South Brisbane by-election live

# % Swing 2PP (proj.) Swing
McKenzie (IND) 318 1.8%
Panorea (DSP) 662 3.7%
McCreery (FFP) 237 1.3%
Bragg (GRN) 3,602 20.3% 2.3%
Grehan (LNP) 6,549 36.9% -1.2% 48.1% 2.7%
Flenady (IND) 171 1.0% -1.0%
Trad (ALP) 5,860 33.0% -5.9% 51.9% -2.7%
Wardrop (KAP) 368 2.1% -1.2%
TOTAL 17,767
Booths counted 18 out of 18
Votes counted 57.6% of enrolled voters

Late Saturday. I’ve finally added the last two Labor two-party figures, from their strong booths of West End and St Francis, and they have added 1% to the Labor result and brought my figures into line with Antony Green’s. There has also been a second batch of 646 pre-poll votes added, which had the Greens about 4% higher and the LNP about 4% lower than the first batch. My guess is that the first batch came from the Woolloongabba office and the second from the Brisbane CBD office. Unlike the polling booth results, these haven’t come yet with two-party results, but when they do they should cut about 100 from Labor’s 822 vote lead. Presumably that’s it for pre-polls, which should leave about 2000 postals plus a couple of dozen odds and sods, which will need to split implausibly heavily to the LNP (approaching 70-30) to trouble Labor’s lead.

8.34pm. Perhaps I spoke too soon just now – a few more two-party results have dragged Labor’s lead back below 1%.

8.32pm. The last two primary vote results are in. The few remaining two-party results (four booths) are unlikely to make much of a change to the current projection, and I won’t be adding them until later. Nobody would be conceding defeat this evening, but I certainly am expecting Labor to hang on. Before I go, another pointer to an interesting aspect of the rate of exhausted preferences, which has gone from 36.7% to over 50%.

8.01pm. West End and Stones Corner have reported: the former gave Labor a fillip, but the latter took some of it back again.

7.52pm. Still to report: West End, far the electorate’s biggest booth at 2759 at the election; another West End booth, St Francis, 1704 votes; and smaller Brisbane and Stones Corner, 376 and 771 respectively.

7.50pm. Two-party results coming in at a fairly rapid clip, nudging the Labor lead down slightly. Four booths remaining to report primary votes, each one very important.

7.44pm. Big Kangaroo Point booth’s preferences added. Not much regional variation to speak of in the swing.

7.42pm. Three more booths in. I was a bit worried by the discrepancy between my result and Antony’s, but his projection seems to be coming into line with mine.

7.38pm. Another south-eastern booth, Thompson Estate, and it’s another 6% drop in the primary vote for Labor. I see Antony Green’s projecting a worse result for Labor than me.
7.31pm. St Ita’s goes against my hypothesis that West End might go easier on Labor, giving the same 4% swing as the rest of the electorate.

7.28pm. Greenslopes yet another booth from the south-east. West End very unrepresented in the count so far.

7.26pm. Greenslopes booth steadies Labor a little.

7.25pm. Coorparoo has reported its preference count, and a relatively good Labor split there means I’ve got them very slightly back in front.

7.16pm. Big hike in exhausted preferences damaging Labor, such that an extra booth’s 2PP numbers puts my projection back at exactly 50-50. Labor also seems to have shed 6% on the primary vote with the LNP more or less steady.

7.14pm. Booths reporting so far are from the “old Labor” south-eastern part of the electorate. As on election night, I expect the more inner city booths will be better for Labor, improving their position as the evening progresses. Just supposition at this stage though.

7.11pm. Annerley Junction, Kangaroo Point and Dutton Park now added. Picture now is of a swing to Labor, but not quite enough for them to lose, with two quirky results in PA (very good for Labor) and Coorparoo (very good for LNP). Two booths now in on 2PP.

7.09pm. Bad results for Labor from Coorparoo now has me projecting the LNP in front. Annerley not as bad for them: 3.2% swing rather than 13.7%.

7.01pm. I’m leaving it out of my calculation for now because there are too few votes, but the PA booth’s two-party count suggests a big increase in exhausted preferences: from 37% to nearly 50%.

6.54pm. Second booth reports (Mater Hospital), and it cancels out the other booth’s swing by going 3.3% the other way.

6.50pm. Antony Green calculates a 7% swing in PA booth, which is higher than mine. Still splitting hairs over not very much at this stage though.

6.47pm. 689 pre-polls added, and compared with the election pre-poll total they show a big swing to the LNP – but this mean that they may come from an LNP-friendly polling location. I am only using booth results to project primary vote swings and the 2PP, to the current numbers are still based purely on the PA booth.

6.35pm. Tiny P.A. booth (156 votes) swings 4% to Labor. Labor steady, Greens up a bit, LNP well down.

6pm. Welcome to the Poll Bludger’s live coverage of the South Brisbane by-election count. I might also throw in the odd comment about the Brisbane council as well, and I encourage discussion of both events in comments. As results come in, as they should start to do a bit before 7pm, the table above will display the raw numbers and percentages of votes counted; primary vote swings obtained by comparing the booths which have reported with the same booths at the election; and a two-party result and swing likewise obtained by booth-matching. Until the first two-party preferred results are reported (and they generally lag about half an hour behind the primary votes), the preference distribution from the election will be applied: 49% to Labor, 14% to the LNP and 37% exhausted. When such results become available, the preference split will be calculated and projected across the primary vote results of all booths where two-party results have yet to be reported.

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.

79 comments on “South Brisbane by-election live”

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  1. Graham Orr,
    A much less palatable result for Queensland at Homebush tonight. Did you enjoy that 0-8 penalty count from the 16th minute? Great effort IMHO.

  2. [but to me there is a big difference between each shadow minister having responsibility for 5 ministries or for 4. I don’t think it is really possible for most people to thoroughly address the issues in more than 3-4 without having some things slip through.]

    I doubt it makes much difference. Very few people have the organisational skill and the ability to process either effectively. If the corpus of knowledge is closely related, you might manage 2-3 things — but even then it’s going to be a bit superficial, and of course your time to respond will be very limited.

    In practice, few people are going to be paying attention to the opposition whether it has 6 or 7 or even a dozen members. They might pay slightly more attention if they were saying something paradigmatically different and situating a critique within that — 2 years from now. But simply looking like some relatively competent and engaged outsider able to better manage him or herself than the relevant minister is not going to win much ground while people are still scandalised by the last regime — and especially while the Murdochracy is backing the new regime.

    The ALP needs to reinvent itself as a party based around issues of equity and social justice and inclusion in order to build a base from which it can make being “good managers” pertinent.

    Your average RW/apolitical isn’t bothered by the gig the ALP has been handed. Right now they are just thinking that they were a bunch of sleazy incompetents, and until they begin royally stuffing up from a RW perspective, they aren’t going to be listening to anyone else. Nothing short of that will fracture the Murdoch-centred consensus.

    The ALP would be far better served focusing purely on fixing its own internal processes and policies — defining a core constituency that they can hold against the LNP through tough times and aggressively courting it. In the end, unless you have that core, the marginals will never come because you don’t bring the possibility of government to the table in the deal.

  3. I’m a Gabba resident, so I was worried about Cr. Abrahams. But not only did she come out okay, she ended up with a swing to her and 59.76% 2PP.

    The difference between her and Jackie Trad is that locals know the councillor; she’s hardworking and part of the “community”, while few people would have heard of Ms. Trad before the election. Even in Kangaroo Point (the most Liberal booth of the ward) she scored 44% 2PP; in West End she got 70%

    Fran: the ALP got hammered in Central, as in “no actual booths were the ALP in front or either first preference or 2PP” hammered.

  4. [Fran: the ALP got hammered in Central, as in “no actual booths were the ALP in front or either first preference or 2PP” hammered.]

    I’m unclear on your point here. I certainly wouldn’t have been giving the ALP a preference either, had I been qualified to vote there.

  5. Fran: what’s my point? Once upon a time, as long ago as 2007, Central Brisbane was quite a safe area for the ALP. When Peter Beattie quit the Qld. electoral district of Central Brisbane, the LNP didn’t even bother to contest the by-election. Now it is owned by them. That’s my point.

  6. (To remove any point of confusion: “Central Brisbane” is an Qld. electoral district, and “Central” is a ward of the Brisbane City Council. Beattie was MLA for Central Brisbane, while his wife tried to become Councillor for Central. They’re not the same thing, but they cover roughly the same area, and the same factors are at work.)

  7. [Once upon a time, as long ago as 2007, Central Brisbane was quite a safe area for the ALP.]

    Well that either shows how badly the ALP has decomposed its coinstituency, or that its constituency has fragmented and/or gone elsewhere. Perhaps they treated it like one of those fabled “rotten boroughs” of yore.

    If they are anything like the Sussex St crowd, it doesn’t surprise me.

  8. If one is an ALP member, perhaps one should consider what they got right. There were three sitting ALP members that got swings to themselves: Milton Dick in Richlands got 16.1%. That’s some mojo.

    If one is a Green member, perhaps one should lift their game in marketing one’s party. There’s at least 6 or 7 wards where they got above 15 on primary. Yet at times there seemed to be more advertising for the Daylight Savings Party. Seriously, Walter Taylor should be able to be a Green pickup: it’s got the University of Queensland in it, for god’s sake.

  9. It’s tough when people see governance as essentially a plebiscite. Nobody, Greens included, thinks we are going to lead a government any time soon. Poeple tend to vote for those they think might.

    Also, in the case of The Greens, at local level, we always look a lot more like resident action groups. The brand is of fairly marginal use.

    If we were able to threaten at state level, our local campaigns would work far better. Of course, the structure of elections precludes that absolutely.

    That all said — 20% or so is still pretty good.

  10. If we were able to threaten at state level, our local campaigns would work far better. Of course, the structure of elections precludes that absolutely.

    With an attitude like that, the Greens will never win an election in Queensland. As an alternative, I humbly suggest you try for victory.

  11. [With an attitude like that, the Greens will never win an election in Queensland. As an alternative, I humbly suggest you try for victory.]

    Silly. The reality is that you can’t win elections without either the benefit of factors outside your control or positive profile. For the latter you need mass media. You don’t get that unless you are seen as getting things done. You get things done by being in or near government.

    We Greens could get 20% in every electorate in Qiueensland and not get within a bull’s roar of a seat in parliament. Yet on those numbers we ought to have 17-18 seats and be in a position to affect policy and move from being nice in principle to relevant in practice.

  12. (Roy Boy @ 52. As a former Qlder for Sth Sydney it was a joy to hear the Rabbitohs stern survived a refereeing iceberg.)

  13. Down & Out in Saigon –

    I recognise that hard work by individuals on the ground can make a significant difference (hence why you are right to point to Labor’s results in Richlands and also Moorooka). But “marketing” is also a matter of money, and the sort of money needed to be visible to the average voter can’t be raised in the space of 5 weeks after a state election, let alone with an important by-election happening at exactly the same time in an area which is strong for the Greens. The Greens will never raise the sort of money for a Council poll to match the mega-billboards and TV adverts of ALP and LNP, but you are right to point out that some visible presence is valuable.

    Marketing also requires an an audience, and in effect the “audience” wasn’t there until the state election was finished, and even after that there was a lower level of interest than usual due to the proximity to the fairly feisty state poll.

    I’m not trying to sugar coat the result from the Greens perspective – there are plenty of things the party could have done better, including from their Mayoral candidate. But whilst the party is growing, it is only so big and in effect had to run the campaign from close to a standing start just 5 weeks out (and with the key by-election also consuming money, energies and focus).

    Despite that, the Greens vote went up over 2% citywide, which is as big a swing as the LNP got, while Labor’s went down. That occurred with 5 fewer candidates running at Ward level, compared to the previous election. And there were some gains at Ward level, includng Walter Taylor, Pullenvale, Central.

    I’m not suggesting this result was a stellar result for the Greens which should be celebrated through the ages, but in the context of a continuing swing to the LNP (and pro-developer candidates in some surround Councils) and continuing decline in the ALP vote, the Greens went upwards despite a campaign involving minimal resources and time.

  14. Central Brisbane is in transition between old low cost housing (including hostels) to high rise apartment developments for wealthy professionals and retirees. Not surprising its getting more difficult for Labor to win. Don’t anyone get too excited about this!

  15. ajm: Yes that’s true – some very rapid demographic changes have occurred (a different seat, but just look at the differences between Kangaroo Point booth now compared to 15 years ago)

    Still, that only explains some of it. Rapid demographic change has run alongside rapid change in how voters identify themselves.

    The change has been rapid, but it also remains fluid – so the prospect of further sizeable shifts is also there; for better or for worse.

  16. Let me just take this moment to belatedly express my shock and happiness at Peter Wellington keeping his seat. Maybe there’s still hope for Labor-leaning independents after all. 🙂

  17. Andrew and Fran: I would agree that five weeks is too short a time to run a campaign; getting the vote you did on such a limited budget should be applauded. But what about three years? A statement like “the structure of elections precludes that absolutely” is not realism, but fatalism. That’s what I’m criticizing.

  18. It’s a simple reality D&O that the single member system massively privileges parties with geographically concentrated support. Equally, given that state government is largely about local service delivery rather than broad public policy, parties that are seen as governing parties have massive advantages over those who are not. You only have to look at the Katter vote to see that.

    We Greens can talk a lot about better public transport, sustainable housing development and blocking uncontrolled development, about accountability and protecting some piece of local bushland and many will nod in approval. Yet if they know for sure we aren’t going close to winning they are going to back a party that can. That’s why many of those abandoning the ALP went straight to the LNP or Katter. They wanted to vote for someone who could win.

  19. Latest 2CP results (Monday morning)

    South Brisbane (22 of 23 booths counted)
    TRAD, Jackie ALP 8,664 51.78
    GREHAN, Clem LNP 8,067 48.22
    Exhausted 2,949

  20. It would help if your Qld leadership were someone other than Drew Hutton, the man who put the Borbidge government in power, and Andrew Bartlett, an intelligent man but probably the most boring politician in recent history.

  21. The kinds of people who would vote for us aren’t concerned with how boring our spokespeople are, or, within reason, what they were doing a decade ago. They are interested in how well we can articulate and advance key Greens ideas in practice.

    Our ex-leader, Bob Brown was a fabulous fellow. He was an educated, deeply thoughtful, articulate, generous, honest and ethical man — but he had a rather monotonous droning voice — a bit like the stereotypic village parson. That didn’t stop him from being admired even by people unsympathetic to Green politics. What he had to say was more important and uplifting than the tone in which he delivered it.

  22. 72

    I would think that Senator Larissa Waters (as far as I am aware, the only Green ever elected anywhere in Qld) would be one of the (if not the) highest profile Green in Qld.

    While it is never a good idea good idea to put the tories in power, it could be argued that the 1995 Queensland election (like the 2010 Victorian Election) was the one to loose for the ALP, to be followed, after a single term, by a return to government.

    It would also help the Qld Greens if there was proportional representation somewhere at state and/or local level in Qld.

  23. @71

    I’d be really surprised if Trad doesn’t get home safely from here. That said, she’s precisely the kind of candidate that the ALP does not need; tied to the Bligh government, and with a too “glossy” public profile that has been polished within an inch of its life by spin doctors.

    On the topic of local government elections, in a bright spot for common sense, it looks like Allan Sutherland has kept the overtly LNP-linked Chapman/Whiting ticket out of power in the MBRC (which is the third biggest local government area in Australia), so it’s not all bad news. And as much as I dislike the LNP, well done to Quirk on running a sensible campaign, he appears far more personable and reasonable than Newman was, and I hope he does well.

  24. Wards Labor won, with margins and swings:

    Northgate 0.8 (-0.7)
    Wynnum Manly 1.6 (-7.4)
    Deagon 6.3 (-1.6)
    Morningside 6.6 (-5.0)
    The Gabba 8.9 (+6.1)
    Moorooka 11.1 (+7.0)
    Richlands 20.2 (+16.2)

    These roughly correspond to the state seats of Nudgee, Lytton, Sandgate, Bulimba, South Brisbane, Yeerongpilly and Inala; Labor only won two of those. Strange to think of Yeerongpilly being safer than South Brisbane on BCC figures… that councillor must’ve been doing something right.

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