Newcastle and Charlestown by-elections live

Live coverage of counting in the Newcastle and Charlestown state by-elections.

9.34pm. Since the Labor-versus-Greens results yet to be reported are barely even of academic interest (Labor currently leads 64-36), I’ll more or less wrap it up here, although I’ll have another look at the numbers later tonight given that we should get some pre-polls and postals. To summarise: Labor has easily won Charlestown, being just a shade under 50%, but has struggled a bit in the face of a strong performance from independent Karen Howard in Newcastle, who seems to have inherited the Liberal vote. Nonetheless, Labor’s 37.1% to 25.9% lead over Howard on the primary vote is too big for her to run down on preferences.

9.31pm. Now all the polling booths are in, Carrington and Mayfield East being the last to report, and it looks like this:

Labor 11,831 37.1% (+6.1%)
Howard 8,263 25.9%
Greens 6,460 20.2% (+5.8%)
Others 5,364 16.8%

With about half of the preferences likely to exhaust, Howard would need a four-to-one advantage over Labor on the remainder, which obviously isn’t going to happen. It’s equally clear though that the Greens are not going to overhaul Howard and take second place, but the NSWEC is nonetheless proceeding with its Labor-versus-Greens count, and has reported results from two booths so far.

9.21pm. Howard barely makes double figures at the large Stockton booth (1931 votes), pushing her total down to 26.6% with Labor up to 36.4%.

9.19pm. Adamstown reports (1160 votes), Labor doubles Howard’s vote but the totals aren’t much changed, Labor on 35.4% and Howard on 27.8%.

9.06pm. The NSWEC two-party results page is configured for a Labor-versus-Greens count, but it seems clear enough that Karen Howard will in fact finish second. Presumably they are holding off on conducting the two-party count until its clear which two candidates they should be looking at.

9.00pm. Lambton High is smaller (1260 votes) but has a similar result, and the gap widens a little further.

8.59pm. The big Waratah booth (2266 votes) has really widened the gap – Labor now leads 35.0% to 28.1%.

8.56pm. Hamilton South Community Hall (716) is the first Newcastle booth where Labor has over 50%. It was Labor’s strongest area in 2011, along with still-to-report Stockton.

8.50pm. Sixteen of 24 booths in from Charlestown, and Labor remains fractionally over 50% on the primary vote.

8.46pm. WEA Hunter Laman Street is quite a good result for Labor from a weak booth, their primary vote up 8.6% and a 30.4% to 28.0% win over Howard. Booths outstanding are Adamstown, Carrington, Hamilton South Community Hall, Lambton High, Mayfield East, Stockton and Waratah, which reads like a list of Labor’s very best booths. Their current lead over Howard is 33.5% to 29.2%, which should now start to widen decisively.

8.38pm. St Johns Cooks Hill is a weak result for Labor, with no swing and a 35.6% go 25.7% win to Howard.

8.17pm. St Columba’s Adamstown booth in Newcastle has a big 10% swing to Labor, and they win the primary vote there 34.1% to 31.8%.

8.12pm. Two strong booths for Labor at Hamilton North (651 votes) and Islington (1078) swing 5% and 9% to Labor, their total lead over Howard now out to 33.9% to 28.5%.

8.04pm. Newcastle: Small Hamilton North booth (651) gives them a fairly weak 5%+ swing, but they outpoll Howard 41.8% to 22.4% and edge ahead on the primary vote.

8.00pm. Eleven booths of 24 in from Charlestown, and Labor still over 50% on the primary vote.

7.56pm. Two more Newcastle booths in: St Andrews Mayfield (1160 votes), a strong booth for Labor where they’re up 9%, and The Junction (1886 votes), a weak one where they’re up 5%, and where Howard has outpolled them 36.8% to 28.9%. Labor has a narrow overall primary vote lead, which should widen from here.

7.53pm. Booths reporting in Newcastle are continue to be their weakest from 2011. Merewether Uniting was somewhat stronger for Labor than some of the others, but they’re only up 5%, and have been outpolled by Howard 35.9% to 30.7%. Still, a 5% primary vote increase would probably do it for Labor, even if they weren’t generally doing better than that elsewhere.

7.50pm. Tighes Hill has Labor up 8%, and point to the strong vote for the Greens, who are on 31.6% in this booth to Labor’s 36.8%. They seem to be up at least 5% across the board.

7.48pm. Back in Newcastle, a weak swing to Labor of a little over 4% in the Newcastle East Public School booth. This is once again in the weak part of town for Labor, and Howard shades them on the primary vote, 29.7% to 29.6% (out of 1477 votes).

7.47pm. Meanwhile, Labor continue romping it in in Charlestown, now on 52.6% with eight booths in.

7.45pm. New Lambton South, a strong booth for Labor, is back on script with an 11.1% increase in the Labor primary vote, and a 45.4% to 23.3% lead over Howard.

7.43pm. Another bad booth for Labor reports in Newcastle, Holy Family Church Hall Merewether, and Howard has outpolled them 41.4% to 23.5%. This time, Labor’s primary vote is only up about 4%.

7.40pm. If, as it seems, Karen Howard has succeeded in establishing herself is the proxy Liberal candidate in Newcastle, Labor could be said to be heading for a two-party swing of nearly 10% against a margin of 2.6%. So while they continue to trail on the primary vote, they are likely to win very comfortably unless the current pattern changes.

7.38pm. Even bigger Labor swing in the large Charlestown booth of Warners Bay Public (2112 votes) – up 23.0%.

7.32pm. Swings against Labor in the three Newcastle are between 7.2% and 11.7%, which continues to suggest a primary vote of around 40%, which under OPV shouldn’t be a problem for them. There are no such dramas in Charlestown, their primary vote up 17.4% in a third booth if Wirapaang.

7.28pm. The first booth from the Labor-voting part of town, Mayfield, is as strong as Labor needs for it to be: of the 854 votes, they beat Howard 47.2% to 16.1%.

7.20pm. Antony Green nonetheless projecting over 40% primary vote for Labor in Newcastle, so clearly things will get better for them from here.

7.16pm. Howard also wins big in Merewether Heights Public School – fewer votes this time, 1137 rather than 2129 in Hamilton South, but she demolished Labor 41.5% to 22.9%. This is an even worse booth for Labor than Hamilton South though – nonetheless, Labor will need to turn it around big in the stronger parts of town for them.

7.11pm. A big result for independent Karen Howard in the first booth from Newcastle, Hamilton South (located in the Newcastle electorate but serving both as a polling booth, as is New Lambton South), who has outpolled Labor 37.7% to 32.9%. This was one of Labor’s worst booths in the electorate in 2011, but even so this is a strikingly good result for Howard.

6.55pm. Second booth is New Lambton South, with 207 votes. Here Labor is cut finer by the Greens, leading 35.9% to 25.1%. Their primary vote is up about 10%, rather than 18% in Hamilton South.

6.37pm. The first booth is Hamilton South in Charlestown, and Labor has 44.3% of its 61 formal votes and the Greens in second on 18.0%, which does not suggest any surprises are brewing.

6pm. Live coverage of the Newcastle and Charlestown by-elections in New South Wales, which Labor are expected to go untroubled in the absence of Liberal candidates.

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.

63 comments on “Newcastle and Charlestown by-elections live”

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  1. William

    This is well off topic but looking at the last Newspoll quarterly figures for Victoria would it be correct to say that the primary votes of the two majors combined had declined by about 10% since the last election?

  2. I am a little confused. Ham South was in Newcastle at the 2011 election – has there been a redistribution and doesn’t the redistribution only take effect with the next general election?

  3. No NSWEC is definitely showing them in Charlestown. The Newcastle site is still inactive so I can’t tell if they are composite

  4. As I suggested in the previous thread. Labor is so on the nose over Jodie McKay that a good independent will shake this.

    Prediction: Robbo to resign on Tuesday

  5. Yes i got a little excited – Ham South and The Hill were the most gentrified parts of Newcastle when I grew up in Wallsend.

    Still Labor 32% greens 16% and independent 38% is not good for Robbo

  6. Oakeshott – given that Karen Howard is essentially the undeclared Liberal candidate I’m not surprised she’s winning Hamilton South

  7. Mayfield Presbyterian ( surely Labor heartland) about 320 to 176 for Labor. It will go to preferences and couls go either way

  8. Looking at the candidate profile pictures on Antony Greens’ guide, I can’t help but think that some of them must be taking the piss with the photo.

  9. Curious that Labor doing better in its weaker seat Charlestown, fact that Harrison won mayoral election in 2012 when Labor at low ebb suggests she is a strong candidate? Or is it more that Howard rallied Liberal vote in Newcastle?

  10. There are good and bad booths for Labor to come. I understand that Islington and Carrington (once even more socially disadvantaged than Tighes Hill) have been yuppified and will have Green votes.

  11. What should be the baseline for comparisons in Newcastle.
    Not 2011 when there was a Liberal candidate nor 2007 when the Labor vote was split between McKay and Gaudry but, I would argue, 2004

  12. Labor outpolls Howard 2:1 in Hamilton and will win the seat
    Robbo will survive until he leads the party to a disaster next March.

  13. Geoff Robinson, Newcastle has very much gentrified, making it fertile territory for the Libs and the Greens. Charlestown is solidly working class and older, Labor heartland.

  14. Yes Jimmy I was in Tighes Hill a few months ago and noticed that strange smell had gone.
    But if Labor can no longer rely on a cluster of Lower Hunter seats what does that imply for its status as the natural party of government in NSW. Will it need to actually try and stop being run by a crime family?

  15. Antony Green has called both for ALP

    The old blue collar world is changing fast, so rusted on comparisons are useless. Tighes Hill is on the same trajectory as Redfern.

  16. Charlestown has a Labot PV. Of about 48% which is the same gained by the last (and most incompetent) of the Morrisii in 2007 – but that was when there was a viable alternative. I do not think this is a great result for Labor.

  17. Missing the fun of purging Nui from its errors of last election. you knew they were even bigger crooks.

    Tigers hill is leftleaning young professional territory these days. Enjoyed a few years living there

  18. At least Stockton remains a bastion for the True Believers

    My grandmother lived in John St Tigers Hill, in one of the cottages built for the Chicago engineers who supervised the steelworks construction. When she died at 101 in 1989 we sold it to two gays for $30,000. That industrial smell will stay with me forever

  19. No I am just trying to give some objectivity but I do hate the crime family who contrlled the right wing of NSW Labor and through Robbo still has considerable influence.

    For me now Labor is just a label or team with virtually no connection with its ideological base.

  20. I’m surprised by how different the Labor primary vote is in each electorate.

    Was this simply because Howard was accepted by Liberal voters in Newcastle as their candidate, whereas no candidate in Charlestown could do the same? Or was Harrison a stronger candidate than Crakanthorp?

    The latter is plausible; Jodie Harrison was the mayor of Lake Macquarie. But then we would expect her to have polled more strongly in the part of Charlestown that overlaps with Lake Macquarie council. (I’ll wait for William to crunch the numbers on this one.)

    Additionally, if Harrison is an exceptional vote getter, then Labor may have missed a trick by not running her against Greg Piper. (Technically I suppose they still could.)

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