Counts and recounts

The Labor leadership contest is approaching the end game, which is more than can be said for the election counts for Fairfax and the WA Senate.

Developments of various kinds in the field of vote-counting:

• Labor’s month-long leadership election campaign is finally drawing to a close, with caucus having determined its 50% share of the total vote yesterday and around 25,000 rank-and-file ballots to be counted on Sunday. Reports suggest that Bill Shorten has won at least 50 out of the 86 votes in the party room, receiving the undivided support of a Right which had been polarised during the Gillard-Rudd stand-off. By contrast, David Crowe of The Australian reports that Left members including Warren Snowdon, Brendan O’Connor, Kate Lundy, Laurie Ferguson, Maria Vamvakinou, Julie Owens and newly elected Bendigo MP Lisa Chesters have failed to fall in behind Albanese. Tea-leaf reading from party sources quoted around the place suggests Bill Shorten will do best if a large number of votes are received from his relatively strong states of Victoria and Western Australia, with most other states (together with the ACT, which punches above its weight in terms of ALP membership) considered strongholds for Albanese.

ReachTEL published a poll yesterday of 891 respondents in New South Wales and Victoria showing Anthony Albanese favoured over Shorten by 60.9-39.1 in New South Wales and 54.0-46.0 in Victoria. Each had slight leads over Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister in Victoria and slight deficits in New South Wales. Results on voting intention confirmed the general impression from the limited national polling in finding no honeymoon bounce for the new government.

• Electoral Commissioner Ed Killesteyn has ordered a recount of above-the-line votes for the Western Australian Senate, which will change the result of two Senate seats if a 14-vote gap between the Shooters and Fishers and Australian Christians parties is reversed. Also under review are votes declared informal the first time around, which is always a grey area. Tireless anonymous blogger TruthSeeker has performed good work in identifying count peculiarities potentially significant enough to turn the result, including a popular favourite known as the “Waggrakine discrepancy”.

• The Fairfax recount limps with the Clive Palmer camp apparently challenging any vote that doesn’t go its way, thereby requiring it to be sent for determination by the state electoral officer in Brisbane. AAP reports the result “won’t be known for at least another week”.

UPDATE: GhostWhoVotes relates that ReachTEL has let rip with its first post-election poll of national voting intention, and it continues an unbroken run of such polling in plotting a position for the Coalition south of what it achieved at the election, however slightly. Coming off a large-even-for-ReachTEL sample of 3600, it shows the Coalition with a two-party preferred lead of 52.1-47.9, compared with roughly 53.5-46.5 at the election, from primary votes of 45.4% for the Coalition (45.6% at the election), 35.3% for Labor (33.4%) and 8.6% for the Greens (unchanged). Tony Abbott’s performance is rated good by 40.5% and poor by 40.2%.

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.

1,614 comments on “Counts and recounts”

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  1. Zoomster, it’s not really isolated to the left – some of the stuff that used to be published on things like VexNews was disgraceful.

  2. Nice stepping up badcat!

    [Early to rise. A legacy from being raised on a dairy farm]

    Up the crack of dawn as Sir Les has intoned

    Bloody birds!!

  3. badcat

    Right – so Shorten states the bl**ding obvious, that the decision about who sits on the front bench is not up to him, and this is somehow Shorten endorsing Rudd’s return?

    I highly doubt caucus will put Rudd on the front bench. They only endorsed him as leader with a gun to their heads, and made it pretty clear that (when they thought they had a choice) they wouldn’t touch him with a barge poll.

  4. I too think it’s too early to declare the whole thing a success, but Conroy’s comments here were way over the top in my opinion. And I think the process has shown them to be wrong. Labor have hardly been helpless.

    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.”

  5. [Mr Denmore ‏@MrDenmore 1m
    ‘The real story of Kim Williams & News Corp’: Tony Boyd looks at the Goodfellas-type world of News. @FinancialReview ]

    Seems Williams was in the firing line from the start.

  6. So how do people overseas see our new PM ? Huffington Post gives a hint.

    [So for your intense viewing pleasure the HuffPost UK has gathered some eye-watering photos of him in all manner of revealing and eye-wateringly tight sports gear.

    So have a gander through the slideshow and then go and work out which soap will sting the least when you try and wash out your eyes…]

  7. Itep

    I’m not seeing any criticism of Albo anywhere, or any suggestions from Shorten supporters that Albo is unworthy of being leader.

    Now, I know Albo isn’t perfect, I know that he’s just as much a factional player as Shorten is (just not as good at it), and I know that the Left are just as guilty (or otherwise) of demanding that their members vote along factional lines as the Right are.

    But that’s what I’m reading anywhere. I’m seeing lots of abuse of Shorten (from people on twitter I know are Left leaning) and silence from those I know are on the Right.

    It might be that there’s genuine widespread hatred of Shorten out there, but that’s not borne out by the polls we’ve seen. I’d suggest it’s because the Right are better disciplined (which has been my experience in dealing with them).

    I’m not talking of ‘stuff that used to be published’ – I’m talking about what’s happening now, in the context of the leadership ballot, and its implications for the success or otherwise of the process.

  8. The “expert”predictors may well be correct, but if Shorten got 6 out of 10 in caucus, for Albo to get 6 out of 10 (plus 1) from members does not seem to be totally insurmountable.

  9. zoomster,,
    on twitter many of us spreading message 100 % no matter.

    don’t forget all to translate the French newspaper reports for sean

  10. And Conroy is correct in some respects – we’re not seeing news reports beginning with ‘The Opposition says…”

    This is one of these situations where, without an alternate universe, it’s hard to judge – but what is happening at the moment is that the new government is making such blatant mistakes than even the media has to pay attention to them.

    Arguably, if Labor already had a team in place (rather than a quasi one whose hearts aren’t in it, because they know they might not be in the seat on Monday) there’d be a lot more focus on issues such as our response to Syria, Abbott’s performance overseas, the fact that the Liberals, who told us all they were ready for government with policies ready to go, have hit the ground reviewing, Hockey’s woeful grasp of economics, and Greg Hunt’s failure to deliver according to his own timelines.

    Yes, the government is taking damage – but that’s not because there’s a team of hungry Shadow Ministers intent on bringing them down, but is due to their own incompetence.

  11. If Tony signs TPP, say goodbye to our PBS and probably plain packaging cigs. Tony’s Polliepedal backer is AMGEN. Perhaps now we know why they bothered.

  12. Zoomster…

    I’ve had a couple of tweeps who say they will withdraw their support if Shorten wins …but no personal abuse directed at myself for backing him…

    Overwhelming view I’ve encountered is that ALP supporters should get behind whoever wins..

    PS: my gut feeling is that Shorten will (narrowly) win the Rank & File vote as well… his campaign & overall presentation better than Albo’s imho…

  13. From over the road, for French speakers a site which feels no love for Tones .
    The headline and section names says it all. Using google translate I got

    [Sexist redneck: Here is Tony Abbott, new Australian Prime Minister

    1) Sexist
    2) Not very well informed on ecology
    3) Or on Aborigines
    4) Or on Immigration
    5) Bigot
    6) A type that would sell his daughters?]

  14. markjs

    as I said, I haven’t even said I’m backing him and I get abused – and it’s come from several posters, not one or two.

    It’s really concerning.

  15. confessions@58

    Mr Denmore ‏@MrDenmore 1m
    ‘The real story of Kim Williams & News Corp’: Tony Boyd looks at the Goodfellas-type world of News. @FinancialReview

    Seems Williams was in the firing line from the start.

    Delicious irony that in working to improve profitability and indeed the viability of print – Williams ended up not just being shown the door but treated to size 12 boots up the rectum as well.

    Everyone is expendable when you are employed by murdoch.

    Hint – toady abbott.

  16. zoomster:

    It’s concerning, but not really surprising, surely? We saw alleged Labor supporters on here for 3 years refusing to get behind Gillard’s leadership, embarking on a public and embarrassing 3 year dummy spit until she was replaced with their preferred leader.

    I don’t see why that behaviour would cease overnight.

  17. Had a hearty laugh from one contributor to the letters-to-the-editor page in the venerable West this morning that the Abbott government ‘should be given a fair go’!

    The writer reminded us all what a terrible government the whole of the last 6 years of Labor was without mentioning once the unprincipled attacks by Abbott and others over the same period.

    While the conservatives do hypocrisy better than anyone, they do not get irony at all.

    The laughable bit is that just four weeks or so in the new government some of their supporters think they are “not getting a fair go” in the great Oz tradition.

    Who can figure them?

  18. Back to real politics and not Labor leftie spin, I’m hoping and praying to the Political Gods that Bill Shorten wins the leadershit.

    IT will be a guaranteed 3 years of white-anting by the Rudd faction and I will need to buy more popcorn.

  19. High Court upholds federal mandatory sentencing for people smugglers which presumably means the Cth will reinstate the sentencing which I understand were repealed by the previous government.

    Another non-unanimous decision of the High Court.

  20. Although I’d much prefer Albanese, I sort of hope Shorten wins for 3 reasons:

    1. If Albo wins, shorten’s ambitions will not go away, and he’ll eventually white ant him to get the job – particularly if abbott continues on his trajectory as one-term-tony (the oz will not commissioning newspoll for sometime I suspect until their boy is looking a bit less shithouse). years of media BS on the leadship is not what we need.

    2. Albo reminds me of Simon Crean – a great labor bloke, gusty, smart, committed and with some charm rarely shown in soundbites – but might come across as monotonously agro. people might get sick of the sound of his voice and he’ll frighten the bogan vote that decides election results by making them think. the mining industry will have albo in his sights for some strong positions he has taken in the past.

    3. Shorten will be better able to take the fight up to abbott in a way that cuts through. business will love him. he’s a negotiator. he’ll be well placed once the debate inevitably moves to IR and workchoices II. He’s a media performer/tart and can take abbott on well – particular if abbott maintains his cone of silence and continues, when he does talk .to. talk. really. slowly. and. I repeat. talk. really. slowly,. slowly. in. deed. (I sense peta has put him on even stronger medication since he won – he’s virtually comatose and trying to send his audience the same way).

    I have great reservations re: shorten and his right wing politics/attitudes/cronies, but think he can help turn abbott into a single term PM.

  21. The constitutional challenge to the ACT same sex legislation permits all states and territories a right of appearance to argue their views as to law.

    Interest groups can ask to be heard as well.

  22. This puts it better than I could have,
    Denis Wright “The sight of #Palmer herding his acolytes like the prisoners in Les Mis on #ABC730 will remain etched in my memory.”

    Palmer had complete control over them and the media. It seems that he needs to speak for them, anyway, as they weren’t very articulate.

  23. Sustainable Future

    Interesting you say Albo reminds you of Crean.

    For mine, Shorten resembles Crean, Hayden and Beazley ….. probly all good or even great policy blokes but lacking much charismatic spark.

    Not that charismatic spark is the top requisite for leadership, but it does come in handy at elections.

  24. zoomster@42

    It’s really too early to tell if Conroy’s criticisms have been borne out.

    Although the process itself has run more smoothly than I expected, due to good will on all sides, there have been hiccups which would not have occured had the idea gone through the proper channels in the first place – for example, any Labor member from outside the capital cities could have told them that it would take more than thirty days to run a postal ballot.

    We’ve also yet to see the proof of the pudding. There’s already some disconcerting signs that if Shorten wins, large slabs of ordinary Labor members will be reluctant to get behind him (I haven’t advocated a vote for Shorten anywhere, but suggestions that whoever wins should receive support has led to me being blocked by some on twitter and abused as a ‘bitch’ by others). If the party does not unite behind the chosen leader, whether it’s Albo or Shorten, then this process has not solved the problem it was supposed to.

    We also haven’t seen the final outcome of the process – whether a leader selected in this fashion is ‘better’ than one selected by caucus. If Albo gets up (for example) on the basis of the popular vote but is incapable of uniting the team, then (again) it hasn’t worked.

    I’m not saying it won’t. I hope it does. I hope every party member, regardless of who is elected, accepts the result. I hope whoever is elected is capable of leading the party well.

    I’m just saying it’s too early to declare that the new process has been successful or that those who have criticised it have been wrong to do so.

    That’s a lot of words to tell us that “we won’t know how well it has worked until we see how well it has worked”.

    Conroy is a flake and should retire.

    Although I strongly support Albo, I will respect any outcome as it has been well run and both sides were committed to supporting the outcome.

  25. On the first Fairfax count, Palmer won by 7 votes. In a recent Fairfax article the Electoral Commissioner said there were about 10 cases of (not malicious) multiple voting per seat in 2010:

    In one of its election backgrounders the AEC says that if the number of multiple votes exceeds the margin of victory, it considers whether to dispute the election with the Court of Disputed Returns. It says it has never happened but if the Fairfax recount shows a similar margin then maybe it could this time.

    It could take a while however, as the backgrounder indicates there is quite a bit of investigation, including writing to electors and waiting for responses, involved in working out how many actual multiple voters there were and how many apparent cases were just polling staff error.

    So there’s some chance we won’t know the Fairfax result for sure for quite some time. Here’s the backgrounder (PDF):

    I think it would be very ironic if Clive had to face another election because of multiple voting given all the nonsense about fraud he has been spouting.

  26. Bishop defends claiming India wedding cost

    SENIOR coalition government minister Julie Bishop argues there’s a “very grey area” between work and play for travel expense claims as she defended charging taxpayers to attend a wedding in India.

    Coalition colleagues Barnaby Joyce and Teresa Gambaro also attended after being invited by mining magnate Gina Rinehart, and collectively the three claimed more than $12,000 in overseas study allowances

  27. Back to back father daughter camps this weekend. Need to redeem myself after cutting and running from camp last year to sleep in the Spike Milligan wing of a Woy Woy motel.

  28. zoomster@46

    I’ll also add this bit of musing – isn’t it funny how the Left, who portray themselves as the bleeding heart types, are so personally nasty? (Gross generalisation, lots of lovely Lefties, of course).

    My twitter stream is full of ALP members calling Shorten a ‘maggot’ and abusing anyone who supports him (or even, in my case, who objects to either candidate being abused in that way).

    Basically, (some on) the Left seem to be saying that if Albo doesn’t get up, that’s proof that the process is corrupt.

    It’s really disappointing to see this attitude – this process gives candidates like Albo and the Left in general at least some chance to gain power. It should be given a chance to work.

    It can’t do that if people decide beforehand that they’re not going to accept any outcome except the one which suits them.

    Oh dear, I keep reading here how wonderful twitter is.
    Seems to me it has a few good tweeters and a whole lot of twits.

    A bit like PB I suppose.

  29. confessions@47

    Morning all.

    Thanks everyone for the links in BK’s absence.


    Like zoomster I think it’s too soon to tell whether Conroy’s concerns have validity. Personally I think Rudd’s absence overseas and the silence from his idiot followers like Fitzgibbon has helped the process appear smooth and professional rather than wracked with tension and in-fighting.

    Although some of the leaking yesterday is of concern, as it implied that if Shorten wins the ballot the Albo/Rudd camp will continue whiteanting and undermining.

    confessions is seeing Rudd people still.

  30. victoria

    You’re right in one way, but after hearing the Tassie Senator trying to formulate a clear sentence on policy, I understand why Clive took over. However, there are many people who don’t always understand Clive, who speaks rapidly with few consonants.

  31. Good Morning

    The Business on 24 this morning to be repeated of course at usual times, had the TPP.

    Abbott is signing up to ISDS agreements. This enables overseas companies to sue Australian governments over laws made here.

    The example used by the programme was the plain packaging legislation. These agreements would enable tobacco companies to sue Australian governments over legislation.

    Thus to me revealing why Abbott is doing it. In my opinion looking after one of his donors.

  32. madcyril@57

    I too think it’s too early to declare the whole thing a success, but Conroy’s comments here were way over the top in my opinion. And I think the process has shown them to be wrong. Labor have hardly been helpless.

    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.”

    Conroy is an intellectual featherweight and the ALP would be better without him.
    He should retire so he has more time for golf with his mate James Packer.

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