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. [#WASenate If RUI out polls SPRT and WikiLeaks out Poll AJP then 2 LIB 2 ALP and 1 LDP are elected. Greens miss out. Fold up at work

    Try excluding SPRT before RUI and then AJP before WIKILEAKS. Count the vote and the results change

    This highlights the flaws in the way the vote is folded up, segmentation and the calculation of the surplus transfer value]

    I got that you don’t like the maths last election, but are you saying Louise has a good chance or no?

  2. Looks like the final Tasmanian Senate seat has flipped from Palmer United to Liberal.

    That makes it:
    34 LNP
    25 ALP
    10 Green
    Dem Labour
    Lib Dem
    Family First
    Aus Motoring Enthusiast
    Aus Sports Party

    The LNP need 5 of 7 to pass
    The ALP needs 3 of 7 to block

  3. Mod Lib: Kevin Bonham and Antony Green have both written about why that’s misleading, and if I knew how to do links I would link to them. Basically they say that PUP is still likely (but not certain) to win that seat. Kevin Bonham does raise the amusing possibility of a freak Sex Party victory, though.

  4. I like our new senate paradigm

    Why are lefties whinging and demanding senate reform just because minor parties are getting a go for once?

    The only reform I think is worthy is rather than listing all the candidates for every party on the senate paper they move to just a simplified senate paper listing only the party names with optional preferential voting(fill out as many boxes with numbers as you want)

  5. [Looks like the final Tasmanian Senate seat has flipped from Palmer United to Liberal.]

    Shame seemed that girl would have added a lot another liberal wont.

  6. [I think D@W is telling us that neither the Greens nor the Sports guy will get up in WA. Instead it will be Labor (Pratt) and the LDP.]

    Go Louise – I didn’t number the 62 boxes for nothing then.

  7. Psephos @ 1254: I wonder if there have been any others in Australia? Ramanujan was made an FRS and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge without a degree.

  8. Hmmm, well I have read Kevin Bonham’s bit now, hadn’t before, and I see what he is saying. This one is too close to call, but I am barracking for a Sex Party win as there last ad was a hoot.

    Good night all, beauty sleep calling.

  9. I have a serious question here: If Shorten becomes Labor Leader, could there be a genuine push for Abbott to replace Bryce as Governor-General, due to conflict of interest?

    I know there had been accusations while Shorten was a minister but that was slightly different than him being alternative PM. Sounds trivial but what if there is some sort of constitutional crisis or hung parliament situation? Thoughts? (Preferably ones that aren’t conspiracy theories)

  10. [Because nobody voted for them.]

    Hi William.

    We both know how the senate preferencing system works.

    One way to look at it is that some guy with very few votes got up due to preferences with many other smaller parties, meaning that the major parties who got many more primary votes missed out.

    But I don’t agree with this. The reality is that a minor party with hardly any votes won because enough voters, more than the total sum of one of the majors, voted specifically NOT to vote for a major party.

    So the question has to be asked, does the total sum of the minors vote really outweigh the sum of one major parties total vote?

    And the answer would have to be yes if you believe in one person, one vote and all that jazz.

  11. The problem is not with preferences or minor vs major parties, but that people aren’t actually getting what they think they voted for.

  12. [But I don’t agree with this. The reality is that a minor party with hardly any votes won because enough voters, more than the total sum of one of the majors, voted specifically NOT to vote for a major party.]

    You mean, enough voters voted above the line, handing their vote over to a minor party, who then allocated it according to their preference deals. Did Palmer United and Sex Party voters really prefer the Motoring Enthusiasts to Helen Kroger? That is what they voted for under the current rules, but I think there’s a problem if that’s not what these voters intended.

    And I don’t know where “more than the total sum of one of the majors” bit comes from.

  13. [The problem is not with preferences or minor vs major parties, but that people aren’t actually getting what they think they voted for.]

    Yeah the problem is clearly the lodged tickets, I have no problem with people voting for the ‘destroy the greens’ party, but if their preferences go to the greens involuntarily, we have a problem Houston.

  14. [Because nobody voted for them.]

    Mere details!

    That an interesting argument Tisme(for once), though it falls down a bit in the ‘who done the preferences’ department.

    Again, its not voters doing the preffing. Its hacks. And its not just micro-parties (and their preference ponzi schemes) which offend the principle that voters should decide – its majors too.

    Just ban registered tickets and we’re back to a thing that smells like democracy again. Its one thing to recommened prefs on the HoR – its another to covertly determine them in a way unknown to nearly all ATL voters.

  15. Following 1276.

    Due to misleading names, confusing preference deals, information overload, etc. all used to set up small parties as fronts for other parties.

    He makes some proposals that are meant to address that kind of party while not punishing legitimate minor parties.

  16. [And I don’t know where “more than the total sum of one of the majors” bit comes from.]

    If the major parties get 2.6 quotas they get 2 senators no questions asked and are left with 0.6 of a quota.

    If the minor parties combined get 1.1 of a quota then this is clearly more than the 0.6 the major party has left. The major party hasn’t missed out on a senator they are entitled to because they never filled the 3rd quota fully

  17. DisplayName @ 1276: How do you know? Amid all the brouhaha over preference harvesting and the like, I have difficulty in recalling a single case of a voter who voted for one of the micro-parties in a particular harvest and later complained about any distortion of his or her will. The only case which really caused an outcry was the Fielding election in Victoria, which didn’t involve a harvest-type exchange between multiple micro-parties, but a miscalculation by the ALP.

    On this, I think that Sean Tisme has it right: some people wanted to vote for a micro-party, probably didn’t much care which one got elected, and probably won’t be too concerned about the outcome. And most of the people who voted for major parties above the line also didn’t know where their preferences were going to go, but didn’t really care, because their aim was simply to vote the party ticket. They might, indeed, hold the heretical view that when all is said and done, it doesn’t much matter which candidates from their chosen party get up in the Senate.

  18. Carey Moore 1272
    Yur comments on Shorten and the GG are surely in jest…or plain silly
    What on earth would the GG have to do with Shorten in the 6 months of her Term still to go ?
    Anyway the GG has no business with the LOTO( and don’t mention Kerr)

  19. 1281

    Yes but many of the micro party voters voted for a single issue party and would not want their votes going to a hard right micro party or a religious micro party and vice versa.

  20. The nice thing about GGs who are not politicians is that more often than not you get people in the job with a sense of propriety sufficient to make it possible to leave the handling of possible conflicts of interest to their own good judgement.

  21. Carey Moore

    For me there’s no problem as Her Excellency has constitutional law experts available to advise her. I’d like to think that Abbott dismissing her on those grounds would come across as silly, but who knows what the public will think after it’s been filtered through all the self-interest that’s in the air these days?

  22. pedant @ 1282

    How would a voter know? They would have to follow all the processing of votes through to find out that their vote was one of the ones that went to a party they didn’t want.

    Anyway, AG compared and found a significant mismatch for some parties between where preferences automatically went (above the line) and where voters manually assigned them (below the line).

    The *suggestion* is that voters’ perception of a party was incorrect and that the preferences of those who voted above the line probably didn’t go where they expected. e.g. below the line preferences suggested voters saw a party as being close to the Greens but the preference deals saw votes going somewhere else.

  23. mimhoff @ 1289: There’s no way Mr Abbott will dismiss the GG. On the contrary, he would use her undoubtedly proper approach to any conflicts of interest as one more piece of evidence in favour of having a vice-regal representative who is above politics, rather than an elected President. And he would have a point there.

  24. pedant

    But it’s just as unprovable as the assumption that a 1 above the line suggests complete agreement with the registered party ticket.

    There shouldn’t be unprovable assumptions in elections. We should have a system that allows the voter to easily state the outcome they prefer.

  25. [That student who organised the NBN petition admitted to voting LNP. SO he votes LNP and then expects the saintly Abbott and Malcolm to give him NBN to the home?- silly student- I wonder what and where he is studying? Any reputable University would disown him.]

    Lol! Has been interesting the disconnect on some of the Climate Grumpy True Disbeliever blogs. They were very dark on Julia Gillard for “lying” about the carbon price.

    However, at the same time they are expecting and hoping that :monkey: is “lying” about his Direct Action “policy”.

    Bit of a logical disconnect, but that’s not unusual in those circles.

  26. DisplayName @ 1291: Yes, if you really want to track your vote, you would have to track preferences. But I would guess that a lot of people who voted for minor parties in, say, Victoria would now have a sense, if it’s of any interest to them, that they have helped to elect Mr Muir.

    Antony Green’s research is interesting but inconclusive. If I want to vote for the Motoring Enthusiasts because I care about cars and preferences, I will vote below the line. If I just want to vote for a micro-party, any micro-party, I will go above the line. So the samples don’t come from the same population.

  27. I voted below the line, but since I’m in the ACT it wasn’t that hard. I did, on the other hand, badger at least ten of my New South Wales friends and family into voting all the way to 110. I never understand why people wouldn’t – who would miss out on the fun of putting that 110 next to the candidate you most loathe?

  28. The New GG
    As Bryce’s term ends in March we might see Abbott make an appointment of a new GG in the very near future
    All PMs love that task
    Any bet on his choice ?

    My belief is that he will choose a conservative Judge or Military man…Cosgrove ?? any suggestions ?

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