPs sitting around a table – wondering how on earth they can put up any sort of half-decent opposition over the next 3 years? They’ll be relying on Newman & his ministers really stuffing up, I guess.

  16. What happened today was that I received scrutineer information that 70% of Labor’s preferences are exhausting, and of the rest three-quarters are flowing to the Australian Party. Once you factor this in, the LNP win the seat more easily than with my earlier estimate of preferences.

    However, the real result will be revealed next week when preferences are formally distributed.

  17. [What happened today was that I received scrutineer information that 70% of Labor’s preferences are exhausting, and of the rest three-quarters are flowing to the Australian Party.]

    That would put KAP about 270 behind not counting the FFP and GRN preferences.

    I see the report on the 2009 election says:

    [Family First was the only party to promote full preferences in the districts where they had a candidate. The Party gained 48.18% of ‘1 only’ and 47.20% of full preferences. The Greens ‘How To Vote Cards’ promoted ‘1 Only’ however like Family First the ballot papers were split between ‘1 Only’ and full preferences (45.55% and 48.40%).]

    Noting also that the “full preference” votes wouldn’t necessarily follow the HTV card that doesn’t sound too rosy for KAP in terms of their chances of catching up. But it is quite possible that KAP would receive a much better share than any party did in 2009 as FFP voters might see them as much more likeminded than in cases where the choice was only Liberal, Labor, Green.

    Very difficult to find clear and useful information to try to model things on the ECQ site and it does not help that those seats for which there are LNP vs KAP contests typically don’t have FFP candidates, with one exception where the FFP vote is miserable.

    Here’s an article with comments from both candidates:

    [Mr Cox said the final decision “could go either way.”

    “We know when preferences do get counted, Steve will make a gain, but my advisers don’t think he will get close enough to win.”

    But Mr Todeschini remained confident he would become the third elected KAP candidate, once a decision became clearer at the end of the week.

    “I’m told it will be very close, but it anywhere between 200 to 600 votes in my favour. The ratio of my preferences to Sam’s is looking good from the ALP, with Family First and a lot of the Greens as well.”]

    Here’s another one a day later although the TB’s comments about process have already proven to be thoroughly confused before (albeit courtesy of confused LNP sources confusing them)

    [Mr Todeschini said his party had modelled three potential outcomes – one which had him winning by eight votes, one where he won by 78 votes and another where he lost by 160.]

    Notable that the KAP candidate is providing outcomes of modelling (whether these are actually sound or not) while the LNP have at no stage provided anything like that. For all that even KAP don’t seem to know for sure if they are winning or not and we don’t yet know who their crunchers are and whether they know what they’re doing.

    The whole process is far too slow given that at least some other electoral commissions have been able to switch candidate and get a more meaningful indication more quickly when it is reasonably clear that a mistake has been made in the initial selection. On what I’ve seen from ECQ so far I don’t think there’s much point calling for PR in Queensland as I am not convinced they’d be ready for it!

  18. The ABC site has gone back to projecting Labor as only 7 seats, even though it’s still ahead in both Bulimba and Mackay. Don’t know what the issue is there.

  19. @Charles

    Apparently Labor’s lead is fading in Bulimba, it’s estimated to be down to about 50.13% according to Antony’s update on the ABC website. This was due to 49 votes being incorrectly identified as Labor when they were LNP, and have been recounted.

  20. @Von K: Thanks for that. Labor 64 votes ahead, according to Antony’s latest estimate ( ). But his previous post actually answers my question: “the ABC’s computer does not work in whole numbers to make its prediction. It does probability estimates for each seat and on current numbers the two doubtful seats [Bulimba & Mackay] add to just less than 1.5, which rounds down to a total of seven. If Labor increases its margin in either seat the prediction will round back up to eight.”
    There you go – never knew that before.

  21. VK

    Aparently, someone of dubious ethics put an ALP ballot on top of a pile of LNP votes. Will the ALP and their supporter do everything to win at any cost

  22. VK

    Aparently, someone of dubious ethics put an ALP ballot on top of a pile of LNP votes. Will the ALP and their supporter do everything to win at any cost

  23. Movement at the station!

    is now showing a 2CP KAP vs LNP with the following figures:

    Todeschini (KAP) 8,557
    Cox (LNP) 8,777
    Exhaust 4,982

    This is off primaries of

    KAP 7,666
    GRN 860
    FFP 660
    ALP 6,849
    LNP 8,981

    However the Notional preference count includes 15 booths of 22 cf the primary count that includes 21 booths of 22. The difference between the two counts is 2600 votes total.

  24. Alas for GeeWizz, latest figures are Cox 9870 to Todeschini 9337 and it looks like only the 1235 prepolls are undistributed so that’s looking pretty much like game over.

    Labor lead in Bulimba currently 102 (looks like prepolls and absents still undistributed); LNP now 308 up in Maryborough.

  25. I’ve finally added an update. Not sure why the Bulimba 2PP count is stalled, but it looks to me like Labor are in trouble. Their primary vote has gone down 0.4% since election night, when they led by only 83 votes on 2PP, while the LNP has held firm. If the Greens preferences behave in late counting as they did on election night, Labor will lose by about 170 votes.

  26. I’m surprised it’s so close. Di is popular in the electorate, but I suppose this election has shown popularity means nothing if the baseball bats are out.

    Both her and Aaron were outside Wollies in the Oxford St shopping strip a week or so before the election. Someone was always approaching to and talking with Di. She was being bubbly.

    No-one was approaching Aaron. He looked bored and glum – trying to keep himself busy on his mobile.

    What a difference an election makes. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *