Call of the board: part one

Short and sharp reflections on some of the more interesting electorate results, starting with New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

What follows is a brief overview of the results in electorates I felt worth commenting on for one reason or another, together with projections of state vote shares based on ordinary votes results (which are not quite fully accounted for in the count, but close enough to it) and the extent to which postals, pre-polls and absent votes shifted the totals in 2010. New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory are covered herein, with the others to follow.

New South Wales

		%	Swing	Projection
Coalition	47.3	+2.6	47.2
Labor		34.9	-2.8	34.5
Greens		7.7	-2.2	8.1
Palmer United	4.3
Others		5.8

Two-party preferred

Coalition	54.2	+3.2	54.3
Labor		45.8	-3.2	45.7

Banks. The 3.3% swing which ousted Daryl Melham was almost exactly equal to the state total, which followed an 8.9% swing in 2010. An increase in the number of candidates from four to nine restricted the Liberal primary vote gain to 1.7% and contributed to a halving of the Greens vote, down from 9.6% to 4.7%.

Barton. The seat vacated by former Attorney-General Robert McClelland is going down to the wire, the 6.9% margin exactly matched by the swing on ordinary votes. This was the second biggest swing against Labor in Sydney after Macquarie. Barton was another seat that witnessed a dramatic proliferation of candidates, from three to eight, with the five minor party and independent newcomers collectively drawing 11.3%. The Liberals nonetheless increased their primary vote slightly, the balance coming off Labor and the Greens.

Blaxland. Reports on the eve of the election suggested Labor had grave fears for Jason Clare’s hold on Paul Keating’s old seat, despite its 12.2% margin. This proved entirely unfounded, with Labor up 5.4% on the primary vote and holding steady on two-party preferred.

Charlton. For some reason, the seat vacated by Greg Combet gave the Palmer United Party what was comfortably its highest vote in New South Wales at 11.3% (UPDATE: Frickeg in comments reminds me the belated disendorsement of the Liberal candidate probably had something to do with it). The party’s second best showing in the state was 7.8% in neighbouring Hunter. That aside, Combet’s departure did not cause any disturbance to Labor, the two-party swing being slightly below the state average.

Dobell. Craig Thomson managed 4.0%, which was at least better than Peter Slipper and contributed to a double-digit drop in the Labor primary vote, their worst such result in the state. Also contributing was former test cricketer Nathan Bracken, running as an independent with the backing of John Singleton, who managed 8.3%. The Liberal primary vote was up slightly, and its 5.9% swing on two-party preferred adequate to account for the 5.5% margin.

Eden-Monaro. Mike Kelly appeared to be well placed early in the count, but the larger and later reporting booths, including those in Queanbeyan, tended to swing more heavily. Kelly is presently sitting on a swing of 4.8%, enough to account for his 4.4% margin barring late count peculiarities and maintain Eden-Monaro’s cherished bellwether record. This was higher than the state average, part of a pattern in which swings in the state’s regions were actually slightly higher than in Sydney, contrary to all expectations.

Fowler. After all the hype about Labor’s looming collapse in western Sydney, a seat in that very area produced the most anomalous swing of the election in Labor’s favour. The 9.0% swing to Chris Hayes was 12.2% above the statewide par for Labor, and was fuelled by an 11.2% drop in the Liberal primary vote and swings approaching 20% in Cabramatta, the very area the Liberals had hoped to target by picking a Vietnamese candidate in Andrew Nguyen. However, look at the seat’s behaviour over longer range suggests this to have been a correction after an anomalous result in 2010, when Liberal candidate Thomas Dang slashed the Labor margin by 13.8% and picked up swings ranging from 16.5% to 23.1% in the Cambramatta booths.

Gilmore. The south coast seat was one of three in New South Wales to swing to Labor, presumably on account of the retirement of long-serving Liberal member Joanna Gash. Her successor, Ann Sudmalis, has emerged with 2.6% remaining of a 5.3% margin.

Grayndler. The Greens vote fell only modestly, by 1.2% to 22.8%, but it looks enough to have cost them a second place they attained for the first time in 2010. With primary votes generally fairly static, the change in Liberal preferencing policy would presumably have inflicted a hefty two-party swing if they had made the final count.

Hunter. Joel Fitzgibbon was down 10.1% on the primary vote, and while this was partly on account of the Palmer United Party’s second best performance in the state, he also suffered Labor’s biggest two-party swing in the state at 8.9%.

Kingsford Smith. One of a number of pieces of saved furniture for Labor in Sydney, Kingsford Smith turned in a largely status quo result in Peter Garrett’s absence, outgoing Senator Matt Thistlethwaite easily defending a 5.2% margin against a swing of 1.9%.

Lindsay. The swing that unseated David Bradbury was slightly on the high side for Sydney at 3.5%, more than accounting for a margin of 1.1% without meeting the more fevered expectations of a western Sydney disaster.

Macarthur. Liberal sophomore Russell Matheson picked up the second biggest two-party Coalition swing in New South Wales, up 6.8% on the primary vote and 8.4% on two-party preferred.

Page. The expectation that Labor would perform better in regional New South Wales than in Sydney was most strikingly defied in Page, where Janelle Saffin unexpectedly fell victim to a 7.2% swing.

Parramatta. Julie Owens’ seat produced a fairly typical result for Sydney in swinging 3.4% to the Liberals, which hasn’t been enough to account for the 4.4% margin. (UPDATE: I speak too soon. In keeping with a general trend of late counting away from Labor, postal votes are flowing heavily to the Liberals and putting Owens at very serious risk.)

Robertson. As expected, the seat Deborah O’Neill did well to retain in 2010 with a margin of 1.0% was an early election night casualty for Labor, the swing of 4.0% being perfectly typical for non-metropolitan New South Wales.

Throsby. Gary “Angry” Anderson managed 10.5% as candidate of the Nationals, nearly doubling the party’s vote from 2010 despite the number of candidates being up from five to 11. The Greens conversely were well down, by 6.5% to 5.3%.

Werriwa. Frequently written off during the campaign, Laurie Ferguson is set to retain about 2.2% of his 6.8% margin from 2010.


		%	Swing	Projection
Coalition	45.3	-1.9	45.5
Labor		30.1	-3.9	29.7
Greens		6.1	-4.7	6.2
Palmer United	11.3
Others		7.2

Two-party preferred

Coalition	56.0	+1.1	56.3
Labor		44.0	-1.1	43.7

Blair. One Labor MP with good cause to feel glad about Kevin Rudd’s return was Shayne Neumann, who picked up a 1.4% two-party swing and held firm on the primary vote in the face of 12.8% vote for the Palmer United Party. Here as elsewhere in Queensland, the Greens crashed in the absence of the Kevin Rudd protest vote in 2010, dropping 6.9% to 4.2%.

Brisbane. While Labor had much to be relieved about in Queensland, its high hopes for recovering Brisbane were not realised, with Liberal National Party member Teresa Gamabaro up 1.8% on the primary vote, Labor steady. A 6.9% drop in the Greens vote to 14.3%, coming off Andrew Bartlett’s high-profile campaign in 2010, produced a significantly weaker flow of preferences to Labor.

Capricornia. The central Queensland seat vacated by Kirsten Livermore is going down to the wire after a heavy 8.9% drop in the Labor primary vote. This was mostly down to the competition from the Palmer and Katter parties, the former outscoring the latter 7.9% to 5.3%. With the Liberal National Party vote little changed, Labor suffered a 4.4% swing on ordinary votes off a margin of 4.6%.

Fairfax. Clive Palmer seems to be fighting to hold on to a 1411 against a strong trend in late counting towards Liberal National Party candidate Ted O’Brien. However, O’Brien’s current vote count looks to have been inflated by a discrepancy you can read about here. As things stand, the key to Palmer’s potential victory is his clear success in outpolling Labor 27.3% to 18.1% on ordinary votes, with LNP candidate Ted O’Brien’s 41.0% below the safety zone with Labor and Greens preferences flowing strongly against him.

Fisher. With Palmer United Party candidate Bill Schoch apparently primed to overtake Labor on preferences, despite trailing them 21.0% to 18.3% on the primary vote, Mal Brough’s 43.8% share of the vote was an uncomfortably long distance from the 50% mark. Nonetheless, Brough appears to be gaining about a quarter of the overall preferences on offer, enough to get him over the line with a few per cent to spare.

Griffith. Kevin Rudd suffered Labor’s equal biggest swing in Queensland of 5.2%, with Bill Glasson’s 5.9% lift on the primary vote the second highest achieved by an LNP candidate.

Kennedy. Bob Katter emerged a big loser of election night with a 17.1% slump in his primary vote, reducing him to 29.5%. Liberal National Party candidate Noeline Ikin was the beneficiary of a 14.0% spike that put her well in front on the primary vote count with 40.6%, but preferences are flowing solidly enough to Katter to leave him with a margin slightly below 3%.

Leichhardt. There was strong movement to Labor in Aboriginal communities, doubtless reflecting the background of Labor candidate Billy Gordon. This briefly created the illusion of a potential Labor victory as the first booth-matched results came through on election night, but that was negated by a strong performance by LNP member Warren Entsch in Cairns and the electorate’s rural areas.

Lilley. The 1.6% swing against Wayne Swan was well in line with the statewide norm, and if anything a little above it. Given the pre-election publicity though, Swan’s success in retaining almost all of his 2010 primary vote was among the results that lifted Labor’s spirits on an otherwise grim evening.

Petrie. Kevin Rudd’s election night boast of having defended all of Labor’s Queensland seats to the contrary, it appears that Yvette d’Ath has been unseated by a swing of 3.0% on the ordinary votes, compared with her pre-election margin of 2.5%.

Northern Territory

		%	Swing	Projection
Coalition	41.2	+0.8	41.6
Labor		38.3	-0.2	37.7
Greens		7.7	-5.0	7.9
Palmer United	4.6
Others		8.2

Two-party preferred

Coalition	49.7	+0.9	50.1
Labor		50.3	-0.9	49.9

Lingiari. As usual, swings in the extra-Darwin Northern Territory electorate were all over the shop, the general picture being of a slight swing to Labor in remote communities blunting the swing against Labor to 2.7%, short of Warren Snowdon’s 3.7% margin. This followed a 2010 result which delivered huge swings to the Country Liberal Party in remote communities but partly balanced them out with strong swings to Labor in the major centre, specifically Alice Springs.

Solomon. Natasha Griggs, who unseated Labor’s Damien Hale in 2010, notably failed to enjoy a sophomore surge, Solomon delivering a rare 0.7% swing to Labor to reduce the CLP margin to 0.9%.

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.

1,311 comments on “Call of the board: part one”

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  1. BK
    So you will be on A380? Loved that plane Qantas and Malaysian have economy seats up on top deck not sure about Emirates but hear wonderful reports about Emirates service.

  2. BK

    Emirates A380 has no economy upstairs (they are the only airline flying the A380 who don’t, so far as I know). Best seats are bulkhead ones (no seats in front of you) but you often have a galley or toilets etc close to you which may be a nuisance. Be aware also that Emirates have 2 different configurations of its A380. Seatguru is good, as Mari said, as it has the facility for you to put in your flight number and it will tell you what sort of aircraft you are on.

    I’ve said it before but it is worth repeating – many thanks for your précis of the morning’s news It saves me a lot of time. 🙂

    Have a great trip when you go.

  3. BK – have a great time in Ireland. Hope the weather holds up – unlike last night’s cricket in England.

    Never been there though I have many ancestors who were forced out after potato famine.

    May the result in Indi be your going-away gift! And I see mari is encouraging many other “coming-back” gifts!

  4. Just had a great few days in Barcelona, topped by todays Catalunya Day celebrations. What a glorious city, incredible archictecture, history … Tipped me lid to George Orwell in Plaza George Orwell, and had a quiet moment in Filep Nero Sq where 45 people died from bombing by that thug Franco. Best of all the genorous and friendly Catalan people. They are suffering from the austerity measures with 20% unemployment and their ambo drivers are on strike protesting at a 9% wage cut. Think its tough in Oz … You are dreaming.

  5. Rocket Rocket 12

    Try and get there sometime a lovely country although it rained the whole time (7days) I was there
    Also endorse the going away present! Me encouraging coming back gifts never :devil:

    BTW Think last night’s and this mornings so far PB has been the most enjoyable and informative for weeks and weeks. Why? Notice absence of certain bloggers names 🙂

  6. Spanish workers had a 9% wage cut in 2011 as well, after a decade of no wage increases. Imagine what family life is like in Spain when your adult children in their thirties have to remain at home relying on family to feed and clothe them, because half of them are unemployed

  7. Morning all

    [Senator Conroy, a fierce supporter of former prime minister Julia Gillard, said the party’s leadership needs to be resolved quickly.
    He said the Coalition are “getting away with murder” while Labor’s leadership remains in a vacuum.
    “We’ve got no leader, no frontbench, no shadow spokespersons who are able to lead the debate for us, and this will descend into complete and utter farce,” he said.
    “We have a situation where the US might bomb Syria [and] we have no official party spokesman, we have no leader.
    “These new rules were a farce when they were put in place – rules that have left us helpless.”]

    Labor had better get their collective shit together asap

    Was wondering where you were enjoy yourself

    Plus BILLIE

    You are both correct re Spain it is a very sad country, I was told not to go out at night by myself in June

  9. Morning all.

    Barnett has likely misled parliament over this, and I hope the opposition go hard on him on him for it. Of course the notion of transparency only matters to Liberals when it’s a Labor govt.

    [The State Government decided last October to take $140 million of dividends out of the Insurance Commission of WA – and booked that revenue in the State’s accounts – but never publicly spelled out that policy change until after the March State election.

    A law to allow the Government to take up to 65 per cent of ICWA’s profits was rushed into Parliament in June as one of the first pieces of legislation in the Barnett Government’s second term.]

  10. As for last night on PB – in the words of US Politicians, I clearly “misspoke” about doctors as politicians.

    I remember talking to Brendan Nelson near the end of 2000 about his role in organising opposition to the NT’s Mandatory Sentencing laws and I was quite impressed about how he and others had basically told John Howard that they would cross the floor over it if nothing was done. At the time I thought “You’ll never be promoted in this Government”, but he was, so good on him.

  11. victoria:

    Best for Labor MPs to vent now, days after the election and get it out of their systems than for it to fester away and emerge at some critical time point in the future.

  12. Trawling through the media speculation re Shorten vs Albo today, it strikes me that all the nonsense put about by Rudd and his henchmen re popularly elected PM, faceless men, etc might have done significant lasting damage to thr ALP’s image.

    There seem to me to be two scenarios: 1) Shorten wins unopposed. “A victory for the faceless men.” 2) a vote in Caucus which, I assume, would have to be followed by a party member ballot. 2) would leave the Party without a leader for a month. And, then, assuming the Caucus and party vote differently (Caucus probably for Shorten and Party probably for Albo) will be portrayed in the media as Labor divided and in disarray.

    And, worst of all, I don’t reckon either Albo or Shorten has what it takes to defeat Abbott.

    There really isn’t anyone to blame for this mess other than Rudd and his key backers like Hawker. I imagine the only consultation that took place about the membership vote idea before Rudd announced it was between Rudd and Hawker.

    By definition, party membership is going to be inclined to pick the candidate who appeals to them over the one that appeals to the wider electorate. From about 1985 onwards, the party membership would have consistently picked Keating over Hawke and this would have put Labor into opposition one or two terms earlier than actually occurred.

    Likewise, many Labor members and supporters adore Albo because he abuses the Libs in Parliament: exactly the sort of behaviour that -shown in short grabs on nightly TV news – led the public to loathe Keating.

    Conroy is 100% right: Rudd announcing suddenly in a knee jerk way that they were going to do this was a joke and a farce.

  13. [David Flint ‏@profdavidflint 1m
    There are no women ALP NSW senators, so if @bobjcarr resigns, Paul Howes has to make only one minor concession to comply with the quota.]

    Ursula Stephens?

  14. Mark Latham:

    Where should the party go from here? In recent months I have written about the structural cancer inside the ALP, the proliferation of union-sponsored sub-factional warlords. These self-important, self-serving apparatchiks have created a caucus of institutionalised instability. There are dozens of them in a party room now reduced to 86 members. To impress their followers, they need things to squabble over, to develop new ways of manipulating the numbers and big-noting themselves publicly.

    While the media saw Labor’s leadership contest through the prism of Rudd’s and Gillard’s personalities, its driving force internally was sub-factional pressure to be on the winning side. If machine men such as Kim Carr, Anthony Albanese, Bill Shorten and Simon Crean had not entertained Rudd’s ambitions, the government would not have imploded.

    Tanya Plibersek was right on Saturday night when she said, “I would give us nine out of ten for governing the country, but none out of ten for governing ourselves.” Labor’s beaten candidate in Forde, Peter Beattie, has said “this election was winnable but the public had had enough of the in-fighting.” Gillard and Rudd didn’t kill the government, the sub-factions did.

    In opposition, nothing will change unless the party changes its rules and culture. The names and personalities no longer matter. The party has made itself ungovernable and unless solutions are found, the public will not allow it to govern the nation. I’ve been making this point for eight years, since the publication of my diaries – a harbinger of the chaos of Labor in government.

    If Rudd’s return is to have any lasting benefit, it must be to see through his call for comprehensive party reform. The rush to blame Gillard/Rudd for Saturday’s loss is a bad sign for the future, the latest in a long series of increasingly delusional excuses as to why the sub-factional system should not be dismantled. It’s a fig-leaf on Labor’s underlying problems.

    Perhaps Tony Abbott’s government will be hopeless and fall over. But if it’s halfway competent it will enjoy a long period in power simply because of the dysfunctionality of its opponents. This is what’s so frustrating about Labor’s decline.

    He makes some very sound points in my view.

  15. An example of why Sophie is about to lose her seat:
    [For motel owners Garry and Josie Swaine, Ms Mirabella’s lack of availability has been a source of angst. Six years ago, the couple promised to adopt Mrs Swaine’s then unborn Filipina niece, to save the girl from being aborted.
    Attempts to adopt her from within Australia proved fruitless, so the couple adopted her in the Philippines, named her Hazel and have spent thousands of dollars on lawyers and failed visa applications to bring her to Australia. They kept trying to get a meeting with their local member.
    “We’ve never been able to get past her secretary,” Mr Swain said.
    “If you can’t even have a conversation with your local member, what chance have you got of being heard further up the chain? We’re not young people. What would 10 minutes of her time cost her?”]

  16. And the mousetrap in all of this is that the more that faction leaders like Conroy attack the member vote system, the more the media will be able to portray the debate in terms of people power vs faceless men.

  17. Morning all. Two quick comments before abusy day.

    First why did Conroy have to open his mouth about Labor’s leadership method and Rudd (again??), rather than focus on who the new leaders will be? Does this man not comprehend the concept of not distracting from the message?

    Conroy has a remarkable combination of ego and genuine lack of intelligence. He is Labor’s answer to Barnaby Joyce?

    Second, this story is very significant economically. It may well be a very good election to win if China’s economy turns around sooner rather than later.

    Finally, BK and Rossmore, I hope you enjoy your holidays. Your timing is excellent.

  18. Latham

    [In opposition, nothing will change unless the party changes its rules and culture. The names and personalities no longer matter. The party has made itself ungovernable and unless solutions are found, the public will not allow it to govern the nation. I’ve been making this point for eight years, since the publication of my diaries – a harbinger of the chaos of Labor in government.
    If Rudd’s return is to have any lasting benefit, it must be to see through his call for comprehensive party reform. The rush to blame Gillard/Rudd for Saturday’s loss is a bad sign for the future, the latest in a long series of increasingly delusional excuses as to why the sub-factional system should not be dismantled. It’s a fig-leaf on Labor’s underlying problems.]

    Yep. Just reinforces what a clueless factional numpty Conroy is.

  19. [The payment was supposed to be $1,000, but the Coalition says it is cutting it to $500 because the cost of the products has come down and it wants to target low income earners]

    whaaa?? it wants low income earners to pay more…that kind of targetting

  20. Socrates. Correct. Conroy should realise that the modern Labor way is to anonymously background the Press Gallery than to come out publicly and put your name to your comments….

  21. Good Morning

    Conroy is wrong. Yes issues are happening. However that is easy fixed. Caucus votes on Friday. Until the membership vote can occur the person elected by caucus can be official spokesperson until membership vote has happened.

    As for Meher Baba’s contention about the base voting for Keating over Hawke. Well so be it. The fact is that maybe Hayden would have been PM not Hawke under membership voting.

    Keating may never have been treasurer and could have been a popular very effective Prime Minister.

    Lots of what if..

    The truth is that it is from Caucus that the leader candidates come.
    Putting the leader position to the party members strengthens it and in no way diminishes it.

    In any party the more democracy the better.

  22. They should just appoint tentative shadow ministers and collectively work out some direction for them before waiting for the leader. How inflexible are ALP rules?

  23. I don’t have a lot of time for Conroy’s complaints.

    There are ways around the problems he identifies.

    So, eg, it seems like it should be simple enough for the pre-existing team, as much as possible, to stay on in acting roles to be spokespeople for their relevant portfolios until the new leadership is resolved.

    Albo could be acting leader (seeing as he was deputy, and Kevin has resigned) until relevant ballots are completed.

    For “missing” portfolios, MPs can just be assigned by Albo to pick these up for the next little while.

    As for the potential membership ballot itself – it is a shame that this is all having to be resolved in the current atmosphere, but they will just have to make do.

    Personally I think they should end up with an electronic ballot of some sort so it can be a very quick exercise if necessary – faffing about with postal ballots or organizing meetings is just going to make the process even more painful.

    I hope they stick with members having input into the leadership even if it is a bit messy – it necessarily dilutes, and is seen to dilute, factional control and does provide some point to being/becoming a member.

    For now, given there hasn’t been any official rule change, maybe they should just go for the pre-existing caucus-only election method and get it out of the way for now with some strong public commitment to bringing it in with National Conference approval down the track.

    Most of Rudd’s proposed party reform was junk, but this part has merit.

  24. confessions

    No votes to be counted still in thousands.

    AEC has advised according to McGowan on 24 this morning no result until at least next Friday.

    Then of course there will be legal action.

  25. Either

    Caucus needs to negotiate a mandate for a leader until the next election OR appoint an interim leader( probably Albo as deputy) until the new process is done.
    THEN they need to fall behind that leader and STFU about leadershit UNTIL THE NEXT ELECTION. Hopefully the new rules enforce this but they have to break out of the historical poison of the whiteanting loser.

  26. It is to be hoped that Albo doesn’t run for LOTO and that Labor can quickly unite behind Shorten. There is no long-term harm in a bit of venting at this stage – eruddication is a necessary but not sufficient step to renewal. And eruddication will take time.

    Shorten should demonstrate leadership by publicly accepting a diversity of views in respect of the carbon pricing repeal legislation. He should note that Hunt has set out a time-line that includes “consultion”. The point should be made that it was a pity the LNP did not consult as part of the multiparty committee that produced the carbon pricing legislation. The further point should be made that it is to be hoped that in consulting Hunt will re-recognise that an ETS market based price is the best solution and be able to convince his party to follow his academic paper on the subject. Finally he should make it clear that Labor will never support the Direct Action policy that the LNP took to the election as it is a complete fraud in achieving emission reduction targets and a complete waste of money. And then he should take Champion and Marles behind a shed and beat the shite out of their silly posturing bodies.

  27. Right. So apparently we should stick with a series of rules which were forced on the party undemocratically and against the party rules and do so without question just to maintain a united front – which seems a bit pointless when we don’t have anything to unite behind anyway.

    In the name of giving branch members ‘real power’ we should approve retrospectively of their only ‘real power’ at present – their voice at Conference – being removed arbitrarily.

    Rudd’s ‘reforms’ weren’t the result of consultation with anybody. Some of them are simply silly. They were not approved by the party as a whole, and caucus should overturn them, with the new leader committing themselves to genuine consultation with branch members over party reform.

    Perhaps the best way forward is for the new leader to commit to initiating a spill once the new rules are in place (whatever form they take), thus providing stability in the short term and the promise of genuine reform in the longer term.

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